Oprah’s Best Kept Secret…

If you’ve ever felt lost, if you’ve ever felt like you didn’t know what to do next, if you’re frustrated, if the grand plan for your life isn’t quite working out the way you’d hoped, then this interview is for you.
So who exactly is DeVon Franklin, the handsome Hollywood Exec/Author/Motivational Speaker/Pastor who’s swept Meagan Good off her feet and (seemingly) inspired her image makeunder?
On the eve of their wedding, I spoke to Devon by phone from his offices at Sony – where he’s the VP of Production at Columbia Pictures. For the Bay area native, there’s still another big moment in his life quickly approaching. This Sunday, he will make his debut with Oprah on her big Super Soul Sunday Show where they’ll discuss his book Produced By Faith – a guide on how to apply the ‘Hollywood system’ towards a more meaningful spiritual life.
Our conversation was intense. Meagan said she knew when she met him; he was to be her husband. Oprah said she knew after ten minutes that she needed to do a show with him. DeVon is passionate about God, about Meagan and about filling what he feels is a spiritual void missing in our generation.
Check out what he wanted to share with us:
Your book is titled, ‘Produced by Faith’, What is faith to you?
Faith is belief in God and belief that God has a plan for our lives even when we don’t see it. Faith is knowing that He is operating on our behalf.

Do you believe the God has a pre-determined plan for our lives? Or do we determine our own outcome?
In the book I compare our lives to the filmmaking process. So if you use that analogy, God is our director. God understands the purpose of our lives but He has also given us free will so that we can co-write our script with Him. The problem becomes when we try to take the script away from God and start writing our own scenes like God I don’t need you. He knows what that purpose is. But whether we live up to that purpose is our decision.

What lesson has your greatest failure taught you?
My greatest failure taught me that it wasn’t my greatest failure. It was actually a set up for my greatest victory. Again, in the book I talk about what’s called Turnaround – Where the current deal with a studio has ended and another studio can pick up the script for a discounted price. One the best examples for this is the Twilight series. Paramount originally had it and did nothing with it, so when it went into turnaround, Summit picked it up rather cheap. Twilight went on to be one of the highest grossing franchises in history. You see sometimes when something ends, we think it’s a failure when really it’s God’s way of setting you up for something far greater. The key is to remember the idea for your life is goodWhy you were created, is good. Remember that you have a purpose and we go through difficult times to develop that purpose out of us.

Hollywood is not necessarily known as a place that encourages faith. When you first started in this business, did you ever feel the need to suppress or hide your strong beliefs?
So one of my beliefs is that I observe the Sabbath, I don’t work on Saturdays. My very first internship was for the management company that worked with Will and Jada. In the interview, I had a choice to tell them about that or not. Not being able to work on the weekends could be a deal breaker. But I realized that that door of opportunity had to be big enough to fit my faith. And if it wasn’t big enough, then that wasn’t the door for me to walk through. You have to have confidence. So many of us believe that who we really are isn’t good enough. I got the internship because I owned what I believed. And they accepted me because of that and knew I would apply that towards the job.

Has your faith ever stopped you from working on a project?
One of the great things about my job is studio executives are brought projects based on their individual tastes. If you have a passion for action movies then as an executive you get to work on action movies. So I never have to turn something down because of my faith because no one would bring something to me that goes against my faith. The lesson here is when you declare what you have a taste for, you get brought the things that match that taste. The subtitle to my book is enjoy real success without losing your true self. Your true self is fundamentally the thing that is going to make the difference in your life. When we try to become somebody else, we are robbing ourselves and others of the unique opportunity that only we can provide.

For the rest of us, we’ve seen a sort of transformation happening in Meagan, over the course of your relationship. How has it been, watching that growth from the inside?
For me, I have always been able to see who she really is. And this is what I find the most interesting: it hasn’t been so much watching her grow but rather watching the world finally see what I already knew. I know her heart. I know who she is. I know what God created her to be. They’re just now coming to realize it but I’m thankful to God for who she is. I’m marrying the love of my life.

What’s it like to suddenly be in the public eye? Now everyone has an opinion on your relationship, how are you handling that?
I’m handling it well. The good thing about Meagan and I is that we have incredible communication with one another. This is new to me. My cousin in the bay called me the other day saying ‘why am I hearing about your relationship on the radio?’ (Laughs) So this is completely new to me.

Recently, Meagan celebrated her bachelorette party with a guest performance in The Pussycat Dolls, which ruffled a few conservative feathers. Did it bother you?
She and I discussed it. But I was fine with it. We anticipated that it would provoke a lot of discussion. But our ultimate goal is to help people. The purpose is to use what I’ve been through to help someone else out. So I saw the burlesque chapter as an opportunity to discuss faith and what it means to judge.

How did you end up on Oprah?
This is the thing that was so mind blowing: I got the interview through a mistake. Last year there was a very powerful agent that called me and just because of scheduling, I didn’t call that agent back until two days later. When we finally spoke, she told me Look you can’t afford to call me back late. And she was right. This was a veteran agent, just out of respect and courtesy, no matter what I was going through I should’ve have returned the call a lot sooner. So knowing I was wrong, I sent her a gift. And included in the gift was an advance copy of my book. Shortly after, she calls me and says my book would be perfect for Oprah and she passed it along to one of Oprah’s agents. And then months went by and I heard nothing. Almost a year to the day of making the original mistake was when I finally met Oprah. We sat down and talked and after ten minutes she said, let’s do a show together.

Wow. So what was the experience like? 
She was so cool. What I love about her is she gets me. Much like Meagan gets me because she’s the same way. I have a passion. And passionate people don’t always meet others who get us. Just after a few minutes of talking with Oprah, she got what I’m trying to do. To be in the presence of a giant who could get my heart and be deep in my spirit…it’s humbling. I have a responsibility to use that to help as many people as I can. I’m honored to be apart of Super Soul Sunday and help it grow in any way I can.

Anything else you’d like us to know?
Be patient. The struggle is getting caught sometimes between ambition and patience. We have the ambition and the drive that gets us up in the morning, that makes us want to do all these things but we have to be patient because its all about timing. I look at my own life. I know all of this is happening at the right time and if any of it happened any sooner I would’ve blown it or wouldn’t have been able to sustain it. Don’t give up hope over one tough scene in your life. There are a number of scenes the hero has to fight through to get the victory in the end. Faith works. That’s my message to you. That’s my hope, that’s my heart.

Super Soul Sunday airs this Sunday, June 17th on OWN. Produced By Faith is also now available in paperback.
Watch a preview below:


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