Thursday, January 12, 2012

the very reason why I list Hayao Miyazaki as one of my influences

My love for Japanese animation goes back to the days when Pokemon was my greatest interest, soon to become one of many great obsessions I'd had over the years.
I'd since checked into other 4kids anime (most of which are frowned upon by the masses of anime fans, but I could care less) like Yu-Gi-Oh, Sailor moon and CardCaptors. My college days allowed me the late hours to check into Adult Swim, from which I derived even more anime, plus there was my school's anime club where I made friends and... oh man, those were good times.

All of the things I mentioned definitely inspired a load of fanfiction, but a few bits here and there have become a baseline for where I wanted to go. A launchpad if you will. Some were characters and others were just ideas.

My prolific period, when I churned out maybe 6-8 stories, the majority of my work, I was between the ages of 16 and 22. Naturally, I work with a lot of young characters because it's all I know. Most of the time, it takes place in a high school setting. It's kinda ironic when you think about it, considering how much I really didn't like high school, with the exception of my time working in the company of high school musicals and concert choir.

Aww... I just saw another commercial for that movie "The Vow" with Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum. I like her a lot, but don't care too much for him. But... what appears to be another Nicholas Sparks film (the credits next to their names are the NS movies they starred in), has me really wanting to see it on the grounds that they used "Enchanted" in the commerical.

Taylor Swift has a way with words, definitely, and after seeing her concert DVD "Journey to Fearless," I know she is very creative in the visual sense as well. The set up for the performance of "Love Story" is not to be missed.
"Enchanted" is very much in the same school of things, if not more extraordinary. So yeah, naturally because of the association, the commercial worked its subliminal magic on me and knows how to sell a movie that will, no doubt about it, make me cry my eyes out like a complete wimp by the end of it.

I'm also incredibly interested in seeing that post-9/11 drama "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close." It was snubbed by the Hollywood Foreign Press for a Golden Globe, but I still think it could be Oscar-nominated.

So today I was feeling extra daring and decided to send a fan letter to Taylor Swift full of compliments and congratulations for her unbelievable successes. I also gave her a little preview of my story because being the romantic she is, she might appreciate it. Sometimes it never hurts to put yourself out there even though nothing may never come of it.
But enough about that.

I tend to do that a lot with my regular blog, side-tracking. With my writer's blog, I hope to work on my focus just a little bit more or I'm apt to lose whatever readers I get pretty quickly.

Hopefully I can get my mind where it needs to be to start this entry.

I'd be entertaining the idea of an epic story for a while, one that has elements like fire, water and wind taking on physical form, using mythological creatures and that good old battle between good and evil. But there was something missing. The secret ingredient was what the hero of my story would be like. At the time, there was this guy at my lunch table. To say I had a crush on him would be an understatement, but the most extraordinary thing about him were these pale blue eyes of his. I would literally lose myself in them for hours and hours and lunch time was never the same again.

But there was still something missing. Around that time, I remember "Spirited Away" beating out 4 other animated films, all which I'd seen, for an Oscar. Few things pissed me off like something winning an award and I had never heard of it. If it was so great, why hasn't it gotten a lot of press and advertisment?
Naturally I had to see what all the fuss was about and rented it from Blockbuster.

I was regretting my ire within the first 10 minutes, haha... it happens that way sometimes, I guess. I never banked anything quite like this.
I had never seen anything quite like it before, however magical the world and however lovable the characters were. The movie stayed with me so much that I had to see it again, had to own it... the only thing I don't really remember is how soon afterwards I sat down in front of the computer and wrote my prologue. It could have been a couple hours afterwards, it could have been the following afternoon. I only wish my memory was that good.

I'd gone on and on about how greatly influential this movie was on me that it got one of my friends interested in seeing it. He offered an interesting second opinion on it and I couldn't help but look into some of his quips while watching it today.

Someone else who read my story in its earlier stage said that it was pretty easy to see where I'd gotten my inspiration from the movie.
The scary thing was, in my most recent look over the story, there were a lot of things in the movie that found their way into my story on the subconscous level. A lot of them were moments that had me going "oops" and "I had no idea that I did that."

This time around, I was a little on edge about getting interrupted or otherwise getting some sort of news that could derail my enjoyment of the flick. But one way or another, it always gets me just the same as it did that first time around.

The easiest thing to derive from my story that's similair to the movie is the beginning. I'm almost ashamed to say that the opening scene of the movie where Chihiro and her parents are driving to their new home is almost shot for shot where my story begins... after the prologue of course.

That's the most obvious detail aside from bits and pieces of characters. Then there were the little things, most of which were just plain coincidences. In the most recent draft, I orchestrated Nina's mom being a little worrisome and her dad being a little more laid-back... Chihiro's parents were oddly enough the same way.

Lin takes Chihiro under the wing when she starts working in the bath house much the way that Mai did with Nina. Both happen to share the same attitude of the young man in question. I don't know if I did it intentionally or not, but somehow, it just worked out the way it did.

Of all the really cool things I took in about the movie, Haku was probably the biggest piece quote "took home with me." When she becomes trapped in the spirit world, Haku helps Chihiro and is very kind to her. But there are a couple of moments where the audience is left to wonder if he's good or not. His actions are a little unusual and this time around, I was trying to explain it for myself. I never really thought about it when I was younger. It was just a gut feeling that I had and I never once questioned it.
:sigh: now I feel really bad that I was questioning myself this time around, never occurred to me before to doubt him

There was just something about him that stuck with me the whole movie. Then by the end of it, not only did I not want for it to end or to leave that world behind, I found myself wanting to know what was going to happen next. When Chihiro got settled into her home and got to her new school, would she see him there or someone like him?

I guess its that kind of thing that goes way back for me, this being the first example of me doing this. I see something or someone in a movie that I feel to be a kindred spirit and I want to write about what happens next. I did that recently after seeing "Remember Me," wanting to see what it'd be like afterwards, how the loved ones of someone who died in the war on terror carried on afterwards.
I wouldn't exactly say that "Less than Zero" was the same thing because I spent a couple months reworking things for a completely different ending... I couldn't live with how it turned out so I wrote my own story for how Julian kicked the habit.

Jonas does somewhat introduce Nina to a different world, but they come by it accidentally rather than on purpose. It turns out that he was the reincarnation of an angel and there's a destiny he needs to fulfill.

Yeah, as I'm writing, I can find myself losing focus. There were details about Haku that made it into Jonas's characterization, but the most important thing I took with me was the feeling of what it was like to be around. Just wanting to heed his every word because he was looking out for Chihiro's best interests. The comfort level was unlike anything I felt before.

Before my next post, I hope to put together and post that collage of photos for my tentative cast. The lightning picture is good for starters, but I want to take things to the next level here.


  1. I'm the same way with Anime and Japan in general. Your blog is great and I will be checking it out as often as I can. Keep up the great work!