The following blog post is a transcript of the ethics speech that Will '20 (pictured above with his mother at Mothers Visiting Day) delivered to his Middle School peers and teacher-coach-mentors. Will shares how he approaches each day as though he is the director of the movie of his life. This approach allows him to be more mindful of his decisions and actions. In addition to being a film buff, Will is an honors student, three-sport athlete (football, basketball and track), and artist (one of his paintings is pictured below).
Everyone says how the real world isn't like a movie. From horrible horror features to ludicrous love flicks, movies just aren't realistic. However, when you really delve into the structure and setup of a film, you can learn a lot about how a movie is actually configured a lot like your life.
Granted, movies are fictional. They are designed and created to please an audience as well as leave them wanting more. If you were to film a day in the life of Will Nussbaum, it would consist of procrastination and eating, which in my opinion will not have an audience at the edge of their seats. When you are constructing the movie of your life with the points I'm about to present to you, there will hopefully not be any epic plane crashes or explosions. That's because you're not Steven Spielberg trying to get the perfect shot of a gigantic man-eating shark; you're a Middle School student figuring out how you're going to plan out the story of your existence all the way to the credits.
Number one: choosing the soundtrack. A movie without music is like a donut without icing. It's boring and flavorless. The reason so much money and attention is poured into the score of a film is because it gives life to the movie and provides the audience with what they should feel about a certain scene. When I wake up at the crack of dawn each morning, I review the day ahead of me. Is today an upbeat comedy with a bubbly melody because I have art class, or a Shakespearian tragedy with a solo violin because I have a test? Although you can't choose the movie you're in each day, you can choose the music that plays in the background, thus letting you dictate how you feel and act despite the genre of your movie.
Number two: choosing the theme. One of the very first things some of the best writers do when creating a movie is identify the theme or main idea. They think about one or two things they want you to take away from the film after the credits have long past the screen.
When your life comes to its inevitable end, what do you want people to think about long after you're gone? Do you want people to focus on the struggles you encountered or the triumphs you achieved? The trials and accomplishments throughout your life will define you, as well as others' perceptions of you.
Number three: choosing the cast. When making a movie, a pivotal aspect of making a great final product is choosing the correct people to not only portray a character well, but also make sure they bring that person's persona to life. People involved in the casting process comb meticulously through a huge pool of actors and actresses until they find the perfect person to be that character. You're the head of casting of your life, and with that comes the understanding of what you value in a human being. When I meet a new person, I categorize them into a role in my life. Are they a minor character, or a major one? Are they a protagonist or antagonist? You decide the roles for each character in your story, so carefully choose the people you want to be around, as they will determine where you end up almost as much as you do.
As the director of my life, I try to make important decisions in my life with plenty of mindfulness. For me, every day is a new scene. Instead of complaining because of what I have to do that day (most of the time), I stop the whining, turn up the music, and get to work.