The Emotions of Story-telling – Part 1: Love

Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem.
Assalam alaikum and what’s up.
Had a great week. Finished a fourth draft. I think it’s much better than the last draft. It’s 20 pages shorter which is almost certainly better.
I took a day off and watched Downton Abbey till I was bloodshot – literally. I want to shake Mary Crawley. They don’t make them like Matthew anymore. They really don’t. I wish I could tell her that.

Now before any dudes get antsy, I’m aware Downton Abbey is fiction. I wonder if they made them like Matthew back then even. Principled, brave, humble – and handsome!

Hubby’s like that. I’m not just saying that. And thankfully I noticed it before something awful happened.

But the fact is –  movies and TV don’t have the time and the patience to go into all the little idiosyncrasies that make up a complete human being, and the tolerance or celebration of which make up a healthy marriage. So possibly Matthew isn’t just principled, brave, humble and handsome, but also messy, lazy, nit-picky, a late sleeper, a worrywart, a holier-than-thou sort, a fathead – but none of those things are relevant to the plot of Downton Abbey. But that’s not what I’m here to tell you about. I’m a hopeless romantic and Downton Abbey is the perfect drug.
I’ve been exercising to this guy lately (I usually exercise in the morning to screenwriting podcasts).This is my favorite talk of his.
He speaks about how oxytocin is the chemical that binds companies together. Not cortisol, the stress hormone – that just  shuts down your immune system. Not dopamine, the achievement hormone – that just makes you ruthless. But oxytocin -the bonding hormone.This was an Oprah-size aha for me.For a long time, I’ve been wondering why when I lost my job, it felt like heartbreak.
I realize now that I cared about the people I worked with and I cared about the work. Both are important but people and values are more important than the success of our ventures.
This puts a lot of my choices into perspective. Why I was loyal even though a company was making huge mistakes – I thought we shared the same values and I was willing to have faith.
Why it really hurt when our management didn’t prove as loyal. Why even years later, if I had the chance to work with the same team (under different management), I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
The success or failure of the company didn’t matter as much as my commitment to my colleagues.
Come to think of it now, every film job I’ve ever taken has failed. But I don’t think of those experiences as failures at all. They don’t feel like they are as big a disappointment as the lay-offs. Because my colleagues and I always did right by each other and we knew failure in film-making is far more likely than success.
It’s great to know that I might not have a produced credit but I have a tribe.
This is a note to myself as a future filmmaker insha Allah – don’t sweat about the outcome. A Golden Lion would be great, but finding my tribe will be the real prize.
Much love, peace and joy.
Wassalam and Fee Amanillah,

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