Just this week, my friend Devon Franklin released his new book, Produced by Faith. Devon is the Vice-President of Production for Columbia Pictures which is a division of Sony Entertainment. He is very ambitious and the youngest person to ever hold this title. He is also a Christian minister and motivational speaker. In his book, he parallels our lives with the movie industry. He talks about how in the film development process, there is a tremendous amount of collaboration between the writers and the studio producers and explains that feedback comes in the form of notes. Anyone who is successful in Hollywood takes the studio notes very seriously. In his book, he writes:
“A wise man once said, ‘Great movies aren’t written, they’re rewritten.’ The people who have made hit after hit for decades—Will Smith, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise—are the ones who study the craft, know the business, stay focused, take risks, and look at the long term. They accept feedback, remain humble, and learn from their mistakes.
When a script is in development, every draft comes back to the writer and producer with many notes from the studio on characters, dialogue, pacing, structure, and a hundred other parts of the story. If you want the studio to continue funding your rewrites and eventually get your movie made, addressing notes is essential.
The notes process can be brutal, especially if you’ve been slaving away on a script for years and think you’ve finally got it just right. So you can’t get proud about your work. That’s not to say that a writer should cave about every point; sometimes a scene or character is worth fighting for. But in general, we expect the notes to be taken seriously and best efforts made to address them. As long as critical notes in the script remain unaddressed, the script will remain in development and the movie will not get made. That’s not anyone’s goal. We all want to go into production.
Notes are a critical part of development in the film world, and the same is true in your personal life. You must be able to take notes from God and from other people in order to learn and grow.”
He goes on to explain that if we listen, “God is constantly giving us notes on our choices and the way we exercise our faith. These notes take on many forms: through people or events appearing serendipitously, ideas that you can’t get out of your head, or sometimes literal revelations that come to you in prayer and through study of the Word. Normally, when God sends you notes He is trying to course-correct a part of your story, just like a studio executive will try to redirect a point in a script in development. It is up to you to be humble, accept God’s notes, and act on them in good faith. This can be challenging when God’s feedback contradicts something that you really want or a choice that you thought was right. But that’s when you must learn to swallow your pride and pay attention.”
Today, I encourage you to open your heart and mind to the “notes” God is writing about the direction of your life. Be willing to make any changes that He speaks to your heart. Even when things don’t make sense, even if they aren’t what you planned, know that He always has your best interest at heart. He is working behind the scenes to produce a wonderful work in your life!
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps (Proverbs 16:9, NLT.)