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A recent post had some hideous things to say about Christians and I'm going to suggest that we should avoid that kind of thing.
I'm probably one of the most devout Christians you'll ever come across and if you look at all of my posts you might notice (I hope!) that I'm not anal retentive or an idiot.
People who presume to know what all Christians want probably aren't stopping to think about all the perfectly reasonable nice Christians they actually know.
Anyway, I've always felt so welcome here and that post left a very bad taste in my mouth.
I must have missed that one. I would have responded as well. I am a Christian and have seen critical posts here and elsewhere, usually by anonymous posters. I have also seen hateful posts about a Muslim on a local listserve via a professional organization in the DFW area. The listserve was not monitored until then, but now it is, and political statements are kept off the listserve since it's purpose is to serve the professionals in the area and not to be a venue for hateful posts.
I do not know the particular post, but if you will email me the thread url, I will go to it and try to see what you mean.
My email is on my profile.
Check out John Pusztay's post on the Evan Almighty thread. I wasn't really trying to make a mystery out of it, but it had turned into a condolance post for Terri's cat and I didn't want to take away from that.
I find the post disturbing.
Sorry, but I have to disagree with you. I did read John's post and I have no problem with it. What did he say that I could disagree with? Perhaps you need to know John a little better. He has one of the sharpest wits, and tongue, around here.
When he said that the fundamental Christians believe the Bible word for word, I do not see that as a slam, by any means. Maybe he said it tongue in cheek, but even if he did, so what?
Christians need to be able to take a little kidding and left-handed humor. Sorry, but his post is NOT "bashing" to me. I, in no way, take offense to that post, at all.
To me, John was bashing Hollywood for not understanding the Christians they were trying to cater to. He's 110% right, in my opinion.
I have always enjoyed his posts. However, sentiments like. "...what if with comedy won't cut it with the anal retentive faith based crowd".
I just think that kind of thing is uncalled for.
I have to agree. I didn't catch any bashing.
I'm a Christian as well and have been doing a LOT of religious (particularly Christianity) research for my latest book.
I'm not offended by "anal retentive." I'm sure we've ALL met one or several "anal retentive" Christians. Just like we've come across "anal retentive" bosses, Actors, nutritionists, etc., etc., etc. I'd say one would be living in a fantasy world if they thought there were NO "anal retentives" in our society.
I've come across the "looniest" (as in "why isn't this person hospitalized") well-known Actors/Celebrities. But I know they're not allllllll like that. You can't categorize people. Just like you cannot believe that NO ONE IS ANAL RETENTIVE. . . .
I'm sorry if you misread my post. And you shouldn't internalize a generalized statement and take it so personally.
Now when I mentioned anal retentive faith based Christians, I meant the small faction of fundamentist extremists with the loudest mouths that think they speak for all Christians. I was addressing on how Hollywood doesn't understand how to cater to this particular minority that THINK they are the moral majority. And when one wants to target a particular audience, they should be catering to the lowest common denominator. And in the Christian community when you want to cater to and appease to the likes of this lowest common denominator, you need to make a movie that is word for word ripped from the Bible. That is the only kind of religious movie these types will EVER condone or go see in droves in a theatre and that's what I was trying to say by secular Hollywood not understanding this.
Again, sorry if I've offended you but I'm not going to be politically correct just to sooth your feelings or anyone else's. You'll need to grow a thicker skin to deal with those Hollywood types if you ever want to pitch a religious script and they're not getting it.
I, myself, am a recovering Christian. Why do I say this? Because Religion in man made. God did not dictate or tell us specifically how to worship Him. Therefore utilizing my Philosophy classes from college... If religion is man made and man is falable, then religion is falible and therefore as imperfect as man.
Thanks so much for you explanation. I really appreciate it!
Thanks so much,
There is an extreme mistrust between Christians and Hollywood when making religious comedies. I'm always concerned about how irreverant or disrespectful they will turn out but I end up watching them. Some I like, some I don't.
The issue I have with the "anal retentive" crowd (be they Christian or not) is that they have a tendancy to judge before knowing anything about it.
You make a good point. I have some "fundamental" Christian friends who are prone to quick judgment. That being said, I can honestly say that many of Hollywood's attempts at films with a spiritual theme have previously not succeeded in entertaining the masses. Some have, like the TV series "Touched by an Angel", which some Christians felt was watered down. Personally I liked the series and felt it did have a spiritual core and morality.
Many Christians, like myself, feel that if you are to make a film about Christianity or spirituality, you need to completely understand our beliefs and not satirize them. Many in Hollywood are not "believers" and attempt to make statements with these films on how much they disrespect the Christian belief. Take "Dogma" (please) for example. Wonder if Kevin Smith has commented about his script.
It's not hard to feel like you are in the cross hairs when Hollywood puts out a "spiritual" movie. Films like "Passion of the Christ" are the exception, not the rule.
Going back to Martin's comments, I still agree with you, but maybe this might shed some new light on the topic.
Okay, I know I'm REALLY going to get BASHED for saying what I'm going to say.
The Bible was written by M-A-N!
EXAMPLES: There's what, 3-4 books in the Bible that tell of Jesus's birth in different views/versions.
I watch a LOT of shows re: theology, anthropology, archaeology, etc. where the Bible is concerned. (And a LOT of reading/research!)
What do we know is truth--and what do we know is fiction? WE DON'T!
PLUS--there's many different interpretations of what is written in the Bible. What is written in a sentence in the Bible--is usually not enough information to tell us EXACTLY how something happened, etc. (Which is why we have Theology Interpreters with many different views!)
Since "artwork/paintings" were against the law during the time of Christ--the first painting/picture of Christ wasn't until 60 years after his death.
HOW DO WE KNOW THAT IS ACTUALLY HOW JESUS LOOKED? How good is the memory of the person who painted it (and considering that people didn't live that long back then--I seriously doubt they ever knew Christ).
Scriptures have been found that describe Jesus' appearance. From those scriptures, it's been determined that Jesus had golden hair and blue eyes. Which makes sense to many Theologists--for God would want his Son to stand out. When you want someone to deliver a message(s), you want them to be noticed--to be different.
Even when we write scripts that are "true stories," everything cannot be word for word. ONE, as humans--our memories aren't excellent. PLUS, we have to take dramatic license in order for people to enjoy our books and movies.
So how much is fiction and how much is truth in the Bible? And how do we know that every single book in the Bible is truth? And are some total fiction?
Does YOUR Bible talk of Eve as being Adam's first wife--or Lilith?
And if Adam and Eve were the only humans on earth and had a couple of sons--who did they marry? If that's what you believe, then they must've married their sisters!
Remember the book HAWAII? And look how frowned upon inbreeding is today--yet the English were the ones who wanted to keep their "true" bloodline, so they married their relatives! HELLO!
And there are those who have studied "the missing years of Christ" who tell us that Jesus, as a teenager, killed a man--and that Jesus traveled for long periods of time and, for about two years, studied Budhism, which is what Christianity is based upon.
There are "anal retentive" Christians who actually don't STUDY Christianity who will fight to the death re: that statement because they want to believe what they want to believe!
I could go on and on and on--but this is a whole 'nother topic. But that's what happens when you start a thread that deals with religion and Christianity.
My mother and brother are pious religeous fanatics and I don't think they've actually read ten pages of the Bible. During one heavy rainy season is central Africa I was bored to tears but had read every book I could get my hands on except one, THE BIBLE. So I read it cover to cover. I thought about the way it'd been written and couldn't imagine the original writing process - not until I read another book, James Michener's "The Source".
Now I have a close friend who is a Rabbi. He also happens to be a respected Hollywood agent who hip pocketed a script of mine several years ago. Anyway, he's a nice guy but imagining him in a room with four or five other rabbis and agreeing on events which supposedly occured many decades before is a bit hard for me to swallow.
I loved the line in "Trading Places" when the butler masquerading as clergy drank from his flask and slurred to the villian on the train something like, "Religion is a wonderful thing, when taken in moderation.
A number of years ago, my wife and I were living in an apartment in downtown Charlotte. One Sunday in winter the city got hit with about 10 inches of snow. The storm essentially shut the city down.
Being recent reverts to our faith we were determined to not let the wintry elements deter us from making it to Sunday service.
We were among the few that made it to service that morning.
We were each feeling quite proud of ourselves as we drove back into the city that morning after service. We planned our reward of building a fire, having brunch, and watching a movie.
As we approached our apartment building we saw a homeless person standing on a street corner. They were, literally, the only person outside in the city that morning.
My wife and I briefly tabled our conversation as we passed by the homeless person. We were humbled for a moment and then continued on with our plans for the day.
After brunch and the movie, my wife kept looking out our windows to see if she could get a glimpse of the homeless person. She was feeling guilty that we were so absorbed in congratulating our behavior that we neglected acting like "Christians" and offering the homeless person some aid. She remarked how a scene from GROUNDHOG'S DAY, where Bill Murray's character continually passed by the homeless person, kept repeating in her mind.
We elected to bundled up and brave the weather. We filled a bag with gloves, money, candybars and whatever else we had that we thought might benefit the homeless person. We planned to return our video to the store, which was a few blocks away, while we were out.
We saw no one out as we walked to the video store. When we entered the small video store there was a television in a corner playing a movie. It was GROUNDHOG'S DAY. And, it was showing the scene where Bill passes the homeless man.
We knew immediately that we screwed up big. We continued looking for a hour about the city, but, could not find anyone.
When my wife was retelling the events of our day to a friend that evening, she stated that the homeless person was an elderly white man. Her recollection surprised me as I had seen a middle aged black woman standing on the corner.
We each clearly understood that we had been taught a lesson.
I realize it's a long post from someone who hasn't posted in a while, but, I felt it was worth sharing.
I used to take a great deal of pride in my intellect and would debate against faith and a religion (the Church is a racket profiting off the simple minded who use God as a crutch -those types of pleasantries), but, my perception was altered signigicantly.
Men are fallible, but, that doesn't mean that God couldn't work through a pitiful example of a human being to do something good, something perfect and true.
And, if he could work through persons with little literary sense, what's stopping him from working through screenwriters and film makers (even without their knowledge of his handiwork).
I've seen hundreds of examples of religious expression in film that didn't have any affect on the story. I used to wonder why the film makers made the choice to insert that image or line of dialogue that expressed faith.
I hope everyone is having a great summer and writing the next great screenplay. Best of luck to all, Tito
My apologies for the typos and poor grammar. So, little time with three wee ones.
That was a fabulous story. Thanks for sharing such an event so close to your heart. It made an impression here.
THAT WAS A GREAT STORY, TITO. I was just waiting, as I read it, to find out WHAT you did re: the homeless person. At first, I was really disappointed that you passed them by without doing a damn thing. Then continued with the story and was pleased to know that you and your wife came to a realization and TRIED to do something.
It still amazes me the weird, strange looks I get when I go into an eatery and buy dinner for the homeless person outside the door.
I've had people at work who scolded me for loaning hundreds/thousands in order for someone NOT to lose their homes. They go so far as to ask (in a scolding manner, remember), "Why would you do that?"
My answer? "Because I wouldn't be a Christian if I didn't."
I do have to add that these people have NO CONCEPT of what it's like to be in a position where you almost lose everything and could easily end up on the street.
If it weren't for CARING people out there, I probably wouldn't be living on the street right now--BECAUSE I'D BE DEAD!
Yes, I've had a lot and I've lost a lot. And, though I've gone through some very sad and some very horrific times--I'M GLAD I WENT THROUGH THEM ALL. Experiencing loss is what makes us understanding, caring people.
What a wonderful story. Remember, we're all a work in progress. Next time, you'll have this experience in your heart and you'll be prepared and encouraged enough to act at the moment you're needed.
I too am a Christian. Unfortunately, in today's times the trend seems to pick and/or blame not just Christianity but all religions for today's problems.
But just like the political system, each religion has their own spectrum from fanatic to liberal. People just lump them together and assume the worst. Such as Muslims are terrorists when it's really Islamic Extremists are the ones killing.
Every time I hear a comment whether intentional or not, I basically ignore it. Not only beacuse I am Catholic and we are still washing the blood off our hands but because when tragedy happens, personal or for society as a whole(9/11, Katrina, etc.), people turn to faith to help them get through.
Even though the bible was considered one of the greatest historical books or the greatest story ever told, it's authenticiy was in question until the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered. Boy did that quiet a lot of people. Of course that confirmed the old testament but that's another discussion.
As for movie producers, because of the targeted audience, I believe they err on the side of caution. It's best to follow the bible almost literally otherwise you open a whole new can of worms.
Thanks to all who responded to my story.
I'll often share this story and others whenever there seems to be a need. I've been blessed with some truly remarkable events in my life (I wasn't seeking faith, religion, salvation, etc.. and, yet, I was still awakened). I'm completely unworthy of it.
In today's era of political correctness, Christianity, and to a greater extent catholicism, is often ridiculed and mocked. Where as other races and creeds appear to recieve an abundance of respect.
One reason for this, I think, is that Christians are schooled to turn the other cheek, where as, others, who have felt attacked, voiced their disdain until the recieved the respect they felt was owed them.
And, I realize that this will sound hokum, but, similar to how in MONSTER'S INC. it was discovered that laughter was far more substantial than crying, I think if the INDUSTRY were making more inspiring films rather than the many efforts toward projecting fears it would see a better turn on it's dollars.
I mentioned previously about witnessing films that provide some essence of faith, intentionally or not, and I thought I'd provide one exmaple.
WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY.
I had seen this film at least a half dozen times since my youth. I always found it entertaining, sweet natured and a little trippy. It wasn't until viewing the film with a different perspective did I see (what I found as prominent) a religious subtext to the delightful children's story.
The Chocolate Factory represents Heaven Wonka represents God Slugworth represents the Devil The Everlasting Gobstopper represents the Soul The Children represent Humanity Oompa Lumpas represent Angels
The Children fall prey to the deadly sins, gluttony, greed, envy, vanity. The resulting effect is that the sinful are not rewarded with Heaven (the bad kids don't earn the factory). Even the protagonist, Charlie, is deemed unworthy.
Humbly and meekly, Charlie returns the Gobstopper (soul) to it's Creator, ignoring his grandfather's suggestion to deliver it to Slugworth. Wonka warms to the unselfish gesture and embraces Charlie with all that he has, including lifting him into the heavens.
Given the perception, I find it interesting the Slugworth is working for Wonka.
Something to think about, Tito
Thanks so much for the wonderful story! Have you ever thought of incorporating that into a script and entering the Kairos prize contest? The people who run the contest have treated me really well, paid me lots of money ($15,000) and got my script in front of an amazing bunch of producers.
Interestingly, my script has a very controversial voice - does not in any way simply retell a bible story - and yet for such a conservative bunch of people they love it.
d (feels funny to address you by just an initial)
Thanks for your post, too!
I have been thinking a lot about your personal story. I agree with Heather and want to encourage your to write it via a script. The part where you see a black woman and your wife sees an elderly white man is a real challenge, but with the right producer and director with you on the project you can pull it off.
The only regrets we should have in life are those opportunities we failed to take on and persevere to accomplish. It appears that God has given you an opportunity to show how the lesson can be learned by many others who watch the film you have helped to create.
You have my support and prayers in this challenging project.
Thanks again for your response. I think it could be an interesting short. It would probably be me more affecting if it could be part of a series or collection of inspirational shorts.
Since you appear to be a thoughtful audience, I'll share another.
A number of years ago, while working as a bartender I had a discussion/debate with a number of patrons about the accountability of young celebrities regarding how they dressed and behaved. My point concerned who should be accountable if the celebrity should inspire a young teen to dress and behave like the celeb and have it lead to dangerous situation.
One of the patrons became defensive as she had a 13 year old daughter who happened to like the celeb in question. I quickly backed off the subject.
Throughout that afternoon I had an interior conversation with God. In my head, I kept asking, "Did I say the right thing."
I felt perplexed by it. I wanted to speak honestly about something that I perceived to be a topical issue, but, I questioned was it purposeful.
After a while the bar cleared out and I was alone. The phone rang at the front desk, and as there was no hostess or manager about, I answered the call. It was for a reservation for the next day's lunch. The party's name was Luke and the time they desired was for 11:45.
It took me a moment to consider it. I thought maybe it was a Bible passage. Sure enough, it is. The verse through the end of the chapter deals with accountability, in a very serious manner.
The verse itself, Luke 11:45, deals with a situation where if the elders of the law agreed with Jesus then they would essentially be incriminating their own behavior or lack of behavior. So, they feel compelled to defend themselves.
Jesus continues on to admonish their perceptions and how their behavior not only condemns themselves but condemns others as well.
It took me about three reads for it to begin sinking in. I knew that He answered my question. And, what I've always found most satisfying was how immediate was the response.
I feel fortunate that I was aware, awake, for that moment to be received. I could have just as easily not given the reservation a second thought and would have probably continued to be perplexed on the matter. And, I truly believe that these types of communication occur all the time, but, for the most part we're tuned out (like that scene of Jim Carrey calling for a sign in BRUCE ALMIGHTY).
I'll be perfectly honest with you, I ask for signs all the time and gripe about not getting any. If that happened to me, I would not have noticed it! Thanks for reminding me that God does work in mysterious ways and that sometimes we just simply have to open our eyes.
Tito that gave me a chill man!!!
Question...did you check out who showed up for the reservation @ 11:30?
There might have been even a greater sense of relavation and purpose!!!
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