Dinesh AyyappanComment

On Storytelling and Hugo

Dinesh AyyappanComment
Before you start reading, let me assure you that I won't spoil anything about Hugo. 

A couple of years ago, I challenged my friend to a game: We had one class period to plan out our lives on one sheet of notebook paper. I have no idea what I was supposed to learn in Thermodynamics that day, or where my lecture notes might be, but I still have my hurried life plan. There were only a couple of lines about my career; many of the points were adventurous and silly ones like 'Go wingsuit diving', and 'Have a ball-pit room in my house'. One of them was 'Have the best stories'. 

Source: www.xkcd.com

There's so much wrapped into those few words. How do you have the best stories? You have to do stuff. You have to go on adventures, take risks, and explore. You have to meet strangers and be open-minded. You have to be willing to fail and move on, resilient and curious. You have to watch less and do more. 

I lost sight of that a little bit over this past year. Like I mentioned in my last post, my awesome computer was a catalyst to spending a lot of time on Reddit. It's is a wonderful community and resource, but its value lies in moderate use. Too much, and you end up only reading about other people's adventures and not having any of your own.

To have the best stories, you also have to be a good storyteller. A great story is such a piece of art, masterfully crafted from beginning to end. There is a method, but also lots of room for creativity and voice. Even listening to such a story is a memorable experience. It's an unpredictable ride paced by suspense and revelation, letting the listener into the speaker's past or imagination. In the case of Martin Scorcese's Hugo, it was both. 

The film, based on a book by Brian Selznick, is grounded in history and supplemented by Scorcese's creative lens. He gently lifted me away from my comfy seat in a lower Manhattan theater and brought me into a steampunk niche of 1930s Paris, and told the story of a curious and talented boy, a bright girl, and an old man with some secrets. After watching the movie, or if you don't care for spoilers, I suggest watching Scorcese's charming interview with Jon Stewart and familiarizing yourself with the film's historical accuracy


In a couple of days, I'll post my list of New Year's Resolutions so I can be accountable to my internet followers and you can steal some if you'd like.