Last weekend I had the honor of presenting at Re:Write, a brilliant writers conference in San Diego. I told quite a few stories and showed a number of clips. One clip I showed was only 15 seconds long and it definitely got a laugh. The clip was from a project that never sold and is now almost ten years old.
A few years ago I had the opportunity to work with Donald Miller, bestselling author of Blue Like Jazz. I’d just read his book and like everyone else, l absolutely loved it. If memory serves, in one of his last chapters he wrote about female penguins and this strange, innate sense they seem to have. Even though they are hundreds of miles away from their eggs, they somehow know exactly when their chicks will hatch and are able to arrive home within hours of the big event. Don’s point was that the Penguins somehow “just know”. It was his way of describing faith.
I may have just butchered the above story as I haven’t read the book in a number of years, but if memory serves, I got the gist of it. When I read the book I was working on a DVD I hoped to sell to a Christian publisher. After reading the chapter about penguins, I called the DVD “The Penguin Chronicles“. In concept at least, the hour long DVD was part MTV, part SNL and part… I really have no idea.
When I look back now, it’s laughable that I thought the series would EVER be picked up. It’s not that the production value was bad or the story didn’t work- the story was actually quite fun. The problem was, at the time I was desperately cynical. I was in my early-twenties and had all the answers to every issue in life. I’m now in my mid thirties and it’s safe to say I still think I have more answers than I do, but at least I try not to act like it.
Unfortunately The Penguin Chronicles DVD is laced with cynicism about the hypocrisy of the church and Christians in general. And though I still agree with some of the cynical statements in the DVD, I now understand that cynicism and hypocrisy are two sides of the same coin. A hypocrite says one thing and does another. A cynic was one thing and has become another. Both cynicism and hypocrisy are counter to LOVE. They feed off each other in an ever growing cesspool of self-righteous religiosity. If I’d had a little more wisdom I would have cut out the cynicism and instead, offered love. If love had directed my writing, the DVD could have had an impact.
Anyway, enough of that. Now to the the clip showed at Re:Write. Below you will see what happens when Kate Winslet and Leonardo Dicaprio are portrayed as penguins having sex.
Trust me, if you’d seen the DVD you sill wouldn’t understand.
Over the coming months I plan to release The Penguin Chronicles piece by piece. Yes, you will eventually get to see the above Pengtanic clip in the context of the greater story… but still don’t expect it to make too much sense.
Below is the opening video for the The Penguin Chronicles. The lyrics of the song mention parts of the journey of the main character “Ben”. Once again, the fact that I thought this would sell to the church… or to anyone is just funny. Spot the “crotch shot”.