Newspaper article China Post

To Convert a Hobby into a Profession There Is but One Mantra: Use the Force!

Newspaper article China Post

To Convert a Hobby into a Profession There Is but One Mantra: Use the Force!

Article excerpt

The recent news that the Walt Disney Co. plans to release a new "Star Wars" movie in 2015 - following its purchase of the franchise's producer Lucasfilm - has sent shockwaves through "Star Wars" fan communities, who have been eagerly anticipating a new movie to revive the epic saga.

To die-hard "Star Wars" fan Makoto Tsai (who prefers to go by his first name), the news not only means that he may get the chance to see more feature films in his favorite sci-fi series, it also means his business will likely be booming in the months and years ahead. This is because the 29-year-old is not just a fan; he is also a one-of-a-kind lightsaber maker.

In case you are not familiar with the sci-fi franchise, a lightsaber is a fictional weapon in the "Star Wars" universe consisting of a metal hilt that projects a blade of plasma.

It is the signature weapon used by the Jedi and is arguably the most recognizable gadget in the series. Lightsabers are also widely popular among the series' fans, with thousands of people having devoted themselves to trying to create realistic representations of these weapons.

Among those who have tried their hands at making their own lightsaber is Makoto, whose work is one of the most popular of its kind among worldwide fans. He has therefore gained stardom on the Internet in addition to earning a small fortune.

As a matter of fact, he has become so famous that he has fan clubs in several American cities as well as in China and Hong Kong. And this talent of his, which began as a simple part-time hobby, has already become his full-time job.

"What makes my lightsabers unique and popular is that they are much brighter than those sold on the official 'Star Wars' website. They are also much lighter and easier to use. And, best of all, they come with sound effects," Makoto explained.

Written in the Stars

The beginning of Makoto's special talent can be traced back to his high school days when he first fell in love with the beloved franchise. His first encounter with the "Star Wars" series occurred in 2002 when he saw "Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones" while working part-time at a movie theater.

Makoto, who was then a sophomore, was dazzled by the space battles and computer-generated special effects featured in the epic American space opera.

But what most caught his eye were the weapons used by the Jedi knights. Amazed by the laser blades and eager to have one for himself, the young Makoto bought a toy lightsaber from the series' official site. He later discovered, however, that it was not as bright as those he had seen in the movie and it broke easily when used in a pretend sword fight. Therefore, he was left with no other choice than to build his own lightsaber, which he constructed from the handle of a broom.

Embracing One's Passion

It took six years of trial and error for him to improvise his own self-made lightsaber. …

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