Last week I told you what a Christian movie based on reality would look like. There’s actually a lot of normal people out there in normal families.
For some reason, in Christian movies there are some things you must do/ include depending on budget.
Let’s start with the inexpensively produced ones first. It’s a long list of painfully mandatory things on the checklist.
Bad sound. Your sound operator must wear hearing aids. You will go from hushed conversations that are almost inaudible to a full-throated pipe organ and back at least twice in the movie. Mostly you will be edging the volume up to hear what appears to be shouted volume. It is, however, hard to tell because the camera angle stinks and it’s so dark that vampires are hidden on the set and have never been detected.
The musical part of the sound track must consist of your brilliant, but socially awkward, niece’s original composition on the piano that is played with only two fingers. All you are allowed to alter is the tempo. The same 45 bars must cover all of the action.
All the actors will be from the same church. When they are not over-emoting on the screen they will be in the background. Look for no more than 100 faces in the movie.
It will largely be shot in the Sunday School section of the church and the home of one member. There will probably be one scene in a bad coffee shop simulation (all you need is a chalkboard with a menu!) and a bad diner scene. The diner is the church fellowship hall. Nobody will actually eat the food, but push it around for camera impact only.
Teenagers will either be sullen or so spunky that even Saint Paul would want to backhand a couple of them – on either side.
The plot will be convoluted. They had 20 minutes worth of material: it should have been a sketch. But they padded it out with a bunch of extra scenes with people lying on their backs staring at the sky and the camera revolving on the axis of their vision. They will also throw in at least one bicycle riding scene, and several long cuts to people with no dialogue who are listening to a lengthy exposition.
Best of all, the editors now have 3 hours of crap in the can, and they rather randomly cut the film to fit 93 minutes – the best scenes only, even if they don’t fit into the original plot.
Last, but not least, if you can slip in a couple of near accidents to show God is involved, you now have an inexpensive movie.
The expensive ones have better sound tracks, from moderately successful Christian acts, and feature either Dean Cain or Kevin Sorbo. Most of the other points still apply. But if the camera cuts wider than 50 feet of view in the first minute, there’s hope for the film. Actually, in fairness, Cain and Sorbo turn out some good flicks. They are definitely in the minority.
Oh, and the biggest plots in most modern “faith” movies:
Single mother moves to small town and struggles to deal with their past.
Pastor is losing his faith and finds amazing signs from God that he’s having an impact.
Someone is dying of a lingering disease and everyone is crushed by it except them. They will lend their strength to the dying person. There is a 50% chance they will recover.
First responders who have lost faith in the world and their spouse. (Same basic plot as the pastor, but flashing lights instead of candles.)
If it’s Canadian, there will be priests. If American no Catholics are allowed in Christian entertainment. I blame Luther.
Finally, some Bible story is set in the modern era. It will not be subtle, and people who skipped Sunday school after third grade will still figure it out in the first 15 minutes.
I think that covers it. See you next week.