It's Not About The Shark

Movies aren't about the trailer. They aren't about what the trailer wants you to see. That's the bait to get you to the theater. When you get there, it becomes about the hero's goal and his conflict. In storytelling there is inner conflict and outer conflict. A universally relatable story has both. Inception wasn't about dreams. You walk away thinking it was about dreams, but the dreams were the outer conflict, they had to infect someone's mind. But the inner conflict was Leo's character dealing with the loss of his wife and all the dream stuff was just obstacles in dealing with that loss. Sandlot wasn't about kids trying to get a baseball, it was about a boy that was trying to find his place in a new town with a new dad and finding acceptance with both, the ball, the fence, the dog, etc were all well-written obstacles that gave the journey some weight. J.J. Abrams mentions in his Ted talk that Jaws isn't about a shark, it's about dad dealing with insecurities etc.

The external conflict is what shapes the internal conflict. It builds the character and gets the character to his goal. When you stop seeing the internal conflict you make a movie about a shark and it ends up horrible.

I've met a lot of Christians that treat it like a horrible sequel to the original. Christians that worry about a video I make not mentioning God. The video isn't the end all goal. Righteousness is, that's a lifelong journey. Music video production, traffic, facebook, girlfriend's breaking up with you are all external conflict that build and shape the character. The hero's goal is what matters, then those things become just obstacles that he uses to his end all goal.

Each well written film has scenes that start positive and end negative and vice versa. So when a scene looks like he's winning, by the end he'll be losing, then the next scene is him losing then ends him winning. Eventually the highs get higher and the lows get lower and the audience doesn't know if he'll win or lose.

These are seasons. Right now if someone was watching my walk with God it's not incredibly encouraging, but I'm a character with a goal. These are just scenes, just obstacles. If I'm fighting sharks or trying to get a baseball, it doesn't matter either way. It's not about the out conflict, it's about the inner conflict. How is the outer stuff shaping you? How is it molding you?

A Christian janitor or a Christian music video director are the same. How is the process of cleaning some kid's vomit or trying to find a location in two days of the shoot going to shape us? As long as the character has a goal they all become obstacles or launchpads.

I think the hard thing about all of this is Christians have turned missions living into a short term missions trip. Were there is no real room for error. When really, we should be doing life with people, making mistakes and them seeing how we handle our mistakes. Them seeing the long term us, our story and our goal. Not just the trailer. Short term missions trips are great, but they are trailers. We should be making movies, not trailers. What are we doing when we get home from our two week trip to Africa? Do we stop serving until we raise enough money to go again? How are we serving our families, roommates, friends and literal neighbors. We've redefined the word neighbor so much that we don't feel the need to know the names of the people living on our street (that was a side note, but it's true).

There is grace for failure that's the gospel that we are supposed to be living.

I made a music video called "Cray Button" recently, probably the definition of morally neutral. I've gotten so much crap from Christians asking "how is this glorifying God?", my question is "How is it not?". The minute we stop seeing God in caterpillars  trees, dirt, oceans, laughter, French toast and other things like that. We stop seeing God for who He really is. We then only see God getting glory only from the songs that say His name. Even though, even the most secular song blaspheming God is using the vibrations in the air to make notes and the vocal chords, tongues and lips that God designed. Even someone saying the most profane blasphemous thing is in a weird way giving God glory because it's showing that the vocal chords and other parts made for speech were designed well.

That's like using a bull-horn to tell the inventor of the bull-horn he is stupid. The very minute the bull-horn works is showing how smart the bull-horn inventor is and how stupid the speaker is.

We need to get God out of the 1 dimensional box that we put Him in. The Cray Button music video doesn't mention God at all. But neither does the book of Esther and that's in the Bible. But does God get the glory? He does. He made fish in the bottom of the ocean nobody ever sees. He gets His glory.

Cray Button has shaped me, it's a scene in my story. I met people that i needed to meet, people made friends, fathers took daughters 3 hour drives to be in the shoot. You think that they didn't get to talk or bond the way God needed them to? All of this morally neutral stuff points to God to the person who's goal is God.

I went on tour with Jeffree Star. Look him up. I was on a bus with him in the UK for a month. I don't tell people that much because they don't need to know, they'll decide that it didn't give God glory. But I can tell you a million ways that it did and that tour wasn't gone into with no thought and prayer, but weeks of it. God confirmed it. I wish I could take you on coffee and tell you a million stories of how God doesn't work the way we want Him to.

See the thing is, it's not about the shark. When I say that don't think I'm saying it's not about God, I'm saying it's not about that one song, one video, one missions trip. It's about the character's goal and when that goal is God all the seasons of struggle, doubt and despair and the seasons of victory, defeat and faith are just scenes in this story.

Cray Button wasn't my only chance to impact the world. It was a chair that Jesus carpentered with his step-dad when he was a kid while he was waiting til he turned 30. Everything happens at it's own time. But those chairs he built were just outer conflict until 30 happened.

Man, I hope that all made sense, lot going on in my head right now.

your friend,