People often ask why I love movies so much, why I make time to see them—so dang many of them.
Perhaps the most pragmatic reason is because I travel a lot and learned early in my career that as 'First World problems' go, there are few scenarios more depressing than eating Taco Bell takeout alone in one’s hotel room, hunched over crinkly paper on a faux-wood beanbag laptray while searching with a grimy clicker for something to watch on C-SPAN. I’ve refused to do so for nearly twenty years now, heading instead to a local cinema (and slightly better food) where I can feel like a human being rather than some reclusive Howard Hughes germaphobe reduced to futily fumigating or hazmat'ing the entire scene with a toxic combination of Raid, Arm & Hammer, and Lysol before ordering room service with sides of Purell, Visine, Tums, and Pepto-Bismol.
After seeing said show, it seems courteous to share what I think, should you love the film, too, or benefit from my misfortune by dodging a stinker. Consider it a gift or public service announcement. I virtually ensure your night or otherwise save you fifteen bucks and three precious hours. You're welcome.
More fully, however, the answer is because I work with storytellers and fancy myself one, too. That’s ultimately what training, development, strategy, culture, leadership, change, and communication are all about: finding the thread and making sense of it for others. Plus, isn’t that what life is, one big story? Three Acts (infancy-adolescence-adulthood, a beginning-middle-ending) told to us through parables, through poetry, through prose. Stories of creation, the rise, the fall, perhaps even the redemption of all things good and true or even icky and seemingly irredeemable.
Following several consecutive days of being on the road or at the front of a classroom and immersed in my own ideas, anecdotes, and materials through speaking, teaching, or facilitating, my legs and voice are usually shot. Similarly, after wrestling with clients’ formidably complex challenges through meeting, interviewing, analyzing, creating, writing, proofing, or editing, my butt, back, and brain are often fried. Whatever the case or cause, I eventually need to collapse anonymously into a plush chair, press a button, order dinner, and experience a potentially immersive tale in which I am not already vested and for which I am not responsible.
As an added bonus, to do this among locals gives me a feel for the community in which I'm working.
Depending on your point of view, maybe my moviegoing is a waste of time, a frivolous pursuit, or just a simple pleasure, but to me it is the most reliable means yet through which I am rejuvenated and refreshed and restored and re-juiced. I don’t golf, I don’t play cards or board games or ping-pong or drink with buddies. When I need to recharge, I watch movies and I dig ‘em.
Stories have and always will have the power to change the world, and I consider myself blessed to be surrounded by colleagues, collaborators, and friends who capture and convey clients’ amazing truths and fabulous yarns each and every day and who enjoy film, media, and popular culture as much as I do.
These are interesting and remarkable times, indeed, made better through sharing.
See you at the shows. Save me a seat.