Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Family of Books

Need a last-minute holiday gift? Consider the offerings from the Brent Marchant family of books, Consciously Created Cinema: The Movie Lover's Guide to the Law of Attraction and the newly released updated edition of Get the Picture?!: Conscious Creation Goes to the Movies. Consciously Created Cinema is available in print and ebook formats from all major online retailers, such as, and Get the Picture?! is available in a print edition from (with ebook editions to come soon). Happy reading, and happy holidays!

Cover designs by Paul L. Clark, Inspirtainment (

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Special Christmas Night

Looking for something fun to do on Christmas night? Then check out a rebroadcast of my interview on the VividLife Radio Show "It's All About Relationships," with host Edie Weinstein. Tune in Thursday at 8 PM Eastern by clicking here for some lively chat about conscious creation and the movies!

Monday, December 22, 2014


IT'S HERE!!! The re-release of the book that started it all, the newly revised and updated edition of the book that launched my writing career, Get the Picture?!: Conscious Creation Goes the Movies, available in a new print edition from, available by clicking here. And coming soon in an ebook edition!

Cover design by Paul L. Clark, Inspirtainment (

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Hard Lesson

The first time I saw the trailer for the film "The Interview," I was appalled.

"WTF?" I thought. "What the hell are the producers thinking?" Not only did the preview have "turkey" written all over it, but I couldn't believe the creators were so naive as to think there wouldn't be some kind of negative fallout from this ill-conceived production. I never envisioned matters getting as out of hand as they have, but I knew for sure that there would be hell to pay for those who gave the green light to this bonehead project.

So why was I so outraged? The very premise of the film was in such incredibly bad taste that I had a hard time believing the production had gotten as far as it did. The idea of creating a movie (and a comedy at that) about assassinating Kim Jong-un, a known world leader, struck me as the height of irresponsibility. The situation might have been different if the film was premised on the idea of eliminating a fictional head of state, perhaps even one based on the figure here. But building a story like this around an actual, identifiable person was, in my opinion, unfathomably stupid. What if a North Korean filmmaker had proposed making a movie about one of his country's operatives being tapped to take out a known Western leader -- what kind of reaction would have that engendered? It's a pretty safe bet that it would have been one of righteous indignation, not cavalier dismissiveness.

In my view, the only smart decision Sony Pictures made during this debacle was to pull the plug on the film's release. This obviously had to have been a difficult choice in many ways, but, given the ominous threats that were being circulated regarding its distribution, I don't know that the studio and theater owners had any other realistically responsible choice. I realize this was a controversial decision, especially in light of all the criticism that has been heaped upon Sony and the movie house chains as a result. The arguments regarding freedom of speech and not caving in to intimidation indeed have merit. But what if the release had gone ahead and something happened? Where would those critics of Sony's decision be then? Under those circumstances, I'm fairly sure they would have called for the film to have been pulled, that a "courageous" decision to proceed with release despite the prevailing conditions would have been seen as short-sighted foolishness. (The hypocrisy in all this is simply too undeniable to ignore.)

Those who have said that the North Koreans are now dictating terms to the film industry are overstating the case. Their claims that no one can now make a movie critical of an unpopular foreign head of state like Kim Jong-un are grossly exaggerated. Films that satirize dictators have been an industry staple for years. Just look at Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator" (1940) or, more recently, Trey Parker and Matt Stone's "Team America: World Police" (2004). Both were scathingly brutal in skewering their intended targets. But, in both of those cases, the filmmakers never went so far as to propose something so heinous as killing the figurehead in question. That's where "The Interview" crossed the line, and it's entirely understandable how Kim Jong-un and the North Koreans would have been justifiably upset at the film's premise, regardless of how any of us might feel about the renegade leader and his totalitarian regime. After all, if you were intentionally identified as a target for assassination, wouldn't you be outraged?

This incident no doubt has to have been a hard lesson for Sony and the creators of this film. But, quite frankly, I believe they had it coming, given the ill-considered thinking behind this project. I'm hoping that all parties concerned have learned their lesson from this episode, too, that they'll put more deliberate thought into the kinds of film projects they propose and approve going forward. It's bad enough that there are so many productions in the works that make use of the kind of adolescent humor employed here, but, when such puerile comedy is combined with the sort of blatant irresponsibility and lack of sound ethical standing on display in "The Interview," it's utterly embarrassing for an industry that's quite capable of so much better. We can only hope that the movie business comes away from this incident with a new, wiser outlook -- and a commitment not to make mistakes like this again.

Copyright © 2014, by Brent Marchant. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 19, 2014

‘Imitation Game’ illustrates how our lives follow our beliefs

“The Imitation Game” (2014). Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Allen Leech, Matthew Beard, Charles Dance, Mark Strong, Alex Lawther, Jack Bannon, Tuppence Middleton. Director: Morten Tyldum. Screenplay: Graham Moore. Book: Andrew Hodges, Alan Turing: The Enigma. Web site. Trailer.

Much of the time, our lives seem puzzlingly inscrutable. But they need not be if we look closely to see how they follow very clearly prescribed paths that fall in line with what we think, believe and feel. Should we become proficient at that, there’s virtually nothing we can’t come to understand, a point driven home in the engaging new biopic, “The Imitation Game.”

In the early days of World War II, England and its Allies were suffering heavy losses at the hands of Hitler’s war machine. British military intelligence had considerable difficulty getting sufficient information about the Germans’ battle plans in time to prevent the carnage. Enemy forces fared so well thanks to their ability to successfully convey encrypted messages to their troops using a coding system known as Enigma, believed to be unbreakable. But, if the British were somehow able to decipher the code, the game would change entirely.

To reach this goal, the royal military began interviewing the country’s leading mathematicians, cryptologists and linguists for participation in a top-secret project aimed at cracking the code. Heading the project was naval Commander Alastair Denniston (Charles Denniston), a hard-nosed, results-oriented taskmaster, who was quietly and clandestinely aided by Stewart Menzies (Mark Strong), an officer of the supposedly nonexistent military intelligence ministry, MI6.

One of the more prominent candidates Denniston interviewed was mathematics scholar Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch). Despite Turing’s impressive résumé, the commander found this contender to be arrogant and aloof. However, given the need to get the job done, Denniston brought Turing on board his team – but with great reservation and with one eye always looking over Alan’s shoulder.

Unlike the team’s other members (Matthew Goode, Matthew Beard, Allen Leech), who approached breaking the code by more conventional deciphering methods, Turing proposed something radically different – a machine capable of simultaneously processing multiple calculations aimed at cracking Enigma’s unfathomable algorithm. Yet, despite Alan’s unshakable faith in his idea, others scoffed at him, offering virtually no support (especially since his condescending attitude often rubbed them the wrong way). Even Denniston was able to overlook his results-driven focus when it came to Turing’s outlandish proposal, especially since it verged on what he considered to be the height of fiscal irresponsibility (wartime budget considerations notwithstanding). So, if Alan were to realize his goal, he would have to seek the assistance of a higher power – which he did by writing to Prime Minister Winston Churchill, a move that earned him the support he needed, as well as the leadership of the code breaking team.

Turing thus began work on creating his calculating machine. He also found a staunch ally in the team’s newest member, Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley), who shared Alan’s love of numbers and understood him in a way that the other team members didn’t. But progress came slowly, and rumors of a Communist spy lurking in the team’s midst cast a pall over the code breakers’ work. Denniston’s suspicions about the trustworthiness of his team leader thus grew, a circumstance that made life increasingly difficult for him, especially since he was struggling to keep a secret of his own – his homosexuality, which, at the time in England, was still punishable as a crime.

It was under these extremely trying conditions that Alan toiled to carry out his task. Would his creation function as hoped for, or would it wind up a disappointing failure? Would he be able to continue hiding the truth about himself, or would he be exposed? But, perhaps most importantly, would he ultimately succeed at breaking Enigma? And, even if he did, then what? As the prospects of a breakthrough loomed, the answers once sought so earnestly suddenly didn’t seem quite so clear-cut. In fact, the hope that success once promised now seemed to have raised a whole host of new questions, considerations of a nature far more complicated than anything Turing had faced up to that point – and that would continue to dog him for years to come, even after the war ended.

Turing’s complex circumstances aptly illustrate how our lives and our realities truly are metaphorical in nature, reflective of the prevailing beliefs within our true being. Their expression in physical terms is thus a direct outcome of the manifesting intents we employ through the conscious creation process. For instance, as the film’s trailer observes, it takes one who keeps secrets to know how to reveal them, and that’s certainly true in Alan’s case. However, secrets can also ensnare, another circumstance that Mr. Turing comes to know all too well, especially in the years after the war, when he unwittingly runs afoul of an investigation headed up by Manchester Police Detective Robert Nock (Rory Kinnear).

The beliefs we employ to create our realities are often remarkably persistent, too, as seen in flashbacks to when a 15-year-old Alan (Alex Lawther) was a boarding school student. These intents are born, develop and flourish over time, manifesting in myriad permutations through the years. This becomes most apparent in Alan’s fascination with puzzles and codes, an interest he shares with his classmate, Christopher (Jack Bannon). He comes to recognize, for instance, how we often employ encryption methods in our daily lives without even being aware of doing so. The statements we make, he notes, often don’t say what we really mean, prompting him to speculate that the trick to understanding what others truly say depends on our ability to break through those codes, seeing past the surface attributes and examining the genuine qualities that lie beneath. Indeed, one could argue, what better mindset is there for developing the means for fathoming how to break codes?

The persistence of our beliefs can sometimes get us in trouble, though, too. For example, it’s truly sad that we can allow the beliefs driving our prejudices to hold on so stubbornly. England’s entrenched bigotry toward homosexuals, for instance, was so pervasive at the time that it kept many from being able to recognize the accomplishments of those holding to that sexual orientation. No matter what grand achievements someone might have been able to fulfill, those efforts were often summarily wiped out when subjected to the onslaught of an inflexible prejudice.

This is unfortunate, since those whose realities operate outside the mainstream frequently inspire some of our most enlightened creations and ideas. Alan’s conception of a calculating device led to the development of what would come to be called “Turing machines” – or what we better know today as computers. Where would we be now if such outlandish thinking had not taken root? It’s regrettable that Alan never received the recognition he deserved, either (and all because of an aspect of his life that was really no one else’s business but his).

So how do we extricate ourselves from such circumstances? As alluded to above, discernment is key, for it teaches us how to read between the lines to be able to truly see and hear what others do and say. This allows us to look past mere surface perceptions to fathom the underlying beliefs manifesting the prevailing circumstances, enabling us to adjust our beliefs and intents in response. This also enables us to better develop the power of our intuition, a key element in forming the beliefs we employ through the conscious creation process.

Integrity is also important, because it inspires us to follow our hearts, our true selves. Admittedly, that may be difficult, as evidenced by the attitudes (not to mention legal sanctions) inflicted upon homosexuals in England at the time. However, the more we can be true to our beliefs, the more confidence it inspires – and the greater our chances of being able to bring about solutions that ultimately suit our needs. It’s unfortunate that Mr. Turing was not able to enjoy the fruits of his efforts at the time, but the prevalence of what his conceptions have led to is a lasting tribute to his contributions to society, technology and the world at large.

“The Imitation Game” is a very complete picture, well executed on all fronts, with solid performances, great character development, excellent period piece production values and a skillful blending of story lines from multiple time periods. It can be a little formulaic at times, but that’s easily overlooked in light of its many other strengths.

The performances of Cumberbatch and Knightley are truly noteworthy, and they have been lavished with praise on many fronts. Both have received nominations as best lead actor and best supporting actress in the Critics Choice, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award competitions. The film itself is also a strong contender for best picture, having been nominated as such in the Critics Choice and Golden Globe Award programs. In all, it has racked up 14 nods in the three contests, with more recognition almost sure to follow.

The mystery of life need not be so intractably enigmatic if we know how to look at it. We have the means to solve the riddles posed to us if we’re only willing to make the effort to do so. Unlocking the secrets of everyday life, or of even existence itself, can be rewarding beyond measure, and now we have cinematic guidance to help show us the way – and all thanks to the efforts of a previously unsung British war hero.

Copyright © 2014, by Brent Marchant. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Follow Me on Pinterest, MeWe and Google+

Pinterest, MeWe and Google+ users can now keep up with the latest about the upcoming release of the new edition of my first book, Get the Picture?!: Conscious Creation Goes to the Movies, coming soon in print and ebook formats from all major online retailers. Check out the dedicated pages on those sites, as well as the existing page on Facebook, to find out more!

Cover design by Paul L. Clark, Inspirtainment (

‘Wild’ encourages us to look within

“Wild” (2014). Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski, Keene McRae, Michiel Huisman, W. Earl Brown, Gaby Hoffmann, Kevin Rankin, Mo McRae, Randy Schulman, Cliff De Young, Jason Newell, Bobbi Strayed Lindstrom. Director: Jean-Marc Vallée. Screenplay: Nick Hornby. Book: Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. Web site. Trailer.

How we became who we are sometimes baffles us. We go through life, not fully realizing who we are, what we do or why, a course that can be fraught with complications, misunderstandings and even obliviousness. Getting a handle on our intents and motivations can prove valuable for sorting out such matters, but how? Sometimes it may take something as simple as getting away from it all for a while, a tactic explored in the moving new fact-based drama, “Wild.”

Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) is sorely in need of getting her life together. With the untimely death of her mother, Bobbi (Laura Dern), Cheryl’s life falls apart. Overcome by grief and unclear how to cope with the loss of the woman she considered her best friend, she turns to drugs (including heroin) and a string of extramarital affairs in an attempt to ease her pain. Unfortunately, none of these solutions provides the answers or relief she seeks; in fact, all they do is leave her broke, unemployed and divorced from her adoring husband, Paul (Thomas Sadoski). Even Cheryl’s longtime companions, like her childhood friend Aimee (Gaby Hoffmann), and her therapist (Randy Schulman) begin to lose faith in her ability to escape her cycle of self-destructive behavior, worried that she’s spiraling into an abyss from which she won’t emerge.

Somehow, though, Cheryl manages to find a way out – by deciding to hike the 1,100-mile Pacific Crest Trail, a destination that has always inexplicably captivated her. And so, despite a lack of hiking experience and not knowing what she’ll face, she sets off on her solo journey, beginning in southern California’s Mojave Desert and heading north up the coast.

To get her life together, hiker Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) embarks on a solo journey of self-discovery along the Pacific Crest Trail, beginning in southern California’s Mojave Desert, in the moving new fact-based drama, “Wild.” Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.

The trip turns out to be nothing like what she expected, but it provides her with just what she needs – an opportunity to look inward to discover her true self and to heal a host of old wounds, some of which have to do with life events other than the passing of her mother and the fallout that came in its wake. To say more would reveal too much of Cheryl’s experiences and the insights that arose from them. Suffice it to say, however, that Cheryl’s trek brings her exactly what she needs at exactly the time she needs it. In fact, the journey itself becomes a metaphor for her own personal odyssey, one reflective of her inner being – the realm of her beliefs – the means by which she manifests her reality through the conscious creation process. It thus gives her an opportunity to address a range of issues, all the while providing an undeniable mirror of her true self. The experience proves quite profound; indeed, to call it cathartic and revelatory would be an understatement to be sure.

Embarking on an extended journey of some kind is often an effective means for getting away from it all to take stock of our lives, especially when traveling alone. The various stops along the way provide excellent opportunities to chart our personal growth and the evolution of our character, personal qualities that are almost certain to change over the course of the trek. Assessing the alterations and adjustments that emerge makes it possible to examine the beliefs that gave rise to them, shedding light on how and why they arose and, one would hope, how they’ve made our lives better.

Bobbi (Laura Dern), the mother and best friend of a hiker seeking to find herself, somehow manages to keep an optimistic outlook about life, despite its adversities, in director Jean-Marc Vallée’s latest offering, “Wild.” Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.

As noted above, such journeys also serve as metaphorical mirrors of our beliefs. In Cheryl’s case, for example, she begins her odyssey in the desert, a place of isolation, limited life-sustaining resources and myriad perils, conditions not unlike those that prevailed in her reality before she began her hike. From there she journeys to the snow-covered mountains of central and northern California, a cold, sometimes-unforgiving landscape that demands much of those who seek to ascend to their exalted heights, circumstances reflective of Cheryl’s quest to better herself and change her existence. And, as she rounds out her travels, Cheryl heads into the lush old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest, a beautiful, abundantly verdant environment that fills her with a sense of renewal and vitality. That’s quite a trek – and on multiple levels to boot.

Of course, getting to that metaphysical promised land frequently takes work. In conscious creation terms, this primarily involves determining which manifesting beliefs need to be disposed of or rewritten. Intents that no longer serve us unduly weigh us down and make forward progress difficult, a circumstance that becomes symbolically apparent by the oversized bulky backpack Cheryl carries at her journey’s outset. It’s filled with all kinds of items she doesn’t need, which only slows her down and makes hiking needlessly burdensome. So it’s indeed fortuitous when she encounters someone who shows her how to lighten her load.

At one of the campsites along the trail, Cheryl meets Ed (Cliff De Young), one of the outpost’s full-time residents, who spends his days catering to the needs of passing hikers. He sorts through the items in her backpack, showing her what she doesn’t need (and, in Cheryl’s case, that proves to be considerable). Offloading such flotsam significantly unburdens her, an exercise that benefits her not only physically but that also symbolically reflects a useful – and necessary – shift in the palette of beliefs she needs to create her reality. Suddenly, Cheryl’s journey has become much easier, both literally and metaphorically.

When embarking on an undertaking as daunting as Cheryl’s, one might think that the foregoing should be obvious. But, given our heroine’s inexperience at hiking, it’s clear she’s not entirely sure what she needs for the trip. That, of course, could be resolved by simply asking others for assistance, but therein lies one of her personal challenges – developing a willingness to seek help when needed. These circumstances thus reflect one of the primary life lessons that Cheryl has drawn to herself to learn through this journey.

To overcome this issue, she must formulate suitable beliefs to materialize appropriate conditions for making that outcome possible. But, to do that, she must first determine why she has hesitated to embrace such intents. Perhaps it has something to do with her childhood, when her younger self (Bobbi Strayed Lindstrom) had to contend with an abusive father (Jason Newell) who frequently created chaos in the household. These disruptive circumstances may have led her to believe that her wishes would be disregarded, that it wasn’t even worth the effort to ask for what she wanted in the first place, because those desires would be ignored or squelched. This experience thus may have set in motion a belief pattern that carried forward into adulthood, one that kept her from seeking meaningful help from others – especially when she needed it most (just ask her friends, ex-husband and therapist).

A tearful separation marks the end of a seven-year marriage between Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon, right) and her adoring husband, Paul (Thomas Sadoski, left), in the new fact-based drama, “Wild.” Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.

However, as conscious creators know, we’ll never receive what we seek until we make the effort to ask for it. To be able to do that, we must adopt beliefs that asking and receiving are acts that are not only acceptable but essential to our well-being. If this is something Cheryl has previously been unwilling to embrace, then perhaps the conditions of her hike have materialized to help her get over such hesitancy. When she sees that the Universe responds to her requests (especially when approached through its terrestrial emissaries), the act of asking for fulfillment of her needs suddenly doesn’t seem so imposing. In fact, once she gets a taste of it, she just might make it a habit going forward.

Being willing to make such essential requests shows maturity and responsibility, added benefits that come with learning this life lesson. These traits end up serving Cheryl well, too, since these qualities were noticeably absent in her response to her mother’s demise. Bobbi’s death at age 45 was undoubtedly a terrible tragedy, but engaging in irresponsible, self-destructive behavior won’t bring back a lost loved one, either. Cheryl thus needed to develop these crucial traits at some point if she were to ever have a meaningful life as an adult. Again, the beliefs she used to create her journey thankfully provide the conditions necessary for the emergence of these attributes, and Cheryl fortunately has the wisdom to recognize the benefits these previously missing qualities afford her.

Perhaps most importantly, though, journeys like this help us to make peace with ourselves. While it may have been tempting for Cheryl to wallow in self-pity or beat herself up over her past transgressions, she ultimately comes to see that all of her experiences – for better or worse – have contributed to making her the person she has become, and, if she’s content with who she is, then even the “negative” incidents of her past were not in vain.

Cheryl comes to this conclusion during her trek while reflecting on memories of her mother, who always managed to remain optimistic, even in the face of the many difficulties she endured in life. For instance, during one of the film’s many flashback sequences, Cheryl asks Bobbi how she could maintain such an upbeat attitude in the wake of her abusive marriage. Bobbi replies that she wouldn’t have changed a thing, because, if she had, she wouldn’t have given birth to the beautiful daughter sitting before her. That realization was something Cheryl apparently had trouble embracing at the time Bobbi said it, but, now that Cheryl has created the time and space necessary to reconsider it, she can see the wisdom of her mother’s statement. It’s also an understanding she can apply to her own life – where it had been, where it is at that moment and where it’s likely to go moving forward.

“Wild” is an excellent film, far better than its marketing materials make it appear. Cheryl’s story is skillfully told, never revealing too much all at once, making for an experience that is as revelatory to the audience as it is to the protagonist. Viewers witness the unfolding of Cheryl’s odyssey in much the same way as she sees it for herself – quite a feat of movie making, to be sure. Credit the production’s great script and editing, not to mention the superb direction of filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée, who has followed up his previous effort, “Dallas Buyers Club,” with an offering of equal magnitude and power. The picture is also gorgeously filmed and includes a great soundtrack featuring the music of Simon & Garfunkel, the Hollies, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen and the Grateful Dead, among others.

Hiker Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) travels through the mountains of the Pacific Crest Trail as part of a journey to find herself in the moving new fact-based drama, “Wild.” Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Above all, though, the film is exceedingly well cast. It’s a terrific showcase for the considerable talent of Witherspoon, who has already garnered best actress nominations in the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe Award competitions (with more likely to come). It’s also an excellent platform for Dern, who has turned in some of her best work in years (and deserves more recognition than she has received thus far). And then there’s the excellent cast of colorful supporting characters who make Cheryl’s journey interesting, including a wily desert farmer (W. Earl Brown), the freewheeling editor of a “hobo journal” (Mo McRae) and a sexy concert promoter (Michiel Huisman) who takes a liking to the wandering protagonist.

To find our way in the world, sometimes we need to get away from it, to explore our inner realms and take a good hard look at who we are, what made us that way and what we want to become. This often involves unshackling ourselves from the constraints of daily living, getting in touch with our core beliefs and feelings, that untamed “wild” side we all too frequently never make the effort to know. But making an effort to embark on such an unrestrained journey may prove to be just what we need to live a life of fulfillment and satisfaction. All we need do is put on our metaphysical hiking boots – and hit the trail.

Copyright © 2014, by Brent Marchant. All rights reserved.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The New Back Cover Is Here!

Introducing the back cover of the newly revised and updated edition of Get the Picture?!: Conscious Creation Goes to the Movies, coming soon in print and ebook formats from all major online retailers!

Back cover design by Paul L. Clark, Inspirtainment (