Let’s Start With Shitty First Drafts

What do you do to stay creative?

I've been looking for something new to do this summer, a way to have fun learning again, and I think I found it.

At least for right now.

I’ve been in New York for almost two years now — surprises me how fast time passes. Yet I still don’t feel like a resident here. Sometimes I’m not even sure if I belong in this city, in fact — it’s a big city, one that can be overwhelming.

So, in order to get to know New York a little bit better, I decided to create a summer project: a video blog.

"Let's start with shitty first drafts"

To tell you the truth, I was mostly just so inspired and excited by Casey Neistat’s work that I wanted to start filming right away. I’ve also been inspired by my colleague Zach Valenti’s work at One Month (we’re building a video studio in-house, and I've been fascinated by the filmmaking process).

While you don’t need reasons to do something, I’m excited about creating a summer vlog for several reasons:

  • It's something new and I want to learn how to do it
  • Video forces you to understand visual storytelling, and short-form storytelling
  • I get to see and open my eyes to the city in a brand-new way, seeing it as a stage, a set, and a landscape
  • I write all the time — so what’s next? What else can I learn? Between wrtiting a book, writing for my job, writing a blog — frankly, I’m a little tired of writing. How else can I create?
  • I think video is a great way to show behind-the-scenes and get away from postured, posed, cultivated photos. I want to actually SEE people and let people get to know ME. I’m silly, goofy, strange — and a lot shinier than most pictures give me credit for (I sweat like a maniac and I wear a ton of sunscreen, and when I’m in the garden, I also slather on bugspray. This doesn’t quite come across in text).

Why creativity and inspiration are constantly changing:

Creativity and exploration aren't fixed things.

For me, it's all about digging my hands into something new, whether it's gardening, painting, writing, singing, or learning how to play the piano.

What calls to me changes, too, depending on the nature of my work. If I'm spending a ton of time learning a new physical activity, then more exercise doesn't always feel restorative and rejuventating.

Join me!

If you're curious, I'll be documenting what I learn through each video at the end, sharing how I make the video and what I've learned.

You can subscribe to my channel or watch the series playlist— or better yet — start your own vlog if you want something fun to do this summer.

For example, in this first video I learned:

  • How to add sound tracks to video
  • How to edit in ScreenFlow
  • Why B-Roll is so important
  • Always shoot in landscape, not portrait!

My challenge to myself:

  • Create 1-3 minute video snippets
  • Show a funny story / tell a story
  • Learn something new about video in each episode
  • Try to ship it and cut it in only a couple of hours, if possible — I don’t want this to be a long project. Just a fun one. The more it gets bogged down in process, the less fun it will be.

This one started at 6:00 AM on Monday while I was out on a walk in search of coffee. The coffee shop didn't open until 7:30 so I recorded some footage of a fountain and played around a bit. I recorded some additional footage with QuickTime at my desk at 8:00AM, and then edited most of it by 9:00AM.

I finished a few cuts, picked music, and exported it later that same evening.

And now it’s live.

This is fun.

Join me! And if you have your own vlog or YouTube channel, leave a comment in the notes below so I can check out your videos as well.

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