When Katherine Warnock was head of family and content at MGM she was used to pilots and pitches coming across her desk. Typically, she said, she would watch the first few seconds “because you just know what you have and you know what you’re looking for.”

She remembers the day a certain pilot came across her desk. Thirty seconds into watching, she said, she noticed that she was still watching.

Ten minutes in, she said, she had tears in her eyes and she ended up watching the entire thing. “And by the end of it, I’m properly crying.” Immediately after watching it, she emailed a couple of people instructing them to acquire it.

“It’s going to take over the world,” she said. The show in question was titled “The Shepherd.” Written and directed by Dallas Jenkins, it’s a short episode about the birth of Jesus through the perspective of some shepherds, made before “The Chosen” — a series directed by Jenkins about the life and ministry of Jesus.

MGM tried to acquire it, but VidAngel (now known as Angel Studios) had partnered with Jenkins. A few years later, Warnock said she watched a lot of shows at night since her third baby had trouble sleeping. Her husband told her to watch a show on an app called “The Chosen” and she said when she watched it, she thought it was similar to “The Shepherd.”

Then, she would connect the dots between the two.

Now Warnock is the vice president of original content at “The Chosen.” From being a high school teacher to working in Hollywood, Warnock’s path to working on “The Chosen” wasn’t linear. She told the Deseret News her story.

When Warnock was growing up, people used to tell her she’d be an actress one day. She enjoyed putting on shows at lunch hour comedy times and dreamed of being on “SNL” as a kid. At the time, she said she only understood Hollywood as what happens in front of the camera.

After graduating from Central Michigan University in 2004, where she was part of the women’s track and field team, Warnock began working as a high school English, history and public speaking teacher. “I loved it,” she said. “It was the greatest job on the planet.”

In her mid-20s, Warnock said she went on a mission trip to Africa and “it was there that God just upended my life and called me very directly, very concretely saying, ‘I want you to go work in Hollywood.’” Her immediate response was thinking that it wouldn’t be possible for her to become an actor at this point.

The next few years were a journey of her learning that God wanted her to work behind the camera. When she had that feeling, she said “suddenly my classroom felt too small. It didn’t feel like it fit me anymore.”

In 2009, Warnock became a line producer with clients like Warner Brothers, Ford and others. She worked different jobs before ending up at MGM. Eventually, she landed a job as the head of faith and family content at MGM Film Studios working under Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.

She said she “pursued innovation” when it came to family-friendly and faith-based content “to where we were able to go toe to toe with the ‘Crowns’ of the world and the ‘Breaking Bads’ of the world.”

Warnock said she approached content through a kingdom lens.

She explained in her Hollywood career, she’s interacted with people who haven’t been apart of the Christian faith content world or who weren’t versed in Jesus’ biblical teachings. So, she would talk about the fruits of the spirit, like kindness or peace, and how content that’s not overtly Christian could be anchored in those values aka a kingdom lens.

The cartoon Bluey was the example she gave. “Whether intentionally or not,” Warnock said Bluey has messages similar to what Jesus taught about family, being childlike as well as honor and respect.

When Warnock was working as the general manager of Darling magazine — “a completely mainstream magazine,” she said a lot of her co-workers were Christian and the secular content of the magazine had those principles.

At MGM, she said there were several times when she’d been in board meetings and would communicate these principles. Warnock later joked she delayed her career by a decade. In Hollywood at the executive level, she said, there’s sometimes a political game and she refused to play. “I refused to backstab, I refused to manipulate, I refused to self-promote,” she said. Instead, she trusted Jesus.

It was during her time at MGM when she started watching “The Chosen” after her husband suggested it.

What drew her to “The Shepherd” and “The Chosen” was the authenticity of the show. “It was the first time I had seen Christian content be messy.”

“And hear me out on what I mean by that,” she said. “I mean Christian content that’s embraced human process. It allowed the characters to be in process. It allowed the characters to be messy. It wasn’t just this finished product.”

Then, because she was on an email list, she was sent a job listing: VP of marketing for “The Chosen.”

Warnock said she didn’t want to be a VP of marketing, so she deleted the email. Her friends started sending her the job and she still didn’t apply. It wasn’t until her mentor forwarded it to her that she decided she would take it seriously and apply.

After applying, she said she had a call with the president of “The Chosen” Brad Pelo and immediately she said, “I’m not your VP of marketing.” She said he responded, “Oh good, I think I found one already, so let’s just talk.”

After the two conversed, Pelo created a job for Warnock as a producer with “The Chosen” and then she became vice president of original content.

Since starting her job at “The Chosen,” Warnock has produced content like “Unfiltered: Gen Z Reacts to The Chosen,” which brought together nine people to binge watch the show. They hadn’t seen it before they showed up.

Warnock said producing this documentary was particularly meaning for her, especially because of a participant named Imani.

During the pre-interviews for the show, Imani didn’t open up about the abuse she experienced, but during an interview for the show she did. Warnock said she checked in with her to see if she wanted to continue. Imani told her, as Warnock put it, “Never in my life have I felt this safe, that I’m not ready for the first time ever to confront this.”

For Warnock, this was “one of the most privileged moments” she’s experienced because she saw how safe Imani felt.

Another impactful experience Warnock has had on set is watching the actor Nick Shakoour, who plays Zebedee, “encounter Jesus on the set.” She said it’s been “such a privilege” to hear his story of encountering Jesus and see his life change for the better.

Reflecting on how she ended up on “The Chosen,” Warnock said on her path from high school to Hollywood she’s learned an important lesson when faced with deciding how to approach the industry, “I refuse to let go of my femininity. I refuse. I treat it as a strength. But I also know that’s going to close some doors for me and that’s fine, but no one can close a door that God opened.”

The show is now filming its fourth season in Goshen, Utah, and the season is expected to come out early 2024. During her time on the show, Warnock said she’s been changed.

“I think what I’m learning most right now is the softness that comes from abiding in him, that is pure God,” she said. Warnock said she’s learned in order for her to become a leader, she’s had to rely on her faith, especially following Jesus.

“If my life is truly not my own, I don’t have the luxury of fear. I don’t have the luxury of selfish ambition. I don’t even have the luxury of dreams ... Think Joseph. It was a very long journey. Same with the apostle Paul. It took a very long journey before they “arrived” at the true calling upon their lives. And it was very similar for me.”