A Critical and Analytic Approach to the term Wish

Final Wish is a horror and suspense film that shows the serious effects of when a wish goes wrong. Michael Welch is the star of the movie and is at the forefront of the devastating climatic behavior. Welch talks about wish as a subject matter and what a wish truly entails in our society and culture as Americans and humans.

ATM: Did you ever make birthday wishes when blowing out candles at a young age?

MW: Oh sure. I am sure I made a wish every time.

ATM: Reflect on a wish you made as a little boy.

MW: Wow, do I remember any of my wishes? As a kid, one of my constant wishes were, this is probably common, it was for a genie to give me more wishes. In retrospect, I am glad this did not work out. We have seen a lot in movies when you end of getting this and something else in your life ends up turning out not so great. This is sort of what happens in this movie. With a prospective of age and a little more wisdom, now I would come up with different wishes. Now, if I had one wish, then I would wish for infinite wishes. It seemed like perfect sound logic to me.

ATM: It is interesting in the American culture, not speaking for every culture, but American’s culture — We have preconceived notions that any wish that we make will come true. I do not think we have the intuition that the opposite or the negative side of the wish can also come true. This never crosses our minds. Pertaining to the movie, when we wish, we think it is positive. For example, what if you wish for 20 dollars today? But what if your wish does a reverse and you end of losing 20 dollars.

MW: Absolutely. Something specific in America that is prevalent is wishing for other people’s lives. We do this a lot. We see what others have their public persona. We go “Man their Instagram pages just looks so happy. They must be the happiest person in the world. I wish I had the things in my life that the person has in theirs. I would be happy too.” The truth is that we have no idea what the realities are in their lives. We do not know their anxieties and insecurities. Or the kind of sacrifices they must make to get this point of perceived success. In a way, this is kind of a problem with the Instagram culture. A good thing moving forward is for people to be a little bit honest about the realities in their life where others do not feel alone. Especially young kids do not have much of a preference of life yet. They might feel certain and perceive what others are feeling and go “Well what is wrong with me?” We should be a bit honest with each other about what is going on in our lives.

ATM: Sometimes this person that feels alone and wants this life could be living a better life than whatever person they think they want to be. This is one of the biggest issues with the nonentertainment society and the entertainment society. The less fortunate mirrors with the fortunate do. Regardless of what you are trying to imitate, you cannot really imitate it. For example, if someone in Hollywood dyes their hair pink, then this could have stemmed from an emotional explosion. Sometimes the most genius’ things have come from the saddest moments.

MW: 100%. You are right. We are so result oriented. We want to skip steps or something. Maybe this genius came out of immense sadness. This was the soil from which this grew. Do you really want this? I agree with you. We just see the end results and have no idea what went into the process.

ATM: Tony Todd in the film says “With life, there is a balance. When you have life, you have death.” Often times, when someone wishes for a 20-dollar bill. They can lose this 20-dollar bill. Another person finds the 20. This is technically another person’s wish coming true. Could also a wish be a let down from another person? One person’s misfortune or mishap could be another person’s fortune.

MW: 100%. This is important to keep in mind. From an example in my own life, last year my wife and I were looking for a house. There was a house perfect for us. There was another family that wanted the house. We ended up in a bidding war and securing it. I have no idea what the situation was for the other family. Did they need it more? I do not know what their life circumstances were.

I do not know what to do with this knowledge. It is good to keep this in mind and empathize with people.

Your 20-dollar example is interesting because this happened to me recently. I had found a 100 bill on the street. So, the first thought is “Oh this is cool.” But then the second thought is “Aw, man I am so sorry for the person who lost it. I hope they did not need it.” For some cosmic balance, I tried to use this 100-dollar bill to do good for someone else. Just for all the reasons, we are talking about. Not to pat myself on the back, but to talk about the perspective of keeping this in mind. So, we do not all live in a kind of bubble. You are right. You never know the ripple or the ramifications of how things turn out. You can reverse this.

Who knows how my life would have turned out if the sadness or this other stuff that seemed like hell at the time did not happen? If this hadn’t happened, then I would not have met my wife. This beautiful daughter would not be in the world. I would not trade this for anything in the world. You just never know. It is an interesting idea to explore. This is why we are drawn to it this way. We have seen so many drawings of this story so many times. Especially, if I am going to tie it to the movie. This character has lived a very selfish life up to this moment. He has no perspective. Now that his wishes are coming true, he is not able to see the ramifications because all he is concerned about is his own interest. Of course, this all catches up to him. He has to face these demons both literally and figuratively as the movie progresses. It is an interesting thing to explore.

ATM: We as humans without trying to be selfish often make some wishes from selfishness. If a person of the nonentertainment wishes to be famous or a millionaire, then they might have to go through a lot to get there. Once they are a millionaire, then they do not want it. You know the phrase, “Be careful what you wish for.” Especially if you are wishing something before the pieces of your life have unfolded. For example, if someone wants to become a singer. If they would have waited, then probably they would have gotten a record deal. We are impatient because of human nature. I would sort of predict this is where wishes derive from.

MW: It is important to go through the process than to be so focused on the result. Someone might be going to college, having a specific plan for their lives. Over the course of these four years they come out with a completely different set of ideas. You have to go through the process. If this person made this wish at 18, then this was their perspective at the time, and they had nothing to pull from. Who knows? Life could turn out differently and not as fulfilling.

In my case, I started acting at ten. It all came out of let’s just see what happens here. We are playing with house money. We have nothing to lose. There was not a crazy drive to succeed at first. This was not what drove it. I continued and received more of an instinct for it, enjoyed it, and had fun.

My parents did a good job keeping and maintaining balance in my life. At a certain point, you flip the switch and want to pursue it full time. Again, it is be careful what you wish for. Now, I have a whole other set of things to worry about. Now, every time I go on any set to do any job the mentality, I have is that everything is riding on every job for me. My ability to secure future work depends on the strengths of my work for the current thing I am working on. If I cannot deliver, then I have no way of providing for my family. There is this level of anxiety that is constantly with me. I am not complaining. But if we are being honest, I am pointing out the reality of what is to have some level of success in this industry. The other things that come with it.

ATM: I would say “prayer” is the religious term of a wish. What if the terms “prayer” or “wish” were not a part of the American custom? How would life truly be if we did not pray or wish? Would we truly become what we asked for? We just went with the flow of life and did not wish.

MW: Wow, this is a great question. How different would this world look if people essentially allowed the universe to take them on whatever journey they were met to go on? I do think it is important to have goals and to set your intentions. Do you know what it is? It really comes down to collectively becoming more process-oriented than result oriented. We are so married to what we think the results should be. Maybe we are wrong, and this is not what it is supposed to be. Maybe we are developing blind spots from our narrow view of how we think our lives should go. I am not sure if I would eliminate the idea of settling your intent, which is a part of what a wish or prayer could be. Shifting the way we view could go a long way of our health and psyche. This would be great for all of us.

ATM: Another example. A kid who dreams to be an NBA star, doctor, actor, or anything. As a kid, we all have notions or dreams of our lives. As soon as your mind is fixated on “Oh I want to be a doctor, NBA player, or actor,” then all your next moments or positions start to surround this idea. You start looking for a medical show, playing basketball, or watching a lot of films. The kid who wants to be an actor will now gravitate to artistic things. What if they never dreamed to become an actor? Would this change what they might have initially or innately gravitated toward? Would this person really become an actor? Everyone should have short- and long-term goals. I would assume the kid who became an NBA would ask “What if I never dreamed to become this and just let life run its course?” Sometimes I feel regardless of what you dream, pray, or wish, that life finds you or what you want finds you.

MW: It is funny you say this. Whenever you met someone in the entertainment industry and hear their success stories of how they got to where they are everyone has a different story, but it is almost always “Oh yeah, I just kind of fell into it.” You rarely hear. . . pick a random celebrity. Hugh Jackman for example. He was like “I was born ready to do this thing. I pursued it and then it happened.” It is always like ‘“I was sort of over here doing this. Someone over here said, “How about this?” I said, “Ok, cool. I will check this out.”’ It is always something serendipitous. I agree. It is almost like the concept of the beach ball and the pool. If you push too hard to try and grab it, then the water will pull it away from you. I do not know the answer here.

Without goals, then your life can be without also. I am not sure if I have any solutions then to say it is an interesting thought. I am astounded right now. I do think it is interesting that success stories, at least within the entertainment industry, always seem to come about in a similar way, which is “I was open to possibilities. We had a series of things that happened. I took advantage of opportunities as they came to me.” The best thing you can is to try being as ready as you can be to the advantage of opportunities as they arrive. Maybe in the process of developing yourself, you develop certain things. You either end up working in the industry or doing something else. Focus on the self-development rather than “How do I get a million Insta followers so I can sell myself to some commodity?” It all goes to focusing on the process and letting the results go however they are.

ATM: When you mentally result oriented, you are close-minded. Going back to the example about the kid dreaming a dream, wish, or pray, they become close-minded to anything else outside of their notion. People should be open minded to other things.

MW: This ties into acting too. I need to work on this a little. I am controlling about my ideas and what I think the results should be. Sometimes when you are so narrow-minded about this, you can close yourself off to other possibilities. Working with Lin Shaye in this movie really showed me how to open up and follow my instinct. To just try some things. Maybe it works and then maybe it does not. They are going to edit the movie later and pick the best stuff. You do not have to present a perfect package every time when they say action. As a result, she ended of finding some cool and interesting things that were not in the script or discussed beforehand. She was not thinking at the time “Is this right for the character? Are people going to judge me?” She does not care about this, but this goes for some real jinn. I agree. It is important to stay open to all possibilities.

ATM: When you are more oblivious to the results more things will happen for you.  

MW: This is great, but this is tricky. This requires real internal motivation to be process driven than result driven. This is not natural for human beings. I am not sure if this is a universal human thing or specifically an American thing. It is not the way we are taught to navigate through this life. It is much healthier and creates better results to do it like this.

ATM: When you live by the process than the results, people will have others saying they should not do this or that. They do not see the end of the road. Whereas others do. You could be focused on the process and someone is asking you about what will happen in six months based on the reality of what is currently happening. I would not even say these are naysayers. It does not let you become process minded. For actors when auditioning, I would assume people ask “Well, what are you going to do in six months?” Of course, no one truly knows. Actors just audition and audition to try getting a part. It makes you internally freak out and come out of the process-oriented mental space.

MW: As an actor, you cannot have this mentality. Even though it is constantly shoved in your face. Whenever you tell anyone you are an actor, it is what is next. You have this, but what is after this. Your whole sense of value is wrapped up to what you have lined up. It is assessed on how high it is in the industry. It is everything being shoved in your face, which is all about the results. Somehow you have to find a way to put all of this aside and focus on what is you have to do. This is to keep improving your acting. There is so little discussion about “acting” in the world of acting. It is always about these other things. At the end of the day, none of this matter, but I have to figure out how to do this performance.

My entire life has been like this. Whether I am finished with my next job, I am back at ground zero. It is like this for every actor. You are back out on the grind with other people that are applying for the same parts. It requires a lot of throwing your hands in the air and going “Listen I am going to do my part. I have to have faith that on some level this will all sort itself out.” Whether this is the universe, God, or luck. You have to put control in forces that are beyond yourself because you only control so much. There are things you can do. I am trying to take more control of my career in some ways. I am trying to develop my own projects. This takes time. A lot of what we are talking about is having faith to some degree or some mentality or you will go insane.

This was fascinating. This is not what I was expecting at all, but I loved it. Usually it is like “Hey, tell me about the movie. Tell me about the part. Tell me about working with so and so.” This is very refreshing. I appreciated this conversation.

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Gabrielle Alexandra Smith

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