I was looking back the past couple of weeks and came to the conclusion I didn’t get ANYTHING done in that time. Days seem to fly by and time rushes through every occasion. Then I started to pay more attention to how I was going about my days. Waking up at 9h30, seawall until around 10h30 or 11h, then lunch with May, then back home around 3 or 4 and… nothing. Wasting time on facebook or watching irrelevant stuff on Netflix up until 1am when I decide it’s late and time to go to bed.
As of this week I’m starting my new personal schedule. It starts with going to bed at 11pm at the most, so I can get proper 8 hours of sleep and get up healthy at 7am. Then seawall, two laps, back home around 8h30-9h. Then I can read something decent instead of pointless websurfing and meet May for lunch. After getting home, working on something. Writing, compositing, whatever, and then some more reading or maybe watching something but, if so, not for longer than one hour.
It’s about time to learn Python. Why? Machine learning consultancy experts expect this trend to continue with increasing development in the Python ecosystem. And while your journey to learn Python programming may be just beginning, it’s nice to know that employment opportunities are abundant as well and maybe get back at that Harmonica I mentioned several posts ago – not even sure if I did it in English. That’s it. I already failed miserably on Monday, by not being able to get out of bed at 7, nor 8, but only at 9. I succeeded at sleeping at 11pm, though, and read an entire book during the evening. Today I managed to wake up at 8am and hit the seawall in time. Then home, lunch, home again and some cleanup I need to get done in the next few days.
I had the weirdest dream tonight, by the way. Struggling against a stupid old computer that refused to obey even my most basic commands. Woke up angry about it, jeez.
This is a subject that has been at the back of my head ever since I created my Instagram account and exploded during last week, while I posted my demo reel there. Then it bounced back with a thousand thoughts about what I write up here and the several times I considered turning this blog into strictly “work”, or “what will they think of me if they read this and that post?”.
Soon after arriving in Vancouver I thought of going full-english here. Then I held back, it was a strange time and I wasn’t confident enough on my own to fend off anyone who thought this whole blog thing was ridiculous and 15-year-oldish. Guess what, yeah, it started around that time (more towards 18, actually), but to keep on writing constantly for eight years now took a lot more effort than just telling what happened on each day. Some posts here literally speak for me and reading them back after some time makes me understand myself a lot better – and usually think how life was simple back then.
At VFS we have several classes that talk about digital footprints. It’s important to be the first result when googling your name, it’s important to not have embarrassing photos, it’s important to look professional, do you know what an employer will think when reading that?, I haven’t hired someone because of this and that, and so on. When I google my name, going ten pages down everything still points back to posts here, or videos I worked on, so, yeah, googling me will give anyone A LOT of information about me. Do I worry about it?
If whatever content linked to my name made its way online, there’s a great chance that I’m aware of it. I do post a lot of “professional”, “workey” stuff about lenses, reviews, tests, my process and all, but I also have very personal posts up. Crap, it seems like I’m going in circles not finding how to really hit my point here.
I guess the problem start when someone says “they might not hire you because of this”. I have some serious issues regarding restricting information online, specially information that I WROTE MYSELF, ABOUT ME. I get the game where everyone pretends to be cool and to know everything but I think that’s utter crap. Why is that? Because when you hire someone or consider someone for a job, we’re talking not about a machine but about a fucking human being and, as much as any other human, we all have quirks and problems, usually balanced with something for a good side.
Sure I could’ve tried going through my year faking all along that everything was fine and never said a word about it but, you know, people connect much more when we’re down on the dirt together. I cannot translate the amount of replies and people sharing their own sad stories when I wrote a post that will eventually get me OUT of a job interview – “no way I want this nut working here!”. The reason why that happens is because suddenly you’re not just some guy sitting at a chair in a dark studio. You’re a real person just like you reading this, with just the same amount – and even the same type – of problems, and that’s the main reason I never gave up on writing this blog, not even when I had like 3-4 visitors a day.
Sorry guys, but the reason I write here is not for your entertainment – sure, sometimes it is, but it’s as much fun for me as it’s for you -, the reason I keep on writing is because I HAVE to. I’m not too keen on talking, not even to my closest friends and this blog is sort of a public journal for anyone who wants an insight of what I am. Along the way I work on applying a few lessons I learned from my parents such as never bringing anyone down and avoiding giving up my full address!
Also, another reason for keep on writing is so I don’t get so full of myself and start to think I’m better than anyone! I’m always open to new conversations, helping anyone I can with questions – cameras, lenses, anamorphic, compositing, bring it on! – talk about the hard times in life, asking for help and such.
Back to Instagram and posting my reel. The moment I started posting I had 588 followers. By the time I finished posting the 5 clips (less than ten minutes later), that number had dropped to 580, meaning that eight people were absolutely pissed by those clips and didn’t care about whatever I could’ve posted in the future. Sincerely, I’m glad they left. Yeah, the higher number was cool, but I don’t mind losing people that don’t care about what I post. I think the most valuable ones are those who are subscribed to my posts not because I write about lenses and have pretty pictures of that, but because they like the whole package of what I represent. That one day I’ll have something with visual effects in it, another day might be a lens review, or something I was happy about doing (like hanging out with May), and that kind of thing. And now we’re back at the title, which finally makes sense.
I am a content creator, yes. But more than that, I’m a person with ups and downs. I do some cool stuff but I do shitty stuff twice as much. Not everyday of my life has an amazing discovery or a breakthrough technique. If someone doesn’t wanna hire me because of that, I’m fine with it, I’m fine to the point of writing this post trying to encourage you to think the same way. And with that cheesy last sentence, I’m signing out for today.
Watching a good movie in bad company will never come close to be as entertaining as watching a bad movie in good company. That being said, avoid “We Are Your Friends”, save your money for something better (which is easy)!
Every once in a while I write or say that my life seems to be a loop and never elaborate on that. Let’s try that for today, and let me be specific about my creative process.
The loop usually goes like this. It starts with an awful boring lack of will to start working on something new. This is what I’m starting to define as the “absorption stage”. I usually watch a ton of movies, series, read like a maniac, good and bad things, there’s not much judgement about what I’m ingesting. Some bits of this overload of information are picked from their original source – a specific shot, a camera move, a particular vfx, the way a sequence sounds, the visual style of a game, the plot that interconnects multiple characters in different situations, that kind of thing. Every once in a while I come across a piece of entertainment which I can’t seem to make up my mind whether I liked it or not, so it sticks to the brain and I can’t think about anything else BUT that movie/game/book/song. These are the best ones. It happened with Nightcrawler, Life Is Strange and at least one or two songs every week. These ones are stored in a special place, and will very likely be used as master references for a particular project.
At this stage I feel like I can’t come up with anything new or original. Later on, all those small selections and master references will be mashed together and recombined somehow. This is the tricky part, when I have several ideas which I like. I have to write them down so they don’t vanish completely. Some seem doable, some sound more like dreams. I say it’s tricky for a few reasons. Number One: I don’t feel like I can start developing them all, which leads to number Two: which one is the most doable with what I have and what I know? Most of the times I can’t focus or start any specific idea so there’s a constant feeling that, at any moment, a brilliant plan will show up, which never does and the loop restarts.
When I’m more grounded I have the clarity to sit down and take a look at the possibilities. It’s always a matter of practice. If I give in, I’ll end up doing nothing. After one idea is picked, there’s still some mental wrestling while the other ones try their best to be convincing and doable and I have to keep it under control. Then the real hard part starts, when I have to bring it into reality and deal with all of its limitations. Sometimes this completely defeats the purpose of the idea, and the loop restarts.
If not, if it still seems doable, comes the part of going out and doing it. Shooting, or animating, or drawing, or whatever, something practical. And then it’s never how I expect it to be so there is some more time to fine tune it. There’s also the danger of everything that I thought would be hard simply worked out perfectly. This is dangerous because it puts the plan in a pedestal and I feel afraid of pushing forward and discovering flaws or hitting unexpected problems. When this happens – before the flaws and problems – it’s usually late at night and I’m working on my own. Something unpredictable comes out perfectly, or someone gives me a very positive reply, or the universe simply converges onto making that work, and that drives me into a state of super excitement in which I can’t stand still. This is when life seems to be absolutely perfect and everything means something, and that something is good. When it happens, I can’t keep working and have to go out for a walk, or bike ride in amazement. Yeah, it’s very self-centric, I know. This is also another trap to restart the loop.
There are at least a few times along the process when everything seems to be going right. These always act like pitfalls and I have to stay alert whenever it happens, clearing my head and getting back to work quickly.
WHEN I eventually get to the end and avoided restarting the loop midway through the process, I get to the results. Sometimes the entire process takes less than a day (like the Little Talks project), sometimes a few months (Zona SSP), and once in a while, almost an entire year, such as Hovering Lights. Finishing something, for me, is MUCH MUCH harder than starting, and that’s why I tend to make the start so rough. I feel bad for any project I drop along the way, I know I learned with it, but it didn’t get to where I wanted to go. So, if I’m very careful with what I start, I make sure that I’m going all the way with it. Of course, this also leads to the risk of never starting anything, but lately I’ve been having so many new ideas that at least a few of them have to be worthy of some time. Time is pretty much all I have now! So, after the cycle is completed, it restarts.
It has got to a point that I know what’s going on when I start to just watch too much TV or play for too long, so I start going through the ideas to get to the next stage and not get stuck enjoying other people’s work but having none of my own.