Dear Thirties

Dear Thirties,

You forgot to tell me about Mrs. Aging. I didn’t know she was going to come after me! She has always left me alone until now. I really don’t know what to do with her, should I embrace her or tell her to go away, ignore her phone calls? She now has Mrs. Wisdom sending me messages which I don’t mind. In fact, I very much enjoy her conversations. She likes to take me out for coffee and reminds me about the beautiful things that I have learned in life. Mrs. Wisdom tells me she will leave me alone when I ignore her but Mrs. Aging will not tolerate it. I have promised them both that I would take care of my self, I also admit I still keep in touch with Kid Youth.

“Everyone my age still hangs out with Kid Youth, even when they have their own kids! My generation doesn’t want to kick him out of the house. They say he can stay as long as he wants.”

Mrs. Wisdom tells me I will miss out on life if I keep hanging out with Kid Youth, “There is so much new things to see and experience, plus you will get to know me more.” She smiles and sips her tea. She loves her tea, she tells me her favorite is Chai, but also enjoys Passion tea. I am happy to hear she likes to mix it up.

Thirties, I am still confused on who you are, even though we have been together for three years, I really don’t know where you want to take me. Mrs. Aging says you just care about the clock ticking, and making money or buying a house.  But I know you aren’t so shallow, you are deeper than that. I am writing you to tell you, I am listening to what you are saying. I understand Kid Youth will always be fun to talk to, but we can’t be best friends like we use to. Sometimes I gotta go and hang out with Mr. Responsibility. He’s not that fun but I always feel great when I listen to him. Plus, he pays my bills and keeps me from doing stupid stuff, like giving up on paying off my debt.

Anyways, I am excited about the plans that you’ve shared with me of what you would like to do in the upcoming years. I really wish Mr. Time would slow down. He never seems to take a break.

Please write back. I know we won’t be together forever and I would really like to get to know you. Tell Miss. Twenties I am very thankful for her and all the fun adventures we had.

Until next time,

M.

Photography Style

I started teaching myself photography when I couldn’t find the type of photos I needed for design work. I read websites and discovered photographers I wanted to be like. I asked friends if they would let me photography them to practice. I copied other photographers and found myself struggling at shoots.

It wasn’t until this year, nine years since I started learning photography did I finally discover my style. The answer wasn’t in a web seminar or a blog, the answer was found when I became the client.

What type of photos do you want your photographer to take on your special day?

As a bride, I wanted a photographer that knew how to capture random moments, notices happy accidents, and sees those moments no one else notices. As I looked for a photographer I kept seeing shots that could be googled.

Looking at your work, which ones are your favorite shots?

I realized I was the photographer I wanted to hire! There must be others out there who would like my style… I have a style!!!

When shooting Miranda’s graduation pictures, the day went so smooth. I was able to direct her with ease. She felt comfortable and we had fun! Photography no longer felt like work. After all the years of struggling with my settings, dealing with harsh sunlight, nervous subjects, and flash malfunctions, I was able to capture shots I am proud of because I gave myself permission to be the photography I am – not what I think others want.  All the normal elements that go wrong didn’t stop me from capturing photos I loved.

 

 

Book: Church History in Plain Language

I found myself with a lot of questions about how, why, when, who is who when it came to church history. As a someone who works and goes to a large church you can understand why I developed these questions. I’d often hear the wisdom of others share knowledge about different theologians but I wanted to study the development of the modern day church for myself.

When I was browsing the book store around Christmas time I came across, Church History in Plan Language by Bruce L. Shelley. I must admit I was drawn to the graphic design of the cover, but as I opened the book I discovered this was the book I was looking for. Each chapter was about a momental movement or new wave of thought that the church went through.

I was astonish to discover just how little I really knew about Christianity – and I went to bible college! Maybe I missed that class but chances are I wasn’t listening. History has always come off as boring, but I realized its all in who is telling the story.

Every chapter of the book I was on edge of what movement was going to happen next, What form of ideology was the next generation going to bring? What teacher was going to become the father of a new denomination? What scripture was going to be taken to extreme? And the horror of what group of people were going to be martyred next.. I began to connect A to B to C… and so on. It became clear that nothing is new under the sun. Culture come up with “new” outlooks on religion or life all the time, and I see the same ideas were developed in the fourth century, eight century or early twentieth century..

I do admit, I miss the book, I miss reading about this very subject. I ordered a few new books on the Pietists by Johann Arndt that took place in Germany.

The Pietists essence of faith is a personal experience of God’s grace in the believer’s heart.

“Any religion that becomes the religion of the majority and slowly turns into a social habit tends to grow humdrum and flat, regardless of its original glow of enthusiasm. So it proved in many areas of Lutheran Germany.” 

“Pietism was the fountain of all modern revivals. it set the experience of new life in Christ at the center of the Christian message and the Christian ministry. for this reason it is impossible to think of Evangelical Christianity today without the imprint of Pietism.” 

The way I think,  I’ve always taken it for granted, never conquering where I got it from. A great example:  I remember when I traveled for the first time, I saw how differently everyone thought. Going to church in a different country I learned a new color of faith. The Australian attitude was, “Why not try, and step out in faith, not sure if you heard from God? Well give it a go and see..” While most American’s mindset was, “I gotta hear from God 100% precent before I make a move.” …leaving most frozen, never attempting to do anything.

Last, I loved hearing what is taking place today in the global church – how God is moving in China, Africa, and South America. Learning how their culture has a direct impact on the way they learn about God. I love how different we all are, it shows how God can become very personal to a person.

The West typically reads the didactic and missionary letters of Paul as a key to reading the remainder of the bible. Some Africans take Leviticus to be central. They identify with of holiness and ritual  .Some Asian Christians concentrate upon Proverbs, where they find that God has interest in wisdom that they once sought in Confucian sources. Christians in the Global south seem to appropriate the Bible in a direct manner; they read with a sense of immediacy as though the Bible was written directly to them. Western readers, by contrast, observe a historical distance between the world as they see it and the world of the Bible. 

I see how influential the church has been to society, governments and communities around the world. I am encouraged that I am indeed a part of history. 

Book: Making Ideas Happen

We’ve all heard, “Fake it until you make it.” Well, I’ve never been a good actor and my awkward facial expressions revile I haven’t a clue what I’m doing.

Last month was one of the most challenging at work, our conferences demand innovations, creativity, and meeting tight deadlines. I found myself with a large work load which for a second I allowed myself to get overwhelmed. I started to ask the questions, “What would I do if I were a creative director? How would I lead my team of designers and other visual communicators? How would I approach clients with ideas instead of waiting for them to give me the answers?”

I began to search for more insight on line and found, Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky. I bought the audio book so I could listen while I worked. It gave me great insight that I wasn’t the only creative who was going through what I was facing. Many big corporations and marketing firms where facing the same issues, “How can we make creative ideas happen? 

It was nice to learn how to be a creative director. I never thought of myself as one, but the more I listened I saw I had been organizing creative ideas with my team for the past year. Here are some of my highlight notes.

Creative plus structure and organization equals impact
Ideas = impact

When having brainstorm meetings leave with action steps. Each person needs to own their action steps, have everyone repeat them back to be sure they understood.

Capture ideas by creating a place where you can save references, ready for you when you need them. I started to save images of instragram photos I really like for later inspiration. Blog: Be Deliberate with Instragram 

Create your “to-do list” with action steps using a verb: ex: capture new footage and delete off SD card.

Write awaiting if it includes another person’s responds. Use the word Insure to remind yourself the task isn’t complete. ex: awaiting video approval, insure Jane approves before it’s uploaded.

Share knowledge with your team: Email team to submit leadership, marketing or production article or podcast: something they learned or that’s interesting.

Have a back binder idea list, maybe now isn’t the time for the project, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be used for the future. 

Get action steps from team confirmed, so you know it’s understood it

Idea: Create an energy line on a white board, create note cards listing projects and place on a line of urgent, importance, future. 

Challenge meetings: this doesn’t make sense, why are we doing this..

Make the changes in the beginning of the projects and not during the project’s launch 

Celebrate progress when task is complete

Idea: Post it note to do list

Allow your team to get in the zone. A good sign is head phones. 

Organization is a major force into making ideas happen

All fantastic ideas for leading a team of creative with major projects that have heavy deadlines. After all was done, I saw myself in a new light. I just added another skill to my resume of life. I later heard a teaching from,  Paul Scanlon who is a pastor in the UK say, “Dress for where you are going… The movement beginnings inside you first.”

After completing the book, I was able to approach stressful situations with an idea of what to do, what to say and what ideas worked best for my team. I was also able to empower those who where making large decisions it was okay to experiment and try different things out.

So I encourage you. – Give your self a promotion and start dressing for the part.

 

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.

Audio Interview: Documentry Filmmaker, Tony Poon

I recently worked on a freelance project for a friend who lives in Hong Kong. Tony started his own film production company a few years ago and since then has worked with many non-profits around the world. He invited me to assistant with subtitles and color grade his latest documentary and to cut the trailer together.

We just completed the project and I asked him for an interview to discuss the different things he learned and to give some insight on being a freelance filmmaker.

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Audio: Advice to a New Editor

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Duration 20 minutes (Audio doesn’t work on mobiles)

Audio Notes:

After Effects – Motion Graphics & Effects – Free Basic Training

Final Cut Pro – Video Editing software – Paid Basic Training

Ask yourself: What is your goal?

Learning software and try out what you want to do.

Be honest with yourself on what you really want to do.

Best experiences: Volunteering & Interning

After Effect example video

Movie Scene Project Blog

Learn by doing.

School is good if you can, if not put yourself in your own school.

READ AND DO. Book list blog & After Effects

Give yourself projects; You’ll learn the language of video, pace, time management, learn from mistakes.

Learn from failure. It will happen, learn how to grow from it.

Challenge yourself, “Have I improved?”

Have a platform where you can share your work.

Success comes by working hard.

When your working hard on something you love, it doesn’t feel like work at all.

Blog: My vintage baby (my nephew)

Video of my nephew visiting my grandpa.

Don’t get caught up making stuff for money, money will come, if you love doing what you do people will see that and hire you to do it.

A paid shoots

The important part is knowing what you’re doing.

Using what you have.

Learn the fundamentals on how to tell a story. Book: Blink of an Eye by Walter Murch

Free Mpeg Stream clip download

Freelance: ask, “Do you have a budget for this?” ask yourself, “What is my time worth?”

Volunteering and interning: your pay is the experiences.

Create projects that you want to get hired to do.

People will pay you to do what they already know you can do, they don’t want to pay for your experiment they want to pay for a guaranteed product.

Put yourself in your own school, read books, give yourself projects and deadlines.

Learn how to manage others: communication is key, don’t be afraid to ask for help, to correct, to critique.

Do it all in love for the greatness of the team. The goal is to get things done, by the deadline.

PC: After Effects & Premiere.

Mac: After Effects & Final Cut Pro. (Editing for Film: Avid)

You need the experiences, you need to prove what you can do.

Editing is a lot like life, you’re putting it together.

Get a journal: write projects and creative ideas.

Use your creative muscle.

Creatlive.com – Photography class on line

**share your work with me**

Life is beautiful and I desire to share that with everyone… awwww 🙂

Hope this helped. Feel free to ask any questions that you might have.

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Bobby Roth Directing Seminar

A few weeks ago my sister called and told me about a famous director who’d worked on projects like Prison Break & Lost teaching a class in LA. He plan to talk about working in the tv industry, how he got there, working with actors, and how to direct. I knew this class would teach me what I have lacked. I’ve directed for years on projects but never felt good at it. This class was my opportunity to finally learn from a professional.  I got really excited at the thought of learning from someone who has worked on projects that I enjoyed. A list of questions began to develop inside my head.

Since I do photography professionally, I now have this “creative fund.” It’s extra money that goes to anything that is creative. I knew to get better at my craft,  I have to invest in it.

I took twelve pages of notes. He told us that being a good director is a growth process. One of the major themes during the class was about preparation and doing the homework. He said some thought he was silly when he would have detailed shot list, even to which lens he would use but for him, being prepared made him able to direct better. He did all the thought process before hand so that on the day of shooting, he knew exactly what he needed to capture.  A lot of what he said made perfect sense.

-Have a clear vision ahead of time.

-See it though the lens, every shot.

-Don’t do too many of the same shots, it will wear the actor down.

-Be the leader and a guest when directing on another’s project.

-Use different lens as part of the storytelling process.

-Keep the day of shooting moving forward, don’t allow time to be wasted.

-Casting is key. Don’t base your choice on looks or popularity.

-Look for ways to be re-inspired.

-Don’t miss up confidences, use your own judgment.

-Tie yourself to material that is great.

-Be ready when you get “your chance.”

(Current economics) -There is no longer a safe job, everything is in danger.

-Not just for the sake of it but to tell the story a better way.

-Be comfortable in telling others what to do.

-Find what is best about you and work with that.

So much of the dialog was about his experiences and what he learned from them. At the end of the class we got in to a discussion about the lack of female directors. I really liked what one of the students said, “All of us have our, ‘Oh my God, I’m this.'” I sat there and listened to the discussion and knew what my, “Oh my God, I’m this” is. It’s not the fact that I’m a girl, a mexican, from a low-income area but its.. I’m a Christian. I’m not just a Christian but I’m a seeker of Christ. I live it everyday. I’ve been dumped because I was one, I’ve been dumped by a Christian boy because I was a real one. haha. I’ve had to pass up opportunities on projects because it compromise my morals. Not to say I’ll be uptight about everything, I just know there are some scenes I wouldn’t feel comfortable being apart of.

God has always been faithful and brought better and bigger opportunities for me. We all have our mountains to climb but I know that God will be with me through the journey. “Find what is best about you and work with that.” -My heart for God. My passion and devotion to Him. He’s the Creator who is my inspiration. I don’t know if I will ever be a professional director, but I have a feeling I will be and I have to be prepared for it. One thing Bobby said that ended the class was, “It’s not impossible but it may be hard. Focus on the work, have strength, patience and be professional.”

Update: This morning I had two filmings that I needed to do. I did my homework last night, tested all my gear, packed everything, wrote my thoughts and questions down and got a good nights rest. Today I had the smoothest filming experience of my life. I’m really excited to put these tips in to practice. I’m glad I took the class.

Look for ways to invest in your craft.

Bobby Roth, professional television director and independent film maker.