In the news today, a topic I’m playing with for a short film. And it’s something I find so completely disturbing and utterly fascinating … our memories are NOT SET IN STONE.
I’d thought our memory was like computer memory. You create the “file”, store it, and open it up when you need it. But no – after taking part in a Behavioural Economics event a couple of weeks ago, I discovered that every time you call on it, the slippery memory can change. Big changes, small changes …it’s not fixed. It’s not real. It changes depending on what we’re thinking at the time, what’s happened since the memory…
So if what makes us is our memories, if it informs what we do and who we are … what does it mean when we can edit those memories?
Last night I gave a talk at Insole Court, Cardiff, as part of the Brilliant Books literary festival.
To a packed (yay!) room I talked about Clarice Cliff for the first time to non-film folks. I brought along plates, cups and original prints for people to look at and even Clarice’s favourite cologne so they could smell the woman herself (for the record it’s 4711 Eau de Cologne … mixes lovely with the smell of turpentine).
It was a great exercise in learning what will sell my film. What I decided – in the blind heat of terror – to talk about, and what to drop was good indication of what I unconsciously think about aspects of the Clarice Cliff story. And I also picked up on my audience’s reactions to elements of the screenplay: the affair, the politics, the business, the family tension. It was fascinating what got a laugh, what didn’t, what shocked, and what intrigued.
The evening proved to be a valuable testing ground and – as I embark on another draft – a timely reminder of what a brilliant untold story is waiting to get to the big screen. And what a privilege I have in being a part of it.