Cameron Arnett – Actor, Filmmaker, TV Host

We first met Cameron Arnett at the Kingdomwood Film Festival in  2015. Since then I’m pretty sure he’s been at every film event we’ve been to, not to mention the many more he attends that we don’t go to. He’s a popular instructor sharing words of wisdom for filmmakers and actors alike. He’s also the most supportive of any individual you’ll find in the Christian film world. He has a gift for encouragement and has a way of making each person he meets feel like they’re something special. That’s why I’m excited today to turn the spotlight on him and showcase all the many wonderful projects he’s working on. 

You started off as a television actor in the 1980’s. Tell about some of the tv shows you were a part of.

Oh wow, this is what you call “back in the day.” I was fortunate to do a few episodics early on, things like Miami Vice, Doogie Howser MD, China Beach, My So Called Life, Star Trek: The Next Generation…which was a bit surreal, being on the Starship Enterprise after being a Trekkie all my life. All enjoyable experiences, meeting some very interesting and helpful people. I haven’t auditioned for a lot of episodics lately, I’d like to do more of them, as long as they don’t violate my convictions in Christ.

In 2013 you started doing faith-based films. what led to the transition?

By the 90’s I was in California and had done well as an actor and model, and things were moving right along there too. After being there for a while, I found myself in Toronto, Canada doing a movie of the week. When I got back home to L.A., they called me in by name, to audition for a TV series, which I ended up getting. It would have been my first lead in my own series, nice role, good money, an elevated changed life, however, to accept the role, they wanted me to do partial body nudity. This was when TV was beginning to push the envelop in order to keep up with cable, and so I said no. Then the offer was made that “we’ll give you a body double”, but within me I heard the Lord say “you have to shun the very appearance of evil”. So again, I said no. Well, I lost everything…big house, cars, even family. I ended up evicted, divorced, alone. No agent, no acting jobs, nothing.

To make a long story short, I ended up coming to Atlanta, answering the call to ministry, started a Church,  never thinking I would ever act again, and I was completely fine with that. So from 1998 to 2013, I was pretty much out of the industry. I did one or two things in between because I was asked to get involved, and after years in ministry, one day God started giving me a dream about this attorney, a character in a movie. Night after night for two weeks I had a dream about this attorney, thinking that this was something God wanted me to write, so I began doing so. A few days within these dreams, my wife was approached about getting help to reach out to a specific actor for a role. You guessed it, an attorney role within a Christian film. Being the awesome God given wife that she is, she told them who they really needed for the role was Cameron Arnett, and so they called me in. Now, I had decided to no longer audition, so I said no, I’m done. Well, God told me, no, go to this one. So after some nudging by HIM, I went, got the role, the attorney, in Georgia Justice which became A Cry For Justice which ended up Stand Your Ground. And there began a trek initiated by God, as an actor in Christian films.

In addition to working in front of the camera, you also have your own production company. Tell us about the tv and movie content that you produce.

That’s also a God thing. Now I wasacting again, a Christian actor, but still in traditional full time ministry, and as I continued, I disregarded the signs that God was obviously doing something non-traditional. Even as a minister, the only things people understood was Pastors and Evangelists, and here I was knowing that God had called me as an Apostle, Prophet and Teacher, yikes.  He wouldn’t even let me be traditional within the traditional space, so I lived in discomfort, personally and amongst others in ministry. Years and many films later, I finally accepted God’s word and prompting that the production company is my ministry, media and entertainment are my primary lanes, and that His word would be exalted within these areas, through the shows and films I would do. We began with mainly teaching shows, then talk shows, commentary shows, and a couple of failed attempts at actual television drama’s. But God would not allow me to let it go. So now, we are still doing all the same things, but at higher levels, and fully producing/ directing and acting in full length films, children’s shows, developing series etc, etc. The flood gates have opened and we are now keeping up with God. One of my greatest joys in this is being able to collaborate with like minded Christian filmmakers and artists, I love helping people be and do what they were ordained to by God. And as an actor, it is a joy to use the talent He gave me to honor Him within these varies projects.

Mattie: The Discovery is making it’s premier at the International Christian Film Festival. What do you hope the audience to get from the film?

Yes, May is approaching and we are diligently working towards a premier. My prayer is that the audience would first of all receive the message within the movie. God gives sight. He leads and guides us in the way we should go. My life is a testimony of that. Our part is to obey, and as we do, He uses us to fulfill His will upon the earth. But as well, the personal message outside of what’s in Mattie, is that “as His people” we can do this. If we come together, we can do this. The hope is that the audience realizes that we don’t have to do it the world’s way. We don’t have to duplicate Hollywood’s ways to get it done. We can stay committed to God and His ways and see prosperity in whatever field God has for us personally. Unity is the heart of God for us, and the more unified we are, with Him and each other, the more godly success is inevitable and unstoppable.

For those who can’t go to the festival, how can others see the movie?

What? You mean there are people who are not coming to the festival?…lol, just a joke. Well, we will be attending many festivals after this one, so there will be many opportunities. Once that’s done, it will be available on DVD, VOD, etc. We may or may not do a theatrical release, that’s still being discussed, there are a few interested parties who want to distribute the film. We’ll see what God has chosen. But stay tuned at CamyArnett.com and FB.com/CamyArnettProductionStudios for more…and please like/share/join us…this is what makes the difference and shows Hollywood that Christian films are here to stay.

It seems that every film festival or event I go to you’re one of the speakers. What is the greatest challenge that you see Christian actors and filmmakers dealing with?

Funding, Funding, Funding. Funding for the films to be made and funding so that the actors/crew etc. can be paid. Now, some may disagree, but this is what I see. Why do I say this? Because now, there are quite a few Christian filmmakers who are doing it well and right. And because they are truly Christian, they are passing on the knowledge, they are willing to collaborate, and they are befriending those who want to do it well and right, even if they are not able to do it yet. But what is still lacking is funding. We have great stories, great true stories, miraculous stories, .now we need to share the wealth, of funds and remember we are not just filmmakers who make films to make money, but we are filmmakers, being like HIM while we tell HIS stories in a new way, and make money. So business leaders, investors etc. need to get involved and see this as a new worthwhile ministry of God that gets His word to the masses, to people who have yet to go into a Church building. He who is wise wins souls. This is a modern way to do an old thing, God’s thing……FUNDING.

What is the most important advice you offer actors?

Wow, whenever we say “The most Important” it becomes almost impossible, because each person needs something different, something that is important to them. Some need excellence, some need spiritual maturity, some need focus, some simply need to make a decision that acting is their calling, or not.

If you are an actor, know your craft, be excellent at what you do. There is no excuse for not being able to compete with the best, anywhere, and as Christians, with the Holy Spirit within us, we can be, the best.

If you are a Christian, then don’t compromise God’s integrity for man-made success. Be true to Him and to you. You are not just an actor, who happens to be Christian. You are a Christian, representing God in the field of entertainment. Honor Him through your Excellence of Craft, and Holiness of personhood.

What is the most important advice you offer filmmakers?

Answered above but again, be excellent at your craft, it’s not ungodly to learn and know your craft, as a matter of fact, it’s ungodly not to. Remember you are here to speak of Him, to represent Him, to tell His stories, to showcase Him in and through His people.

While you are doing this, remember, you have to be the Him you are representing. Yhere’s nothing worse than watching people do great movies, hailing the awesome attributes of God, while they themselves exemplify none of them. How we treat each other in the process is more important than the film we are making.

All this is true for actors as well, treat your fellow actors right, they are your brothers and sisters, made in the image of your Father. After having done all, don’t be a cast away.

Later this year you have a book coming out, tell us about it.

Actually, it just came out…literally, as I right this, hot off the press. It’s called A Good Man: A Child’s, I Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda Story. People are always saying, “If I only knew then what I know now” and I have been asked many times, and most recently from one of my own sons, “What would you do differently?” So I wrote this book, because I can’t go back, but I can help a whole lot of people who are younger than I, go forward, faster, easier, better, by starting where they are, making better decisions, and taking the right, consistent actions. It is designed to be a collaborative piece between parents and their children. It’s available on Amazon under the name Camy Arnett, as well as on CamyArnett.com. Please send us your testimonies when you read it, and above all, help your children, someone’s child, succeed.

I know that I just scratched the surface of all that you do. Is there anything else that you want to talk about that I didn’t ask you about?

Wow, this is like handing a speaker the mic and saying just talk to us, lol. I guess the one thing that is most on my heart right now is this, no matter what I do, I always have this unshakable yearning to help those younger than myself. I always want to see people reach their goals, attain their dreams and fulfill their God given destinies. I’ve done a lot of work and still do, within the pro-life movement, and what I’ve always noticed is a need for followthrough. And without going into too much and making this too long, I started a campaign, movement, whatever you want to call it, to do just that. Saving Destinies, SavingDestinies.com, where I primarily speak to anyone who will listen, about the need of coming together, pooling our resources together to reach into the lives of our youth and protect not only their bodies at birth, but their destinies in life. Saving Destinies is the pro-life movement redefined, extended, expanded.

God sends everyone here for a reason, with a purpose, on a mission. I come to do thy will oh God, and I solicit the help of every Christian entrepreneur, filmmaker, actor, politician, educator etc. to join us in that endeavor. We need your help, to not just be a voice to our youth, but a practical undergirding of their future. And here goes that thing again, Funding, resources, trainers, materials, mentors, jobs, partnerships, internships, please donate, and be of service. SavingDestinies.com

Author: Sharon Wilharm

Sharon Wilharm is a female filmmaker, blogger, and speaker with over a decade of industry experience. She and her husband, Fred, just released SUMMER OF '67, their seventh feature film. Their movies have screened in theaters, festivals, and churches around the globe as well as multiple television networks. They've accumulated dozens of festival accolades including many Best of Fest awards and 4 ICVM Crown Awards. Sharon is passionate about visual storytelling, branding, and marketing and would love to speak at your upcoming event.

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