Monday, June 25, 2012

A worthy raison d'être

You have to feel bad for my dad. Without provocation and for no apparent reason, I forced him to listen to a long-winded rant about why animation is one of the most amazing mediums of art in the world. He took it like a man, but only because he's such a nice guy. Anyone else listening to me would've probably told me to shut up.

I get a bit too emphatic about things I love. One of those things is Disney Animation. And when ABC Family decided to put The Lion King on this evening, I felt all of my love for animated art boiling to the surface. I couldn't hold back the praise. It was like overly affectionate word vomit.

The opening sequence played as giraffes, elephants, zebras, etc. etc. roamed across the screen. The song in the background, as everyone knows was "The Circle of Life." And just in those few moments, the stars (and the pencils, paint brushes and whatever other artistic tools) aligned to create something powerful and provocative. Who knows how many hours were spent on just that opening sequence. But whatever quantity it was, it set the stage for something that is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful works of film, of art and of heart that has ever graced the screen (or this planet, if you're asking me).

When the words The Lion King flashed across the screen during a final drum beat in "The Circle of Life," my dad made the joke that the end of the film had come. He said something like, "Well that's it, movie's over," just to amuse himself.

He didn't know that for the next minute I'd talk his ear off about how much work could go into just that opening sequence. It was a scene worth as much praise as the film itself because even the smallest animation feats can be made breathtaking by hours of work.

But it wasn't my admiration for the artists behind these films that drove my tangent in its entirety. It was the fact that my admiration won't give me their talent.

I'm queen of the envy kingdom when it comes to artistic talent. For years I've tried my hand at a million different disciplines with the hope that I might eventually find my one true talent through the experimentation. I've tried drawing and painting, even using charcoal and pastels and whatever else. But for some reason, animation has never come to me naturally.

What I have found success in is what I'm doing right now. Writing.

But writing won't get me a job making The Lion King for the next generation. I'm stuck here watching the film on TV wishing I could get involved somehow and being aware that my only contribution would be a meaningless critique or blog (haha) about the thing.

I applied for an internship with Disney Animation this summer and the last. Obviously it's a very highly sought-after position and I never expected to be contacted back either time. And I was right, because I wasn't. But that doesn't lessen my hope that at some point in my life I might possess some skill that they find useful. I've even been known to say I'd be happy to work the phones at their offices. Though I'm not sure how honest to myself I'm being when I say things like that, the desperation I'm trying to convey is evident.

But recently I've realized that despite the lack of skill I have in the departments necessary for the work I would so love to do, I have a gift of my own. It is, as I've mentioned, writing.

I may not think of my gift as being worthy of the praise that the work over in Burbank (I drive past the studios every day and it pains me so) do on a daily basis, but in a way there is beauty to the intersection of these crafts.

Even though I sometimes feel jipped for not having the courage of skill to do what I consider my dream job, I have a dream goal of my own that is within reach. There are so many people who have incredible trouble finding their raison d'être in life. Many of them never do and end up doing what they don't love.

I've been blessed by two prime examples - one of the type that found what they wanted out of life and pursued it and the other who couldn't figure out how to apply her passions to her work - in my parents. My dad loved music and he became a piano teacher. My mom loved history, art and a ton of other things, but she became a financial analyst.

I don't want to be my mom. Though in so many ways I see her in myself, my goal since I turned 13 has always been to create a future I can be proud of. And even if that doesn't mean having what I consider a fantasy career, the least I can ask is that it contain something that is indicative of me.

And luckily, though I may never make the 21st century follow-up to The Lion King (disregarding The Lion King 1 1/2), perhaps one day I will get to write about it. Or have the chance to interview the creators. Or even become friendly with people who can bring me into the community of animation in a way I only dream of now.

I have a path to follow and I don't think it will lead it me wrong. It may not be perfect, but it's mine. It makes sense. And it makes me happy. Everyone should be so lucky to have those three assurances.

No comments:

Post a Comment