‘The more people interact with each other, the better it is,’ Adam Savage tells Ithra crowd

Adam Savage: I think for a young creator, it’s really important to move towards the things that you find challenging. (Shutterstock)
Updated 15 October 2018

‘The more people interact with each other, the better it is,’ Adam Savage tells Ithra crowd

  • American writer Mark Twain was famous for saying: ‘Travel is toxic to bigotry,’ and I totally agree. I relish the opportunity to go far and wide and come to a place I don’t know: Savage
  • I have made so many deep friendships in places I did not expect, and that happens for all people attending, said Savage

DHAHRAN: Adam Savage, MythBusters’ host and special effects master, was a guest speaker at Tanween on Friday, and his talk on telling stories through objects and the obsession required to tell these stories inspired an audience of all ages.

As a child, Savage said he struggled to communicate with his peers and sought refuge in inanimate objects and costumes, designing and recreating things he loved as a form of storytelling — the child in almost every adult present could relate to that.

While taking the audience down his creative memory lane, Savage presented some of his memorable projects, such as creating NASA spacesuits from scratch; the most lasting impression was his venture to make a model of The Overlook Hotel’s maze in Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.”

After innumerable hours of obsessive research, Savage managed to complete the maze: one so exquisite it replaced the one on display as part of Stanley Kubrick’s traveling exhibition.

“It turns out that all I’ve ever been doing is telling stories — it is one of the single pleasures of my life,” he concluded, eliciting massive applause.

Speaking to Arab News before the talk, Savage explored the idea of visiting a country like Saudi Arabia. “A few years ago I was able to do a series of performances in Abu Dhabi, and it was my first time to the Middle East. As an American, the Middle East is not a place that I’d normally travel: it’s not part of an American’s idea of where you should go. And yet, I find the whole region incredibly fascinating, and to come here and visit a culture that I’m unfamiliar with, and meet such lovely people: it widens the eyes. American writer Mark Twain was famous for saying: ‘Travel is toxic to bigotry,’ and I totally agree. I relish the opportunity to go far and wide and come to a place I don’t know.”

The creative guru also spoke about the importance of events like Tanween. “I think these events signify bringing people together from different places to hear each other. I go to a lot of conferences, and my favorite thing about them is listening to other viewpoints and opinions and ideas, but another part of it is meeting the people there.

“I have made so many deep friendships in places I did not expect, and that happens for all people attending. There are these collisions and the more people interact with each other, I think the better it is, in general, for all people,” he added.

Savage’s most recent work with 12-16 year-olds for the new show “MythBusters Jr.” is “the most creatively satisfying thing” he’s ever done.

He said his creativity stems from his exploration of everything that is challenging, and that was the advice he had for Saudi youth. “I think for a young creator, it’s really important to move towards the things that you find challenging, to listen to opinions you don’t understand, to unpack the things that confuse you and confound you. Staying comfortable - it’s not good for you.”

He appreciated how deeply invested Saudi Arabia is in arts, and described some of the artwork coming out of the region as “exciting, challenging and complicated.”

His stay in the Kingdom was a short-lived 26 hours, but he confessed to wanting to visit again and explore the country. 


Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

Updated 17 November 2019

Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

  • Waheed Jalal's voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations

RIYADH: Visitors to Riyadh’s first anime expo stopped by the first panel on Saturday unaware that they would be leaving the stage with memories renewed of their favorite voice actors of all time.

Waheed Jalal and Jihad Al-Atrashi will forever live on in the hearts of fans of “Grendizer” and “Treasure Island (Takarajima),” the two shows that introduced the Arab world to anime in the 1970s.

Jalal, whose voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations, expressed how delighted he was to be with the audience.

“I want to thank you and your Kingdom of generosity and culture,” he said.

Al-Atrash, who portrayed Duke Fleed, echoed his sentiments: “You are great people with great values, thank you to the people of the Kingdom that stand next to people of all nations.”

Jalal was touched by the audience’s love and warm welcome, “You guys are the reason we continued this far, without you it wouldn’t have been possible,” he told them.

“We’re persevering to this day because people loved these characters we portrayed so much, our other works pale in comparison,” he added.

Jalal said that the reason “Grendizer” remained with so many people is because of the values and morals depicted in the show, teaching generations to be loyal and loving to their nation and their people.

Artist and creator Ibrahim Al-Lami. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

The voice acting pair talked about the importance of speaking in formal Arabic in these shows. Jalal said it’s because “you’re presenting to the entire Arab world.”

Local dialects would be difficult for others to understand, so we must all aspire to perfect our formal Arabic, added Jalal.

Before concluding the talk, a teaser was played of the first Saudi anime “Makkeen” by artist and creator, Ibrahim Al-Lami, who announced that 60 percent of the work was completed through local efforts.

“We’ll introduce a new work that is by our people, written by our people and voiced by our people,” he said to the audience.

The work will feature characters voiced by Jalal and Al-Atrash, who have become symbolic to the Arab anime world. “I told them, this work wouldn’t be complete without you two,” said Lami on his choice of voice actors. “We want these works to see the light of day. We need to provide the new generations with tales of our own,” added Al-Atrash when asked why he wanted to partake in the anime.