I’ve wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember. It’s only recently, however, that I’ve dabbled with the idea of becoming a television writer.
Books are fantastic, but let’s face it, less and less people are reading. Yet, humans have always loved stories. We still do, and we always will. From sitting around the campfire sharing epic legends to watching Shakespeare plays, humans have always been fascinated by strange worlds, exotic peoples, and fictitious adventures. Our entire identity will always be strongly built on Story.
Our Facebook accounts run on the timeline concept – the story of our lives. Our Instagrams chart the places we go, the people we meet, and the food we eat (especially the food we eat, it seems). We blog and we vlog, we comment and we like, engaging in each others’ stories.
Books may be dying, but stories are very much alive.
And stories are evolving. Stories used to live in yellowed pages and black and white words. Now, they live on our computer and television screens. Television, especially, is quickly coming to the fore as a major story outlet.
Television used to be strictly mindless entertainment. It still kind of is – I’m not denying that, but in recent times some of the boldest leaps in innovative storytelling have come from television. People like Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), J.J. Abrams (Lost), Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica), and Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad) are spinning yarns on screens that get the whole continent talking.
It would be an understatement to say these shows have an effect on us; they tug at our insides, make us laugh and cry. They also inspire endless conversations about, yes, love triangles – but also ethics, belief systems, politics, racism, feminism…all sorts of isms. These conversations have even transcended the living room couches, crawling into university symposiums and academic discourse.
Stories matter. They influence the way we think and the way we look at the world. You can absolutely make an impact by joining an NGO and going on missions to deliver aid to the needy. But, you can also make an impact by changing the way people think. And I believe one of the most powerful, though often neglected, places one can effect change is through the entertainment and creative industries.
Stories permeate our lives. We might be busy all day at the office, writing our papers for school, and taking care of our parents and kids, but at the end of the day what we’re looking forward to is that delicious Netflix binge. Yes, we may be passively sitting in front of a screen, but subconsciously, that story which we love so much matters to us.