A Filmmaker’s Journal


Fame vs. Flame

“Fame! I’m gonna live forever, I’m gonna learn how to fly. I’m gonna make it to heaven. Baby, remember my name!”  Lyrics from the title song of a once-famous movie that, ironically, most people under 30 have never heard of.

I just finished directing my first feature length film, Over-the-Rhine, an intense, emotional drama about forgiveness and redemption (post-production will take another three or four months). To accomplish this, I have been entrusted with an amount of money that, although tiny by Hollywood standards, is nevertheless terrifyingly large. By that standard, at least, it’s the biggest event of my life.

It’s my goal as a filmmaker to impact people’s lives. But will I? How many people will remember Over-the-Rhine (or my name, “baby”) a thousand years from now? Heck, how many people will remember it five years from now?

“Fame is fleeting,” the expression goes. But fame doesn’t matter. What matters is flame. What matters is that my film (or this blog post, or what I said to that homeless guy I drove to the shelter last week) ignites a spark of truth, of healing, of transformation.

Fame fades. But flames spread. It can begin with the intolerant guy who has a reality check while watching my movie and, as a result, raises his children a little more graciously, treats that clumsy barista a little more kindly. When his children (or the lightning_starting_firebarista) pass on the spark of forgiveness they’ll be passing a flame ignited by a movie they may never have heard of. And yet that flame may still be burning a thousand years from now.

So how do you ignite that kind of fire? You don’t. You go to the Source that lit the bush that “was not consumed” (Exodus 3:2) and let Him ignite you. Then you pass it on. Again and again and again. Because fame may be fleeting. But flame—that kind of flame—

Lives forever.

“He makes His messengers winds, and His servants flames of fire.”  ~Hebrews 1:7

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Memoir, Movies, Popular Culture & Entertainment, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to A Filmmaker’s Journal

  1. Spot on! When we get our hands in there and try to make our fire burn brighter, we’ve lost focus. I’ve had to learn patience … not fun by any standards. But I have been blessed time after time when I stopped seeking FAME instead of the FLAME.

    Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nancy V says:

    Someone asked me if I wanted to be famous as an author. I thought about it and decided all I wanted was an audience for my work. Good post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for a nice dose of perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. GP Cox says:

    I’ve never looked for fame, but I do want wish you all the best with your movie.
    I’ve been following you a while now, but rarely have the time to comment. My apologies.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well said!👍👍👍👍

    Liked by 1 person

  6. atimetoshare.me says:

    Sounds like the beginning of a great adventure. Keep us posted.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations ! Love the message you are passing on to tour children and how you stay on your walk of faith during this entire process! Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Terri Nida says:

    Wonderful to read! Thank you for reading my blog so that I could be introduced to your blog. I really like your message and plan to stop by often. You have passed on the flame today.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Nancy Ruegg says:

    SO inspiring, Mitch!! Thank you for a memorable image of spreading the fire of God (as we allow ourselves to be the fuel)–flames that are never consumed but continue to ignite kindness, forgiveness, peace, and joy, wherever we go, because those are characteristics of the Source within us. What a privilege we have to be servant-flames of his fire!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. r_prab says:

    Wonderful post,Sir! You are inspiring as always! Congratulations! It is a great accomplishment! You must have created a memorable film! Your belief and convictions must have transpired into your work and I am confident it would have the flame that you speak about! All the good wishes to you and the team. I will be eager to watch it on its release! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Roos Ruse says:

    That’s superb imagery there, Mitch. It’s a great message we can all take to heart. I can hardly wait to see the film. Congratulations, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. WOW!!! That was powerful Mitch…so much truth that I will be chewing on it for a while. I look forward to seeing your film, and I already know I am going to love it and pass the ‘flame’ along! I pray the Lord will continue to bless you as you write, direct and do all He leads you to! To GOD be the glory!!! 👆🏻👏🏻👍🏻🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Sasha & Lola says:

    Good luck with your film. I’ve been an extra on several films here in northern Norway. None of the films are out yet. One is due out this summer. It’s a Norwegian-Dutch production called Disappearance, directed by Boudewijn Koole. Cheers from Zoe at https://2bloggingcats.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Mitch, Thanks for visiting my blog and “liking” my poem “Force.” Dunno if you noticed but a link to my first screenplay was included below the poem. SURVIVALINPARADISE_by_Vernon_Miles_Kerr

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Bitey Dog says:

    Saucy wonderful sentiment! It was a joy to read. I hope your film does ignite a flame.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: What I Found In June |

  17. Hi mitchteemley. Now I have never trusted any man controlled religions or anything else nor ever had thoughts of being rich and famous! Too many people I would not want to meet. Writing is a passion that keeps me sane and alive! If it reads fine for me I am happy anybody else that likes it a bonus. May I wish you every success with your film the process sounds exciting! Thank you for liking my poem “Wreckage!” Truly appreciate it. Peace and Best Wishes. The Foureyed Poet.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Pingback: To be Immortal | Mitch Teemley

  19. mitchteemley says:

    Reblogged this on Mitch Teemley and commented:

    I wrote the post below (“Fame vs. Flame”) right after we finished shooting my first feature film as a writer-director. I’m re-posting it now as I get ready to leave for a production meeting on my new feature–due to begin shooting in three weeks!


  20. Bette Cox says:

    “It only takes a spark” … you’re a good spark-starter, Mitch. A firebrand. https://estherspetition.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/kindling/

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Gary Fultz says:

    You’ve got the right “Fire” Mitch. The species of fire that spreads rather than consumes. Good stuff, can’t wait to see the result!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. So powerful, Mitch. As I read this, I got chills…Yes, I pray that God uses your film to mightily ignite a flame for Him! God bless you greatly, my godly and talented friend! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. joyroses13 says:

    Such a wise post! Congrats on your film and eager to see it. Sounds like a powerful message that it has!
    OH and I have to say that I was singing along to your first paragraph. LOL! Guess that shows my age! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I am SO looking forward to seeing your film! God seems to be speaking to many of us about the importance of the small acts of faithfulness that keep the flame burning. (In contrast to the theme song from “Fame,” as I read your article, I thought of the more recent song “Dream Small.”) I just posted “The Friends I Didn’t Know I Had” hoping that many anonymous givers would see themselves in the story and know that God sees and doesn’t forget.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Ann Coleman says:

    Excellent post, Mitch! And I agree with every single word.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Great article and very inspiring. I definitely need to learn some tips in film making. Thanks for the great tips. I recently used a Sony A7s2 to make a short video for my family vacation in Japan. Check it out below.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Pingback: To be Immortal | Mitch Teemley

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s