Monday, December 23, 2013

The Whale

Last winter I started my new job at Focus, and during my first shaky months there, my niece suggested I watch BBC's Robin Hood in the evenings to help me unwind and to bring some smiles back into my life.
So, during January and February I spent many hours with the Sherwood Forest outlaws. It was mindless entertainment with alot of eye candy thrown in. Exactly perfect for where I was in life. Forever linked in my mind will be the process of learning project management on Basecamp during the day and hanging out with Robin Hood's gang in the evenings.

In the Spring, our creative department (designers and writers) were called upon to do a rush job for a DVD project that we would be promoting heavily on our radio programs and our online bookstore: The Bible Mini Series, (which was being aired on the History Channel in the weeks leading up to the Easter weekend.) Mark Burnett and Roma Downey were interviewed on Focus US's radio program and we, as an organization, were going to be supporting them in getting their product distributed.

I started poking around Twitter, 'following' famous people, (folks in the entertainment industry). Folks like Mark and Roma. And Jassa, the actor who played young David.

And it was through one of Jassa's tweets that I found out that he and Jonas (Robin Hood) would be working together on a show for BBC called The Whale. So I followed a few links and kept an eye on fan sites ... (SERIOUSLY. There is a whole world of passionate (obsessive) fans out there. Armys, Angels, Bitches Heughligans, and Nuts.Whoa. Entertaining, yet somewhat alarming in their enthusiasm...) (Richard Armitage's Army, Jonas Armstrong's Angel's, Bendedict's Cumberbitches, Sam Heughan's Heughligans and Chris Pine's Nuts) I ended up following (or peeking at) the twitter feeds of a few more of the actors, as well as the writer. As well as BBC.

And because, well because of where I work and who I am, I just started to pray for that production. Shut up; we pray about everything in that building.

So I chatted to God about anything that popped into my head: the work they were doing, the relationships being formed, the opportunities for leadership/mentoring, the story, the script, everyone's safety, their downtime, the final screening, viewer response, critic's reviews, the opportunities for future employment, and so on - knowing that I'd probably never see it. I've never prayed for a TV show or movie before, so what do I know about these things? Nothing. Mostly I felt like I was just babbling.

I know, right? WHAT.THE. FLIPPIN'. HECK.

Why would I even care about a silly show being filmed a million miles away with mostly an unknown young cast that would be broadcast overseas only? I don't know. I have no answer for you. And why should God care?
All I know is, when you get prompted to pray about something, you do it.
And there was a HUGE prompt right in front of my face at work, for weeks and weeks and weeks.

Our lead designer, randomly decided to draw a 30 foot by 12 foot whale on our newly painted blackboard wall... and this was the view from the desk in my office for months: Jonah's Whale. Or, Jonas. Whale.

On Dec 22, BBC One aired The Whale at 9 pm. (1:00 pm our time.)
Twas a miracle that I was able to stream it live on my laptop in Canada.

I was spellbound.
The guys? Did an amazing job.
(I call them 'the guys' like I know them. Which I totally don't. But kinda do.)

Powerful story-telling. Passionate acting. Gripping action. And it's based on true events. (My very favoritest type of entertainment.) (Read about the writing process, here. )

As I watched it, I just felt this overwhelming sense of happiness for how well they did. As well as, like, horror, for what those original whalers had to endure. When it was over, I kept thinking, "well done, lads. Well done." (No, I don't speak British English, but they do. So really, they're lads, not guys.)

For more behind the scenes photos and interviews, go to BBC One.
For reviews, go here and here. And here. Oh and here.
One more. "is a sparkling jewel, a reason why television actually deserves its place in the lives of all, a piece of quality so rare"

The trailer:

The story (the true events which inspired the writing of Moby Dick)  is so compelling, Ron Howard is in the process of making a movie based on the exact same events/original story. (Yup, following him on Twitter too.) (Stop judging me right this minute. I mean it. Just stop.) (Chris Helmsworth (Thor) will be playing the same role that Jonas (Robin Hood) played.)
Interestingly, I do not feel compelled to pray for his version of the story. Sorry,Opie. You're gonna have to talk to God about your project yourself.

You really want to see it now, don't you?

Good news. It'll be shown again in Summer 2014 on Animal Planet on Discovery.

Thanks fellas, for an outstanding job, well done.
So proud of y'all:

Wishing you success in your careers, and hoping you have the opportunity to work together again on future projects.

Take care,
It's been fun...


Hmmmmm. *taps fingers on countertop.
Guess it's on to the Outlander production. Let's see what they're up to...

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