I Got to P… November 14, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2067)

SixFor a five-year period, I wrote screenplays–seventeen of them in all, with thirteen movies produced in an independent-film format. Trust me, I was no threat to either Aaron Sorkin or Steven Spielberg, but considering the meager budgets involved, some pretty amazing projects were completed and released into the cosmos.

What I discovered when I wrote these screenplays was that people involved in artistic pursuits are often pressured by two different camps to comply to an agenda:

  • Religious writers are compelled to profess
  • Secular ones are taunted and teased to be profane

So if you wanted to write things that were acceptable to church people, you had to profess the principles of religion faithfully, while being careful not to add anything worldly, untoward or negative to your script.

On the other hand, if you wanted to get intrigue and interest from the “film festival crowd,” a certain amount of off-beat, unrealistic and profane inclusion was necessary.

I found both camps to be obnoxious.

I don’t have to go any further than the Good Book to demonstrate the aspects of good story telling. This is the reason I believe that the Good Book still has value. The writers felt no compulsion to profess, nor did they feel pushed into making the tales more profane in order to create a wider audience. They just shared it.

So you have King David, who writes really beautiful songs and poetry, but also is a lousy father and an adulterous murderer.

You have Samson, who did mighty deeds for the children of Israel, but also ended up blinded and humiliated because he let his “little head” rule “the big head.”

You have a story of the Jewish nation which is equally peppered with both praise and ridicule for their works and deeds.

By no means did the writers of the Good Book want to either profess or be profane. Instead they went for a third Pprofound.

This is what I pursued in my screenplays, too.

And what is profound? A profound script has heart, soul, mind and strength in it.

1. Heart. What is the real emotion involved? I am not talking about made-up feelings so the writer can manipulate his characters to do as he proposes. I am speaking of the unabashed, unapologetic sensations that go along with the story and our participants.

2.  Soul. What can we use of faith, hope and love to propel our tale and still achieve better conclusions? Removing spirituality from great writing is similar to jotting down your thoughts with invisible ink.

3. Mind. What is accurate? If we’re going to be in the desert, people should get thirsty. If we’re going to be on the ocean, someone should be seasick. Failing to produce accuracy in the pursuit of either profession or profanity is a journey into faulted futility.

4. Strength. What is human? Don’t ask your characters to be superheroes. There’s too much of that in our theater today. Don’t portray them as demons. Expose humanity without fear or prejudice.

I don’t know–maybe someday I’ll start writing screenplays again. But if I do, I won’t be anemic and merely profess my own beliefs. And I won’t pursue profane, espousing the common whim of present-day society.

I will find the heart, soul, mind and strength in the journeys of my characters … and allow the words to produce profound results.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

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