Why I Wrote Lightsong
October 31, 2002
An animated film legend about a gifted spirit who is sent to Earth by The Ancients to make a change. I wrote this script to try to make some meaning out of why Josh, my son, was taken from us so early-- why, in fact, the most beautiful are often taken young . This is a true story as far as the Earthly events are concerned-- not always word-for-word or person-for-person-- but the events all happened in the journey of a young musician. It is the spirit world that is fantasy, and it was inspired partly by a story that Bob Rosenthal, father of Josh's best friend Jeff, wrote on Josh's web site in the early days after his passing. I wrote the script also to create a vehicle that would make Josh's music more widely known. The music is a central element for the film, and it's good to have recently heard some of the music before reading the script.
The tone of the film should never be spooky, eerie, or violent. There is plenty of conflict and dramatic tension in the story, without this. The tone should be tender, funny, sad, lyrical, celebratory of this life, respectful of the mysteries of "the other side." This is not a story of villains and good guys. Josh would not have it that way. There's not a villain in the piece; at worst there are people who have lost connection to earth and spirit and are seeking meaning in their own ways.
Why an animated film, and what for ages is it intended? Animated film seems the right genre for this story because the story deals with the spirit realm, spirit creatures, and the sense of legendary purpose. Animated films, however, are usually aimed at children, and this story is intended for adults and teenagers. The story may not be for children, not for the usual reasons, but because it is essentially a tragedy-- the tragedy of early death, and this tragedy should not be blunted to make the film appropriate for children. There is redemption in the tragedy, though, in the larger context of the spirit world; in the possibility that a young life's work will ultimately reach its audience; in the sense of joy in the present-- in the love of family, friends, the gifts of the earth, in one's own creativity.
In an age where so much is "over the top", this is a story about seeking and finding the vitality and spirit in small things, finding one's true self, or, as Josh terms it, your "forever self". The opening song is, in fact, in the voice of that "forever self" calling to each of us to come and find it.
So take a walk in the wild
Follow the wind and the rain
And when you get to the calm
We'll be together again