My Absolute Favorite Thing In The World To Do (Akira Talk)

Tonight at Dragon*Con, at 8:30PM in the Hyatt Ballroom (Hanover room), I am going to spend four hours showing an auditorium full of people the movie Akira. During this screening, I will be pausing the film to pull out original cels, backgrounds and artwork and dissect the art from the film, using the original art.

This is, without question, my favorite thing in the world to do.

I get to talk about my favorite movie in the world for hours. I get to dissect this movie piece by piece. I get to stare at the immaculate art from this movie. These are all fantastic things. But it's not what makes it my favorite thing.

What makes it my favorite thing is the reactions from the audience when they see something they never saw before. They may have seen Akira hundreds of times like I have, or this may be their first viewing. But it won't matter. There are aspects of the art in this film that you cannot possibly see without the original art right in front of you. And it's that -- the magic that occurs when someone gets to see something that mystifies them -- that makes this so special.

I made a video which explains, in three minutes, what makes Akira so important. It's also the only moment you need to see to get why I care so much about this film. It's literally the thing that made me decide to do the exhibit in the first place:

This exhibit and everything I do with it are more than a hobby, but they can never be a career. I charge no money for this experience. I can't, and I never will. This deserves to be seen by anyone and everyone with even a remote interest in art, film or animation. And I get to be the guy who brings it to people. I get to put twenty three years of collecting this art in front of people and say "Here! Enjoy!"

Even more than that, I get to pontificate about the importance of art. I get to tell adults "Hey, if you have kids, make sure they understand that there is a future in art. There is a reason to keep doing it. There is a magic in art that will literally change peoples' lives, as it did mine." My entire life was shaped by art. Comics and animation, and very specifically Akira, made me want to tell stories. It made me want to draw. It made me want to create. In a very real way, it's part of who I am.

I am who I am because of art. I am who I am because of love and passion and creativity -- not my own, someone else's. They loved the craft of illustration and animation so much, they made the most legendary animated film of all time. And that movie affected me to the point I do what I do today.

You can NEVER overestimate the importance of your passion in someone else's life. And for that reason, you should NEVER apologize for it, dismiss it, hide it or otherwise compromise it.

If you're free tonight, come see me get really animated (pun intended) about Akira. I've done this screening + show and tell twice, both to auditoriums of 300+ people, and the attendance was standing room only. And no one leaves at intermission. I take that as a compliment.