WITH LOVE, FROM Portugal

I'm currently writing from a small BNB in the Algarve countryside while drinking my 0.99€ white wine from the grocery store. Lauren and I have been wanting to come to Portugal for quite some time now and decided to come on a whim after we saw a flight deal. I didn't have an expectation of what this country would be like so far, but it's been incredibly beautiful. Between the tiny cobble-stone streets in Lisbon and the long winding roads of the countryside, I've felt at ease exploring the different sides of this country. 

The Portugese egg tarts, fresh grilled fish and abundance of wine are worth all of the hype. I was also warned online about the challenges of driving in Lisbon while taking 20 minutes to back out of a dead-end alleyway, sandwiched between parked cars. Portugese (which I thought would be relatively easy to pick up) first sounded like Russian mixed with Spanish, but is now starting to feel a little bit more familiar. 

I'll leave you with these photos from Lisbon (I'm working on the selfie game). 

With love, from Portugal. 

Behind the Scenes: On Time

Last weekend I spoke at the Distrikt DVRSN about time. This is a quick write up of the ideas I talked about. 

The average industrialized man with 25,000 days on this planet may easily secure only about 4,500 waking hour days of beneficial life. That’s a quarter of your life if you’re lucky. A quarter of your life during which the average person can puruse activities which are meaningful to them.”
— John B Mclemore, S-Town
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My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. What became clear from this experience was how precious time is and the finite-ness of our time on this planet. 

This past Winter I had an increasingly growing discontent with how my life was going (only as far as a privileged person can be dissatisfied). I was feeling burnt out at work and my day to day felt like a grind. During this time, I was also reconnected with Francis. I took Francis out for a coffee and I learned about his story and how he lost a year and half of his life dealing with bipolar disorder. 

Francis asked me to make a kickstarter video to help raise funds for the album he was creating. I politely declined and told him what we need to do is share your story.

In my gut, I knew that his story had the potential to impact hundreds of other people. Four months ago is when I decided to take on The Lion as a personal project. It was something that I found meaning in, a project that isn't driven by commercial success, financial gains or broad swaths of approval and status. That was refreshing. 

I came back from work and would squeeze in what time I had left before bed to write, film or edit this project. And every single time I walked away more energized and excited about what I was doing. 

In those moments, I felt like I was doing truly meaningful work. I want to leave you with the question, what will you do with your 4,500 waking hour days? 

Behind the Scenes: Jumping in

I just spent the last 3 hours scrolling through the internet looking for some inspiration for my writing and going down the wrong rabbit holes. Should I write about how I feel like everyone is only concerned with millennial's because they want to sell us shit? Or do I write about how I'm reading Walden and that Thoreau wasn't actually all that perfect? Or maybe I write about career and how I've been putting too much emphasis on that being what brings me fulfilment in life. 

I'm looking for answers in all the wrong places.

This blog is a place to drop my thoughts, process what I'm going through (in the hopes that it might help someone else) and get better at writing and connecting ideas. Too often I find myself looking for answers outside of myself, wether it be my friends, interviews, books (of the self help variety), and people I generally look up to.

I don't need more data, more inspiration, or more contemplation. What I need is a little more action and a little less thinking. To let go of fear because life's too short. I'm going to get back to the edit. What have you been putting aside? 

 

New Work: The Gift is in the Give

The gift is in the Give. 

A quick-turn digital advertising campaign for lululemon. Take from Concept, to production and post in under 2 weeks. This was also the first time I pulled .R3D stills and was super impressed with how they turned out. 

The campaign reached over 28 million impressions through all our online creative. 

Director/DOP: Jon Chiang Editor & Colourist: Adam Hennegan Producers: Louise Hatton & Yael Stein Art Director: Talia Cohen Copy Writer: Leila Nadery Graphic Designer: Malin Otmalm Stylist: Alexie Gray

Fan Letters: Bruce Lee


Many people dedicate their lives to actualizing a concept of what they should be like, rather than actualizing themselves. The difference between self-actualizing and self-image actualizing is very important. Many people only live for their image
— Bruce Lee, Artist of Life.
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Some of my first movie memories were of Bruce Lee on VHS. I remember going to my grandmothers house everyday after pre-school while my mom was at work. A classic afternoon would involve a trip down Victoria street to grab lunch ingredients and then putting on a Bruce lee VHS afterwards. Like most people, I was drawn in by his crazy martial arts moves, huge fight scenes and infamous noises. I remember one afternoon where I got overly excited imitating Bruce Lee and puked out my noodles from lunch. 

It wasn't until a few months ago, that I renewed my appreciation for Bruce Lee when I came across this article by Maria Papova on Brainpickings.

Early in his career, Lee was systematically sidelined by Hollywood’s studio system, which operated with extreme racial bias and still used white actors in yellowface to portray Asian characters based on flat stereotypes. Over and over, Lee was told in no uncertain terms that white audiences simply wouldn’t accept an Asian man as a lead character in a movie.
— Maria Papova, Brainpickings

Bruce Lee has grown to become a mentor and cultural leader for me. In acknowledging the lack of Asian and minority representation in film and media, I have been inquiring deeper into what my responsibilities are in my work. How is my work shaping the landscape of film? Who's voices are being represented when I put out new work? How can I shift the power to those who are not typically with power in our society? 

Outside of my work as a filmmaker, his philosophies on living life have also been largely influential on me. Watch this great piece compiled by Must See films. 

Bruce was not only an influential person in drawing me to the beauty and excitement of film, but now later in my life, has been an influence on how to live life. For me, Bruce Lee exemplified the balance of living with self-will, determination and discipline while also living in the present and detachment. He balanced living with desire and detachment of the mind.  

Thank you Bruce for inspiring me to cultivate a life of persistence, letting go and standing for what you believed in. 

 

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You will never get any more out of life than you expect

Keep your mind on the things you want and off those you don’t

Things live by moving and gain strength as they go

Be a calm beholder of what is happening around you

There is a difference a) the world b) our reaction to it

Be aware of our conditioning! Drop and dissolve inner blockage

Inner to outer ~~~ we start by dissolving our attitude not by altering outer condition

See that there is no one to fight, only an illusion to see through

No one can hurt you unless you allow him to

Inwardly, psychologically, be a nobody

Fan Letters: Eliot Rausch

Your career will come about and it will come naturally if it is rooted in the place of love. Making sure you know who the fuck you are outside of your work. Making sure you have an identity and your standing on your own two feet as a human being living a human experience outside of what you do.
— Eliot Rausch, Wonderland*

Fan Letters.

Have you ever written one? Austin Kleon, in Steal like an Artist, has some thought behind them:

If you truly love somebody's work, you shouldn't need a response from them (And if the person you want to write to has been dead for a hundred years, you're really out of luck.) So, I recommend public fan letters.

My friend Laura Turner has a great story about writing a fan letter to Zach Effron when she was 9 years old. (a reminder, if you forgot). She wrote to him about their common love of the Postal Service with the hopes of hearing back from him (she never did.) 

Although I am not hopelessly in love with some of my heroes, I do very much admire their work and would love to share it with all of you. Part of my continual learning includes researching articles, videos, and stories about the people I look up to. I think this comes from a desire to maybe, just maybe, have a glimpse into what my path could one day be like. 

Here's to Eliot Rausch:

The world of filmmaking is so over-saturated right now and there are so many conversations about formula and “going viral” and taking your brand to the next level. I think there’s this big movement to really become a well-known brand. That is the exact thing that kills the spirit of an artist. I would say: Stop studying formulas; stop studying what has been done before you; stop studying the mechanisms and devices that have carried other people in other seasons to the next level. Go out and do life; fall on your face; fail; absorb everything; let it hurt you and bleed through you; and then talk about it. Also, figure out who you are before you start telling stories. All of that is not the five-point model to success. - Eliot Rausch, The Great Discontent

I don't entirely remember my first experience with Eliot's work. Many of you may be familiar with the success of his early works, Last Minutes with Oden. The short film was done 7 years ago, and of course his work has only grown. What I'm most drawn to about Eliot is his desire to first be a human, then a filmmaker.

Over time I've grown a similar belief that our creations (film, writing, cooking, raising children, accounting, etc.) is a reflection of the lives we've lived. And that a life fully lived will create experiences, learnings, and perspective that shape the things we create. This has been the biggest learning for me the past few years with a shift from focusing on how I can be a better human and appreciate all the moments, instead of chasing down success. 

What does it mean to be a human? I feel like Eliot is pursuing this question through his work. His ability to create work that connects with people, on a fundamentally human level, is impeccable. 

So thank you Eliot for putting so much love into the craft and inspiring me to be a better human.

This film resonates with me and my relationship with 'success.' Eliot's taken a beautifully simple concept and re-created it in a way that is relevant for us today (privileged, striving, westerners.) It is a beautiful reminder that us humans complicate the shit out of things. 

This one sent shiver's down my spine the first time I watched it. A beautiful piece. 

A short documentary on the creation and process of Alejandro G. Inarritu, the Director behind the Revenant. 

* Bonus link to Wonderland for all your filmmaker and artsy folk.