Book: Rich Habits

Every morning I listen to the Dave Ramsey channel on iheart radio. I find it helps me focus on one of my major goals to become debt-free. Dave mentioned a book called Rich Habits by Thomas C. Corley. Right away I ordered the book. I began to wonder what type of habits successful people have.

When the book came in the mail I was surprised at how thin it was. The author shared some stories of unsuccessful people who had some small bad habits. Each character was blind to what was causing them to fail in every area of their life.  The final chapters reveled the secrets of successful habits.

“I will form good daily habits and follow these good daily habits everyday.”

At first I thought I didn’t have any bad habits, I don’t smoke, I’m trying to control the way I spend my money but when I wrote down my daily routine, I began to notice my bad habits. I then saw how they were affecting my attitude about my future. I didn’t realize I was spending too much time on social media, emails, listening to the negativity of the news, not returning messages or phone calls, ditching friend’s parties, eating bad…etc…etc. haha..

I learned from the book to set goals every day, every week, every month, and long-term goals. Breaking down long term goals to a day, makes them achievable. Successful people build themselves up so they can have more opportunities.

I noticed some personality bad habits in myself and how I treat others. I tend to interrupt, walk away when they’re still talking, traits I had since childhood but now I can see these bad habit, and now I can do something about it.

Successful people are mindful of what they do and how they treat others. They invest in relationships and take the time to build them up.

“I will control my thoughts and emotion each and every day.”

Controlling our thoughts and emotions play a big role on how we think and feel. Its easy to allow our thinking and feelings to guide us but sometimes they can lead us the wrong way.  Encouraging yourself can make all the differences in the future.

What a difference life is when you make it a point to create good habits. I find myself getting more done, eating better, working out more, living peaceful with others, and having hope everyday that what I am doing will pay off in the days ahead.

It’s such a good feeling to set goals and see them get completed.

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What are some bad habits that are holding you back?

Book: Another Bullshit Night in Suck City

When I was in Vancouver my friend and I were seeing a movie a day. Not on purpose just because her and I really like films. We came across this small theater in the middle of the city. There weren’t any big movie names playing just abstract posters with strange titles. We looked at them and picked one called, “Finding Flynn.”

Watching the movie surprised me that I had never heard of this film or the book it was based on. The story was compelling and truthful. The first few minutes of the movie I wasn’t sure where it was taking us but by the end of it, the characters became real people to me. It was the movie that answered questions I always wondered about, “What was it like to be homeless? how did they get there? where was their family?”

The movie was beautiful. At the end of it my friend and I sat there thinking about the characters we just encountered.  My friend Ada said she saw his book in her bookstore, she noticed it because of its odd title, “Another Bullshit Night in Suck City.”
On our way home we stop by her store and I bought the book. They transformed the book perfectly to the screen but I wanted to hear more about the story.

It has been since high school since I read a book like this. In fact I wish high schools would add this to the list of books to read, next to The Catcher in the Rye.

There is so much to say, where to start. I wish we were all in a cafe talking about it. There are so remember able passages in this book. It wasn’t until mid way did I think to mark them so I can share them with you here.

The book itself is a memoir, written by Nick Flynn. His father Jonathan Flynn is a hard headed man who says he is the next American great writer, through out his whole life he claims he is writing a book but instead lives a selfish life, and ends up homeless. His son encounters his father randomly, mostly though letters his dad sends him but one day Jonathan Flynn ends up at the homeless shelter that Nick Flynn is working at in Boston.

“Men come through the door with lips and canes, with walkers, crutches, in wheelchairs, and crawling. Some are carried in, draped between two friends, feet dragging behind One has a glass tee he keeps losing. One has F you tattooed on the inside of his lower lips. A few have tears tattooed on their checks, which means they’ve killed someone. Some have scars from the corners of their mouths to their ears which means they squealed. Many fingers are gone, or half gone, to heavy machinery or knife fights….”
Nick Flynn would sum deep thoughts beautifully.

“… I see no end to being lost. You can spend your entire life simply falling in that direction. It isn’t a station you reach but just the general state of going down. Once you make it back, if you make it back, you will stand before your long-lost friends in some essential way they will no longer know you.”
“The shelter was meant to be a waystation, a halfway house, but halfway to where wasn’t specified. The cot and the roof and the plate of food were only meant to tide one over. It was never meant to be a life raft. Even a life raft is only supposed to get you from the sinking ship back to land, you were never intended to live in the life raft, to drift years on end, in sight of land but never close enough.”

“We all need to create the story that will make sense of our lives, to make sense of the daily tasks. Yet each nigh the doubts returned, howling through him. Without doubt there can be no faith.”

“I now find myself writing a book about an absent father who writes letters to a son about the novel he is writing. A novel the son doesn’t believe exists. The Great Unseen American Novel.”

“For the only book written about my father (the greatest writer America has yet produced), the only book ever written about or by him, as far as I can tell, is this book in your hands. The book somehow fell to me, the son, to write. My father’s uncredited, non compliant ghostwriter. Not enough to be stuck with his body, to be stuck with his name, but to become his secretary, his handmaid, caught up in a folly, a doomed project, to write about a book that doesn’t, that didn’t ever, that may not even, exist.”

You may wonder about the book cover or about the title, but the neat thing is by the end of the book you’ll get it. And you wont forget it.

This book has left a print on me.

Nick Flynn.org

Book: Pursuing Christ. Creating Art.

I couldn’t help but compare the book Pursuing Christ Creating Art with the Imagine How Creativity Works. By the first few pages,  I figured out it wasn’t about being more creative but instead about the heart of the artist.

Even though you may be a different religion, I truly believe an editor/artist has to have the right heart for the project, any project. You gotta care about what you are creating. An assistant editor once tweeted me, “Art from the heart.”

I read most of the book on my flight to Vancouver. This book  found me at the right time. The author’s occupation is an independent film maker, creating sermon illustrations and other type of videos for churches. Therefore he was speaking in my language.

“An artist is a heart condition, not a job.”

“…art finds it’s truest purpose when it’s creator attempts to make visible the invisible.”

“I honestly believe beautiful art can change the world.”

I must admit at times working for church, I felt like I was doing God a service. I would often refer to myself as a Martha. Martha was a women in the bible who was busy preparing dinner for Jesus while her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet listening to him talk. Martha is known for getting upset with Mary for not helping. I’ve always understood Martha’s heart but I’m finally coming to understand Mary.

“We don’t create art for God. He  doesn’t need it. But He dreams of creating art with you, for the world.”

Since I don’t have an official title to my name anymore, I related to the identity chapter. When people ask me what I do, it takes me a while. I say something different each time.

“identity is the person you are. Regardless of your actions. Take your actions away – both good and bad – and whatever is left is your identity. And there’s only one identity that has any value. A child of God.”

I know I learned this as a little girl in Sunday school but reading it on my flight to Canada it felt even more true. I thought my identity was what I did. I also misunderstood freedom.

we tend to believe freedom is- the ability to do whatever we want, whenever we want.”

“Real freedom is the ability to tell Gods story with your unique voice.”

Reading this artist definition of freedom spoke to me. It was the kind of freedom I’ve been searching for.

“we can use our freedom as an opportunity to serve – to live large into the lives of others.”

I was being challenged by each line, challenged to be honest with myself, to admit my wrong turns in my thinking and to admit change within myself.

“it’s hard to pursue Christ in the mist of pursuing my own fame.”

“we must be careful that we don’t love our dreams more than other people.”

“the art we create cannot be our salvation. And when we ask our art to save us in any manner, we’ve created something more than art. We’ve creates an idol.”

“humans have no control over their dream outcomes.”

“I am going to plead with you not to give up on your gift. On your art you have been uniquely designed to create.”

“Never stop sharing the beautiful Story through your art.”

“platform only displays skill level, not heart condition.”

I wanna create stuff that matters. Its a desires that ever artist has. Reading another’s artist experience can help us navigate through our own travels.
That’s what I hope to do when sharing my journey with you. 🙂

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. 🙂

The Art of Editing Film

I finally finished a book I’ve been reading for a few months now.

The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film – Michael Ondaatje.
The thing about this book is that it gives such insight I never want it to end. I love carrying it around with pride, and can’t wait for someone to ask me about what I am reading so I could go in to great details of what I’m learning.
 Its a conversation between Film Editor, Walter Murch and Writer of The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje. They discussed work, art, poetry, the language of film and so many other interesting things. I couldn’t help but be thankful for the fact writer, Michael Ondaatje took the time to create this book. I felt like it was a special gift to inspiring film editors everywhere.

I already want to read it over. Here are some things I learned from the book.. and believe me so much more!

“What the world thinks is a success, what it rewards, has sometimes very little do to with the essential content of the work and how it relates to the author and his own development.” Walter was talking about his film Returned to Oz, it didn’t do well at the box office because it was dark and more life like. I remember watching this film as a little girl and when I got older I thought I had dreamt it. He stayed true to the version of the Return to Oz books. He was very proud of the outcome as many where but the general public didn’t like the fact it was dark. Which the books themselves were rejected in children’s libraries because it has witches in it. He quotes Rilke’s, “The point of life is to fail at greater and greater things.” He continues, “Every film has lessons to teach us- if we receive those lessons in the right way. That’s the trick..”

He also gives great insight on the art of film making -
”The task of the camera in his [Sidney Lumet, 12 Angry Men] films is not only to record but to reveal the hidden agenda, the hidden psychology-psychology that may even be hidden from the characters themselves, but which he’s revealing to us.”

“I’m taking into consideration, at the point of the cut, where the audience’s eye is and in what direction it’s moving, and with what speed. The editor has to imagine the audience’s point of attention when the film is projected, and has to be able to predict where ninety-nine percent of the audience is looking at any moment.”

“Every shot is a thought or a series of thoughts, expressed visually. When a thought begins to run out of steam, that the point at which you cut.”

How the story is told is essential to the story, the chemistry between sound and picture. He discuss that even the Prelude (beginning credits) is impotent to the movie. It sets up the audience for that is coming next.

The danger in breaking the rules to film, like introducing an important character to late in the movie. It can not only seem awkward but the audience has no investment in this person or no emotional connection.

Divergent – when you start with all the characters in the same time and space. (American Graffiti)
Convergent – two or three stories that start separately and then flow together. (Like the English Patient)

“There are two different kinds of film making; The Hitchcock idea that a film is already completed in the creator’s head or the Coppola concept that thrives on process..It has to be said-both system have their risks.”

“One of the reasons I lobby for the increased collaboration of everyone who can have a voice on a film is that through collaboration you add facets to the work. The work is going to be seen by millions of people, over many decades and under very many different circumstances, and even though the film is a fixed thing, you want it to be multifaceted so that different people will see different things in it and come away rewarded.”

I love reading and listening to Walter talk about the art of editing. He says its much like writing poetry, “The decision where to cut film is very similar to the decision, in writing poetry, of where to end each line..We do very much the same in film: the end of a shot gives the image of the last frame an added significance, which we exploit.” I always walk away enlightened and encouraged to keep on moving forward with my dream of being a film editor one day.

Book: “The Best Advice I Ever Got”

The past few months I’ve been reading Katie Couric’s, “The Best Advice I Ever Got”. I discovered this book when I was searching through youtube for inspirational speeches. I was in need of an encouraging word from someone who was living their dream.

I wanted to hear some wisdom about pressuring the impossible. The book was perfect. Each page was full of encouraging life lessons from some of the most successful people of our time. I would sit in my local cafe, read a few pages, reflect and keep on reading. Some days I would only ready two pages. The advice was so good I would land on a quote and think about it all day.

Here are my favorites.

“Acts of bravery don’t always take place on the battlefields. They can take place in your heart.” -Anna Quindlen, Bestselling Author

“Keep trying doors; one will eventually open…Fearlessness is not the absence of fear. It’s the mastery of fear.” Arianna Huffington, Bestselling Author

“…resolve to grow intellectually, morally, technically, and professionally every day through your entire work and family life…ask yourself every day, Am I really up to speed? Focus on your weaknesses and on ways to overcome them.” David L. Calhoun, CEO of the Nielsen Company

“If you really believe in yourself and your art, then you have to create your own opportunities. You can’t wait for someone else to do it for you.” Susan Stroman, Broadway Director

“Be patient and persistent. Life is not so much what you accomplish as what you overcome.” Robin Roberts, Broadcaster and Journalist.

“You quit, you fail.” Morgan Freeman, Actor

“Finding your passion will eventually get you to where you’re supposed to be.” Katie Couric, Broadcaster

“We are all frightened by change and by the unfamiliar, but those who remain open – despite their hesitations- can discover new worlds and opportunities.” Vera Wang, Fashion Designer

“How we live our days, or course, is how we live our lives.” Annie Dillard, writer

“Commitment will set your free.” John Gardner

“A boat is always safe in the harbor, but that’s not what boasts are built for.” Producer of the Today Show

“If the world puts you on a road you don’t like, if you look ahead and do not want that destination which is being offered and you look behind and you do not want to return to your place of departure, step off the road. Build yourself a brad new path.” Maya Angelou, Author

“We are often so busy running as fast as we can on the hamster wheel of success, we often don’t take time to appreciate each other, to nurture and ten to our relationships with people we love.” Katie Couric

“When you start getting into the fear business, you blame your problems on other people. But if other people are doing well, it’s not because they’re cheating. It’s because they are working hard.” Fareed Zakaria, Author

“Marry someone who you would want to be, someone who wants to help you be that better version of yourself.” Jay Leno, Comedian

“Society tells us to think about next, next, next so much so that we never really finish what’s in front of us.” Rosario Dawson, Actress

“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” Thomas Jefferson

“If I would have listened to the critics I’d have died drunk in the gutter.” Anton Chekhov
–And so many other inspiring quotes and stories.

“What They Don’t Teach You at Film School” Notes

For some reason I found it hard to get in to this book but I knew it was valuable information that I needed to learn. Its full of great advice about how things work in the film making world. It’s an introduction to what it takes to make a film.

“…it’s not Hollywood’s approval that will determine if you die feeling like a successful filmmaker. It’s your own.”

“Your film is nothing more or less than a conduit for an audience’s own emotional experience.”

“Your work may not be “better” than that of others before you, but it can be unique. Originality is a virtue.”

It talked about film debt, budgeting, being a good director to the cast and crew, keeping things simple during filming, dealing with locations, issues with the script, basically what the author leaned by doing, they put it in the book.

I tend to learn better by mistakes. This is why I found this book useful.

“Your short is, at best, a prompt for them to ask to see more of your work-the kind they can make money on. They want a script. That’s all they want, all they ever wanted, and all they will ever want.

“Think like the buyer, not the seller.”

“No one wants you to experiment with their money, When someone reads your script and gives you money for it, it’s because they’ve seen the movie-in their minds.”

“The good news is that if you’re paying, you won’t need to protect anybody else’s vision but your own. If someone disagrees with you about how something suppose to look, you can listen, but you don’t have to negotiate.”

So much goes in to film making and when money gets involved it can get complicated. Reading about what to do when these situations are reached made me no longer fear them.

The chapters about picking the right cast and crew was full of great advice from other film makers. A few things that stand out is not to beg people to work with you, loyalty, treating your actors with care, don’t lead people on when hiring if they aren’t what you are looking for, making sure the coffee is good, food is always available, confronting issues.

[Directing] “By signing on, cast and crew are agreeing to be led. They’re giving you the power to lead them. Your job is to accept and assume it. With all the side effects and responsibilities.”

“Your crew is giving you more of their attention, creativity, and patience than your main squeese..don’t two-time them by bringing your romantic interest onto your set.”

And finally, pay attention to sound. I learned this important rule since I’ve been the shooter & editor.

“Without good sound you’re sacrificing your film’s potential or even your film, period.”

“You don’t want to fix it in the mix. Not only because you can’t, but also because you need to keep your sound editors’ time focused on the creative possibilities, not the technical harassment, of your film.”

I’m pretty sure what I read in this book will indeed help me from making mistakes.. and for that I am thankful I read it.

Now on to my next book… “The Conversations” 🙂

The Mini Diana Camera

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My friend bought me the Mini Diana Camera for Christmas.  Two time I tried to use it I had some trouble with loading the film and rewinding it. I was so mad that I lost those photos but I decided I would give her one more chance. Saturday I tested it out for the third time and I finally figured it out.

I thought I’d make this video so others wouldn’t have to go through the heartache of missing up their film. Hope it helps.

Here are my shots. The next roll should be better.. I hope.

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