• Scott Claus

How To Hollywood Chapter 02

2) It All Begins With A Dream

Do you know what inspires you? Have you ever thought about why you like some things and don’t like other things? Most kids seem to like cartoons but for some of us it was a passion from an early age. I was one of those people who loved animation from the moment I became aware what it was.

I first learned what animation was on the TV show The Wonderful World of Disney, the 1970s iteration of the long-running Disney anthology that aired every Sunday night for many years. On one episode an animator showed how he made the heads of twin Siamese cats in the film Lady and the Tramp (1955) appear to move by flipping two drawings, one with the cats’ heads to the right, one with the heads to the left. Beginning as far back as cave paintings people have been trying to explain motion in art. Since the dawn of film people have experimented with the concept of animation; replicating motion one frame at a time. The motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge are still valuable to artists today and Gertie the Dinosaur was, in 1914, the first hit animated film [Cite this].

After watching the Disney program, my visiting cousin and I immediately set to work drawing something similar to what we’d seen on the show. My mother encountered us at the kitchen table with a mixture of fascination and confusion. Mom had long known I was into drawing and she was an enthusiastic supporter of everything I did, even when she didn’t understand my methods, means or motives.

Once you have discovered something you are excited about, the question is, what do you do about it? The small town in Oregon where I grew up, pre-internet, did not prove to be a great place to explore motion graphics and my parents (and siblings, and teachers, and friends) were mystified by my fascination with the art. I have come to believe that creativity is, ultimately, simply a matter of “problem solving.” An artist has a problem (such as a desire to express an emotion or idea), and so goes about trying to find out how to solve that problem; in the case of art, the problem is the question of how to take something from one’s mind and turn it into a reality. I didn’t create things in order to be patted on the head for a job well done; in fact, validation wasn’t always forthcoming, and I didn’t wait for it. Often as not, I was criticized for not drawing things “like the other kids” (my favorite things to draw were buxom women and bug-eyed monsters), or not being into sports, or just “hanging around the house” too much in general. I’ve often wondered what might have happened had my mom followed through on a discussion she and I had when I was little where she mentioned she was considering sending me somewhere for “gifted” or “talented” children. I’ve seen this happen a lot with young parents over the years, usually when the subject is music. Is your child a potential prodigy? And if she was, how would you know it? Should you invest everything you have into an expensive instrument on the chance the child might benefit from it, or wait and see, and waste valuable time the child could have used plying her craft?

My parents were small-town folks from the school of hard knocks. I think that’s all they understood and I don’t blame them. I think they were afraid I would grow up over-indulged and unable to face some of life’s tougher challenges, that perhaps I needed to toughen up a little, and they may have been right. In any event, I grew up in a small town and enjoyed my (perceived) place as a kind of child “artist in residence.” I even won a small cash award for a pencil-drawing, a self-portrait, when I was 10, mostly due to the fact that my mom pushed me to enter the contest in the first place.

Like most kids inspired to create, my dream was actually to re-create things that already existed. I was obsessed with Disney films, particularly Pinocchio (1940), Alice in Wonderland (1951) and Peter Pan (1953), and the Disney animated films that came out closer to “my” era of the early 70s like Jungle Book (1967), Aristocats (1970) and Robin Hood (1973) (cite all?) and I was completely altered as a human being forever by experiencing the film Fantasia (1940) which I saw for the first time in the early 1970s.

Everyone had told me I’d hate Fantasia, including my parents, who were reluctant to take me to the film (and it’s worth noting m sister and baby brother were not impressed by the movie at all). I have since learned that there is no point pretending you don’t love something when you have such strong passions; as a child I hadn’t yet learned I even needed to hide my love of the films and music I adored so much, and so I remember this era vividly. Eventually I would even come to believe that if what I liked went against the grain of the “norm,” I was probably on the right track to something truly special.

I was in the generation that was at the right age for Sesame Street when it was in its formative years in the early 1970s. Some kids were crazy about the puppets on the show but my fixation was on the animation sequences. The Canadian Film Board had issued grants to filmmakers to experiment with animation and a lot of these artists created work that would eventually be used on Sesame Street for interstitials, small animated segments between sketches [do I need to prove this stuff?]. The clips were always inventive, often colorful and occasionally surreal, perhaps even crazy. Few people talk about such things nowadays; at the time the Sesame Street animation segments seemed to just pop into existence (and disappear just as quickly) but I couldn’t get enough of them.

A film not far removed from Fantasia that came out around the time Sesame Street premiered was the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, from 1969. The film shared a similar vibe with a lot of the experimental animation I saw on shows like Sesame Street and The Electric Company, as well as the legendary music-driven Schoolhouse Rock shorts that would come a few years later. Yellow Submarine is a crazy quilt of intense colors, swirling lights, action, surreal visions, humor and, of course, music. It has often been suggested that films like Fantasia and Yellow Submarine had to have been created by people who were under the influence of some form of mind-altering chemical, and that one simply has to be somehow chemically “altered” to enjoy these films. I always respond that the only chemicals my grandmother and I consumed while watching Yellow Submarine on the couch together was sugar from the cookies she’d just made, and yet we were both enthralled all the same.

Another film that changed me permanently was The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973), a fantasy-adventure film featuring they beautiful stop-motion puppet animation work of Ray Harryhausen. I had seen the original 1933 King Kong film, which also features stop-motion creature work, on late-night TV and loved it. Another film with effects by Harryhausen showed up on our TV one summer afternoon, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (1958). This film featured a giant, one-eyed, animal-legged behemoth with a ferocious personality to match its immense size. I had no idea at first that the effects of the movies were created by placing small puppet figures against live action backgrounds and adjusting the puppets one frame at a time, but I sensed that the creatures were something like toys come to life. I loved the idea of giant monsters even when it was clearly a person in a costume stepping on miniatures (Godzilla and company played on TV in movies every afternoon after school, it seemed) and I loved mythological creatures in general. To this day I’m in awe that Ray Harryhausen single-handedly created all the animation for the films he worked on—no supervisor, no guide and no assistants. When Harryhausen passed away at the grand age of 92 in 2013 (cite?), he took an entire genre of film with him.

Like most children of my era I was addicted to cartoons on TV, particularly the programming that showed up on Saturday mornings (Scooby Doo, Josie and the Pussycats, Superfriends and Speed Racer), [dates needed?] much of it created by a long-running studio called Hannah-Barbera. This studio, along with a studio called UPA, was responsible for creating animation with economy, so that shows (like The Flintstones) could run every week for whole seasons, but on a budget. Eventually even the Disney studio, known for lush, expensive-looking animation, experimented with “limited” styles that are still popular on TV today (The Simpsons and South Park are two famous examples). I was also a huge fan of the “Peanuts” specials, created by Melendez studios, featuring the antics of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and friends. I loved Warner Brothers cartoons, particularly the “Bugs Bunny” catalog, and kids in my generation were exposed to them every day after school and on Saturday mornings.

Two significant films that marked me permanently in strange ways when I was young were Richard Williams and Chuck Jones’ nightmare-inducing animated television adaptation of Charles Dickens’ famous story A Christmas Carol (1971) and an obscure, roller-coaster ride of surreal thrills from Japan’s Toei studios called Jack and the Witch (Shônen Jakku to Mahô-tsukai) (1967) that played around Halloween for a few years in the early 70s. While I saw each of these films several times as a child, they disappeared at some point and I was unable to find them for many years after, to the point I barely remembered they existed. I would have dreams of these films over the years and the images I witnessed struck such a chord with me they come out in my work to this day. When I finally tracked down these two films as an adult it was as if the skies opened up, the same experience I’ve heard described when people uncover long-suppressed memories.

On a chilly night in the winter of 1977 my parents dropped me and my 5 year old brother off at a mall theater to see a fantasy film titled Wizards. This was, of course, a PG-rated animated film from the maker of the X-rated Fritz the Cat (1972), Ralph Bakshi. I had no knowledge of who Bakshi was or the connection to “Fritz,” I just knew Wizards was a “cartoon,” and apparently my parents needed no other reassurance than that to let their children watch the movie unaccompanied by adults. They couldn’t possibly have known what they were letting their sons see when they dropped them off at the theater, and they would undoubtedly have forbidden it all had they actually known what we were eventually exposed to, but we got to see the film, and I was changed forever. The combination of bouncy, Disney-style characters and adult, cynical themes (and language), mixing WWII imagery and incredibly violent war scenes with google-eyed pixies and overly-buxom fairies in a Tolkien-style fantasy world is remarkable to me even today, regardless of what else may be said about the film. I heard, a year or two after I was in the animation industry, that Ralph Bakshi, who was wrapping up his latest film Cool World (1992) was going to do a sequel to Wizards and I grew uncontrollably excited at the possibility I might find myself working on the film if I played my cards right. Even still, I knew enough people who had worked for Bakshi to be aware that he was incredibly...passionate...and that the experience might not be the best match for my interests or even abilities. Sometimes it probably is best not to meet your heroes.

Another thing that caught my attention (and the attention of just about everyone on the planet, it seemed) the summer of 1977 was the premiere of Star Wars, followed by Close Encounters of the Third Kind later that year. This one-two punch inspired a whole generation of kids to become “back yard” film directors. I borrowed my parents’ super-8 home movie camera and proceeded to lens some 30 short (three minutes or less) films over the next 10 years or so, utilizing models of Star Trek ships and any household implements I could get my hands on to convey the “high-tech” ideas I had in mind. I enlisted the help of my mother, brother and various friends to help out, and gathered masks and blankets and wigs to represent various ‘droids and alien fiends. In the decade of my super-8 film directing career I didn’t even manage to accidentally make one worthwhile film, but that never stopped me. A young Spielberg I was not, but I made up for it in ambition. The local pharmacist in my tiny home town, who sent my exposed film off to be developed, took to calling me “Otto” (as in Preminger).

Shooting my own films taught me the value of the “DIY” aesthetic, something I try to hammer home to anyone who will listen to this day: If you have a dream, don’t wait for all the tools you need, for the “right” time or anyone’s permission...Just do it. Find a way. Hack it out. Maybe it’ll lead to something, maybe it won’t, but you’ll never know until you try, and experience is always valuable. As I grew older I learned that, for all my love of film, and despite a moment or two of inspiration here and there, I was not destined to direct. I didn’t have the patience for it, the necessary eye for photography, the drive to put together a story shot-by-shot, and I wasn’t much good at presenting stories in a cinematic format. Quite frankly, I didn’t find the actual making of movies “fun.” All this knowledge cost me was the price of super-8 film and developing costs for a few years. Imagine if I’d coerced my parents into sending me to an expensive film school, only to find out it wasn’t something I even really enjoyed doing? I know my parents, at least, were grateful they didn’t have to pay for proper film school, even as they supported (most of) my dreams.

I was besotted with Ralph Bakshi’s ill-fated, uneven animated adaptation of The Lord of the Rings from 1978, and that, along with the “cut-out” style animation featured in the Monty Python shows that aired every weekend on PBS inspired me to try my first feeble attempts and home-made animation. I remember spending an entire Saturday creating artwork for what I intended to be some sort of magnum-fantasy-opus, and being surprised when I shot all the frames, only to see that I’d used less than a minute’s worth of film. Later I’d try my hand at stop-motion puppet animation and even double-exposure special effects, but without any educational resources to draw from my evolution in special effects and animation was slow and fairly unrewarding. My films were always technical failures, too dark or too jittery or simply not as vibrant as I had envisioned them in my mind. My mother even said to me once, “I know it must look spectacular in your head, but it sometimes...sometimes, mind you...doesn’t come across that way in your films.” I knew even then she was right. I sometimes wonder if things might have been different had I had access to the kinds of tools that are readily available nowadays, via computer. For this, and other reasons, I continue to proclaim to my students (or anyone who will listen), there simply is no better time than now to try your hand at anything you can imagine.

On yet another hot, fairly dull summer afternoon in the 70s I was shooting another backyard “Aliens Visit Earth” opus, and this time I had created a small figure out of tin foil and was trying to make the thing walk across mom’s footstool (since it was covered in green vevlvet, surely I could pass it off as “the moon,” right?), using frame-by-frame stop motion animation. “Mom,” I said, “I just wish I had the resources to use real puppets and real miniatures in my movies instead of these cheap imitations I have to keep coming up with!”

“I know,” Mom said and smiled, confident and calm, “you will, one day, I know it. You’ll see.”

It was a great feeling when I called Mom up, some time in the early 2000s, to tell her I had actually met Ray Harryhausen, the master stop-motion animator I’d worshipped for so long, and I had gotten very close to one of the skeleton puppets from his film Jason and the Argonauts (1963). Mom had been right all along, and she was glad to hear it.

I continued watching Saturday morning cartoons with my brother well into high school despite my parents’ protests that it was “time to grow up.” I would eventually work with expatriates from “Filmation,” a studio that was responsible for a lot of the Saturday morning cartoons in the 1980s, including Ghostbusters, She-Rah and He-Man.

I continue to this day to be enamored with the Rankin-Bass produced stop-motion Holiday specials. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (1964) is still my favorite, though it took me many years to understand why I connected with it so strongly. I still pull out some of the early 70s “Peanuts” specials on occasion, especially the ones with the beautiful jazzy scores by Vince Guaraldi. I watched Happy New Year, Charlie Brown (1986) one of the later specials, with my spouse the night we got married, late in December...I was glad to have found someone who understood my love of “cartoons.”

I convinced my dad to take me to R-Rated movies by the time I reached 14, sometimes dropping me off, leaving me unsupervised, which I actually appreciated. On one of these occasions I ended up sitting alone in a theater watching the unpleasant adult-animated film based on the fantasy magazine Heavy Metal (1981) which I still can’t quite believe is not as good as it should have been, and Bakshi’s family-legacy drama American Pop (1981) which I initially dismissed as too dull and sad but may just be the greatest thing he ever directed, and the first actual “adult” animated film made in the United States.

An otherwise silly film with Olivia Newton John called Xanadu premiered at the end of 1980, and ran on the cable station Showtime over and over in 1982. The film had a vivid, lushly-animated fantasy sequence by a studio called the Don Bluth company. The animation looked like an adult (read: sexy) version of a Disney feature film from the 1960s or 70s. It’s still a wonderful bit of business and recalled, for people of my age who were animation fans, the things we originally loved about animated Disney films when we were kids, but with a bit of an adult edge (There were no kisses between a flimsy-dressed, roller-skate-bearing Aurora and her hunky prince in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, to the best of my knowledge).

Don Bluth was an animation artist and director who had defected from the Disney company and took a lot of artists with him to create his own studio. He believed Disney Feature Animation, which was more or less on its last legs by the end of the 1970s, was in need of a shake-up and so created his own version of the studio. I forced my tween-aged brother to go see The Secret of NIMH (1982), an animated film by the Bluth company that revived interest in animation again in the early 80’s, in the fall of the great summer of 1982 that gave us E.T., Poltergeist, The Thing, and Blade Runner, among others.

In the summer of 1983 I was blown away when my brother and I wandered into an arcade in Disneyland where we were vacationing and watched someone playing the laser-disc fantasy video game the Bluth company helped create, Dragon’s Lair. The game looked incredible, it sounded incredible, and the animation was eye-popping. It was the culmination of the “style” I was so in love with—Disney-quality, but with an adult edge (if you are curious, do a search for “Princess Daphne” and you’ll see what I mean), monsters, castles and a campy sense of humor. I spent every penny of whatever money I earned in summer jobs and allowance money I could deprive my parents of learning the game, which was 50 cents a pop (expensive even today, but doubly so in 1983 dollars). Space Ace followed in 1984, the year I graduated, and the newer game was even faster, more campy and more fun, and the success of these projects gave Bluth Studios the credibility (and potential box office draw) to pair up with Steven Spielberg on the successful (and popular) films American Tail (1986) and The Land Before Time (1988).

The year after I graduated high school Disney’s Tolkien-esque The Black Cauldron (1985) finally premiered after 10 or more years of being in production, and while I concede the film is a jumble and has its problems, I was a fan nonetheless and saw it more than once in theaters when it first premiered. When VHS players became affordable enough for the average family to buy I was one of the first people on my block to figure out how to duplicate films to keep, and spent hours studying and drawing scenes and images from the films that were released to the public.

In the summer of 1987 I was living in Anaheim, working at Disneyland on summer break from college. I drove up to Hollywood with a friend and waited three hours or more in the hot afternoon sun outside the Cinerama Dome theater to get in to see the premiere weekend screening of Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988). You couldn’t pre-order tickets back then and eager potential viewers had to stand outside and wait through as many showings of the movie as were necessary to get to the front of the line and see the film at last. My friend and I felt it was worth every minute we waited after finally getting in to see the film. It was (still is) boisterous, flashy, chic, smart, silly and paid tribute to the cartoon characters most of us in the target audience had grown up loving. It was also a technical marvel, innovative and startling in its use of special effects techniques even by today’s standards. For the first time I began to realize just how much I loved animation and even began to think of it as something I might actually be a part of, someday, if the fates allowed. There was an immediate animation revival on TV in the wake of Roger. People wanted more crazy takes, exaggeration and wild gesticulations. Out of this came 1980s-style revivals of shows like the Flintstones, Yogi Bear and the Jetsons in revamped, wackier styles, including Bakshi’s bizarre and wonderful redux of Mighty Mouse in 1988. This led directly to the eventual appearance of Ren and Stimpy and Beavis and Butthead in the 90s.

Next up was Disney’s The Little Mermaid (1989) and I personally believe it is the most perfectly-realized film made after Disney passed away in the 1960s, from subject matter through execution. This film single-handedly revived interest in quality feature film animation that was entertaining to both children and adults; it was beautiful to look at, was sincere and entertaining, had a great musical score and went on to be a huge success. Based on this film alone, the concept of the “event” animated feature film was reinvented and a new epoch was ushered in, perhaps even a new genre: the 90s animated feature. Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1993) and The Lion King (1994) came in quick succession, as did a slate of less-memorable, but no less sincere films such as Ferngully (1992), The Swan Princess (1994), Cats Don’t Dance (1997), and Quest For Camelot (1998). These gave way to myriad lesser-known films such as Little Nemo (1989), Thumbelina (1992) and Prince of Egypt (1998) just to scratch the surface. Animation was relatively cheap to produce and had the potential for a great return, and so it was a time when everyone in Hollywood saw gold to be excavated in animated films, even as there were ultimately few breakout hits other than what Disney produced.

Somewhere along the way, the concept of “CG,” or “Computer Graphics” animation sneaked onto the busy animated-feature-film playing field. Pioneered by scientists in the 1960s and 70s, experimented with by companies like Disney (Tron, 1982) and Pixar (Luxo Jr. from 1986 ) and further supported by the burgeoning world of computer-driven home-console video games it seems, in retrospect, obvious that computer-aided animation was due to one day be realized to the level it is now. The turning point was most likely Pixar’s charming Toy Story (1995). The film was wildly successful and followed up quickly by equal or even more successful entries such as Finding Nemo (2003) and the Shrek series from the new studio on the block, DreamWorks.

As “CG” animation took off, the reign of traditional, or “hand drawn” animation that had defined the 1990s began to subside at last. With a glut of films in production and no big successes, 2D animation, at least in big-budget, major-release feature films from the United States, came to a quiet, unremarkable end with the under-performing Sinbad (2003) from DreamWorks and the under-whelming Home on the Range (2004).

Feature-length anime films briefly held sway in the US when Disney acquired, dubbed and released some Japanese fare, such as the much-revered Princess Mononoke (1997) and the award-winning Spirited Away (2001). Manga-style characters and stories, and anime-driven animation, had been around in film and television for many years before the success of the films Disney championed, but the era of wide-release Japanese animated product around the world marked a point where such projects were more available to the average viewer than ever, ushering in a wave of love for the diverse and often adult-themed anime universe that is still going strong as of this writing.

Aardman, a studio based in the UK, created popular and clever films utilizing clay and stop-motion animation, as did Laika, the Oregon-based studio that released stop-motion classics such as Coraline (2009) and The Box Trolls (2014). Before becoming a puppet-animation studio Laika had been the small “Will Vinton” studio, most notable for the clay-animation (or “Claymation” as it came to be known) scenes for ad campaigns featuring the wildly successful “California Raisins” and the Domino’s pizza “Noid.” Director Tim Burton, always fond of puppet animation, ushered in a wave of stop motion in the mid-90s with the incredibly popular The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).

After replacing 2D animation as a cash-producing medium, CG films continued to thrive. The success of Disney’s Tangled (2010) and Frozen (2013) features ushered in yet another golden age of animated feature films; DreamWorks and Pixar studios held steady and newcomers such as Blue Sky Studios provided healthy competition with the Ice Age franchise and Despicable Me (2010) from Illumination Studios.

Meanwhile, in live-action films, animation was taking a new and important place. Franchise film series such as the Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter series contained unprecedented sophistication in special effects work for their time, to the point of actually having “synthetic” (that is, computer-assisted-animated) characters as part of the main narrative of the story. Creatures such as Gollum, Aslan and the tiger “Richard Parker” in Life of Pi (2013) stand even today as exciting examples of film characters that never existed outside the digital realm, even as they required dozens of technicians to bring them to life, frame-by-frame.

Today, CG animation can be found in any production with a sizable budget and it becomes faster and easier to create visual effects at home, with little money, every day. “Traditional,” or “2D” animation has gone through some mini-revivals here and there as artists and technicians have found ways to integrate the cozy, reassuring look of analog drawings with the world of digital technology. Artists and technicians continue to find new and different ways to express motion and character through otherwise inanimate objects in film, on television and most recently in the lush, vividly-realized dreamworlds of video games, and dozens of creative projects demonstrate the incredible imaginations and brilliant technologies developed by artisans obsessed with the magic behind “moving” images.

Throughout my life I systematically tried each of the different techniques I learned about to create my own animation actions...drawing on postcards and flipping them, then drawing on paper, painting on actual film, creating clay models and moving them one pain-staking frame at a time, experimenting with paints and pens and colored pencils, plastic envelope sleeves and wax paper, even early computers...anything that was available. I initially filmed my work with cheap cameras my mom found for me at garage sales and blurry, clunky, expensive video cameras, until I finally graduated to a completely digital world. I enlisted friends, family and anyone else I could recruit to assist in my various projects over the years. I spent hours and hours at my craft, setting up elaborate contraptions to help me film, often annoying my parents with setups that took up space in the house.

I always loved animation, to say the least.

In retrospect, one thing became abundantly clear to me: It is important to do what you love and love what you do in life. There is nothing I can think of so dreary as someone who has options, but who is just “getting through life.” I say “has options” because in some cases these kinds of choices don’t exist, and it would be the ultimate in hubris to suggest that everyone has the same opportunities in life to explore creativity that I had. I was family was middle-class and I grew up in a pleasant, if rather isolated, community and my family and friends were all generally supportive of my efforts even when they didn’t understand them. I am acutely aware that this is not always the case, and my hat is off to those who manage to find a way to create under situations of extreme difficulty.

Those who have the means, however, have no reason to hide away from the creative urge that claws at their souls. I sometimes ask people, only half-joking, “What else are you going to do with your life, watch more television?” It’s not a knock to the wonders of enjoying TV, it’s a rhetorical question...why wouldn’t you spend some of the time you have in your life expressing yourself creatively?

Most of my life, I created animation (and many other things) the only way I knew how, and also created a great deal of animated art, and while I did do it with the thought that I might be making something worth sharing, if I had a grand scheme in mind I don’t know what it was. I only know that I did not create for:


--financial gain




--anyone but myself

I’ve seen people pursue some of these goals as the end results of the art they create and it inevitably leads to disappointment. The need to express oneself through art is a personal, perhaps even lonely pursuit that doesn’t always yield financial, or even emotional, gain. That being said, those who pursue artistic expression know it is one of the more noble pursuits going; artist create to make the time we have on the planet more livable.

Most artists find at one time or another that they don’t “fit in,” are not considered “normal” and may even find it hard to relate to other human beings sometimes, when no one understands that for an artist, art most likely always comes first. Eventually it is likely that people who identify as artists will desire to leave the place they were born and raised to find a tribe of other similarly-minded artists somewhere, or at least go where such tribes are more likely to be found.

From a young age I was obsessed with the idea of “Los Angeles,” as a place where movies were made, where Walt Disney and all that he created resided, where the sun only set to show off all the pretty lights of the tall buildings in the big city. Every day of my life I thought of one day making my way to Los Angeles to be in “the movies.” My time in Oregon as a child was, to me, just something passing, a transitional phase leading to something “else.” I used to stare out my bedroom window, westward, on cold winter nights, watching the sun setting and knowing, somewhere, “out there,” a whole magic world was waiting for me, if I could just get there.

My grandmother used to tell me that all things started with dreams. I certainly had dreams, enough for two or three lifetimes. But how to make them come to life? How do you go from being someone who has an idea to someone who enacts that idea, particularly when none of those ideas seem feasible in your world? How do you overcome the fear of potential failure, perhaps even the fear of success? How does a person take the first step towards a new future when there are so many (perceived, perhaps) obstacles in one’s way?

If there is a question, there is likely to be an answer. You just have to look.


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