How Are We Entertained?
by Nick Galieti
I have spent some time in the LDS production world, musically, with documentaries and feature films, as well as podcasting and the world of LDS writing and storytelling. This experience in both producing content as well as networking and discussing the LDS market with others in the market has taught me one thing; LDS people globally don’t seem to like to be entertained by LDS individuals.
There are some who may say, “That’s not true, I go to see LDS movies at the theaters when they come out, I buy books at Deseret Book, I listen to Alex Boye and Hillary Weeks…etc.” I admit, there have been one or two individuals that have cut through the mix and might be considered the exception to this rule. I would argue that this exception seems to be more of a Utah paradigm as opposed to a global paradigm. According to industry paradigm, few have been able to make a living in the world of LDS entertainment.
Perhaps this is a good thing, perhaps not. One could argue that the market is smaller therefore fewer dollars, and the fewer the dollars the lower the demand for quality entertainment, therefore lower quality entertainment (and the downward spiral goes on from there). However, my experience has been that there is actually some quality entertainment that is being produced in the LDS world both secularly and with non-fiction-LDS subject matter.
An example of this can be seen with the LDS writers and storytellers. There are hundreds of fiction books a year that are published by LDS publishers and LDS authors that may or may not have an LDS theme. For those of you that read fiction, when was the last time that you read one by an LDS author? What is the ratio of books by LDS individuals vs. Non-LDS that you read over the course of a year?
Same thing with music. There are literally 1000’s of songs put out by LDS artists each year, not including MOTAB. What ratio of LDS artists do you listen to vs. Non-LDS (secular or spiritual)?
So as to not appear to be hypocritical, I find that I listen more to Non-LDS musicians, and watch more Non-LDS movies. But I also realize that it is okay for that to change. The quality of content coming from LDS artists has drastically increased since the days of Saturday’s Warrior and My Turn on Earth. With movies like Forever Strong, and New York Doll, music from Ryan Innes (recently on NBC’s the Voice), Bianca Merkley, and others from a wide variety of genres
I don’t mean to imply that someone is a “bad mormon” if they don’t buy from other LDS individuals. Not hardly. However, I would like to encourage a shift in paradigm. Perhaps it is time to give quality content from LDS individuals a second look. My time in interviewing LDS authors on my podcast has been a revelation to me regarding the level of good writing that comes from LDS individuals. The same could be said for a variety of entertainment genres.
What are your favorite LDS entertainers (writers, musicians, movies, etc.)? Let’s form a list of quality individuals worth checking out.