Give It Some Grace Space

A few weeks ago, when I was directing I said a phase that made me stop in my tracks. As I was teaching a new volunteer how to use the follow camera I told him, “the tighter you are in, the harder it is to follow. Why don’t you give yourself some grace space and zoom out a little.”

When I heard the phase grace space come out of my mouth, I began to think about what that meant. I started to think about past experiences since being an adult. I remember being 18 having to make some big decisions. I wasn’t sure what I was suppose to do or where I was suppose to go. I had no money, only a high school diploma, and no experience.

The only thing I had was grace.

I remember praying and asking God for direction. He helped me see who I was and why I was. From there, I realized I was creative and could make something of this. Now that I am close to being 30, looking back, I see my path was perfectly planed. Some of the biggest obstacles that I faced helped me figure out where to go next.

Though you may not have it all figured out, that’s okay. Give it some grace space, zoom out a little. 🙂

 

 

Command D + Me

When I started editing for church the only thing I was worried about was me and my deadline. I’d often joke that I needed to clone myself. I remember working with other young editors and seeing them make mistakes while thinking, “they’ll learn.”

A lot has changed since then especially the way I work. I train others as if tomorrow I will not be there. I’ve learned that training other people will not only benefit me or them, but the team. I use to be hesitant to teach my job to others in fear of losing it but it took me years to learn, that is what suppose to happen. When I step out of my old position, I am able to move to a new level.

I now see each individual that is interested in learning production as an extra set of hands. Though it may seem easier to work alone, there are times when more than one person is necessary. The time it takes to teach another person will be time given ten times over in the future. In the video office, I want to create a culture of command D’ing. I am now training others to train others..  I love adding to the team, I enjoy witnessing a new comer give me a perfect shot.

When we teach others, it re-teach us and sharpen our skills.

On that occasion I have to critique, I then explain to them the ‘why’. The next time they are faced with a similar problem, they are able to find a solution on their own.

Though I wanted to command D+ me something better took place.. new artist and storytellers were born. And when its time to say good-bye to them. I can stand as a proud parent knowing that God is at work in their life and I was just a set of helping hands.

As you grow in skill and knowledge, also grow in number. Don’t try to do it all by yourself. Command Dimage*.

*command D is a short cut in After Effects that duplicates a layer.

Blog: The Director’s Cut

The director’s cut is when the editor creates a specialized version that represent the director’s own approved edit. This sometimes means having more scenes with more information about the characters and can ultimately have a different ending.

The past few weeks I’ve been living the Director’s cut. Which isn’t bad, just not what I pictured. I prefer fast transitions and getting to the point, but it seems the Director is fond of subtle transformations that hold significant lessons. I am noticing these unexpected scenes are indeed adding beauty to my story. There are times when I receive random snippets and have no idea how they will fit with each other. Its up to me to do something with each component and prepare for what the Director gives me next. I can expect to make a few mistakes along the way, but all I can really do is learn from them.  Sometimes as an editor, what may have been a mistake might be the very thing I was looking for. So Im allowing myself to take a few risk.

I can see the theme of faith, hope, and courage. The heart of my character is being challenged. I am learning a lot about overcoming fear and trust. Though I am tempted to question the director’s art, I trust Him. He knows what He’s doing and where He is taking the story. After all, He knows the end.

The amazing thing is He listens to me. I tell Him what I think about the story and the vision I see when I close my eyes. He takes all my ideas in to account. When I least expect it, He hands me something better than what I dreamt of. I say, “Wow, you got this from my idea?” and He answers, “It was our idea, we dreamt it together, this project is as much as yours as it is mine.”

I want the movie of my life to be God’s heart beat.   Although I am eager to know what happens, I am telling myself to enjoy the journey and to keep on being a diligent worker- to be open, to learn, grown, create, dream, pursue, read, laugh, visit, travel, seek and love.

Seven questions with an Independent Film Maker

Nick Khoo was born in New Zealand and raised in Australia. I met him when I was an editor in Sydney. Even though he was my mentor, Nick became one of my best friends.

Nick is a very talent motion graphic artist and video editor. His first film, The Shot Down recently premiered in a theater in Australia. He wrote, directed, edited, created animation bits and color graded the film.

Nick didn’t wait for permission to create a film. He took a life goal upon himself and worked hard.

He gathered his friends together, picked up a camera and told a story.

The Shoot Down – Trailer

Here are seven questions with Nick Khoo:

1. Why was creating this film important to you?
It was becoming apparently that no one was going to just give you an opportunity to make a feature film, so I decided to make one for myself. I had read Robert Rodriguez’s “Rebel without a crew” and it just energised me so much that I thought that the only thing holding me back from making a film was me. And being from a church background you are constantly being challenged about making your limited resources work to your advantage. So looking at everything at my disposal I thought, well now I really don’t have an excuse.

2. What did you learn about being a Director?
Being a director is hard work. You are constantly planning. I read a little blog about how George Lucas on making the first Star Wars would get up at 6am, drive to the site,shoot all day, come back by 8pm, plan for the next day and be in bed by 1am. Then the whole process started again. Even with such a small team like ours, I found this timetable to be extremely true. The other thing I learned is you need to be a good people person otherwise I don’t think you can get the best performances out of your actors. And being from a post production background I definitely found it advantageous to know what things I could fix in post and what things we had to shoot again.

3. What did you learn being the film’s Editor?
Editing a film of this size requires you to see more of the bigger picture and not get bogged down in the smaller details. But I had worked on 30 minute documentaries before so I was very used to working on pacing for something at least that long. One of the things I learned while editing at church is make sure the you keep the pace. And with anything that is long form, you are constantly making sure that parts of the movie don’t lag or bring the whole story to a complete halt.

4. What type of difficulties did you come across and how did you over come them?
It was insane the amount of things that went wrong during the shoot. Even on the day before the premiere we had so many things go wrong that were out of my control! We had shot the movie during the middle of winter so everyone on the team, minus Sam, got the flu at some stage. We were all very medicated 🙂 We also had a harddrive crash which cost us a mint to get fixed, dealing with short days in Winter, dealing with long days in Summer, organising locations to shoot, feeding our crew, picking up gear, dropping off gear, shooting at a beach at night in the middle of winter.
All in all though, the best thing we had at our disposal was a good crew, and a good plan of action. Without those things, I reckon you’d be stuffed.

5. How did you finances the film?
Finances were generously donated by my folks, Sarah Vickery, Kurt Jaeger and self funded by myself (trust me, it was very cheap film)

6. What type of gear did you use?
We shot everything on a Panasonic HVX202 with a P+S Adapter and Carl Zeiss Lenses. We also had an audio mixer with a Sennheiser boom mic, a set of red heads, dimmer box, a wally dolly and tripod and a few reflectors.

7. What was it like watching your film in a theater?
Watching the film with people in a theatre was quite a rush I must say. It is always nice to watch your work up on a big screen in a dark theatre and hearing people respond to various parts of the film. All in all I am very happy with how people are responding to this film.

The Shoot Down is fun, honest and entertaining. Not sure if Nick is going to release it to the public, but when he does I’ll make sure to let you know.

Connect with Nick:

Website

Twitter

Vimeo

Youtube

The long awaited DEMO REEL

Finally I completed my demo reel. Creating a demo reel has been a goal of mine for years. It’s interesting to see all of my best work in a video that isn’t even a minute long. So many years, hours and days put in to creating the visual effects and stories.

I am very fortunate to get paid to do what I love and what I believe in. Most of these projects were created for The Rock Church and some of them my personal work.

You see 5 frame clips but I remember the battle of each video along with their victories.

Film Making

A writer, afraid to write

A preacher, afraid to preach

A singer, afraid to sing

and me, a film maker.

The obstacle is fear itself.

The obstacle is indeed myself.

When I was a child, I filmed stories for fun.

Now as an adult, I run from telling the stories I daydream about.

Give me a camera and I’ll take photos of you.

I’ll share them with the world.

Give me a computer and I will edit a video for you.

You will smile at how I made your thoughts come alive.

The stories I have in my heart,

they are beginning to come out.

The first short film I made was to impress a boy.

The second was an attempt.

But the third,

will there be a third?

It’s easy for me to do everything else but what I really want to do.

Film make.

Most will shrug their shoulders and say I’ve seen better.

But it will be worth it when it causes a person to see their reflection.

It will be worth it when a person who has never heard God’s voice in their life,

hear it,

see it,

notice Him.