Friday, May 21, 2010

The Last of the Romantic Disciplines

Journalism is the last of the romantic disciplines. Samurais and knight-errants don't exist anymore. Journalism, with its quest for truth, is the only one left. In theory anyway.

I can tell you many stories why I did it. The truth is simple: Neil Gaiman said he failed to publish his stories when he was 23 years old, so he became a journalist for eight years.

He said it was a good experience and also gave him contacts to do his comics projects.

So I thought, okay, I'll be a journalist.

What I like about this job is the simple fact that anything I learn at it can and will be used on other things.

I was taught by people who believed in the possibility of skill sets being applied to many different things.

For example, writing movie reviews, you tend to figure out how movies work, and then you can apply some of that in writing for the screen. Same thing with TV. I did my first TV script - an animation project - without knowing how the fuck a script looked like.

Well, when you don't know, you find out. Simple, right?

The thinking process of writing - if you have good teachers - can carry you in any field. I used to hang around my editor like crazy. Simply because I enjoyed his company, and also because I wanted to learn his skills.

In Japan, there is a vocational tradition/culture/institution for skill-based work like cooking or drawing, sword-making and other stuff. There are no sword-making colleges or prominent manga-drawing courses in universities.

Apprentices stay with the masters, and they become little more than indentured servants, but also gain opportunities to observe and 'steal' the skills of the masters.

One thing about me is that when I read about these things in comics, I tend to try them out in real life. Worked just fine for me.

I felt like a ninja. And really, the one who thinks he or she has learned everything there is to learn, knows everything there is to know is arrogant, stupid and just waiting to die. When you stop growing, when you stop learning, you die.

Life is just one big classroom. Observe. Listen. Listen. Listen. Form is just a training wheel. In the end, substance matters most.

I spend hours everyday reading Wikipedia. I got over 100 tabs and windows open before me right now. One day, all this information will prove useful. Information is always useful.

I love journalism.

Alas, it is also a dying profession. Chivalry is dead, and so is romance. Well, not really. Journalism will continue to exist, just - and this is only my belief - its form will again change. The structure will change. It will incorporate some new things and discard others.

Journalists as news breakers is no longer as viable as before. Still there, but not as it was. A storm is coming, and the world will adapt in its own way. Adaptability is key. Applying the same skill-sets and critical thinking to a whole new world of possibilities and responsibilities.

I'll continue to learn, and shift and transform. If I've learned anything from my masters, it's that no one knows what tomorrow will bring.

So, take my hand, and into the breach?