Over the Christmas break I traveled with my wife’s family to Mexico for a week. I decided not to bring a camera but instead a couple of books. I spent the afternoons reading, taking notes and discovering how to make them applicable to my position as a filmmaker, not just at Broadway Church, but also any other freelance projects. One thing that particularly stood out to me was three words from Austin Kleon’s book, ‘Show Your Work’...be an amateur. These three little words were simple, however, they gave me a fresh perspective on how I should view projects for the new year. The concept of being an amateur is simple. Amateurs are not professionals, they are not creating work to pay the bills. They are simply creating art. They are the ones taking risks and trying new things in the process. I have been creating films since high school. I am not an expert yet I feel I have a good grasp of what works and what doesn’t. This causes me to ‘play it safe’. While ‘playing it safe’ gets the job done it does not necessarily mean I am growing as an artist and/or filmmaker and nobody wants to be standing still.
I began to ask myself how could I become an amatuer? I started to brainstorm and see how I could apply this to what I was currently doing. For my paid gigs I simply cannot be stepping out and taking huge creative risks. I no doubt would fail, cause myself lots of stress and at the end of the day, have an unhappy client. I realized I needed to create balance between taking risks and playing it safe. I essentially needed a project to work on where I could be free to experiment with an aspect of filmmaking and, if it failed miserably, I could simply choose not to share or to post it. I decided the best way for me to go about doing this is by simply exploring beautiful BC with my wife. This was the perfect opportunity for me to try out a new piece of film gear, in a beautiful location with the most beautiful woman in the world. It would allow me to be creative and try new things without the pressures of deadlines and quality standards. If something just didn’t work as planned I simply didn’t have to show the final product. It was a perfect balance of being an amateur without attaching any risk.
Here is a video of me testing out the DJI Ronin at Whtyecliff Park, BC. These little videos also did a lot more than allowing me to ‘be an amateur’. They refueled my creative juices. I wasn’t completing videos for a church, business or someone else. I was creating a video for myself. It’s hard to express what this actually means but once your art becomes a job it changes your perspective on your art (but that is another blog post altogether). I also started to implement risk taking in my videos that have a paying client. I knew what would work and what wouldn’t work. I had removed the risk. Thinking in the mindset of ‘be an amateur’ has encouraged me, as a filmmaker, to never stop learning something new that I can incorporate in future projects.