Peruse the cast lists of recent faith-based film projects and you’ll soon notice two names frequently reappearing: Michael Joiner and Brad Stine. Joiner and Stine have made a name for themselves as Christian comedians that have crossed over into the world of faith-based filmmaking, now enjoying a highly successful career in both fields. Certainly comedians crossing over to the world of acting has long been a staple of the secular film industry, with Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, and Adam Sandler, amongst others, having found international success. Could we be seeing a similar trend emerging within the field of faith-based filmmaking? Both Joiner and Stine believe so.
Stine says “If you look at the secular film world they have literally made billions of dollars off of comedians. Granted, the pool for Christian comedy is much more limited than the secular world, and just because you’re a comic doesn’t mean you can act, but that being said the reason that comedians often are good actors is that the key to great acting is being observant and sensitive to the human condition. The entire purpose of comedy is to observe the human race. When you go into an acting role you’re basically portraying a human being and so consequently you get a very authentic portrayal of the human condition, because comics are already used to exploring that thing.”
Both Joiner and Stine are quick to mention the importance of training for comedians that are looking to develop an acting career. Joiner says “I try to stress to comedians and anyone that wants to get into this industry ‘Look man, you’ve got to study!’ You know Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Marlon Brando they didn’t get to where they’re at by going to community theater! They studied with some of the greatest acting coaches in the world, and so that’s why I went to L.A. for ten years and studied with several. You may not be able to go out there, but you have to study, there is a technique to it. You can use your natural ability, but you can use your natural ability after you’ve studied. There might be someone who is very musically inclined but you wouldn’t just set them on a piano and say ‘Go ahead and play!’ You gotta learn some stuff.” Stine strongly agrees, and is quick to point out that he trained with esteemed acting coach Aaron Speiser in Beverly Hills, whose illustrious client list includes Will Smith, Jennifer Lopez, Gerard Butler and Taylor Lautner.
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