How I Changed the Ending of My Story

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Not Another Love Story

My short film, Not Another Love Story, took six years to make.

Why so long?

Probably, so I could write this very blog.

You see, six years ago when I wrote the film I was in the pits of despair, wallowing in self-pity, swearing to never love again after the billion-th heart break!

Now, happily married for all of four weeks, can I safely say that fairytales are real? Does marriage solve the problems of loneliness?

Unfortunately, it does not.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my husband to bits and am so thankful for his presence in my life every day, but he isn’t the sole reason to my happiness, nor is he solely responsible for it. No human can live up to that. Although, he does bring me so much happiness. But happiness is something I had to learn before I even met him.

During my ‘fairytale’ journey over the last six years, I have learned so much about contentment, belonging, purpose, and… well, happiness.

I did struggle with writing the ending of the film from a theological and physiological perspective because I didn’t want to leave you all on a downer. “Why are all your films so dark?” my friends and family would banter.

However, in the end, I wanted to keep the film as I originally wrote it, simply because it’s raw and genuine, just the way it is, and I didn’t want to try and make it into something it’s not, something you would all see and feel in your bones, as fake. I don’t know about you, but I hate when films slap on a happy ending that just doesn’t make any sense. So, here is a reflection to my own ‘move on’ after my character has ripped out her heart and boiled out her eyes so she can never feel or see love again.

In 2016, Erwin McManus (founder and lead pastor of Mosaic church) released a sermon series title “Believe in Love” and I swear, this is what brought me back to life! He insisted that love is what drives us as humans. Even if we try to run from it, it’s still the driving force behind our very being. With that in mind, the chord that he struck with me was when he said, “If you choose not to love, it is like swallowing acid and the sealing it inside of your soul. You will become a hollow shell of a human being, empty and lifeless. But, if you choose to love, you’re going to walk around wounded and bleeding for the rest of your life. Those are your two options. Which one do you want?”

POW!

That is how my character felt – that is how I felt – and suddenly a cloud of acceptance fell over me! To know I wasn’t alone in these feelings and that my film was totally relatable.

Love can be the most attractive essence to the human spirit and the most destructive to the human soul. Pastor McManus concluded, “If you want to understand yourself, look at how you love, look at who you love, look how you long to be loved.”

And, as a Christian, I look to see what the Bible says about love because love matters to God.

Many waters cannot quench love;
Rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love,
It would be utterly scorned.
Song of Songs 8:7

You cannot drown out your need for love and to be loved.

So, where does that leave us? If you build up your walls to exclude love, you’re screwed. If you let them down to accept love, you’re also screwed. This is awesome!

God has given us the greatest example of a love story ever written: Matthew 27:45-54. But I will say that God’s example of love, by Jesus dying on a cross, shows us that love is not for the weak but for the strong, the brave, and the resilient. And love does change lives. It changes history.

So, how does that translate for us now that Jesus is no longer walking around the place? As a Christian, I believe we are made in God’s image and God is love. This means, we are also love. Stay with me here! We are all capable of love. God showed us an example of what unconditional love is through Jesus Christ dying on the cross. This could be said to be the bravest act in history.

Pastor McManus urged that, therefore, you too, should love boldly and bravely, because love heals. Love saves. I encourage you all not to give up on love! Pastor McManus also encourages that you need to believe in love, even when love decides not to believe in you. Because your love will change lives.

I’m not saying until you find that boyfriend or wife, you will be lonely. Love comes in all shapes and sizes. Love is not just a romantic love. Love is community, and being with, and connecting with humanity as we all try to do our best in this world.

The character in my film was weak. She gave up on love and will suffer every day walking around as a “hollow shell.” As Pastor McManus puts it, “It is the power that God gives us to rise above the conflict and all the darkness and all the despair and bring life and freedom to everyone.”

So, believe and fight for love. I beg you not to give up. This is not the end of your story!

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Dana Newell is a Director and Creative Producer whose focus is on examining the human heart and sharing stories for change. 

Dana helps brands and screenwriters share retainable ideas and stand out through films with challenging content. As a storyteller, Dana investigates and pulls together a narrative from interviews and researched discussions. With her background in acting, Dana delves in deep with her actors or interviewees to draw our authentic performances or responses. She then creates narratives or documentary style content that is engaging, informative and entertaining for an audience. 

Dana currently works at a production company, in Melbourne Australia where she Directs and Produces Live Action, VR and Animation projects for brands, businesses and government agencies. 

Dana is also an independent filmmaker with a slate of video projects. Dana is currently developing a series of content focused on sharing knowledge around sex and female sexuality for young Christian women.

Dana Newell is a Director and Creative Producer whose focus is on examining the human heart and sharing stories for change. Dana helps brands and screenwriters share retainable ideas and stand out through films with challenging content. As a storyteller, Dana investigates and pulls together a narrative from interviews and researched discussions. With her background in acting, Dana delves in deep with her actors or interviewees to draw our authentic performances or responses. She then creates narratives or documentary style content that is engaging, informative and entertaining for an audience. Dana currently works at a production company, in Melbourne Australia where she Directs and Produces Live Action, VR and Animation projects for brands, businesses and government agencies. Dana is also an independent filmmaker with a slate of video projects. Dana is currently developing a series of content focused on sharing knowledge around sex and female sexuality for young Christian women.