The importance of legacy

So very often I think about the future, maybe a couple hundred years down the line. I’m dead. I’ve directed many movies. My children have continued copying over the files to new hard drives and renewing a subscription to some archiving company, holding a retrospective screening of the movies. But my grandchildren probably won’t be so concerned with this. They’ll get careless. The movies will start to be lost. The archiving company may go out of business. People may stop watching movies completely in favor of other more advanced types of entertainment. The last server with one of my movies dies. And any record of anything cinematic I’ve done will be gone. No one will remember a single frame. Is this depressing? It kind of sounds like it, right?

Some recent thoughts shine a few rays of hope for me. First of all, it’s nice to know that even if I don’t achieve the same level of success as Alfred Hitchcock, we will meet the same fate. On a long enough timeline, this will be true for every filmmaker/artist/person. Setting a benchmark like “Well, if my movies can last like Alfred Hitchcock’s” seems arbitrary. Why 50 years? Why not 100? What would I be satisfied by any number? Secondly, I shouldn’t be making movies to leave some legacy anyway, that’s a selfish motive. I should be trying to improve and entertain people. I shouldn’t base my self worth on the legacy I leave. Thirdly, even if every person forgets my movies, God won’t. And my fourth reason has to do with the DAMN MESSAGE I COMMUNICATE IN THE FILM.

For those of you who are familiar with the ending, Gideon sacrifices any potential for being remembered as a great religious figure. Instead, he will be remembered as a crazy atheist. The sacrifice of his legacy was a more righteous thing to do.

Now, this discovery doesn’t mean that I need to go burn every copy of my movie to somehow emulate the message. BUT, it does mean that I shouldn’t invest so much thought into the legacy of the film.

Thank God!


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