Sun that givest all things birth
Shine on everything on earth!
If that’s too much to demand
Shine at least on this our land!
We celebrate in public. But when we fail we go home.
Note: To read The Wishing Mapfrom the beginning, click here.
Previously: After being mistakenly celebrated as a great warrior princess and given a mansion to live in, Gina was exposed by blackmailers.
Gina rubbed Puff’s soft, drooping ears until he drifted off to sleep; he was exhausted from his first two days in the world, especially from the traumatic events of that night. She kissed him on his inflamed horn nubs, then went and found a quill and parchment. She was tempted to tour her might-have-been palace one final time, but then decided not to torture herself. The note she left beside the sleeping dragon pup simply said:
Please take care of Puff.
It wasn’t that late when she left. But Frengan farmers went to bed early, so the main street was mercifully empty.
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I was directing my first feature film and I thought I knew everything I needed to know. I mean, heck, I have a master’s degree in theatre and have directed too many stage productions to count; I’ve produced movies and have directed a whole passel (as opposed to, say, a mere half passel) of short films; plus, I did four years of post-graduate study in film and have taught filmmaking at three universities. So, what was there to know?
At the end of week one (I’d love to tell you this happened long ago in a galaxy far away, but it was earlier this year) my Producer said he was hearing complaints. “But no one tells you to your face,” he explained, “because they like you and don’t want to hurt your feelings.” Hey, at least I’m a likeable loser. Oy.
So, I prayed–because God has no problem telling my things to me face–and He gave me His prize recipe for Humble Pie. Here it is:
Step One: Gather ingredients (call an urgent meeting).
Step Two: Mix ingredients (admit you’ve screwed up and ask for help).
Step Three: Bake at extreme high temperature (i.e. listen to their complaints, write down their suggestions, and earnestly thank them—they’re giving you one of the most important lessons of your life!)
Step Four: Remove from oven and allow to cool (send team home with promise to apply their suggestions).
Step Five: Serve warm, topped with a generous layer of fresh whipped humility (diligently review and apply their suggestions—over and over again)!
The Specs: The short films I’ve directed all involved my doing everything (lighting, directing, shooting, catering) with a little whatever-is-needed assistance from a couple of crew members. By contrast, my first feature film had over 30 dedicated specialists (tiny by Hollywood standards, but still substantial). Their advice at that fatal meeting:
I’d like to say I performed brilliantly for the remainder of the shoot. I didn’t, but I did improve. I might even have snagged a Most Improved Director award if there’d been one (of course, I was the only director). And I’ve saved the notes from my crew in a “Read This Before Filming” folder. No, I’m not a perfect director…
But when it comes to eating humble pie, I take the cake.
*Ironically, I used to get flak from actors for being “too specific” (i.e. too controlling), so I learned to include them in the process: “This is when he realizes he loves her—show me the moment that happens!” Creatives (cinematographers, productions designers, scenic artists) need some freedom too, but within parameters. Others (gaffers, grips, script supervisors) need diamond hard facts!
Karl Barth, one of the great philosopher-theologians of the 20th Century, was asked after a lecture at the University of Chicago in 1962 if he could sum up his life’s work in a single sentence. “Yes,” he replied: “‘Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.'”
Life isn’t fair! I found out when I was 5. You?
Why Life Isn’t Fair, Part One
For the first seven years of my life we lived in Downey, California, a suburb of L.A. Most of those years are a blur. But one memory is quite distinct: I’d reached the sagely age of five and was going to school! Which was neato. But what was even neato-er was that I would finally get to cross the street by myself! I still remember the delicious terror of crossing for the first time. I’d been warned that if I attempted to cross a street alone, cars—hundreds of them—would swoop down and kill me. Over and over again. And yet, here I was crossing the street, and not being killed even once. Then I had an epiphany:
Cars only kill you if you cross the street without permission!
This was the moment I first realized that there was aLaw of Fairness.No one…
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