Monday, December 31, 2007

Outside Hollywood

I am in the middle of reading Outside Hollywood. It was a gift from my sister for Christmas. Actually, it was a Christmas gift two year ago, but due to some publishing problems it wasn't released until this year. So I got it this year for Christmas last year. ;-)

It's written by Isaac Botkins, a young man who is in the film industry himself. He has written this book to encourage and guide young filmmakers through the process of making a film.

He starts at the very beginning, which is, after all, a very good place the start. He makes the case that we, as Christians need to not help Hollywood in its paganness, but we need to set up an independent industry that will rival and ultimately win out over Hollywood.

In order to be an independent filmmaker, Isaac says, you need to be firmly ground in your faith. The entertainment industry is a place where if you are not constantly examining God's Word and creating a deeper relationship with Him, you will be steamrolled. Hollywood in particular will attack any weak spot you may have in your spiritual armour. To add you what Isaac has said, I also believe that to be involved in the arts and entertainment area, you need to be specifically called to it. As my acting teacher at school said, "If there's anything else that you can do, do it. Only those who are specifically called to be an actor, should do this."*

Once Isaac has established the need to be a strong Christian, he outlines how Hollywood began and how it has slid down the slippery slope to where it is today. I literally stayed up until almost 2:00 am one night reading about this decline. It's horrific. While in the beginning, it was moral industry with its self-imposed laws to govern itself, non-Christians then recognized the power of media and designed it to be used to fulfill selfish ends. They tore down the standards that were already in place and opened it up to all kinds of immorality, blasphemy, and unnecessary violence.

Now that the author has you thoroughly convince of the need for being "Outside Hollywood", he begins to teach about the steps that need to be taken.

He starts with the screenplay, afterall, if you have a resourceful producer, an incredible director, amazing crew, and show-stopping actors, but no story, the show will fail. I really enjoyed this part of the book very much. I love writing and am working at developing this love into something I can do from home. Isaac's description of what makes a good story, with the wonderful examples he gives, has spurred me to go back to the plot outlines I have and make sure they are set up to tell a great story.

That's as far as I've gotten. He goes on to talk about how to produce, direct, and some other things. It's a wonderful book and I highly recommend it. Even if you just read it to find out more about Hollywood, it would be worth it. You can find it at Vision Forum.

*Just to be clear, I do feel that God has given me certain abilities that, by my own shortsightedness, I believe can be used in the entertainment industries. However, my "high calling" in life is to be a wife and mother and support my husband in whatever God has called him to do.

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