Tag Archives: bruce edwin

Remembering Humanity

jack reacher--hollywood sentinelJack Reacher Debuts in Theaters on October 21st, 2016

I’ve been watching a lot of older, great films lately. One thing that I am reminded about, when viewing motion picture, is something that I learned in one of my screenwriting classes, and that is that every well developed character in a film needs a backstory. What that means is this…take Will Smith’s character in “The Pursuit of Happyness” for example; We see that he is trying to get a good paying job, and make good money. But why? We quickly learn it is to take care of his young boy. But so what? Why is that? We learn it is because his characters father was not around for him, and he promises himself that he will never do that to his child. He will be there for ‘his’ boy. Now ‘that’ is a compelling motivation. His motivation for success runs deep–beyond the ordinary man. He ‘must’ succeed in order to not only care for himself, but to care for his boy, and to help break the cycle of abuse and abandonment that his spirit carries.

HarrietSchock

The Backstory of a Character

When a film has no backstory, that is, when the character’s motivation is not clearly established, we generally feel nothing for them. Why do they do what they do? What are they running from or towards? Are they compelled by love, fear, jealousy, hate, or what? In order to have a powerful character in a film we care about, we generally need to see or understand some of the inner compulsion of the character. Without backstory, without the reason ‘why’ they are doing what they do, we generally have no emotional development, and thus–no care for the character.

The greatest films, fueled by the greatest screenplays, have greatly developed characters that we ‘feel’ for. That we either greatly hate, or most often generally love, or can relate to. Without knowing something deep and personal about the character, we typically feel that the character is empty, shallow, and void of depth or meaning. We don’t care about them, and therefore, do not relate strongly to the film. A great character of depth helps create in cinema what we call the ‘suspension of disbelief,’ whereby our conscious mind momentarily forgets the outside world, and relates wholly to the character on screen, considering their pain–our pain, their truth–our truth, and their victory–our victory.

The Force Within Us

When Luke Skywalker conquers the evil Darth Vadar, it is not just Luke we are cheering for, it is for the universal good in us all. “Star Wars” creator George Lucas tapped in to what Joseph Campbell referred to in his book and video “The Power of Myth,” as the classical archetype, which extends across all time, space, lands, and generations. It is the inborn spirit in humanity that years for truth, for love, and for the greater good. Without archetype, without ‘reason’ in our characters, our stories are often flawed, and our sense of wonderment, awe, and compassion is either lost, or worse still–never there to begin with.

Life Imitates Art

I want to ask you to think for some time about your life as a movie script. How many strangers do you see each day that are not developed in your mind? In other words, how many people out there do you encounter that you know nothing about? That you have no backstory for? The reality is, we ‘all’ have a story. We all have a backstory–a reason for why we do what we do–right or wrong. We all have something we are running from, or towards. We all have hopes, dreams, fears, weaknesses, hates, loves, motivations, and things that inspire and compel us. Yet how can we ‘feel’ any care, compassion, or sympathy, let alone any empathy, for those characters in our lives–those ‘strangers,’ when we have no emotional bond compelling us to see them as anything more than just a blip on the screen of our life? What concern will we feel when that stranger is just as another flat, boring, irrelevant character on the screen, that we know nothing about?

Avi Roth

I want to remind you that ‘you’ are an undeveloped character to someone, to a stranger–just as I am to many. Those that become ‘famous’ have a two dimensional view of them ‘known’ by many, but even this is not ‘knowing.’ How can you know a person? Just as we know a character. We know where they came from, we know where they are going, we know a bit of their soul and what drives them; their passions, their weaknesses, their loves, their fears, their hopes, and their obsessions.

Strangers–The Undeveloped Characters of Our Life

Unlike the movies, the undeveloped characters–those ‘strangers’ in our life really are developed, they really are deep–we just haven’t heard, seen, or read their stories. And yet how many times do we pass by a stranger, giving not a thought nor care to their life, to their feelings, to their humanity? How many hundreds of thousands of homeless on the streets in Los Angeles and every major city throughout the world have a story–a purpose they are not fulfilling, a dream they yearn to see come true?

We are all human, we all have a spirit, a purpose– a soul. I want to remind you as I also remind myself, that while we can shut off the characters on T.V, or in the movies who we don’t feel anything for, we should think twice before shutting off our feelings, compassion, or interest for those we know nothing about in the real world. Everyone has feelings. People matter, whether you know them well or not, they were once an innocent, helpless child, they were once full of life and hope–they had dreams, and yes, somewhere deep inside, beyond all the unknowing, beyond all the fear, regret, pain, remorse, or hate, beyond all their goals not yet achieved–they still may dream of something magical and magnificent. We all have feelings–we all have a passion, a purpose, yearning to break free.

I dare you today, to go out into the world during your day, and help someone in need. Help someone get their hope back that may have lost it, or their faith in the decency of humanity. It is good to get what we want, to have our goals, and achieve them; there is nothing wrong with that, that is healthy, and necessary. But as we do better and better each day, it is also our responsibility to remember others–to help when we can, to do more. Let’s build better characters not only on the big screen, but in our own lives.  And together, we can all watch a life–our life as it unfolds–that we are proud of.

–Bruce Edwin

Copyright, 2016, Bruce Edwin, The Hollywood Sentinel, all rights reserved.

JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK
Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) returns with his particular brand of justice in the highly anticipated sequel JACK REACHER:  NEVER GO BACK.  Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) is the Army Major who heads Reacher’s old investigative unit. She is arrested for Treason and knowing that she is innocent, Reacher must break her out of prison and uncover the truth behind a major government conspiracy in order to clear their names and save their lives.  On the run as fugitives from the law, Jack Reacher uncovers a potential secret from his past that could change his life forever.  Based upon JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK, author Lee Child’s 18th novel in the best-selling Jack Reacher series, that has seen 100 million books sold worldwide.
Jack Reacher text, and image are used with permission with courtesy of Paramount Pictures, copyright 2016, Paramount Pictures, all rights reserved. The Hollywood Sentinel, 2016.

The Age of Fear?

Christina Grimmie–A Star Remembered

The end of spring 2016 in the U.S. has been challenging for some to say the least, particularly for some in Florida. For even those who attempt to ignore the media, it is difficult to avoid the reality of the recent terrible events that occurred in Orlando; first with the singer from the Voice, and then with the victims in the nightclub.  I recently traveled earlier this year to Daytona and Orlando, and the cities are both wide open, bright, prosperous, and clean.

The sick and evil persons who committed both of these atrocities are also gone.  Politicians have used these evil events to try push their agenda of gun control or immigration control. Both sides blame the other, as each stirs up animosities among each sides supporters.

Jessica Banner Ad

While most of the millions of Muslims in the world are good, peaceful people, the tiny percent of those that call themselves such, follow the extreme, literal,  interpretation of the religions text, and are committing barbaric, evil acts.  Some argue that this rise in extremism is  fueled, if not at least partly, by the West’s gradual invasion and war against their people over the past nearly 20 years.  An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind. Evil has no justification, and killing the innocent, whether they be Muslim’s, Palestinian’s, Jews, Christians, Pagans, atheists, or anyone is always wrong.

Karma is real, and if reincarnation or an eternal life of the spirit is real, then those who commit unfathomable, evil acts out of hatred, and of a warped ideology, will surely find not the salvation they cling to, but a hell of the lowest order.

Christina Grimmie Remembered

Christina Grimmie was a young, beautiful, incredibly talented and kind woman, whose stellar voice was a gift to the world.  Her loss of life is a tragedy that is angering and sad. She will be deeply missed.

Nightclub Victims Remembered

The 49 club goers in Florida will also be greatly missed.  Nothing will replace their lives. Their spirit should serve as a reminder that who one chooses to love or be with is a human right, whether one agrees with it or not.  Most of these people–we imagine, were good, kind, loving,  people.

Most People are Basically Good

The thing that we must also remember in all of this is that most people are basically good.  Most people try to do better.  Most people want to stop evil, and want to be kind. Good is more powerful than evil. Love is stronger than hate. There are more people on the planet that want peace, than there are those who want to kill. There are more acts of kindness and good news every single day around the world, than there are acts of violence, or bad news. We simply are only exposed to a warped majority of bad news, because the majority of the media and most politicians often operate and try to rule from a paradigm based on fear and hate, rather than on hope and love.

We need not have fear.  This is a benevolent universe.  We are spiritual beings, having a human experience, and we are here to learn and grow.  One of the purposes of life is to bring love and happiness to ourselves, and to others. It is not wrong to do things that make us happy, so long as we do not violate the rights of others. We should also seek to make happy those around us, and do things that lift up, and enlighten and benefit the world.

An Age of Hope

We need not deny reality, or the problems that we as a nation and world face. Yet we also need not succumb to the daily bombardment of fear, pain, death, disaster and hate that is constantly programmed to us through the mass media.  There is a very small group of people on the planet that are very evil, that wants war, that wants to create evil, panic, fear, and dread, in order to kill and control. We do not need to give them any more power.  We were made from the same source of a loving power. We deserve to be happy, and we deserve a life unencumbered from the evil that a small percent of people from any ethnicity or religious ideology do.  Do yourself a favor, at least for a few days, and ignore the drumbeat of death and fear in the media. Focus on the life around you, and make it better. Go out today and tomorrow with your full life force, with a bravery that knows no bounds, to do good, be happy, help others along the way, and follow your passion. Be bold, and thankful for this gift of life we have all been given.  Focus on the good–it is not difficult to find. We are all very blessed, if we simply choose to be.  We CAN be heroes. Be brave, and be a hero to the world–now is your time.

This content is copyright, 2016, Bruce Edwin, The Hollywood Sentinel, all world rights reserved.

A Personal Revolution

Sunrise Coigney, Oscar®-nominee Mark Ruffalo, and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson arrive at The 88th Oscars® at the Dolby® Theatre in Hollywood, CA on Sunday, February 28, 2016.
Sunrise Coigney, Oscar®-nominee Mark Ruffalo, and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson arrive at The 88th Oscars® at the Dolby® Theatre in Hollywood, CA on Sunday, February 28, 2016.

By Bruce Edwin

As anyone who does not totally ignore mainstream American media can attest, the political presidential race has been dominating the news for months now, and is even increasing, with a furious pace.  Comedian Robin Williams once reportedly defined politics as the following;  Politics= poli (many) and tics (bloodsucking parasites).  Was he inaccurate?

To be sure, some politicians may legitimately enter the field with noble intentions, intending to make their community, state, or country a better area. Yet, even in the purest democracy, where one groups will of a majority vote is enforced upon the will of a lesser minority, some people, and in fact many– will not be happy. The nature of politics then, is a problematic area that leaves some hopefully getting what they want, and others, hopefully not too many, getting the short end of what they wanted. In politics, like life, there is always a loser, not just among the race among candidates, but among the public they allegedly serve as well.

undead hearts banner

Now that the current political race is down to Sanders, Clinton, and Trump, with Sanders suggesting that if he loses any further, he will support Clinton, it seems that Trump and Clinton will be the final contenders in the latest media political circus. Does it really matter? Americans will still keep doing what they are doing already, and it will still be business as usual.  If anything, it is all mildly entertaining, but at the end of the day, it is really quite meaningless.

If one is struggling financially, they will probably continue to struggle no matter who wins the next presidency. if one feels oppressed, they will continue to feel oppressed, unless they decide to stop feeling that way. If one is unhappy and failing, they will most likely keep failing, and blame the president for their problems, if the person they didn’t vote for wins.

If one is making a lot of money, they will still keep making a lot of money no matter which candidate takes office. Many will try to blame the new president for their troubles, and those that are happy and doing great, may give away some credit to their favored candidate if they won, but most likely, will take most of the credit themselves.

When you take responsibility for your life, you have no one that you have to give credit away to, or to blame. It doesn’t matter if a reality TV star wins, a Senator, or whoever. Unless you are working directly with politicians, their public games for the cameras mean little, but merely a distraction– not unlike the latest Hollywood gossip, or tasteless so called ‘reality’ TV show.

Instead of taking it all too seriously, and letting the political battles control your mood or your life, consider it what it is–an amusing form of cheap entertainment, perfect for entertaining and distracting the masses. Instead of getting angry about what they tell you that you ‘should’ be mad about, take a nice walk outdoors. Get some fresh air, take in some nature. Look at the beautiful land that was created here for you not by any man, but by a greater intelligence. Look within, and discover your true dreams, wishes, desires, passions, and loves, and then follow them. When the world decides to get mad and lose their head, decide to stay calm, be happy, and keep yours.

Don’t be duped by being told how to feel, what to believe in, or what causes are important just because they are ‘trending’ or being debated on the news. Be your own ’cause,’ and find out what is important to you– yourself.  Be a leader, not a follower. And if you must be a follower, then don’t follow the followers, follow a true leader that will lift your spirit up, and enlighten your soul.

Hollywood, at its best, educates, and entertains with a universal message of hope, strength, and truth. While it should not be worshiped, at its best, Hollywood also can even lift up ones spirit, and fuel or re-ignite ones faith or dreams. The Oscars® this year, thankfully contributed to that cause, by recognizing films that do just that. This is why Hollywood, and the arts in general, will always be of great, immeasurable importance to the world.

Find the happiness within you, and in others. Hatred is easy. it takes a person of greater strength to find and give love. What we focus on is what we get. The more attention you put on something, the more it will expand. And if you really must jump in to the political distraction games, then do something about it.  Don’t complain about something unless you are ready to help fight to change it. The world is full of complainers, but lacking a real shortage of doers. Do something about your complaints. The world doesn’t need another complainer!  Either change it, or take your attention off it, and focus on the good. If you do either one of these acts, you will–in at least some small or perhaps even some significant way, begin enacting your own personal revolution. And that my friends, is the best vote you can cast.

This content is copyright, 2016, The Hollywood Sentinel, all world rights reserved.