Cinematic Magic

There’s a special kind of magic that happens in a darkened theater house. There’s a hush as the lights dim, then some mechanical clicks and the projector whirs to life. Magic is that moment.
It doesn’t really matter what movie it is. By purchasing that ticket you are not only buying the opportunity to see moving pictures dance about on a giant screen. You are buying the chance to embark on a great social experience. With every punchline cracked, explosion that detonates, or tear that is shed you are sharing these moments of awe and wonder not only vicariously through characters on the screen, but you are sharing them with a dark room full of strangers. Everyone sees the same pictures and everyone has a reaction to it. Sometimes they will be the same emotional responses as your own, other times they be as night and day. There is a quiet kind of awesome in that collective suspension of disbelief. The actors are not really there living the plot. The musical cues are not natural occurrences. Sometimes the story is pure fantasy and nothing even remotely resembling this reality is depicted, but the audience buys it together because we all want to believe it.
The characters and situations may be make believe, but how the audience feels about them are as real as anything. There’s magic in that. There’s a moment during a movie when you might hear a collective gasp or terror or a sudden chuckle of mirth. Take that moment to look at the movie-goers sitting next to you. Take that moment to remove your gaze from the flickering images in mid-dance and scan the faces behind you. With the right lens you might just see that magical glint in their eyes. After the movie you may never see these faces filled with emotion ever again.
The storytellers have a wonderful task that lay before them. They are on a mission to manufacture magic for scores of faces they will never see. When these individuals can make us all feel something in that darkened theater house together, there is magic. There is the interactive spark of a room full of strangers collectively feeling what is not really there and believing the impossible. Don’t kid yourself, this is magic.

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