Tag: media

Your Art is crap…but that’s okay

I’ve been putting it off for too long.

Let me fill you in: I wrote a novel four years ago. My first reaction? Hell YEAH! Take that Stephen King. Eat my dust JK Rowling. James Patterson—who’s that?! So there it was, a completed manuscript, in my hard drive, fermenting in digital soy sauce. And you know what? I was happy. I was exuberant. I was feeling like a freakin’ genius.

I read it last week.

 

It was crap. Damn…

I’ve written a few rudimentary novels in my twenty-seven years alive. I really cared about this one. That’s why it hurt. That’s why it hit me hard. That’s why I’m writing about it now.

Listen up. I believe this.

I believe that all artists—directors, writers, painters, singers, rappers, poets, and interpretative mime artists—take their art seriously. Too seriously. We’re an insecure group that craves affirmation and acceptance. We want people to say: “Hey, that was awesome!” although know-one truly cares. We want people to call us a genius, when, most of the time, our best work will remain invisible.

I envision my writing craft as a Jujitsu-trained pelican. It stabs me with its bill every time I make a mistake. It hits me hard. Every time. Pelicans don’t like me. Interesting fact.

Moving on.

I had to be honest: Kane, you’re a crap writer. Your sock choices are horrendous, too. Idiot.

But wait. Was it really that bad?

Think break. It hit me when I was on the MRT. There are levels to crap. It’s true—every profession, every artwork, every piece of work. So I began to think: what did I really do?

I transformed a dream…into a reality.

We often don’t give ourselves credit, but sometimes, the simple act of creating is enough. Transforming a dream into a reality, something you can see, read and touch, is an incredible feat. It takes time. It takes focus. It takes blood, sweat and repeated pokes to the heart. So what if we weren’t so self critical all the time? Where would that lead us?

Here’s my advice: Just complete. See your creations through.

Create your own story—an oil painting, a film, a stick figure drawing—and finish it. Make it personal. Care about it. Love it. Don’t have sex with it. That’s weird. But love the process.

Sometimes we need to think of our work as crap to push ourselves forward. And it’s okay to admit when it’s not your best work. Sometimes we put in infinite amounts of effort, and get nothing back.

Know this: you are making better crap every time. Slow steps. There are geniuses in the world. The simple fact is all of us aren’t. So practice and go through those growing pains. Pain is growth.

Right now I’m editing the second draft of my young adults novel. I’m looking back at myself four years ago, and I can see the intention, the enthusiasm, the fire to finish. But…

Art will never be perfect.

There will always be a “better idea”, a “better sentence” or a “better shot”. Make mistakes. Learn to love them. Do better next time.

So keep going. Success is just over that hill of crap.

Advertisements

You have a power beyond measure – GRADUATION!

I’m back again!

Apologies for the lack of posts but there was a good reason! Over the last few months  a lot has happened! It’s a time of transition for me – both professionally and maybe even a little spiritually (more on that later!). And it all began with my graduation from Chapman University Singapore with a B.F.A in Creative Producing last Sunday!

Image

Image

For those of you that don’t know, I have been a full time student for the past two years, learning the intricacies of what it means to be a creative producer, media entrepreneur, storyteller and writer. I delved into everything from scriptwriting, marketing, distribution, film finance, new media and beyond! And it was one hell of a ride!

I think I truly found my calling at Chapman University. Call it destiny. Why do I feel this way? Because there comes a moment, as you work, create and ‘live’ what you are doing, that things become more lucid. The more hours you put into something, the more it eventually unravels, revealing truth.

For me, it was understanding that I could not only make filmmaking and storytelling my career, but also, as my gift to other people and the world.

Image

I was honoured to be the Valedictorian of the Class of 2013 (yipeee!) and was able to give a (nerve-wracking) speech. At first, it was near impossible to write. I had themes, but no words were coming out. I kept thinking that I had to be better than all of those great speeches on Youtube. Eventually, I settled on telling a story about how we all have a “power beyond measure”. And of course, talking about my experiences with my fellow classmates who I admire and respect.


My belief is that whatever you do as a career, remember you can change people for the better. In fact, it doesn’t have to be just your career – just you. The realisation makes your actions, words and thoughts have a far more powerful effect. An imprint that can change people’s lives – and hey, possibly the world.

There is so much suffering in the world – so much pain. I don’t think I need to convince you. The way you think matters. What you do matters. I don’t care if it’s making a film, writing a blog post or cleaning tables at a restaurant. It matters.

Why?

Because it can make a difference in other people’s lives. And isn’t that what we all want in life? To feel connected? I certainly do.

There is nothing more powerful than a caring act or an inspirational word at the right time. It doesn’t even have to be much. A smile. A handshake. A carefully worded text message. A caring whisper.

Embrace the fact that you can change your life.

During my two years in Chapman I met a variety of people and went through an even wider variety of challenges. Everything was made easier by relating it to people – human beings – than to the work at hand.

Trust me when I say this also: keep at it. I have also been through challenges these past few years – challenges that have threatened to derail my dreams. Things have always turned around. Life’s set-backs have a funny way of getting the hell out of your way if you don’t give up. It wants you to seek out the path of least resistance. Don’t follow. Seek out your own path and a reward will be waiting for you at the end.

I now look forward to trekking into the unknown. I have a lot of dreams. One is to helm my own animation series on a network. Another is to become an motivational speaker. I want to produce films, write novels and interact with greater minds than my own. I’ll take one step at a time – one word at a time if I need to.

Embrace your ability to change the world around you. Nothing is impossible.

Writing the cartoon pt1

Writing the cartoon pt1

1) To become a sensei (in animation writing that is)…one must learn from the best!

Dark Island – Episode 1 (NEW WEB SERIES!)

Hey all! Here’s episode 1 of a new web series I am working on! It’s entitled Dark Island.

I can’t say too much. It’s up to you to explore and find out more, but it’s my first attempt at making a project truly ‘Transmedia’.

Tell me what you think! I’d love to get feedback!

Chains (a short story): Part 2

The third time I see Tox hacking a body is during my first kiss.

His name is Nathan Skree. Not the boy I was about to kiss. The man Tox was murdering. I’m sitting outside the University, in an area we like to call the Smoke pit. I had my first cigarette here. It was midnight after the party.

“I think I like you Sam,” the boy in front of me says. He reaches for my hand and smiles.

There’s a figure behind him. Once again, like a shattered piece of glass. But this time it’s different. Shadows creep around him, as if terrified to take a step closer. A halo of light illuminates his actions. Tox is at it again. This is his past. This isn’t Tox now.

“Ex..cuse me?” I reply, my mind teetering on the edge of realisation. I’m hearing voices now. And smells – smoke. The boy in front of me, the one that eventually kisses me, still doesn’t realise. I feel sorry for him afterward. He goes off – talking about how much he adores for me. That he knew I was special ever since he realised my affinity for Stephen King novels. I don’t know what the fuck that means. Tox has my complete attention.

He can’t be more than fifteen years older than me. Mid thirties perhaps. His left arm, covered in blood, glints in the misty moonlight. It’s made of chrome and steel and cables. Kinetics, for a time, were allowed to walk around with such contraptions exposed. For a time. Eventually, when people started using them for bar room brawls, and for beating their wives, and for murdering their children, something had to be done. They were replaced. A few held onto the technology – many got rid of them out of fear.

I know it’s the Chains again. It’s all over the news. Business men and celebrities and housewives. Children and fathers and nomads. All over the world. Links. Spiritual bonds that defy all explanation. And me? Well, like with many others, mine’s with a serial killer. Nice.

The boy in front of me edges closer. He’s breathing heavily. I don’t know what to do. Tox is saying something to this Nathan. Whispering in his ear. It is then that I realise that the forms are changing. Like a passing storm, Tox is no longer there. By the time the boy kisses me, I have to close my eyes. I hope when I open them, he’ll be back again.

“Sam? Sam?”

I open my eyes. Tox is sitting there, next to a bench. He’s dressed in prison overalls – dark blue with an electronic tag over his right arm. This is the now. Tox at this exact moment. He’s smoking a cigarette.

“Yes…yes..”

I can smell it. I don’t know why I couldn’t care less about this boy. Maybe I just like the idea that he’s watching me.

‘Chains’: a small excerpt from my upcoming short story

I was writing a poem when I saw him hack the body a part.

It was the second time. The first time I saw him I was in class. It must have been a week prior. I had drifted of into a frivolous daydream during history class. Mr.Hanikus was writing something on the tronic-board. There was a black bird outside, cawing. At first I didn’t know what to do. I let it envelop me completely.

The window before me was frosted. The figure, shattered in light, was tearing the corpse a part limb by limb behind it. No blood. Sounds. Dynamos and motors. Everything became still; a humming void of nothing behind my eyes. I found my hands clasped around my hair when I awoke. Dust and decay had clawed its way into my nostrils. Maybe others have felt the same as me. It happens just like that. Thoughts. Feelings. The pouring of another soul into yours.

The Chain event. I don’t exactly know when it happened. Probably at a time when everything and everyone seemed most connected. We liked to think of ourselves that way before it happened. Linked. By cables and computers and our ‘smart’ pocketed devices. Thousands of miles in one electronic nano-second. There must have come a point when the Universe had gotten sick of it. It wanted to shake things up. Toss us into the wild. To see if we could survive, if the only thing we were connected to, was each other.

But it didn’t happen that way. We slowly began to feel, see and experience the worse of us. Connections to people we could neither relate to nor understand. People that defied explanation. That defied logical sense. Bad people.

I feel Tox for the second time in my room. He’s tearing a part another body. I taste sweat on my own lips. It isn’t mine. My eyes search for something that isn’t there.  I’m seeing his memories – I know it. He tears the flesh from a man in a black suit. His jaw snaps and breaks across his fingers like a chicken bone.Tox’s arm is metallic- a cannon of twisted chrome. He’s obviously a Kinetic. One of those things.

By the time he’s finished I know he has stopped trying to remember. He can feel me too. That I know. I envision him sitting up, wherever he is, and trying to remember me. It’s difficult for me to remember his face. There’s too much haze. I don’t think he can see mine.

But he knows my name. Samantha. I heard him speak it once in a dream.