Tourette on Film
Shannon Hunter, Brian Sheppard and Helen Pak of Saatchi and Saatchi invited me the other night to attend the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada gala event in support of their launching of their new project: @Random – a joint web film project.
Most people think of Tourette Syndrome as “the swearing disease” but that is an unfortunate generalization. The @Random project is a culmination of a year’s worth of film work all dedicated to changing the perception of Tourette Syndrome from that antiquated notion to the real facts while at the same time taking an inside look at people who get by day to day with TS. The films are beautifully produced with some done by families on their flip cams but all the content is very interesting and entertaining. The real beauty of the project is that with with help of all the people involved, Saatchi and Saatchi and TSFC came up with a way to make all the facts accessible without alienating a viewer. Instead the @Random project allows the viewer of the website to choose how long a film s/he would like to see and serves up a randomly chosen film from it’s collection of over 30 films. The reason the films are randomly selected is to mimic the unpredictable nature of Tourette Syndrome.
At the Gala event I got to see quite a few of them and found myself completely immersed in the stories of these extraordinary people who shared their experiences living with TS. It’s humbling to see a cadre of our fellow man, who would at first appear disadvantaged, show that they are driven to achieve great things because of their difference from others and not allow their affliction to hinder them. The common theme is that all the film subjects I have scene, both young and old, seem to have accepted that there is no cure for Tourette Syndrome but are still positive people.
I am reminded of a birthday party I attended last month where an inquisitive individual asked me to take him through the Holy Trinity of Happiness and how I came upon that formula. Once I had gone through it with him in detail he asked me why I had not included “health” as a necessary component to one’s happiness. I explained the Holy Trinity of Happiness as three main factors in one’s life that can be influenced and controlled directly by the individual and that, for many, health is not one of those things. The example I gave him at the time was that of people living with an incurable condition such as cancer. If they allow themselves to be consumed by the adversity of things they cannot alter then it stood to reason that one would not perhaps lose appetite, push people away or fail to express oneself which would result in real misery.
The people who appeared in the films are living proof of the above and it’s hard not to respect them for their ability to carry on and live happy, productive lives despite living with TS. Some of those very people were at the gala event and I found that after being armed with the knowledge about TS I was completely at ease interacting with them and saw them in a different light than I probably would have before hearing and seeing their stories. Clearly that means that this project is a success and my hat tips to its progenitors.
Have a look at the @Random website and take in a few of the films. I reckon you will feel similarly to me and perhaps be compelled to help the charity in any way you can. One fun way to get involved is to enter their 17th Annual Golf Tournament on June 14. I know a lot of you readers love playing on the link so this will be a really great tournament to get involved in! It’ll be a great day of golf with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, delicious samples of yummies from sponsors at some of the holes, prizes and entertainment. Oh, and it’s a great way to get outside! Help them out!