For decades, Kappa Studios was a major post-production house serving some of the biggest filmmakers in Hollywood. But all that changed when Kappa founder, Paul Long, and his business partner, Brad Silverman, felt God’s call to produce something different.
When Paul [top left] founded Kappa Studios more than 30 years ago, his goal was to make money. “I was worshipping the money,” Paul says. “I wanted to become a millionaire by the time I was 30 years old. That was my personal goal. That just shows you the depth of who I was and how I was dialed in.”
Oddly enough, it was Paul’s fascination with standing on a major league baseball field that took his life in an entirely new direction. “I went down onto the field at a Billy Graham Crusade because I had never been on a baseball field,” he says. “It was not to repent. I was not convicted of my sin.”
“My wife, Karen, and I were graciously intercepted by a guy that had a little booklet with a box that you could check off. So, we checked off the box of faith and kept on going.”
It wasn’t long before their lukewarm foray into faith started to cause some issues. “Our newfound awareness of God caused all kinds of problems in our marriage, my business, with the kids, and right on down the line,” Paul explains. “It was a problem because we found ourselves in church naming the name of Christ but not living for him.”
The situation came to a head when Paul and Karen realized their marriage was in trouble. “We sought biblical counseling and came to faith together through that,” Paul says. “We emerged from that really being born again, and that informed how we wanted to go to church, what we did, and the way we started to live.”
Soon Paul’s faith began to affect his business goals. “Coming to faith was something that started to change me,” Paul says. “But early on, I felt like I had to make payroll. I had to get stuff done. What I didn’t do was look down deep to see if God was being honored through our work.”
Eventually, this situation had to be dealt with as well. Paul became uncomfortable with the messaging of the content they were helping produce. “I just got so bothered by it. It was very heavy. Ultimately, we just figured either we’re going to get out of the business, or we’re going to do it God’s way.”
So, Paul partnered with client, friend, and fellow filmmaker, Brad Silverman [top right, above], to take the studio in a new direction. “Paul brought me on, and we made the formal announcement,” Brad says. “Kappa would still offer the best in post-production, but everything we did would be for the glory of God. We would answer God’s call to take our 30 years of experience and pour it into projects that honor God, strengthen families, and point people to the truth.”
Things were very rough at first. Their existing clients didn’t necessarily care about their faith, but Paul and Brad simply couldn’t bring themselves to work on secular projects anymore. So, they had to turn down the work. But who could they work for?
“Paul and I spent literally every morning praying together and studying the Bible,” Brad says. Paul says, “We were praying, ‘Lord, bring us the people we can work for. Who are those people? Who is it that will come?’”
Little by little, new clients did begin to come. “We have seen God’s provision in awesome ways,” Brad says. After working on shows like Unplanned, Run the Race, The Chosen, and others, God raised Kappa’s profile. The studio now works with gospel-filled projects with inspiring stories and great potential to change lives.
But this presented a new challenge. Many of these new projects were short on finishing funds. “For a while, we tried to finish them ourselves, but that was not a sustainable model,” Brad says. “We knew we needed to establish a nonprofit, and eventually we realized that the most elegant and effective way to enable giving to the nonprofit was to set up a Giving Fund with the National Christian Foundation.”
The fund receives tax-deductible donations which are used exclusively for the completion of Christ-centered projects. Givers are even offered the opportunity to support specific shows by reviewing a synopsis, a trailer, and the cost to complete it.
The Christian Film Finishing Fund, enables Kappa to release more high-quality TV, film, and social media projects faster.
“We’re taking dozens of projects across the finish line at one time,” Brad says. “So, instead of one project impacting the culture every few years, NCF givers are helping us release multiple projects into the culture every couple of months. And because of God’s grace, we are able to complete these projects with excellence, which maximizes their impact.”
The process of funding projects this way frees Christ-centered content creators to start working on their next projects. “It’s like a media force multiplier,” Brad says.
Today, Paul’s goals look much different than when he first started Kappa. “We are humbled that God is using us in this way,” he says. “And I can’t help but think if there’s one God-honoring faith and family show, there could be 20. And what if there were 100? Or could there be 500 people creating TV shows, movies, or whatever else they can imagine or dream up that honors God? If we can do that, that’s my goal. That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning. That’s what keeps me going.”
All photos courtesy of Kappa Studios.
Top photo: Paul Long, Jonathan Roumie (The Chosen), Brad Silverman.
Bottom photo: Some of the regulars at Kappa Studios: (left to right) Brad Silverman, Chris Jones (Mom’s Night Out, Unplanned), Daryl Lefever (I Can Only Imagine, Unplanned), Cary Solomon (God’s Not Dead, Unplanned), Dallas Jenkins (The Chosen), Chuck Konzelman (God’s Not Dead, Unplanned), Paul Long.