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The Movie in Your Mind

When did we separate the movies from the written word? Most movies are based on books. A writer had a story to tell and painted an image in words for the reader to see. A director later took those imaginary images and rendered them on the screen.

Before the motion picture, we had only words. Although most ancient people could not read a single word of their language, stories told by word of mouth entertained them. The storyteller was the most popular entertainer of the time, regaling folks with his tales. The stories unfolded in the listener's mind. The image was contained between the ears. If possible, actors recited the lines before an audience seated on stone in an amphitheater or, in the case of Shakespeare's time, people standing before a stage.

Who coined the term 'suspension of disbelief'? It is true of the stage. It is true of the movies. It remains true of the written word. The cleaver artisan can take you to a different world or into the lives of others with whom you identify.

Someone said the Greeks told all the stories. We just place each in a different setting, or if a movie, add expensive computer graphics to dazzle us. Yet the tales are the same. We root for good and jeer evil. We identify with the troubles and heartaches portrayed. Each of us takes something unique away from the experience. No matter how the story is conveyed, it creates the movie in your mind.

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Jackson Coppley

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