Sunday, May 21, 2006

Over the Hedge

Cross-Post from 4:12 LIVE!

I know that Over the Hedge is an animated kid's movie. But it was cute, and funny, and well - it wasn't the DaVinci Code.

I love to write screenplays - stories that are meant to be watched, not read. I learned to write them by attending a program called Act One: Writing for Hollywood. The month that I spent learning to write movies was also a month I spent learning a great deal about the film industry in general.

One thing I learned is that Hollywood really does listen to us. Many Christians believe that Hollywood is evil and awful - the whole idea that "Nothing good can come from there" lives on in our churches. We like to boycott things - or just pout and complain about the TV shows and movies that we don't like. But boycotting isn't really an effective strategy and one of my Act One instructors came up with the idea to "othercott" the Davinci Code. The idea is this: when you go to a movie, you are essentially "casting a vote" that Hollywood counts. Your $8 movie ticket tells Hollywood what you want to see more of.

What really matters is money. So instead of plunking down money for the Davinci Code - and telling Hollywood "Yes! We'd like to see more movies that blaspheme the name of Christ." we went to see Over the Hedge and told Hollywood that "We want to see movies that are clean and fun and have something to say." (And yes, Over the Hedge had some great messages about greed, coveting, forgiveness and family). We cast five votes on Friday night and I couldn't be happier about it.

If you're new to this whole idea of voting with money, there is something important you need to know to cast your vote in Hollywood:

You have to go opening weekend. Nowadays, opening weekend votes are the ones that really matter. Some movies can pick up steam and stay steady and all that - but truly, the studios have their minds made up by Sunday of that very first weekend. They look at those numbers to decide what they will spend their money to make over the next few years.

If Christians would change their viewing habits, eventually Hollywood would change what they produce. Truly. If we actually went to see movies like Dreamer, or Akeelah and the Bee or The Island, or Over the Hedge or any number of really great films - then Hollywood would start to take notice that those movies make more money! See the trend here? Yes, it's all about how you spend your money that makes the difference. We can't just sit back and applaud that a good little movie came out - you have to plunk your $8 down. They can't see you smiling at a refreshing movie that doesn't assault your senses with violence and language. They can't hear you applauding a movie that doesn't demean our faith. You have to tell Hollywood with your money.

So this summer - think about what you're going to go see at the movies. Make your choice knowing that you are casting a vote. Knowing that Hollywood really is listening. Be a light in those dark movie theatres by choosing movies that reflect something worthwhile. You have more power than you think - use it wisely:-)

Why do I suddenly want popcorn?