Just a quick post to say I put a few prints taken on various road trips to/from Oklahoma up for sale to benefit the Red Cross of Oklahoma. They always need extra funding and it’s going to take a long time to rebuild all the recent tornado damage. Take a look if you’re interested; you’ll get some great quality photos plus help out my homestate!
Ah, the Internet. While I was researching a different project last September, it brought me to a blog called The Daily Ocean written by Sara Bayles and for that I am so grateful.
Back in December, Sara completed her 365th twenty minute beach clean up, for her project The Daily Ocean. Basically, Sara wanted to prove you can do what you can with the time that you have and still make a difference with an issue as big as protecting the ocean. So she set out to do her 365 clean ups non-consecutively in between working, bodysurfing, and all the life stuff that just happens.
Over three and a half years, Sara collected over 1,300 pounds of trash off her beach in Santa Monica, just between two lifetowers. I got to be a part of the last clean up in December, which 39 others attended as well. Together we collected 22 pounds of trash in twenty minutes, and then we ate some cookies. Both were equally enjoyable.
Sara’s low key, inclusive, affordable attitude just knocks me out. It really is less overwhelming to think about how to change the world when you’ve got a plan of attack that’s so accessible (and friendly. and fun. am I gushing?) and gives credit that any thoughtful action, regardless of size, helps. Skipped bottled water with lunch? You helped! Picked up trash on a walk in your favorite park? You helped too! As Sara says, “The ocean is downhill from everywhere.”
Anyway, Sara has completed a manuscript about the experience and I’m continuing to document this part of her efforts to get this information out and her efforts to make keeping our planet healthy easy as she now navigates the publishing world and gets the book into classrooms.
If you like it, spread the word! I’ll be posting updates from my side of things making the documentary. I’m really proud of this project and I hope you enjoy it. And help me get it into theaters in 2014!
"Only the Young," a portrait doc on three small town teenagers.
I found this doc today and I’m rooting for it to take over the world. Or at least take over my local theater. Personal documentaries can ride an icky line between navel gazing and voyeurism, but this one looks like a very sweet look into what teenagers are really like in small towns - outside of a John Hughes movie.
Inspiration, Inspiration, Inspiration! I promise I have some really cool stuff to post soon.
(You missed my videos during pilot season, didn’t you?)
I’m working on cutting a documentary project right now and I’m hoping the trailer will double as a fundraising tool for my totally awesome subject. So I’m watching more kickass trailers to get inspired and this one caught my eye today.
Are you a Ben Lee fan? I went through a huge “I’m a Lover Not a Fighter” phase in high school and I bet this doc is going to take me back down mem’ry lane. Ahhh, pop songs. Don’t pretend you’re too cool for it.
I think I have link-pimped this awesome short within an inch of its life, but here’s the magical BBC-esque take on Flying Monkeys one more time in case I haven’t made you watch it already. I mean we’re in the desert of Northern Australia - finding beetles. It’s just awesome.
PS - I did the final color on this short and I am very pleased with the way it turned out! My inspiration on this was Indiana Jones and old leather, and if you’ll notice a lot of the darker scenes have that “old man face” kind of rusty black quality to them. Does this make any sense to anyone else who doesn’t stare at color for 40+ hours a week?
In 2011 I was just getting started as a dailies operator - and coming in on my own time to use the color suite and learn from my mentor.
The first task my mentor assigned me was calibrating an old CRT to use as another reference monitor. It took me probably three hours. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I even wrote about it - how the level of subtlety in determining pure black and white had to involve a little magic. And it does - I have superior color vision! (And you know, also have had training at one of the top schools for imaging science in the country. That probably instills magic too). I went back and forth about a billion times on the quality of the picture, but I was pretty sure after asking Mark about ten times that I had done good.
Fast forward to the now and I have lost track of how many shows and pilots I worked on this week. I think it’s five. Anyway, we’re training another colorist and I catch myself all the time stealing my mentor’s phrases and throwing them around like they are mine.
And when the new plasma monitor got in for our second color suite, I flew in to calibrate it between handling three shows a night and got it done in about twenty minutes over two nights - but I still wasn’t sure it was right.
So I asked my mentor to take a look at it the next day, just for a minute before he’s off on a big job too. And he said I done good.
The first time I heard David Rakoff it was on This American Life and I thought if I could hear one sound every night before I go to sleep it might be that guy reading me rhyming couplets. Then I heard his story about the tortoise and the scorpion, I read Don’t Get Too Comfortable, and devoured anything else with him in it. If there was any human left on the face of the planet using irony as a proper literary device to evoke some sort of genuine human emotion rather than sell chotchkies at Urban Outfitters, it was David Rakoff.
When I heard about his passing in August, I put off reading Half Empty partially because I wanted to stretch out the rest of his work. I rationed the Rakoff.
But, I finally picked it up and my short review is: go read it. It’s his best book. Goddammit I love the way he writes.
The book is a collection of essays set under the umbrella of exploring pessimism and melancholy. A lot of the essays can be filed under “hilarious anecdotal evidence” but the first chapter delves into the behind the scenes of an article David (I can’t do the last name thing, I feel like I knew David Rakoff and I wish I did) never ended up publishing on the subject of defensive pessimism and the research of Dr. Julie Norem.
Quickly, defensive pessimism is an anxiety management tool in which you break down a situation into the most awful potential outcomes and then find ways to deal with those worst case scenarios. In cognitive therapy it is also referred to as a hierarchy of anxiety. So a person with a fear of dogs might have at the top of that hierarchy “Be attacked by a dog,” and over time realize that yes, we have the tools and technology to deal with even the worst case scenario (in this case: go to a hospital and get a rabies shot, plus probably stitches and some comfort food). So all the littler fears become easier to tackle. Lower on the hierarchy might be, “Be barked at by a dog.” I could use my defensive pessimism to come up with a solution like, “If a dog barks at me and scares me, I will cross the street to avoid it and then make fun of it for being a dumb dog with no opposable thumbs.”
Anyway, while David wanted to write about about how negativity can dance circles around our life-finds-a-way happier counterparts, the conclusion Norem (and he, begrudgingly) came to is this: pessimism is a trait just as neutral as brown hair, and arguing for negative thinking is very different than arguing against positive thinking (I’m paraphrasing as I can’t find the page). But being negative (or maybe just detail oriented) isn’t going to kill you or make you less successful than the next guy.
While the argument to give due to positive emotions and study them, as did the positive psychology of the 90’s, is still certainly true and helpful, it can dwarf the notion that negativity is still an important and valid part of life. Humility probably wouldn’t happen in a world of 100% healthy egos.
And then the rest of the book is delightful and sweet and sad, and I just didn’t want it to end because this was the end of the essays from David Rakoff.
I can’t understand on the same level what David wrote about because I don’t have cancer (thank goodness, knock on wood), but I certainly see the world with a little bend in it like he does, and the lots I see strangers have are by and large, not equal. Look, some of us have by chance darker lenses through which to view the world than other people.We see the cracks in the paint before we see the color of the wall.
And David Rakoff makes such good use of a little darkness, it just makes me feel in great company. Humor doesn’t have to be pretty or rose colored: it just has to make me laugh. Boy, did this book.
If you’re not familiar with StoryCorps, I highly suggest you check it out. StoryCorps travels all over the country recording snippets and stories from all sorts of people, and occasionally those stories are turned into animation.
This one from Ronald McNair’s brother is really lovely. What a good story.
"No," said the little prince. "I am looking for friends. What does that mean—‘tame’?"
"It is an act too often neglected," said the fox. It means to establish ties."
“‘To establish ties’?”
"Just that," said the fox. "To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world …"
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Le Petit Prince. This is the only deviation from the traditional city hall cubicle wedding vows we had. It was pretty perfect.