Day 23: The Cry For Myth

Alex Ross.

Alex Ross.

“Myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation. Regions, philosophies, arts, the social forms of primitive and historic man, prime discoveries in science and technology, the very dreams that blister sleep, boil up from the basic magic ring of myth.”  -Joseph Campbell The Hero with a Thousand Faces

While doing research for this post, I came across an essay by Lane Wallace in April 27, 2010 issue of the Atlantic entitled Changing Our Cultural Myths. In it was a paragraph that stood out, as a testament to the power of myth:

 "Life offered the comforting image of a nation united behind a shared, if contrived, vision of the 'American Dream.' ... Part of his considerable achievement was his ability to provide an image of American life that helped a generation of readers believe in an alluring, consensual image of the nation's culture." 

 Working on this first endeavor in my career, as a storyteller, I had to do my research, research which continues even as I write this post. Finding my voice has been an eye-opening experience, aside from the views I have shared with co-workers on my opinions. For those that have taken the time to get to know me over the past year and a half, I confess that I don't fit in. I more like a light post that shines above the flat pavement below. 

I'm one who believes in doing as much research as time allows before applying it to the work. Which is why I've been tweaking, and rewriting the script so much as of late. Looking at various sources to package a product, in this case, a film, to the widest target audience. Over the past month, I've read books on Spielberg's approach, Kubrick's approach, the Pixar Method, Robert Mckee's Story structuring, and yet I keep coming back to my gut instincts. I guess I've always been guarded about expressing my thoughts to strangers regarding what's lacking in American culture since I was a young boy. Throughout those reading and countless articles, there seems to be a thread that connects everything. American films are in dire need of mythology. I had learned about Joseph Campbell back when I was 11, through my father who was an avid PBS supporter. Campbell was on talking about Star Wars and the hero.Over the years as I've gotten older I began to move beyond Campbell, on to Theodore Roszak, John W. Perry, Colin Wilson which is why when I stumbled upon Rollo May's The Cry For Myth at Meyer Library last March; I immediately became enamored with reading it and asking myself, why had I not heard of this man before?

I advise everyone to take a look at the videos above and below, to help better understand some of my approaches towards storytelling and dealing with mythology.