Without A Net

Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Telling your story in 1 sentence

The Atlantic Wire took a look today at a recent attempt by biblical scholars and pastors to summarize the Bible in one sentence. It's interesting because most popular films and books have a one sentence description that most are likely to agree on, but with a book that is both interpreted in vastly different ways by different groups as well as provoking strong reactions, that summary is less cut and dry.

The results ranged from a four-word Latin response to 132 words from Greg Beale, professor of New Testament and biblical theology at Westminister Theological Summary. The responses included attempts to summarize the narrative arc to theological statements to moral lessons and quotes from Einstein.

What stories do you think are the easiest to sum up? Hollywood films and TV shows tend to have a "log line," which serves as a quick summary of the plot and what the story's hook is for an audience. One thing that can get in the way of complex stories making it to the big screen is a story that's difficult to distill down and sell to the public.

Of course, you can get around that by pitching a complex idea with big stars or a big-time director; studio executives may not have confidence in the premise doing well commercially, but people will still come out to see Jim Carrey in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."

Could you summarize your life's story in one sentence? How about in four words? I'm reminded of Donald Miller's "A Million Miles In A Thousand Years," which tells the story of how filmmakers came to Miller looking to make a movie of his earlier humorous biography, "Blue Like Jazz." They started working on the outline of the film and Miller realized that they were playing pretty loose with the facts. He asked why they couldn't just tell his story, and was told that, well, his life was too boring to be made into a film.

Miller then went on to study what makes a good screenplay and tried to apply those principles to his life, seeing if it would make for a good life as well.

Tell us your one-sentence life summary in the comments, or share any other thoughts on this article.

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