When my dad was young, he’d ride his bike down to the local cinema on a Saturday afternoon and watch two movies for a penny.
As a kid, I repeated this Saturday afternoon ritual, but rather than watching a movie at the flicks I’d bunker down on the lounge room floor and watch movies on TV with Dad.
We watched anything and everything – westerns, comedy, drama, war movies, musicals, even some sci fi. Jimmy Stewart, Charleton Heston, John Wayne, Doris Day, Errol Flynn, Bing Crosby, Rock Hudson, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Katherine Hepburn, Clark Gable, Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney, Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, A grade, B grade…we watched the lot.
When my sons were younger, this movie-watching tradition continued, but this time it was back at the cinema watching G and PG-rated movies together, and then buying the videos (and later DVDs) so that lines from movies became a part of our family conversations.
I still watch movies and love Cate Blanchett, Judy Dench, Maggie Smith, Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Bruce Willis, Denzel Washington, Emma Stone, Morgan Freeman, Brendan Fraser and Keanu Reeves.
It is no surprise then that my consultancy would take its theme and focus from the movie world – Backstory.
Merriam-Webster define backstory as ‘a story that tells what led up to the main story or plot as of a film)’, while Oxford adds that it is ‘a history or background created for a fictional character in a film or television program’.
Backstory is the behind-the-scenes information which impacts how characters behave and think and often determines how the plot unfolds. For the most part, the backstory is hidden or may only be partially disclosed as the story develops.
It’s not just fictional characters that have a backstory.
Each individual has a backstory. Every business or community group has a backstory. Nations have backstories.
The thing about a backstory is that it can impact both positively and negatively in the present.
The key is to know what our backstory is, to acknowledge its power and then to work with it to grow and develop.