THE 31-DAY BLOG CHALLENGE Day 3: WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?

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All right, it’s Day 3 but I seriously did not feel like blogging today. Maybe because I already had a long, tiring day in uni. Seriously, how do you (or could you) endure the 3-hour break between lectures in this really crappy, indecisive weather? Not to mention the lack of decent sleep, and the absence of coffee in my system (i.e., by firm choice).

But, fine. Since the topic today is about the thing(s) that make me happy (which I must say is an innately broad question), I had just put my answers in bullet points so they’re much easier to say, much easier to read. Pardon me for the sloppy, inconsistent writing. All the answers were very off-the-cuff. I was writing this during my breaks and finishing it on the train going home after an almost 12-hour first day back in my uni life.

Here’s the list:

  • Short stories and short films:  They’re usually the most creative masterworks one would ever perceive. They’re short, straightforward, thought-provoking, frequently unresolved; and most important of all, they’re a lot easier to devour. You can just get lost easily in the story without feeling bored or being forgetful of the scenarios that have happened earlier. Call them the ‘quickies’. I’m just a fan of short works (e.g., Tropfest films, short indie films all over Vimeo) that bring absolute enjoyment.
  • Film analysis: Firstly, this only applies to the flicks that I deliberately want and love to analyse. The determinants could be the featured actors, the story, the script, the movie genre, the historical context, the acting technique applied, or the issue that it is dealing with. I’m a lover of Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Lawrence. On a personal note, female actors are a lot easier to analyse simply because they are more emotionally driven and a lot more transparent than men, but it is always shrouded by so much sophistication and lots of complex nuances. And that is when analysing becomes more interesting for me. Kind of hard to articulate further.
  • Improvisation: This is mostly with music, especially in the jazz-blues-soul domain. However, the principle of improvising is quite vital in my own personal life. I get to enjoy the simultaneous and spontaneous fusion of freedom and creativity that happens realtime, knocking down any rule or restriction.
  • Collecting music albums: Seeing a glorious collection of the most amazing things in life brings a different kind of joy for an ultimate fan. FYI, I have all Christina Aguilera’s popular albums; all David Archuleta’s; all of my Regine Velasquez favourite’s and movie soundtracks; and many others’. Well, usually I only get the albums that really please me or really appeal to me, especially those of my head-over-heels-for music idols. But then, sometimes, even if I like an artist a lot but his or her recent release does not captivate me, I won’t bother purchasing it at all. I’ll probably just wait for the next one.
  • Reading self-development books: I think you already know this.  Continually seeking for practical and intellectual knowledge for cognitive development. This is where my handy bibles for memory improvement, talent cultivation and craft development become extremely useful. I hope they’re working.
  • Reading new knowledge books: I’m famished for new things every once in a while, especially the ones that can give you an edge to some extent, or the ones that will set you apart from the run-on-the-mill subject matters discussed on the net or at your local supermarket. The popular ones that I have are a couple of Rhonda Byrne’s works and a couple more from Daniel Coyle.
  • Learning new words everyday: Oh, this is very me. But really, who doesn’t want a wide vocabulary and a massive memory bank of unfamiliar words commonly used here and there everyday? I make sure that I get to learn at least one new English word a day and put that new word to use at least once. This makes me feel more informed, more knowledgeable. This practice somehow lessens the number of times I grab my dictionary when I’m reading any reading material that could contain outlandish terminologies.
  • Eating out and hanging out with friends: Who doesn’t like this? Who doesn’t feel happy about this? For someone so unsociable like me, this is such an overly tremendous privilege.
  • Movie marathons with family: Happens during holiday breaks. We could do it the entire day of almost every single day. Not to mention the mouth-watering, fresh-from-the-microwave smell of  butter flavoured popcorn that completes the marathon experience.
  • Chatting with my favourite teachers: They are my biggest inspirations, my role models. It’s like every time I chat with them even off campus, I learn so many brilliant ideas and insights which I find essential in refining my way of thinking. They are just incredible and they make me want to become like them someday.
  • Sketching: This is not new to everyone. I guess I can say that I have my personal sketching style, or artistic language that I’m sure not everyone can understand or appreciate. But I do it just for pure pleasure anyway. My style is a very personalised version of a mishmash of styles such as abstract and  minimalism. Love line art, too!

R.

Worskhop Day

Finally, the day of our workshop presentation has come into full view. The day was scheduled for presenting a substantial portion of our work in progress. Definitely, a nerve-racking one. The team, I must say, was well prepared, and pretty much presented 80 percent of the overall project. The first part comprised the first two minutes of the film, still not scored (because we’re opening doors for suggestions, insightful ideas, etc from the class). The second bit was the skit and live music in which all the action took place!

Setting up the stage a few hours before the workshop. We were literally chasing after the tech guy to grab the equipment we needed. Our stage setup only mounts a table, four chairs and many different objects on the table to be able to produce sounds.

The performance gained a combination of really complimentable, helpful and hypercritical feedback(s). All in all, these comments surely have stirred up our brains and helped us improve our present material. There were really interesting stuff some people have pointed up, like the use of a can of Pringles as an instrument. Quite cool, huh? Oh, well. We’re hoping to finish everything not less than a couple of weeks before performance day.

 

R.

I Think It’s a Dry Run

We are now really getting so close to the workshop day! It is our second rehearsal day (or probably the last of the most comfortable ones) and we finally got to deliberate clearly and profusely the things that we will be carrying out in the next few days through the workshop day. We have all come in to create, conceptualise, strategise, brainstorm and plan what to present on Thursday. Everyone’s role for the performance is defined as well, because it is one of the ‘confronting’ questions that is normally asked by the lecturer. And I am just so happy to be in a group that is dynamic, proactive and creative to a great extent. Hallelu, sistah!

We just sat down and pressed on with the material for almost four hours straight! It was heaps fun, however thoroughly exhausting! Going above and beyond!

We just sat down and pressed on with the material for almost four hours straight! It was heaps fun, however thoroughly exhausting! Going above and beyond!

The live performance is partly improvised, partly structured. We love improvisation! I personally think that it is an extremely creative process that all musicians (and all other artists of any kind) need to learn and master. It is where your mind’s biological sense of imagination and spontaneity are unfettered and you get lost in the material. Improvisation for me is an enormous part of what makes a musical performance supremely special. I think it is the lifeblood of music.

The team has not come up with a title for the group’s performance, although ideas and insights are being raised. Hopefully it’ll sound as cool as how the production will look and sound like. What we got to do now is to just memorise our parts and take it all to heart so it will come out natural and real.

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And may I just say that this is the icing on the cake for me after the this long, productive day! I have always been grateful for Japanese connections who are extremely generous and gracious! I am beyond pacified.

R.