It’s been a while since I last wrote a column for my “Blog”. A lot has happened in the past 6 weeks; both good and bad. The bad was I lost my Father; this was a huge blow to me as I never realized what life would be like without having a dad. The good was, I released one of my best episodes to my documentary series; if there is an epic beyond epic…that’s how epic it is! So this post may come off as either extremely obvious to the point of it being a multi-page cliche … or it might come of as really preachy…or it may actually be helpful to you and your career. It certainly has been for both of my careers.
While a bit of Confidence never hurt anyone, I have been finding more and more people who are successful at a craft, sitting back on their laurels and patting themselves on the back not bothering to innovate or get better at what they do. They become Arrogant; and are convinced that they are the best!
You have to remember that there’s always someone else that can do exactly what you do…only better. As I previously eluded to, I have two jobs; Middle Manager for Ledcor Construction & Cinematographer/Editor/Writer/Producer with 5150 Media Productions. Ok…so that’s like 5 jobs…but I still only count it as two! Even though I am successful at all five jobs, I force myself to continue learning new techniques & technologies.
Are you Self-Aware?
By day, I manage a team of highly skilled IT professionals. On every performance eval I have received as a Manager, one strength that comes up over and over is self awareness. In the business world it’s imperative to know what you are good at and what you’re not good at. Trust me; I know EXACTLY what I’m not good at and this helps me navigate through certain delicate situations in a way that I stay employed. It’s imperative to work equally on improving both your strengths & weaknesses. This guarantees that you’re going to become stellar at what you’re good at and your weaknesses will follow suit. I cannot fathom being a successful leader without knowing, and working around my weakness.
My “Other Job” is producing a documentary series on the sub-culture that is Professional R/C Car Racing. I have applied this same logic to my work in this space as well.
“Your Videos are the best!!!”
I enjoy the recognition and am stoked (a lot) that people like my work, but I also have a bit of a hard time with this statement. The reasons are two-fold. The first reason I struggle with this statement is because I can point out so many flaws in each and every one of my productions. It’s true; I am a perfectionist. It’s been a long time since I had a job-interview, but the last one I had, I got the sense that it was frowned upon when I said that I was a perfectionist. I truly am one however; each episode of “Come Drive With Us” has to be as close to perfect as I can make it. My last episode, the Xiamen Worlds (which I felt was my opus), was re-released because the Narration track just didn’t sound up to my standards. I actually ended up having my Narrator re-record the entire track just to make it right. I suppose this could be construed as CDO (That’s OCD spelled the way it should be: Alphabetical). Most people didn’t even notice that the original track had an issue, but I did.
The second reason I don’t like hearing this is because I don’t want to start believing that they are “the best”. Yes I enjoy watching them and I realize their significance to the R/C Industry but honestly, I am constantly striving to make them better. There is always room for improvement. If you go back and watch my series from the beginning you will see this.
In season 1 I was somewhat “star struck” by professional drivers that I looked up to for many years. Drivers like Tessmann, Drake, Tebo, King, Maifield, Cavalieri, etc. It took me a while to build a rapport with them and once I did, I tended to stick to just interviewing drivers that I was comfortable around. This gave Season 1 a bit of a “claustrophobic” feel. The exception to this was the final episode of the first season. In The Messina Worlds movie I was starting to come out of my shell; and it showed. This is still my favorite episode to date.
In Season 2 I invested in more lenses and hardware to make my footage crisper and smoother. I was also bolder around some of the more intimidating drivers and I focused more on story & long-term plot lines. With less effort wasted on worrying about what questions to ask the best R/C drivers on the planet, I was able to start working more on the technical aspects of my productions which really started to take shape in Season 3. This is probably my favorite seasons so far both from the story telling as well as the styling.
In season 4, I began focusing on more advanced technical aspects of how I shot, edited and mixed my productions. A lot of this came from my spending time with professional cinema folk; and this resulted in me taking a more professional approach. I adopted a picture profile called LOG and making the jump to shooting in Sony’s version of this (SLOG2/SLOG3) was very difficult for me as it was a technique that was way outside my comfort zone. In the end, it was a risk that payed huge dividends as I feel Season 4 is the best looking season yet.
But I still make mistakes; like completely forgetting to interview Spencer Rivkin after he finished 3rd in the 4WD event at the worlds. I blame this on the fatigue factor after 8 consecutive 12 hour days.
Mistakes will always happen, it’s a matter of how to over-come them. I have absolutely no intentions of slowing down my innovations both from a hardware perspective and from a how I use the hardware. This drive to better myself is not limited to my production company; the same is true for for my day-job as well. Constant innovation will help your work to stand-out and be original. And do your best to be original. No one likes a copycat or a Fraud.
Never Stop Re-Inventing Yourself!
My point in all of this is you need to keep moving forward and improving what you do if you want to not only succeed; but to stay relevant. Maybe try to Re-Invent yourself?
While hard work and results should get you everywhere, you need to first be self-aware so that you know what your weaknesses are so that you focus all your hard work into the right areas.
#TooManyCliches #Sorry #NotSorry