Sweet Cakes Bakery is located in Wakefield, Rhode Island and has been a go-to bakery for cakes, coffee, and morning treats. We joined the baker as her shift began at 4am on a Saturday morning. Here are some still from the video shoot. This is part of our 401 Makers portfolio.
I’m teaching a Video for Photographers class for the full time students at the New England School of Photography. This class is their first introduction to video editing using Adobe Premiere Pro. This software is overwhelming for just about everyone. It has a lot of moving parts, it requires the user to be organized, and there are a variety of ways to achieve the same result.
A lot of four letter words get used. Most people want to quit, question their life choices, and figure out ways to avoid using the video in their career. After wrestling with editing a single clip for several hours, something clicks and it isn’t so bad. What was previously considered an obstacle has become a creative opportunity.
Learning a new thing can be difficult. It makes you vulnerable. It requires asking for help. Mistakes are made, you have to start over and ask for more help. That learning process has a lot of shame (fear of what others think) attached to it. These things are not valued in modern society, but are at the center of what makes us human.
A lot of energy gets wasted avoiding the learning process.
There is that wonderful scene in the Matrix where the main character gets all knowledge of martial arts uploaded to his brain and announces “I know Kung-Fu.” I don’t think there was a person in the audience who saw that and didn’t think “Cool.”
Some ideas to keep in mind:
The difference between learning and play is expectations.
Negative response to new opportunity is normal and can be overcome.
We have more brain cells dedicated to self-protection than is worth mentioning.
You can still learn something even if you feel frustrated and anxious.
The best way to really learn something is to share what you just learned with someone else in the same boat.
The paradoxical statement “You only get to keep what you freely give away.” is true.
There is no need to apologize for being curious.
Don’t hate on the part of you that goes negative, it’s just doing its job and needs a little love and direction.
Using Video to tell your story.
This class will teach you how to effectively and simply use video to promote your business, tell a story, or share your interests with a larger audience. Whatever the reason, video can be a powerful tool to communicate your ideas. Here are a five things to keep in mind when creating your visual message.
Know your limitations.
Amazing work has been made with the most primitive of tools in the right hands. The secret is using the tools you have effectively within the technical limitations of your equipment.
While most cameras in smartphones have tremendous capabilities, they shouldn’t be confused with professional video equipment. For most of the work you’re going to do, smartphone cameras will more than suffice.
Make sure your equipment can handle your vision or change your vision to meet the limitations of your equipment.
Have an idea that you can accomplish.
Most good things are simple and sustainable. Start your video campaign with simple visual sentences that can be built into concise paragraphs.
If you want to promote a new product or service, break it down into parts.
Example: Mom’s Kitchen Cafe, a popular breakfast/lunch restaurant, is expanding their menu to include dinner. They want to make a video for facebook that telling people about the new menu. While the temptation would be to show every new menu item in one three minute video, with the owner and chef explaining every dish in excruciating detail.
Instead: Make a series of six 30 second videos showing the preparation of the favorite dishes. Show the steak frite being grilled, the fries being cut, the finished presentation. Keep it simple.
3. Do something simple and sustainable.
The term “Walk before you fly” will help you from falling into the trap of overcomplicating things and stopping all production. You don’t need to say everything you want to say in one video. Leave your audience wanting more. Also, if you leave something undone, it creates a good starting point for the next installment.
4. Have a productions schedule and keep it.
A regular installment of something is better than irregular installments of nothing. Make peace with the fact that you’ll never be completely satisfied with everything you create. Just make another and learn to forgive yourself.
5. Have fun.
There is no point in doing something like this if it’s not fun. Furthermore, if you’re having fun, you’re audience will pick up on it. People like being around people who are enjoying themselves. The best marketing plan you have is the one you want to do.
6. Just start.
Your first ten pieces are not going to be very good, make them anyway. Starting is the hardest, most frightening part of any new adventure. Once you start, you’re on the way.Read More
I was in a darkroom teaching a tintype/wet plate collodion workshop at the New England School of Photography. I’ve been teaching at the NESOP for about twenty years and it never gets old.
Teaching tintype is the epitome of “slow photography” and that is important. Students left with under ten finished plates each and that was a successful weekend. In a fun twist, when wet plate collodion and was the “latest and greatest” technology of the day (1860’s), it was the fastest process being used.
Why teach (or take) this workshop?
It’s good to slow down.
Learning the history of a medium builds a deeper understanding of its present iteration.
The sound of running water in a darkroom is peaceful.
I often think of the classes I teach as “play-dates” for adults. While they can inspire larger bodies of work, most of the time, it’s just a fun weekend of trying something new.
The most successful students are the ones who just have fun splashing around, asking questions, and making stuff for a few days.
I always leave these weekends a little tired but energized. The curiosity of the students is contagious and delightful. While I know more about the mechanics of the process I’m teaching (I hope), I’m still learning how to teach it effectively. That journey never really ends. For that, I’m grateful.
The idea for Introvert's Paradise started one morning when I was talking with a Elyssa Bouressa of The 401 Studio about some t-shirt ideas. I thought it would be funny to make one about South County being the introvert's paradise since so many people keep to themselves in the off-season. This is a fun project.
We have to keep making stuff that interests us and shows how we think. If we can connect the "shy people" in our community, that's a small victory.
Once again, the call for "thoughts and prayers" in the face of horrible events has fallen on increasingly cynical and weary ears. There is power in prayer only in conjunction with right action. Praying for outcomes without working to achieve those outcomes is tantamount to doing nothing.Read More
So many people think having the best equipment means they don't have to have a good idea or story. This is not true.Read More
I’m not saying you get everything you ask for just because you ask, but your chances improve when you do.Read More
The greatest stumbling block in life usually is self generated and it usually is tied to our own unrealistic expectations of what success should look like.
I've been taking classes and workshops in improvised theater at the Contemporary Theater Company for the past year and find it to be very helpful in all aspects of my life. Improv in the theater is about being generous, in the moment, and as simple as you can be. Successful improv is about being obvious and generous with your partners and audience. The idea of failure is rewired to remove the negative connotations associated with it.
Lots of talk about "being joyful" in improv. I think this is a very smart word choice because joy is not always without some level of stress or excitement. Joy is different from happiness because it folds in and transcends the negative elements of life which makes the feeling richer and more nuanced. Being joyful is being happy with full knowledge and appreciation of what it is to not be happy.
What does improv have to do with business? Quite a lot. The truth is improv is nothing more than a formal exercise and practice of what is occurring all the time. In business, your client is your partner. You need to figure out what they need to perform well. This is not done by trying to read their mind, but by being as simple and transparent as possible. Help them have the best experience possible.
When I'm performing in a Micetro, I'm most successful when I'm not thinking of what I want to say or do, but responding to what my parter is offering. It teaches me to be creative and flexible and also allow others to succeed. If I ran my business without incorporating the lessons I've learned in Improv, I'd be constantly trying to find customers who were willing to put up with only what I was willing to put out. There is no humility in that failing business model because it doesn't include any outside input. It is a closed loop system.
We think of our work more as a collaboration than anything else. Improv has helped me be more present to that practice of giving and being positive. It doesn't always work out the way I thought it would, but it never fails.
Nature Needs No Improvement
The magic ingredient to our creative process is not trying to improve on what already works perfectly.Read More
The creative process is clearly illustrated in nature in the form of waves.Read More
If you can't afford to hire us to make your marketing videos, do them yourself until you can.Read More
Sometimes we need to just start and stop making up excuses.
Being on video is hard, and it's easy to be discouraged and just push stuff off to the side.
Behold, we have overcome the ... stigma ... of releasing a less than perfect product out into the world. If you wait until it's perfect, but you never do it, was it really worth it? Hopefully this is a thing that we try to release twice a week, just talking about things we find interesting.