Mar 222012
 

Barbara Nicolosi was forward this request for a screenwriter that she labeled offensive:

The person (or persons) we are looking for needs to able to take what we have and mold it into 100 pages of a screenplay similar to to feel of Liar Liar and Groundhog Day, with major elements of Fireproof and Courageous mixed in. (If you don’t know what Fireproof or Courageous are, please do not apply for this job). This is a paid position, but please keep in mind this is an independent project with a very limited budget. We are also not associated with the WGA so we require an independent writer.

Yikes!

Our team is spread out throughout the country, but you will mostly be working with with our producer in [somewhere far from the hub of moviemaking]. This can be done over Skype or Google.

Requirements for this job:
1. Have written at least 3 full length screenplays, and are proficient at all screenwriting formatting and industry standards of screenwriting
2. You are a writer who uses and believes in “The Hero’s Journey”
3. You know, and have seen Fireproof and Courageous
4. You are an expert at using Final Draft
5. You have collaborated on screenplays with other people before
6. You are willing to work for less than you would normally get paid
7. You know how to write comedies and family films
8. You are a Christian

Now Fireproof and Courageous really can be provided as examples. Examples that well-meaning is not enough. That having dominant Christian themes is not enough. While Sherwood Pictures’ movies have progressively gotten better — they still have a long way to go. People often allude to Chesterton’s “If it’s worth doing, it’w worth doing badly” which Christian filmmakers have apparently taken to heart. But the context of Chesterton’s quote was a defense of hobbies and does not apply here. Now I don’t want to pile on Sherwood pictures, but their director is David Evans — an optometrist whose previous show business experience was producing his church’s annual Easter Passion play. Now surely there is such a thing as the talented amateur, but even they have to bust their chops a bit to grow in their art.

Now the job requirements could be fixed a bit if they used instead of “You know, and have seen Fireproof and Courageous” and requested “You know, and have seen Fireproof and Courageous and understand their flaws and how they could be improved.”

You also get what you pay for and if you can’t hire a writer at the normal salary you are going to have a problem. Sure many Christians do decide to take a lower salary than what the market can bear when working with Christian organizations unless apparently you work for the Archdiocese of Boston (though all things being equal I don’t have a problem with paying people what their skills are worth). But it’s the whole mindset of getting a bunch of amateurs together for a film “worthwhile” project that is problematic. You end up with celluloid or whatever digital medium that is the artistic equivalent of a plastic dashboard Jesus.

Barbara has a nice set of snarky responses to this request.

  6 Responses to “Why Christian produced movies suck”

  1. How about knows and has seen…

    The Passion of the Christ
    A Man For All Seasons
    Jesus of Nazareth (Zefferelli)
    Babette’s Feast
    The Ten Commandments
    The Bible
    Life Is Beautiful
    Ben Hur
    Becket
    …and many more…

    IMO, THOSE should be the aspirations of all Christian moviemakers.

  2. I thought Courageous was a major step up from Fireproof…much more believable than Fireproof. In Fireproof, when the lead became converted, everything suddenly worked out. In Fireproof, bad stuff still happened even to faithful Christians. I could really see that movie as being more about real life. My organization is a major sponsor of Sherwood pictures, and so I got to go to a premier event in Atlanta…and there were only a couple times I turned to my wife and mentioned the cheese factor. We both walked away feeling it was really decent.

    Though, I agree, not like those Craig mentioned.

  3. All those movies were made by Hollywood and except for Passion they were made largely by non Christians. The people who worked in the Golden Era of Hollywood were largely disgusting people in private but they knew they wouldn’t make a dime if they handed the then largely Christian move going public garbage. It’s not the movie makers who really matter it’s the people who pay to watch.

  4. Just saw OCTOBERBABY this morning. Very well done and very sensitive treatment of the Abortion predicament women find themselves in.

  5. […] Why Christian Produced Movies Are Stale – Jeffrey Miller, The Curt Jester […]

  6. I really love the Fireproof, I wonder why they said it sucks.
    I haven’t seen Courageous though.
    I should see it, Thanks.

    Alexia from trotinette thermique

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