Shipping content has to be the most important priority when you are uncomfortable with your work. Ira Glass’ comments on this subject are more than relatable for me, as they describe the very blood flowing within my ambitious soul. Sitting in my old leather swivel chair originally manufactured in Alabama some time before my dad was born, I stare at a screen pouring out the work of some many brilliant artist over my desk like a filled can of fresh paint. I print screen shots, hang them for inspiration, use the like button on Vimeo like a mask allowing me to take another gasp of oxygen. But it’s more like spinning wheels in mud at this point. There is no way I can sort through every video uploaded by another master of the craft and still maintain the ability to produce my own work at the same time. So instead of getting frustrated, I simply keep shipping.
I think one of the most important qualities I picked up from working at an agency is the importance of responding to clients and turning over work as promptly as quality permits. Whether it was responding within minutes of emails hitting the inbox or pushing content well before due dates, the philosophy was simple, the more work we can produce and get out the door, the more revenue we can raise and most importantly, the more time we will have to go after the next project we really care about. This idea of holding onto projects like they are children you fear won’t return when they depart to college, was a foreign concept.
As I took the leap into the freelance world, I look back and can’t thank the old creative team at the agency enough for that one over encompassing lesson. I continually challenge myself to, as Ira Glass says, “Do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work.” It’s the only way I feel I’ll be able to really bridge that gap of the work I am producing now and the work I know I am capable of.
I am thankful that I have a partner who has the same theory. And to observe her taking on the same challenges, struggles, internal wrestling matches with her own work is a beautiful reminder that we are not alone. This is something so many creatives go through.
And as I continue to trudge through this awkward teenager phase I feel I am going through with my craft, I look at every project as one piece of a train ticket I’ll use to ride to a new station of melding creativity. The brilliant thing about this phase or station as I see it, is I feel each project is an incrementally bigger piece of the stub than the last. I am more thankful than ever that though overwhelming it can be, the Vimeo:Pintrest:Twitter world of constant incredible work, is also a massive pool of thoughtful suggestions and ideas to build from.
The project woven into this blog was for a great company here in Denver called Mile High Mountaineering or MHM Gear. And is a prime example of responding, shipping, and using inspiration to build a project. I received an email last Thursday afternoon looking to have a video produced no later than today. 6 days. Of which I had a shoot on Monday and no time Sunday to work on. 4 days. Luckily I had just wrapped a project that morning and had the ability to shift a few non-time critical edits around. So we hopped on it. I added up something just under 35 hours I was able to spend on it from the initial email to the product you see above. A pure thrill of finding talent, locations, filming and a couple days hanging with the magic mouse. By no means is it oscar worthy, nor a piece I don’t wish I could spend another day or two tweaking, but I think it’s a piece that makes me look at the lessons I’ve learned in the short time I’ve been at this.
I’ll write about doing all of this solo on a different day, but in short, I need to say thank you to all those who help me through the process of creation. I started this project sorting through an hours worth of Vimeo films for ideas and then on to picking through searchable Pintrest boards for title inspiration to help fill the 90 seconds which was the initial cut. And then it was helped along by Kelsey’s occasional and somewhat subtle wince and other sets of eyes from friends in Michigan and New York, and finally the talent tossing over a couple little tweaks. I’ve got a theory about this new world agency of creative minds clashing in productive ways to help move along this little creature down a path unknown.
Is it perfect. By no means. But I will continue to ship. As much as I can, as quickly as quality deems reasonable. As I walk around looking for another scrap, I must continue to remind myself to be filled with patience and allow due process in building my ticket, which may be departing soon, to the next un-perfect place I will begin the search all over again.
Thanks to Corbyn and the Bove’s for allowing me to capture them on camera. The above photos were taken in-between shots. You gotta check out what Adam and Ali are up to on the other side of the lens, huge shout out to having rad, talented friends!