Pamela Jaye Smith: [Addresses the class] How many of you have a specific cause that you are behind with some kind of involvement whether it is equality, social justice, ecology? Anybody got a favorite?
And I presume most of us are here tonight because of two to three things. We realize we’re in a big ‘ole mess here on this planet and we want to do something about it and make positive changes and there’s an interest in mythology and the classic tools of storytelling and how can we put all those together?
Brief little history about MYTHIC CHALLENGES, back in 2011 I was at a conference about the future of story and the global challenges that the world is facing. And there’s an organization called the Millennium Project and they along with the United Nations identified 15 global challenges that we all face now and when you go to their website you’ll find links to all kinds of research and organizations who are dealing specifically with those.
Now for storytellers, the bad news is we’ve got a lot of problems. The good news is we’ve got a wide range of problems. One of them is international organized crime, so if you’re writing a crime or espionage thriller you can plug right in there. It’s a global challenge, it’s a big problem.
The rich/poor gap…has everyone bought there mega millions ticket? Talk about your rich/poor gap, let’s make another 1 percent-er.
And certainly social justice and women’s rights and education. Going from MMDs (Murderous Military Dictatorships) or countries ruled by demagogues into democracies. There’s such a wide range of these challenges. Some collogues and I were at this conference about it here in LA and my co-founder/partner said Hey, I’ve got an idea. And so we huddled a little bit and he said We’ve decided to form an organization that helps people who want to address these challenges do it with storytelling. Yeah! Everybody thought That’s a great idea. Our pilot project was at a high school in Reseda. And they had a very good film/communications department and they had a couple of sister schools in Afghanistan. So we designed the class like what you’re going to get tonight but it was real hands-on with the kids because they were just coming into learning about some of these concepts.
And each of them chose one of the challenges and then one of the mythic themes to follow and they learned about the 5 archepaths: Warrior, Clergy, Scientist, Magician and Lover in order to put their characters in one of those categories.
And then how to use symbolism to tell their stories. So they worked together with their fellow students in Afghanistan through the State Department and Facebook, videos, etc. And they came up with some really, really good programs. One of them is only two minutes, another one I think is about 18 minutes and these projects these kids did were out there winning awards but we saw that it really worked even with young people, especially with young people because they had a vested interest in the future.
So you can go to our website and go to the videos section see some of theirs. In fact I would urge you just for laugh and to see just how effective this can be, watch the one about WATER, IT’S NOT A GAME or IT’S NOT A CONTEST. It’s only 2 minutes long, it’s really cute and there are no words spoken but it gets the idea across. Point being you can use these tools, you can address these problems in any style you want to, any genre you want to, to get across your point.
How many of you have an interest in mythology? [Audience raises their hands]. That’s why you are here! Has anybody got a particular realm of myth like the Greco-Roman or Polynesian or anything in particular? Or is it more a generic interest? Okay, good because what you find when you get into comparative mythology is…well…let me back up. What are myths? Myths are not just the dusty old stories of the Greeks and Romans nor are myths other people’s religion. Nor (as a grade schooler once said) A myth is a female moth. No. Myths are stories that we tell ourselves to explain the world around us and within us, that’s it. The stories we tell ourselves to explain the world around us and within us. And as a side note of both of those to justify the worlds that we have created.
And one of the examples I use for that is The Aeneid, this epic poem of a Trojan prince leaving the burning ruins of Troy after they’ve been defeated by the Greeks having all sorts of adventures across the Mediterranean including a very tragic love affair with the Queen of Carthage. And eventually he gets to Rome because that’s his destiny (with the Gods) and he founds Rome (well that’s a neat story). It was commissioned by the Emperor Augustus and Augustus said to the poet Virgil We need a foundation myth. We need to justify our existence…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
ABOUT THE SPEAKER:
PAMELA JAYE SMITH is a mythologist, author, international consultant-speaker, and award-winning writer-producer-director with 30+ years in features, TV, music videos, commercials, documentaries, web series, corporate and military films. She has worked at major studios and with wildly independent companies in Hollywood and around the world, always enjoying the process of bringing creative ideas to worldwide screens.
Credits include Fox, Disney, Paramount, Microsoft, Universal, RAI-TV Rome, UCLA, USC Film School, American Film Institute, Women in Film, Natl. Film Institute of Denmark, LA and Marseille and Roma WebFests, Romance Writers of America, Children’s Book Writers LA, and many media festivals and story conferences.
MYTHWORKS helps others enhance their stories with the power of myth: themes, symbols and imagery. Pamela also brings the insights and effectiveness of archetypes to storytellers’ character development. These classic tools work for any style and any genre, on any platform, in any stage of development — plus, they’re fun to use.
Besides her own works she writes for others, coaches writers and actors, advises organizations, and helps individuals discover and use their personal archetypes.
Smith is the author of THE POWER OF THE DARK SIDE, INNER DRIVES, SYMBOLS IMAGES CODES, SHOW ME THE LOVE!, BEYOND THE HERO’S JOURNEY, and ROMANTIC COMEDIES. She appears as a myth expert for Fox’s “Ice Age: Continental Drift”, Microsoft’s “Age of Mythology” and the “American Jedi” documentary.
She is on the Board of Advisors for the LAWebFest, Jaipur Intl. Film Festival, The Orpheus Institute and c3 Center for Conscious Creativity. She has served on think-tanks for the Entertainment Industries Council, Boeing’s Workforce Development, and the U.S. Army’s Advanced Warfighting Working Group at Fort Knox.
For more on Pamela and her work, please visit:
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