Galley Molina Interview: The Kingdom Grind

Galley Molina Production Still

Screenwriter/Producer Galley Molina
Courtesy, Reverence Gospel Media

Galley Molina is the Founder and CEO of Reverence Gospel Media, LLC and has been involved in the entertainment industry for over 25 years.  Molina started his career as an artist in the music business and after finding success on his own, he began writing and producing for others.  The biggest change in Galley’s life came after meeting a real-life “church girl” and developing a deep and abiding faith. He then redirected the focus of his career, forming Reverence Gospel Media (RGM) to create “God-glorifying, life-impacting projects across the widest possible creative spectrum.” Shortly after founding RGM, Molina met Grammy Award-winner Israel Houghton and both men soon merged their two companies to form a new powerhouse multimedia firm, RGM/New Breed, to produce film, television, publishing and music projects. Molina and Houghton have also co-written scripts for RGM’s next three films. Kevin Williams:  Your film, “I’m in Love With A Church Girl” is quite auto-biographical?   How much of the story came from your own life and experiences?  What were the origins of the story? Galley Molina:  It comes back to a time in my life where I was doing a lot of things I wasn’t supposed to be doing.  I had a very successful career in music and a very successful career in the street.  It was a fast and furious, destructive life. I think that God knew that the only way to my heart at that time was going to be through a woman.  So, when this woman invited me to Church… I went!  My life was never the same after that moment I walked into that Church.  Being raised Catholic mind you, being inside a Christian Church for the same time was a life-changing experience for me.  From that minute on, God took me on a crazy journey and that is what is on the screen. Kevin Williams:  How did you and your “Church Girl,” now your wife, initially meet?

Ja Rule in love with Adrienne Bailon

Adrienne Bailon as “Vanessa Leon”
and Ja Rule as “Miles Montego”
Courtesy, Reverence Gospel Media

Galley Molina:  I was out at a friend’s house and it was his birthday and we were having a BBQ party for him at his house.  He was going to go out to a club that night that I hadn’t really been to myself and he said, “I’m inviting some people over and I want to you meet this girl.”  At that time, I was dating someone else.  But in walked the “Church Girl” and I said “Wow!”  We started dating right away and pretty much never looked back. Kevin Williams:  So it was pretty much what we saw in the birthday party scene towards the beginning of “I’m in Love With A Church Girl”? Galley Molina:  God knew that the only way that I would ever stop and pay attention to what he had to say was going to be through this woman.  When I met her, the strings started playing… Kevin Williams:  The candles came out, the sun starting setting… Galley Molina: Yes! Kevin Williams:  How did you teach yourself how to become a screenwriter?  Did you get books from the library and learn as you went along?  A lot of people have a lot of trouble getting off the ground and not being afraid of a pen and paper… Galley Molina:  I never aspired to be a screenwriter, but I am a songwriter.  So, I am a writer in a sense.  I originally wrote this story as a manuscript and my intention was to maybe at some point to make it into a book and publish it myself.  Truth be told, I really dislike reading because my mind is moving so fast.  When I started writing, I read some books and thought “What’s the big deal?  I could write this!” But, after I went home (after prison) I started adapting my manuscript into an actual script.  And our film’s Director, Steve Race told me to use a screenwriting software called Final Draft.  It is amazing and it makes you look smart.  So, I started typing everything in and lo and behold… there was a script! I'm In Love With A Church Girl PosterKevin Williams:  Did you really start out with “I’m in Love With A Church Girl” on an old typewriter and then end up on a computer to finish your final script? Galley Molina:  Yes.  They didn’t allow computers when I was in [prison].  They do now.  But I had to type on a typewriter in the law library and we had to buy our own typewriter ribbons in the commissary.  That was a chore because you are only allowed to buy one ribbon a week.  Because inmates were taking the ink and making tattoos out of them. One day, the guards came into my cell to do a “shake-down” and they found a dozen ribbons in my locker.  The worst part was they thought I was making tattoos, which I wasn’t.  I would help a lot of inmates with their legal work and a lot guys didn’t know how to type or even read.  People knew I was in the law library all the time, so many of them would ask me to help them file writs and answer petitions that they received while they were incarcerated.  They would ask, “What do I owe you?” and I’d say, “Just give me a ribbon.”  I even had to go into “the hole” (solitary confinement) because of all of my typewriter ribbons.  Finally, the lady running the prison’s Education office… Miss Bibbs, she said “this young man is out here every day minding his own business. He helps guys with typing.  I’ll hold the ribbons and give them to him as he needs them.”  So she kind of came in and saved the day for me. Kevin Williams:  That is a great story.  Most writers don’t have that difficulty! Galley Molina:  Yes, they’re like “Hey, my computer’s so slow!” Kevin Williams:  It could be a lot worse.

Galley with Ja Rule and Adrienne Bailon

Ja Rule, Adrienne Bailon and Galley Molina
appear in “I’m in Love With A Church Girl”
Courtesy, Reverence Gospel Media

Kevin Williams:  Please tell us how you got “I’m in Love With A Church Girl” from your written pages to the first Producer or someone in the movie business who said “Yes”? Galley Molina:  I didn’t. I produced the film myself and assembled the team.  I raised the funds privately through a group of investors.  I figured that I should model this on the record business… like I’m a great singer who goes to a label for money or be a great singer who does their own record, shops it and gets a better deal.  So, I took the latter approach.  Let me create the movie and once it is done and we get some buzz, then maybe we’ll get a better deal.  And that is what we did. Kevin Williams:  True independent filmmaking.  Galley Molina:  Real independent.  In fact, my partner Israel Houghton and I own all of our own content.  We own all of our records and our books.  Every deal we do, we partner with companies.  Sony, RCA, everybody.  The key with us is to own all of our content and control what we do.  We’ve been successful at that.  One of our favorite parts of what we do [business-wise] is not having to rely on somebody for funding, but we also can control the integrity and character of the content.  Universal wanted to make this movie, but it would have been a different movie.  Kind of like “Good Fellas” meets Redemption.  We didn’t allow them to do that. Kevin Williams:   How were you able to get internationally-renowned actors like Stephen Baldwin, Michael Madsen and Vincent Pastore to join you on this film?  Most first-time screenwriter/Producers aren’t that fortunate! 

Stephen Baldwin as "Agent Jason McDaniels" Courtesy, Reverence Gospel Media

Stephen Baldwin as “Agent Jason McDaniels”
Courtesy, Reverence Gospel Media

Galley Molina:  Favor. God’s favor.  I now know why studios spend so much money now.  They don’t want to do any work. They just hire somebody, who hires somebody and they hire somebody.  But, we went out and knocked on every door.  We casted the film ourselves.  We did all of it ourselves. Kevin Williams:  Well your film is a nice surprise because a lot of faith-based films don’t have well-known actors like Michael Madsen in them. Galley Molina:  That why was the whole point of our effort.  We wanted somebody who has a platform like Ja Rule, who is someone that normally people couldn’t get [in their film].  I love Kirk Cameron, but he is not going to reach the same people or as many people as Ja Rule will.  The film is going to reach Kirk’s people, but Ja Rule is going to reach another set of people.  It was really important to get that done, to do it right and to assemble a cast that was going be diverse and have a reach beyond the four walls of the Church.  That is what we wanted to do. Kevin Williams:  How did you get Ja Rule into the film?  The reason I ask is because the stereotype is that someone coming from the rap realm wouldn’t want to do a film like this.  They’d rather do more of a “shoot’em up” or action-type of film.  It is a pretty brave choice for Ja Rule. Galley Molina:  He read the script and we knew of each other [from the music business].  But, he fell in love with the script and he heard my story.  We related and he knew what we were about and just said, “I want to do it” and signed on. It didn’t take a lot of convincing that it was a good move. Kevin Williams: Good to hear.   What message do you want audiences to take away from “I’m in Love With A Church Girl”? Galley Molina:  That God is for everybody.  The tagline of the film is “Come as you are” and the idea that Christians can make films as good as or better than non-Christians.  A film is a film.  Secondly, if God could use someone like me to do his work and to minister through this film.  He can use anybody.  “I’m in Love With A Church Girl” is a PG film.  There is no cursing or nudity.  We were able to tell a story with pictures and not having to say too much.  Just come as you are. That God is for everybody… even the “street guys!” Kevin Williams: Especially the “street guys.”  Well, based on your life, is there any particular quality you feel is most important for success in the film business or another endeavor? Galley Molina:  Hustle.  Some people may use that as a bad word, but it is all about “hustle.”  Do you want to hustle more than the next guy?  That goes for whether you are in the street, the record business or at Apple Computers.   That doesn’t matter.  Good honest hustle.  Your “yes” is a “yes” and your “no” is a “no.”  Israel and I pride ourselves on that.  We follow through on our word.  Also, not all money is good money and we’ve lost some money.  But for us, it is just honor Christ in what you do and he’ll fill in the rest.  I put out my first Gospel record this year with Israel and we won a Grammy.  That was just affirmation.  For me, it is just honoring Christ, doing good business and a lot of sleepless nights with a lot of hustling.  I call it the “Kingdom Grind”!

© 2013 The Willams View

About the Author:

Jennifer Williams is an accomplished writer, interviewer and critical reviewer having written about or covered many subjects of interests. Having graduated from Tulane University, La Salle University and New York University, Kevin's career background in Politics and Civic Affairs, Public Relations, Marketing, Non-Profit Management and Filmmaking have helped inspire much of her past artistic and creative efforts. Jennifer directed and co-produced the documentary feature film, Fear Of A Black Republican. Her latest film, Rebel Song, looks at a middle-aged American Celtic Rock band and the music inspired by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Rebel Song is expected to be released in 2014. In addition to The Williams View, Jennifer is also the Entertainment and Politics Editor for Politisite, a Contributing Writer for Townhall, Breitbart's Big Hollywood, Liberatchik and Hip Hop Republican. Jennifer has been interviewed or profiled across many Media outlets such as the Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Philadelphia Inquirer, Kansas City Star, L.A. Weekly; Current TV, Christian Broadcasting Network, Huffington Post Live, Al Jazeera and BET News; radio programs ranging from National Public Radio, Voice of Russia - American Edition, the Mark Davis Radio Show, the Chris Stigall Show, the Steve Deace Show, the Bob Grant Show, Victoria Taft Show, to the Michael Eric Dyson Show and many others.

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