#Adulting: Stop Underestimating Us

One of the industries millennials are accused of killing is Movie Theaters. It got so bad at one point that AMC Theaters proposed allowing texting in theaters (then decided against it). The movie industry was convinced millennials simply weren’t interested in movies, because of their attention spans. But the truth was, millennials (and other audiences) weren’t interested in movies, because of the content, i.e. the movies themselves.

If the past year in movies is any consolation, what audiences wanted were people who looked like them, sounded like them, lived like them–new stories about lives that are all too relatable yet often ignored. With one caveat–these stories must be told well.

I bring this up because even with the box-office successes of Marvel’s Black Panther, Disney’s A Wrinkle in TimeLove, Simon, and Ocean’s 8, there were still headlines with implicit surprise at how well Pixar’s The Incredibles 2 did, for an animated short.

(Photo Credit Buzzfeed)

While the previous four films finally touch on human experiences that are constantly ignored in media and politics (i.e. Being black, being a black girl, being LGBT, being a woman, respectively) maybe not flawlessly but still well done, The Incredibles 2, at first glance, doesn’t typically go outside the box in that regard. But it does specifically answer the question of “What would get millennials back to the movie theater?” (this, of course, is assuming millennials had left the theater, which, they didn’t by the way)

Unlike the present climate of reboots, remakes, and revivals, The Incredibles 2 (which picks up right where the first left off) had been originally planned for release a few years after its 2004 original, The Incredibles. But a few years turned into a few more then a few more then even more, until that initial two to three years became fourteen. Even though animated films take a few years to create, fourteen or even more than ten is never the magic number; especially when the same studio was able to create two more Cars films and a previously unplanned Finding Nemo sequel during that same period. The stall in the process was not due to the process itself (as the actors in the clip before the film may suggest), but rather to the company underestimating the level of interest among the key audience at the time (despite the fact that the 2004 had a decent opening at the box office).

It just happens to be coincidental that the key audience (children during 2004) for the first Incredibles film, eagerly waiting and waiting for the sequel, happen to fall within the “millennial” age group now. Not only did millennials show up and show out for the Incredibles sequel fourteen years later, they did so in droves. Why? Because the first movie was incredible (pun intended) is a good guess. But why the surprise at the turn out? Another industry, specifically movies, refused to listen to its consumers–really listen to what they’re clammering for and not just their supposed buying power; another audience was, once again millennials, was underestimated.

According to the Buzzfeed article about its box office numbers for opening weekend, only 28% of the tickets bought were children’s price. This means about 70% (give or take) were adult tickets–maybe millennials by themselves, maybe millennials with kids (the oldest millennial is around thirty-seven years old). The premiere weekend was the most successful animated feature opening in recent American history.

I could hope that this movie is the final nail in the coffin of the “Millennials Are Killing Movie Theaters” accusation (and had noted a similar sentiment in the podcast I produce), the final nail in the “Movie Theaters are dying” argument, that the movie industry will recognize that their only purpose is to release good movies–movies that inspire, movies that display stories audiences haven’t seen before (on the big screen or ever), movies that reflect their audiences back on the screen in front of them. It’s a simple enough job to just create worthwhile, well-told stories…yet I’d be surprised if these trends are enough to persuade the industry. Oh well.


What I’m Listening To: WBUR/New York Times’s Modern Love. It’s not a typical podcast; each episode is an actor reciting an essay from The New York Times  Modern Love column, then the host asking the writer of the essay for more details or context. My favorite, so far, is Constance Wu reading an essay titled, “Marry A Man Who Loves His Mother.”

What I’m Reading: So many great YA Novel to movie adaptations are coming! In preparation, I just finished Nicola Yoon’s The Sun is Also a Star. If you’ve read the book, you’ll understand my nervousness for the upcoming movie adaptation (since the book was more angst than romance, in my opinion). But since Yara Shahidi’s in, I may have to bite the bullet.

What I’m Watching: (See post above) Also Freeform’sThe Bold Type is back! I really love this show because it feels like a modern Sex and the City meets The Devil Wears Prada but with LGBT and POC characters as well.

(Photo Credit Wikipedia)

#Adulting: Nothing To See Here…

Hi everyone!

I was going to do a post this month but realized not much has happened this month (’tis life, you know?).

So please enjoy this post for May (which is nothing).



What I’m Listening To: American Public Media’s Marketplace. I took a break from the daily, business-reporting program a few months ago because a person can only be so inundated by trade war and other depressing economic news before their mind explodes. But I’m back now, because I missed the reporting, including topics on Cardi B’s rise and the destruction caused by straws.

(Credit: Good Reads)

What I’m Reading: Most recently, I finished re-reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell for the third time, but just before that, I read the debut novel by Buzzfeed writer Doree Shafrir, entitled Startup. Particularly and painfully relevant, the fiction novel is set in the New York startup culture as a movement reminiscent of #MeToo begins. My main gripe with the book is that it’s too short; just as the action picks up, characters are found out or betrayed, the novel ends.

What I’m Watching: Marvel’s Deadpool 2 has just as many funny (but shouldn’t be funny) comments as the first with a sad undertone. Also, is it just me or has Marvel stopped caring about letting actors play more than one character? Chris Evans (Human Torch to Captain America), Michael B. Jordan (Human Torch to Erik Killmonger), Enver Gjokaj (Cop to Daniel Sousa), and now, Josh Brolin (Thanos to Cable), just saying.

#Adulting: Where Will We Be?

There are two types of people in the world right now–Those who couldn’t care less about Avengers: Infinity War and those who feel personally attacked by Infinity War.

(Photo Credit; Yes This is Actually From the Directors of Infinity War)

Fortunately, no matter which camp you fall in, this post will not have spoilers (Thanos did demand silence, remember?). Instead, I use this movie analogy as a way to work through how I interpret the world. As the end of my fellowship draws closer, I’m thinking a lot more about how I see the world and what paths would help me see the world even clearer whilst maintaining some semblance of peace.  But, of course, to figure out an ending, we’ve got to go back to the beginning.


It’s no secret that I’m drawn to superheroes in all forms of media (movie, television, web comics, paper comics, pulp, cartoons, etc.) because the stories and characters are the ways we keep history alive by applying the same myths and figures in new bodies and names, by coping with disastrous events (ex. mutants after the nuclear war, the numerous Godzilla works after the massive atom bombs in Japan, etc.), and prediction of events if we continue on the paths we’re currently on. The superhero genre has a way of meeting their audience where they are, in terms of comprehension. And although there are points where can do better and seem to be taking steps in that direction (“see” audio documentary here), we’re getting there.

The same can be said for audio. Radio journalism is not what initially drew me to audio. It was podcasts, i.e. the flexibility to listen whenever, the freedom from the broadcast clock, the wide range of topics, but most importantly, the conversational style. The most successful podcasts are NOT monotone; they are NOT full of elevated, superfluous language; they are NOT high-brow. Why? Because they meet people where are, in terms of their understanding, and therefore, can convey how these complex topics–about the environment, about the economy, about education–aren’t actually complex if someone explains them and iterates that it affects everyone, no matter you’re socioeconomic status, racial or ethnic identity, gender identity and sexual orientation. Like the superhero genre, there are strides the audio industry can take to reach more people  and include more people who are constantly left behind.

Being intentional (which takes massive preparation and extensive input outside of your immediate knowledge) about how to use the medium to reach the audience is only part of the game; being successful in execution is equally important. You probably think I’m gonna list some canonical literary examples or Academy Award-winning movies? Nope.


(My film professors would’ve loved the subtle commentary on movie theaters in the age of technology in We Bare Bears “Shush Ninjas”)

by far,

(The Amazing World of Gumball does a ton of economical commentary and engages in media theory through the different materials they use for minor characters)

is best example of representation and

Steven Universe is but one example of how animation explains a concept that adults struggle to explain)

and understanding,

(The original Teen Titans  animation series (not to be confused with Teen Titans Go!) tackled complex topics that kids and adults are even afraid to admit to themselves, let alone talk about, like manipulation and self-esteem)

I’ve ever seen.

To be fair, not all animation does this, nor should it. Like all media, some sources should be purely to educate, some purely to escape, but the most memorable do a little of both. And it was this balance and utilization of how medium affects a narrative that pulled me to study English (this was my concentration BTW). One source I go back to frequently is Avatar: The Last Airbender.

How can one show successfully explain a military coup,  explore the dynamics of war invasions, retreats, and strategy, introduce and maintain a blind character as part of the ensemble, gently handle the implications of child abuse and necessity of forgiveness, and still have all the makings of a kid’s show, including but not limited to: bathroom jokes, the (multiple) picking of boogers, sibling antics, unrequited crushes, and an eccentric uncle?

For these reasons (and more), I watch ATLA when I need to escape but always understand more about my life once I finish my binging.

So now, as I consider more about what paths I want to take and how to reconcile who I want to be into the view of the world I have now, I think about to this scene from Book 2:

This is a process, but my favorite part of ATLA is that it’s okay not to know. It’s okay to say “I don’t know.” And maybe right now, that’s my answer. I don’t know…yet.



(Photo Credit: Gimlet Media)

What I’m Listening To: Gimlet’s The Habitat.  The true story of when six volunteers agreed to live in a mock-Mars environment, for scientific purposes. I’m really excited about this series because I remember when the experiment was first being reported, which wasn’t that long ago. (I just started so don’t @ me)

What I’m Reading: Getting caught up on my comics! G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel (If you enjoy the MCU and looking to get into the comics, I highly recommend the new Hawkeye (trust me), Ms. Marvel, or the most recent Captain Marvel comics; the more serious types? See Captain America, Civil War, or Jessica Jones; also, you can’t go wrong with any of the iterations of Spider-Man, whether that means high-school Peter Parker, adult Peter Parker, or even Miles Morales because, of course, they crossover from time to time)

What I’m Watching: Isn’t it obvious? Avengers: Infinity War (2018) (yes, more than once) and that’s all I’ll say about that. Also, I’m finally caught up on the Blackish-spinoff, Freeform show Grownish  and consider this quite a feat since Yara Shahidi is fantastic and literally #hairgoals.

(Photo Credit: Freeform Grownish)



#Adulting: A Glimpse of the Possible

In my last post, I paid homage to Millennialthe Radiotopia/PRX podcast that gave me the post-grad motivation to intern, work part-time, but mostly, figure out what I really wanted to do and make no apologies for it.

Well, update: I met the creator of Millennial. (!)

But first, let me back up a bit.

For the past few months, I’ve been learning more and more about the public radio landscape. Since the Corporation for Public Broadcasting helps fund America’s public radio stations, it’s important to know how they work, right?

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