I write about the social impact of entertainment and how media can be used for good. Views are my own.

© 2024 • All Rights Reserved
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Looking Forward: Stories That Need to Be Told in 2021

The new year is about setting intentions and establishing the tone for the year to come. I think we can all agree that it’s taken some time to process everything that has happened, and now that we’ve done that, there are a plethora of stories just waiting to be told. Having these stories played back to us can be a therapeutic way of releasing the feelings and emotions we’ve experienced, and can also build empathy by expanding our view of how events unfolded for people beyond ourselves.

Following a year when we were more apart than together, the role of media and entertainment in expanding perspectives will be more crucial than ever in 2021. In light of that, let’s take stock of the stories we’re waiting for, along with the potential impact they could have.

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The 2020 Election, from a Trump Supporter’s Perspective

It’s trendy in Hollywood to be anti-Trump, and to bemoan him and his supporters. To be clear, I’m not a fan of his, but I’m a huge fan of bringing together people with divergent points of views; finding common ground with people I didn’t expect to find common ground with; having civilized, constructive, and thought-provoking disagreements.

The fact of the matter is 46.9% of voting Americans voted to re-elect Donald Trump. The fact that the race was so close, despite philosophies being so polarizing, illustrates that there is clearly a flaw in the political system that needs to be addressed. Something in the system is failing to serve Americans in a way that is efficient and that reflects their universal needs.

And before you say something like, “We just didn’t realize how racist/sexist/etc. America was until now,” I have to respectfully and enthusiastically disagree with you. We know how the media we consume shapes our entire concept of reality. The results from the US election just show that Trump supporters are less trained than non-Trump supporters to make the connection between Trump and racism, or between Trump and sexism, or between Trump and some other unsavory thing. There are many, many reasons for that, and that’s something we need to have an adult conversation about. CNN and Fox are not invited.

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An Anthology of Coronavirus Journeys

Everybody has their own coronavirus story to tell. Some people recall feeling anxious from the uncertainty, while others cherished the reprieve they were granted from the usual onslaught of facetime. Some people indulged in the opportunity to spend time with their families, while others loathed it. Meanwhile, entire swaths of people were left alone by themselves for weeks or months at a time, redirecting recreational activities from concerts and cinemas to Netflix and video games.

For many of us, our coronavirus stories included some combination of all these emotions, plus more. There was something very special about those weeks in mid-March and early April that made us treasure every day, and the essential workers that made those days possible. As we return to some sense of normalcy, returning to offices and going about our usual business, I suspect we’re going to long for the days when we were encouraged to stay home and found drama in even the most mundane activities, like trips to the grocery store. What would be a better reminder of those days than a collection of unique Coronavirus journeys?

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The Future of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement

There was a tremendous amount of activity during the height of the #BLM movement, but I can’t help but fear that momentum has waned. When the Black Lives Matter movement was at its peak, cities across the country re-allocated police funding, policies were passed to restrict the use of chokeholds by law enforcement, and Breonna’s Law was passed in Kentucky, banning “no-knock” search warrants. Content creators, who had put most of their projects on hold due to the pandemic, took this as an opportunity to bolster #BLM with rousing content, even while the media busily fanned the flames. All that is nice, but what have we done lately?

What we need in 2021 is a punchy, Oscar-quality account of the impact that #BLM has had on racial justice in the United States, the challenges that the movement has faced, and a call to action to galvanize and re-energize supporters so that the good work is carried on for years into the future.

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Given so many productions were put on hold in 2020, I’m really excited to see how that pent up creativity gets put to use in 2021. In a year where every passing week was crazier than the last, we haven’t really had a chance to reflect on the stories we’ve all been a part of. Last year was all about experiences, and this year will be all about capturing, reflecting on, and sharing those experiences, and the lessons that came along with them. Whether it’s looking at the other side of the election, or a simple account of a complicated period of time, we as a society have a lot to unpack this year, and we’ll be leaning on storytellers to help us do that.

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