Wednesday, July 12, 2006

parallelism, parables and image

Jesus used images that people were familiar with and compared them to the spiritual; this resulted in some of the best stories ever told, called parables.

I'm working on doing this aswell... I've found myself pulled into films when they used this method of story telling.

One example I remember clearly is in Finding Neverland when the dinner was over and the two families bickered with each other; then that beautifull goosebump moment when Berry (Johnny Depp) walks into his room/Neverland.

I've attached a script that I've tried this method on.


FADE IN:

INT. PHONE BOOTH - DAY
Man in a suit dials on a phone.

EXT. PHONE BOOTH - DAY

ROY, a tall black man in his 60's, stands on the sidewalk waving pamphlets in the air. THEO, 30, short bald dark skinned, the pastor, stands beside him.

INT. PHONE BOOTH - DAY

MAN
Do you want to loose out on this deal?

EXT. PHONE BOOTH - DAY

ROY
Do you want to miss out and go to hell?

INT. PHONE BOOTH - DAY

MAN
This is a special plan, only a few people will get this.

EXT. PHONE BOOTH - DAY

ROY
Only Christians will get into heaven. Not the Buddhist, not the Muslims.

INT. PHONE BOOTH - DAY

MAN
Not your neighbor, not the people with regular plans.

EXT. PHONE BOOTH - DAY

ROY
All you need to do.

INT. PHONE BOOTH - DAY

MAN
… is sign this paper.

EXT. PHONE BOOTH - DAY

ROY
Just say this prayer.

INT. PHONE BOOTH - DAY

MAN
And you'll have the best insurance ever!

EXT. PHONE BOOTH - DAY

ROY
And you'll get into heaven and be able to live for ever.

INT. PHONE BOOTH - DAY

MAN
Don't miss out. You never know what could happen.

EXT. PHONE BOOTH - DAY

ROY
You could die to morrow. Don't miss out and go to hell!

A white woman takes the pamphlet and shakes Roy's hand.

INT. PHONE BOOTH - DAY

The man nods his head.

MAN
You made a wise decision.

EXT. PHONE BOOTH - DAY

ROY
You made the right choice.

Spilt screen.

Roy and the man are smiling.

ROY (CONT'D)
God Bless you.

MAN
God Bless you.

EXT. PHONE BOOTH -DAY

Roy pats Theo on the back .

ROY
Another soul for the Kingdom.

INT. PHONE BOOTH - DAY

The man writes a check on his clip board.

MAN
Another sucka.

EXT. PHONE BOOTH - DAY

The man walks out laughing, and turns to Roy who is also laughing and putting a check on his clip board.

MAN
Hey.

ROY
Hey.

At the same time, the man and Roy exchange brochures and pamphlets.

MAN
Would you like to get some premium health insurance? If you find ten more people who are interested, you can get 50% off.

Roy shakes his head.

ROY
This sounds like a pyramid scheme to me.

Roy hands the pamphlet back to the man.

ROY (CONT'D)
Are you a Christian?

The man shakes his head to say no.

MAN
Naah, that church stuff sounds like a pyramid scheme to me.

The man hands the pamphlet back to Roy, and walks off. Roy laughs.

ROY
Pastor Theo, can you believe this guy?

Theo shakes his head.

THEO
He has a point.

Roy and Theo turn and walk the other way.

ROY
The only point he has is the one sticking out of the top of his head.

THEO
You can't treat people as statistics Elder Roy. Church is not spiritual insurance. Church is people.

Fade out:

1 Comments:

Blogger Kevin C. said...

Elias,

Thanks for your thoughts here on "parable" ... Writers of faith will appreciate the "prophetic" nature of the piece. Those unable to identify themselves as people of faith will appreciate the commercial irony/reductionism that is often portrayed behind the Christian's desire to proselytize.

Try to get a copy of Dennis Bounds' paper: "Crash Into Me: Parable as Narrative Schema in the 2005 Film CRASH".

He compares the seven (7) converging story lines (vignettes) in the recent movie CRASH to a constructive narrative situation roughly comparable to the "Parable".

As you suggest, parable is presented as an idea, or cautionary tale. It necessarily lacks fully formed character arcs, so the audience has to go home and argue: "Did they really change?"

Paul Haggis wants his audience to wrestle with, for example, "The Parable of the Racist Cop" (has he become a different man, etc.)

Parables must also hit a cultural nerve to be effective. CRASH attacks our ill-formed notion of intimacy in postmodern society; (i.e. Don Cheadle's V.O. "... in L.A. nobody ever touches -- we miss that touch, so we crash into each other just so we can feel something again...")

You, too, have hit a cultural nerve my friend in your parable: The failure of "organized religion" to TOUCH US where we need it most!

Keep writing,

Kevin C.

6:14 AM  

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