[slump day #2] musings: then and now. / by Sarah Kakusho

When I was little, I loved the Spice Girls, not just for their music, but for the things they accomplished through hard work and sheer luck. More than 10 years later, now, an anime called K-ON! (けいおん!), and its sequel reminded me of the importance of having fun during the hard work of the creative process. When I mention this anime, I not only mean the anime itself, but the creative people and thoughts that went into the creation of the anime. It was only recently that I realized that I wasn’t as interested in enjoying movies, animes and music as much as I was interested in how they were created.

Growing up listening to the Spice Girls, I watched all of their interviews and concerts. Call it an obsession (actually, it really was), but I wanted to understand the people who created such music that brought out so much life in me. How do these people, despite their daily struggles, set aside everything and put on a memorable show. (It’s nearly 3am and though my mind is overflowing with words, I hope they remain coherent enough to vaguely get across my intent…)

To fast-forward to now, K-ON!! has revived this feeling, this urge to chase after your dreams. Wanting to know the creation of the K-ON!! anime, I started listening to the web-radio show that the voice actresses of the 5 main characters did. After the creation of the show, which is about a group of girls who come together to create a band 放課後ティータイム (Houkago Tea Time), the voice actresses themselves took up the challenge to learn these instruments so that they themselves can perform as their characters. The radio show documented these endeavors.

Although these actresses and their managing companies may have the money to hire top-notch teachers and buy high-grade equipment, their hard work and efforts throughout the whole process (learning an instrument, 6 months before the concert) is what really put everything together. It was their passion. At the end of the concert, all of the actresses have said they never imagined that working on this project would lead to such a grandiose live concert.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is both these groups, the Spice Girls and the K-ON!! cast, may not have been diva-quality pros, but what they had were passion and the spirit of hard work. Beyond the public image that’s cast throughout the media (whether they are fabricated or not) are hard-working people who love what they do and share it with people, despite their own problems. And, to me, that’s commendable.

Despite my overwhelming work hours and lack of sleep (even as I’m writing this), I made time to fully enjoy K-ON!! and all it has to offer. While on the exterior the show is about the creating a band and performing, it’s also about the friendships and memories the characters make in the process. The camaraderie that comes from creating something together is more enjoyable entertainment than the violence and hate that’s coming from the entertainment industry these days.

It’s healing. It allows you to forget the bad and reminds you that there is still good in people. In the mornings, when I get in the car, I plug my iPhone into the system and blast K-ON!! music, and that alone makes my day just a little brighter. And as I struggle with my life right now with the diverse types of people around me and still in that transition stage between being a student and being an adult and a student again, that’s what I need most: a break from all of the demands in the world.

Lately I’ve been worrying over my future again as it equally fast approaches, yet slowly slips through my fingers. I’m 23, and what have I accomplished? 2011 is just around the corner, and what have I done? Where am I right now, where am I going, and how am I going to get to where I want to be? These have been my biggest questions, but I’ve only come to realize that only I can answer those, and only through my actions.

My determination is revived again and again, as I remember these two groups and then think, all those successful people have done the same. While my ambitions are big and my chances to fall are greater, I won’t falter no matter how many times I get knocked down. Even as I fall deeper into this slump right now, I know my desire to make my goal within 3,123 days will happen…

…as long as I continue running straight into the darkness with my dream, just a mere twinkle in the distance, to guide me.
- Musings of an Aspiring Filmmaker