Personal Reflection: A visit to Hollywood

Mintle meets filmmakers

My family and I were able to experience a small slice of the Hollywood dream for a day during a trip to the West Coast last semester. What does the Hollywood dream entail? Well, we were able to meet with two very successful and powerful men in the entertainment industry and gain valuable advice for students who have a calling to Hollywood.

movies — Mintle poses with Engle near the Santa Monica Pier. Photo provided

Movies — Mintle poses with Engle near the Santa Monica Pier. Photo provided

While my family was in California, Peter Engel, a family friend, offered to meet with us in his own home near the Santa Monica Pier. Engel produced the hit television series “Saved By the Bell” as well as many other popular TV shows, including “Last Comic Standing.”

The best part of the day was when Engel shared stories of his experiences in the entertainment industry. Everything he described was exciting and an adventure. His passion for television and production was evident through his speech and his body language, and his joy was contagious. The best piece of advice Engel offered for students trying to break into the industry was to simply do your craft.

“Directors should direct,” Engle said. “Producers, produce, actors, act and writers, write.”

After a relaxing and informative lunch with Engel, we drove to Beverly Hills for a meeting with television and literary agent Michael Van Dyck.

Van Dyck’s clients and projects include “Dexter,” “24,” “The Good Wife” and “Desperate Housewives.” He was even responsible for the executive producer of “Touched By An Angel” Martha Williamson’s new project “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” getting picked up by the Hallmark Channel. The offices and buildings of the Paradigm Talent Agency were elegant and very professional, located two blocks from the world-famous Rodeo Drive.

The meeting with Van Dyck was impressive. He told us how his life radically changed when God called him to Hollywood, and he said his mission in life is to bring strong Christians into the industry.

According to Van Dyck, he wants to incorporate songs from Christian artists into major programs and to help mentor devout Christian actors, producers and scriptwriters into Hollywood. Specifically, he wants to create a pipeline directly from Liberty to Hollywood.

Van Dyck was also very passionate about his craft, and he shared great wisdom.

“If you’re not absolutely sure of your divine calling to Hollywood, run as far and as fast as you can away from here,” Van Dyck said. “But if you are called, understand that the Holy Spirit can fill you with perseverance and tenacity. You’ll need them here. Mostly, though, you’re needed here. We need Spirit-empowered Christians infiltrating the media as salt and light missionaries.”

His secret to success? Van Dyck explained that any Liberty student who feels called to Hollywood should pursue an internship or a job in an agency in Hollywood straight after graduating from college. He said he believes this is the best place because it provides many opportunities for interns to learn about the industry from the inside and heart of it all.

“Agencies are the underbelly of the industry,” Van Dyck said. “You get to see the entire picture from here and then decide where you want to focus.”

An agency provides outlets such as music, writing, packaging, production and more, enabling anyone to learn from the professionals and best in the business. Van Dyck’s love for the Lord and his vision for Hollywood should inspire students to pursue what God has for them and to work hard to become excellent as they trust him to open the right doors.

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