Filmmaking: “Pay it Forward” Essay.

Pay it forward is an expression for describing the beneficiary of a good deed repaying it to others instead of to the original benefactor.

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Objectives/Student Outcomes Using this Learning Guide: Students can meet standards in writing and critical thinking with assignments that provoke in-depth analysis of the problematic aspects of pay-it-forwardism as shown in the movie and can exercise creativity in their own application of the concept.

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Pay It Forward is about an 11-year-old boy (Haley Joel Osment) growing up in Las Vegas, who is given a daring Dead Poets Society assignment by his burn-faced new social studies teacher (Kevin Spacey). He is told to come up with a way to change the world for the better and put it into action. So he brings a homeless heroin addict to his house and gives him cereal and then tells the homeless heroin addict to help three other people, I guess by giving them cereal. Meanwhile, his mom (Helen Hunt) is a stripper who hides vodka in the washing machine. As his social experiment progresses, Haley Joel Osment groes increasingly despondent about its chances for success. Maybe an 11-year-old can’t change the world after all (SPOILER ALERT: correct). He tries to help Old Burnsides, Kevin Spacey, by setting him up on a date with his stripper mom, because according to Haley Joel Osment the point is for the good deeds to be difficult, and nothing is more difficult than getting your mom and your teacher laid at the same time? Now that the teacher and the mom are in love, the abusive ex-boyfriend dad shows up. Oh no! Then he goes away. Oh yay! But Kevin Spacey refuses to forgive Helen Hunt for choosing the abusive ex over him, because he is burned because of abuse, and now he is burned twice, one time in his heart. MEANWHILE, Jay Mohr is a freelance reporter whose car is destroyed in an accident. A mysterious man appears out of the rain and gives him a Jaguar and tells him to pay it forward. Naturally, this is going to be such a great newspaper article, so eventually Jay Mohr traces the story all the way back to Haley Joel Osment and interviews him for TV, because freelance journalists writing a community interest piece are always getting to broadcast stuff on national TV all the time. After the interview, Helen Hunt and Captain Burn Face of the SS. On Fire start making out against some lockers, you know, appropriate teacher-parent behavior at school, which is when Haley Joel Osment GETS STABBED by another 11-year-old with a PONYTAIL. Then everyone comes and gives him a candlelight vigil, which may or may not count towards the three favors they have to do to repay getting free cars and bikes all the time.

1. What did you think of the different acts of pay-it-forwardism shown in the movie?
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Eventually, Chandler's investigations lead him to Trevor and his innovative "pay it forward" project that has already had more of a positive impact on the world than he had realized. The reporter does an interview with the boy on his twelfth birthday. Soon afterwards Trevor is back at his good work helping out his classmate at school.

In 1916, Lily Hardy Hammond wrote, "You don't pay love back; you pay it forward."

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The concept does not originally appeal to people because it seems childish. However, it begins to take hold when people actually start to act out what the project calls for. I believe that people finally become inspired by something when they experience it for themselves. Objectively, pay-it-forwardcan seem too cheesy. However, when someone does something selfless and charitable for another person for no reason of self-interest, the recipient is often overcome with a great emotion that one feels upon receiving generosity.

The term "pay it forward" was popularized by  in his book , published in 1951:

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(February 14, 1913 – March 12, 1987) was a college football coach who is best remembered for winning five national titles and 13 Big Ten championships in 28 years at . He misquoted Emerson as having said "You can pay back only seldom. You can always pay forward, and you must pay line for line, deed for deed, and cent for cent." He also shortened the (mis)quotation into "You can never pay back; but you can always pay forward" and variants.