Dave’s Desk @ Ditch: Stories of Hope and Connection
Some five years ago, when I first began submitting storylines and writing scripts for an online internet television series titled Front Seat Chronicles, I consciously made the choice to bury some of my best work; essentially postponing their production for a future point in time.
The rationale was that the stories might have a greater impact upon viewers, if there were to be a sea-change of sort, in the social climate sometime in the not-too-distant future.
Professionally, it wasn’t the easiest decision in the world to make, when one who is serious about the craft continually aims to put forth his or her best output for an industry that’s constantly in search of creative content and innovative storytelling.
That being said, I’m delighted to announce, the time to put these scripts into production has finally arrived!
The limited number of family members, friends and colleagues who’ve been “in-the-know” with regards to my stash of scripts, understandably have asked, “Why now?”
Fundamentally, I’m probably not alone in the opinion that we are experiencing a unique time in our relatively brief history as a nation, for which chaos and its subsequent bedfellow, uncertainty, have once again reigned supreme. The number of individuals who’ve been sharing with me their feelings of stress and anxiety has been unsettling to say the least.
Hence, what better time than now, to counter-balance these taxing emotions with a series of short films highlighting inspirational stories of hope and connection.
My ultimate goal with this particular project, and what I’m attempting to convey in each of the 10-minute works (not only as a screenwriter, but through input as a first-time producer/filmmaker), is to raise awareness of a simple, yet often elusive reality: in life, we’re never alone with our struggles.
I’m reminded of a rather poignant statement that researcher and world-renowned motivational speaker, Dr. Brené Brown emphasizes: “You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”
Of course these challenging circumstances come in all shapes and sizes, and what appears to be insurmountable for one person may not be for another. Whether it’s a chronic illness and addiction, financial hardship or experiencing a traumatic event (or any number of other critical situations), how often have we tried to “go it alone” – only to find ourselves slipping further down a hole; seemingly unable to escape?
The depth of that crater gets measured every so often, when a celebrity takes his or her own life, or the PBS NewsHour devotes a segment of their nightly program to attempting to shed light upon the darkness that many of our military personnel needlessly endure.
Spiritualist Ram Dass, author of “Still Here,” concludes that: “We can see reality from different angles, so we can choose how we wish to respond to events. We allow ourselves to be controlled by our experience and that we must behave in certain ways.”
He adds, “Situations in which we become dependent can become transformative experiences for all parties concerned. By allowing ourselves to reveal our need, we allow those around us the opportunity to help, which is a fundamental need we all share.”
Clearly, the method with which we choose to confront our most trying battles will vary from one person to the next. In each of the films I’ll soon be producing, one of the two main characters is faced with a clear choice to make during a crucial moment of crisis. It’s a decision that most of us, given a similar set of circumstances, have encountered at least once in our lifetime, if not more.
The “pay-off” comes during a critical exchange between an unsuspecting character who experiences self-revelation, and another who is accorded a renewed sense of hope. Both of these elements are essential components, if there is to be a mutual, positive outcome and resolution to said crisis.
Or as screenwriter/producer Neill Hicks professes: “A character never realizes. The audience realizes based on what the character does.”
Giving life to these heart-warming, albeit fictional stories of “hope and connection,” is but one method that I’ve personally chosen in an effort to bridge the ever-widening gap that exists between conflicting factions within our government, and society as a whole.
The universal nature of helping individuals who are in need is, and should always be, a moral imperative that compels us to act — not in the name of one particular deity or religion over another, but because we are human and have the ability.
When we neglect to do so, it puts us at risk of adding yet another ugly chapter to a history book replete with missed opportunities and abject contempt.