Art is Risk

I’m not the first person to ever say that, I know I’ve heard it from lots of different people. Because it’s true.

A few days ago I posted the pilot episode of the show I’m developing. Me and a couple dozen amazing people who volunteered their time worked very hard on it. They trusted I had a clue what I was doing. They trusted that when it was all put together it would make sense. That it would be good, and funny.

Jon Acuff wrote a post on his blog about writing. One thing off his list really jumped at me:

“Fear will never tell you that you should write a book. Quit asking it if you’re ready. The only answer fear ever gives is “no.” (This is true of all endeavors, not just book writing.)

The last week of post work on the pilot, I was really battling fear. Was it good enough? Was it funny? Would anyone watch it? Have I wasted all these people’s time? Who do I think I am to produce a TV show?

Two things got me through that.

A few weeks ago I literally made list of the answers to the question; Who am I to do this? I won’t quote that whole list here, but I will tell you what the first and last reasons are. I suspect they apply to anyone who has a dream:

I am made and loved by God.

I am the one God called to do this.

There’s a lot of personal stuff in between on that list that only applies to me and my specific situation. But every person is made a loved by God. And if God has given you a vision, it’s your vision that you are called to do.

The other things I did was to put the movie Flywheel on my iPad. Those of you who don’t know, Flywheel was Sherwood Pictures first film. It was the one before Facing the Giants, which led to Fireproof, and finally Courageous. Like it or n0t, Sherwood pictures and their films have radically changed the expectations of Christian film. It’s pretty easy for people who want to do video and film work to look at Courageous and think they can’t do anything like that with their gear, talent, budget. You have to remember that Sherwood didn’t start there, they started at Flywheel. Watch Courageous and then watch Flywheel.

Please understand two important things. I’m not saying that excellence isn’t important. And I’m not saying that Flywheel wasn’t an excellent movie. But anyone can watch it and see that the later movies have consistently improved, as they should. Excellence is doing the best you can with the time and resources you have available.

So the second thing I did was try to keep perspective. We spent less than $170 total to shoot a pilot. I borrowed thousands of dollars worth of gear. Amazing people volunteered on the crew and cast. The pilot episode was never going to be the Avengers. And that’s OK. I’m not the first person to say this either; Something that’s 90% of what you want it to be and released will impact 100% more people than something that is 99% what you want and still being tweaked.

Last night was the first time I sat in a room with people who had never seen it, and heard them laugh at the jokes. I did not choose to do that, but someone asked to see it, and before you know it, we were all watching it. I was very nervous. These folks have pretty high standards for comedy and media consumption. And they would be perfectly fine with sitting politely through whatever project I’m working on, but they wouldn’t fake amusement. What if no one laughed? This is a comedy for crying out loud! I probably breathed a sigh heard down the street when we all laughed together while watching. They didn’t laugh at every joke. But they did laugh, and seemed to enjoy the show. I’m sure some people won’t like it. That’s part of the deal. But some people do.

Is the pilot amazing? Yes, in many respects, because I know who made it and how it was made. But we ain’t winning an Emmy. Can it be better? Yes! Future episodes will be better. And funnier.

Art is risk. If God has called you to do it, risk it! It’s so much better than wishing you could/would do it. Courage isn’t doing something without fear. It’s doing something through fear.

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