The Stevie G. Success Show Notes

Episode SGS-0012 – Jerry Vasilatos: The Power To Rewrite Your Story

Jerry Vasilatos HeadshotIn this episode I interview Jerry Vasilatos, a screenwriter, director, producer, editor, inventor of The Sand Pad, and all around cool dude from the great City of Chicago.

Before we get to Jerry, I want to talk a little bit about stories. Remember as kids we read or heard stories about Jack and Jill, Cinderella, Spot the Dog, Barney the Purple Dinosaur, and so many others. What these stories do is provide a framework for us to view and make sense of the world and the people in it. As we grow up we continue hearing stories some which we label good, some we label as bad, others scare us, some inspire us, and others simply confuse us.  By the time we reach early adulthood we have heard so many different types of stories, and have developed some of our own. These stories form our identity.

Have you told someone “I don’t like a certain vegetable,” and the person you are talking to will invariably ask you why?   In response you will say something like…well, when I was young my mom used to make this casserole and it really smelled the house up, and the smell made me dizzy, And then I had to sit down at the dinner table and smell this awful aroma, and I remember getting sick to my stomach and throwing up all over the place, and ever since then, I have not liked that vegetable, I can’t look at it, I can’t even think about it because it causes me to gag.” Well, that story is part of your identity. The more and more you share that story, the deeper and deeper those beliefs become a part of your operating system. And pretty soon you become known as the person who gags when someone mentions the name of the particular vegetable. It does not have to be a vegetable. It can be a particular type of music, a book, types of movies or television shows; it can be about religion, sex, a certain ethnic group, or even a country. Everything that you currently believe about anything is based on a story. A story that you heard from a parent, teacher, friend, or on the news, a story that you observed played out in front of you, or the story can be based upon something that you experienced.

We all have stories.

Stories are what we use to differentiate and separate ourselves from other people. These stories are also what bond and unite us with certain other people. The stories are what we use as an explanation for why we have the character traits that we have. We use our stories to explain our physical appearance. We use our stories to explain why we dress, why we talk, and why we behave in a certain way. We use our stories to connect with others, and we use them to discriminate against others. We use our stories to help show the world who we are, or who we want them to think we are.

But the really fascinating thing about all of the stories that you have ever heard, and every story you have ever told is that the stories can be changed.

Imagine for a moment that you have been asked to write a screenplay for a film. One of the first things you have to start with is a character. This character can be a person or an animal, or it can be a fictitious character or even an inanimate object like the little robot named “Johnny 5” in the movie Short Circuit. Once you decide on who or what your main character is going to be, you get to decide whether your character is going to be a hero or a villain. You get to decide the role (profession, career, job),  that your character gets to play, the thoughts she is going to have, the decisions she is going to make, and the actions she will take. You get to decide the struggles that your character will have to go through and for how long or how intense those struggles will be. You get to decide whether those struggles are going to be mental, physical, self-imposed or whether they will be imposed by other people in the story. You get to decide what your character will wear, where she will live, what she will drive, whether she will be married or unmarried, whether she will be rich or poor. And you also get to decide what victories your character will have and what rewards she will receive, and what lessons she will learn.

Now granted there is much more that is involved in character development and writing a screenplay, but the point I am making is that you as the author of the story: the screenwriter, have the ultimate say, you have the last word that has to do with how your character appears in the movie.

It’s like having a magic power to cause your character to do what you want, whenever you want them to do it.

And if you take your character down a certain path and you later decide that you do not like that path, you can change it!  Can you imagine the things that you would have your character do, or not do? Can you imagine how much fun you would have creating your character down to the last details? You would feel pretty powerful right? It would be so cool to be able to do that right?

Well what if I told you that you indeed have that power right now. That’s right. This very minute, you have the power to change the story of the most important character in your life which is you.  Just as if you were sitting down to write a screenplay for a major motion picture, you have the power right now to sit down, look at your main character and decide where the story will go from here forward down to the very ending. Take a look at your character and if there is something you do not like about him or her, simply erase it and write in a new attitude, a new belief, a new decisions, a new set of actions and behaviors.

Up to now your character, the person you believe yourself to be has been created partly by you, but mostly by other people. These people are the ones that you have put in charge, or that you have unknowingly allowed to write the screenplay of your life. If you are not satisfied with the job those people are doing or have done to this point…fire them. It’s that simple. You do not have to stop loving them and caring about them, just fire them and say I am in charge from this moment forward. And if the person that must be fired is you, that’s even better! Go ahead and fire yourself. The beauty in firing yourself is that you can always hire yourself again after you gain the experience you need to step back into the role of screenwriter.

And on that note, my guest today is a real life writer, director, and producer of projects for film, television and video. I met Jerry Vasilatos years ago while I was practicing entertainment law in Los Angeles when he had his company in the heart of Hollywood. Jerry has a story, in fact it’s quite a story, though not unlike some that you have heard, or it may be similar to your own. Jerry is an amputee; he lost one of his legs above the knee in a freak accident while boarding a subway train while a college student in his native Chicago. As a result of that experience Jerry’s life was completely altered and turned upside down as we would expect. It took him some time to accept his new condition, but having done so, he found that he would meet people along the way that were not so accepting of him because of his perceived disability. But once he realized that he had the power to re-write the story of his life, in the same way that he had been doing for the film and television characters he had been developing for years, Jerry now finds himself on an awesome journey as an entrepreneur, having created and brought to market a product that will make life so much more enjoyable for millions of people who have to use assistive devices for walking.

Please now enjoy my interview with Jerry Vasilatos.

The Sand Pad Team

 

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Thank you for listening!

I look forward to helping you live more, play more, and rock the world!

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