What Do You and Your Favorite Movie Have in Common?
Understanding the Red Thread is one thing, but discovering what it means to you and your life can be tricky. What can you do to help? Think about your favorite movie.
In this episode, Tamsen explains how the secret to your Red Thread just might be on page five of your favorite screenplay. Early in a script, many writers will include a seemingly inconsequential conversation that lays in the theme for film. Going back to your favorite movie and looking for these clues can get you on the path to finding your own Red Thread.
- The First 10 Pages: Five Major Rules
- Steven Pressfield: Tell Us What Your Story is About
- Forrest Gump screenplay
Trying to figure out what your Red Thread is or even just a piece of it? Here’s a hint: what’s your favorite movie? Hiding in many screenplays on page five, which is about five minutes into the script, is a secret that can help you figure out what your Red Thread, or at least a piece of it, might be. What is that?
Well, this is something I first found out about from Steven Pressfield, who is an author and a blogger. An amazing blog, by the way. But he mentioned that many screenplays, not all, follow a template of sorts where somewhere around page five the author of the screenplay writes in the theme of the movie; in other words, the Red Thread! In a seemingly meaningless piece of dialogue, back and forth between characters or some other way, they will reveal what the whole movie is really about.
And the reason why I say “well, if you’re trying to figure out your Red Thread, go watch your favorite movie,” is that if you listen for that, and if that movie follows that template, you might be able to discover one of those pieces that really resonates for you. In other words, some idea, whatever the movie’s about, is something that you, too, believe.
So take Forrest Gump, for example. On page five of that script is a conversation between Forrest and his mother. And it’s not about life being like a box of chocolates. It’s about the fact that each of us has different sized sponges that we’re given when we’re born. And that, as Forrest’s mother says to him, it’s not about the size of the sponge, it’s what you squeeze out of it. It’s what you use it for.
Now, for anyone for whom Forrest Gump is one of your favorite movies, or it resonates with you, it might just be because you believe very strongly in that idea as well. So the next time you’re trying to figure out what’s my Red Thread, or what’s the problem that I’m drawn to solve, or what are the solutions that I like to bring to bare, what is it that I really care about, what are my ideas, go watch your favorite movie and see if there’s a clue there.