Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Great TV for writers and actors!

I'm sure a lot of people would consider it snooze time TV, but for writers and actors there are incredible, informative, insightful and illustrative programs that give us so much fantastic fodder for our work!

If you have basic cable, there are educational, C-SPAN, political and Book TV channels *on fire* with fantastic ideas, research with new developments and facts about all sorts - whether it's psychology or history or background on news stories and personalities.

There was a talk by Dr. Marsha Linehan presented a talk about the latest psychological research findings about working with suicidal patients. She not only outlined the various types of patients who are at risk, but the new and much more successful methods (survival rate) she has developed to work with them.

Authors on Book TV are the best because they talk about what we care about most - even if you're not up with the "big" topic: the people involved and how they reacted. What motivated them to do or not do what they did to make history, in a positive way or in infamy.

Language programs are everywhere - French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and more.

Discovery and other commercial channels do some great documentary work on subjects you may never have considered fascinating until you watch these programs.

I watched the historical documentary series on The Mormons, which was an earnest, factual attempt to show Mormons and their history in a way that would help the average person understand who they are and why they do what they do in a way with which we could identify.

I'm not sure they succeeded in connecting what they believe and what they do with the average American, but it was the truth - Mormons approved of the series - and a genuinely fascinating experience to see how people come to believe what they do in a way that brings them to devote themselves to those beliefs.

I love watching all these programs, not just to feed my habit of wanting to learn *everything* before I die, but see how the things I learn lend themselves to the characters and stories I write. Even picking up a very small personality trait that can make the biggest difference creating a memorable character - or bring a new (to me) element to a story we wouldn't otherwise know to bring .

With Book TV authors, they add insights to characters in their books - those I've read as well as those I want to read. OK, I hate to admit it, but in some cases I decide I don't have to read the book for a number of reasons.

I guess if you're not into being very curious and wanting to know this information, you may not be interested.

But one of the most memorable weekends I spent learning was when Book TV featured a series of authors whose books dealt with national security: each telling how the Bush administration was sacrificing in some significant way our national security because he has committed so many resources to Iraq. These were people who worked in security of airports, trains, and other areas in which terrorists could find relatively easy access to and through America's borders, many of whom resigned their government jobs in an attempt to push for what they consider necessary change to protect US borders.

It was about three years ago, when it gave me the greatest understanding about how I was not receiving accurate news from any government or mainstream media sources relating to Iraq, security, national security, Iraq, science, health matters and other subjects upon which we should be able to rely from government sources, since we pay for every bit of it with our hard-earned taxes.

Questioning the accuracy of anything we hear, especially from those who have an axe to grind or that requires an action, money or unquestioning belief is something we should do anyway. As a journalist, I tended to do this anyway, but that weekend was a huge wake up call for m.

I realized I had to sharpen those skills to their utmost with the state of the misinformation and disinformation passed on through mainstream sources in the US.

Some mainstream (corporate) media are catching up to the truth; unfortunately it's way too late for all the people who have lost their lives unnecessarily thanks to the policies and practices of the Bush administration and the minions who have done his bidding, even when they knew they were dealing in lies, misinformation or disinformation and attempting to dismiss, demean and ridicule those who were actually telling the truth. When anyone like Sean Hannity and other right wing mouthpieces call people names instead of telling the truth, you know there is a problem with the information.

I have a sense that as people learn the truth, they are getting angry and demanding 1) the truth and 2) justice for being virtually jacked around for the past six years: resulting in the unnecessary loss of so many patriotic American lives - within its own borders as well as an unnecessary war into which we were coerced by intentional lies.

Do not get mad. Get informed. Work from the truth and the truth will set us all free. Or at least get us back on the track of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights!

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