Lessons from a baby

I’ve always been a person who tries to learn lessons from life around me. It’s probably years of Sunday school classes and trying to find the lesson in the Bible stories.

I just started feeding my daughter, Portland solid foods. It’s been fun seeing her facial reactions to different vegetables and fruit. Her first reaction is usually unsure if she likes the new taste, by the second bite she is smiling big and wants more fast. She often tries to grab the spoon and put more in her mouth by herself. She once was so excited, she grabbed the small cup I was feeding her from and tried to eat it. I laughed and said, “You can’t eat the whole thing at once!” When I said it, I stopped and laughed to myself, so that’s what I’m trying to do! When it comes to all the new dreams and ideas I’m having, I’m trying to do everything at once. For the past month, I’ve been enjoying being a mom full time and being creative on the side whenever I get the chance. I started writing more here and making YouTube videos weekly. As I’m pouring my extra time into these areas I’m waiting like… ok when is this going to pay off? In other words, I’m trying to eat the cup just like my little girl. It doesn’t work that way, it’s one small bite at a time.

From the moment I learned how to do graphic design all the way to graduating as an editor, I’ve intern and got hired to help other people build their vision. I didn’t mind, since at 22 I didn’t really have one myself. It’s easier to help others build theirs. When it comes to my dreams, I’m often changing my mind on how to go about it, or ask the question; is it worth the risk? Rediscovering my creativity and refining new dreams has become a process in which I am learning new things about myself.

I guess if anything, my daughter is teaching me to enjoy the experience of life.

Thank you to those who enjoy my post and liking them, I hope you are also learning with me new things about life and are encouraged.

Book: Every Idea is a Good Idea

I look at books as mentors. Its my way of having a cup of coffee with an expert on any given subject I’d like to learn more about. Seems like there is a new wave of books are being written – sharing information.

I discovered, Every Idea is a Good Idea by Tom Sturges while at the book store with my nephews. As they were checking out the toys, I was drawn to this book because of the cover. I loved the simple design idea. It had a retro look to it. When I opened it, I read a small part about how to create new ideas. Since I am collector of ideas, and depend on my found research to create new work, I got the book.

The first few chapters is more about how successful song writers found their ideas. Though, I’ve only day dreamt of writing a song, it was interesting to hear how iconic songs were written or tv sitcoms came together by discovering and collaborating ideas. How one find’s an idea and makes it into something

Here are some take aways that will encourage you to be prepared to do something with your ideas.

–  You sit and focus completely on your creative goal, almost meditating on it and then with a burst of energy give into the entire first draft of your idea, letting it explode out of your intellect.

– Look for a chance to change what you do and how you do it. Think reinvention, not only of yourself and your creativity but of your process, too.

– Show up every day… sooner or later your talent will emerge.

– See what you are not great at and find someone who is as great as your weak links as you are at your strongest.

– Only you can complete your thoughts. What ever it is before you get up and walk away make sure it has a beginning and an ending. Do not let your idea just sit there unfinished.

– Mark that spot with the big X and move on; just keep creating. Do not interrupt the flow of your ideas, the pace of you’re thinking, the tempo of your thoughts…Trust your mind to find the right word or phrase later when you’re not under pressure and in the middle of transcribing a new idea from your mind to paper or computer.

– …if it is something big and long and complicated, a table of contents will be a blueprint from which you can more easily and readily access and evaluate the quality of your efforts… keeps the focus of the peace in view.

– “Even half a good idea could inspire someone else’s even better idea.” Ken Levine, television writer

This paragraph describes creativity beautifully.

 – Creativity is the freedom that comes with believing that there is no perimeter, that there is no stopping, that the possibilities of thought are endless. It is the power to believe that there is no shoreline. Creativity is having faith in the sanctity and perfection of the unlimited imagination and the joy of the knowing that ideas are infinitely available, always being refreshed by some deep underground stream feeding into the pristine lake.

Don’t underestimate your ideas. Be ready to do something with them.

I create new ideas from asking questions, being inspired by a phrase I think of. Usually its my opening sentence. An element that attracts me from another’s design, art work or music. Something insightful said by my pastors, boyfriend, or family member. Books, books and books. Podcast, tweets, and past memories. Movies, commercials, and a comment someone says. Anything that makes me say, “Huh.”

Thanks Tom Sturges, I enjoyed the cup of coffee with you exchanging ideas and talking about creativity.

Creating and Editing Videos

The first time I heard the word foundation was when I read the story of the house that was build on the sand. When the storm came, the house was washed away. The house that was built on the rock, when the storm came, it was unmoved. The beauty about the writings from the bible, the words written long ago can teach you just about anything.

As I was teaching my intern how to create and complete a video, I started to share about how important the foundation of creating a video is. Learning how to edit a video isn’t just learning about the software, the computer, or the other tools. Its more than tricks and tips. Its creating a foundation to build your creation on.

3. The Design

The most consuming element in creating a new video is the design. Playing with fonts, images, and video footage to make it attractive and yet make sense. Making those creative decisions can be time consuming, giving yourself space to step away and return to see what you think about your own creation, noticing your first responds, “Ugh!” or “Mmm..” Being creative takes courage to go against the rules you know, even if it is to try it out. There have been times where I spent hours on a design, have only two hours left in the day to work on this project, and make the big decisions to abounded my previous work to try the new idea I have. Usually my new idea takes less time to create, and I’m done by the end of the day. The first idea just wasn’t working and yes I might have used up time but it wasn’t wasted. I knew what didn’t work, and it lead to me what did work.

2. The Vision

Most times, when a project fails, it can be traced back to the lack of brainstorming. You will be surprise how much time you will save if you take the time to think and ask yourself questions. What is the point of this project? Who will be watching this? What do I want people to do after viewing this? What is the purpose? What do I want to say? How do I want to say it? There is pressure to create when you sit in front of a computer. When you open up After Effects and create a new comp, its looking at you waiting for you to move. When I am stuck, and lack vision, I get out paper and draw or write words. I create a map for my creativity to follow. Just in case I began to go off trail, I can return to my points of the story and get back on track. If the vision comes from someone or something else, its up to you to do the research.

1. Your humanity 

The easy way to create something is to copy someone else. Sometimes this works especially when you have 3 hours to create something. But as an artist, we all know we hate being put in those situations. We want to make something that moves people, that communicates our heart and passion. We want to put something out there we can be proud of. The foundation to creating videos is you. Your unique personality, your perspective, your heart, your style. Just like God breathed into man, breath into your creation. Though your day to day projects might not require your heart, put a little in it anyway.

You are the foundation.

The Buzz of the City

The buzz of the city filled the air with endless possibilities. From the moment we saw the bay bridge we knew we were in for an adventure. I imagined young people working in their studio offices making creative decisions that would influence our culture.

The first stop we made was a hidden coffee shop. When I walked in the doors, I saw tables full of people talking and visiting with one another. I was tempted to ask them what they did for a living so I too could be in a coffee shop on a Tuesday morning at 10am hanging out with friends.  We ordered our lattes and pretend we were one of them.

We later made our way to watch the sun set at the beach. The people of the city seemed to be searching for a connection with nature, the parks were full of runners and the beach with surfers. I saw business people in their cars, looking in to the sunlight and an older couple standing at the edge of the sand taking in the moment. Then there was us, talking about hopes for the future.

The drive down the city streets made me forget about what was happening on-line and enjoy the present moment. We kept telling one another to stop taking photos, to look out the window and see what was all around us. 

Once we got inside a pub for dinner, I was glad to see there were no big TV screens on. We told one another to place our phones in the middle of the table and enjoy hanging out with one another. Conversations about business and dreams of making money seemed to light up the room.

We tried to imagine the lives of those who call San Francisco home. Its here that the city encourages individuality.

My favorite part of the trip was when we visited a fancy coffee shop that sold toast and coffee for $10. I figured I was paying for the experience of living a life style I’ve only dreamt of. I was inspired by the big groups of people exchanging ideas. I imaged staff from twitter, or from a new high tech company meeting at these very tables, planning on the next big thing. It made me want to create an encouraging community like this back where I live.

We gave ourself the afternoon to be tourist and to visit some well known locations.

A friend told us to visit the Golden Gate Bridge from a different location. I enjoyed hanging out by the water, listening to the birds pass by, laughing and making jokes with one another.

On our final night we left the car behind, and took public transport. We wanted to blend in and feel what it was like to live in such a thriving city. One thing is for sure, living in the city there is very little room for personal space.

I thought the city was beautiful at night, but at sunrise, it glows with hope.

I’ve been to San Francisco many times, but this time I finally captured the heart of what San Fran is all about.

Be yourself…no matter how weird you are. 

Blog: Inspiration Killers

As someone who gets paid to be creative, I take inspiration seriously. If I am not inspired, it will show in my work.

To me inspiration isn’t a moment but its a mood. I have to be in the inspiration mood in order to keep on creating.

Here is a list of inspiration killers; things to stay away from if working on a project. Though some of these items can sometimes inspire, most of the time it affects the creative groove.

-Social Media- There are time when I feel that burst of inspiration and get on my computer, ready to write a blog or do some editing but first, I decide to check my Facebook. I suddenly start thinking about what my friend in third grade did that weekend, or what my aunt up north is thinking. Reading everyone’s thoughts causes me to lose my own. I then sit at my blank canvas and realize.. my inspiration has been lost.

-Stress- Maybe this is a given, but having a peaceful mind keeps the inspiration flowing. I can’t think about bills, things on my to-do-list, politics, and especially personal life drama. I use to think that heart break was the queen of inspiration but all it does is cause depressing work… I have to be at peace with the world to focus on creativity. What is in the heart will show up in your work.

-Empathetic- You gotta care what you are working on. If you don’t neither will anyone elses.

-Procrastination-  When I have a project that is due in two hours, I’m not feeling inspiration I’m feeling the deadline. My desire to make the best video ever has now just turned in to getting it down NOW. When I wait for the last minute to work on a project, the project starts to feel like a huge weight on my shoulders- killing inspiration. I no longer have time to try new ideas or fine tune my writing. I wasted that time procrastinating. Don’t wait for last-minute, give your self time to be creative.

-Messy Space- Those who works with me know that I am all about having the office clean. If I am looking at a blank time line and a dirty office, I will most likely clean before I start editing. A clean space allows you to focus on your work and not the mess on the floor.

-Lack of Sleep- You don’t want to create you want to sleep! Your brain needs time to recharge.

-Interruptions- Random interruptions are like stop lights. Get in a place where people won’t bother you. I don’t know how people go to coffee shops to work, I get distracted by the blender, the woman on the phone, the couple in the corner giggling or the door opening and closing. When its time to work, I gotta get in a quiet place. Closing the door can be the best thing for you.

-Lighting- Restaurants have figured this out, lighting sets the mood. For years my office use to have those ugly fluorescent lights. It use to make me feel like a work rat. I brought a desk lamp, turned off my office lights and set the mood. When the creative office was remodeled our boss put in track lighting for us.

-Looking too much at others work- Growing up a great piece of advice I learned as a girl was, “don’t look at beauty magazine, they will only make you feel ugly.”  Looking too much at others work may cause you to lose your own ideas or worse, you may start to feel inadequate to create. Your greatest ideas will come from within.

-The burn out- If you are doing too much, then your cup will run dry. As someone who freelance, sometimes saying no can be the best thing for me. Be a good steward of your creativity.

-Junk Food- The days where I eat healthy I am attentive to my work. Because I feel good, I want to create something that will “change the world.” But when I eat junk food, I return to work wanting to sleep. I also feel guilty for eating bad which makes me feel fat and ugly. I once interviewed an 80-year-old woman and asked her to give some advice, she told me the brain stays sharp when you eat right.

Working for Free- This one is the monster of inspiration killer. In the beginning days, expect to do work for free, you are getting paid in experience but there comes a point when your creativity/work becomes valuable.

When its for your growth, its call investing in your creativity but when someone ask you to do something they know you can do and expect it for free – its called being used. When you agree to do work for no pay and you know you aren’t getting a dime for it – not even 20 bucks- the job becomes a burden. Suddenly you don’t feel like going the extra mile to make the project great and rightly so, you aren’t getting paid, why should you?

When I know I am getting paid WELL for work, I feel valued and my work reflects that.

We’ve all been in that place where it seems like we are all out of ideas. Look at the elements of your life and see if there is anything currently killing your inspiration. Maybe its as simple as your lighting.

How to Make a Music Video —

<<back to tutorial Archives

I received an email asking how to make a music video. I may not be super qualified to answer this question because I make all kinds of other videos but that doesn’t mean you or I can not make a music video. It just means we gotta learn how to complete the task with what we have.

Here is the first part of the question:
“so as you know im trying to be a video editor but since i dont have video footage to edit 😦 i am trying to learn cinematography..do you have any advice or path as to where i could learn to be a good cinematographer/ photographer..do you have any crash course on cinematography or pointers on making a music video”

I know how you feel! I often say I will write and direct my own film just so I can edit it. I saw that I too needed to get better at my video cinematography back in 2009. I figured the best way to do this was to learn photography. I called photography the braces for camera operators. When we shoot video we are so use to moving, but with photography you have to stay still and make your shot interesting. You are now focusing on lighting, composition, exposer, the background, and the message of your photo. I challenged myself by buying a film camera. Now I only had 24 frames to use, and each one was costing me $1.50. My first major journey with film was when I traveled to Puerto Rico. Here are some of my shots.

When you get in to photography you will also learn a lot about focal length and how the lens you use is part of the story telling.

Using a fisheye lens makes thing appear distorted and from another world, it also brings focus to the center of the frame. I see this lens use a lot in music videos.
The type of lighting that is use sets up the mood. Hip hop videos love using lights, it makes things look flashy and adds contrast. Using the natural sunset light can make the video look romantic and hopeful.
The fun thing about making a music video is that anything goes. You can create a story to the song, or you can make it random. The task is to make it entertaining for the eyes and to follow the music. Some famous music videos cut every three seconds and some are of one continues shot. I’ve seen some where its just a girl singing, and others where its a party dancing. Watch videos from the 80’s and the ones of now – take notes on what you enjoyed and what you liked. Then gather all those ideas and let them inspire your own creative thoughts.

Keep in mind that when creating a music video – the more footage the better. Have fun and share what you create!

Here are some interesting examples:

multi- screens

using real elements

visual multiplication

One shot

What are your favorite music videos and why? Which ones stick out in your memory? Share them with us.

<<back to tutorial Archives

Book: Imagine How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer

I think I underlined the whole book, Imagine How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer. It challenged my outlook on a subject I thought I knew all about.

Carrying this book around, I had lots of people asked me what I was reading.  The woman on the plane, one of my best friends while on holiday, on a coffee date, it seemed as though this book was sparking lots of great conversations. Its full of great insight and stories of other creatives like Bob Dylan or the team at Pixar. It was causing me to pay more attention to my daydreams and thoughts. It taught me the value of my ideas.

Before reading this book I thought I understood creativity, I assumed my best ideas came from somewhere else. The imagination was somehow outsourced. I’ve recognized it is God that designed the brain and now its up to me to learn how to use it.

Some quotes:

“The concept is only the start of the process. The hardest work always comes after, when you’re trying to make the idea real.” – Harry West, Inventor

“Once we know how creativity works, we can make it work for us.”

“There’s no such thing as a creative type. As if creative people can just show up and make stuff up. As if it were that easy. I think people need to be reminded that creativity is a verb, a very time-consuming verb. It’s about taking an idea in your head, and transforming that idea into something real. And that’s always going to be a long and difficult process. If you’re doing it right, it’s going to feel like work.” – Milton Glaser, graphic designer, creator of “I (heart) NY”

“The lesson of letting go is that we constrain our own creativity. We are so worried about playing the wrong note or saying the wrong thing that we end up with nothing at all, the silence of the scared imagination.”

“The young know less, which is why they often invent more.”

“If you can keep finding new challenges, then you can think like a young person even when you’re old and gray, that idea gives us hope.” Dean Simonton, psychologist studying the Quetelet’s approach

“You must constantly try to forget what you already know.”

“Unless we learn to share our ideas with others, we will be stuck with a world of seemingly impossible problems. We can either all work together or fail alone.”

“Technology inspires art, and art challenges the technology.”

“..the best meetings happen by accident.” Darla Anderson, an executive producer at Pixar

“What I’ve learned to look for is the individual voice. It might be an aesthetic, or a sentence style, or the way of holding the camera. But having that unique voice is the only thing I can’t teach…You either have something to say or you don’t.” Dan Wieden, co founder of one of the most innovative ad agencies.

“The most creative ideas, it turns out, don’t occur when we’re alone. Rather, they emerge from our social circles, from collections of acquaintances who inspire novel thoughts. Sometimes the most important people in life are the people we barely know.”

“The thing about ideas is that they naturally inspire new ones. This is why places that facilitate idea sharing tend to become more productive and innovative than those that don’t Because when ideas are shared, the possibilities do not add up. They multiply.” Paul Romer invented a new theory of economic growth.

“creativity is a key skill for the twenty-first century.”

—- And so much more great insight. Read it. 🙂

Things I like to do

Shop at thrift stores

Take photos with my film camera

Go to church

Visit small coffee shops in different cities

Read self-help books, currently reading, “How to be a Lady.”

Buy vintage dresses

Walk through antic shops as if they were museums

Spring clean my room once a week

See movies at small indie theaters

Listen to older people’s love story.

Live in other countries for more than a year

Make tea for friends

Ride my bike

Play with my nephews

Fly my kite in different places in the world

Write in my journal

Write blogs

Text Veronica randomly

Day dream

Drive with the music loud and windows down

Give homeless people all my change just to see their smile

Record life and make it in to a video

Analogize movies and tv shows

Skype chat but not video chat

Conversations about God to anyone who is willing to add their input

Make strangers laugh

I like when people call me weird, not normal, unique, different, odd, intriguing, mysterious, and charismatic.

Write letters and send them in the mail

Listen to Explosions in the Sky, Sigur Ros, KEXP Song of the day, movie sound tracks

Hanging out in record stories

Get to work earlier than everyone else

Clean my hard drive

Listen to the Daily Audio Bible Podcast

People watch

Make cd-mixes for my music lover friends

Create sound tracks for season of my life

Color my hair

Go out to breakfast with my parents

Buy sweaters and jackets

Watching Felicity, Wonder Years, My so-Called life, Save by the Bell over and over again.

What do you like to do?