When I began as a film maker, I often heard the admonition “Shoot. Every day.” There is a lot of wisdom in this. The more you do something, the more mistakes you make, the more you learn, the better you become. There is merit in doing the stuff. Putting in the reps.
But after a couple of years of this, I came to a place where I’d go out with my camera and just … stand. Everything started to look the same. I would think, “Do I really need another slow motion shot of leaves in the wind?” or “People walking…again.” So I would wander around, looking for…something, anything, to shoot.
And putting in the reps became this massive slog of shoot, edit, release, shoot, edit, release, rinse and repeat. Everything looked and felt the same. Because, do the same thing, get the same results. And I wondered if there was something wrong with me because, I just didn’t seem to have an artist’s eye to “find the shots.”
And, for me, the biggest danger was that I began internalize this uncertainty as being a fault of my abilities. I questioned if I “Had it,” whatever “it” was. So I shot more. Applied LUTS. Tried different grades. And, meh. I thought “Maybe if I just had this camera, or that lens, my shots would look better.” So I invested, and ended up with more of the same, only in higher resolution and a 10-bit color space.
The longer I struggled, the more I questioned my ability to overcome this uncertainty. This self-doubt ate at me until it gave way to fear. Fear that I wasn’t good enough. Fear that I was wasting my time. And that’s when that paralysis set in.
And it became too easy let the camera sit, unused.
For a long time, I did other stuff and ignored my camera. Until I eventually sold it. And quietly grieved.
Three years later, my Pastors asked me to produce our weekly church announcements in video. My gut reaction was “Oh, Hell no! You don’t understand. I don’t have it! I’m not good enough!” So I tried to say “No” by asking for what I thought was an unreasonable budget. Except they decided it was a good investment and approved the budget.
Damn. Now what?
That was two years ago. And every week, our team produces the announcements and other videos. Every week, we put in the reps. Every week, I’ve seen my creativity and abilities expand. I see differently, so I shoot differently. And instead of a slog, it’s been a time of growth. And what I thought I didn’t have was there all the time.
Each week, the announcements gave me a reason to pull out my camera. It gave me something to say. And though simple, this fundamental shift was everything.
Because it gave purpose to each shot. And connected me to the underlying story. And it didn’t matter that the story wasn’t transcendent and whatever, because, let’s be honest – the details of a brunch for women is fairly mundane. But that brunch led to this:
(Men’s Women’s Brunch 2017 Spot 1)
Sure, it’s a tremendous help to work with a talented and dedicated team of creatives. But more importantly, creating begins with purpose. By connecting to the story of whatever it is I’m trying to say. And then, saying it.
I won’t tell you to “Shoot. Every day.” Rather, I would say “Choose to say what’s in your heart to say. And say it.” Because your voice matters. Your story matters. Tell your story.