How the Chosen Became the Highest Crowd-Funded Media Project of All Time
While there are hundreds of television shows that are created and distributed throughout network and cable channels as well as streaming services every year, none is quite as unique as "The Chosen", which aired its first episode in 2017 and has since become one of the most popular TV shows in the world.
The Chosen stars Jonathan Roumie as Jesus, Shahar Isaac as Simon, and Elizabeth Tabish as Mary Magdalene.
This multi-season series closely follows the life of Jesus from the perspective of the people closest to Him.
Origins of The Chosen and Why It Was Created
The Chosen is a hugely popular television series that's created, co-written, and directed by Dallas Jenkins. His father, Jerry B. Jenkins, is the creator of the esteemed "Left Behind" book series that has sold more than 60 million copies over the years.
Dallas Jenkins wanted to make sure that this series distinguished itself from all the other media that centered around telling the story of Jesus of Nazareth and the people that were closest to him - the disciples.
To that end, he decided to create an episode-based TV series that spanned multiple series, which had never been done before on this particular subject.
What God taught Dallas Jenkins through failure and brokenness is part of this incredible story that led to him being open enough to create The Chosen.
A Different Kind of Story about Jesus
Jenkins also stated that he wanted to portray a story about Jesus that could be binge-watched, which has become an increasingly popular method of watching television shows.
Although the first episode of this show was made in 2017, the remainder of the initial season didn't air until 2019 because of the need for crowdfunding.
The Chosen is derived from a short film that Jenkins made, which was titled "The Shepherd" and was created specifically for the annual Christmas Eve service that was held in Elgin, Illinois at the Harvest Bible Chapel.
The Harvest Bible Chapel is considered to be among the 50 largest churches throughout the U.S., which allowed the short film to grab the attention of the VidAngel streaming video service that specializes in providing users with easy access to faith-based content.
Over 100 Million Views and Counting
It was VidAngel that mentioned the possibility to Dallas Jenkins of uploading the short film directly to Facebook to build interest in the idea of a series that would span multiple seasons. Since the short film was first uploaded to Facebook, it has received more than 100 million views, and counting, from all around the world.
Once Dallas Jenkins saw the popularity of the short film and started to believe that it could be successful as a multi-season TV show, he brought on Derral Eves as executive producer for the show.
Eves is a video marketing strategist who was able to assist Jenkins in identifying the ideal distribution method that the show would have once it was created. They made the decision to partner with VidAngel and focus on crowdfunding to ensure that people could watch the show without needing to pay for a subscription.
How The Chosen Became the Highest Crowd-Funded Media Project of All Time
As touched upon previously, the pilot for this television series was initially created by Dallas Jenkins in 2017 as a test video that he could use for the future crowdfunding campaign.
Once the core group of VidAngel, Derral Eves, and Dallas Jenkins settled on using a crowdfunding campaign to fund the show's production, they started to formulate ideas on what this crowdfunding campaign would entail.
Because of a provision that existed in the Jobs Act of 2016, companies gained the ability to use crowdfunding to provide online investors with profits and ownership shares in return for their investments, which wasn't possible before the Jobs Act of 2016. The crowdfunding campaign was placed online in 2018 and ended in January 2019.
The Chosen Season 1 & 2 Campaigns
During the campaign, Dallas Jenkins and VidAngel were able to raise upwards of $10.2 million for the show's first season. This large sum of money was given to the campaign by more than 16,000 investors, which ensured that the campaign was a runaway success.
The previous crowdfunding record-holder was Mystery Science Theater 3000, which was able to raise more than $5.7 million for a new season in 2018.
By earning nearly twice as much money, the crowdfunding campaign for The Chosen easily surpassed the previous record-holder to become the highest crowd-funded media project of all time.
Season two became fully funded via crowdfunding by November 2020, which allowed the show to earn another $10 million in investments.
The first and second season of The Chosen was placed online and distributed through its own mobile application for free. The show was almost instantly popular and has since been viewed more than 150 million times. Dallas Jenkins wants the show to eventually reach one billion people.
At the moment, a third season is being crowdfunded. Dallas Jenkins plans on showing the life of Jesus across seven seasons.
Because the show is designed to span seven seasons, it focuses on events from the life of Jesus that have only been briefly mentioned in the Bible.
Jenkins and the rest of the crew have also made sure to show Jesus in a more personal and intimate manner.
What People Are Saying About The Chosen
The Chosen was an instant success and is highly regarded by nearly everyone who has watched it.
Alan Ng from Film Threat reviewed the first season of The Chosen and wrote that the series was "smart and insightful for a contemporary audience."
Another fan of the show is Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins, who said that "The acting, the storytelling...it's believable and it's excellently done."
The President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Pastor Samuel Rodriguez, wrote that "The Chosen is revolutionary."
Anne Graham Lotz said "I was moved to tears...and worship...as I watched.".
These are just a few quotes from the many people who have viewed the Chosen during its two seasons.
The Chosen T-shirts and Merch
If you are interested in The Chosen or have already watched both seasons, you can also find a great selection of fantastic merchandise at The Chosen Gift Store.
The Chosen team is raising money on t-shirts and other merch in the store.
From the "Come and See" t-shirt and the "Get Used to Different" shirt to the "Against the Current" t-shirt. No matter what type of merchandise you're interested in, you're sure to find it at The Chosen Gift Store.
The True Story Behind The Chosen
The truth behind The Chosen is Jesus. Not Jesus, the character played by Jonathan Roumie, but the power of Jesus.
Whether it is a modern day miracle or not, the fact that Dallas Jenkins and team have been able to raise over $20 million in funds to create two seasons of The Chosen is amazing. It is one of the largest unifying efforts I have personally ever seen.
Countless different people are coming together to watch The Chosen, regardless of religion or theology. That, in itself, is what God has called us to. That is what is happening with The Chosen.
Thank God for The Chosen and it will be exciting to continue seeing God's hand in the next 5 seasons of this epic event based on the greatest story of all time.
To watch The Chosen for free, you can download the app on the iPhone or Android store.