Write Your Own Ending

October 28, 2015

“Life’s like a movie, write your own ending.” So said Jim Henson, one of the truly wonderful creators of our lifetime. I had the privilege of working closely with Jim for four years in the 1980s and can attest that he walked the talk, that he indeed saw his own life as an unfolding tapestry and thought deeply about each scene and, most important, the ending. In fact, when Jim died very precipitously at age 54 in May 1990, his family discovered a detailed funeral service he had prepared for himself just a few years earlier.

I like the analogy of life to a movie with my audience of entertainment industry members. The best movies are constructed scene-by-scene, thoughtfully and artfully, building up to punch lines or dramatic and emotional peaks and valleys, always with a purpose in mind. We don’t always have the foresight or the opportunity to construct our own life story so systematically, but in very broad strokes we do have the capacity to “write our own ending.” This relates to what matters most to us, what gives our own lives purpose, what will shape what people will think about us and feel about us in the end and how we will sense ourselves and the value of our lives. Are you thinking about that?

“What matters most?” is the common question doctors ask patients at the time of a critical or terminal diagnosis. But why wait until then to step out of the day-to-day, get off the path of routine and habit, and open yourself to an exploration of what you really want to do with your life?

Next month, on November 15th, MPTF is holding its first WHAT MATTERS MOST conference, a full day of profound storytelling and discussion. We’re featuring some incredible guests – Scott Simon (journalist and host of Weekend Edition Saturday on NPR), Clippers president of basketball operations and head coach Doc Rivers, showrunner/producer Jason Katims (Parenthood/Friday Night Lights), screenwriter Margaret Nagle (Warm Springs/The Good Lie), internationally recognized palliative care doctor Ira Byock, Harriet Warshaw from The Conversation Project, Sam Polk (former Wall Street trader and founder of Groceryships), Paula Span (the New Old Age blogger) and Sandra De Castro Buffington (Founding Director of the Global Media Center for Social Impact (GMI) at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health) — – to tell their own stories and inspire us to reconsider our own.

If you would like to join us (seating is limited), please visit MPTF’s website (www.mptf.com/whatmatters) and register. Get some ideas on how to start writing an ending for yourself that you and your family will be proud of!

About Bob Beitcher

Bob Beitcher is the President and CEO of the Motion Picture & Television Fund. He has been a senior executive in the entertainment industry for 30 years, having held leadership roles at Jim Henson Productions, Paramount Pictures, Panavision and MacAndrews & Forbes Media Group. Bob has been an MPTF board member since 2007. He became interim CEO in 2010 and was named permanent CEO in 2011.

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