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The Plot Thickens

Photo: Genessa Gutzait · The Sentry

Write What You Know

Over the past few months, I’ve begun to realize that being a filmmaker and a writer  is perhaps a bit more of a curse than a blessing.

What I mean by this is that  a professor once told me that because I’m a filmmaker, that also means I’m a sociopath. Okay, that’s not true; however, what he meant was that as a writer and/or filmmaker your goal is to manipulate people to feel certain emotions. It is a little bit strange to have a career revolving around making people feel emotions.

I’ve noticed in my own life that having the mentality of being a writer means that everything around me is story fodder. I’ve mentioned in columns before that I think of my own life in terms of plot, but that only really means I’m always wondering what I can use from my real life as a piece of a story I want to write.

Almost as immediately as some event occurs in my life, I try to decide how it can be turned into a story or character arc, who will be the main character, and what the title of the film will be.

This makes it difficult to objectively view situations because I sometimes think about what would make a good story instead of what would be a good decision. It has also impacted my own writing since maybe junior year of high school (which is when significant events began to occur in my life). I almost exclusively write about real people and events I know; or at least stories that could happen in real life, which is a damper on creativity more often than not.

So far, this story-centric approach to dealing with situations has given mixed results. I’ve strained relationships with friends but not broken them. I’ve made a plethora of bad decisions but managed to bounce back. And, of course, I’ve gotten ideas for about 15 different screenplays, but ones that may be too personal or self-deprecating to write.

Since it’s January and the first issue of the new year, I’d love to be cliché and say “New year, new me.” I’ve at least begun to branch out and not always write based off my own life but just barely. Still, I know me and know that I’ll still think in terms of plot.

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