Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Films, Fans & Fortitude

My friend, Adam sat through almost 100 hours of films during a movie marathon and won S$11,000 and earned his spot in the Singapore Book of Records. I wonder if they played any abstract, art-house films that may either intrigue or annoy one’s senses. Consider this: you are already tired. They screen a plethora of films that are not your cup of tea (or Nescafe Coffee, in this case). Previously, the well-known elite-level, physically challenged runner-ultra-marathoner touched a car (with hundreds others) for several days before fatigue forced him to bow out; the prize was the car itself that the eventual winner earned held ‘in touch’ for four days. Congratulations, Adam!
Onboard my flights on my recent trip to India, I watched a couple of films: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Friends with Benefits, and Larry Crowne. All are watchable, with the final Potter film is, probably, the most relevant film for fans since it was the last in the installment of boy wizard-to-adult wizard series. Made at a hefty budget of US$125M, it grossed more than US$1.3B worldwide. It reveals what happens to the boy-wizard who was destined to find his place in the magical universe, and have his burning questions finally answered. The dynamics of the firmly established characters makes this film highly watchable even if you missed a few episodes along the way. 'He who shall not be named' is now uttered openly as a formidable threat to the school of Hogwarts and its denizens. 
Larry Crowne is about a mid-life divorcee who is shockingly retrenched, and has to seek further education despite being highly competent in his long-time job in retail. He becomes smitten with public speaking, economics, and his teacher, while his likability makes him stand out among the younger students. Life-skills do help!
There is a celebrity snow-boarder on Friends with Benefits. Shaun White is a twice-Olympic Gold medalist in the half-pipe snowboarding over two Olympics in 2006 and 2010. Last month, we featured swim coach Sheila Taormina who is a 4-time Olympian and gold-medalist in the 1996 Games; she was also the ITU world champion in 2004. Yesterday, Singaporean swimmer Joseph Schooling qualified for our team to the London Olympic Games, when he broke the SEA Games record. The 16-year-old did very well for his showing in the pool in Indonesia. It takes heaps of hard work, sacrifice and commitment to train for years just to compete for your country.

You can glean many lessons from films – provided you focus on the abstract components. Films use a variety of devices including analogy, metaphor, fable, and allegory to express its story. Some films have noteworthy scripts, and these may be used to tie in with your presentations, meetings or classes. A film attempts to bring the conversations of worth to life to a larger audience. In the case of these three films I watched, the common thread among the onscreen characters are the values of resilience and fortitude; values that reflect many world-class athletes, too.

Leadership Lessons: What are your ‘touch points’ with your colleagues today? How much of social media do you use to connect with people you know? How often do you track the ‘signs of our times’? How sensitive are you workplace changes, environmental shifts, people’s emotions and global issues?

Photo-credits: Adam 1Armed Runner & Tony Ang

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