Spinal Tap. Best in Show. Waiting for Guffman. A Mighty Wind. These are some of the movies that have been produced by Christopher Guest over the past 30 years or so. They are comedies and what makes them a little bit different is that they are mockumentaries, which is a fake, funny documentary. But what makes them even more different than that is that the cast in each one is almost the same: it’s the same people that keep coming back to work together.
And, what makes these movies even *more* different is the way they are written and acted.
There is no script.
This is how it goes. Christopher Guest gets everyone on board, and then he and his team write a basic general storyline and generate the types of characters they want to have. Then, they get really detailed about the characters, and hand over the finalized characters to the actors. The actors then get a chunk of time to study and take in their character’s identity. After all of that, they start to get the actors together and start to shoot the scenes, which have a basic storyline to them – but no script.
The actors get to improvise and make up all the lines and work off each other organically. It is a hugely creative experience, which is why the same actors are always willing to come back and do it all over again for another movie. But the reason they love it and can actually even do it without any script is because Christopher Guest gives them the character with all the necessary details and all the time to really take it in and become the character. And then he trusts them.
God does something different when He gives us His Son. Religions and philosophies and ideologies give us a script for life and society. But when God gives us His Son, we have someone that we can take into our hearts, into our lives, to study and come to know as another self. We don’t need a list of do’s and don’ts, we don’t need to refer to what so-and-so says about this or that, what the “Church teaches” or what the “Bible says”.
We don’t need a script.
When we embrace the gift of Jesus, and we take him in and let him be our other selves, we’re ready to improvise on life. We don’t need rules or others to ask in order to know what to do. We don’t need a script. We’re ready to be invited together to make a team and create in this life great works.
Because God gives us His Son.
And then he trusts us.
“Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit.” (Jn 15:5)