September 24, 2005

The Man I Want to Be (Tolerates dull books)

Stupid freaking' Schoolhouse Rock! That's where the problem started. Because of these cleverly-scored educational nuggets wedged between The Gummi Bears and Zoobilee Zoo, I discovered at a very early age, that learning didn't have to be a painful exercise in discipline or attention span. If it were well done, you could have fun learning. On the bright side, I can, to this day, regail you with the steps it takes for a bill to become a law, but on the down side, I can't force myself to endure anything that smacks of dry no matter how important I believe it to be.

After my recent decision to trepedatiously enter the world of screenwriting, I've started on Robert McKee's seminal work Story to make sure that I am writing a better first draft than my last full length piece. (A stage play, now in its fifth draft.) Story is supposed to be THE BIBLE for WRITERS. But for the life of me, I find I can't connect with this book. The language is so horrifically dull that things going on in the room around me invariably steal my attention. (like ceiling fans)

But it's not the books fault; at least, not entirely. I have this problem with other endeavors as well. There's a host of critically worshipped films that bore me to tears. And it's certainly not all their fault if hosts of other people are deeply moved by their experiences with these films. Of course, there's the ACTUAL Bible. I want to love it, I want to thirst for its words and long for its wisdom. But every time I sit down with it I find myself feeling as though I'm eating spinach.

There is a scripture that talks about God giving you the desires of your heart (I think it's in Ephesians) and for a long time I thought that meant He'd give you what you want. But of course, the passage doesn't say it will give you the objects of the desires of your heart, but rather the actual desires of your heart. In other words, he doesn't give you what you want, he gives you wants. And so, I find myself praying not so much for the things my heart desires, but for the desires I know I should have.

Then perhaps I'll be more likely to engage Story with wrapped attenton, or Bresson films, or the Word of God, and less likely to give up on them and start hunting for my DVD copy of Conjunction Junction.


Chris Dinger said...

"In other words, he doesn't give you what you want, he gives you wants. And so, I find myself praying not so much for the things my heart desires, but for the desires I know I should have."

Wow, that's an awesome perspective. It's so clear now, but I never saw the verse that way!

Tommy G said...

Well that answers one question I had. What's up with your play? Still on for a 2007 production?

As for screenwriting books-not that I'm a screenwriter-but I know a few and have read way too many screenplays...

Just tell your story. If your screen story is half as engaging as your blog posts, you'll be fine.

McKee is good. A good teacher. I suspect you're a good teacher as well. And I know you're a good writer. That's pretty easy to see.

Tommy G said...

I was just surfing the blog site...looking for blogs by actors, writers, etc. Found yours and started reading. Good stuff.

Good luck with the writing.

I got started along my life's path as an actor by my high school drama teacher. careful. You, too, may influnece some unsuspecting young person to pursue the actor's life...God bless them if you do! :)


Ian Bowers said...

What ever happened to the "edutainment" shows on TV when we were younger? When I was a kid I learned to count and say my alphabet thanks to colorful images (not the bad kind) and clever songs. Kids today learn to count while spinning around in circles singing what is quite possibly the stupidest song written by a group of guys from Australia that learned to make money you need to make it more fun and less educational (I'm am looking at you Wiggles).

Aaron Nichols said...

Hey, Dan!

The "Desires of your heart" comment was very deep and new to me. Now if you can incorporate it into some sort of mnemonic device like "God gives the want not the what you want to want." (sung to the tune of "who put the bop in the bop shoo-bop shoo-bop.") Now I might remember it!

It's good to find a little meat in the blog world. Thanks for making me feel like an underachiever.

- Aaron Nichols

Chris Dinger said...

Aaron, I don't know who you are, but you made me laugh.