Tag Archives: Thomas Umstattd Jr.

Virtue is its Own Reward

The blog about courtship that I linked to in my last post has continued to seriously stir the pot and receive both a lot support and criticism all at the same time… just like most hot-button topics.

I don’t really want to dive into that debate head-on, but I couldn’t help but make one small, general observation amidst all the diatribes that got me thinking along some very personal lines…

Made me reflect on some memories from my own life, some of which actually ended up being the first seeds planted that—many years later—fully blossomed and led me to write the screenplay for Old Fashioned.

First, the observation: In this current debate about courtship/dating, it seems to me that a lot of the strongest push-back is coming from folks that come from highly conservative, restrictive religious environments of one sort or another.

And that makes sense to me, especially in scenarios where young people didn’t necessarily make these decisions for themselves and/or attempted to do everything the “right” way and yet still find themselves alone or in a bad marriage or otherwise unsatisfied in their romantic lives.

When things don’t work out the way we want, we need to find a reason… someone or something to blame.  In doing so, we often tend to demonize the familiar or naively romanticize other systems/lifestyles/cultures that—from the outside—seem to possess the greener pastures for which we are longing.

But there is no formula, no sure-fire perfect path to Utopia (in terms of temporal results).  Not on this Earth.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pursue the good and noble; we should.  And that goes for all areas of our lives—not just romantic.  But we should “do the right thing” for its own sake, not as some kind of bargain with God to ensure that everything works out for our ease and comfort as long as we make no serious mistakes.

The world is a mess and we aren’t in control of others or much at all, really.  You can make all the best choices… live within the lines… never sin at all… and people can still hurt you.  Bad things can still happen to you.  Just ask Jesus.

To be a hero is to let virtue be its own reward.  When it comes to affairs of the heart, this world needs a whole lot more heroes…

And I know for a fact that the “other side” (the one that isn’t restrictively religious, etc.) is no picnic, either… because that’s where I grew up.  How that relates to the above and how it helped lead to the writing of Old Fashioned?  Next time…

– Rik


What Do You Mean by Courtship?

An interesting blog questioning the idea of courtship (loosely defined) made the rounds about a week ago and has stirred a lot of discussion and debate.  If such things interest you, it might be worth a look:


From my reading, it seems like there is a rather wide variety of definitions when it comes to what the word courtship means or to what it is referring, exactly.  What, in fact, courtship is or isn’t.

On one end of the spectrum, the descriptions are fairly broad and apply to many cultures over the centuries and include the ideas of intention, accountability, mutual respect, and the avoidance of unwise isolation, etc.

On the other end, things can get quite a bit more specific and lengthy and more uniquely of this moment in time and the modern “courtship movement” that has gained a lot of traction in some circles.

How does this relate to our little indie film?  Well, the tagline for Old Fashioned is…

“A former frat boy and a free-spirited woman together attempt the impossible: an ‘old-fashioned’ courtship in contemporary America.”

So, in that context, what does that mean… exactly?

Good question.  Ultimately, the film will have to answer that for itself… and I don’t want to give away too much this far in advance.  But, what I can say here is that Old Fashioned is far more about grown-up second chances than it is about first love under strict parental supervision, etc.

The guy and girl in our love story aren’t teenagers and they both bring some brokenness and baggage to their search for something greater than just another hook-up or a culture that routinely makes light of the objectification of both women and men.

Old Fashioned is about the challenging yet joyful exploration to find—against tremendous odds—the kind of romantic wholeness and healing relationships for which God created all of us… whether it’s called courtship or dating or fill-in-the-blank, however defined.

But, since we are indeed on the topic of definitions…


“The wooing of one person by another” (dictionary.com).

“The activities that occur when people are developing a romantic relationship that could lead to marriage or the period of time when such activities occur” (merriam-webster.com).

For the record, if there is any doubt, both of those particular interpretations would definitely apply to the love story found in Old Fashioned.

– Rik