Les Mis – A.K.A Life Changing Moments

One Day More.

Another Day, another destiny.

This never ending road to Calvary.

These men who seem to know my crime will surely come a second time…

I am forever indebted to Victor Hugo and the entire body of work that followed from Les Miserables. Any of you who have read Katawa Shoujo should probably also thank the musical version of the novels as well.


The belly of the Sydney Opera House, where I worked for 5 years…


Once upon a time there was an Air Force officer studying nuclear physics. In an attempt to avoid the more… physical… clubs like Rugby and AFL, he joined the AV production team of the Defence Force Musical.

Already enthralled by the technical arts, he watched, spellbound, as the performance of Les Miserables drew him into a world that would break some friendships, yet cement others forever.

Musical theatre has coursed through my veins since I was a babe. My Mother used to sing constantly, always able to find a song that somehow fit with any situation (a trait that irritated my late brother no end). So I think my brain was wired to listen to “Do You Hear The People Sing?” well before I ever stepped into that fateful theatre.

A few years ago we KS devs were asked to do an “influence map” for Katawa Shoujo; an image depicting our various influences whilst writing/drawing/programming/composing for KS. At the time, I chose Murakami, McCaffery and Higurashi. Had I thought slightly deeper, Les Mis would have found a part on that page.

I separated from the Defence Force under undesirable circumstances. Having been identified as an accomplice to an attempt at insubordination, my fate was sealed. Thankfully my years of good grades and good service saw me off with a light sentence. To this day I have not regretted any of my actions leading up to this separation.

But after I left I took a good hard look at myself (usually through the bottom of a beer glass) and discovered that what I really liked doing was bringing out emotion in people. As a person of relatively few outward emotions, I thought that this was important.

My short run of Les Mis (a total of four shows) impacted upon me, and when given the chance, I started working in Musical theatre once more. I’ve worked on a number of musicals since.

But it was not until I watched the movie adaption of Les Mis the other day that I realised why I liked the musical so much. To be sure, the songs are memorable (10 years later and I’m singing them to my daughter) and the original acting was epic. But the new movie version, with its terrible singing, still stirred that original emotion in me. And I apologise to anyone on SQ25 the other day if I unintentionally started breaking out into song.

The fact is that Les Mis is possibly one of the first things that made me feel. Or, more colloquially, get the feels. Since then I’ve been chasing that impossible high… not only of feeling those amazing feels, but also in making other people feel those same feels.

The year after seeing Les Mis performed by my troupe I signed up to act, and have since devoted my life (albeit unintentionally) to letting people experience similar feels. All of my writing, all of my technical achievements (and there have been a few), and even my way of managing my current company… all of this really comes from that drive of giving the guy or gal in the seat the best damned night of their life.

So for those of you that have been along for the ride, thank you. The feedback from KS was great, although I know that I must tip my hat to Suriko for most of the Hanako-related love that comes my way. I know that my updates are few and far between, but I most certainly mean to keep plugging away at them. I want to keep working on Arctic Gale, and who knows, maybe I’ll be able to expand upon Run as well.

To those of you who have buoyed me up over the past 6 years, thank you. special thanks to Meowshi (who first introduced me to 4LS), to the guys from4LS and WinD, and to my wife and baby.

Come July I will have finished my various (current) studies and can use my time away from home for good (instead of study).

I hope that you will all continue with me on this journey, and that, one day, at least two of you will somehow look back upon something that I have worked on as the beginning of your own journey.


6 thoughts on “Les Mis – A.K.A Life Changing Moments

  1. The main reason i started getting interested in writing was for many reasons that include your works, i really enjoyed reading what you wrote and cant even explain the feels.
    I currently studying still but when i finish my studies i might go and take up creative writing and other related things.
    In short thanks for being an inspiration 🙂

  2. This is the exact reason I want to program and design video games. While I enjoy programming and bug-fixing, what really got me into games was the story. I’d have to say my ‘ah-ha’ moment was playing through the Pacifist Iji playthrough, and ever since then my ‘feels’ have grown from various games, shows, artworks, ect. Of course, KS does have some play in it too. 😉 Good work on this game. I applaud you, and wish you the best.


  3. I was in a production of Les Mis in high school and picked up the cd version of the original cast recording (and that of Phantom) at a pawn shop. It was in the shuffle of music I slept to every night for years. The story of the orphan Hana… er, Cosette, is indeed very touching.

    Since you mentioned KS and Hanako in particular, this is me hassling about your ebooks just as I said I would several months ago. I’ll further hassle you about how I want even more post high school Hanako stories, although I already know action is where your head’s at these days (and I’m quite enjoying Arctic Gale, so that’s cool with me). Ok, hassling over.

  4. Heh, I just found out the novels are up for free in e-book form. If anyone wants to check ’em out and don’t mind reading off your phone or screen, they’re on amazon (and probably that project gutenburg thing). Or where ever e-books are hosted! *big salesman grin*

    Now to find the time -__-

    I love how I went from nothing to read to too much in .0004 seconds.

      1. Murakami is more than just an effort. I always feel like my brains have been wrung out afterwards. What’s really weird is that we both apparently like some of the same authors…

        There’s no way in hell I have the attention span for War and Peace XD. I tip my hat to you, good sir.

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