Today, as a not-so young director/producer eager to make compelling narrative content for audiences, it is my initial job, to search for remarkable stories. This quest for appealing content can be assumed in an assortment of fashions such as reading books, articles, listening to ideas from friends, colleagues, or getting inspiration from others original works. Though I have found many interesting stories in this nature, ultimately, my favorite narratives still come from recollections of those Sunday morning services...
A young boy sits in the second row pew during Sunday morning church service listening to the eloquent pastor give his sermon. The boy listens intently, though at times he glances down to make a doodle on the offering envelope that he took from the back of the pew, his mother turns to him sharply and whispers, “Pay attention Austin! This is a great story.” He turns to his mother as if to say “I’ve heard this story before Mom," but before he can utter a word the Pastor calls out, “Austin how old are you?” A bit startled, the kid quickly answers, “I’m nine Pastor.” The Pastor smiles and says, “Good, now if you don’t mind, come up and stand next to me.” A bit perplexed, Austin rises bashfully and walks down the aisle past the attentive church members toward the smiling pastor. His nervous demeanor feels evident as he turns to face the smiling pastor. The pastor turns Austin around so that he is facing the audience and says to the congregation, “Now King David wasn't always a great King of Israel. He grew up a shepherd boy, tending to his family's flock, imagine -- he was only a few years older then young Austin here, but he was brave and steadfast in the word of the Lord." It was at that moment, I became curiously enamored by the story of David.
A well known Biblical tale, that many can simply paraphrase -- a young David bravely offers to fight while his fellow Israelite soldiers cower to the might of the monstrous Philistine warrior Goliath. David is obviously outmatched in stature, but due to his faith in the Lord, the teen slays the giant with his slingshot and finally Goliath's own sword. This story has been recounted in various productions, but what I became enamored with was the full story of David. The nuances of King David's life are extremely compelling and unique, if you take the time to research his life.
David was said to be "a man after God's own heart" he was responsible for writing a majority of the book of Psalms, he was an author, a poet, a warrior, a handsome man, but also an adulterer, and ultimately a sinner. These characteristics make for a great protagonist in a narrative film, quick example, he rose from a shepherd boy to be one of the greatest King's of Israel, all while losing his best friend in battle and fleeing from the hands of a war-crazed King Saul-- and i didn't even mention David's sexual affair with a married woman.
I must admit, my mother was the first to express the appeal of Old Testament Biblical stories to me as a child saying, "One day someone needs to make a movie about these stories." Giving reason to why I believed in my heart of hearts I would one day be that filmmaker. To take the story of David and produce one of the most inspiring films about his life, while staying true to the biblical narrative.
I began researching the Bible and specifically books of I and II Samuel, I and II Kings, Psalms, and Proverbs. I would imagine different "Gladiator-type" battle scenes and moments that David would be in turmoil. Even going as far as to produce a piano soundtrack for the film, since it became clear that it would need to be a lengthy picture, if I was to incorporate all the great plot elements. It was a hobby that started around 12, but as the years passed the information and story lines continued to manifest. I began to realize this story may need to be told over a series of episodes. All the while telling myself, I can't wait until I'm working in the industry as a big-time studio director and can produce this epic piece. I remember thinking to myself, this story has all the narrative elements to be a hit, I have to do it soon!
Needless to say, I wasn't soon enough...