The Bigger Picture
Entertainment is the one thing we rely upon when life seems like an uphill struggle. It’s like our best friend in times of crisis or boredom. It does everything our best friends in life do, whether it’s being there for us, making us laugh, making us cry, teaching us, causing tension or sometimes, leaving us just like the last season of a show does.
Consumption of such content is sometimes seen as a means of ‘time-pass’ or rather a waste of time. ‘Read more than watch’ is what we often hear, which is true, to some extent. However, what if we can convert what is only termed as ‘entertainment’ to something more meaningful, more educational and more thought-provoking?
A simple example. There is a reason why a character is not the same by the end of a movie. The protagonist has a goal, be it good or bad, and they have an entire journey in the movie. Sometimes that journey can take decades, like in The Shawshank Redemption, or is concluded within a single night, like Game Night. Regardless of the time frame or genre, there is a reason why the characters in a movie do what they do. There is a belief, a motive, or strong reasoning. In a show, this aspect is explored even more in-depth. If we can focus on the reasons as to why a character does what they do, and how they change throughout the journey, there is a mental and emotional shift within us, without us even knowing it. This is where we must tap in and introspect as to why we feel this way about the character, be it hatred or love.
Have you ever caught yourself asking these questions: Why are you even reacting to something that isn’t actually happening? Why are you feeling emotionally invested and connected to the story? Why do you want your favourite character to not die and triumph in the climax? Why do you feel tense? Why do you cry? Why do you laugh?
It’s all because we have empathy. In my opinion, many at times, our hearts cannot differentiate much between a fictional person and someone we know in real life. When a person we love wants to exit our lives, we feel numb and lost. The weight of emotions isn’t as different when your favourite series is coming to an end. The last 10 mins of that last episode — the tissues are never enough.
You have been with the characters right from the start, felt their loss and victories, their breakups, their love, their mistakes and their regrets. It is impossible that there can be no development. When we consume something that engages us to a high extent, that draws us in and creates an emotional bond between us and the characters. The storyline and the compelling narrative will change us, beyond a shadow of a doubt. It may be subtle but it is there. You may have finished the entire series or movie in a single sitting, but the experiences it embeds within you will stay for a long time.
Let’s not forget where this all originates from. Before it gets converted to an on-screen spectacle, the words are written by a writer who has had decades of experience on whatever he/she is choosing to write. A tremendous amount of research, time, tears, and countless brainstorming sessions go into writing a script. When someone with a heart and mind is putting it all into paper, it’s a no brainer that they write following their observations of life. You may or may not agree, but you are offered a perspective from them so you can have a different outlook on life than what you are exposed to right from birth. So in a way, you are being exposed to the learning of something that can best be summarized as the sum of all the years lived collectively by the writers, as well as the perspective of the actors and directors.
And they say it’s just entertainment.
I think in most movies or TV shows, there are always some dialogues that are relatable on some level to us. Our list of favourites depends upon the relatability of the show. Maybe the only judgement I would have is Twilight’s dialogues being someone’s favourite. Just kidding. I liked Twilight too, back in the days. Heyy, don’t judge, we have all been there okay.
Personally, what I do is that whenever I watch a movie, show, or any form of video content, I always note down the lines that resonate with me. Then I read and reflect upon them later. This way, I always remember what it felt like watching something, what stood out to me and what were my takeaways. So what I consume is not just narrowed down to entertainment or relief from the troubles of life, but I am educating myself through the most fantastic of scenes.
The next time you watch something, I request you to wear a different lens before you click play. The lens through which you are not just entertained, but you gain more empathy for fellow beings, to learn from the mistakes of the characters, witness their journey as your own experience, to strike a chord deep within you, and improve your own character.
The next time you watch something, open your notes and type your thoughts out. Trust me, you will not know the impact then, but months later, when you look back at what you wrote, they will come into use when you need some perspective on life, and that is when you will see:
the bigger picture.