It goes like this — imagine you're watching and directing the movie of your life.
You and the audience are watching your story unfold. We can see what you see and hear what you hear.
We can't hear your thoughts but we infer them from your actions.
As well as being the main character, you're also the director. You can choose which way the story turns, how the hero behaves, and what challenges he faces.
This is a particularly interesting exercise that gets you thinking:
1.The hero gives a f**k
There is always something the main character cares about.
It can be something small like the rug in The Big Lebowski or something epic like Frodo’s ring.
The scale doesn’t actually matter.
It's the pursuit of something outside of himself that makes his story worth telling.
How many heroes do things they don’t care about?
Am I doing something I don't care about?
2. Plot twists
The remaining scenes in your life haven't been filmed yet.
You, as the director, can slip in a plot twist and completely change the direction and pace of the movie.
Plot twists have that "no friggin' way" element that stops the story from drying out.
Is my story drying out? Do I need a plot twist?
3. Unchartered territory
No movie ever shows the characters doing the same shit they do every other day.
An essential part of a exciting story is unchartered territory. The unknown.
It's funny how we fear something that guarantees a story worth telling.
Am I sticking to what I know? Am I challenging myself?
This is my favourite.
What happens when a hero needs to go through a long period of training, boring work, or recovery?
They put on a BIG TUNE and start a montage.
Something repetitive transforms into an epic training regime full of failure, learning, and improvement.
Every time you're facing a ton of boring work, shout “MONTAGE!" and get to work.
Here’s a playlist:
Am I putting it off because it's a lot of work? What if it was a montage instead?
5. Blooper reel
Who doesn't like bloopers?
It's what keeps the actors SANE. Can you imagine if every time they made a mistake, they got fired?
So, PLEASE. For the love of god — Fuck. Up. Fuck up again and again and again. Laugh about it.
These are the moments you’ll tell your kids about. Much more than your wild successes.
You are allowed to have a blooper reel.
When was the last time I fell on my face?
6. Supporting characters
Heroes often fall because they neglect their supporting characters — their teacher, their family, their friends…
Who are the supporting characters in your movie? Are you neglecting them?
When was the last time you showed them how grateful you are for their role in your movie?
I should call mum.
7. Everyone's rooting for you
Even when the hero is in his darkest hour, the audience is still rooting for him.
They know something the hero doesn’t — he can make it.
If you're stuck. Ask yourself: how would I want the hero to react in this situation?
More often than not, the answer is to declare a montage get your head down.
8. If a scene sucks...
As the director of your movie, you have complete editing rights.
And every movie has scenes that just don’t work.
So you made a call to try out a particular angle or scene. But, as it turns out, it doesn’t add to the rest of the movie. It doesn’t develop the characters, it doesn’t move the plot forward, and it’s not a montage.
Bin it. Throw it in the can. Leave it on floor in the editing room.
Do I need to cut my losses and throw this scene away?
9. You're never "off camera"
How the hero behaves when nobody is watching reveals the most about his character.
Does he say one thing and then do another? Does he realise he was wrong? Does he need to make it right?
Or does he pick up a video game and forget the challenge?
Does he tell his supporting cast that he quit smoking and then sneak out for one more when nobody's watching?
Why do I behave differently when nobody's watching?
10. Movies only last so long
Always remember that movie only lasts so long.
Make something that will make us stand up and say “Dam, that was a good movie”.
Maybe your movie is at a point where the main character is on the verge of breaking out of the humdrum and accept the call to adventure...
Or perhaps the hero has fallen and we’re waiting to see him bounce back...
If you were watching the movie of your life, what would you want the hero to do?