Sunday, January 03, 2016

Tip#919: Learning through Movies, Part 1 - The Big Short

“Schindler’s List proved to me that film has the power to educate the world.” 
Liam Neeson, Actor

In all my PowerPoint presentations for my motivational talks I always use photos and illustrations with text because it enhances the learning experience. And according to the Social Science Research Network, 65 percent of people are visual learners. I’m also a visual learner which is why I love cinema. I feel I can absorb the life and work lessons in the stories more deeply while watching a movie.

Actor Liam Neeson, of the award-winning film Schindler’s List, also believes in the learning value in cinema. He is the Founding Spokesperson for the organization Journey in Film dedicated to educating global understanding through the storytelling power of film. You can learn more about this wonderful organization and see a 1 minute video message from Neeson on their website: Journeys in Film


Over the years I’ve also liked the term “edutainment” because it celebrates a sense of fun in learning. That is my primary objective in all my motivational presentations. Learning must be fun. And this definitely applies to the movie The Big Short which has to be one of the greatest cinematic examples of educational entertainment I’ve ever seen!

The Big Short (2015)

The biographical comedy-drama film, The Big Short, is about three groups of people who predicted the credit and housing bubble collapse of the 2007-2010 financial crisis. They each decide to take on the big banks, expose the fraud and profit from it. This is a highly entertaining and stunning piece of storytelling that also educates you on the complex factors that led to the world market crash. There are hilarious, emotional and highly engaging performances by Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt. Plus several surprise cameos! See: movie trailer


I was extremely riveted to the unfolding story and realized I was slowly understanding the multiple factors that led to the global financial crisis. This very clever film was a creative fusion of documentary style filmmaking using captions, graphs, pop culture images, music, film and TV references. It even featured surprise guest celebrities to explain complex points about investing.

Films based on true stories usually alter facts to enhance the cinematic storytelling and what I loved about this movie is characters like trader Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) will suddenly look at you in a scene to explain what is true or changed for the film. This is actually called “breaking the fourth wall” which is when a fictional character becomes aware of their fictional nature, acknowledging they are in a film (or TV show, play or literature) and begin speaking directly to you. Fun stuff!

On another level the movie also presents inspiring life, work and business lessons in the areas of problem solving, perseverance, resilience, morals, ethics, leadership and teamwork. I highly recommend this unique and powerful movie that deserves repeat viewings not only for learning about the 2008 financial crisis but for the dazzling filmmaking style thanks to director and co-screenplay writer Adam McKay.

Inspiring Themes:
• Problem Solving
• Goal setting
• Perseverance
• Resilience
• Morals & Ethics
• Leadership & Teamwork

Learning can be an extremely enjoyable experience if you can discover the methods that capture your attention. If you are a visual learner then movies may be an effective tool to help you understand facts and historical events that you thought you’d never figure out. And if you love films then you can now experience the educational power of cinema in a whole new light!

Related Tips:
Tip#919: Learning through Movies, Part 1 - The Big Short 
Tip#920: Learning through Movies, Part 2 - Concussion 
Tip#989: Learning through Movies, Part 3 - Snowden

LISTEN TO EMMANUEL’S CBC RADIO INTERVIEW on
MOVIE MESSAGES OF HOPE: Fresh Air Show 14 minutes 

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MOVIE MESSAGES of HOPE for THE HOLIDAYS:
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Remember How Movies Can Help You: 
A) Entertain & Escape 
B) Re-energize & Release 
C) Inspiration, Insights & Epiphanies 

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Emmanuel Lopez-Motivatorman
Motivational Speaker & Movie Blogger
Discover How Movies Inspire Resilience & Indestructible Optimism
See website: www.motivatorman.com

© Emmanuel Lopez 2016

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