Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

21 February 2013

We're A plot... not THE plot

 Hugh Grant played a fascinating character named Will Freeman in the terrific movie About a Boy. Will was independently wealthy and tried to live on his own "island" with himself as the primary character in his own plot. 

The thing is, a person's life is like a TV show. I was the star of The Will Show. And The Will Show wasn't an ensemble drama. Guests came and went, but I was the regular. It came down to me and me alone. If Marcus' mum couldn't manage her own show... if her ratings were falling, it was sad, but that was her problem. Ultimately, the whole single-mum plot line was a bit complicated for me.
Will Freeman in About a Boy

In the movie, Marcus, an impish little guy somehow weasels his way into Will's life and wrecks his whole paradigm and destroys his living philosophy.  But ain't that always the way?

I liked Will's character in some ways, because he at least knew his own story.  Many of us don't.  It was a very lonely and unengaging story his character was living in what he assumed was "plot"... but at least he was self aware enough to know what role his character was playing. The problem was that they wouldn't have made a movie about Will without Marcus. It was BARELY a subplot in the grand scheme... let alone plot. There was no...conflict. And it's puzzlingly a life that many aspire to. 

"The important thing in island living is to be your own activities director. I find the key is to think of a day as units of time...each unit consisting of no more than 30 minutes. Taking a bath: One unit. Watching Countdown One unit. Web-based research Two units. Exercising: Three units. It's amazing how the day fills up. I often wonder, to be absolutely honest...if I'd ever really have time for a job. How do people cram them in?"
Will Freeman in About a Boy 

It led to... nothing for Will. 

Have you ever been challenged to tell your story?
Define your "character" and write a "treatment" for it?
Articulate your "plot"?

My brother and I recently tasked ourselves with telling our story in an audition tape for Canada's upcoming Amazing Race.  We debated back and forth a bit about what "The Dave and Rick" story is... and came up with this:

We had a nibble... or two... or three... from the producers, but ultimately didn't make it onto the show. BUT... we DID get into the process which has been very exciting! It reminded me of the importance of being able to TELL a good story with our lives by actually LIVING a good story. Spin only goes so far without meat on the bones.

But WE aren't THE story.  We're A plot... not THE plot. Dave and Rick Carrol aren't THE story.  There are producers, and advertisers, and casting agents... all with their own stories and a task to put together one cohesive show with a plot... and conflict and characters.  So we researched their vision for "the plot" tried to tell the story that would jive with their needs. Kinda like how we need to look at God's big picture, discover our calling... and be pleased to be offered what we have to play... A role.

Today is a bit of a bummer for me because of the disappointment having had a tease of a chance of being on this amazing show with my brother... but I AM not THE plot.  I'm a subplot in THE plot.  And God's plans didn't include this race... this time. We'll try again next year. But for now it means that my character gets to learn and grow in others ways... and it likely means continuing to strengthen my relationship with my brother like we wanted to do in the first place.

"I've wondered if one of the reasons we fail to acknowledge the brilliance of life is because we don't want the responsibility inherent in the acknowledgment. We don't want to be characters in a story because characters have to move and breathe and face conflict with courage. And if life isn't remarkable, then we don't have to do any of that... we can be unwilling victims rather than grateful participants"
Don Miller

1 comment:

Will said...

You must have read, 'a million miles in a thousand years' recently. I like it a lot.

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