Story Is The Act Of Dreaming While You Are Awake by Adam Skelter

Watch the video interview on Youtube here
Film Courage: Story is the act of dreaming?


Adam Skelter, writer, director, story artist: I think that’s at the core of what the function of dreaming is and what the function of story is and that’s why I repeated it several times throughout the series. And the process of dreaming is the way we internalize information from the day into our value system.

We’re all composed of a subconscious. The subconscious is constantly absorbing information. Now we have to learn to prioritize that information or we won’t survive. We can’t even navigate the world around us. It’s a kind of psychological equilibrium. So when we dream, we’re going through the process of taking this information, connecting it to emotional values and weaving that into our subconscious. And that right there is the fertile ground metaphor. That’s where we’re planting our metaphors and that’s where they grow from. The dream is the render machine for our lives. And so what we do when we’re telling stories is we’re allowing ourselves to experience certain things. We’re watching a series of events that have emotional resonance with us which is why it has such powerful effects on a culture. When you tell a story to a million people that’s imposing, it’s offering up a new way to look at the world. And then if we internalize it emotionally, if we sympathetically connect with it and allow it into our subconscious and it effects the our internal value systems, our sacred and profane, then it completely changes the way we see the world and that’s a really powerful thing.

Ultimately when we’re telling stories, we’re allowing ourselves, we’re trying to engage that subconscious part of each of us and draw it into the conscious and change the way we have our value systems.

Film Courage: Can storytellers change the public consciousness through manufacturing new stories or do you think it has to be in the public’s space to be reenacted in film and TV? Can we manipulate…let’s suppose society is on a downward spiral, whether it’s a new breed of terrorism, whether it’s the effects of society’s isolation through social media and being online all the time, can we inject new stories that may change things? Or does it have to follow what’s already in the ether?

Adam: I’m a pretty positive person. I think the truth of it is the world is amazing right now. Politically speaking, yes it seems like an awful place and people are behaving really badly. But the truth of it is if you look at the trends…are you familiar with Steven PinkerEnlightenment Now’? So read Pinker, read Chomsky, compare both of them, compare and contrast. I don’t have any loyalties either way but there’s really good information in both of their writings.

Generally speaking we have a long way to go before we are a genuinely healthy, robust community. That said, we’re doing really well. As storytellers, we have opportunities every single day, even in Facebook posts or in writing samples, or even in getting online and talking about your situation, profoundly effects other people emotionally. Honestly this is the time where we’re inundated with endless amounts of stories. The image has never been more powerful…it’s interesting because since the Internet and I remember being asked by this one student Do you think illustration is dead? Is art dead? Because it’s all online and it’s all about animation. The image has never been more powerful.

Think a hundred years ago, how difficult it was to share just a printed image. Now you can be constantly producing stuff. When I was a kid, I dreamed of the day where we could find out about all these artists that I was pulling from or reading about all these experiences that I had no access to. I’d have to go to the library or something like that and I’d have to look through endless amounts of books to find stuff.

Now go on Instagram or go on Facebook or look at different artists and stuff. I think the truth of it is, we’re in a really good place. People are panicking because they are always panicking. It always feels like the end of the world because we’re living on the edge of eternity, like we’re right at the edge looking over having no idea what is going to happen tomorrow, that’s just the human condition. But the reality is we’re doing really well and when learning a lot and ultimately as storytellers and writers, we’re doing everything we can to generate new metaphors to help us go into the dark night…God, that sounded corny!

Film Courage: Can we manipulate stories in a good way? Not a bad spin where I’ll skip current news events, almost like THANK YOU FOR SMOKING but in a positive manner?

Adam: I mean that’s largely what rhetoric is. Rhetoric is presenting information in a way that persuades people to comply with you. But to me what really great art is and what everybody decides what they want to do with their art, do with their stories and I don’t think people should be telling other people what to write or what not to write. You get to decide how you’re going to engage the market and the market gets to decide whether you are relevant or not. But ultimately the stories that are asking important questions (challenging, important questions) I believe bringing truth, challenging existing beliefs, challenging values is one of the most powerful things we can do…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).

Watch the video interview on Youtube here

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