Being on a Hollywood movie set has always been something I thought needed to see. My daughter and I traveled to LA and were extras on a set for a movie about the life of the late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computers. The scene was set in the 1970s and some of the set pieces were examples of the very first personal computers, dressed in muted 70s tones. The experience informed me of the power of story telling, even from the perspective of being one of many extras. And, yes, I was inches from Ashton Kutcher for once scene who is playing the role of Steve Jobs. The excitement about seeing Ashton Kutcher, to be honest, has more to do with his Twitter stardom than his acting. He is cool because he is kinda geeky in a good way. After all, he is playing Steve Jobs!
The story of Steve Jobs, who was a college dropout who then lived a life to become of the most inspirational creatives in our time is a story worthy of being told. We all have been impacted by what he has been part of creating, from personal computers to iPhones. Fortunately for me I grew up in the Silicon Valley, and once was performed for Steve Woznak at his home. My wife and I purchased our first computer, a Macintosh Plus, in 1990. The background of the film is something in my memory, with some small degrees of separation from the story. All of this made being on set all the more interesting.
What has always made me fascinated with filmmaking is that it employs many art forms, intersecting music, photography, acting, and literature to tell a story. In the day I was on the set, there were two different crane shots, closeups, and more. Each shot was orchestrated and crafted to allow the audience to identify with the character, the context, and the point in in the plot. A full-days work with hundreds of people only provided the footage needed for a few minutes of film. Once a scene is edited from all the available footage, there is audio dubbing, musical scoring, and of course the constant marketing plan that is has been in full swing.
The work of a community is required to pull off a film. Even the extras play a crucial part. To provide background may not earn a star on the Walk of Fame, but it will aid in drawing the audience into the story. We met a man named “Kent” who is a professional extra, working on sets at least three times a week. As first-time newbies, we were fascinated to hear his stories of the celebrities he has worked with. Kent had enthusiasm for his role, and it was contagious. What was apparent, the potentially chaotic group of people were easily managed because the goal of telling a story meant we all had a part to play. Crew, cast, extras, and catering all made it work that day.
What if in a church setting we looked at what we do as telling a story? In fact, I fundamentally believe that is what followers of Jesus do. We tell a story–the story of God redeeming his creation. If we saw that more clearly, we could stop arguing about who is the director, the lead, the crew, or background. Set design would do its thing. Makeup would do its thing. Being background might be our calling. Not all of us get to play the lead, or be a film director. However, we all can be part of telling the most important story known to man–God’s loves people!
Now, in our setting at church on Sundays we tell a story each week. We put on a song time, a sermon, and gather people for a cause. But, our story telling continues on between these weekend productions. The background moments of how we live our lives, how we pay our taxes, and who we care for all matter. All the world’s a stage. But, that is boring and disconnected if a story is not being told. So, let’s look at all we do as telling the story. Then, even being a movie extra can be pretty exciting.
If you are an Apple fanboy, this film probably will interest you, too. Here is the link to it –