Although I love to read, I also devour movies at an excessive rate. Being surrounded by stories helps me relax, and it reminds me why I love to tell stories of my own. However, these aren’t the only advantages. Movies, for one, have taught me some invaluable — and, in some cases, life-saving — lessons, all of which are sure to come in handy in my daily life, if not in my writing. Because I am helpful and wish only the best for my readers, let me now share with you what I have learned.

1) As long as you’re shooting back, enemy fire will never hit you. Unless you’re a minion on the side of evil, in which case you haven’t a prayer, no matter how many shots you squeeze off in a row. Bonus Tip: Never be an evil minion.

2) Everybody needs a henchman. Unless you’re the good guy, in which case you have a best friend/sidekick who is less attractive and has a worship complex when it comes to you. Bonus Tip: If you have a choice, opt for a henchman. They’re better at following directions.

3) Whenever you need to steal a car, there’s always one available curbside, usually with keys in it and the doors unlocked but the engine off. To make things handy, the keys are always visible, even when viewed from the driver’s side window, and the car is never flashy. Bonus Tip: Sometimes there’s a baby in the backseat, so examine the interior first. If you’re escaping from the forces of darkness — or from somebody’s henchman — you have enough to worry about without adding a baby to the mix.

4) If you are ever being chased on foot and there’s no time to snatch a nearby car, detour through a restaurant kitchen. This not only causes confusion, but will also result in a burly cook or a multi-tiered cart blocking the villain who is after you. This is most effective if a large party is currently in session, but normal working hours will do. You won’t be stopped, even if you do overturn a few trays of canapés, and no one will look at you with anything stronger than minor irritation, so this is clearly acceptable behavior. Bonus Tip: If the situation is reversed and you are the one chasing, just give up when they enter the kitchen, because you will be stopped. Go out the front and around to the alley; that’s where the back door always leads.

5) If you should ever need them, you will have no trouble securing detailed plans of bank/museum/casino/mansion interiors, alarms and all, without raising suspicion. Everybody has a trustworthy friend or uncle or friend of an uncle who can procure the needed information — for a price. Bonus Tip: This friend/uncle/uncle’s friend is usually in the Mafia, so consider if these maps are worth your inevitable involvement in organized crime.

6) And, finally, if you realize too late that you love someone, look for them at the airport. Although they’ll return in a few days, your heartfelt “I-was-wrong, I’m-sorry, I-love-you” speech must not wait another moment. Nervous fliers needn’t worry; actual air travel is not necessary for this plan to be effective, although you may need to board the plane. Most airline attendants will let you on because they can differentiate between a true threat and harmless, goofy love. Bonus Tip: In the event that the attendant doesn’t let you on the plane, simply walk away, dejected. This is the cue for the object of your affection to emerge from the gate, loaded with baggage and wearing a rueful smile because, after all, how could they board a plane when they realized they loved you?