My son-in-law, Michael Greenholt, and Bob’s brother, Doug Jones, are both in “The Industry”. Now, to me the word industry (lower case “i”) conjures up mental images of 3-M, Lilly Pharmaceuticals, or General Motors; but then, I’m from the Midwest. Bob and I quickly learned that “The Industry” in southern California meant that which is the bread and butter for a large portion of the populous: the silver screen.
It’s actually a fascinating business for an outsider-looking-in. Mike took us into one of his work spaces and we were mightily impressed with his expertise and artistic skill as an animator. Naturally, we have followed Doug throughout his career as a prosthetics actor, and some of his stories of being under the heavy get-ups that can take HOURS to put on are pretty hilarious!
So when we go out West to visit, we inevitably run into writers, stage people, and those who are in various strata of “The Industry”. I still know so very little about the process, but I now have at least a small concept of part of it (and am certainly willing to stand corrected for those in-the-know…):
First, there is a story, perhaps from a book, which then is followed by the screen-writer who puts in much of the blocking and movement, which is followed by the actors who get “into character” and learn their lines, but who are then instructed by the director who tells them how he wants certain things to look, albeit it make takes several times for the players to get it just right as the director thinks it should be. (Naturally, this doesn’t preclude some personal interpretation on the actor’s part, which leaves their own distinctive stamp on the roll—who else but Ian McKellan could play Gandalf, I mean, really?!) At last the producer shreds much of the film onto the cutting floor and picks out only those pieces he thinks makes the movie just right, those things that will remain as the true story.
Ah, that life should be so clear cut….
And yet, to a degree that we are not fully aware of (yet), this is very similar to what God is doing in our lives.
God, the Ultimate Author, has given me a unique story, as well as all the other players with whom I have to interact throughout my life. God is also the Director who guides me until I get it just right, which can unfortunately mean several “takes”, (or sometimes, more than several…) This doesn’t mean He expects me to be a robotic automaton; quite the contrary, He has given me a personality with nuances that lend special “flavor” to my roll. (In other words, He wants me to play me, not someone else!) Finally, and this is truly amazing grace, there are parts of my life that (thankfully, gratefully) end up on the cutting floor so that the final reading in the Eternal Filmfest with that “great cloud of witnesses” will read just like He wants it. In fact, He’s just so good at what He does, sometimes He even allows that editing to happen on this side of eternity as well—check out how Abraham’s wife, Sarah, is set down in history as a woman of faith in the book of Hebrews compared to the historical account in Genesis! Now, that’s heavenly production at its best.
“The Lord will work out his plans for my life—
for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever…”
I’m in for as many takes…as it takes.
Psalm 138:8 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.