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The Magic of Movies

Movies - especially great ones - are nothing more than magic tricks.


A magic trick is defined as “a remarkable act carried out purportedly by magical means but actually by trickery or illusion, generally as a form of entertainment.”


As many of you know my Dad is a minister but what you might not know is that he is also a magician. As a kid, I would always ask him how he did the magic tricks and he always told me that magicians never reveal their secrets. As I got older I realized why they don't: Secrets are the stock and trade of the magician. Without them, they cannot create the mysteries most people find entertaining and amusing.


Francis Ford Coppola said, "I think cinema, movies, and magic have always been closely associated. The very earliest people who made film were magicians."A specific example of this marriage of movies and magic is the silent short film, "Un homme de têtes" by Georges Melies in 1898.



While this short silent film shows the most obvious (and earliest) example of this marriage - I like to think of a screenplay as the truest showcase of the magic of movies.

Not only are we (as writers) trying to transport viewers into a world that they don't know, filled with characters to love or hate, and impossible struggles to overcome: We're also tasked with making the audience think they are watching and feeling one thing while knowing that we're clandestinely placing a rug to pull out from underneath their feet.


Penn and Teller have always showcased some of magic's "tricks" in a very entertaining way. Here is an example of "sleight of hand" tricks in magic:



Screenplays, cinematography, directing, and editing could all show you how the "trick" was done to effectively keep the audience on the edge of their seat up until the very last frame.


So, why the history lesson on magic and what does it have to do with Red Braille productions?


I'm currently writing a new movie, "Wretch Like Me", (read more about it here) and as we develop this story we're in the midst of planning the magic trick. The mission and vision of Red Braille Films is to, "develop new and creative ways to explain color to those who have never seen the vibrance of His amazing grace." In order to do that in this film - we're immersing people in the reality of the darkness so that we can best showcase the reality of the light.


"Wretch Like Me" takes place in the real world and doesn't shy away from dark truths about the world that we live in - so that the light can be experienced all the more effectively. The trick is a lot more simple to execute (in this particular screenplay) because Christians have a tendency to show the light - in the light. I can't think of many movies that portray the love of Jesus - to people who don't already know the love of Jesus. Christians make Christian movies for Christians. This is a story for anyone who has ever been in the dark and wishes there were a way to illuminate their surroundings so that they can live a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life.

My father showed me hundreds of movies as a child, taught me about the love of Jesus every week, and amazed me with the mysteries of magic; by doing that he created a yearning to artfully craft a magic trick that reconciles the contrast of the darkness of the world and His saving grace. I'm so glad that he taught me the secrets that are the stock and trade of the pastor, the filmmaker, and the magician. Without these secrets, I couldn't imagine creating this particular mystery that I hope all people will find challenging, entertaining, and illuminating.

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