Thursday, May 06, 2010

My (Not so Subtle) Grand Plan

First of all, my grand plan will exclude buses as a form of public transportation. Buses will be outlawed to be replaced by transporters.

Second of all, you have to have a sense of humor to read this. Otherwise, we can't be friends.

Just kidding! That was my first joke. Why am I *not* a comedy TV writer?

Last night I went into the City for a University of Michigan Entertainment Coalition (UMEC, thank goodness) writers' group. It was very nice, and I look forward to getting more involved. There were five of us there, two actors, an editor, and a freelance writer. And the elementary aide. None of us brought work to read and discuss, so we talked a lot about our ideas. We talked a lot about mine first.

Let me just say something. I love Keys, but it is probably the most blatantly Christian thing I will ever right.

Until I get the rights to remake The Robe.

Everyone has an agenda when they write. Everyone has an agenda when they do... anything, really. I was going to slip the Gospel into movies while passing out free Koolaid with the popcorn. And Keys... well, Keys really lays it out there. No sort of ambiguous talk about forgiveness or redemption or unconditional love. I mean, it's about the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life. And how we're all sinners. You know, grade school theology.

And for some reason, some how, maybe they were just all very polite, or maybe they never read the pages (which I understand and did reciprocate. It was senior year, guys.), no one really called me on it during the master class I wrote it in. Prof J would enter his two cents, and sometimes there would be light hearted jokes about it (light hearted jokes about religion, any religion, are the BEST. They just make me feel like everyone's more comfortable and cool with people and their faiths. That could just be part of my neurosis.), but I never felt so acutely aware of the analogy that is Keys.

The UMEC group was though. As I described my story more and more (btw, have I ever mentioned how much I HATE summarizing? And how I really need to work on my pitch skills?), it got trickier and trickier to explain the plot without sounding like the next Left Behind novelist. I mean, I could have just said, "Aw, listen, why are we bothering with all this middle-man movie making business anyway? Let's just cut to the chase --"

Being an already awkward person, I was getting more and more uncomfortable as I tried to straddle this line of being honest and not sounding like a crazy person (that has a whole 'nother spiritual dilemma that I will spare you). I felt very clumsy. I didn't want anyone to dismiss me out of hand for anything I said. That's why I was so appreciative when Cool Freelance Writer Girl helped me out.

Cool Freeland Writer Girl: So wait a minute. Are you trying to do what Gospel music did, when they went from singing all hymns and stuff to the cool music Kirk Franklin and other singers did?

Me (dancing on the table): Yes! COOL!

Ok, I didn't really shout like that, but I definitely felt a lot better. It was a weird interaction because I don't know anything about her, about what she believes or anything. She might hate Gospel music and Kirk Franklin. She might think I'm completely crazy. But I do think she knows that I'm not going to attack her with a pamphlet and a WWJD bracelet.

I haven't really thought a lot about what it's going to mean to be a Christian in this industry. I think I'll be in the minority. I think I sorta had a laissez faire attitude about it before and that it might be more difficult than I originally counted on. But the Gospel is about unconditional love and forgiveness and reconciliation with God. And stories that are filled with love and forgiveness and peace -- well, you can say what you want, but I think I'm going to keep writing them anyway.

1 comment:

Steve Bedford said...

I definitely know how you feel. Any time somebody asks what my 427 script was about, I feel this knot in my stomach.

"um...Paul in space..."

"Excuse me?"

"you know, St. Paul"

"he's in space?"

awkward..."Yeah"...considers crawling into a hole.

I actually just wrote this really long post in my blog about how I'm frustrated with trying to write about God and half my 427 writing group commented on it. I definitely know what you're talking about here, haha.

it is such a fine line to walk when trying to write explicitly about God without coming off as too preachy or too condemning, especially when you want to do neither, but people's baggage about God mostly dictates both.