To This Day - and beyond

One of the most powerful videos on the Internet

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I was moved to tears the first time that I saw the spoken word poem “To This Day.”  The words of Shane Koyczan are combined with animations from many different artists who helped him to bring the poem to visual life.  The poem begins with the story of how a little boy received his first nickname, and the subsequent bullying that ensued because of it.  As the story progresses, we become engrossed in the challenges that children face through bullying and the effects that linger into adult life.

One of the most powerful videos on the Internet

Shane put out a call to animators around the world to submit their 20 second animations for portions of the poem, and they are put together seamlessly to flow with the words and tell a powerful story in the video version.  It is one of the most beautiful collaborative art projects that I’ve ever seen.

Today I learned that there is also an iPad version of “To This Day.”  I was very excited to see how they would make the poem into an app, and I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw when I opened it up. 

A scene from the To This Day iPad App

Through scene after scene, page by page, the poem unfolds, written in the bottom of the screen.  The words are being spoken in Shane’s voice, and the top of the screen is animation for the scene.  It was a special treat to find that the animation is not the same as in the video version.  There is a whole new set of animations, just as powerful as the first, and beautiful in their simplicity.

Shane performing To This Day live at the TED Conference.

I wish that I had seen works of this nature when I was a kid, suffering from relentless taunts and bullying for being different.  Seeing this as an adult still brings up a lot of painful memories and emotions, many that I didn't even realize I'd kept hidden inside.  I've listened to the words of this poem many, many times, and am moved each time. 

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