California Road trip – Hollywood

Growing up my parent’s idea of a holiday is staying home. This summer because I wanted to save money, I was about to do that too.. but just couldn’t stay home for a week doing nothing! I talked Gus into doing a road trip with me but this time focus on California. We made our first stop in Hollywood to visit a church. After we went around the blvd and captured some photos and video. Gus shot and edited a travel series of our trip. I’m so happy to share the videos here along with my photos. Keep in mind, I am awkward in front of the camera! Next post – Santa Barbara!



Okay, Mom I’ll read it

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Mom’s have a gift to notice things about their children’s lives that others don’t bother to see. No matter how old you get, mom will always be there trying to teach you something so you don’t have to struggle. When I saw my mom leave this book on my night stand, I rolled my eyes but soon realized I better read it, the cliché is true mothers know best.

When I was a teenager I stumbled upon a book in my parent’s library by Elizabeth George, Woman After God’s Heart. I read it out of curiosity but enjoyed the practical advice it shared. I had the same experience reading Life Management for Busy Women. I was reminded of the foundation habits I’ve abounded because of the excuses of busyness.

The book gave me new insight about being a mom, a wife, and having in-laws. Even though I’m still unmarried and have no kids, I like to prepare on what to do. If you’re looking for a cheerleader to lose weight, save money, make your family happy, mental health and ministry, this book will lead you in that direction. Now the hard part.. to do it.

“…the issue really isn’t the lack of time. No, the issue is the management of our self.”

Writing Television Sitcoms!

IMG_5657One night I got caught in one of those youtube traps; clicking from video to video and not knowing how I got to one place to another. I came across an old web series of these two girls in New York called, Broad City. It was different and as a video director — do able! I enjoyed their interview with Amy Poehler about writing a sitcom.

If you were to see my Netflix Instant Queue, you would see nothing but sitcom’s being watched. Its a dying art that I cheer to come back! Give me can laughter, bright lights and punch lines! Maybe I’m just a child from the 90’s who grew up on this stuff or maybe I have a natural liking. Either way, I started to think about episode I would create.

My first amazon search gave me Evan S. Smith, Writing Television Sitcoms. This book is amazing! It was like going behind the scenes and sitting at the writers table. Of course that first thing I picture was 30 Rock.

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For a few weeks I listened to my friend’s jokes and pin pointing why it was so funny which made it difficult to find anything funny. When writing tweets, I started to think about how I was setting up my thought.

“‘displacement’ of an audience’s train of thought; as in, the setup for a joke causes to have certain expectations, but the punchline yanks the rug out by providing a very different, incongruous payoff. The result? Tension is discharged and the audience laughs.”

“On another level, all humor incorporates some elements of surprise within its structure. When we create a funny scene or joke, we try to reel the audience in with a realistic setup, then hit them with a surprise twist at the end.”

“…an unfortunate truth of the sitcom world is that “three-quarters of all writing is rewriting.”..It’s not uncommon for the staff of a show to rewrite a script five or more times.”

I started to see how I could use this new found knowledge in other areas of my work. Learning how many times a script is re-written before they go in production help me at work prepare to share drafts with other. Feed back is gold! I’ve always been the artist that would say, “Don’t look, its not done!” When I started to ask my co-workers to view my work and tell me what they think I would get very insightful help. Usually they would pin point what wasn’t working. Also allowing my clients to see the drafts before the deadline to get some feed back.

The biggest revolution was when I was reading the chapter about the premise driven comedy, which to me, means the story, (the- what happens question).

When You Can’t Find the Right Punchline, Here’s a tip: When you can’t find the right punchline, go back and check the setup. Once, I agonized over a joke through several drafts of a script, spending hours trying to replace a single weak punchline. A producer who was passing by my office tossed off a casual suggestion – “Change the setup?” Hmm. I went back, tweaked the joke’s premise, and suddenly – half a dozen great punchlines popped into my head. Problem solved.”

I started to edit my videos differently after I read this. How important the setup was! Especially when it came to testimonials. You build up the story and the best part of what happens becomes more powerful.

Half the book was about the writing and the other about the business. I forced myself to read the details about the business but I’m glad I did. It gave me a better idea about the piratical part of writing in as a career.

As for my web series, now I have no excuses. Time to write. But first, I must watch a few more sitcoms for research!

 

 

Random or a Master Plan

DSCN6279Its summer time and I haven’t blog in a few weeks. Life at work has been busy and this week I’ve been on vacation. I usually would take this opportunity to travel overseas but I am suffering from the student loan crises of my generation. Of course I am working hard to overcome but its requiring sacrifice that has left me discouraged. I ran away to central California for a small time out. The interesting thing is I’m learning a lot about life here. I’m on my own, renting a room and have too much free time that I found myself eating dinner at the local park. No one should ever stay in an apartment for too long. Too easy to lose your mind

rs_560x415-130405113849-1024.Office.mh.040513The past few weeks I’ve been in a Netflix coma completing The Office. I have been a fan from the start, and nine years later watching the last season made me realize why I enjoyed it so much. I find it funny because I totally relate to adults trying to figure life out. Doubting their journey, doubting their decisions, fearing the unknown, staying with the familiar. The Office captures American Culture from the 2000’s perfectly. The recession, the dreams and reality of adulthood. I imagine the writers behind these shows struggling with the same things their characters did. Who knew it would end with such a profound thought.
“It all seems so arbitrary, I applied for a job at this company because they were hiring I took a desk in the back because it was empty, but no matter how you get there or where you end up human beings have this miraculous gift to make that place home.”
Cred, The Office.

Before my trip I was asking myself a question:
Is life random or is there a master design plan? My common sense brain says random but when I look back at my life, its as if it was designed. At those moment of feeling lost, I know I can trust in Him with my journey and when I’m 80 years old looking back, I can share my life story as a beautiful tail, and transform every challenge into the victory that changed my destiny.

As an editor by nature, I am learning its okay to not have everything figured out, some how the story always comes together by stepping back to reflect and paying attention to the small details.

There’s a lot of beautiful in ordinary things. – Pam, The Office 

Eye on LA – Disneyland!

When I lived in Australia I use to brag about being from California. The first thing people would ask me was if I lived near Disneyland. When I said yes I would invite them to come visit. To my surprise many have taken me on that offer, even 10 years later!

Peita’s life time dream as a little girl was to visit Disneyland. Because I’ve been a million times, seeing Disneyland through fresh eyes is so much fun. Gus filmed and edited our adventure at Disneyland.

The Future You will Thank You

20140606-153740-56260025.jpgDo you have any weird rules you put on yourself?
I have one where I tell myself to read a chapter of a book before I hang out online, watch netflix or play on my ipad. I also put my timer on for 15 minutes to keep me still while reading. I use to have a problem not finishing books, and now I read one in the morning another in the evening. Another rule, I only allow myself to go to Starbucks once a day. I can never visit twice because I can easily make three visits if I’m not careful, spending my weekly lunch budget.
Even since I was a kid, I wanted to break the rules the moment someone gave them to me but when I placed them on myself, I had more self control. I know “Future Monica” will thank me. Living a disciple life doesn’t have to be hard, but the moment you give up on one rule, you will find your self compromising in other areas.
What rules do you put on yourself? What made you create that rule?
I know if we aren’t careful how we conduct our lives, we can become lazy and stop growing. One day, you’ll be thankful you never gave up on your dreams and future you will thank you.

How Jerry Seinfeld Taught Me How to Find the Moment

Something I enjoy doing is going through old stuff at a thrift store and discovering something I would’ve never thought to have bought anywhere else. I found Jerry Seinfeld book called SeinLanguage. Of course I already heard all his jokes from the 90’s from his show but I knew it would be a fun read.

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It was when I read this passage did the light bulb click for me on how to find the moment for filming and photography.

“The movies will always be one of my top all-time out activities. But to be honest, the peak moment for me is always being on the way to the movies. I love being on the way to the movies.
We’re in the car, trying to get there in time. Maybe you’ll have good seats. Maybe it’ll be a good movie. Maybe everything will be good. You don’t know, and when you’re on the way it’s still possible. I love that I’m definitely doing something and I haven’t done it yet. That’s a pure life moment. After you get a job and before you have to do it. Nothing beats that. It’s the spaces between life that I like the most.”

He painted perfectly where the true story is. I took his words to heart as I film this weekend for our Man Day. I knew what I was looking for as I filmed. I found these moments as they where about to happened. Usually the frustrating part when filming live events is trying to make my shots happen. Instead I saw something might happen, press recorded, and captured it. I started to see things that where happening that would allowed the viewer to feel and remember.
Who knew Jerry Seinfeld would help me be a better filmer and photographer.

Lead

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The first time I was asked to be a leader was when I was a kid playing follow the leader. I would only lead for a few seconds and then call out someone else to lead. I hated the pressure of everyone looking to me for direction. I would break away from the crowd and go on my own to play something else.

Now as an adult, I realized I had the same reaction when it came to leading at work. When I was promoted, I hesitated and thought, “Me?”

Some say you’re born a leader, for me I wasn’t going to focus if I was or not, I needed to learn how to lead. I was given a task and now I had others looking to me for answers.

Read books, lots of them. Reading books about leadership, personality types, working in the work place, and biographies is like having a really deep conversation with people who are super successful. I recommend: 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leaders, Relevant Magazine, and Quiet; The Power of the introvert.

Listen to Podcasts. If you sit down at a computer all day, listening to Podcast like, This American Life, Snap Judgement, Graphic Designer Podcast, NPR Ted, This is Your Life by Micheal Hyatt, Relevant, RadioLab and so many others, you will hear stories and interviews that will give you such insight about life and people.

Ask questions When it came to asking clients questions, I was afraid I was bothering them. I had to tell myself I’m not bugging them, the information they are giving me is for their project. Think of your questions before hand and ask when you have their full attention.

Listen to the team. The old school way is my way or the highway. For my personality, that wasn’t working well. After reading Quiet; The Power of the introvert, I learned listening to my team’s suggestions wasn’t a sign of weakness but that introverts can thrive with proactive workers.

Listen to Feed Back. Hearing feed back about your work performance can be hard but in the long run, it can help you. I grow most from feed back.

Watch your Thinking. We grow up believing so many lies about our self. The more we are aware of them, the faster can stop them from holding us back from leading with confidence.

I know it’s easy to let the Carismatic extroverts take over but the world needs more introverted leaders.

Book: The Tipping Point

IMG_5019 I like to go to bookstores and see what new book I can discover. I kept seeing The Turning Point by Malcolm Gladwell displayed everywhere. More than the fact it’s a national best seller, it was the title that I found intriguing.
The first few chapters I read through, enjoying what I was reading but it was the last chapters that I started to highlight key points. Though out the book I was looking for the answer on what creates a Tipping Point for something, what causes a street trend to exploded to main stream, a movement or change culture. But instead I found what to look for in different people I come across. Those who carry the gift to sale, to inform, or connect with other people.
The book shares ideas and stories of failed and successful epidemics that took place in our culture and changed everything. The stories help you see what happened to create a tipping point that had a revolutionary impact.
I thought about the people who played the three different roles to create a tipping point in my life. My friend Geo connected me with so many of my friends and told me about Hillsong, which led me to attend their Bible College and move to Australia. Or my friend Desiree who’s word of mouth power has given my photography business so many clients, and my always cool friend Carlos who knows the trends before they happen.
I thought about what my role can be to impact culture and how I can use this knowledge to play a role in what I do for a living. I’ve always been a Maven but liked to keep things to myself in fear of everyone knowing and copying me or showing up at my new found coffee house. Now as I am sharing information, it shows me that I can be that tipping point in someone else’s life.

The Biggest Lie I Ever Told Myself

6325072032_c7a8baf6c6_oThe biggest lie I ever told myself was when I was in the third grade. I began to do poorly on test. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t smart like the other kids. I figured they were born with knowing the answers. I remember telling myself at that young age, “I’m not smart.” My third grade teacher told my mom that I probably had trouble hearing. Because I believed the lie I told myself, I didn’t blame my ear, I blamed my brain.

 

I believed it all though out high school. I always made sure to do all my homework because I knew I wouldn’t do good on my test. I would just make a passing grade. I even made sure to be a good student so my teachers would feel sorry for me and pass me.

It’s when I started to read more, that I saw I was getting better at remembering things and communicating my thoughts with others. Reading books grew my confidence and knowledge. I realized as an adult, I was smart, I just needed to work out my muscle inside my head, my brain!

Now I see, if I want to learn something new, I need to go out, read about it, discuss it, research it, seek it, to prove the lie wrong.

Okay, I’ll Write.

For some reason, when I leave a voice mail, it has to be perfect. I can easily spend thirty minutes trying to leave the perfect recording. I’ve been finding myself doing this when it comes to writing a blog post. There is a whole list of drafts that I’ve never completed or had the guts to submit. I guess I’m not sure how transparent I should be. Keeping things simple and shallow has always been safe. But as a deep thinker, I get bored with my shallow side. I tell myself to be honest, and I’ll connect with others but what if someone reads it! I guess I should practice being honest, to test the water, dip my toe in the big ocean and swim.

Over the years, I have become more than a video editor, photographer, and Christian and I want to try to share that with you. As a famous song writer once said, write the song before it leaves.

Ponce, Puerto Rico
Ponce, Puerto Rico

Language of Faith

 

IMG_3804Learning the language of faith feels like reading words backwards. It goes against every thought in the mind. When you speak the language out loud, its as if you start to walk towards the sky, flying above all that you’ve ever known to be reality.

The language of God doesn’t have the words like, “I feel” and “I think”. In the end, it has nothing to do with our power but the power given to us. The knowledge is freely given but cost everything you’ve ever known. What you thought was true suddenly becomes flawed. It awakens a part of your brain you didn’t know existed. You can physically feel the differences in your being when you speak this language. My self confidence of, I can do anything transforms to, He already did it all.

The language of faith is the language that existed before breath was given. It’s not of words or symbols but a reality that exists beyond what we see. It has no timeline, it always is and always was. Its a language anyone can learn but only few use. It reminds me I know nothing and yet tells me the mysteries of His will have been made known. The language expresses how much we are valued that we were indeed worth it all. The language of faith is a language that goes beyond all we know and goes beyond all we see.

 

music by: To Our God – Bethel Music

Getting Things Done

IMG_2178Getting Things Done by David Allen has been on my reading list for years. From the moment I heard about it, I knew it was a book I needed to read but never got around to it. Now as a director of a department, I owed it to my team to learn how to get things done and to remain stress free.

“You need to set up systems and tricks that get you to think about your projects and situation more frequently, more easily, and in more depth.”

Within just a few weeks of reading the book, I’ve been able to reach some pretty big goals of mine. There were so many times when I was about to give up on a step to a big project but knew if I kept going, I’d have the joy of marking it off my list. Getting Things Done helped break down the to-do list into simple questions: Can I do this in less than two minutes? What’s the next action?

“No matter how big and tough a problem may be, get rid of confusion by taking one little step towards the solution. Do something.” George F. Nordenholt

It also allowed me to share what I learned with my team. When David Allen recommended creating physical file folders, at first I thought it was old-fashion but as I put his advice to practice, I noticed how ready I was to answer questions, give information, and easily switch gears from project to project. The goal is to free up your mind to do more proactive and creative thinking, to think less about what you need to do and to think more about the things you need to do.

A vision without a task is but a dream, a task without a vision is drudgery, a vision and a task is the hope of the world.” From a church in Sussex, England 1730

Discovering when my energy level was at its highest and lowest has helped me tattle the projects more affectedly. Mornings for me is when my brain is the most active, so that’s when its best to learn something new, work with numbers, or brainstorm. Using every minute of the day to keep getting things done, whether its reaching a goal, making your deadlines at work or making time to spend with the people you love, it all can be done by taking the time to learn how to plan and prepare.

“People are always blaming their circumstance for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them” George Bernard Shaw

Stop worrying about what you need to do, and create a to-do list – everyday. 🙂

 

Forever a Student

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We live in a great time where we don’t have to go to a room to be a student. We are the generation raised by the Internet, its up to us how we use it. I recently started looking on youtube key words, “start up business” or “photography lighting” to learn from professionals. I want to use the knowledge given freely to learn more about the skills I want to develop. I’ve probably watched every Steve Jobs interview out there.

Creative live.com is one great resources I discovered years ago. If you catch a live showing, the classes are free. They have workshops with professionals on all kinds of subjects. A course I’ve bought was from celebrity wedding photographer, Joe Buissink. Hearing how he developed his business and his photography style has been so helpful to me. There is no excuses when it comes to learning something new. I encourage you to find resources that can make you better at what you do and to keep on growing.

Don’t Stop Moving

20140228_210534Time again I get so wrapped up in success that I can lose the essence of who I am. That child like faith and dreamer begins to fade away and numbers and figures become more important. Today, as I heard the kids playing outside so carelessly, I remembered the possibility of life. I know those who are my age have gone past I want to save the world stage and now its I need to pay my bills. I read on twitter from thirtysomethings telling the twentysomethings –stay in college, it’s not better out here.

For me, I can’t help but still hear my young heart telling me all things are possible. As my generation moves towards adult hood, we must remember that making a difference takes time. It may not happen in 10 years, 20 years or even our lifetime but it doesn’t mean to give up. We shouldn’t allow discouragement to come so easily -overcoming is not easy. Doing something big is not easy. We’ve read all the quotes, we know how to write inspiring text ourselves. We’ve read the lives of those who passed on before us, who believed in doing something bigger than themselves. We made them into heroes as if they were supernatural beings. We forget they were once were we are. They had the desire to the dream for more.

It’s easy to get caught up with the numbers and forget the story were are part of. We forget we are not the main character that the camera follows. We’re part of a community of people who are moving towards the same goal -to see this world a better place. God has made us apart of the answer, we play apart of the solution.

We are to do our part where were at and doing the best we possibly can to live a life of obedience when we hear that voice in our hearts. We can make it so complicated and talk ourselves out of it. The hippies had something there, love, hope, peace but took a wrong turn and gave their lives to drugs. That generation is now our leaders, they’ve learned a lot along the way, and there are some who are still working hard, raising up a new generation to carry the movement forward.

I don’t want to be the generation who just had good intentions but I want to be part of the action that does something. We continue to write in our rooms blogging, Instagram and Face booking hoping were doing something of importance. Time will tell the impact we end up making. We have so much freedom and knowledge, will we waste it? I know that I have to keep the young dreamer heart movement going, I have to keep moving.

A spiritual leader once told me I had the beauty of Esther. Looking back he was probably crazy but his encouragement lead me to believe I can have influence. I can be like all the 30 year olds – logical, pay my bills and minding my own business but I can’t help but want to do more.

And so I continue the journey..

don’t stop moving.

Starting Something New

12166387224_f8d3bd9e2a_cThe current in thing is start up companies. Everyone is doing it. But to be honest, it’s not very glamorous to start a new business. No one knows who you are and you have little credibility. All you have is to hope people trust you.

This weekend we had a very successful speaker and author visit our church. He is wealthy, has a beautiful family, sales millions of books, and travels the world. As I listened to him talk about the early days of having no money and being a newlywed living in an empty apartment, I realized success takes time.

I see many successful large churches celebrating their 25th and 30th anniversary. For as long as I’ve been alive, they’ve been building the church. When I look at the old footage, I see a young passionate person preaching to a crowd of 20 people as if they were speaking to thousands, not knowing that one day they would.

It’s easy to be discouraged when starting something new. It’s tempting to give up and stop trying. But I’m encouraged of the lives of the generation before me that things take time to grow and success is something that is built. It’s those early days of creating the foundation that will determine how long something last.

Day Off

When James asked me if I wanted to go Kayaking on my day off, it sounded more like work to me. I’ve never been the out door person but he kept instigating it would be fun.

coffee The beginning of any good trip start with coffee. There’s this little place in Newport called Alta, probably the best coffee in town. Newport is always very chill and no one seems to be working. This is the best place for a workaholic to relax.

Kayaking  When we made our way to kayak I was a little worried it would be a lot of physical work. The guys joked that Gus would be the one doing all the work but I knew I could keep up if I tried. I found being out in the water was very relaxing, looking at the blue sky, hearing the birds.

food After, we cleaned up and asked the owners of the kayaking company where there is a good place to eat, they recommended Eat Chow. We figured we would try something new and check out this new place.

the beach  After we drove around town to  Huntington Beach and walked around. It seemed like everyone in town was outside enjoying the sun too.

shopping  Since we live about 40 miles away from the beach we knew that traffic was going to be bad. We hung out and shopped a little at The Lab. They have cute vintage stores and of course an Urban.

Days off – they’re the greatest! Now back to work 🙂