Just when I think: this is it. This will be the one, God reminds me to chill, make memories, and laugh.
There is a Christian film festival that is currently asking for submissions from filmmakers. This is where my heart is at, so I have been thinking about how to create a Christian short film. A few days ago, I got discouraged when I looked at all the projects that I have done in the past and that none of them have an evangelical message. But I relax and remind myself that I do not have the resources to make something reverential. My writing is not there. My actors (my cousins) are not there. My equipment is not there. If I saw an attempt at something serious and meaningful with the resources that I have, made by someone else, I would laugh at the quality and completely miss the message. So in the meantime I write comedy. Over the top, ridiculous comedy. Each time I think the quality will get better. That I will show marked improvement and really take a step forward. I had this opportunity on the Fourth of July to film a short that I had written called “Heartburn Hotel.” But through all the chaos of trying to set up lights, a microphone and a camera, God reminded of what’s important. Why I started making films with my family in the first place: memories. The chaos, the unprofessional tone, and the hour long blooper reel. It’s like God is telling me “wait.” Why try to make gold when you don’t even have copper?
It’s not about getting better and fine tuning my skills. It’s about learning to work around set backs. It’s about creating a fun environment and laughter….lots of laughter. Will it edit down to something cohesive? Likely not. We didn’t even get the chance to film the entire script. But what we did create, were memories. And when the cousins grow older and leave for college, as some have already, we can talk about those days. And that’s what it really is about right now. As filmmakers we create memories and special moments for our characters. We remind our audience of an experience where they felt the same way. While I haven’t reached that level yet, I am creating those experiences for my family and I. Our characters could care less about the adventures that we have acted out, but I know that I will never forget these special memories. So in the meantime I lug around my camera to every family gathering. I write the most ridiculous lines and try to come up with characters that fit their personalities. While editing these shorts I have learned valuable lessons from special effects, changing angles, retakes, music and sound effects, to even color grading. Am I learning? Yes, but that should never be the focus. Instead, I need to focus on honoring God with clean humor, and creating lasting bonds within my family. Forever preserved in the medium of film.