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My Neighbor Totoro, while being one of Studio Ghibli's most important films, is also director Hayao Miyazaki's most universally iconic. Riding off the success of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984) and Castle in the Sky (1986), Miyazaki decided to take a leap of faith and do something that would hit a little closer to home for him. Studio Ghibli's two previous films had garnered their success by playing to the public desires of animation at the time; magic, fantasy and futuristic plots and themes were extremely popular in Japan, and it was thought that anything else would prove to be a failure. But My Neighbor Totoro proved to be everything but a failure, eventually becoming a globally recognized figure, and being adopted by Studio Ghibli as their logo/mascot. 

Originally released in 1988, it actually took 10 years for Miyazaki to fully develop the story, while still making changes halfway through production. The idea for the film came during a time when Miyazaki was most unhappy about his career. He had just been offered to do a children's show on a Japanese television network, but he knew if he accepted, he would be giving up his own artistry and point of view. So, instead, he began writing what he thought would be a children's book, which ended up being a life-changing story. 

*The original article can be seen here.*

 
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I have called myself an actor from the age of 15. Now, nearly a decade later, I'm struggling to continue to call myself by the very title that I have set out to achieve. Mostly because I'm not sure I personify everything an "actor" is supposed to be. According to all of the submission requests I keep receiving, an actor is supposed to be charming, interesting, funny, beautiful, but most of all an actor is supposed to be "fit". Or "athletic", or "thin", or, or whatever trigger word suits you best. 

This little pity party isn't coming out of left field. I've recently decided to focus on my acting and writing careers by auditioning and going to background gigs as much as possible instead of maintaining part-time jobs. I've always known that this career path would never be easy, and I've particularly known that my castability is somewhat limited, but I never thought I would question myself, my strength, and my self-esteem as much as I have in the last 3 months...at least not as much as I questioned myself in my emo/goth-wannabe days which are way behind me.