The Foundation of Video

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 Risk of, “The Dream”

Sometimes I forget that I once had a specific dream, how hard it was to keep it alive and make it happen. The past few days, I’ve heard people tell me they want to do their dream job. I even asked one woman what her dream was, and she said, “I don’t know.” I guess we have heard do your dream job for so long, that some don’t know what that is, they just know they want it and unknowingly limit their life purpose to a job title.

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At church, we are having a missionary conference. Hearing missionaries and entrepreneur speak, one thing they’ve all said, “I had no idea I would be doing this, and if I did, I would have ran.” As I listen to them I see they are living God’s dream for their life, each person’s story was unique, but had the similar journey of kicking and screaming when they were told to do something other than what was in their plan. We have no idea what the future holds, especially when we are so brave enough to say, “God do what You will.”

I know for me, when I was 19,  my dream job was to edit films. It was that vision that brought me to where I am now, thirteen years ago, my profession didn’t exist. My imagination did the best it could, but there had to come a time where I laid that vision down and pick up the plan of God. I knew I wanted to live a life of purpose that impacts other people to influence others. As I find myself in the 8th year of working at church, I ask myself why am I so passionate about it? Shouldn’t I be burnt out? Over it? Ready for something new? When I listen to what God is telling me through His peace, I know I am where I am supposed to be.

When I was in Canada about to make the move, I suddenly realized, it wasn’t about my dream but God’s – that was the dream I wanted. That was the vision for my life I would run with. I know it’s so easy to say the script in your head, My dream job my dream job, but what if we thought about God’s dream for our lives? I often wonder what if I refused to lay down my will, where would I be? My imagination plays a movie of a rebellious girl trying to make things happen and is exhausted. Yesterday my pastor said, “God will come through for you, unless you’re in the wrong spot.”

We don’t know the future, might as well connect with the one who does, and who WANTS to do great and mighty things that will IMPACT the world in someway that doesn’t make sense to us at the moment, but when 70 years old looking back, it does.

That’s the dream I want to live.

When you Bomb a shoot..

The past weekend, a six year old defeated me.

I thought I knew what I was doing, until my nephew refuse to smile. For whatever reason, he suddenly didn’t want to participate. As my sister tried to get him to join in, the larger the ordeal became. With time ticking, I told everyone just to keep on looking at the camera as I snapped. I was hoping I got one good photo.

When I went back to the editing room, I saw I had three different photos that where almost perfect. I opened photoshop and did some magic.

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I know when I see the photo hanging on the wall, I’ll remember the back story. Things aren’t always so perfect but that’s family right.

I kept wondering what could I have done to avoid all the drama. What if this wasn’t my family, and clients where paying me big bucks to make their family perfect? I traced it back to when my nephew started to say, “I hate this tie.” We ended up taking off the tie, but I should have listened and offered before he lost it. I also took some photos outside. Maybe when I saw the tension building, changing locations would help.

In any case, I left knowing I would learn from this situation. Family portraits, no matter how old everyone is, it’s never easy. Something always happens, but in an case, never give up… there is always photoshop! Or you can hide behind the couch and snap a photo of the kids playing!

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The Wanderer Generation

8034729490_957b759d02_oI’m not sure what it is, maybe its the age group I’m a part of or the times we live in. For some reason it seems my peers are wondering around life with no real direction. I myself am tempted to live this life style of “whatever happens, happens”. I see photos of fellow college mates all over the world snapping shots of themselves in front of landmarks, using up their favors with friends to help them out while they figure it all out, in other words, it seems like they are in search of home.

It is a tempting lifestyle, one in which I tried myself but I knew I had a destiny to get to, work had to be done and the cost of living to pay. Whatever decision I made, I had to make it fast before I burnt bridges.

As I am working toward my goals, I want to stop half way. I tell myself, “This is good enough.” But I know it won’t be good enough in a few weeks when I become restless again. I must admit, I don’t know specifically where I am going, but as I navigate through each hour I try to be intentional with my decisions. To read instead of watch a movie, to create instead of be entertained, to think instead of zone out, to save instead of spend, which I don’t always make the better choice. It’s the little decisions that matter.

What I appreciated from traveling and school was that it required me to think and gave me time to figure it out. Now that I am in the middle of a full time career, I have to make it a priority, to keep on thinking, looking ahead, and setting new goals. If you ever got in the car and drove with no place to go, you’ll realize it gets you no where. It leaves you lost and with an empty gas tank.

Proverbs 22:3-5
Sensible people foresee trouble and hide from it,but gullible people go ahead and suffer the consequence.
The plans of a hard-working person lead to prosperity,but everyone who is always in a hurry ends up in poverty.

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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.

 

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Photos: Women Conference

The past few weeks I’ve been MIA preparing for our women’s conference. On the video side of things I told my team to be prepared for anything, I had no idea how true that statement would turn out to be. The conference soon became the most rememberable and insightful for everyone involved.

Worship was so powerful, at times I had to stop filming and taking photos to join in.

When our Sr. Pastor started to pray for everything that is taking place in the world – boom – the power goes off. Everyone started shouting giving thanks to God, that no matter what happens, He will be our hope.

We had this stage piece of a cross that was light up with small LED’s. The funny thing is that we end up using the lights from the cross to light the church restrooms, exits areas, and the control room. The cross became literal.

Soon, the lights came back on, and I once again had a job. haha. The whole team jumped right back in to the agenda, and witness so many lives change right before our eyes.

As a photographer, it was great to stop and notice the details that where happening around me. I am able to see what God was doing in their hearts.

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Book: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

During my early graphic design days at church, there was nothing more that I wanted than to be the church’s video editor. I remember being in a meeting with my senior pastors and was asked if I would one day like to be the video department head. I was 24 years old then, and so much of my future was unknown. I knew I wanted a family and I would want to be a stay a home mom, so my answer was, “One day, I want to be married with kids.” They all looked at me and said,”Yes, but would you like to be the video department head in the future?” I smiled, and said, “Yes”. The thought of having my own family, was about to make me draw back from what I knew was my calling. I am very glad that no one listened to my answer in that meeting and still decided to developed me as a leader.

There is a similar story in Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. She is the CFO of Facebook and is passionate about encouraging women to never stop leaning in towards new opportunities at their job. As I read, I was horrified at the different studies of women drawing back or giving up. Also, at the different challenges women have to overcome in order to be taken as a leader. I am fortunate that at my work place, the men believe in the women, and I know that’s because of my senior pastor who broke the mold and is an amazing woman preacher and pastor. I started to see I was my bully, telling myself I can’t or I’m scared or I’m just a girl.

“We internalize messages that say it’s wrong for us to be outspoken, aggressive, and as powerful as – or even more powerful than -men…We hold ourselves back not just out of fear or seeming too aggressive but also by underestimating our abilities.”

“At Facebook, I teach managers to encourage women to talk about their plans to have children and help them continue to reach for opportunities.” 

And this was true for me at meetings:

“If you take the chair on the side of the room, he will take the seat at the table because he knows he’s awesome. So please remember that you deserve a seat at the same table..and that you are awesome too.” 

The book is full of encouraging words and shared experiences from other leading women professionals, to believe in yourself, that you are more than capable, to have a thriving career. To develop a true partnership with your husband, and being co-parents to take care of the daily house hold items and to never stop leaning in towards promotions and leadership positions. I realize I am apart of a new generation of women who work, and its awesome to read I can have a career that I am passionate about and have a family.

“The goal is to work toward a world where those social norms no longer exist. If more children see fathers at school pickups and mothers who are busy at jobs, both girls and boys will envision more options for themselves. Expectations will to be set by gender but by personal passion, talents, and interests.”

Whether I decide to be a stay a home mom or keep working at a job. I am encouraged to keep taking a leadership role in my life. Either way I will be leading my kids or leading others.