I talk to writers all the time about their story ideas and about the hopes they have for them. Dreams of inspiring and entertaining audiences, getting people thinking, breaking down social walls and barriers, maybe even changing the world a little bit. They may be in the process of figuring out the best platform from which to do that (feature film, TV show, podcast, novel...?), which is usually why they're talking to me, but bottom line: they understand the power of story to hit people where it counts.
One platform to consider is documentary film. Case in point: if you think what we’re going through now politically is the worst it’s ever been, you need to see Questlove’s ‘Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised).’
Hint: 1968 still has us beat.
This gorgeous and electrifying documentary invites us right into the middle of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. You haven’t heard about it because footage proving it even happened was only recently released, but I promise you’ll never forget it.
Reminder: this was one year after the most political, socially, culturally disruptive moment in 20th century American history, when absolutely everything looked like it was about to fall apart, domestically and internationally.
Not only does it show us the OG ‘Black Lives Matter’ spirit of the times, it celebrates the unifying power of music, the re-emergence of female power, and the ascendancy of black pride - all while giving us indisputable proof that it is possible to transcend racism. One year after the assassination of U.S. presidential candidate Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.
It reminds us of a time when white and black musicians, audiences, and even political leaders merged happily and proudly as they actively collaborated to create a better future. Yes, the film declares, of course we can!
It was a time of unprecedented social change; the cultural bridge, really between the old world and the new. The ‘60s are more than a joint and long hair: they changed everything. And this documentary will show you exactly how and why. But from a point of view, and focused on an event, you probably never knew existed.
The film's bottom line message: we can get here again.
If you've got a story idea (or ideas) looking for expression and just need the skills, schedule, accountability, habits, and professional connections to get it out there, contact me today for your free consultation. We'll talk about your writing goals, focus on a plan, and help you figure out the pathway from idea to execution to publication.
To register for the Story in Media Master Lab starting September 9, click here.
Meanwhile, check out Summer of Soul on Google Play and AppleTV.