Creativity isn’t what I thought it was.. And that’s great!

These days, I make a living doing some pretty creative stuff: producing videos, shooting and editing photos and writing scripts to name a few.

But I haven’t always considered myself to be “creative”. Growing up, I was good at science and maths classes. I enjoyed subjects like these with hard truths and straightforward answers. Never did I feel like I had any inclination for music, art or poetry. I truly believed that my brain was wired to work one way and not the other. The science seemed to back this up, with a long-standing theory suggesting that we’re either left-brained or right-brained.

I thought that creativity was some esoteric endowment from the universe, and I just didn’t have it: I was born left-brained: analytical, factual, logic based.

Over the last couple of years, since I started my career in photography and filmmaking, I’ve been wondering a lot about what makes certain people creative. Mostly out of my own fear that I wasn’t “creative” enough because I hadn’t been doing this from a young age like other successful filmmakers. I wanted to assuage the fears within me and convince myself that everything would work out. I’ve been asking questions like: where does creativity come from? And how do I get more of it?

It turns out, we get many notions of creativity wrong.

That scientific theory about brain sides? Well it turns out that’s actually based on research from the 1960’s and has been proven wrong. But the theory is still cited by a lot of people today, usually as a means to confirm a limiting belief that they can’t do one thing or another, like I did.

Here are some things I’ve learned from creative people that I look up to that have helped me along my own journey. Hopefully there’s something in there that can help you on your creative journey too.

 

Creativity as a Tap

I recently saw this video where Ed Sheeran gives advice to aspiring musicians. He likened creativity to a dirty tap (or a faucet if you’re North American): it spits out dirty water when you first turn it on. In your creative journey, this dirt is what you’re making when you first start out – you can’t paint, draw, sing or write well. But you’ve just gotta let it flow (i.e. practice) for a while and let the dirt get flushed out. Eventually, after the tap has been left on for a while it starts to run clean. This is when you start creating the really good stuff.

There’s also this video showing Ed playing a recording of him singing from when he was young and he sounded terrible: off-key, squealing, just bad. From here, he says that he just practiced and practiced. If the mighty Ed could go from bad to superstar, then that gives hope to all of us that we can make it too, with enough practice.

So now, I’m currently I’m doing my best to crank that dirty tap open and letting all that dirty water out. Let’s hope that one day it turns clear!

 

Document, don’t create

“I think it’s much smarter for you to talk to the world about your process going through this, than the advice that you think you should be giving them” – Gary Vaynerchuk

Another problem with our idea of creativity is that we think that everything we create has to be new and original. Most of us have been conditioned this way since school: “don’t copy”, we’re told by our teachers. Quite the contrary. According to the book Steal Like an Artist, it’s not that artists aren’t stealing from each other, its because they are and they’re just failing at it. This is where originality really comes from: stealing existing ideas and remixing them your own way.

“What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.” – Austin Kleon (Steal Like an Artist)

If you’re a modern content creator trying to make content for YouTube, Instagram or any other social media, rather than trying to think of fresh ideas all the time, instead focus on documenting your journey: what you’ve learned recently, failures you’ve had, how you’ve handled certain situations etc. What’s boring and obvious for you might be new and interesting for someone else. And if you’re interested in creating content, do what Gary Vee suggests and just focus on documenting your journey. There will inevitably be things that you learn that other people can learn from too.

Following this framework, I think that a “content creator” could be rebranded as more of a “consistent documenter”.

 

Creativity as a funnel

Here’s something that I’ve been thinking about quite a bit lately. It’s the fact that as you look at anybody’s Instagram feed, Youtube Channel, portfolio, exhibition or any other body of work, all you’re seeing is the very tip of the iceberg of creative work they’ve produced. What you don’t see is the colossal mountain below the surface of failed attempts and just-not-good-enough pieces that were left on the cutting room floor.

I like to think back to an ad for John West tuna that I always saw on TV when I was growing up. In it, John West is holding a perfectly good tuna and throws it back into the sea. To which his friend asks him, “what did you do that for?” and he responds by saying that there was some minor imperfection on it that the viewer can’t even see. The and ends with the tagline “It’s what John West puts back that makes John West the best”. Like fishermen, creative pursuits like photography involve pulling up a lot of fish from the sea of potential photos, most of which we discard because they’re out of focus, not framed properly, etc. It’s all about the ones we that we post to Instagram or keep in our portfolio, that end up defining how great we are. So don’t be afraid to reel in plenty of bad fish before you decide which one to keep.

From my own experience, I can say that for every photo I’ve posted on to Instagram, I’ve probably taken at least a few thousand. Same thing for video: for every 3-minute video I’ve produced and released, there were probably 100-300+ minutes of footage I filmed that didn’t make the cut. This is pretty normal among photographers and filmmakers. The same is true for writers: the first draft tends to be rubbish. For painters: there are no doubt dozens of discarded rough sketches for every completed artwork.

If creativity is a tap, I like to think of it as one that fills up a funnel. The funnel gets continually filled and only a small amount comes out through the bottom. The small amount of water that ends up coming out the other end are the finished products you end up delivering to the world.

So don’t despair if you go out and take 100 photos and you don’t like any of them. If that happens, take 100 more and you might find that one is decent. If not, rinse and repeat until you find one you like. Leave that tap running, and let it fill that funnel. Eventually, you will get some sweet, beautiful nectar out the other end.

 

Conclusion

What all of this says is that creativity is lies more in the domain of being a skill, rather than innate talent. Just like throwing a baseball, singing or skiing. Sure, some people are born with more of an advantage than others. But ultimately one thing is true: if you practice, you WILL get better.

So to me, becoming a skilled creative boils down to two things:

  1. Create consistently and
  2. Keep trying to get better

 

That’s it. It might sound a bit harsh, but there’s no magic bullet or shortcut here. If you want to get good, practice a looooot and keep trying to improve. The flip side of all this is that yes, it is possible to “become” a creative person, if I’ve proved anything to myself over the last few years it is this.

So keep documenting. Keep that tap running. Keep filling that funnel. And don’t stop until you have a bucket of gold water so big, people think that you were born with it.

Why I Switched.. (Sorry Canon)

This here has been the workhorse of nearly all of my content for the past couple of years:

By nearly all accounts, this camera has been amazing. I’ve managed to produce some really great work that I’m really proud of (pssst, you can check out here link). I’ve filmed weddings, short documentaries, interviews, beautiful cinematic B roll and even vlogged on it. I’ve loved the footage at 4K in full-frame at up to 60 frames per second, with great colours and stellar low-light performance. Even the photos out of this thing have been great, along with the menus and touchscreen controls.

But today, as I’m writing this, I made the big switch. I bit the bullet, pulled the trigger and took the plunge head-first into the Sony world and bought the A7Siii. This camera has quickly become the favourite among most videographers, Youtubers and mostly anyone who makes videos professionally. And given it’s price tag, it’s mostly reserved for those who are serious about it.

I’ve been serious about making videos for a while now, but I’d already made the substantial investment in the Canon world with my R6, accessories, lenses and the like. I even had a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6k, which conveniently also uses Canon EF lenses.

But why make the switch? Changing camera brands isn’t an easy: it’s not just swapping to a new camera body, but all the lenses, the accessories, and getting used to a different menu system and different button layouts that I spent years getting used to. Here are my reasons, which built up slowly over time until the benefits of switching were just too hard to ignore.

 

The Reasons

Overheating

This is the big one. People have known about the overheating issue with the Canon R5 and R6 when filming in 4K since before it even came out. But I found the claims to be mostly overblown. Still, filming for long periods of time did become an issue, in that I couldn’t record continuously for over 25 minutes, and even when shooting B roll I had to be aware of the timer. I eventually learned that the overheating timer was fake and controlled by an software timer rather than being governed by actual temperatures. And I discovered how to reset the fake timer for essentially unlimited 4K recording by changing the date and pulling the battery. But still. This felt like I was running a Windows 95 computer where I had to change the date and restart to keep using trial software. When I had to do this in the middle of a shoot, it just felt downright dumb.

I only see 2 possible reasons why this problem exists: 1. Poor engineering of the camera, where they didn’t allow heat to dissipate fast enough or 2. Canon is protecting their more expensive cinema lineup by imposing these fake limitations in their consumer cameras. Given that Sony doesn’t have this overheating problem, and that they also have their own cinema camera lineup, both of these reasons are dumb. Whoever made the decision at Canon to ship a camera with this issue, I hope they can see that the company is suffering big time for their short-sightedness.

Autofocus

Online reviewers have all raved on about how good the autofocus is on the Canon R6. But in my experience it hasn’t been all that. It’s struggled a lot, particularly in low-light situations. Which is really strange because low-light focusing has been one of the selling points of the camera. I’ve found that it quite often hunts around or doesn’t know what to focus on. When I used my friend’s A7S3, it had no problem with similar situations that my R6 struggled in. Strange. And very frustrating

Size

I’ve got small hands. When Canon made the switch from DSLR to mirrorless technology, I think they didn’t realise how much smaller they could make the cameras. Either that, or they wanted to cater to their existing giant-hand demographic. Either way, the relatively big grip doesn’t suit me that much. With Sony, both the camera and lenses are smaller and lighter. This also means they’re easier to balance on a gimbal. My Zhiyun Weebill-S has always struggled to hold my Canon with any zoom lens. But with the Sony, even a 28-75 F2.8 lens with an ND filter on the front is no problem.

Lens selection

Sony’s mirrorless system has just been around for a lot longer than Canon’s. In that time, they’ve been able to amass a great lens selection for their E-mount system. There are prime lenses in 20,24,28,35,50,55,85mm and more from both Sony and third parties. True, they usually don’t have image stabilisation like RF lenses do, but the in-body stabilisation from the camera, coupled with the gyro data post-stabilising, will do for me. On top of that, the Sony lenses are generally cheaper than their Canon RF equivalents. All Sony E mount lenses can be used in all of their mirrorless cameras, from their smaller A6000 series, to the A7 series like this one, and even the bigger cinema cameras they sell. Canon’s RF mount is newer and currently only available on these full-frame mirrorless cameras, plus one cinema model.

Customisation

In my limited time with this new Sony camera, I’ve already been delighted by how much I’m able to customise all of the buttons and dials. I can set different video presets onto the 1-2-3 mode dial, there’s the C1-C3 buttons that can be remapped, and the ability to remap almost any of the buttons. In comparison, I found the customisation settings on my R6 to be really lacking.

Proxy recording

This is another massive bonus with the A7Siii. There just isn’t any option for this on the R6 at all. The A7Siii can simultaneously record a lower-resolution, proxy video at the same time as the full-res 4K one. For me, that means that I can send the low-res proxy video directly to my translator to start transcribing interviews when I’ve filmed them in another language. I used to have to import the footage to my computer, transcribe it, then upload it and send off. No longer.

Dynamic range

Sony mirrorless cameras have been known for their great dynamic range for a while. On the flipside, I’ve been pretty disappointed with how low the range is on the R6, especially with highlights. I’ve found that as soon as the bright areas got a little bit too bright, they’d easily get blown out and unrecoverable. This has forced me to habitually under-expose a lot of my footage out of fear, making a lot of my shots look too dark and moody when they shouldn’t have been.

Battery life

Canon has done a great job of sticking to their LP-E6 batteries for a long long time, all the way from their DSLR bodies until now. While I appreciate the sentiment and I love that it reduces waste, they haven’t done a good job at giving their mirrorless cameras good battery life. I can typically shoot for about 60-90 minutes of on-and-off B-roll before a battery runs out and I need to replace it. It’s probably more of a camera design issue, but either way it’s not so great having to change batteries so often when I’m on a shoot. Coupled with the fact that I had to keep pulling my battery on the Canon due to overheating, this adds up to a lot of time lost.

The Sony however, gets around double that. Meaning I can get through a day of shooting with only 2-3 batteries instead of 5-7. Less time changing batteries means less potential shots lost.

Rolling shutter

This has been a more minor issue, but the rolling shutter performance on the R6 is notoriously poor. Luckily I’m not doing many fast panning shots, so I don’t see the jell-o effect. But it’s nice to have the peace of mind knowing that the A7Siii has almost eliminated the rolling shutter completely.

Company direction

It feels to me that Sony is really trying to cater to the mobile, content-creator market. And I love this. When I look at the new cameras that Canon is bringing out, it seems like they’re stuck trying to cater to their customers of the past, not the direction the market is going. For example, the new Canon R3 is an even more giant camera, to replace the 1Dx line-up. And the just-released R5c is essentially an R5 but with the overheating issue fixed. But the tradeoff is an even bigger camera because it has a built-in fan. And it STILL uses the same LP-E6 batteries, so it chews through them like candy.

On the Sony side, if we look at their flagship A1 camera, they’ve managed to cram in the 8K, high frame-rate 4k video and fantastic photography of Canon’s R5c, without the need for a fan or for terrible battery life. Sony are constantly innovating and bringing out tiny-yet-mighty cameras like the A7c that are really great for video content creators while Canon seem to be coming out with chunkier, heavier cameras for the market of yesterday.

 

Conclusion:

Once the king of the DSLR photography world, Canon has seen its dominance chipped away over the past 5 years, mostly by Sony. The world has shifted to mirrorless, video-centric content production and Sony has been there to welcome this new crop of content creators with open arms.

Yes, the Sony A7Siii is a much more expensive option than the Canon R6, so of course you’d expect it to perform better. But if you look at the R6’s direct competitor, the Sony A7IV, all of my reasons above still apply.

If history has taught us anything, camera companies (*cough* Kodak) can quickly bite the dust if they they don’t adapt. I fear that Canon executives still believe that they’re a photography camera company, not a video one. If this holds true, then I fear their time is running out faster than they know.

Brandon Li’s Gimbal Masterclass – Review

What is it?

In a few short years, the electronic gimbal stabiliser has become a staple in every modern filmmaker’s toolkit. Once the domain of big-budget production sets, the cost of this technology has come down to really affordable levels. This has made cinematic, stable footage more accessible to regular people like me. It’s also opened the door to all new levels of creative shots, and this course is here to teach them to you.

I’ve long admired Brandon Li’s work since seeing some of his “travel films” like Seoul Wave on Youtube. His camera movements and gimbal skills do indeed look very unique, and his filmmaking has earned him multiple Vimeo Staff Pick awards. Labelled as a ‘gimbal god’ by many, I was really excited to try his course out, hoping to glean some secrets and maybe even make me a better filmmaker.

 

Who is this course for?

A lot of lessons cover things like setting up your gimbal, how to use it and how to walk with it. These are all important things to know and will give you a solid foundation, but not all that difficult to learn from a free tutorial on Youtube.

In my opinion, this course is mainly for beginners or people without much experience using a gimbal.

 

The Good:

These tips are most of the value I was able to get from the course:

  • For any shot: Start slow, fast in the middle, then slow down at the end
  • Gimbal is less smooth at odd angles. Whenever possible, return it to home before starting
  • Move your body more if possible, if it can prevent the gimbal motors from working as hard

 

Could use some improvement:

  • The shot techniques weren’t tied together in a satisfying way, like you’d find in one of his travel videos. While the course does a great job of outlining a whole bunch of useful movements, a video isn’t simply one shot or a sequence of shots, but a story tied together by different scenes, which are made of individual shots. Perhaps the course could have started with a completed sequence, with a storyline and a variety of different shots. Then different lessons would break down the different shots and how they worked together in a video. The reason for this might be because of the next point..
  • Feels like a bit of a sell for his main course. This course is but one section of his larger filmmaking course that runs for $800 (at the time of writing). This is probably why the previous point exists – all of these techniques and are no doubt tied together with all sorts of camera shots to make films in his main course.
  • You can’t skip lessons. Since one of the selling points listed on the homepage is to “take your skills to the next level”, that tells me that it’s not only targeted towards beginners, but intermediate and advanced gimbal practitioners too. If you’re not a beginner however, you wouldn’t have any use for the first bunch of lessons and would like to skip ahead to the more advanced lessons.
  • I wish there were more examples of the long take. Part 2 of the course does focus on narrative filmmaking and does indeed tell a story. But it uses a completely different technique to do so: the long take. I really liked this lesson actually, and Brandon teaches us about techniques like blocking.

 

Is it worth it?

The course currently sells for the early bird price of $147. Set to increase to $199 at some point in the future.

There is a lot of free, high quality content available on Youtube these days. Sure, you could make the argument that theres too much. But especially for beginner content like how to set up a gimbal and do basic moves, this can be learned with a short search. This is also packaged nicely and in sequential order for you to learn.

If you’ve bought a gimbal and don’t really know where to start with using it and setting it up, then yes I’d say it’s worth it. But if you already have a decent amount of experience using a gimbal and want to learn more advanced content, I wouldn’t really recommend paying this price for the relatively few bits of advanced content.

I really appreciate what Brandon has done for the online filmmaking community and I love his contributions. It’s a well thought-out course with plenty of useful information.

Just don’t go thinking that you’ll become a gimbal master just by watching this course: that is something only learned through hours, days and years of real-world experience and editing.

 

Either way, if you own a gimbal I’d definitely recommend checking out the course and seeing if it’s right for you:

The Gimbal Masterclass

My top 5 books of 2021

In 2021 I started tracking the books that I read. I set up a database in Notion where I could track what books I’d read, wanted to read and when I finished them. It also let me type some notes and save highlights from each book.

I did this for a few reasons:

  1. To keep track of what I’ve read.
  2. To retain nuggets of wisdom.
  3. To motivate me to read more.

 

I can say that it’s really worked on all three counts – this database was a real game changer for me. Before 2021, I would read books sporadically and forget most of the lessons a book had to offer. But this method changes all of that and even turns reading into something game-like, where I can track my progress and build on it bit by bit.

My final count for 2021 was 21 books. Almost poetic huh? 21 books in 2021. Let’s see if I can do more than 22 in 2022. I only started this in April of last year actually, so there are some books that got missed between January-March.

It’s thanks to this database that I’ve been able to write this blog post. I could look back through the highlights and notes I made along the way and piece together the info I needed.

I got the template to build this from Ali Abdaal – its a great one you can find here.

It provided a great structure for me to start taking notes about both fiction and non-fiction books easily.

Interesting stats:

Audiobooks/Kindle: 6:15 (40% Audiobooks)

Fiction/Nonfiction: 10:11 (48% Fiction)

Fiction categories: Sci-fi (30%) Fantasy (70%)

 

My top 5 books of 2021:

So here’s a list of my favourite books that I read in 2021. I chose these 5 based purely on how enjoyable they were to me and how valuable I found the lessons in them. Both of those reasons are super subjective and specific to me, so let me know if you agree with them.

 

5. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

This is a great book for anyone with a creative pursuit, whether it’s just a hobby or there’s desire to take it full-time. It talks about how to beat procrastination, fear, self-doubt, imposter syndrome by giving all these things an identity called the Resistance. By doing this, you can dissociate these qualities from yourself and it gives you something to fight against.

It also talks a lot about the mental shift you need to make when doing your work professionally, again very relevant advice for my life at the time.

 

4. Storyworthy by Matthew Dicks & Dan Kennedy

This book was very timely and relevant for me as I continue to learn more about filmmaking. It doesn’t actually talk about storytelling in the traditional sense – there’s no mention of The Hero’s Journey or the Three Act Structure here. It’s more about telling stories about your own life, but the principles can mostly be applied to telling any kind of story.

It has changed the way that I watch movies and think about stories in general (for example, Jurassic Park is actually a movie about a man who learns to love children, wrapped up in a plot about dinosaurs 🤯). I’ve actually put the Homework For Life exercise from the book into my daily routine since reading this book and have continued to do it even nearly a year later.

The book is fantastically written and the author keeps it interesting by teaching by example. Whilst teaching the concepts he demonstrates by telling interesting stories from his own life which make you want to laugh and cry.

I actually summarised this book in one of my earlier posts here.

 

3. The Name of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Out of all the books I read this year, this one had the best, most beautiful writing. Another book I couldn’t put down from when I picked it up. This is a fantasy book with a really interesting magic system. It’s got some of the most incredible writing and beautiful prose I’ve ever read. The way the story is written is also a super page-turner. It’s a long book and definitely kept me up late for a few nights.

 

2. Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Absolutely loved this book. Couldn’t put it down from when I began. Andy Weir also wrote The Martian (which became a Matt Damon movie). Like his other books, this one really sings to the physics & maths nerd in me – it’s pseudo-realistic and is full of astronomical facts and scientific calculations woven into the story. It’s ultimately a story about friendship, sacrifice and passion. It’s smart, it’s got twists and nail-biting moments.

 

1. Will by Will Smith & Mark Manson

IIIIIIINNN WEST PHILADELPHIA BORN AND RAISED..

I was already a big fan of Will Smith before I read this. This book is a deep dive into Will’s life story and challenges and triumphs that led up to all of his big roles and wins. It talks about the intense work ethic that shaped who he was and is also famous for. I love how he shares all the highs and lows, from the horrific recounts of domestic violence, to divorce, to discovering self-awareness.

If you’re going to read it, I really suggest getting the audiobook: it’s read by Will Smith with all of the drama, flair and passion that could only come from him. Not only that, the level of production is amazing: he raps, he does impressions, and different background songs play during certain scenes.

 

Other honourable mentions:

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – I happened to read this coincidentally just before the whole Metaverse craze broke out. The book is really fun and interesting – I preferred it way more than the movie.

Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins – Get inside the ridiculously tough mind of David Goggins and helps you look at the limits you have in yours.

Mistborn (series) by Brandon Sanderson – This was my introduction to Brandon Sanderson the author and boy was it epic! Will definitely be reading more of his books in the future.

My favourite Chrome extensions of 2021

These two extensions have really changed the game for me in terms of my productivity, so I’d like to share them here.

There are plenty of useful Chrome extensions out there, and no doubt plenty of extensions that have the similar functionality than the one’s I’ve listed here. I just happened to find both of these through a simple Google search after asking myself “Surely there’s a better way to do X..” and they seem to do a fantastic job of working as advertised.

Best of all, both of these extensions (at least for the way I use them) are totally free!

 

Unhook Youtube

One of the biggest time-wasting traps I fall into is watching YouTube and getting sucked in for ages. The Youtube algorithm is a force of temptation that’s impossible for my dopamine-craving brain to resist.

The solution here should be simple: install a website blocker to shut out Youtube when I’m trying to work. The problem is, I actually need to watch it for work related things: like tutorials on how to do something in After Effects/Final Cut/Davinci Resolve etc. The recommendation pane next to any video I watch is quicksand, ready to pull me in if my eye glances over to it.

So what I needed was a way to browse Youtube for the things I need to learn, without the risk of being drawn into those recommendations.

Unhook Youtube gives you plenty of options to hide distracting content

 

Unhook YouTube is a simple extension actually goes way beyond removing the recommendation pane – you can remove video suggestions literally everywhere! On the home page, subscriptions page, at the end of videos – the works. All you’re left with is the search bar and the video that you’re currently watching. When you get to the end of the video, you’re free to leave, totally unaware that there are other videos for you to watch.

As they say, ignorance is bliss.

 

Workona

I’m definitely not the only one who does this, but when I’m working on a project I often have dozens of tabs open in a single window. And then I have another Chrome window, with dozens more tabs, for each project that I’m working on. For projects that I’m not actively working on, I’d simply push those windows to the back. But they’d always be lurking there, cluttering my workspace over time. Since I also use my laptop for non-work related browsing, I needed a better way to organise all my tabs and to avoid looking at work-related stuff when I’m trying to relax.

 

 

Enter Workona.

This fantastic tool allows me to manage all my tabs across all active projects seamlessly. Each project window becomes a Workspace, which can be switched around in a single click. As you open and close tabs, it saves your “session” in real-time. So anytime you close a window, you can instantly open it back up and resume your session where you last closed it. Now I can close down Chrome completely at the end of my work day or whenever I feel like it, and then get right back to work just as easily.

And it has an iPad app too. This is awesome, because if I happen to be browsing on my iPad and want to pull up something work-related, I can continue right where my laptop was. It’s like a better version of the tab-syncing already built into Chrome

The other cool thing is that you can save bookmarks as “Resources” which is just a way of saying project-related bookmarks. I often need to save something as a bookmark only for that project: think specific Google drive links or client websites. Now when the project is complete, it doesn’t clog up my Bookmarks folder any longer. It just gets archived along with the rest of the project tabs.

On top of all that, it’s even got other neat features like a task manager and notes manager built in. This extension is really aiming to be your all-in-one productivity tool. I’d say it does a pretty great job it!

EVs, Superblocks, Christopher Nolan – Sunday Sesh 07/11/21

Hello, welcome to another Sunday Sesh, where I give a little life update and share tidbits I’ve found interesting over the past week.

This week I went to watch a movie with our friends. At the cinema! It was such an immersive experience and I’d forgotten just what I was missing out on. Nothing like watching Netflix at home. We watched Shang Chi and I could feel every hit, block and pulse in the movie through the massive sound system. I thought the movie was great! Seeing an all-Asian cast led by an Asian Marvel superhero is bound to inspire lots of kids out there, and the Eastern mythology and old-school kung-fu movie tropes were beautifully brought to life.

EnergyLab also hosted an exciting panel discussion on the future of electric vehicles in Cambodia. I got to film one of the epic entrances to the event, with the Australian Ambassador driving the Managing Director of Electrice Du Cambodge to the entry in an electric Jaguar I-PACE. The two remaining panelists, the British Ambassador and the Managing Director of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, also drove to the event in the same epic fashion.

Check out a recording of of the panel discussion here

 

 

🎧 Podcasts

“What Does a ‘Just Transition’ Look Like?

Link

At this point, it’s accepted by (almost) everyone that our energy is going to be all-renewable at some point in the future. That means that the massive fossil fuel industries that power our world today are going to to the way of, well, fossils.

But what about the thousands of people who’s livelihoods depend on these sectors? Most of them entered the industry just trying to make a living and feed their family, like the rest of us. This podcast discusses how we can ensure that the renewable transition can be fair for everyone. It covers those directly impacted, but also indirectly, through the local shops, restaurants and communities that existing mines and plants might support.

 

📚 Books

I’ve been reading Originals by Adam Grant, which is a good dive into the factors that make teams and companies innovative, from tech startups to the CIA. It’s super interesting so far. It challenges a lot of common conceptions that we take for granted and I’m excited to read the rest of it.

 

📺 Videos

THIS Is The Future Of Urban Planning!

Link

A very interesting video talking about an idea to reclaim city streets to be places where people can walk around and socialise with each other. The solutions is “superblocks”: a bunch of regular city blocks squeezed together with the inner roads changed to prioritise foot and bicycle traffic rather than cars. It sound like an excellent idea to reclaim our cities for people, reduce pollution, improve our communities and increase happiness.

How to Create like Christopher Nolan

Link

This video from David Perrell extols the value of “getting wonky” – going deep into a single niche that other people might consider “weird”. By honing in and applying an obsessive amount of thought and consideration to tiny details, you can end up creating great work. Such is the domain of Christopher Nolan, who’s directed many of my favourite films including The Prestige, Inception, Interstellar and the Dark Knight. Each of these films plays with concepts of time, space and society in extremely interesting ways that really require you to think differently to any other films.

 

📃Articles

22 rules of story telling from Pixar

Link

Storytelling continues to be more important in my life every day: from this blog to the personal and client videos that I write scripts for. This is a fantastic Twitter thread that explores tips from one of the most innovate storytelling companies ever founded: Pixar.

How David Perell writes an essay

Link

So this is actually the third piece of content this week that I’m sharing in relation to David Perrell – I have been trying to learn more about writing lately so naturally I’ve been consuming a lot of his content.

“If the internet is a Great Online Game, David Perell is one of its grand warlocks”. A fitting description, as he runs one the premier (and rather expensive) online writing course Write of Passage.

The article is a fascinating look into how he comes up with ideas to create essays, and tests the waters along the way and gets feedback using Twitter. By the time he’s ready to publish, there’s good reason to think that people will like it.