If I’ve seemed disturbingly quiet these last couple weeks, it’s only because my daughter McKenna was born August 19th. Now I’m a Daddy twice over. This puts a little pressure on finishing the film within a couple years: before she’s old enough to notice my negligence! Seriously, though, she’s awfully cute. I’m thinking of modeling her ... there’s a baby in my film.
During all the birth-day hubbub I managed to show my Father-In-Law the story reel. He’s a Bishop, so it was interesting to get his insight on a film such as mine that deals with large moral issues. He noticed right away the religious and mythological influences. To my great relief, he seemed to genuinely enjoy it. I worried a man of the cloth might take offense seeing that there’s an evil priest in the story. This fact had provoked concern among some who had previously viewed it. Believe it or not, for every archetype you exploit you’ll find a few offended by it, and even more worried that it might offend others! In fact, you’ll find far more people worried about offending others than actual offended people! I vote that, as storytellers, we stay above the fray. Our job is to tell stories that delight, inspire and provoke. Provocation is essential for effective audience engagement, so don’t shy from it. Unfortunately, this means people will be offended. That’s part of it. To avoid being offensive is to avoid engaging your audience.
One fellow at work expressed his displeasure in the story, citing that it cast “normals” in a bad light. He considered himself a “normal.” That was an unusual take on it, and has provoked much rumination on my part. Mainly, I’m amazed that someone exists who considers himself a “normal.” We’re all weird, aren’t we? Or don’t we all assume we’re weird? How does one identify himself as “normal,” when there’s no such thing outside of a storybook archetype? I think it’s a cultural universal, the fear of weirdness, both within and in others. This lends Sinister a potentially universal appeal. That is, I think the same ratio of people are bound to like it across cultures and demographics. And probably as many will hate it. My only hope is that I can find key people that support it among the elite demographic that can get it produced and distributed. After that, who cares who likes it? I know the occasional weirdo will, and that’s enough for me.
This one’s for the Weirdos! And McKenna, who’s normal.