‘The Truth, a New Film’ , Wonder Woman and Selfies

As a psychologist I am concernced that by age 12 the angst and hormonal storm of adolescence often takes over and girls put less effort into their academic studies, while at the same time get caught up in the over sexualized aspects of our culture. Too soon many tweens and teens are less enthusiastic about their talents and academics. That combined with self-esteem problems, often intensified by an atmosphere that encourages bullying, can lead to all sorts of problems from eating disorders to experimentation with drugs, to suicide.

Our girls are in desperate need of a role model. Perhaps Wonder Woman is that role model. A series of articles in the New York Times, including one by Jessica Bennett, ‘Wonder Woman’s Real Power’ make clear how important it is for girls to have role models that give them the message that: I am a leader, and you have also the traits that get you to this level. Bennett’s article concludes, “…we don’t want girls to strive only to be superheros. But we do want them to believe the have the strength to be one….”

How do we overcome girls being exposed to too few role models that excite, enhance and confirm a girl’s hopes and dreams as to what she can become, combined with a society that is less than kind in all sorts of ways, including peer pressure as exemplified by bullying.

One of the newest and most intriguing ways to overcome these societal flaws is the use of the Selfie. Selfies are not just an instrument for vanity, pranks or to record a meal out with friends. The Selfie, particularly the video functions that Selfies allow, are amazingly suited to offset a lack of role models and such actions as bullying. For example, KIRO7 reported ‘Bellevue girl bulled at school asks for help, Facebook post goes viral.’ What could be more moving than seeing this young girl, Alison Grande, tell her story via a Selfie video gone viral? And she didn’t even talk, just used cards that she held up to tell her story? At my last check she had reached more than 670.000 people.

Selfies are one of the nirvanas of hope for all of us who want to turn your kid or all kids into super heroes of life as they grow up.

Like Alison, kids can use Selfies as a means of sharing concerns via social networks or just between family, when it may be easier for a child to share in a video what is bothering her. Kids really talk when they make a Selfie, not just the one word answers parents so often hear.

As a psychologist and a filmmaker, I have developed a new way to use Selfies in film, for artistic, educational and mental health purposes. I have developed what I call ‘Selfiesasfilm’ which is a merging of the Selfie video with a film crew. The advantages are many. For example, the stars of my films thus far have been teens. When they film themselves, privately, and then see that video film become part of a film that has drama, meaning and purpose, they are given incredible positive feedback. They see themselves already as powerful role models and realize their work will assist other young people feel better about themselves and have more courage about their future. SelfiesasFilm is a powerful learning tool for all: the actors, the audiences, educators, mental health professionals and parents.

For example, my #SelfiesasFilm ‘The Truth, A Short Film’ is filmed by Cassidy Terracciano using phone to make selfie videos and also a film crew. The result is an intense, personal story told by the ‘girl’ in the film. She shares all the angst of growing up, including a first crush, a best friends, family fighting, family getting ready to move, fears about adolescence, etc.

I am so excited to announce that this film is now available for streaming at cinecosmos.vhx.tv/ This means that you and your family can watch it anytime and use it to discuss all sorts of issues that we all have, some serious, some lighthearted and fun. I know you will find this 16 minute film something you want to see again and again! Feel free to write to me at barbara.holstein@gmail.com!

How did the Magic for ‘The Locket’ Begin?

One day I was thinking about the girl in my book, ‘The Truth, I’m a Girl, I’m Smart and I Know Everything’ and I began to wonder, what would she be like once she grew up? Would she recognize the girl she had been? Would she be wise? Would her dreams come true? How would she handle the hurts, the dreams, the failures and successes that life brings? Would she find true love?

The universe I guess decided to help as I was awoken several times by lyrics that I had to write down. These lyrics were not sweet. They were the yearnings we all feel at times from the depths of our souls. Who will understand? Who will be there for me? Who will see what I see? The pain of living, the thrill of finding relief. It was all there. ‘Songs’ began to appear. Was this to be a drama or a musical? The universe hadn’t decided.

I guessed the universe was contriving for me to work on a plot I had not expected. But of course, who can refuse the universe and its forces? Certainly not I. What emerged was complex, several different scripts. I’ll get back to that later. For now, I’ll focus on what emerged as a One Act Play, with three Scenes.

And so ‘The Locket’ began to unfold with the ‘girl’ meeting herself as an adult woman. The woman being in pain from a marriage that wasn’t working. The Enchantress arriving to help both of them and the SELF, an invisible character helping in the plot to remind all of us that we each have an eccentric, selfish, loving self that we must preserve, help mature and enjoy.

Stay with me for more plotting and fun as I share how ‘The Locket’ began and what its all about!