Rise up, yellow-eyed, pockmarked half-breeds, and rip one another to shreds fighting over the new Rock TV!
While I am happy with the consistency of the laughs here and the sweet sentiment, the back story of this project strongly flavors my feelings toward this video. As a church ministry, we exist to serve the needs of our congregation and our pastors, and after their experiences with recent videos like Christdome, Tax Refund Strangeness, and Small Group Fight!, their message to us was loud and clear: these things are getting weird.
Now, as you JLP readers are familiar with, I like weird. For years serving in the ministry, I restrained a lot of my weirdest impulses to try to keep the appeal as wide as possible. In the last few years, however, as our ministry has gone younger, I made an internal decision to let the younger writers run with things, acknowledging at the same time that the age of 90-second web clips has altered sensibilities for many people in that younger generation. Random gags and awkward riffs became the new normal (even, in the case of Christdome, set within a structured “message video”). Not everything worked, but a lot of it did. However, it definitely wasn’t everybody’s cup of tea.
So this video is a (temporary?) return to restraint and structure. It is much less tangental, much more sentimental, and features some pretty broad gags. Also, while the message of the video is about contentment, it could be categorized as a “dating video”, and we’ve never gotten less than a great response with such projects. For whatever reason, romantic tension primes people’s laughing impulse at our church.
I also think it’s a well-done project with a snappy pace, a bunch of good line gags, and an ending I love. I honestly have no idea how this will be received at church, though. Part of me suspects that people will like it because it’s relatable and sweet, but I truly don’t know. I do know that if this one gets accused of being too weird, it’s time for me to hand over the reins.
-The grape-eating marriage fantasy is my favorite gag. I remember when I was typing up the first draft, including the bit about Luke looking into the camera and announcing “This is marriage”, and smiling happily to myself. Kudos to whoever thought of that during the meeting.
-I was afraid that the grapefruit explosion gag would be too problematic to shoot and too broad to end up being any good, but I was wrong. When I saw the footage set to that music (from the climax to Glory) I was happy.
-All the Welles make an appearance in the background (Alice in utero).
-Will Hines wasn’t supposed to be in this one at all (he’s had a ton to do with another video we’re currently working on) but we needed an extra for Matt to be talking to during the “anxiety with dating” sequence so we threw him in there. He made up all the business about eating Rolos with his older cousins, and I absolutely love it. (Okay, so maybe there’s some weirdness in this one.)
UPDATE: The video was received enthusiastically at church, so there you go.