I organized a prayer partner program for this year’s Act One participants. I had this when I went and was a pray-er the year after and it was such a good addition to this program. Catholicism didn’t train me to write up original prayers. Other Christians and Catholic clergy seem to do this much better, but I gave it a shot.
2011 Act One Pray-ers,
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I’m so grateful to all of you for volunteering to pray for an Act One Writer or Executive. I believe this is a great opportunity to build and strengthen our community.
First an admission, I’ve written several screenplays and stories, never a reflection like this. It isn’t a role I’ve ever had or one that I’ve had any training for. The perfectionist in me is sure it won’t be right, but here goes.
As I write this, I can’t help but think of my own feelings as Act One started for me in 2005. I had a strong faith that it would be a great experience and it was, but it was also demanding and challenging. I was both blessed and tested in ways I didn’t expect. God, I am so thankful that I was able to join this community and develop my writing through it.
So many moments come to mind, and I’ sure this years Act One classes also have new ideas and goals etched in their minds. I remember Dean Batali saying that working in Hollywood was like Nehemiah. How true. In Hollywood we are missionaries who must create and defend simulataneously. Few callings require that on a daily basis. Let us pray for Act One classes, their needs for strength and vision throughout the weeks ahead.
Another thought in the forefront of my mind is that we’re celebrating Pentecost today. What better time to begin a new class of Act One? If anything Act One’s writing and executive programs’ missions are to carry out the work of the Holy Spirit. Film and television are certainly media to “unbabel us” as Pentecost did and does.
Frank Cottrell Bryce, whose credits include Millions and Coronation Street, reminds us that “Cinema was made for transcendence.” How true. That’s what all the dramas and comedies that compelled me to join this profession did. Yet we know how often these media are squandered as they demean and discourage with low grade programming. Let’s pray that these programs prepare our partners to rise above the low standards, to create works that lift up our audience.
It isn’t easy to live one’s faith in Hollywood, many coworkers just don’t know how to respond. As Bryce explains:
the people I work with do tend to be surprised when I say I’m a Catholic. Or rather, when I say I’m a Catholic they assume I mean I’m a lapsed Catholic, that I’m just the same as everyone else but with a slightly more exotic childhood. And when I say, ‘no’, well it’s not that anyone’s ever taken issue with it but there is always that moment of surprise that tells you they had an image in their head, and it wasn’t you. And because people are polite you never quite know what that image is: did they think I was going to be St. Francis – poet, environmentalist, genius – or did they think I was going to be [a nutcase]?
Yes, we’ve all been there and this year’s class maybe has and probably will. Let’s pray that they let the Holy Spirit guide them through these times.
Flannery O’Connor once said:
The poet is traditionally a blind man, but the Christian poet, and storyteller . . . is like the blind man whom Christ touched, who looked then and saw men as if they were trees, but walking. This is the beginning of vision, and it is an invitation to deeper and stranger visions that we shall have to learn to accept if we want to realize a truly Christian literature.
Wow, can I do that? Can we?
With God’s help, by working together executives and writers, I’m certain we can, but I often I feel too small or not ready. I believe that God can do miraculous things through this community of Christians dedicated to offering our very best fruits to Him and for our world.
Let us pray for our partners that they take up this challenge and support each other with sincerity and humility, that they are open to the Holy Spirit’s work in their lives this summer.