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PAW10 – Chad Lewis (Transcript)

Joshua Ling 0:00
Today’s episode of poets at war is sponsored by the following. Imagine countless worlds before you fantasy and science fiction tales, heroes charging gallantly into battle heedless of win or fail upon the ancient steps of glory. A battle for time must be one. Join the characters from every realm as they seek the words. Well done. Audio adventures podcast by Joshua David Ling, full of epic poetry, sure to make your heart sing. If you like listening to rob Inglis, read the Lord of the Rings, or Andrew Peterson read his wingfeather saga. You’ll love audio adventures by Joshua David link. Visit Joshua David link comm slash audio adventures to listen

Joshua Ling 0:57
today on poets at wall we speak with Chad Lewis, filmmaker extraordinare and his philosophy on beauty and following Christ without timidity. You are now entering the warp zone. This is poets.

Joshua Ling 1:27
Yeah, so I don’t really do the question, I do more of a Let’s talk. So let’s talk about let’s talk about good to me and introduce your project, your your, your big project that I’m involved in and everything going on right now.

Chad Lewis 1:43
Yeah, so right now, I am currently working on trying to get a film studio off the ground. It’ll be called Red Angel studios. We don’t have any kind of social media presence or anything, as of right now, because I just haven’t been able to get that up and running because we don’t have really anything to promote on social media just yet. So but that should be forthcoming as this project that you just refer to will develop and that is a animated film. That is meant to sort of pay tribute to 90s animation, particularly Disney films such as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. And it is based on a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale called the shadow. That is the working title of the film right now as well, it will probably change because there already are a few other movies that exist called the shadow, as well as with some of the changes I made. When writing the script for it. I don’t feel that that is the best title for this particular take on the story. Because the story in the original is much more dark. fits better with the title with that title, whereas mine has a more hopeful outlook on the storyline. So it just doesn’t feel like it. it jives well with the script, I don’t think it does. So I’m currently brainstorming some ideas for a different title. But for right now, it’s called the shadow since that’s the name of the source material. And it’s just basically about this philosopher who is obsessed with goodness, truth and beauty. And he writes about those topics a lot. He’s very passionate about them. And he has a problem where the books he writes from doing it, don’t sell well. And so he’s getting a bit discouraged about that his you know, financial struggles all that which the my film it doesn’t get too much into his financial struggles, but it alludes to them. Um, and one night while he is sort of trying to figure out what to do, he knows his his shadow on the balcony across from his apartment, and notices that it’s positioned just right because the light is behind him that it looks like his shadow is one of his neighbours. So to amuse himself, he starts to have a conversation with his shadow. And in so doing, commands it to go into the apartment to tell him what he sees, or what the shadow sees. And then he walks backwards into his own apartment to make it look like a shadow enters into the neighbouring apartment. And then when he comes back out onto the balcony, you know his his his shadow is gone. You no longer has a shadow, which is very distressing for him. And then sometime later he gets a knock on his door. And this individual claiming to be his former shadow is at the door and wants to be friends. And as the story progresses, I won’t go too much further into it. But as the story progresses, it becomes clear that the shadow is ideologically the philosopher’s dark opposite. And that starts to really come into play in the narrative as they encounter a princess who, whose father is trying to marry her off. And the philosopher falls for her. But the shadow sees her as opportunity for personal gain. And so the way their ideological disagreement plays out in that particular context, sort of sets the stage for a real world conflict. And I’m very excited to show to people, you’ll have musical numbers just like this classic 90s Disney films. I’ve been working with a good friend of mine to do the music, very excited soundtrack for this project.

Chad Lewis 6:45
Very excited about who I have cast, of course, you’re playing a couple of characters. In the film, you’ll you’ll be playing the the princesses father, as well as the philosopher’s pet dog, and a mouse that is friends with said dog. So very excited for that I was really pleased with the voices that you did in your audition tape for those characters. So very excited to hear what you do with those characters, and can’t wait for everyone listening at home to see the finished product when it comes out in probably two or three years. Yeah,

Joshua Ling 7:25
yeah, I I’ve been really pleased with everything I’ve done on this project. So far, I’m really excited about it. But we haven’t gone too in detail in our personal conversations about we did a little bit on who you are, and how this film came about, through your experiences and that sort of thing. And how they connect because any or any artists worth his salt is drawing from personal experience. So I kind of want to I want to dive into you know, this, this, you have a very strong you know, the inner I want more bit princessy feeling I can tell in you about truth, beauty and goodness, but at the same time, I think you have a good healthy, cynical side. You know, like I said, alluding to making truth, beauty goodness, philosophy books, they don’t really sell. Like, even that I get right. I can kind of see beyond the veil just a little bit into into your struggles. And I kind of want to learn who you are how your particular branch of Christianity has has influenced your art, and sort of just your journey. Can you take us into that?

Chad Lewis 8:43
Yeah, um, wow, where to start on that question.

Joshua Ling 8:46
I know, right?

Chad Lewis 8:47
Well, I was, yeah. Um, I’ll just I’ll start with kind of explaining the origin of this particular project, and how this one kind of came about. Um, so I went to a Bible college for about five years. Um, that was an interesting experience, very formative. For me, I found in the process of doing I found a great church. A great group of friends who I would consider a second family for sure. So there’s a lot of great things that happened from that. I feel like I learned a lot from doing that. But there’s also a lot of bad experiences with it, which is where that sort of more cynical side comes in. Um, you know, I very much in my friend group known as the the optimist, you know, because all my friends tend to be on the more pessimistic side of things and so I tried to counterbalance that by being more optimistic. But I’m a very pessimistic optimist. In my own grey I, yeah, I was, I went through a few things where I got burned pretty bad in college, and it wasn’t so the school’s fault. It was more of the fault of some, you know, bad apples who attended the school, right. But that all kind of came together to kind of create me as I am now. And I was going into my final semester at this school, and I was taking great rocks of the 20th century. And one of the assignments for the class was create a work of art in the palace and from the 20th century. That reflects goodness, truth and beauty. To being a movie guy, no, I wanted to do film, I decided I’m going to do something movie related. So I started thinking about it, I was like, You know what, 90s, Disney was very influential to me, as a kid grew up watching Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Lion King came along a little bit later, but that one is probably my favourite of the 90s Disney films, I think that it movie is the closest you will get to a perfect movie, the more times I’ve watched it, the more times I the more trouble I have, finding legitimate things to criticise about it. So like, no movie is perfect, but I think that movies, closest we have to a perfect film. love it so much. So very influential films for me. Um, so I decided let’s do something in that style. So I started writing this script for that. And that script was very much the culmination of my journey at that school, of just trying to be a story guy. And it’s in a college that was predominantly focused on theology and philosophy, not that there’s anything wrong with those two things, I learned a lot from all those classes, I think they’re all very important. I think any storyteller should know those things. Essentially, if you’re a Christian, um, but I was in a school environment where most everyone wanted to be professors or pastors, or, you know, just wanted to be there to be better at being parents or, you know, and train their kids or whatever, you know, very teaching oriented, and I was like, I want to create, you know, so I was very much the odd man out with regards to not so much socially but with regards to what I wanted to do with my life, I was the odd man out. Um, and there was kind of a struggle there of having of trying to apply what I was learning in my assignments it to the particular of me, and my professors were great. They were very supportive of that very helpful in doing that. One of my professors even let me for a historical theology class do a paper on essay that GK Chesterton wrote about heroes, which was that essay was very influential to me as a writer. That one means a lot to me. So the fact that he let me do that was a tremendous blessing.

Chad Lewis 13:44
And so this, this film is very much thematically the culmination of all of that, of struggling to understand these things. And appreciate them all at the same time, while also in my case, trying to create something of value. And I hope that comes through. And the final film,

Joshua Ling 14:12
yeah, definitely the the thing that I’m alighting on more and more these days is this idea of, you know, you talked about being in the in the teaching realm. A lot of these people were being trained to be in the teaching realm. That’s a very conservative idea. And it’s something that is not just conservative politically, but it influences the conservative end of all politics, even the liberal politics do essentially the same thing. When you are creating something institutionally, that is set to train more institutions, it becomes very incestual in nature. It kind of creates its own little bubble, and things tend to, you know, devolve over time. And the hard part of any institution is creating. And even individuals, the hard part for any individual is creating something that is taking risk and moving, actually progressing, you know, what you’re trying to accomplish? And that’s one of those things with art that people have lost. They say, Well, what, what good does it actually do? What actual boots does it put on the ground? And you kind of touch on it in your script a little bit in that regard as well? What is the what is the purpose in the of talking about goodness, truth and beauty? Oh, well, you know, what you could say the same thing about actually creating goodness, truth and beauty. What’s the point? And really, the point is worship, in the end is worship and fellowship. That that’s one of the big things, I think the best thing that I I’ve been trying to push, lately, everyone kind of gets that it’s worship. I don’t think everyone gets that it’s fellowship. I’m the most influential times like you’re talking about with, with film, you know, growing up with a Latin and beating the beast and things like that. You were having fellowship with those around you, even if you were kind of just watching it yourself. You were spending time with the people around you and engaging in the same thoughts and the same appreciation and the same beauty. When you have fellowship, it’s not always something that’s immediately between two people like, you know, me talking to you and you talking to me, sometimes it is us listening to something else, or viewing something else, right. And I think that that gets really lost, because everyone says fellowship is a good thing. Everyone says, you know, unity with your fellow man is a good thing. But we don’t really believe that when it comes to viewing something. Or listening to something or experiencing something that is outside of the fellowship group. And I don’t know why that’s it’s very strange to me. I don’t know if you have any thoughts on that. If not, we can move to the question of either way, you choose your own choose your own adventure here. The basically like, where your faith in particular, you know, your your denomination, your church, your your specific form of faith inter intersects with what you’re trying to accomplish as an artist.

Chad Lewis 17:59
Oh, boy, to a very good questions, I’ll try to answer both of them. Okay. Go for it. So, um, yeah, with regards to what you were talking about, with fellowship, and, and, and all these things. I’m a big believer in the idea that art and stories in particular, they bring us together, you know, we all return to the same stories. Because they inspire us. You know, um, one of my favourite quotes about stories is actually in the TV show Westworld, which I don’t necessarily recommend to everybody, there’s, there’s a, there’s a bit of nudity, but a sexual content in that show. So I would advise engaging with that show with caution. Um, but there’s one scene in that show that really resonated with me as an artist, where Anthony Hopkins character is listening to a pitch for a story for the park that the the show is named for. And the guy finishes his pitch. And Anthony Hopkins, turns the pitch down. And the reason he gives is we, we don’t do this, for the simple things. People don’t come back to this park for the gimmicks. They come back because we show them something about themselves. Something that they fall in love with. People don’t return to this park and I at this point, I could say you could fill in the word story, right? People don’t come back to stories to be told who they are. They already know who they are.

Joshua Ling 20:03
Romans, we’ll

Chad Lewis 20:03
come back to get it. Yeah, they come back to get a glimpse of who they could be. And then he turns to the guy and says, The only thing your story tells me Mr. Sizemore is who you are. And that’s why he turned it down. And that resonated with me as a storyteller, about and a lover of film, about why I come back to a lot of the stories why I keep coming back to Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you know, all these stories that I love. And it’s because they present you with something that is outside of yourself. Something that you can aspire for, you know, heroes are the represent things that give life purpose. You know, and I think all of us are drawn to the same stories, like there’s a reason there’s so many fans of Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Batman, Marvel, you know, all of these larger than life stories. And a lot of the classic films like Gladiator, Braveheart, you name the classic, right? We all are united our love of these films. Because we all recognise that there is something there, you know, that we all want to achieve. And that’s why we all love to talk about these arcs. And these characters, right like that. I am convinced, if you’re not sold on the characters, the story doesn’t work, you know, because routinely, whenever I talk to people about all of these franchises, are these individual standalone classics, that we all love. What we always come back to what we always talk about are the arcs of the characters. You know, and it always, in some way, reflects what we all learned from those characters, you know, because what we end up talking about is what we took away from the characters and what we took away from their arcs. You know, and that’s where the fat fellowship element comes in. We all go on this journey with these characters. And we grow with those characters. If we’re invested in this character, we go on that journey with them, and we grow with them. And it shows us the best parts of ourselves, you know, as well as, Shine shines a light on the worst parts, through villains or through anti heroes that have a downward trajectory, such as Michael Corleone in The Godfather series. They show us truths about ourselves, the things that are comfortable about us and things that are uncomfortable. And if they do it, well, they make us want to be better. Um, and in that regard, stories of any kind are inspiring. Um,

Joshua Ling 23:28
let me be devil’s advocate here for a second you can you can answer, you can answer that person. What about the person who’s, you know, very Calvinistic, very reformed? Who would say essentially, well, okay, we’re learning about ourselves. But what’s so great about ourselves, isn’t it about Jesus, even the fundamentalist would say this, right? Somewhat is basically saying like, okay, so us, us, us, us. That’s what I’m hearing what what’s the point then, like, I’m not interested in us, I just want my Bible. I just want Jesus, what do you say to that person?

Chad Lewis 24:03
Glad you asked that, because it actually can transition me to answering your second question about how my Christianity impacts my storytelling.

Joshua Ling 24:12
So hello, serve it up.

Chad Lewis 24:15
Exactly. So transitions, gotta love them. Um, so at the end of the day, all good art, I believe, reflects the Creator. Um, and I can get into more depth with that I have sitting next to me a book, art for God’s sake, by Philip Ryken, which I highly commend. It’s, it’s a thin little book. It’s for reading reading afternoon. So if anyone out there hasn’t read this book, I highly recommend you get it. It was super helpful for me in understanding the importance of art and the place of art in the Christian life. And he goes over, I’ll spoil the book a little bit. For points that are vital principles for Christian art. Point one, the artists call and gift come from God. And he bases that off of things like when they were making the tabernacle, in the Old Testament. The Lord put His Spirit on these two individuals to sort of spearhead the making of and he didn’t just give them the Spirit so that they would follow his directions precisely, but so that he that they would create something beautiful, and pleasing to the eyes, right. So the tabernacle in that way reflects goodness, truth and beauty and that it’s good and true, and that it follows the Lord’s instruction for worship. But the way it is done is so perfect in its craftsmanship that it is also beautiful. Right? So he’s making the case through that passage, that the artists call and gift come from God just like any other gift, and, and is therefore no less important. Right? Point to God loves all kinds of art. So whether you’re into film, like I am, or you’re into music, or writing novels, or poetry or painting, or you know, you take your pick, whatever art you you love, God loves all of it, when it when it when it’s done, well, you know, and when it reflects the, the truths found in Scripture. I’m point three, God maintains high standards for goodness, truth and beauty. And this bleeds out of the previous point of God expects not just good art from us, he expects the best art, which is part of my problem with a lot of Christian art these days have isn’t the best. It doesn’t mean aspire to be the best, it knows what it needs to do, to sell. And it’s perfectly content to do just that. And I think that is a very biblical math methodology. Especially from things like a Christian film industry, of this is what we need to do to cater to our audience, this will make us this is what will make us the money. You know, it’s like, at the end of the day, making art, for God’s sake, is not about the money you make from it. I mean, if you make money from it, that’s great. You got to make a livelihood somehow, right? Especially if you can make money. Yeah, right. You know, right, you know, you a livelihood is necessary for well living, right. And it’s part of being a good steward that we provide for our families that we provide for ourselves, you know, if you don’t have a family, you know, so, if you make money from doing your art, great, you know, but that shouldn’t be the ultimate goal, the ultimate goal should be this. And that’s where you get to the fourth point of what rakin says, which is, art is for the glory of God, at the end of the day, whatever art you make, is for the glory of God. And that’s why you show your audience that which is true about themselves and what they ought to aspire for. Because in doing so, as a Christian, you show biblical principles for godliness, through your characters. If you’re doing a tragedy, you do that through the lack of it, you show that which is false wicked and grotesque for what it is, you know, um, you show the detrimental nature of those things for what Shakespeare would call a comedy, right? You show it through the presence of goodness, truthfulness, and beauty. And you create something that shows people this is a godly principle. This is what you ought to aspire to be, you know, because part of our duty as individuals, and especially as Christians is not simply to go to church and worship God on Sunday morning, it is to live holy, godly lives. I’m totally with h o l y, you know, but live lives that glorify God. And so you create art that glorifies God, when your art presents principles that encourage people to live those lives,

Joshua Ling 30:44
and I don’t even I tie it even closer slightly. For especially for the fundamentalist crowd. Just give me Jesus in my Bible, right? So especially for those folks, I’d say, Christ came to earth, to live and to die. And to essentially live out a holy life, like you talked about, he came to be that example. But it was more than just the morals it was more than just the steps. This is the pattern. This is the image of God in time. This is what the image of God looks like when it is placed within time. Christ is our perfect example. And by Hebrews, we can trace it back to all the different types of Christ in the Old Testament and the New Testament before him. These are the people who went on, you know what, what a lot of secularists would call the hero’s journey, they went on this, this stretch of trials and testing. And they and they came through or they didn’t come through in the case of some of them. But God’s grace saw them through Sampson’s a great example of that one of my favourite examples of that, you know, he got this guy who did all the wrong things, all the wrong things. And yet, God saved him, not physically, but spiritually. And God saved his people physically through the actions of that one man. You know, in that way, it’s both the tragedy and comedy. And that’s one of the greatest one of the most amazing stories of God’s grace. And so for those who are just about Jesus Jesus Bible Bible, yes, exactly. That’s, that’s the point we’re trying to make. We’re all pointing to Christ, every single protagonist, exactly the protagonist of all of time in history, Jesus.

Chad Lewis 32:38
Mm hmm. Yeah. And that’s something that is very much a part of the thought of JRR Tolkien who, of course, wrote The Lord of the Rings. If you ever read his essay on fairy stories, which I also highly recommend fantastic essay. He talks about the idea of a, a you catastrophe, which would be the opposite of a catastrophe. Right? It is the absence of catastrophe. And he talks about how a fairy story builds toward you catastrophe, where no matter how dark, the story is, up to that point. When you get to the end, it’s all better. You get to happily ever after. And he ties that in at the end of the essay, and he does it so beautifully. Like, I almost don’t want to try to paraphrase it because I’ll butcher it. But he ties in so beautifully into the gospel at the end of the essay. And he shows how the story of the Bible presents you with what he calls the fairy tale or the myth become real, not that the Bible is a myth. Right when it when I quote that from Tolkien, a lot of people misunderstand me as saying that the Bible is is a myth it no no, no, that’s not what Tolkien say. It’s not what I’m saying. Right? I was not a myth. Bible is true it the events depicted in the Bible really did happen.

Joshua Ling 34:13
Write too much time on that one, because that is something my listeners totally get most of the time. So go ahead.

Chad Lewis 34:19
Yeah. Um, so but that’s the idea of the myth become real, right? Because all of the myths out there, font ultimately find their source in the Bible, and God’s true story, you know. And so when we tell a story that reflects truth, we point back to Scripture to God’s story of the ultimate catastrophe which is this sacrifice of Christ, His death, burial and resurrection his by dying and being raised again. he conquers sin and death, the two greatest enemies to humanity, you know, and that’s established, right? The beginning of Scripture, you know that that the Paradise is lost immediately in Scripture. And that is the conflict between a seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, the entire scripture and that culminates in the ultimate see to the woman in Christ. smashing the head of the serpent, you know, but I don’t, I don’t know who originally said this. My pastor told me this. I don’t know where he got it from. But the story of Scripture is the story of the the prince slaying the dragon and getting the girl. Yep, you know, Christ is the hero of the Bible. The his people, and Israel and the church are the damsel in distress and Satan. Reference is sort of representing sin and death is the dragon that needs to be slain. Um, and that is the model of every great story ever since. Um, and if you love your bible so much, you should also love stories that reflect that

Joshua Ling 36:44
who might drop? Yes. So the I’ll point to one other thing, you know, that this was this was a big part of my life. And I brought it out a little bit in James Ferens podcast when I did with him. For poets at war. The, the I was brought up in the church, I was covenant child, in our language, our Presbyterian language, you and I. And so I was brought up in that, and my only major crisis of faith, and it was a fairly major one was, you know, what a lot of people in my camp deal with is the hypocrisy in the church. Um, and the question comes up, and it’s posed, it’s a very common question, and I dealt with it in my way, and that’s more what I’m getting to than the question itself. But the question is, why this backwater Jewish saviour? Why this guy? Why is he like, okay, I can accept the idea of this, Mano mythic hero. But why this one? Why this one backwater Jewish saviour? Why is he specifically the one and one of the biggest things that really brought that home? You know, you mentioned him coming and saving the bride, which is the church and you know, in the Old Testament, the ethnic people in order to get to him genetically, that was, that was the whole point of the God’s chosen people, you know, is to get to this saviour. Um, with, with all that being said, I was like, Okay, well, if that’s true, and he saved them Where else is he saved him, and I realised through the song of Albion trilogy by Stephen Lawhead, which is a historical but also mythological, portal fantasy. Sort of drew out this point, and I learned more about history because I was researching history surrounding it and some of the characters that he King Arthur rises, essentially, you know, it kind of turns into historical fiction. The fact is that every single culture around the world and I started researching every all these different cultures and things, every single one. Christ fulfils in a slightly different way. Every single one, he is their hero in Irish mythology in particular, although is only one I’ll go into for your sake, just so you can know what page I’m on the air dry, the hiking of Ireland, had to walk through fire as a right refiners fire. He could not be mutilated in any way he could not be maimed and no broken bones, people could not bring a crime against him. He had to be chosen from outside the rulers of Ireland. So he could not be rise from being a king of a smaller province to the high king. So he had to be completely separate from the people. In that way, not a foreigner but he had to be separate from from the ruling class, you know, and so like there is this, there’s all these ways in which Christ and even the prophecies of the Old Testament are completely parallel with the Irish prophecies of pagan bards? And the only answer for that is no it covenantal ism being telephone gamed through the centuries. And so yeah, we have this No aaic religion, that somehow in mysterious ways was allowed just enough survival to when Christ came and Patrick came to Ireland. He said to the hiking, Lord are dry, there is a perfect hiking in His name is Jesus. And he actually did this. There’s actual historical record. And so this happens all over the world. And that’s why the gospel has permeated the way it has. That’s why this this Jewish backwater, Saviour, is because God decided to put him here for his story for His glory. And so, getting back to you, I really want to know where you see because, you know, the stories, the not the story, the podcast is called poets of war. Poets, obviously, I’m using in the larger sense, I’m not meaning people who specifically put things in rhyme and metre. I’m talking specifically even though there are some of those like me, but I’m talking very specifically and broadly about people who make things in order to combat the darkness. And so I want to see and don’t worry about sounding

Joshua Ling 41:36
what’s the term? You’re not sounding prideful when you say this. i If you were to tell your children, you know, or someone whom you really love, what your mission and your goal and all of this creating and film work is, when in regards to how you’re combating the darkness how you visualise this combating the darkness? What is your spot in this culture war? What kind of unit? Are you?

Chad Lewis 42:10
Um, good question. Um, I very much see myself as the guy who inspires others to go to war with the forces of darkness. And that’s in line with Chester sens essay, The Red Angel that I mentioned earlier, which that’s another one. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. Um, he has a quote in there. So for context, the essay is about fairy tales, specifically and why children need the heroes in fairy tales. Um, and he has a great paragraph. In here, I’ll just read it real quick. Um, the timidity of the child or the Savage is entirely reasonable. They are alarmed at this world, because this world is a very alarming place. They just like being alone because it is verily and indeed an awful idea to be alone. Barbarians fear the unknown for the same reason that agnostics worship it because it is a fact. Fairytales then, are not responsible for producing children fear, or any of the shapes of fear fairy tales, to not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly, that is in the child already. Because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon. Yeah. I see myself as the guy giving the child. St. George say he can be inspired as Chesterton goes on to explain. To look the dragons in his own life in the eye and say, you can be defeated. I can defeat you. Because I got St. George with me. Yeah. Yeah, so that’s how I see myself.

Joshua Ling 44:53
That’s awesome. Might as well say my answer to that question because I’ve been trying to ask that question. How Senator as well as I had today. And so I’ll just say mind going forward. And I’ll point people back to this episode because I think it’s such a great episode, it’s going to be such a great episode to to go back to this this, this has been kind of what I wanted the podcast to be, and it has been close to this a few times. But you know, hitting your stride with any kind of podcast that takes a little bit of time, you know?

Chad Lewis 45:25

Joshua Ling 45:27
my answer to this question is, in a very real sense, have you read the wingfeather saga?

Chad Lewis 45:35
I’ve read the first two books in that in that series. So yes, I know what you’re talking about.

Joshua Ling 45:39
So you know, our meal in toward the very beginning our meal in the bar? Mm, yes. I want to be the guy who comes in to the field where there is darkness and oppression strums his harp and says fangs are ugly. I want to be the one who marches into the room and plays something so beautiful. everyone notices it says something so beautiful. everyone notices it. And in the same breath, says, and the darkness sucks, and can never be yes. Yes, that that that’s that’s the the Barefoot Bard, Richmal NZ mentality that I want to be bringing into these stations and situations. And that’s the kind of cavalier attitude I think that we’re all called to have, especially as artists. You know, there’s so much timidity amongst us, because we’re self checking ourselves all the time. And I think that self checking is good and should continue to happen. But it should not hold us back from the mission that we know is right there before us. And that’s just what I want to encourage everyone else with, go ahead.

Chad Lewis 46:57
Yeah, it comes down to who do you fear? If you’re a man, or do you fear God as a Christian artist, right? Because if you’re afraid of what a man will say, about what you have to say, as an artist, you’re not going to get anywhere. Now. There is a way to go about saying what you have to say, I put up a Facebook post, which you saw and commented on. The other day about God is not honoured by propaganda pieces. When it comes to art. You know, propaganda has its place it does. But if you’re setting out to make art that is not the place for propaganda, you know, at least not in the sense of like, how most people understand propaganda, where it’s preachy, right? You know, it’s just there to push a message. It’s just there to give an info dump. You know, if

Joshua Ling 47:51
anything, that’s propaganda and art need reform, right? Yeah. Yeah.

Chad Lewis 47:57
Exactly. You know, um, What? What? God is honoured by our great stories, you know, I’m convinced God is not honoured. I’m going to get some heat for this. I don’t care. Um, God is honoured by the God’s Not Dead franchise. Hmm. God is not honoured by what the Kendrick Brothers crank out,

Joshua Ling 48:21

Chad Lewis 48:24
He is honoured by stories like The Lord of the Rings, band her um, I haven’t seen him from my understand about it. I would say this one probably fits in this category as well. But the rope which is a film about the guy who won Jesus his robe when they cast lots for it. I hear it’s really good. I haven’t seen it, but I hear good things about it. Um, you he is honoured by those kinds of stories.

Joshua Ling 48:58
And let me let me know you’re a small show.

Chad Lewis 49:00
Don’t tell. Yeah,

Joshua Ling 49:02
yeah. Let me be clear too. Small stories. Now it just because the story is smaller, such as something like what the Kendrick Brothers do. doesn’t immediately make it a bad film. And I will do a little bit of apologetics right on one film, and that’s Facing the Giants. Well, I think it’s cheesy in many senses. There is something to someone who in very regular everyday life like a football coach follows God does what He has for him to do blooms where he’s playing it as the movie says, and then reaps the reward in the benefit. Yeah. And that’s something that Christians I sure, especially in conservative circles shy away from because of the health wealth parse prosperity gospel, right. And that’s why I think a lot of people are suspicious of that film. It’s not great. Yeah. But I think that’s the closest that they’ve really come down to actually creating something where there’s In a hero’s arc the hero is is yeah brought down by this world he continues to do the right thing and then he reaps the benefits there’s there’s this rising fall intention that they at least got that but we can do so much writer you know?

Chad Lewis 50:18
Yeah, I’m glad you brought up that that counterbalance because so for me, my oh my a lot of my favourite stories are these big epic stories. And so when I start talking about stories, I start to sort of default to talking about those. But I also love the simple stories, you know, the ones that are quaint and and just kind about everyday life. I do enjoy those quite a lot. Um, I’m trying to think of a good example off the top of my head. Um,

Joshua Ling 50:49
you want one that what come Yeah, I do enjoy this one that comes to mind that that almost counterbalances it in a really crazy way. It’s not a it’s not a Christian film, per se in any way, shape, or form. But it is it is my absolute favourite horror movie. And that is the Babadook I don’t know if you’ve seen that film.

Chad Lewis 51:10
Oh, yeah, I haven’t seen it. But I know. You know of it. You like it a lot. So yeah, it is

Joshua Ling 51:16
a very, even though there’s, you could argue there’s a paranormal element. And I’m not spoiling there may or may not be a parable, a paranormal element there is it more more of a human element to the entire piece that is so incredibly down to earth, that it actually makes things and I’m not talking it like seem to the characters I’m saying to us, it makes everything seem far more supernatural. And and it really kind of shows the without going into spoilers, the the quaint life in in grief, I’ll say that much, is expressed in a very large, epic, supernatural way. In reality, yeah. That’s the way it is in reality, and feeling that is not necessarily a bad thing. And so the Babadook is one of those examples of a small story, that I think it allows itself to, to reach into epicness without going into epicness, if that makes sense.

Chad Lewis 52:30
Right? Um, I think another great example, since you brought Facing the Giants, I think I’ll bring up the football movie. Remember the Titans? Yes. With Denzel Washington, I think that’s a great example of just a ground level, just a guy. You know, doing what he does best. And doing right by these kids. You know, and these kids becoming better people for it. You know, I think remember, Remember the Titans does a great job of telling that kind of story in a way that isn’t cheesy, and it’s a very wholesome movie. I I watched that movie and went, Wow, this is one of those awesome movies I’ve ever seen. Yeah. And it doesn’t mean it isn’t cheesy. You know, like, if you want Christian filmmakers, if you want a good example of how to do a wholesome story, that is simple. You know, and do in a way that isn’t cheesy. I highly recommend. Remember the Titans and another one that just now came to mind. The terminal with Tom Hanks. Yes. That movie has all of the charm. That movie is so charming. The the premise is a bit ridiculous. But if you can buy into the premise, it’s a charming, charming movie isn’t it pays off and one of my favourites as well. Yes, it’s I don’t think it is. I didn’t I didn’t hear that. It was

Joshua Ling 54:01
I’ll look it up later. It’s not a big deal right now. Yeah.

Chad Lewis 54:05
My understanding was that it was it was a work of fiction, but I could be wrong. Um, but uh, yeah, I love that movie. Um, so those are two movies where if you want good examples, how to do a story in a wholesome way without being cheesy, and still get a point across without being preachy. Watch those two movies. Definitely. They’re both great examples of how to do that. Yeah, but yeah, so it comes down to like I was saying earlier about do you if your man or do you if your god you know, don’t try to hide your Christianity. I’m not saying that you should do that. I’m just saying, show your Christianity with taste. You know, um, and again, I got to go back to Lord of the Rings order is a good example how to do that. You know, that, like, it is really from a Christian perspective, very Christian themes and principles being put on display there. But you don’t have characters sitting down and talking about Christianity or God or, you know, whatever. But you get that idea of good and evil, loud and clear. You know, and and what is good and what is evil and all that, you know, it’s very well done in that regard. That one’s a good example how to do conversations about your themes, without being coming off as preachy. Yes. So that, that’s a good example of how to do that. Um, just pay attention to the way the dialogue is written, especially in the movies. I mean, the books are as well, but in the movies in particular, if you’re wanting to do do to do film, pay attention to how the dialogue is written in those movies. Um, yeah, so don’t shy away from it. Don’t try to hide it. You know, cuz otherwise you’re fearing man. Um, but don’t think that by preaching to your audience and making all of your art a propaganda piece that you’re fearing God? Yep. You’re, you know, there’s a difference between being a seasoned with salt in your speech. And being a cleaning gone. And that’s what a lot of Christian films end up being, especially the ones that go and start atheists bashing. Yeah. You know, like, God’s Not Dead. You know? If, if you can have to paraphrase the apostle Paul, you can have all of the apologetics in the world you can have all of the talk about the Bible in the world, but you have not love. You are a cleaning gone. Yep. And I think that is an element that is sorely lacking in Christian art is the element of love of neighbour and of being charitable to our unbelieving neighbours. Yeah. You know, they, they need to be told that they’re, where they’re going, and what they face if they don’t repent, they get called to repent. But there’s a time and a place to do that. And in your movie, is not the time to start preaching to them. Right. Right. You know, that’s not the medium for that. Right. So Well, anyway,

Joshua Ling 57:40
I’ll say I’ll say one more thing that I actually talked to my pastor about in this kind of what you’re getting at and that talked to him at lunch today about that. And then we can wrap up and you can tell people where they can find you and your work. They want to follow along. Okay, so I’m basically there are two CS Lewis moments, one in Narnia and one in the space trilogy, that I find very few pastors, philosophers, scholars, whatever, you know, professors, whatever you want to call it, people who are learned can hold together and the Bible holds them together. Without any effort whatsoever. It’s it’s very clear. The first one is in the Chronicles of Narnia in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe when the snow is melting and the which happens upon the fox and the table filled with tonnes and tonnes of food. And she says, What is this opulence? What is what is this all this frivolity, you know, etc. What is all of this? And goodness and truth and beauty right there staring her in the face in the form of a revelry party? Is is an affront and an attack on her directly? Okay, so that’s the first thing. And then secondly, in the book perelandra You’ve read perelandra

Chad Lewis 59:09
I haven’t gotten to perelandra yet. But yes, I I fully intend to read it. I have it. Okay, I got into it. Yeah, well,

Joshua Ling 59:17
there’s so much of this throughout the entire book. I don’t really feel like it’s a spoiler spoiler necessarily. But if you’re cool with don’t worry about it, go for it. Okay. See, I don’t care about spoilers either, especially on old books. Anyway, there’s a situation in which there is a new Eve on the planet Venus, and she is separated from her husband. And then comes a character who is human who is possessed by a demon, who is tempting her to essentially violate you’re in this world, this world version of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It’s very clear, very straightforward. Ransom is sent They’re into that situation with a clear like, this is where I want you to be, but without the exact specifics of what he’s supposed to do. And so he sees this going on, and he begins, like, and a scholar would, to reason with the woman and argue with the demon. And he does this over and over and over for days, and weeks, possibly even months. And it turns it as this is happening, people will fall asleep at certain times, you know, him, him, the woman or the or the man possessed by the demon. And every single time he wakes up, he finds the woman being tempted by the demon, who is trying his very best to keep this body awake the entire time, in order to, you know, tempt her. And so he’s losing the battle. And he keeps thinking, what am I what am I supposed to do? Why was I sent here? What is going on? And finally, he realises, I’m just gonna have to fight him. I’m going to have to throw down. And he thinks like, this is ridiculous. This can’t be the reason why I was sent. This isn’t. This isn’t some spiritual thing, you know, and he realises what he has to do is what Adam should have done in the garden. Like, he knows that, but he doesn’t know what that is. And he keeps thinking about it. And like, by the time, you know, he comes to it, he realises, yes, violence, stomping that snake in the ground, was what he was supposed to do all along. And his scholarly mind is thinking what barbarity what, you know, all this other kind of stuff. And he goes into it. And and like, no, the whole point was to stomp that sucker flat the entire time. So we war with a cup in our hand, toasting the glory of God, in spite of evil, and by punching them in the face. Yes, it’s the right time, right place. But these are both our weapons. And as long as we can hold that, as artists, I think we’re going to do a whole lot better with our timidity problem. So

Chad Lewis 1:02:27
yeah, yeah. And I, I understand it is, it is a difficult balance, to make, even as an artist myself, who is trying to find that balance, it’s hard. You know, um, you’re not always going to succeed. And that’s okay. Like, that’s, if I have one thing I want to say to other aspiring artists is you will fail. You’re not always going to meet the standard that you set for yourself or even that God says for yourself. And that’s okay. Because you’re trying, yeah, you know, the Lord rewards those who earnestly seek Him and this is how you earnestly seek Him by trying to make the best art. So if you fail to do that, at any point, don’t be discouraged. Get back up and try again. You know, learn from the mistakes you made on that project. And try again with the next one. You know, um, yeah,

Joshua Ling 1:03:31
where can people follow you man? Where can people find out more about all this stuff that’s happening? I know there’s not a lot Yeah, and they find out when it’s

Chad Lewis 1:03:39
there is not a lot yet. Um, the best place for you to follow me if you have Facebook would be an also Instagram there’s an account for this on Instagram as well. My page for the podcast that I was running last year, which I haven’t done anything with this this current year, um, I’ll probably try to bring it back in some form. I just haven’t figure out how I want to do that yet. Um but um, I have a Facebook and Instagram for that podcast. And once I start to have more content either if it’s the podcast happening or if it’s the film stuff, I’m going to start pushing it on there first. So you if you want to see any upcoming updates for me from that. You can follow me there. Let me get the exact names for you real quick. On Facebook, you will find it as the cinema review. The handle for that is the cinema review, CB Lewis, and then the handle on Instagram is the similar review. See Louis slightly confusing because Facebook has the bee in their Instagram does not But on there, you’ll on both of those, you’ll find the links to last year’s podcast. If you want just some more insight into what I think about various films, check that out last year, me and two of my close friends, both of whom are helping me in various capacities on the film we talked about earlier, the three of us sat down and watched the top 10 movies top 10 highest rated movies on IMDb along with a few other movies and talked about them. So check those out, you’ll get some more insight into me as a story guy. Listening to those, you’ll find the links to all those on the Facebook and the Instagram. And then like I said, any future stuff that I end up working on and promoting. You’ll find the links to where you can get to that on there as well in the future. So once again, Facebook, the cinema review handle for that is the cinema review, CB Louis, and then Instagram is the symbol review. See, Louis? So yeah, that’s that’s where you’ll find me. And I look forward to seeing you all there. And hopefully, if I get some traffic on there, the podcast will come back.

Joshua Ling 1:06:21
There you go. I love it. I definitely wanted to go back now. So go back and listen. So let me just do a little wrap up and then we’ll finish talking to each other but this is the wrap up for the show. Everybody be your family’s Bard. Work hard to the glory and honour of God on the battlefield off the battlefield. Eat heartily do whatever it is you need to do for the sake and the glory of Christ’s kingdom. Tell stories be merry be jolly. Be Holly and jolly this coming Christmas season. And we’ll talk to you next time on poets award. Right Ciao

Chad Lewis 1:07:10