What You Have to Offer?

Watch this inspirational short film illustrating a 5 minute excerpt from a  lecture given by Charlie Kaufman in BAFTA’s 2011 Screenwriters’ Lecture Series. Kaufman is well-known screenwriter behind such films as “Being John Malkovich”, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “Adaption”. The main character of “Adaption” is in fact, named “Charlie Kaufman”.

The film was directed by Eliot Rausch, the grand prize winner of the first Vimeo Film Festival in 2010.

The first words in the film are simple: “So you are here and I am here”. It seems quite obvious, but there’s a promise in those words. You are here, so there must be a good reason. It must mean something.

Kaufman continues, “I’m trying not to spend this time as I spend most of my time: Trying to get you to like me… I’m trying to move deeper, hoping to be helpful.” He goes on to speak of an ancient wound that we all carry, saying:”I do believe you have a wound too. I do believe that it is both specific to you and common to everyone… It is the thing about you that must be hidden and protected”. His words gnaw at the deep shame we often carry about ourselves and belief about our abilities. How often have you made choices based on shame – an attempt to compensate for what you believe to be your greatest weakness?

His words pierce as it speaks what many of us refuse to say: “It is the thing that truly, truly, truly makes loving you impossible.”

However, the tone changes when he explains, “It is the thing from which your art, your painting, your dance, your composition, your philosophical treatise, your screenplay is born.”

“People all over the world spend countless hours of their lives every week being fed entertainment… and it’s ludicrous to believe that this stuff doesn’t alter our brains. It’s also ludicrous to believe at the very least that this mass distraction is not convenient for the people who are in charge… They’re selling you something”, Kaufman challenges.

“Don’t allow yourself to be tricked into thinking that the way things are is the way the world must work.” ~ Charlie Kaufman

Kaufman ends with a call to action stating, “We are not the passive audience… We don’t have to be. We can say who we are. We can assert our right to existence… We are thinking, really thinking about who we are. And we will express ourselves and with this other people won’t feel so alone… I believe with courage, vulnerability and honesty the stuff we put into the world can serve a better purpose. What I have to offer is me. What you have to offer is you.”

What are you offering the world?

imahni-200sqBio: Imahni Dawson is a musician, writer, and student with a passion for inspiring others to realize their full potential. 

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