epiphanies and propaganda

I’ve just uploaded a talk from Act One’s October 2008 Story Symposium:

“Story as Epiphany” by Chris Riley

After Chris spends about 20 minutes unpacking the notion of epiphanies in movie storytelling, and asking questions about the difference between epiphanies and moments of propaganda, he opened the discussion to the panel.

As a teaser, here’s what panelist Dr. Peter Kreeft had to offer to the conversation:

In an epiphany, you see something new. You don’t just get soothed by something you’ve known before, and you don’t just get argued into something which grates on you. In an epiphany, you see something new and yet it’s old. You always knew it, but you didn’t know that you knew it until this moment, so it’s coming from inside you…. If you’re inside your art, instead of manipulating it from outside, however gently, you can appeal to that inner force in the audience: deep calls unto deep. Because in some mysterious way, your heart and the audience’s heart are much closer than anything else in you to the audience, including the mind.

You can listen to the entire presentation below.

the big idea in cinema storytelling

In October of 2008, Act One: Training for Hollywood held a two-day symposium on storytelling.

The format — a presentation followed by a roundtable discussion with a group of panelists — was a great way to percolate and explore ideas. The panelists and presenters included:

  • Dean Batali, Executive Producer, That 70’s Show, writer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Bobette Buster, Creative Executive and International Story Consultant
  • Karen Hall, writer on several shows, including M*A*S*H, Judging Amy, Hill Street Blues, and Moonlighting
  • Dr. Peter Kreeft, renowned philosopher and author of over 50 titles, including Socrates Meets Jesus
  • Bill Marsilii, Screenwriter, Deja Vu
  • David Mc Fadezean, Executive Producer, Home Improvement, What Women Want
  • Barbara Nicolosi, Act One Founder, Screenwriter, VP Development, Origin Entertainment
  • Chris Riley, Screenwriter and Author, The Hollywood Standard
  • Chuck Slocum, Assistant Executive Director, Writer’s Guild of America

I helped to audio record the entire event. The first podcast is now available; it’s a presentation by Bobette Buster on “The Big Idea.” (Note: The slides that accompanied the presentation may be viewed here).

Juan de la Cruz

Cross_iconIt’s the feast day of St. John of the Cross, one of my favorite spiritual writers of all time. (Doesn’t sound very detached, does it? Still working on that nada doctrine.)

I’ve created a multimedia retreat with Saint John of the Cross — and his Sayings of Light and Lovehere. It works well on mobile devices… such as tablets and smartphones.

Also, I did a series of posts on John of the Cross during Lent of 2004. Here are the links:

Lenten retreat starts

Prologue to The Dark Night

Why is the dark night necessary?






envy and sloth

one dark night…

discernment of the night of the senses

how to respond to being placed in the dark night

fired with love’s urgent longings