Friday, December 12, 2008
Butterfly in the Sky
I can fly twice as high.
Yesterday I crashed an advanced writing class in order to be a part of a magical experience. Levar Burton, a familiar name to anyone with children or a childhood over the past 25 years, is the proud co-creator and former host of the pivotal children's show Reading Rainbow. But you don't have to take my word for it.
The series aired by PBS from June 6, 1983 until November 10, 2006, encouraged reading among children. Each episode centered on a theme from a children's book and was explored through a number of segments or stories. In later years the series tackled issues that other children's programs have historically avoided, such as poverty in U.S. inner cities, the September 11 attacks, childbirth and its impact on the family, and prison, all from a child's point of view.
Levar has an electrifying presence. It was such a pleasure to be in the same room with him. He spoke for practically 2 hours. He asked which of us were born to be filmmakers. Which of us MUST make films? If we don't wake up every morning living, breathing, and dreaming the film making process, then it is time to get out now.
Find your passion.
He told us of his journey from USC grad to stardom. His first film role was Kunta Kinte in Roots. I remember watching that 8 hr miniseries in 10th grade history with Mr. White. In the period of a week, when Roots aired, Levar's life changed forever.
He talked about the importance of balance. If there was one thing he would have done differently in early life, it would be to just relax. Relax. Everything will work for your good.
The life he dreamed of as a youth was never as good as his life has turned out to be. He gives all the credit to God. It was awesome to hear him praise and offer thanks to God in front of the class.