Meteor 17 producer and content creator Spencer Proffer strives to make a difference in pop culture with projects aimed at adding meaning for people’s lives. He has recently teamed up with two giants in the faith media community to build a new lane in his overall business: veteran advertising executive Joe Battaglia, owner of Renaissance Communications, which specializes in marketing the most successful faith-based theatrical releases into multimedia platforms; and David Sams, executive director and co-creator of KeepTheFaith, the No. 1 Christian radio program service in America, with more than 650,000 average quarter-hour listeners, reaching 280 stations in 19 of the top 20 markets.
Mr. Proffer recently had a question-and-answer exchange with The Washington Times, which has been edited for space and clarity.
Q: You have a vast background in working with acclaimed music stars, producing scores of gold and platinum recordings, and handling the music for more than 130 films and television programs, dozens of which were nominated for awards. Why are you now expanding your reach into producing special theatrical events, focused on faith and family? And tell us about your “I Hope You Dance” film.
Faith, hope and inspiration defy genres. What does it take to hope? Everything. That is what our film, book and projects convey.
We are blessed to have icons from all walks of life, ranging from the inspirational Joel Osteen to the brilliant talents of Graham Nash, Brian Wilson, Lee Ann Womack and Vince Gill, to the magical words and spirit of the late Dr. Maya Angelou, in one film, “I Hope You Dance.”
They address how Mark D. Sanders and Tia Sillers’ timeless, classic song has motivated real people to transform their lives, to chase their dreams, to overcome obstacles and to persist in the face of extreme adversity. “I Hope You Dance” inspires and empowers people to achieve more, to live their best lives and to make the world a better place.
Our film, written and directed by John Scheinfeld, profiles true stories of aspiration, second chances, recovery, forgiveness and miracles. Take a look at a brief overview to our film at https://vimeopro.com/crewneckproductions/ihyd-doc-sizzle-reel.
Q: This year, you created CieloScope, an event production company, kicking off each project in event cinema with media industry veterans Joe Battaglia and David Sams. Why would an experienced music and multimedia producer like yourself team up with two people who are at the top of the faith lane?
Joe and David understand how timeless virtues using multiplatform media work to share hope and faith while entertaining.
I believe you can do good for people while entertaining them and getting across timeless messages to propel them toward better lives. It is important to me to be able to do that. With the help and guidance of these two faith media leaders, we will bring fresh content to the world, exposed in new and interactive ways, and across multiple platforms.
Q: CieloScope also has a long-term venture with the two leading media pioneers, Fathom Event founders Dan Diamond and Shelly Maxwell and their KAOS Connect media company. That’s a lot of firepower.
I have known, worked and become good pals with Dan and Shelly for over a decade. They blueprinted and oversaw the most successful theater event platform in America, Fathom Events. Their knowledge, passion, great taste and prowess to motivate audiences to come to theaters for a one-night-only event, in order to see content not previously available in other platforms, make them the best partners imaginable for our goals.
We all want to bring fresh and exciting content to the country in unique ways. The KAOS Connect machine, as our theater event production partners, teams us with the best of breed in this area. When you add Dan and Shelly’s vision, integrity and fun putting all this together, we are totally pumped to make a difference for faith and family viewers across the board.
Q: Your first project in 2016 was the successful “I Hope You Dance: The Power & Spirit of Song” Night of Hope and Healing, which was held in May in hundreds of theaters nationwide. We are familiar with Lee Ann Womack’s Grammy-winning country song, but you uniquely positioned it to go beyond its secular success to reach into the faith community. You even included popular pastor and best-selling author Joel Osteen in the film, along with the late poet Dr. Maya Angelou, music greats Graham Nash, Brian Wilson, Vince Gill and Lee Ann Womack, and the songwriters and stories of people whose lives were impacted by the song. How did this inspiring project come about, and what is next for it?
Dan and Shelly, along with Pam Renall and Pamela Case, worked tirelessly with us. Add the smart executives at Screenvision Media, led by J.P. Partilla, along with Darryl Schaffer, Bernadette McCabe, Craig O’Connor and Michael Golden, and we built a great team. Boy, did we enjoy that experience. Screenvision’s 14,000 theater reach became a platform to bring “I Hope You Dance” to America with the zeal and commitment to make a difference.
Joe, David and I plan to do much more with this team for sure.
It enables us to use the big-screen platform to exclusively premiere content and become a unique and interactive experience for all who attend.
Our book, which is associated with the project, is curated from the stories seen in the film with expanded and new on-point content. Co-producer Judith A. Proffer documents the birth and life of the song, including four captivating real-life stories of faith and hope. It is a timeless compendium that will move and inspire anyone who reads it, which they can, over and over. Author and life coach Tim Storey wrote a moving foreword that sets the tone for a book millions can enjoy owning. https://www.amazon.com/Hope-You-Dance-Power-Spirit/dp/1618687913/
Q: Following the film, you and David Sams produced a 25-minute panel hosted by NBC’s Kathie Lee Gifford, featuring Salem talk show host Mike Gallagher; The Dream Center’s Caroline Barnett; actress Shari Rigby; and inspirational author, life coach and speaker Tim Storey. Is the panel an important part in drawing a crowd to the theater?
Absolutely. Dan and Shelly pioneered that concept at Fathom, where I produced a number of successful events with them. Each event was followed by panels of personalities who could articulately speak to and enlarge on what the public just saw. Given the credibility of the moderator (here, the wonderful Kathie Lee), and vast visible reach (via social media and otherwise) of the panelists, it pulls in the public to attend the theater event and adds greatly to the understanding and issues presented in the production. It’s a fun and powerful way to bring unique content to another level.
Q: Can you speak about any of the 2017 projects slated from CieloScope?
Yes, but only from a 30,000-foot view.
We are super pumped to be working with Linda Hope, James Hardy, Ken Levy and Tony Montalto, the smart and terrific leaders of the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation, to sculpt and produce a major Memorial Day theatrical event (plus extensions) for our troops and country. The spirit and ethos of Bob Hope lives forever, and David and I intend to produce a timeless event, called “Hope 4 America” (tentative working title) that carries on all of Bob’s goodness, pushed further forward by Joe’s remarkable marketing chops.
CieloScope will also bring the remarkable story of one-armed basketball star Kevin Laue to audiences in “Long Shot,” a feature documentary directed by Franklin Martin via Screenvision, with KAOS Connect.
Joe, David and I serve as executive producers of “Long Shot” (along with Charlie Loventhal and Dain Blair), which will be an intimate portrait of what the human spirit can accomplish. Kevin is the first special-needs athlete to make it into NCAA ball and become a superstar on multiple levels; he inspires youths with his message that overcoming is winning. I am so proud to be aligned with Kevin, his longtime manager, David Goldberg and this remarkable story.
In closing, CieloScope stands for us reaching for every star in the heavens — with passion and purpose. Our events are intended to change lives. With a project like “Hope 4 America,” we will honor the lives of those who have served our nation and made the greatest sacrifice. With a film like “Long Shot,” we will honor the lives of those who’ve battled the odds and won despite the odds. With a film like “I Hope You Dance,” we honor lives of people who put their faith in something bigger than themselves and believed that when one door closes, another door opens.
We are all about presenting purpose-filled stories stories that can change a life and which will be seen first on a single night at the movie house.
• Spencer Proffer is the chief executive of Meteor 17. He is a pioneer in the convergence media integration of music-anchored projects in film and television. His productions and those which he has been integrally involved with have garnered Academy, Golden Globe, Emmy, Grammy and Tony awards and nominations. As a music producer, he has sold millions of gold and platinum records.
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