In The News

Dr. Ted Baehr To Offer A Master Class in Film

Are you interested in learning the art of screenwriting? CAN member, speaker and film critic Dr. Ted Baehr is offering a master class titled, “How to Succeed in Hollywood Without Losing Your Soul” on April 11th through April 14th, 2019 in Camarillo, California. Read the details below.

Master-Class Los Angeles


Author Interviews

A Chat with Author Ted Baehr

A chat with author Dr. Ted Baehr

C. Kevin Thompson
C. Kevin Thompson

Kevin Thompson here. We sit on the Florida front porch, rocking away “in all kinds of weather,” as the song We are the Boys of Old Florida states. And it’s true. We are the “pollen state” right now. Mow your yard, and you look like a bad impression of Pig Pen from Peanuts. Everything is yellow, and we haven’t had any significant rain in over a month. Without further delay, I want to introduce a gentleman who has been working to transform the minds and hearts of moviegoers with the message of God’s truth for years now. His work has opened doors for screenwriters and many others in the movie industry.

Dr. Ted Baehr
Dr. Ted Baehr

Welcome, Dr. Ted Baehr, to the Florida front porch! Dr. Baehr, grab a chair, a glass of tea (do they drink sweet tea in California?), and tell us about your book like we’re a reader in a bookstore who has just picked it up, and we know nothing about it.

Ted Baehr’s Reel to Real provides 45 inspirational devotions that exemplify principles from God’s Word, using powerful moments from over 150 great movies. Each devotion is insightful and uplifting, illustrating a meaningful theme.

Book reviews Writing craft

Conflict: For every action, there is a reaction: Basic screenplay writing excerpted from HOW TO SUCCEED IN HOLLYWOOD (WITHOUT LOSING YOUR SOUL) Part X

In every premise, it is conflict that drives the communication forward. To prove your premise you must disprove the negation of your premise. The disproving of the negation of your premise is what actually propels your communication. If there is no negation and no conflict possible in your premise, then your communication will be stillborn, with no direction or goal. Many Christian movies fail from a lack of conflict. They should keep in mind that the world is caught in a spiritual battle; thus, conflict is both necessary and inevitable.

Drama means, “to do” or “to perform.” In performance, for every action, there must be a reaction. To illustrate this, have two friends stand five feet apart, facing each other, and ask them to tell each other in as many ways as they so desire, “ I love you” for no less than two minutes. After a very short period of time, this dialogue without conflict will become very boring. However, if you ask one to convince the other of his or her love for the other, and you ask the other to resist this advance, the dialogue will be very entertaining, and one, or the other, will have to relent, thereby establishing the premise for that brief scene as either “love triumphs over rejection” or “resistance destroys love.”

Some Christian radio and television interview programs are boring to all but a few loyal supporters, because the host avoids conflict or loses sight of the value of loving conflict. In these boring programs, the host and the guest spend all their time affirming each other so that the program remains static and uninteresting. If the host defines what he wants to discover in the interview, which is his premise, in such a way as to probe who his guest is and why the guest is there by asking the tough questions which the audience needs and wants to know, then there will be real dialogue. The interview will be interesting because there is conflict built into the program, even if only on the level of a premise such as “curiosity discovers important information.”

This conflict does not have to be mean, petty, or angry, as so much conflict is on non–religious television. The conflict can and will be loving if the tough questions which prove the host’s premise are asked in love. A thoughtful, loving host can ask tough questions in a loving way to reveal the interesting story that every guest has to tell. The conflict in the interview is merely the vehicle by which the guest proves his or her story to the host and the audience. Without a clear –cut premise, there will be no conflict, and neither the host nor the audience will have any idea what the host is trying to communicate.

There are four basic plots that categorize the primary types of conflict inherent dramatic stories: 1) Man against man, 2) Man against nature, 3) Man against himself, and 4) Man against the supernatural or sub–natural, including aliens.

These categories help us to evaluate the premise or main proposition in a story, but they may not help us determine whether the story fits the Christian worldview. Another traditional literary approach proposed by Northrop Frye[1] divides stories into five different kinds:

Mythic: The triumph of the hero/protagonist(s) by an act of God or god(s).

Heroic: The triumph of the hero/protagonist(s) by his or her own means.

High Ironic: The triumph of the hero/protagonist(s) by a quirk of fate.

Low Ironic: The failure of the hero/protagonist(s) by a quirk of fate.

Demonic: The defeat of the hero/protagonist(s) by evil, demons, et cetera.

A story that fits the Christian version of the traditional mythic story, where the God of the Bible or Jesus Christ helps the hero or protagonist overcome his or her antagonist, is a story that fits the Christian worldview. A story, however, where the hero or protagonist—especially a Christian one—is defeated by demons is probably not a story that Christians should want to see because it contradicts the biblical worldview.

Beyond the basic story types, there are various themes.
The eight basic themes are: Survival, Redemption, Revenge, Betrayal, Coming of Age, Love and Romance, Mistaken Identity, and “Fish Out of Water.”

To be continued…

Please read HOW TO SUCCEED IN HOLLYWOOD (WITHOUT LOSING YOUR SOUL) for a complete guide to filmmaking.

Writing Business

Tips from the Pros: Dr. Ted Baehr

Sarah Sundin
Sarah Sundin

Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California! Today I have the honor of interviewing Dr. Ted Baehr. Not only has Dr. Baehr penned many books, but he is the founder of the popular and influential Movieguide® review service, which is having a surprisingly positive effect on Hollywood. Check out the statistics in the final question below!

Ted, how did you get into writing?

Ted Baehr
Ted Baehr

When I was the president of the company that produced THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE for CBS Television in 1979 and 1980 that had 37 million viewers and won an Emmy Award, Roy Carlisle from Harper & Row called and offered me a contract to write GETTING THE WORD OUT. I had, of course, written booklets and other materials for years, but that contract changed my publishing.