The Scared Is Scared: A Child’s Wisdom for Starting New Chapters (Creative or Otherwise) in Life

The future’s uncer­tain­ty has par­a­lyzed many an artist. How to begin?

Were you to take the advice of 6‑year-old Asa Bak­er-Rouse, you might show the word “start” in a box, add an equals sign, frame it with a box, make the word orange, then green, then white in a green box….

Asa is both nar­ra­tor and muse of The Scared is Scared, the final project of recent Mid­dle­bury Col­lege grad, Bian­ca Giaev­er’s inde­pen­dent­ly designed Nar­ra­tive Stud­ies major. Rather than hand the boy a script, she allowed him to deter­mine the course of her film, lit­er­al­ly visu­al­iz­ing his spon­ta­neous mono­logue with the help of sev­er­al game friends, a trick imple­ment­ed ear­li­er in Holy Cow Lisa, which built on an inter­view with her col­lege advi­sor.

The result should appeal to any­one who had a soft spot for Pee­Wee’s Play­house­’s Pen­ny car­toons. It’s cute all right, but  The Scared is Scared also boasts an effort­less-seem­ing pro­fun­di­ty. Asa may be of the age where piano-shaped cook­ies and secret sleep­overs rep­re­sent the pin­na­cle of anar­chy, but he’s got an ancient mas­ter’s take on things com­ing to their inevitable end. By com­mit­ting to roll with what­ev­er unknowns this child might sup­ply, Giaver taps into a rich vein of cre­ativ­i­ty. Along the way, she makes peace with a very famil­iar-feel­ing unknown, the fate of the young artist leav­ing col­lege’s cozy embrace.

It turns out to be a per­fect place to start.

Relat­ed Con­tent:


One of the Biggest Risks is Being Too Cau­tious…

Paulo Coel­ho on The Fear of Fail­ure

J.K. Rowl­ing Tells Har­vard Grads Why Suc­cess Begins with Fail­ure


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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.