“When we die, our bodies become the grass.
“The antelope eat the grass, and so we are all connected in the great circle of life.”
From poets and from Presidents.
Family, friends, film-makers and fundraisers; artists and athletes and innovators; the homeless, and all those striving so hard to help them.
Here in our studio, inspiration is drawn from the most diverse sources imaginable.
Nothing is overlooked.
Not even animated animals.
This a reference to The Lion King, Disney’s influential epic, a movie almost two decades old, but one that is still able to enthral, entertain and, perhaps most importantly, stoke the imagination.
Some 17 years have passed since The Lion King’s first release but, for one reason or another, it’s only in recent times that we’ve finally got around to watching it.
It must be said that we’re glad that we did because, boy, did it make an impression.
So much more than the average animation, The Lion King encapsulates much that we stand for here in Saunderstown.
It even borrows our catchphrase.
The hairs on our necks stood on end like Mufasa’s mane the first time our favourite character said a line that recurs throughout.
That line, We are all connected.
From that point, you could say we were engrossed!
There is immense wisdom to be discovered in a movie that itself took inspiration from countless sources, as diverse and different as those that underpin our own efforts here at OM HQ.
You see, The Lion King borrows from Bible stories, including those of Moses and Joseph, from Shakespeare and Hamlet, and from the Sundiata Keita, an ancient and epic poem, belonging to the Malinke People, that chronicles the rise of the Mali Empire.
It has also drawn comparisons to Jungle Emperor, a cult Japanese anime series from the 1960s.
In Jungle Emperor, the main character – Kimba, also a lion – strives hard to understand human culture in an attempt to establish better relations and a lasting peace between people and animals.
For him, understanding is the conduit for a happier planet and a better life.
To Kimba, connection is everything, just as it is has long been for ourselves and our OMs.
To achieve true connection, one must take something from all the diverse sources that inspire efforts and shape philosophies, using acquired knowledge to advance and evolve and to, in turn, influence others, sharing wisdom along the way.
Here in our studio, we wouldn’t be the people we’ve become had it not been for the things we’ve learnt from Steve Jobs or Kevin O’Hanlon or Emma Lazarus or Chris Tibedo.
James Taylor, Martin Luther King, Evelyn Lauder, Patrick O’Connell, the list is as long as it is eclectic and it’s forever growing.
The Dalai Lama. Even Mufasa’s name has been added.
Just as The Lion King’s creators took all the best bits from influences far and wide and developed them into a format that has continued to spread their own message for nigh on 20 years.
From the Bible, from the Bard. From Anime, from Africa.
Refining, revising, taking something, adding to it and moving forward, it’s how we progress, how we grow, as a civilisation, as a people, as a planet.
It is, to use a phrase from The Lion King, the Circle of Life.
It’s the reason that we can sit down to watch what is – at first glance, at least – a movie for children but still take from it something profound, something inspirational.
In Mufasa’s own words, ‘Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance; as King, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope’.
That, that right there, that says everything about ourselves and our OMs and all the things that we’re striving towards here in Saunderstown.
Understanding. Respect. The delicate balance.