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Saturday, August 17, 2019

Producer/Speaker/Author DeVon Franklin: Make Sure Your Life Has the Right Director

by Cyrus Webb

It's been almost seven years now since I turned on the television one particular Sunday morning for Super Soul Sunday on the Oprah Winfrey Network and became engrossed in Oprah's conversation with Devon Franklin. The two were discussing his book PRODUCED BY FAITH and before the segment was over I was on ordering the book and digesting the tips.

The premise of the conversation on OWN as well as in the book was all about direction and who we chose to take our lead from. What a timely discussion for us to have today as there are so many things that try to control your life and monopolize your time. In the book Produced by Faith Franklin discusses the importance of looking at your life as a movie with our Heavenly Father being the greatest Director of all. Will we choose to listen or will we allow our egos to keep us from heeding the direction He gives? In 2017 he released his follow-up called THE HOLLYWOOD COMMANDMENTS and in 2019 came THE TRUTH ABOUT MEN.

I connected with Devon, and the discussion that followed was not just inspiring but what I knew others needed to benefit from as well.
When I asked Devon about the response to the books and the way it was connecting with the hearts and minds of the world, Devon told me this:  "It's been powerful. By being vocal about who I am and owning who God created me to be has contributed to my success in entertainment and guided me as I chart my own course in this business. I've learned and been able to share that when you put God first, everything else will fall into place."

In PRODUCED BY FAITH, we are able to see how Devon got to this place of not just being fearless in his faith but how it has been rewarded. "Part of it came out of necessity," he told me when referring to the courage he was able to display. "When something doesn't feel right it's very hard for me to do it." When it came to assignments that made him unhappy and unfulfilled he says he recognized where the feeling was coming from. "I wasn't being my true self and operating in the confidence that God had given me," he said.

What helped Devon to get on track? He did a self-examination. "Out of necessity I had to figure out how can I begin to start to like who I really am," he says. "Every time I tried to do my job as someone else it didn't work. I realized I had to do it the way I was built to do it. There is a danger when we feel like we have to emulate how someone else operates. You can't be successful if you are just emulating someone else. You have to find your own way of doing something."

How do we know that Devon's perspective of his life and his dedication to his faith have worked? Consider the facts. At the time of our last conversation together he was celebrating not just the new book but new movie projects as well.  Before that he was serving as Senior Vice President of Production for Columbia Tristar Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment, making him one of the youngest individuals in that position in the industry. He oversaw the remake of Sparkle, starring the late Whitney Houston in her last on-screen role, and The Karate Kid, starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith.

Since the release of his book Franklin has been more out-front, sharing what has worked for him. "Knowing that I'm created for a purpose, in these moments when I'm coming from behind the scenes I bring with me the knowledge I have taken in," he says. When looking at the success of his entertainment career and even the attention the books have gotten he keeps things in their proper perspective.

"All these things that are happening to me are not about me," Devon says. "It's really about God's time and God's will and knowing there are people that need to be reached." By keeping his eye on the bigger picture, he has managed to keep his focus. "When you get lost you lose sight of what originally motivated you in the first place," he explained. "It's always keeping purpose number 1. It's about reaching people and being a servant. Long as I can keep that front and center it continually helps me in making decisions. All of us have to make decisions that are rooted in purpose and what God wants you to do."

One of Devon's favorite quotes is this: "To get where you want to go, you’ve first got to become the person God wants you to be.” This takes effort but it is definitely worth the work involved. He says that his hope and prayer is that as you're looking at your life as a movie and God as the director it will give perspective. This means that we won't think the bad times we are going through are all there is to life. "The danger is that we think the scene we are in is permanent when in fact it is temporary," he says. "In that permanent perception we make decisions that can alter the direction of our story. All of us have practical things we can do to move from one scene in our lives to the next. We just have to trust that God knows our story from beginning to end."

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