As a television Executive Producer I have sat in many an edit suite watching a Director’s Cut – some by award-winning Directors, others from first time filmmakers.   Almost without exception, at the end of their films, I have said to them all: ‘it’s a competent film, but I just don’t care. You need to make me care’.

I get WHAT the film is about and HOW; it’s subject matter being told as in an essay. But pretty quickly my mind is wandering and I’m switching off. I can’t connect to the film at all. I just don’t get WHY the film should matter to me.

Filmmaking is storytelling; it’s people, strong characters that will take me on a journey. It might be one that is foreign to me, or reflect something I might never experience, but if I can see their values hidden beneath or recognize the universal themes that unite us all, suddenly I can connect.

‘You need to flip your film around’ I’ll tell them. A character’s story and WHY they are on this journey must come first, driven by the best action and drama. Show me who and why I can connect to them and then the rest – the WHAT I need to learn and the HOW – will seep through organically, so I barely even notice it. Show me why I should care.

When you lead with the WHY, a film sings,  a viewer can connect to the main character, their journey and the story has emotional impact. At times it can even change people’s lives. I have proven this time and time again with my films: through high ratings, positive film reviews and letters from viewers.    Also from the reputation I have built and the respect I have gained from broadcasters and many of my peers. What none of them know is that the concept of ‘flipping it’ is actually a metaphor for my life.

When I was young I knew HOW I needed to be, what I needed to say, to people please and to morph into WHAT I thought others wanted me to be. But the more I based my life on what I did and how I needed to behave, based on others values not my own, the more I lost myself and the more my life was out of line.

When I was honest with myself, I knew at the time that none of this was true to who I really was.    It wasn’t in sync with WHY I do the things that I do.   I had to realign my life.  I had to flip it.

I had to go back to my core values and what I believed in my gut and heart to be true.   And ask every time: is this / or them good enough for me? Do they bring out the best in me and I in them?   If the answer is no, then it or they are not worth having in my life.

When we work in pursuit of our values, with others that believe in the same, we become passionate about what we do.  When we find someone aligned to us – our values, beliefs and goals – a strong connection can be made and a lasting relationship will follow.

So eliminate those people in your life who bring you down and are no good for you.  Only surround yourself with those who support you, nurture you and have your best interests at heart.   Then you’ll find greater happiness and satisfaction in your life.

 Are you up for ‘flipping’ your life?  Let me know in the Comments below.


Are your relationships – past or present – good enough for you?  Do you deserve better?  Try my FREE QUIZ to find out!

Written by Vivian McGrath

Vivian McGrath is a TV Executive Producer who makes documentaries for major US, UK and Australian broadcasters.  She is also a survivor of domestic violence.  Her book ‘Unbeatable (How I Left a Violent Man)’ – her story of surviving abuse to finding success in love and life – will be published soon.  She hopes this blog will help others to become strong, fearless and successful too.  Find out more about Vivian Here.

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