Friend and fellow Act One alumnus Spencer Lewerenz was interviewed this past week by ninetyandnine.com. I was going to excerpt some passages, but it’s so good that I recommend going to read the whole thing here.
But I can’t resist publishing a teaser:
Behind the Screen was written by Christians working here in Hollywood for all the Christians outside Hollywood. The authors all have a lot of experience in the industry at a very high level. And as such, they have a perspective on the culture that most of us don’t. Most of us experience Hollywood via its products—TV shows and movies—as well as the whole cult of celebrity. We have a consumer’s view of the industry. The authors of Behind the Screen have a producer’s view. They know the economic models that drive the industry, the power structure by which decisions are made, the artistic realities of working in such a competitive and collaborative environment, and the predominant lifestyle and worldview of the people working in it. Behind the Screen is a collection of essays written by these insiders to help Christians on the outside better understand Hollywood and what our relationship with Hollywood should be.
This book is necessary because our lack of understanding in this area has gotten us in quite a mess. We find ourselves with little-to-no influence on the media that permeates every aspect of our lives. Everyone in the family now has a computer, a TV, a cell phone, an iPod . . . The media has become ubiquitous and unavoidable. And we Christians find our way of seeing the world, our ideas and morals, massively underrepresented. Often, the ideas and morals presented there are antithetical, even antagonistic, to our own. Look at Brokeback Mountain. If this were a movie about a man and a woman, it would still be an inversion of our values. This is a movie that says “Isn’t it tragic when people get in the way of what we want?” It’s an ode to self-love, a perversion of the sacrifice and self-giving that defines real love.
I hesitate to point this out, because we gripe about what’s on TV and at the movies all the time, and it just becomes more fuel for the culture war. But it’s valuable to realize just how helpless we are. There will be many more movies like this made because that’s what many people here believe life is like. They’re not intentionally trying to antagonize us. They are being true to their own convictions. But this way of seeing the world, so opposite to our own, will continue to permeate every facet of our lives through the media. And the sad thing is that we have helped to create this reality, and we will continue to do so unless we educate ourselves about Hollywood and change our approach accordingly. That’s why Behind the Screen exists, to help Christians take a more effective course of action and better live our faith in the process.