Converging passions for quality television and a desire to reach the Spanish-speaking world for Christ culminated with the June 2010 launch of a practical book from veteran HCJB Global missionary John Gowan.
Available in both English and Spanish, Christians, Let’s Make Good Television (Cristianos: Hagamos Buena Televisión), Gowan’s self-published book is available for “Christian groups that know they want to minister through television, but who have not had access to the professional broadcast world.”
“It’s written with Third World realities in mind, and frankly it’s inspired by the mistakes I’ve seen myself and others repeatedly make through the years just as much as it is by the professionals who have shared their expertise with me,” Gowan explains. “I’m convinced that Christians can and will produce some of the best programming on TV if we learn and respect these fundamental rules of professional television production and broadcasting.”
Gowan, 56, admits he’s part of the “first generation to grow up watching TV. Its influence both for good and bad is something I have lived first-hand since I was born.”
“Christian ministries were largely absent from this influential medium during its formative decades, for a wide variety of reasons,” he continued. “Now that so many ministries are finding their way onto the small screen, their lack of experience in the medium is often a barrier to being as effective as they might otherwise be.”
Gowan added that what is commonly known today as “Christian TV” is “unfortunately often not considered by mass audiences to be good enough to make them choose to watch it. But I’ve found that with even the most basic introduction to broadcasting theory and production techniques, their programs take a leap to a whole new level of audience impact. I love it when I get to have a part in making that transition happen.”
Gowan, the son of HCJB Global retirees Travis and Margaret Gowan, grew up in Ecuador. While in high school he appeared as an actor and singer in various productions at HCJB Global’s La Ventana de los Andes (Window of the Andes), the first TV station in Ecuador.
Upon graduating from Biola College (now Biola University) in communications and theater, he studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Pasadena, Calif. After marrying Sharon Hillis, a missionary kid from Venezuela, he taught theater arts at Westmont College for five years.
After joining Televozandes, the TV department of HCJB Global, Gowan directed and edited a variety of TV series while teaching acting and television courses at HCJB Global’s Christian Center of Communications. John co-wrote, directed and edited Televozandes’ award-winning feature TV movie, “Canción de Navidad,” a Latin American adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic book, A Christmas Carol.
Under Gowan’s leadership, Televozandes produced the Spanish versions of various Christian productions from North America and European ministries, including the Spanish dubbing of several episodes of Big Idea Productions’ popular series, “VeggieTales.” In 2004 Gowan was a translator and intercultural consultant for the filming of Every Tribe Entertainment’s “End of the Spear” and was one of the actors.
The Gowans continue to serve with HCJB Global in Guatemala, working with Asociación Viña and consulting with numerous television ministries across Latin America. Gowan is available for consultation or to arrange on-site bilingual training in TV production.
In addition to consulting in scriptwriting and general management, he is the dramatic director for “Deditos,” a video series of Bible stories told with finger puppets. “It’s a really innovative project being produced by the largely Mayan staff of Viña here in Guatemala,” Gowan said.