donald miller's life makes a bad movie

New Community is Willow Creek's mid-week teaching service for Christians, and Donald Miller - who will do a separate Arts Conference session Friday morning - was there.

He talked some about his most recent book To Own a Dragon: Reflections On Growing Up Without A Father (one that remains on my read-soon list). Recently, he said, a movie studio called him to pitch an idea for turn the book into a full motion picture. On the phone he said, "No, God's not really leading me that direction."
Then they told him how much money they'd offer him.
"God has spoken." Donald said. :)

So he let the team come up for a week and he joined them brainstorming about how to convert his book to a screenplay. The problem was "about 95% of what they were coming up with never actually happened." ("guys, that building never actually exploded..." "the FBI wasn't really involved").

Finally a executive took him aside in frustration and explained, "Donald, we have to do this to make it more interesting." Truth is, Donald explained, our lives are really too boring to make a movie. And that was his point.

"We don't have good movie-like goals. For instance, imagine a movie about your plan to save up for five years to buy a Volvo. Movie ends as you drive the car off the lot. Sweet."

Quoting several times from USC film professor-emeritus Robert McKee, Donald defined basic elements of good story, like "negative turn," "conflict," and "resolution." But his point wasn't about the writing of stories, but living them.

"Let's live stories that would make good movies," he said. With an emphasis on big goals, tough journeys, courage... he laid out a narrative idea that can help define a Christian's life more than a Christian creed ever could - by defining what's right instead of the boundaries of what's wrong.