What do you believe? Why do you believe it? Are you an artist? Chances are what you personally believe has a huge influence on what kind of artist you are and ultimately what kind of person you are. How do you feel about morality? What value system do you use to make decisions every day? What’s important to you?
There are just over 326 million people who live in the United States. There are over 7.6 billion people in the world total. About 360,000 people are born each day, 151,000 who die every day. The average lifespan is about 79 years. One thing every person alive can honestly say is: whatever we decide to believe, we don’t have much time to figure it out.
One of the most important ways a person can express their value system is through their worldview or religion. Recently Pew Research published their updated study on religious demographics in the United States. In the US, 38.6 percent of the population identifies as either unaffiliated or nothing in particular. Non-Christians account for 5.9 percent of the population and 70.6 percent identify as Christians. Different religions and worldviews can yield very different results sometimes and that’s something to think about!
The other way people express what they believe is in terms of ethics and morals with their everyday decision making. If someone says they’re a Christian, but they don’t take into consideration others around them, then they probably don’t represent that value system very well. Just as importantly, the decisions others make can tell you about that person’s value system that they have developed and integrated into their life since they were very young.
Do you think about issues of right and wrong? Global issues relating to other human beings? Why does half the world population live on less than $2.50 a day? Why does the bottom 80 percent of American households have an annual income of $34,000 while the top 1 percent has an annual income of $1,300,000? Does the word greed come to your mind? What does that word mean to you? Have you ever met someone who was very greedy? The answers to these questions and many just like them are all things that make up what a person believes. They absolutely impact what kind of films they make or what type of screenplays they write.
Why is this important? To be thoughtful whenever writing a screenplay or making a film. To think more about why the world is the way it is and what you can do about it. If you think you can do something about it by making a film, why?
In my own life, I can tell you I have a lot to learn, but also a lot to deal with. I’m not alright with income inequality. I’m not alright with poverty. I’m not alright with murder and violent crimes. I’m not alright with war. I’m not alright with seeing so many people on a day to day basis treat each other poorly because they thought so highly of themselves they didn’t even consider anyone else. I’m not alright with a lot of things. The question is: what do you do about it?
So if you’re a filmmaker you probably think about these things too. Sometimes what we believe is wrong and hurtful to others. Sometimes what we believe is the truth and aims to help our audience and others become more aware. Some of the greatest films and TV shows ever made did just that.