The key takeaway of this episode is this answer to the question „What keeps you motivated?“
Here’s the longer version, if you have more time to read
Films have always fascinated me. In particular, I like how the characters know exactly what to do as if pulled by a string or by a force as shown in Donny Darko (2001).
I know life is not a movie but to some extent it is, only you are the protagonist 24/7. You can aim for scenes in your life that could be taken from a movie in terms of how straightforward the acting and action was, and you can learn to do so. You simply need to understand how films are written and why characters act the way they do. I won’t cover film theory now because the guys at Pixar have been doing that already at Khan Academy in their free „The art of storytelling“ course. A film character has wants and needs, a goal and a motivation to act the way he does, as described in the Pixar course (you need to register at Khan Academy to view it, but it’s free).
What’s so special then about a film character compared to the life of an average person in the real world like your uncle or grandma? It’s common to just live your life as you learned to do. Go to school, get a job, work until pension and then enjoy the rest of your life. But there’s no big drama curve here, it’s actually pretty flat. The average life is pretty boring if you consider the amount of real highlights you have on a lifeline that is about 100 years line. That’s why movies are so intriguing. In 90 minutes you get a firework of actions, emotions, lows, highs, drama, desperation. People like that. It started with „lifecasting“ done by Justin.tv back in 2007 and becomes more and more popular as what’s today called „vlogging“. Essentially, it’s the same thing. An average person’s life is becoming the subject of a self-filmed recording. Your life becomes a movie, especially when filming 24/7 as Justin Kan did. YouTube prime example Casey Neistat explicitly calls vlogging an „evolution of film-making“.
I understand if you think the step from making progress to film-making and eventually vlogging is huge or if that metaphor doesn’t work for you.
In essence, I want you to think about the narrative (the story) you want to tell if the end of your days were near. That’s when vlogging/film-making can help you. You don’t have to start a vlog although vlogging has become easier and easier, but at least take five minutes at the end of today and think how you spent the day and what happened. If you’re happy with it, fine. If you think there’s room for improvement, invite yourself to tomorrow because when you get up the next day you have the chance to live a story from the first-person perspective, and record it. And if you don’t like the full story, cut some pieces together to create a narrative that you would be proud to share and take away from the day. That’s when your life does become a film worth watching, and that’s when you became the protagonist who goes straight forward and makes progress as if you were pulled by an invisible string. The difference to a film: You know where the string will lead you to because you defined its end (goal) in the first place.
For two weeks in my personal journey, I’ve been working on my commercial demo reel which is a presentation of my voiceover skills in the commercial genre. There are many other genres like corporate, narration, audiobooks, animation/games. Right now, I’m polishing the scripts (editing, shortening and making them to the point with the least amount of words). Since I haven’t done commercial VO before I came up with my own scripts that partly advertise fictitious companies or projects that I’ve been doing. It’s not easy because I don’t know whether my written scripts are any good. Since the progress seems to happens so slowly, I needed to remind myself that making progress is important no matter how little the steps. So, I’ve been applying my own advice: make baby steps and move forward whether as fast as a cheetah or as slow as a land turtle.
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