Saturday, May 07, 2016

How to Make Hard Choices (and the Inspiration for the Newest Short Film)

My secret sauce for writing has been taking a fear of mine and turning it into a story (I'll leave it up to you viewers to determine if it's working or not). Purgatory Comics is about fear of maturity. Halina is about rejection and individualization. And now we have The Burden of Choice, the short premiering soon that tackles one of my biggest fears yet: decision making.

It's not the first time I've given this subject a go. About 10 years ago I tackled indecisiveness in the 35 minute short film If, a no-budget comedy/drama about a young adult still coming to terms with a choice he'd made back in college (despite living a very happy life). I played the lead (ugh), and of course the story itself was very personal.

In fact, it was a decent way to describe my issues with decision making. It's not that I regret choices... it's that I recognize how each major choice sets off entirely new trajectories in life. This can be a lot of pressure on creative types such as myself; we can get caught up on the stories that take place in each trajectory. Some people live in the past... people like myself live in the past, future, and alternate present timelines. It's sometimes fun, sometimes sad, always exhausting.

While If was about a man who's overly curious about those trajectories, The Burden of Choice is about a woman who's convinced that only one trajectory can be "right". Therefore she sees each decision as a stressful burden, and she would do anything to lose that burden (even if it means surrendering her free will). If you can relate to this, then this is definitely a film for you.

This all brings me to an amazing TED Talks I watched recently on the subject. In the video below, philosopher Ruth Chang explains why choices don't have to be burdens... but rather reminders of the power we possess in our own lives. Choices should make you feel empowered, not lost - and she does an amazing job summing this idea up in a clear and profound way. I highly recommend this video (it's just shy of 15 minutes):

I hope you all check out The Burden of Choice while it makes its rounds, and if you want to check out If in all it's no-budget glory, it's on this blog. But I ain't linking it... because ugh.

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