I’m pleased to welcome Rick Barry to this month’s author interview and book giveaway. Rick recently attended the Awards ceremony for MovieGuide’s 12th Annual Kairos Prize for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays. Rick was in the Top 10 for the Kairos Prize by Beginning Screenwriters. What an honor, Rick! Let’s take a look at the book that made the Top 10! Presenting … The Methuselah Project.
Book Giveaway and Blurb
The Methuselah Project, genuine paperback copy
In WWII, Nazi scientists began many experiments. One never ended.
Roger Greene is a war hero. Raised in an orphanage, the only birthright he knows is the feeling that he was born to fly. Flying against the Axis Powers in World War II is everything he always dreamed–until the day he’s shot down and captured.
When Allied bombs destroy both his secret prison and the eccentric genius experimenting on POWs, Roger survives. Within hours, his wounds miraculously heal, thanks to those experiments. The Methuselah Project is a success–but this ace is still not free. Seventy years later, Roger hasn’t aged a day, but he has nearly gone insane. A Bible becomes the only reliable anchor for Roger’s sanity and his soul. When he finally escapes the underground organization holding him in our time, the world has become an unrecognizable place. Will anyone believe his crazy story before the organization’s assassin can snuff out his long life once and for all?
Wow, what an action-packed plot!
You have three published novels and could have used any one of them to turn into a script. Why The Methuselah Project?
First, an author improves with experience. Because it’s my third book, I believe The Methuselah Project is my best so far. It’s also my favorite to date. I poured quite a bit of myself into it. Even as I wrote it, I pictured the scenes as a film playing before me. Also, many reviewers have declared, “This should be a movie!” So, it was my logical choice.
After such a plot as The Methuselah Project, I can see why a screenplay would be in order!
How did you get involved with the opportunity to enter the Kairos Prize?
A few years back, it was my privilege to drive Movieguide’s Dr. Ted Baehr from the Indianapolis Airport to the downtown hotel where American Christian Fiction Writers were holding their annual writers conference. During that ride, we talked about stories, and Dr. Baehr encouraged me to visit California to take his screenplay-writing class “How to Succeed in Hollywood without Losing Your Soul.” That was a terrific introduction to writing scripts for movies. (But of course, I still needed to study professional scripts and to practice writing my own.) For the past three years, I’ve entered Movieguide’s worldwide Kairos Prize competition, which exists to encourage Christian writers to develop wholesome scripts that point viewers to God. On my first two tries, I was a rank amateur and got nowhere. But, praise the Lord, my third script was my best yet, and it made the list of 10 Finalists.
Wow, what an awesome opportunity! Who influenced you for this project and why?
Among individuals, that would be Dr. Ted Baehr, mentioned above. But in a general sense, I’ve also been encouraged to see others, such as David A.R. White and the Kendrick brothers, creating wholesome films that boldly present a God-centered worldview.
That must have been a great conversation on the way to ACFW conference that year. How has writing a script changed you as a writer? Developed you as an editor?
Novels are stories, and movie scripts are stories, but they are totally different kinds of documents. For film, each page of a script equals about 1 minute of movie time. So there’s no way to include everything in a novel in a 90-minute movie. I had to eliminate my own scenes, reduce the number of characters, and emphasize the main thrust of the story (the “through line”) with lean writing and no wasted words. In that regard, I’d say script writing has taught me–as both writer and self-editor–to focus strictly on the key elements. Never again will I watch a movie based on a novel and complain, “Hey, they left out some things that were in the book!” It’s simply a necessity of that medium.
Goodness gracious, you put a lot of time into script writing and studying a different art form. What is one lesson you learned from turning a novel into a screenplay?
It’s work. Tedious work, and not for the faint-hearted if you’re adapting your own novel, because you WILL have to axe people, lines, scenes that you love. Script writing is not for the mildly curious. You must really love your story and possess a drive to make it available for an audience. Otherwise, the work becomes drudgery, and you’ll be tempted to quit. I was tempted, too. But God has gifted me with some sense of perseverance–or stubbornness!
And that is where passion is the greatest asset in this industry. What is your desire for the screenplay?
First, it has already accomplished what I personally needed most. By becoming one of 10 Finalists out of hundreds of submissions from 20+ countries, this script has provided some affirmation that, yes, I am succeeding in learning the ins and outs of writing screenplays. (In fact, in this journey, my script actually got further than scripts of more experienced colleague friends who have been writing them for longer than I have. That is exciting for me, but can also be a wee bit awkward.) Past the affirmation, it would be exciting if a producer decided to option it for possible production. It could still happen. We’ll see what the Lord has in store.
Thank you so much, Rick, for sharing your celebration with us! As I understand, there is a filmmaking seminar coming up! For anyone interested in the movie business, hop on over to https://www.movieguide.org/class/.
About Rick Barry
A longtime WWII buff, Rick Barry has a B.S. in Foreign Language Education. He speaks Russian and has visited Eastern Europe over 50 times for Christian ministry. Rick’s short fiction and articles have appeared in a variety of publications. The Methuselah Project is his third novel. In February 2018, Rick’s screenplay on the novel was one of 10 Finalists for Movieguide’s Kairos Prize.
Visit him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rick.barry.184/
Visit his website at rickcbarry.com
Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/WriterRickBarry
Purchase The Meluselah Project
Now what you’ve been waiting for: the giveaway!
Open to participants over 18.
Giveaway will run March 9 to March 16.
No purchase necessary to enter.
Winners will be contacted via email and announced Friday, March 16.