Let’s be real here. This is probably some of the hardest creative work most of us have ever done. The photos, tweets and Facebook posts make it look so sunny and fun, and don’t get me wrong, it certainly has. But it has also been incredibly challenging.
The schedule is packed; we’re working collaboratively, being taught by some of the best, and toughest, writers in the business, consuming coffee by the pound, keeping late hours, walking everywhere we go, and soaking in all we can.
Sound exhausting? It is.
But something keeps us going. What centers us in Christ as we give 110% to every single moment? Our spiritual community.
We’ve laughed and cried and prayed together. We’ve helped encourage each other in our work and wrestle with the tough questions of living the Christian life in this industry. We’ve had two students face really difficult situations back home while they’ve been here. We’ve argued over the use of capitalization in action lines and learned not to take criticism personally. And through it all, we’ve grown together in Christ.
Each day before the classes and the writer’s room begin, a student on the team leads a chapter from the devotion book “Getting Through the First Draft of Your Life” by scriptwriter Kris Young. In it, Kris unpacks the writer’s life: the discipline, the rejection, the isolation, the success, all of it. Over 40 chapters, he draws out a spiritual philosophy for writers: One that we’ve all gained from tremendously.
Kris came and spoke to us this week about the hunger In ‘n Out Burgers can’t fill. “Movies and religion feed the same hunger of the heart,” he said. “The hungry heart drives most of what humans do in their waking hours.”
As storytellers, that puts great responsibility in our hands to feed hungry hearts with the work that we produce. Kris encouraged us to consider the weight of that carefully and to allow that knowledge to make our stories better.
I could write a small book unpacking his two-hour lecture alone, but suffice it to say, we were all challenged to connect our writing life and our spiritual life so tightly that the two cannot be identified separately. And that’s what we’ve been practicing every day in L.A.
“Being” a writer is different than “doing” the act of writing. Over this trip, as our creative and spiritual worlds have found more overlap than ever, each member of our team is closer to finding the intersection of their talent and their calling. That’s not an easy journey to take, as we’re discovering. But it’s made easier when you fight it out with others facing the same thing.
Home and the “next step” are only a few days away, but while we’re here, come what may, we’re in it together.
Amanda Morad is blogging from Los Angeles as she participates in the Regent Hollywood Experience, a two-week total immersion experience in the professional world of Hollywood television.