Is it wrong for me to make a morally problematic film?

A LONG time reader and lurker, but decided I needed to post. I think I know the answer to my problem, I just needed a second opinion.

I am a 34 year old cradle Catholic and aspiring filmmaker. I’ve made various short films over the course of the past ten years. Nothing that would ever get me to the point to make a living at films though.

Recently, an opportunity has come up. An acquaintance of mine has written a script to a feature film and has asked me to direct. What makes this different, is that there will be a budget of 50 - 100 thousand. Now, I know in “Hollywood” terms that is nothing, but for a small independent, locally produced film, it is possible that this could be seen by a wide audience and possibly open some doors for me in the future.

Now the problem. The film is a horror film that has, in my opinion, some moral issues with it. Beyond the fact of the typical killings, there is the language aspect, crudeness, nudity, and the basic story. And I don’t think there is enough about it I could change to make it more appropriate.

I’ve really grown in my faith over the past few years and also become a lot more aware of how our society has changed, especially in films. Plus, I have two daughters who I would never let see a film like this. Because of this I (think) I know that I should pass on this. But as I keep getting older, an opportunity like this may not pass by me again. I keep thinking I should not so this, but then the whole regret thing smacks me. If anyone has any advise, I would love to hear from you.

Thanks for you time,

Bob

Well. . As a human being that desires to be sucessful and wants to pursue his or her dreams. It’s difficult to turn down an opportunity. You must ask yourself if doing this would compromise who you are to yourself and who you are to God.

God gives us each skills and abilties that he wants us to use to glorify Him. We should always live for him and use our skills in ways that advances his kingdom here on Earth.

That hesitation that you are feeling could very well be a good conscience trying to stop you, or a guardian angel looking out for your well being.

This film seems to be useless to the world from a spritiual perspective. Would sending this film into the world for others to see help God’s kingdom? Or would you be leading other people into sinful thoughts or actions by making the film?

You wouldn’t want your daughters to see it, but are you ok with the sons and daughters of God seeing it?

It seems to me that as a good Catholic you would have more regret making the film than you would otherwise. I would look at this as an opportunity from God to reject your wants for God’s desire for you to use your skills in a more appropriate manner. .

I’m not a filmmaker myself, but I don’t think a low budget morally questionable film will make or break your career.

Good luck :thumbsup:

Every artist can turn even the worst image into beauty. You are an artist, Mr. Director, so use your skills to turn this bad film into a great film. Some suggestions:

  • You can beep out the crude words
  • You can turn the nudity into art by having naked characters pose as statues
  • You can edit out the cruedy scenes and still have a great film
  • If the film is about zombies, vampires, or monsters, establish the fact early on in the film that the zombies/vampires/monsters do not have immortal souls
  • If the film is about a psychotic killer, establish the motives of the killer early on in the film, and include a twist ending where the killer gets taken to a mental hospital and his emotional scars get healed

If you go forward and direct this movie with the content in it as you have stated you will be sending a mixed message to your daughters. If you’re married, you will also want to consider how your wife would feel about you directing the scenes with nudity.

As a previous poster mentioned, our job here on earth is to further the Kingdom of God. This makes me think of Matthew 16:26. “For what does it profit a man to gain the world, but forfeit his soul”.

God will bless you abundantly if you are patient and seek to do his will. I will pray for you that a God given opportunity to use this talent will come your way.

What if this is the one opportunity in life to have a breakthrough? This opportunity is going to the next person to film acting - that’s all it is. If people shy away from moral issues in acting imagine all the great works in the world dissapearing. If the Bible itself is a moral battling issue, what if the authors decided not to tell Jesus death because it’s killing?

It’s something that I would regret… Especially years later I see that it’s the only window. This happen to the original actress of Titanic… I believe she didn’t want a love scene Leonardo. Imagine if she accepted the role.

A low budget horror film with morally challenging issues? Seems hardly like a breakthrough. I think the chance of regret is higher making the film than not. Meaning I think the film is more likely to be seen by a handful of strange people rather than being the next independent film breakthrough masterpeice.

I don’t recall anything off the top of my head that is both morally wrong and a “great work”. The Bible itself tells about immoral things, but isn’t immoral in itself, like this film would be.

I would much rather have no career than have a career that was launched by something immoral. :shrug:

It sounds to me like the kind of movie the USCCB would rate A-III, or, at worst, L. Without knowing more details, I really can’t say, but it sounds like just a trashy movie, not an immoral one. And, since tastelessness is not morally offensive on its own (and neither is movie-nudity, and neither even is often-senseless movie-violence), I don’t see an absolute “yes” or “no” answer here.

If I’m wrong, and this is the sort of movie that the bishops would rate “O” for “Offensive,” then you probably shouldn’t make it.

If it’s merely tasteless, then you should weigh the benefits to yourself (the money, the greater opportunities) against the costs (inflicting a terrible movie on society, doing nothing to raise the cultural standards of the youth, being uncomfortable about it the whole time), and base your decision on that. I hate awful movies, so I’m tempted to plead with you not to make it, but, like I said… tasteless does not equal immoral. It’s really your call, I think.

[quote=Eucharisted]Every artist can turn even the worst image into beauty.
[/quote]

Oh, how I wish that were true. I think, though, that there is quite a lot out there that is simply unsalvageable (Theodore Sturgeon famously put the number at 95% of everything, but I think that’s a bit high). For example, the famous short story “DOOM: Repercussions of Evil” by Peter Chimaera:

[quote=DOOM: Repercussions of Evil]John Stalvern waited. The lights above him blinked and sparked out of the air. There were demons in the base. He didn’t see them, but had expected them now for years. His warnings to Cernel Joson were not listenend to and now it was too late. Far too late for now, anyway.

John was a space marine for fourteen years. When he was young he watched the spaceships and he said to dad “I want to be on the ships daddy.”

Dad said “No! You will BE KILL BY DEMONS”

There was a time when he believed him. Then as he got oldered he stopped. But now in the space station base of the UAC he knew there were demons.

“This is Joson” the radio crackered. “You must fight the demons!”

So John gotted his palsma rifle and blew up the wall.

“HE GOING TO KILL US” said the demons

“I will shoot at him” said the cyberdemon and he fired the rocket missiles. John plasmaed at him and tried to blew him up. But then the ceiling fell and they were trapped and not able to kill.

“No! I must kill the demons” he shouted

The radio said “No, John. You are the demons”

And then John was a zombie.
[/quote]

Heh heh… man, I love that story. I giggle every time. Anyhow, point is: you can only put lipstick on excrement, but you can’t make it pretty.

Yes, that was a digression. Sorry!

Imagine that… money, the possiblity of recognition, greater things to come in your future… and you can have ALL these promises if only you do something that sets off your moral conscience. Go ahead, there’s so many benefits…

Isn’t that the way with so much that is sinful? We are all tempted to sin, and the motivation is tailored for each of us, but in the end it’s the same story… you want it, you can have it, but you have to do something you think is wrong to get there. Indeed, as another poster noted, what profit you to gain the world if you lose your soul by doing so?

I think it is most telling that you wouldn’t let your daughters see this film. That, to me, says that it’s more than just poor filmmaking… that there is something morally objectionable to it. Never do something that you couldn’t tell others you are doing. That’s a good moral compass. Further, you don’t just incur sin from making the film, but if your production damages the humanity of others by leading them into sin (through crudeness, sexual behaviors based on your nudity scene, etc) then you are culpable for having caused others to sin.

All in all, it sounds to me like the answer is clear: don’t put your morality on the line for a project simply because you desire money/fame/wealth/possible future opportunities… especially when NONE of those is even a guarunteed outcome.

I can imagine it. She would have posed nude in a scene which promoted promiscuous sex outside of marraige as an acceptable practice. Titanic wasn’t even brilliantly filmed, nor (I thought) a very good movie. Cheesy lines like “I’ll never let go, Jack” just killed the whole thing. Overall, the film portrayed several imoralities, including the one about premarital sex, disrespect to parents, coveting another’s fiance, and theft of a presumably priceless diamond. That isn’t even a complete list of what is morally incomrehensible in the film, Titanic.
christiananswers.net/spotlight/movies/pre2000/i-titanic.html

Hey all. Thanks for all you advise. It’s what I expected to hear. I think I just needed someone to say it directly to me. If that makes sense???

Anyway, I have officially dropped out of the production. :thumbsup: I thought I may initially have some regret, but so far it’s just been a sense of relief!

Thanks again for your advise and I’ll keep everyone updated on my script I’m working on. One that will make my family proud and help give glory to God and his church.

Bob

Congrats! And good luck!

You’d better post that script when it’s ready. :stuck_out_tongue:

You already know the answer brother.
This is the night, your trial. Will you sell Christ - tempt his little ones to fall - for 30 silver coins? How many have not been tempted to sin because of fame, wealth or power? Why dont you ask your little girls: “Do you think daddy should make a movie with sex-scenes and violence?” You think they will respect you… are you a Christian role model and father for your children and your neighbours children? I am a young woman… I have a dad too. If he made a movie like this it would alienate me from him. I would feel betrayed.
In all of eternity this action will be with you. You will also know how it was watched by many, many people, how it influenced them to belittle sin… Do ponder this: you are what you see…
One more thing… if its not appropriate for your little girls its not appropriate for you either. You are to keep your own soul clean.

Peace be with you. You struggle because the Holy Spirit is strugling in you. Choose Life, only then will you have peace.
Many a rich man took his own life after having sold his soul. We hardly ever hear about suicide among the poor. Ever wonder why?

Jesus said: What does it benefit for a man to have the whole world but to loose his soul…?

Halleluja :slight_smile:

Praise be to Lord and King of the saints. :slight_smile: What does it profit a man. . . ? :slight_smile:

Remember what Jesus said…'I forgive them for they know NOT what they do!..you dont fall into that category …Hollywierd has always been on the wrong track of our belief system…always depicting fathers as morons or cruel and sly comments complimenting the most evil among us…in the so called classic ‘high noon’ it was the local prostitute who defended the town marshall while the others were depicted as cowards. You seem to have a price …at the alamo a line was drawn in the sand…those for freedom and texas becoming a state stayed…the others who did not believe in such values could leave…what would you have done if Maj. Travis looked your way…

I’m glad you did back out. Just what the world needs is yet one more bad horror film.
The one really great funny line in Titanic is: “Music to drown by, now I know I’m in first class.”
I did cheer though when J P Morgan founder of Chase bank went down with the ship. Chase bank is a truely evil instituion!

Good for you and your conscience! I think maybe you have answered your own question. *** NO ***you should not participate in the making of this film. Funny how when we think, “I wonder if I would want my kids viewing this”, or “What would my mother think of this action or viewing”–changes our direction and decisions! I am also convinced as I read your post that God is getting ready to reward you in other ways if you pass up this “opportunity” in the name of moral fortitude! Another opportunity for you to provide for your family will come soon if you make the right choice here. God Bless You and your family and your awesome Faith! As a mother of 3 young adults (23, 21 and 19) I wish more film makers had consciences like yours! :wink:

[FONT=“Microsoft Sans Serif”]Jesus the Branch, Mary the Flower,
Jesus and Mary, I give you this hour.
My Heart and My soul I Give unto thee,
Sweet Merciful Jesus, Have Mercy on Me![/FONT]

Good for you! All along the path of the above posts I could feel Satan’s temptation hitting on you. I am so glad you realized it for what it was.

God’s blessings to you.

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