Directors' Hidden Talents: James Rouse

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James Rouse
When I was a boy, my father told me great stories.

He told all sorts—scary ones, sporty ones and silly ones, and he invented every one of them, making them up as he went along. I remember him clearly, sitting on my bed at the end of his day, him still in his city suit and me all tucked up, completely absorbed in the world he'd created. And when he finished and I asked for another, he simply smiled, paused a moment and then started all over again.

It's only now that I can really appreciate this kind of talent. At the time I took it for granted, like so many other things my parents did for me. I thought it was a skill all adults had—it simply came with age. But now I can see just what a gift he had, partly because I've now got small children of my own (and I've long since learned they're a tough audience), but mostly because of the director in me.

My father taught me my love for storytelling. He showed me time and time again that, when it's done well, a great story can be a truly magical thing. And if I can be half as good as he was at telling them, I'll be a very lucky man.

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