If someone were to make a movie about your life, what famous star would play you?
We’ve all played that game before, and we usually want to pick the striking and smart leading lady or the adventurous and handsome male lead. It’s a fun game to think about, especially when we think we physically look like someone famous – even slightly.
(Me? I vaguely resemble a younger Shirley MacLaine, especially when I dye my hair red. Warren looks like George Eads, the cute investigator from CSI.)
We spend all of our time considering the inconsequential things:
- What would wear?
- Where would we film?
- Who would be our love interest?
without ever bothering to consider how to fund the movie, recruit a talented team behind the scenes, get the appropriate permits, and find the equipment we need to make the movie.
After our Try Something New ezine interview with first-time director Danielle Villegas last week, I started thinking more about the idea of our lives as movies and how we can be inspired and inspire other people with our stories. We all want to Live the Good Life, don’t we? So many of us want that Hollywood or Indie film kind of life, but few are willing to put in the behind-the-scenes work to create it. So I’ve put together a primer on creating your own real life movie.
Write a good script
If you don’t have a story, there will be nothing to film. Even if you stumbled into the perfect location surrounded by the right people, without knowing what kind of story you want to create, it will never happen. What kind of life do you want to live? Where? With whom? Doing what? Working at what? Impacting the world in what way?
You have to be inspired to create a great story, and you have to be inspiring to make people want to see it.
You won’t be able to change the world working at a job you hate. You can’t become a multimillionaire without creating or providing something of value to sell. You can’t fall in love if you never meet anyone new.
Write your own story first, then figure out how to make it happen.
Find your costars
- Smart or lazy
- Brooding or sunny
- Shallow or deep
- Funny or serious
- Good looking or quirky
The kind of people you attract into your life have a great impact on your script. Imagine Angelina Jolie in a Three Stooges film, or Will Smith playing a serial killer. Sure, they might be able to do it, but they are really better suited for something else and would bring a different vibe to those stories.
You can’t partner up with a jerk and expect him to play the romantic lead in your life. The friend who makes you feel bad about yourself is not going to save the day at the critical moment in your life’s movie. Check the IMDB profiles of the people you allow into your life. If they have always played creeps, don’t cast them as heroes in your life.
Assemble a talented cast and crew
The supporting actors, cinematographer, editor, costume designer, set designer – all these people work together to bring your script to life. You have to be with someone who has a crystal clear view of the world, someone who knows what is important to leave in and what to take out, and people to create the environment you want to live in and make everything work properly. You need other people to make your script come to life, and they will be relying on you to play a part in each of their films as well.
Your film does not get made on its own. In fact, nothing you do in this life is your sole creation without the help of anyone else. Nothing. And by not recognizing the importance of other people in your life, in your goals, and in your everyday activities, you limit the scope of your story until no one is interested in watching it, even you.
Where do you want this fabulous story to take place? How can you make that happen? Who can help you make it happen?
You can’t film a sunny summer love story during the winter in Siberia. Your hip downtown drama can’t play out in the cozy suburbs. You won’t become the latest MIT whiz kid without, you know, attending MIT.
For your movie to have the right setting, equipment, and permissions to film, you have to take the reins and make it happen. Live where you want. Work at what you love. Be with the kind of people who make you want to be better. No one can come along and create that for you for you, not even in the movies. You create the setting for your own story.
You will film a lot of scenes, only some of which make it into the final cut. You won’t know what works until you see it in the editing room, and thinking there is only one way to film a scene is a mistake. To make a really great movie, you need a lot of material to work with.
Life means trying new things, testing the waters, and sometimes diving right in when you don’t know the temperature of the water. You won’t be able to use all of it in the final product, but it all goes toward making that final product something you can be proud of.
The red carpet. The film festivals. The paparazzi. The interviews. Traveling all over the world to promote your movie. It all sounds glamorous, doesn’t it? When you live a life that is truly meaningful to you, people will want to know more about it. They can see it on your face long before they see it on the big screen, and they want to know how you got there.
When you share your story, you help other people create their own. You become a very small part of their movie, just like countless other people inspired yours from that very first draft of your script.
You set out to create a movie, but what you really do is add your story to the Film Festival of the Human Collective, adding to our universal knowledge, inspiring and instructing people with your story, and learning how to make a better life from all the others you’ve watched along the way.
The Academy Award belongs to all of us who dare to create our own life stories.
When do you start filming?
Are you flying by the seat of your pants with your film project, or do you have a solid script in hand ready to tell a great story with interesting characters?
It is easy to flow along as an extra in everyone else’s films, but you’ll rarely be discovered and get your own movie deal that way. Take charge, write your own script, and assemble an award-winning cast to tell the story that only you can tell. We can’t wait to see it on the big screen.
For the comments: Who is starring in the movie about your life, and what can you tell us about the plot? Give us the trailer of your film.
PS – Just for kicks, here is an outtake from one of our own Married with Luggage videos. We’ll call this one “going off script!”