Edit, Play, Pause: What's in your Personal Documentary?

Movies, whether comedy, drama, horror, romantic-comedy, fantasy or Science-fiction impact us in different ways. We commit to 90 minutes or longer, we invest ourselves in the characters, put ourselves in the setting, feel a part of the action, why? They are visual escapism's. We go to release our minds from the daily grind, the stress of life and live vicariously through some of Hollywood's greatest characters. We become heroes and heroines for a few hours, all the while remaining safely in our seats. We laugh, scream, and cry in the dark as we watch our counter-parts save the day, experience sorrow and joy, love and fear. As their on-screen lives fulfill our farfetched fantasies and worst nightmares, we can conquer ours in the real world. If we can watch someone else achieve what we want to achieve maybe that will be the instigator to push us to do the same. These characters become a part of us, we use their victories to get us up out of our seats and active in our own lives. They propel us through our own milestones. If so and so can do it, so can I. 

These larger than life persona's and teleplays help us create our own mental setting where we play out the day’s events and pause... to find clarity. It’s not just Hollywood movies or television that create this sense of courage and hope. We have our own independent film we are creating every day. The only one who gets to see our personal documentary is us. It is a single viewing room. We add to the video, our interactions with others, the dialogue we exchange, the support we get from our peers, all adding frames of our lives, to the reel. Family, friends, school, every struggle, adventure, observation, action and pause form the digital hard drive that is our life. When we close our eyes, and see our memories unfold they do not look like a grainy reflection of our past but rather a panoramic, colorful, wide screen version of our journey thus far. During the editing process, some scenes are cut while some are added after re-filming. It is what we deem important, meaningful and moves the story forward that remain in the movie. Those scenes that are irrelevant to the plot, we disregard because we need the feature to make sense, to be enjoyed and remembered.

Every new adventure begins with a new sense of excitement. A great screenplay sets the tone for a great film. The more we commit to our role, the more exciting the performance. When we live in the moment, embrace action and change, the script becomes more ad-lib and free, creating more comedy than drama. The more we let the supporting actors enter and move the action forward the more interesting and intriguing the plot. Every role we play makes it to the director's cut. We get to decide our genre: comedy and laughs, drama and tears, action and exhilaration with a little fear, Science-fiction encapsulating progressive thinking and conquering the unknown. Every reel of every life has these at some point. It is the struggles and setbacks that lie in many of the frames, that allow for the continuation of the documentary. It is our choices that edit the script and ultimately the "dailies" we see at night. The most important thing we can do as the actors of our existence is to commit. Jump into the action and not sit in the background as part of the crowd. Those extras have no lines.  Grab some popcorn, Junior Mints and a soda and take a seat, your life is your documentary and you are the director, script-writer and most importantly the lead. It is your life after all, go out there an win an Oscar.


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