Recently I put together the 10,000th GITS post. In honor of that milestone, I ran a contest which was won by Kevin Gilbert [the prize was a conversation with me about one of his story treatments]. His suggestion: Interview my son Luke who provided inspiration for this blog by saying this to me when he was about 3 years old: “Go into the story, and find the animals.”
So I conducted an interview with Luke, who is now twelve. You can read it below the fold.
An interview with Luke Myers:
Scott: Do you remember when I said I was going to be writing something the next day, and I kind of jokingly asked you: “I’m a little nervous about this, do you have any advice?” Do you remember when you were around three and you said “Go into the story, and find the animals.”?
Luke: I remember being in you and mom’s bathroom, and I was in like dark blue pajamas, but that’s about it. But I remember like the bathroom was completely white, and I used to think that was really weird.
Scott: I immediately got the idea of the ‘Go into the story’ part, but what about the ‘finding the animals’ part, what do you think you meant when you said that?
Luke: I really don’t know, I mean, I liked animals, but I don’t know, just kinda figure out the little quirks and what the story of the… story, was going to be.
Scott: So, you’re a writer.
Scott: How many stories do you think you’ve written or started?
Luke: Started? I can’t even count, but actually gotten invested in and haven’t just thrown out, probably like 10 or 11.
Scott: And what kind of stories do you like to write?
Luke: I like to write fantasy, and I’m actually writing a fan fiction for my favorite book series, “Percy Jackson and the Olympians”. But besides that, when I was about 8, I created this whole world with it’s own mythology and backstory, and I kinda left it there for a while, but I might pick it up, eventually.
Scott: Why do you like writing?
Luke: I think it’s one of the few ways I can express myself. Also… you write, and I’ve always admired you, so I like to… yeah.
Scott: And you’re a movie guy. In fact, you and I can walk two blocks to go to the local theater. Why do you like movies so much?
Luke: I think they give me more satisfaction than reading a book, they’re more stimulating, so I can get into it more. I saw a lot of movies when I was little, and I keep seeing a lot of movies, ‘cause that’s your whole deal. Also, the rest of my family likes movies, so yeah.
Scott: You started watching movies… you could watch a whole feature-length film when you were like 2.
Luke: Yeah, one of the first movies I ever saw was called Dinosaur. It was this really good animated movie… about dinosaurs. It wasn’t like Land Before Time or anything, the animation was beautiful, and the voice acting was good, and it had an awesome story. I used to really love it.
Scott: I remember at one point (I don’t remember how old you were), you just kinda piped up: “You’re out of the herd!” Remember that?
Luke: Ohhh, that was from Ice Age. I haven’t seen that movie in forever, so I forget what the context was, but I think it was because Diego, the sabre tooth tiger, kidnapped a baby, and then they were like ‘Hey, that’s not cool!” and… yeah. But I distinctly remember saying that to Mom when she took my pacifier away, and apparently, that was really funny.
Dad: Yeah, we all laughed at that. Anyway on your twelfth birthday, I asked you to come up with a list of your Top Ten favorite movies. Let me read that list to you and see whether you want to make any revisions.
The Dark Knight
Little Miss Sunshine
Scott Pilgrim vs the World
And Star Wars V.
Is that list still accurate?
Luke: Yeah, but I might swap out Seven Samurai for Juno.
Scott: If I asked you to give me like a one sentence description for each movie, what would you say? Dark Knight.
Luke: I’m Batman.
Scott: The Descendants.
Luke: Depressed guy in sandals.
Scott: Little Miss Sunshine.
Luke: Crazy family…ness.
Scott: Monster’s Inc.
Luke: Billy Crystal.
Scott: Ocean’s Eleven.
Luke: George Clooney.
Scott: Princess Mononoke.
Luke: The music. It’s absolutely gorgeous.
Scott: Scott Pilgrim vs the World.
Luke: Ramona’s badass hair.
Scott: Seven Samurai.
Luke: Toshiro Mifune falling off a horse.
Scott: How about Juno?
Luke: “I’m a planet!!!”
Scott: Spirited Away.
Luke: All the times I have seen that movie have been in English with terrible dubbing, instead of Japanese with subtitles, so I’m gonna say the main character’s annoying voice.
Scott: And Star Wars: Episode V.
Scott: Okay, Go Into the Story, the blog, is 4 ½ years old, and we just hit the 10,000 post. There are literally thousands of people who follow and read the blog, even people in Hollywood. And if it hadn’t been for you, the blog might never have happened! So, how does that make you feel?
Luke: I don’t know. It was just something I said when I was in my PJ’s. And since I was around three or four, I never really thought it was that big a deal. But evidently you remembered it, and it inspired you, and it’s this whole big thing now, so yeah, I think it’s cool.
Scott: Do you think it’s nice that something you said has inspired a bunch of people to write movies and stories?
Luke: Absolutely, frankly, it’s kinda surprising that it has affected this many people.
Scott: Okay, let’s end it with this: Imagine there are writers out there who are struggling with a story, do you have any words of wisdom or advice for them?
Luke: Hmmm… so, sometimes when I’m writing a story, I have trouble with the plot, which for me is the hardest part. I’ll just work on developing a character and what should or shouldn’t happen to him or her will become evident, so their plot makes itself apparent to me.
It’s amazing to watch children grow up and develop their own take on life. This year, I’ve been teaching an online class through the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum called “The Hero’s Journey” to fifteen young people, ages ranging from 11-14, Luke among them. It’s incredible what they have brought to our sessions together as we have analyzed books including “The Princess Bride,” “The Odyssey,” and “Beowulf,” and movies like O Brother, Where Art Thou, The Wizard of Oz, and Searching for Bobby Fischer. For example, last week I had them write a first person monologue from the perspective of Grendel’s mother in “Beowulf”. Their respective takes on that assignment were fantastic.
Luke has got a great sense of humor, so let me end with this recent observation he made:
“You know, if you really break it down, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is just about a socially awkward adolescent reindeer with bad acne, who meets an apolitical aspiring dentist, and a creepy hobo who lives in the mountains who is obsessed with shiny objects. You’re welcome for the ruined childhoods.”
We can learn a lot from our children. I know I have.
Thanks, Luke, for taking the time to do this interview. And of course, for coming up with Go Into The Story.