If you’re like me, going back to school to learn more isn’t a reality at this point in time. However, that doesn’t mean we have to stop learning all together. I have found effective ways to expand my knowledge of film and video amidst a very busy schedule. However I have found it just as valuable to look outside of my industry to resources that will fuel my other interests. I believe keeping those interests up and fresh in my mind gives me a break and also stimulates my creativity. I’ve developed a couple of ways I can keep the old brain fresh without changing my life’s course and without spending much money. I can’t remember where I heard or read this phrase but it stuck with me; “You Can Never Know Enough So you Better Get Started!”
A few years ago when I started working as the production team leader for Dave Ramsey’s organization, I was going back into a weekly cycle of work. Having been freelancing this was a little of an adjustment for me. Having to get use to traffic and drive time again was a little irritating. But my team leader Brian gave me a little advice and told me to get a Audible account so I can listen to audio books during my drive time to and from the office. I took him up on that advice and it has to be one of the best things I have done in ages! I had no idea how much I’d like audio books and how much I’ve learned from them.
I’m not much of a book reader. I tend to nod off about two paragraphs into anything I’m reading but for some reason audio books sink into my brain. I instantly begin visualizing the author’s words and those visuals are filed into my memory. As I downloaded book after book, a good majority of them on leadership, I thought to myself, “how else can I absorb this type of information?”
I’ve always known about RSS feeds from my days of doing web design and building websites. But I never knew how valuable of a resource they could be. Being able to subscribe to any blog feed I have an interest in and using those resources filed away in one place was a great asset to have to expand my knowledge.
Now, you may think, “how does listening to audio book and skimming through rss feeds help me as a filmmaker?” Great question! Here’s how:
For audio books, I choose ones that inspire me creatively, motivationally and even spiritually. They fuel my mind because almost every single book contains stories and personal biographies. Listening to them not only educates me, but also plants ideas in my mind for new stories, helps me be more effective in leadership and inspires me to carry out my passions.
As for rss feeds, I scour the internet looking for blogs and online magazines of what I’m interested in. Obviously, most of them are filmmakers, industry magazines and blogs, and companies whose products I use. But I also have blogs by other leaders such as Seth Godin, Michael Hyatt and Tim Ferris. Between all of these feeds I get a well rounded scope of topics and discussions going around the internet. This allows me to not only be current, but also join in the conversations as well!
So here are two things I recommend doing:
Get an Audible account! No I don’t have an endorsement from Audible, I don’t even post their ads (yet) but if you’re like me and you travel quite a bit or have at least a 30 minute drive to and from your place of business, it’s a good opportunity to get through some audio books and learn. I usually get through a book about every 3-4 weeks.
Some books I’d recommend are:
- “Story” by Robert McKee (If you’re going to get this one and Hauge’s book, go through this one first!)
- “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson
- “Killing Lincoln” by Martin Dugard, Bill O’Reilly (Seriously, it read like a movie)
- “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek
- “Screenwriting for Hollywood” by Michael Hauge
- “Poke the Box” by Seth Godin
- “Platform” by Michael Hyatt
The next thing to do is begin a Google Reader account. If you already have a gmail account (and I’m sure most of you do) then you already have one, just begin using it! Begin subscribing to some filmmaker blogs and online magazines. It’s easy to use and easy to tie into mobile apps to read on the go. I use MobileRSS both on my iPhone and iPad and they sync with Google Reader. So if I read an article on my iPad, if I switch to my computer or iPhone, that article shows it’s been read and I can skip over it.
Here are some blogs I subscribe to. I’ve linked them so you can check them out from here. They are in no particular order in favorites so please check them all out:
No Film School
Hurlbut Visuals (Shane Hurlbut, ASC, blog)
Pro Video Coalition
Lights Film School Blog
Film School Rejects
Bobby Marko Cinematography (shameless plug, I know!)
I hope these will give you a jumping off point to begin learning more and expanding your horizon. Chances are that even though you have a passion for film and video there are other interests and passions in your life. Use those other interests and passions to fuel your creativity. I hope one, or both, of these suggestions will help get you started!
Do you have blogs and books that have helped you fuel your creativity? What are some of them? Feel free to post!