Your Turn to be Hero of the Day

by Patrick McNerthney

What if you decided to walk through your life pretending an audience was watching your every move? 

Pretty trippy yeah? It sounds like The Truman Show – that darkish comedy from 1998, starring Jim Carrey as a man who grows up in a fake world created by a TV network where every moment of his day is filmed by hidden cameras for live broadcast audiences. Indeed, television producers orchestrate life as Truman knows it.  As he realizes this, Truman has to choose between the comfort of what’s familiar and predictable (even if it’s fake) and fear of the unknown. 

(Secretly, by rooting for you, they root for themselves.)

Last weekend my family and I watched a remarkably similar movie – Free Guy – released August 2021 (making this the newest film I’ve seen in probably two years because I can never keep up with entertainment stuff. Have you seen Ted Lasso yet…?). Free Guy stars Ryan Reynolds. If you watch it with someone who likes Ryan Reynolds (a.k.a. virtually every human on earth who digs guys) you’ll find your fellow-viewer (no pun intended) won’t actually speak or move the entire length of the film, as they simply stare enraptured at Ryan Reynolds. Try it, you’ll see. 

The premise features Ryan as a “non-playable” background character (NPC) named Guy, in an open world video game who suddenly wants to get more out of life. NPCs are basically decoration. They are cogs in a machine, when it comes to video games. (Yes, this is a real thing, ask anyone under 35.) Think of NPCs as the “set” behind a stage play or musical – important, but always following a predetermined destiny.  

Similar to Truman, Guy has to choose between becoming the hero of his own story, or surrendering to the monotony of (literally) knowing his lot in life and how each day will go. Can he rewrite his future and (in the case of the film) save the day his way? After all, his video game world has no limits. But of course, there’s danger all around…

This sounds familiar too, right? Oh, before I forget, spoiler alert: Dear Ryan Reynolds fans, Guy does not take off his shirt during this film. Sorry. 

(Not Ryan, but you get the idea.)

One of the many reasons people like a given Hollywood film, TV show, book, musical, or anything that tells a story, is because the creator ensures that the audience can see themselves and their potential reflected back – whether tragedy or comedy. It even works for the horror genre: “What would I do in that situation? Never something that dumb. Hiding in the closet? What an idiot!”

In the case of the two films we’re discussing, the appeal of the reflection is twofold:

  1. Truman Show: We all have a choice to stay put, or to take charge of our lives, which means we’ll face challenges and fears that scare the heck out of us, because the outcome is unknown. And there’s the rub: we must leave what’s comfortable and predictable. Truth is we’re better off being uncomfortable. Think about it–how would Truman’s life be if he just agreed to stay in his staged, fake, (albeit safe) world? Thus we connect with the awfulness of surrendering, and say, “I don’t want to be like that. I’m just like Truman… Go! Go!”  
  2. Free Guy: We want to root for the underdog and follow the hero’s journey. This universal appeal dates back to the poet Homer and his work The Odyssey, meaning, it’s been around for a few thousand years. “That guy can do it; I want to do it too! I want to overcome challenges and be a hero– now!”

So take a look at your own life and the difference you seek to make. What would the audience see in themselves as they watch your show? More importantly, what would you want them to see? How would you want to inspire them as they see their reflection in you? 

Fine Art Miracles (FAM) wants to help you create the show your viewers want to see, that show that demonstrates your ability to take risks and dance with fear in the face of the unknown. The show that reveals a hero’s journey of rewriting the future on his own terms, to save the day in the face of challenges. The show that reflects how they can take action and be the heroes of their own lives as well. 

Our Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Dance & Music Therapy, and brand new Drama Therapy programs are amazing tools that help you save the day for underserved populations suffering at the hands of social isolation, depression, and anxiety. Creative expression increases feelings of self-worth, confidence, and mastery in the elderly, children with challenges and people with different abilities. Our programs also close the gap between the outside world and your residents and loved ones by providing them feelings of relevance, belief in their power to make change, and the realization that they matter

Are you ready to start the show? Your audience is waiting! If you have any questions please drop FAM a line or send a note, we’re happy to help!

I see, not surprisingly, my wife has cued up a few more Ryan Reynolds movies for “us” to watch this weekend. Oh boy. I’m cool with it. He’s a pretty likable guy. Maybe I’ll start doing some sit-ups, just in case there’s a scene in there with his shirt off. Not that I’m insecure about it or anything… 



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