| If you're in school, that's a question you hear a lot from your parents or people you know. Sometimes you're happy or excited to answer that question. Other times, you don't want to answer it or be bothered with it.
A better question is "Did you learn anything today?" That's a question for everyone, not just those still in school. Hopefully, your answer will be, "Yes. Yes, I did." The reason why it's a better question is because it shows you don't want to stop learning.
You've seen people who have decided to stop learning. They're the ones that say, "I'm glad that's over with because I'll never need to know that again." What they don't know is that you never know what you need to know.
For example, do you know what Kelly Hu, Jamie Fox and Matt Groening have in common, besides working in television and movies?
The answer is that all of them learned things when they were younger that they didn't know they would be using in their careers.
For Kelly, it was martial arts. She had been interested in it when she was about five, but her mother wanted her to do things that were "more girly". She had to get her brother to teach her because he was able to take lessons. Later when she was 20, she was able to enroll in martial arts classes. This helped her land roles in TV shows like Martial Law and films like X2: X-Men United. She's able to do many of her own stunts, which makes the scene more realistic.
For Jamie, it was being taught to play the piano by his grandmother. She taught him many things, giving him "the tools" to use when he became an actor, but it was being able to play the piano that especially helped him when he portrayed Ray Charles in the movie Ray. Because Jamie could play the piano, the director did not need to hire a separate piano player, which would have meant filming some scenes completely differently, cutting between Jamie and the hands of the piano player.
That director took time to learn what Jamie could do. But a director Kelly worked with several years ago did not, leading to one of the worst experiences she's had when making a film. He assumed she knew how to speak Chinese. She didn't.
|| As a result, Kelly had to go through a crash course with no help to learn her lines in Chinese, followed by finding out that they had been changed when she started filming. It was such a bad experience that she's vowed to never watch that film, and even asked a fan to burn the copy he recorded off the TV.
In the case of Matt Groening, he watched a wide range of movies and TV shows, listened to everything from classical music, jazz, blues and reggae, and even arthouse music. Everyone who told him he was wasting his time didn't know he would turn those things into research for the TV shows he would later create: The Simpsons and Futurama.
I haven't had an experience as good or bad as those three, but I have used things recently that I learned a long time ago that I never expected to.
I was a teenager during the 1980s. Like several million other teens and kids, I had a Commodore 64. That's a computer that you had to know how it worked in order to get it to do anything. Today, it's a lot different since the operating system and programs handle most of that for you. But what I learned to get that computer online is still applicable today on fax machines. What I learned writing programs in BASIC has helped me figured out coding templates for wikis. Even concepts are still useful: "This is how we did it then. How would we do that today?"
Thirty years ago, I thought I was just playing with a great toy. Most of the things I thought I would do with it later on never happened. Instead, things I never planned on did. I never knew what I needed to know. Now that I recognize that, I want to keep learning as much and as often as I can. When I read a book, my bookmark is a sheet of paper where I write down the new words I learn from it.
So how about you? Did you learn anything today? I hope you did, because you never know when that one little detail might be useful later on.