The CNJ “Excellent Artists” series highlights believers who excel in the arts, to encourage investors and consumers to support those gifted by God to fulfill The Great Commission via the most powerful medium in the world: TV and movies.
Everyone watches TV. But not everyone will watch a sermon.
“For investors who want to help fulfill The Great Commission, TV and film is the way to go,” Jerry Della Salla, who co-starred with Matt Damon in Green Zone, told Christian News Journal. “Especially post-pandemic.”
With a Master’s in Apologetics and having studied with the top acting coach in the world, Stella Adler, of the famed NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Della Salla knows more than most about coupling faith and art.
On January 15, 2021, the SAG military advisor won the top acting award, Excellence in a Discipline, for series pilot For Love of a Fish, at the first annual Edge Awards. The hard-hitting pilot about a suicidal war veteran features Josh Murray (The Reliant, Killing Lincoln), and took home the win for Most Popular Adult Topics Film.
Della Salla, a decorated Iraq War vet up for the Purple Heart, pursues excellence in all realms, to glorify Christ. “As a veteran/artist filmmaker the missions were always the same: Exceed the standard. Completing the job is not enough. Coming in just on time was not enough. Five minutes early in the Army meant you were ten minutes late.”
He shared the top acting tip learned from Adler. “Stella would reference her most prized pupil…constantly: ‘Do you want to know why Marlon Brando is such a great actor? It’s because you’ll never catch him acting.’ Truth in art is always hard. Getting there is OVER half the battle. The technical side is the other third. Stella always forced you to make that your objective.”
Della Salla recounted the enthusiasm of his early days.
“I remember as a young actor, before I started my first semester at NYU, of getting together with like-minded artists who could not afford a school, or didn’t have a scholarship waiting for them, and just reading and playing parts opposite one another. We didn’t know what we were doing technique-wise, but we had the intense desire to just work and create and play! It was NYC, the theater capital of the world, and we were young and hungry! The best ingredient.”
Della Salla said there is still a “sell-out” inclination trying to permeate Christian productions. “Being private in public is the bane of every artist. And it never goes away. If you find yourself getting comfortable in this field, that’s usually a bad sign that mediocrity is approaching.”
Along with Murray, Chad Brannon (Deadwood, American Dad!, General Hospital another up-and-coming believer Della Salla has worked with, and recommends, for his devotion to artistic excellence.
Della Salla advised young actors eschew focusing on their social media brand, “which prevents them from being challenged artistically.”
He said it can be challenging for Christian actors to divorce the art from their own reality. “They typically fall into the trap of judging the character and pulling back on the reins, sort of, with their performances. You can see it in the work when it happens.”
Please pray for Jerry Della Salla and others who will be in this “Excellent Artist” series.
You can follow Jerry Della Salla on Gab: https://gab.com/JerryD2021
Jerry Della Salla on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jerry.dellasalla
Kristen Collier has a BA in English Literature and is co-founder with her husband, and Roku developer, of Creative Motion Network, a cutting-edge, free indie Christian Roku channel. She is also co-founder and animator of Collier Animation Studio, producer of Benny the Barnacle (2021).