Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Thing You Love Most

     Editing and rewriting the sequel to Those That Wake recently has left me thinking about M. Night Shyamalan.  A case can be made that, after early and resounding artistic success, Mr. Shyamalan trapped himself in a bizarre loop of egotism and creative lunacy.  However you feel about him, I will always value his endeavors and creative thinking for two things.  Number one, his best movie: Unbreakable.  (Yes, I came right out and said it; its explication of the "becoming what you are meant to be" theme resonated more powerfully for me than the way it was handled in the Sixth Sense).  Number two, however, goes deeper.
     In discussing the deleted scenes on the Sixth Sense DVD, he explains that one of the segments toward the end of the movie was a scene he was in love with, maybe his favorite in the whole film.  It was, if I recall correctly, the scene he had initially envisioned, which the entire movie eventually sprang from.  Naturally, it wound up on the cutting room floor.  When you create something, he said, find the part of it that you love the very most.  That's the thing that you're going to have to get rid of. 
     I'm still working on why that is, exactly.  Maybe it's because the thing you love the most is too personal to you, that it muddles an essential accessibility.  Maybe.  Whatever the case, I am finding it to be as true a thing as I've ever heard about the process of crafting a story.

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