Filming in the province, learning Illustrator and copywriting (Sunday Sesh 26/09/21)

Hello, welcome to another edition of the Sunday Sesh. Here’s what I’ve been up to and some tidbits I’ve found interesting over the past week.

Filming in the province

I spent much of this week filming in Stung Treng province, in the north of Cambodia. Our first and last days were spent travelling: it’s about a 12 hour drive each way after accounting for food and toilet breaks. This was for a series of videos I’m creating for a client to teach people how to prepare for floods.

A water level sensor hanging off a bridge. This measures the level of the water below so that people downstream can be alerted ahead of time of an incoming flood.


The gorgeous and moody sunset we were treated to in Stung Treng


The actual filming took place in an area to the north called Siem Pang. We had to leave from Stung Treng at 4.30am and drive for 2.5 hours.

I was told that Siem pang looks like most of Cambodia did 10-15yrs ago. Indeed, the Main Street reminds me of a typical wet market in Phnom Penh, but with less lighting and less crowded. The main elements are there: people sitting on wooden platforms with their wares raised off the ground. Women carry sticks on their shoulders with two baskets balanced on either side, walking from stall to stall selling frogs, crabs and noodles. A single concrete road runs through this main area of town, about 100 metres long. Beyond that lies unsealed dirt roads.


The main street in Siem Pang

Shopping at the Siem Pang market


From Siem Pang town we a rickety ferry across the river and then got picked up by the village chief for another 5km ride along dirt roads. It was an awesome journey. Then we made the whole trip back at the end of the day after filming was finished.

Crossing the river on a raft made of three boats stitched together


Villagers watching a boat race


A villager fixes his fishing net


Dogs, pigs and chickens all roam freely on the ground floor of this villager’s house


A friendly buffalo we found in the field


The countryside view of Siem Pang


A rice field we stopped by at sunset


Flooded rice fields caused by heavy rain in the past week


Me standing in front villager’s house we filmed at in Siem Pang. Carrying that big bag on a motorbike driving on bumpy dirt roads was no easy task.

Learning Adobe Illustrator

I’ve been dabbling into Illustrator lately to work with vector graphics and make animations. Usually I’ll just download off-the-shelf characters and assets online and workwith those. But in order to get a more consistent look in my work, I decided that I’ll need to properly learn how to use Illustrator to customise my graphics.

I followed an introduction to Illustrator course on SkillShare and it was fantastic! It’s taught by Daniel Scott, an Adobe approved instructor who walks you through the very basics and gets creating illustrations very quickly. I’m so amazed that we live in a time where it’s so easy and cheap to learn a new skill like this. I could imagine a face-to-face course like this costing hundreds of dollars and taking several days before the internet was around.

A basic graphic that I learned to draw on the course


If you’re interested in the course, you can check it out here. You will need a membership to SkillShare though. If you’ve never signed up before, you can get a free trial.

SkillShare Link

🎧 Podcasts

142 – Copywriting and Cold Emails — with Cole Schafer” from The Futur with Chris Do


Some great copywriting tips from a pro, like how to sell a $300 pair of boots that hurt your feet, to a $15 cookie that people will happily buy. A lot of it comes down to the story that you tell around your product and giving them a personality. So much of copy and design is creating a placebo effect: the description that you write about a product ends up being felt by the customer because you create an expectation. It creates a kind of magic around it.

“Will Hydrogen Look Like Solar?” from The Interchange


The solar industry has grown beyond anyone’s expectations: yearly installations are now 100 times the level they were 15 years ago. But this rapid change has left a lot of companies in the dust. The hydrogen industry today draws a lot of parallels to solar 15 years ago. Will the same thing happen to hydrogen?

The answer, it turns out, is difficult to predict. The solar industry had the entire grid to instantly tap into during its growth phase. You could just keep adding more solar to the grid and there would be an instant use for it. With hydrogen, the applications for it are more diverse such as truck transport, container ships and steel production. Transporting, storing and using hydrogen for all these applications will require a lot of rethinking.

📚 Book

I’ve started listening to Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins.

Damn that guy is tough! He’s been popular in the self-improvement podcast sphere over the past few years for his extreme stories of mental toughness. Things like running 100 mile ultra marathons with broken bones. Or going through the Navy SEAL’s Hell Week three times. These are only the tip of his crazy accomplishment iceberg and the book takes you through his journey and tries to somewhat distill the meaning behind the mindset.