Jennifer Anne Martin
"I Want So Much More Than They've Got Planned"
These lyrics sung by Paige O'Hara as she voiced the iconic character of Belle in Disney's Beauty and the Beast were the first words in a movie that I distinctly remember, as an 8-year-old, were speaking directly to my heart - I wanted so much more out of this life than anyone had planned for me.
As an adult, I knew this movie, and specifically, the character of Belle, had an effect on me. I chalked it up to the fact that she was the first Disney princess with brown hair and eyes like me. But, I found a much deeper reason, and it wasn't until I was sitting in the Driskill Ballroom at the Driskill Hotel at this year's Austin Film Festival listening to the amazing Linda Woolverton (screenwriter of Beauty and the Beast), that I realized just how much of an impact Belle had on me.
As I sat listening to how Ms. Woolverton specifically set out to turn the fairly tale on its head and purposefully created this smart, quirky girl who didn't conform, it struck me that this kid's movie character changed my entire outlook on life and I can see now it was at that time I decided I was going to go after things I wanted in life, no matter how crazy. Like the song states, "I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell..." - that has been my outlook ever since seeing this film.
People talk about the power of film and after hearing one of my screenwriting icons discuss her career and reflect on all the work she's done, I realized first hand the power that film really has. This one movie alone changed the trajectory of my life when I was literally 8 years old - that's crazy!
As I set out to make my own career as a screenwriter, I take the responsibility of storytelling to heart, and am excited at the prospect of my words and characters impacting a little girl just like me one day.