Inner Voices | Script Revolution

Inner Voices

In his latest article, John Hunter wants you to learn, as he did from a now absent friend, that the narrator in your life, the one inside your head, might be an unreliable one. The question he suggests we all ask ourselves is, are we going to let that voice hold us back and demotivate us or are we going to allow it to empower our creativity? We all know that a neuroticism and writing go hand in hand so here's a little something I certainly agree every screenwriter could benefit from understanding - CJ

In conversations with my now departed and dear friend Dr Jack Bowland, we talked of many things. A popular and reoccurring topic was Inner Voices, the centerpiece of his decades as a mental health professional.

Jack was an overeducated, fuzzy headed liberal - His words, not mine.

Whereas, I have always been a well grounded realist with a BS in Engineering. The only blemish on my conservative record was my time spent as a Peace Corps volunteer, but I swear, that was just a phase.

I tried to bring Jack along as fast as I could, but he was resistive. And no, I was not his patient. We shared little in common, but simply enjoyed each other’s company for many years. As you may imagine, my association with Dr Jack was filled with many OMG moments for both of us from the get-go. Gawd, how I miss that man.

Back to those voices

We all hear “voices” in our heads. In most cases, this is normal. They argue, reason and consult with each other. They advise us on important decisions.

“Should I go out clubbing tonight or pay the rent?”

“Should I marry SallySu or change my name and ride away on a horse?”

And the most toxic of all, “I don’t deserve respect as a human being.”

SallySu and the horse will get along just fine with or without you, but this last one about having self-harming inner conversations is a special and serious case which will be addressed at the end of this post.

There are, of course, exceptions. Some people do actually have conversations between themselves and their imaginary friends. My homeless friend Mark W was on a first name basis with god. His case was way above my pay grade.

Who are these voices?

These voices in your head are the un-integrated aspects of our own personalities; Our inner child, our voice of reason, our greed, our lust, our anger, our ambition and so on.

Yeah, me too. I was just as disappointed as you to find this out.

Some good news for writers

We can use these personality fragments in our work to create interesting characters.

So if you have a real freak show going on up there in your head, you’re in the Cat Bird Seat. If you’re well adjusted and boringly normal, maybe not so
much.

Cross the Sound Barrier for Mental Health and Safety

And now a word from Dr. Jack Bowland…

Because these internal communications are non-verbal, they enjoy the same unquestioning and non-critical acceptance we give our sleeping dreams.

If we dreamed there was a large pink bunny in a garden (perhaps named Harvey?), we wouldn’t question this improbability. In the same way, we do not critically question the conclusions reached in our inner conversations.

Inner communications can seem brilliantly logical, intelligent and insightful.

In reality, they can also be completely wrong and disastrously misleading.

Talking about a large pink bunny becomes humorous when we mention him out loud the next morning. But until that moment, we did not even pause to question the improbability of its existence.

Similar to our sleeping dreams, internal conversations are accepted as the truth. That is until they break through the sound barrier where they are more critically judged.

Is it any wonder, left unspoken and unchallenged, these inner voices can lead us to flawed, illogical and dangerous conclusions.

Combating negative internal thoughts

In the case of toxic internal comments made about you by your inner voices, these should be immediately forced across the sound barrier, challenged and soundly rejected.

Left unspoken, un-challenged and un-vetted, our inner voices can be very harmful.

Disclaimer

I’m just a so-so writer and not a mental health professional - That was Dr Jack’s day job, not mine. I do, however, believe Dr Jack’s remarks are worth a think.

About The Author

John Hunter's picture
Real name: 

A curious nature has led me down many paths: former Peace Corps volunteer, big ticket sales engineer, commercial graphic artist, packaging design consultant, recovering golfer and more recently, an award winning and produced scriptwriter.  

My voice is character driven, slightly dark and quirky with a dash of humor. Four of my shorts have been produced and my dystopian horror Baby Soup won the 2013 Florida Independent Filmmakers Contest.

Some of my work has been turned into...Read more

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