[Editor's note: this is a re-post from November 2010. Part of a series of year-end posts I write each year. When we migrated to the new site design, all the old posts were archived.]
Confession time: I have sort of a business crush on Mr. Franklin. I stumbled across his first book, Produced by Faith, just as I was finishing work on my own book, The Secret Watch. His collaborator, Tim Vandehey was a friend of my editor, and I was actually checking out Tim's work when I came across DeVon. I read his book, and immediately fell in love with his vision for spiritual success in a secular world - that comes from staying true to yourself (and how God designed you).
I also saw how he and I were up to the same thing in the entertainment world, but coming at it from opposite ends of the spectrum. And yes, I secretly hoped he would read my book and decide to make it into a movie, but I digress.
DeVon is inside the industry, making decisions, policies, and flipping the script on how business gets done in Hollywood. I'm on the outside, working with the very people that haven't had a chance because of the way the old regime operated - to learn how to "pick themselves" instead of waiting for some big break. We're both working to change the face of entertainment media for the better, so it's only natural that I was a big fan from the start. Where DeVon's first book focuses on the inner journey of the movie that is your life, The Hollywood Commandments is the next installment - how to be yourself inside a machine that may try to make you anything but.
Franklin is a devout Christian, but don't let that dissuade you from reading this book. It is filled with gold when it comes to navigating the rough waters of career success - whether you're in Hollywood, CA or Hollywood, AL (population 1000), whether you're in entertainment or animal training. It's not what you do, or where you do it that matters, it's who you are as you're doing it.
Franklin's book centers on ten "commandments" for staying true to yourself (and your faith) in a secular world. He serves up a lot of common knowledge concepts - like over promise and under deliver - so in that respect, it will feel as familiar as many self-help books on the market. But, as Franklin points out in Commandment #8, Your Difference Is Your Destiny. Franklin's difference is his years behind-the-scenes rising through the ranks in Hollywood, making mistakes, learning as he goes, and doing it all as a person of color and a man of faith to boot.
While Franklin never makes race a point in the book, it shouldn't be ignored. It's tough to rise up in Hollywood, and there's still a lot of disadvantages for a person of color. To see this, his third book, speak so plainly about what it really takes to succeed in anything (and have it come from a place of hard-won experience), speaks highly of his work ethic and how true Franklin is to walking his talk. He came to Hollywood on a Divine prompting, knowing no one, and trusting the process. He went from intern to assistant to eventually owning his own production company, paying his dues along the way. This is the lesson of persistence and discipline that Franklin espouses throughout the book.
Watch the entire review, where we'll dig into the specifics of the commandments, and how they apply to you regardless of your faith walk. Here's the replay: