I have always loved a sense of the fantastical… the possibility of magic around the next corner. I find myself dreaming of other worlds as well as those crafted by other storytellers. They can be expansive — aliens that are one landing away, sharks that threaten our shores, artefacts that are buried deep in ancient temples. Ultimately though all stories — fantastical or not, start with the personal… the everyday emotion that tells in the eyes or the worn creases of age.
Stories revolve around people and our ability to connect. These stories allow us to empathise, understand and, at times, escape our own realities. We craft narratives of wonder to capture our audiences. We use character to connect to them.
Dreaming is the job of the storyteller. We dream new realities everyday. Contradictory as it may seem, we search for authenticity. In this manufactured world, we look within ourselves and our own humanity for truth which we can weave into our stories. We write what we know, but not without a sprinkling of magic.
There is one master of filmmaking who tells personal stories with endless amounts of magic — Steven Spielberg. A child of divorce, Spielberg made E.T. Which explores the magic of childhood, the naivety towards divorce and the search for compassion for those around us.
My favourite scene in Jaw is shared between father and son. Officer Brody is coming to terms with his place in the world, his own masculinity and what it means to be a father. The film is personal and we care about Officer Brody. Oh yeah, it’s also about a killer shark!
“Because I need it.” Best line ever. This is not just a shark movie!
Storytelling is another language, we communicate our ideas and feelings. We make the stories personal because this is what audiences care about. Our worlds are filled with wonder but we inject them with our own humanity.
At the end of the day, no matter how big the world is, the story is personal and it begins with you.