Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What Is True Beauty?

Note: I am writing strictly from a guy's perspective here.

I find myself asking this question quite often actually. Every time I hear one of my guy friends, or even myself, say something along the lines of, "She's got a cute face, but she her body...not so much" (or vice versa), I actually feel a bit of disgust. Our culture is so nitpicky about people's looks. Who says a girl isn't beautiful if she's not fit, or her boobs are big enough, or her butt isn't nice enough, etc.? Well, the truth is, most guys do. And we may not all truly feel that way about it, but we allow ourselves to slip into that mindset. I know I do. And, as I said, I feel disgusted by it. So, I want to know: What is true beauty? How do we define it? 

The typical Christian answer would be: "See them as God sees them?" Alright, then, how do I do that? It's easier than it sounds, people. Also: "Beauty is on the inside." True, but I can like a girl's personality all I want, but if I don't find her attractive otherwise, how does that work? I mean, I'd like to think that I would view my future spouse as a very beautiful woman (inside AND out). 
Anyway, I really don't think there's an actual answer for all this. I will say this (and it goes for both guys and girls): there's nothing wrong with thinking that one person is more attractive than the other. I'm not saying we shouldn't voice our opinion amongst our friends, but I just don't like getting the sense that a guy would write a girl off (or vice versa) as not worth his/her time because he/she isn't attractive enough. I've just noticed that in L.A. it's all about appearance, and I get tired of hearing, and saying, the aforementioned quotes. I think the female gender, as a whole, is beautiful because they were created as such. Now, whether I, personally find a any specific girl attractive or not is different...or is it? I really don't know what to think. I just want to hear other people's thoughts because I'm quite frustrated over it at the moment.

To all the girls reading this, you are beautiful, and I say that genuinely. To all the guys reading this, please keep me accountable in how I talk about women.

Give your thoughts now!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Update on "I.D."

Hey Everybody!

For those of you who know that me and the guys start filming our webisodes project a couple weeks ago, I wanted to give you an update.

We are now at the midpoint of production, and we are looking ahead at our biggest weekend. We have two major scenes to shoot this coming Saturday and Sunday -- a party scene, and a concert scene. Despite the tough weekend ahead, we are all excited, and prepared. So, far the footage has looked great, and everybody's done a wonderful job. I'm so excited to see this all come together.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Good, Unsafe Art?

Let me preface by apologizing if this post is a bit all over the place. It's me thinking out loud.
I went to a discussion group that LAFSC (the film  studies program I attended my last semester of college) puts on for it's alumni once a month, and the speaker was one of the professors. He posed a question along the lines of, "Why are you as filmmakers afraid to make good, unsafe art?"

You have to ask yourself: What is unsafe art? People responded with various answers: Art that may cause your family, or community where you grew up to ridicule you (note: this is from a Christian view point); or, art that faces questions we may not have the answers to (I like that one).There was much discussion regarding the latter. 

"Evangelical" films (Facing the Giants, Live Fast Die Young, Left Behind, etc.) focus so much on this mentality of knowing the answer -- God (Pray to Him, and He will kick the field goal). Why not pose questions through relatable material that may lead to that answer instead of telling people how it is right up front.  Let me step outside of film to explain this better. 
Non-Christians are so turned off by Christians because we like to tell them how it is up front. "Turn or burn." We come off as having all the answers. Yes, Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, but who's going to listen to you if you sound like a know-it-all prick (Face it. We do sometimes). We really have to form trusting relationships with those around us, and let our lives speak. Remember, actions speak louder than words (cliche, but so true). Christians are as human as the prostitute on the street corner, or the guy pretending to be homeless so you'll finance his addictions. Let's jump back to film.

To me, good art is something that moves people -- something that provokes. It's telling a great story, and facing the truth of the world we live in, and not running from it. It's relating to those who are watching in the theaters, or at home. Personally, I want to write stories of love, sacrifice, and hope. I love redemption stories.  And I may use some foul language, sexuality, and violence to tell these stories. It's the world we live in. I've been thinking about how I always tell people that I want there to be truth in my films. I can't write something that doesn't portray some form of truth. How do I do that as a Christian who wants to write films? Many Christians will say that I shouldn't have foul language, sexuality, and violence because it's wrong, and it will turn people away from Christ. But to not face those things would be a lie. I'm not promoting that content, but it's relatable to my audience. It's everyday life for some of these people. Last night, we talked about how Christians put so much emphasis on the content of a film that sometimes we forget about the message. For example, there could be a film that ultimately is giving a bad message to children, but as long as it's PG, it's okay. Well, what about the films that are R for their content, yet tell amazing stories of hope and redemption, or pose questions that provoke people to positive action? To me, those are great examples of good, unsafe art, but Christians stamp a big old NO on the film because its rating.

I believe that as a Christian in the film industry, I must allow myself to be vulnerable-- to be human. I want to tell stories that contain truth. Sometimes there the story may not end in redemption, but it may get people asking important questions. Now, let me just say that I fully believe that there is a line to be drawn. Every filmmaker is different. While I know Christian filmmakers who can easily tell stories involving explicit sexual content, I don't believe I could. I don't have a problem with some, but I have to know my limits. That could just be where I'm at in life right now, and maybe someday I'll be able to move the line a bit. I don't know.

Just to add to all of this-- besides being unsafe art (whatever that means to you), it should be done well. People respond better to quality filmmaking. Don't make a sucky film, and then write it off as okay because it tells people about Jesus, and the Church fully supports it. John, last night's speaker, mentioned that he has hope that the Church will one day see past a film's rating and embrace it for its powerful message (something along those lines). I'm right there with him. Good for movies like Facing the Giants that remind those of us in the pews that God answers prayers, but bad for movies like that the don't relate well to those on the streets-- not to mention, I don't fully agree with the "God will kick the field goal" theology.

Just for kicks-- films that fall into what I am promoting through this discussion despite their content: The Dark Knight, Batman Begins, Crash, Magnolia, The Shawshank Redemption, Schindler's List, Amelie, City of God, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Lord of War, Man On Fire, Stigmata, The Exorcism of Emily Rose (really good, but not recommended for those who are extremely sensitive to demonic stuff like myself), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Slumdog Millionaire, Saved, Garden State, Juno, Lars and the Real Girl, and much more. Also, I have not seen these movies, but from what I've heard, they belong on this list: The Wrestler, Gran Torino, and The Apostle.

Anyway,  I hope this made enough sense, and wasn't too hard to follow. I would love to get feedback. It's all just a discussion anyway. I don't have the answers. Please take time to share your thoughts.


Monday, April 13, 2009

The Time Has Come...

For me to resume my blogging. I've been keeping up with a blog for screenwriters called The Rouge Wave, and the blogger, Julie, likes to emphasize that "screenwriting is only one kind of writing and that you should develop the muscles and the skills to write for other mediums." So, resuming my blog is my way of working out my writing muscles. I would like to update my blog at least once, if not a few times per week. Please feel free to leave comments.

Everyday life for me consists of waking up to the sound of one or more of the guys preparing breakfast, or having a conversation amongst themselves.  Both Chaz and I sleep on air mattresses in the parlor room which is right next to the living room and kitchen. It bothered me at first that I would be awoken by others' morning activities, but I quickly got over it, and decided that it's best that I wake up earlier with them than sleeping in and wasting the day. The rest of the day involves a good mixture of devos, listening to music, checking email and facebook, reading something (Variety, The Rouge Wave, a book, etc.), playing video games, working out, and looking for work. It's a great life, but doesn't provide much income.

I was working on and off as a production assistant for the reality television show, Wipeout. However, they wrapped up their second season a few weeks ago, so I am out of work with them for now. I am kind of in a tight spot because Greg and I head to JH Ranch on May 23rd to work on the video crew for 3 months, so I can't really commit to any long term work. Hopefully, I find a few short term gigs that will help me make it (financially) to the end of May. The next month and a half is going to be a bit of a busy time for me, so that also makes finding work difficult. Greg and Jake created a short web series a while back, and we start production on it this coming weekend. On top of that, I am about to write my next screenplay. I've been developing it over the past couple months, and Jake's been helping keep me on schedule with it all, and now it's time to start dishing out pages. So, to sum up the plan for the next month or so: script pages during the week, and web series production on the weekend. I'm excited!

Well, that is all for now. Time for one of my favorites activities of the day: Lunch!