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Episode 53|Mailbag Show 2 - TECH TROUBLES AND THE SCIENCE OF WHEN


Today’s episode is sponsored by Petra Kolb


Transcript


Howdy back folks and welcome to this new inbetweenisode. In the last show, I trialed a new off the cuff style format and talked about a number of things that had really just been loosely on my mind. I did it really as a bit of an experiment and I have been wondering - Did I get away with it? I’ve been off social media during January so I guess I’ll find out if I have or not in a few days’ time when I go back online.


I last did a mailbag show like this in season 3 and I found that the questions from listeners were so involved and difficult to answer that I really couldn’t fit them all in. In the end, I booted about half of those questions into this inbetweenisode. I’m sorry if you’ve had to wait longer than expected for an answer to your question but with Mailbag show 1 running at nearly 50 minutes, something just had to give.


Questions


Today’s first question is from one of my very regular listeners, James in the UK: One for your mailbag, he writes, about filmmaking:

  • “I have limited time, 2-3 hrs per night (if that..!) and need a system/set up where I can be in the edit within 5 minutes, not spending 2-3 hrs messing about with the system and software. Now whilst the answer may be to get a nice new MacBook Pro and FCPX...the other thorn in the side is a limited a budget. I have been creating my work on an iPhone 7 with Lumafusion, does the job but is obviously limiting. My other option is a 3-year-old i5 windows laptop running a copy of Premiere Pro CS6.”

Well I know you have already kinda solved this one James, and as I’m off social networking I can’t check back to see what you followed up with but your question is very possibly one that is on other listener’s minds so let me give it a go.


There’s kinda two answers to this I think.


The first is a TECHNOLOGY conversation... there are a lot of options for desktop editing these days. The big players are Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere and Davinci Resolve, and I’d mention Avid but the reality is that it’s just not used by most content creators. The trouble with these though is two-fold. 1, with the exception of Davinci which has a very powerful free option, they are expensive. Premiere has gone to a monthly payment option for example and for me it was just too much money for the amount of use I gave it. The second problem with these is that they are quite complex and can take an age to learn. I mean it’s great in principle to have all the bells and whistles of a full and powerful editor and its ancillary software for grading, effects work and sound but you must ask the question, do I really need it? The answer for most social media content creators is surely – well… NOT REALLY. The follow-up question to that might also be if I buy it what would it mean? When you go for these heavy-duty editors you might, in turn, have to upgrade your hardware to catch up with it. These softwares are so powerful that they really need the hardware to back them up, otherwise they can struggle and hang. By the way friend Neil swears by an editing software called Edius and another friend is very much sold on Sony Vegas. These aren’t quite as expensive as the others listed above but may still have a steep learning curve.


So what other options do we have? I had a look at one or two cut down editing packages, and as I did so I remembered there were actually a lot of these simpler options that are actually pretty good. I first tried a cut down editor for content creators called ACDSEE (that’s ACD See as in look about aka Sierra Echo Echo.) and I kind of liked it. It’s a very simple but fully functional video editing suite, which has a few powerful plugins that might be of interest to a social media content creator and I really felt that’s who it was aimed at. You can get a lifetime licence for it right now for just $39.95. As I looked into this though I also remembered that Apple’s iMovie or Premiere Elements which are cut down versions of the originals probably give most users exactly what they need on a budget.


You mentioned Lumafusion earlier and although I don’t edit on pads or phones I know that many do. Lumafusion has a good reputation but is a mac only option, and I understand that KineMaster is the one favoured by Android users. Providing your phone has the power, and what you need to edit is relatively simple as these things go, these are both strong contenders for video editing on your phone, and are certainly cost-effective.


You also talked about buying a second hand, but relatively powerful mac to edit on, and as a desktop fan myself I would go for that option. That said I jumped from mac to PC in 2012 and would personally go for a desktop windows based PC option, which would give you more for your money, but if I know mac users, and I think I do, you won’t want to make that change.


On this topic of spending money on tech though I want to add a wee addendum to episode 26, which was called SHOOT WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT – The addendum is this - If I were to re-do that show I’d now call it, START WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT because what you are going through happens to probably all content creators as we move forward with our projects and begin to bump your head off THE CEILING OF WHAT IS AND ISN’T POSSIBLE on our current equipment and budget. If you’ve asked the question I raised before, DO I REALLY NEED THIS, and the answer is truthfully YES, and you know you’re not just keeping up with the Jones's AND IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT, then I’d say YOU SHOULD SPEND THE MONEY to get the power you need to make your editing software function. I’m facing this myself right now and have found myself selling a lot of camera gear I used as a filmmaker, to enable me to afford to upgrade my PC to a 2020 standard that will allow easier editing using Davinci Resolve, which is my new chosen editor. On my current system, I can edit 4k, but it struggles.

“Bob Proctor is a master thinker. When it comes to systemizing life, no one can touch him.” Doug Wead - Unquote.

There’s a ton of info online on this topic so I’m going to leave it here but the more productivity relevant element of your question perhaps is this “I have limited time, 2-3hrs per night (if that..!) and need a system/set up where I can be in the edit within 5 minutes, not spending 2-3hrs messing about with the system and software.”


To really save time, assuming you have a software/ hardware package that is working smoothly for you after what I’ve just said, then you really need to begin to plan and systemize your workflow. Once you’ve sorted out your technology woes, planning and streamlining your workflow should be a major focus for you.

Building smart processes to streamline the workflow can make the work easier and the results more reliable, which keeps my head above water and my clients happy. Mark Mason UNQUOTE

I’d spend a bit of time thinking about exactly what is involved in your videos James because if you look at where you are now, and how you like to do things, and write down every step of what is involved you will be able to see how it can be streamlined, organised and simplified.


I’d also build a simple library system on your editor where you can easily get the same elements or assets from the last video which you made and re-use them in the next. If you’ve already edited an intro just reimport it for the next project, if you have already got the approval on your music, or decided on your typeface or your transitions then build a database with them where you can always go to quickly find and re-use those elements.


Once you have done all this, then it will leave you the most possible time to work on the creative elements of your content.


One last thing I’d say on this is that when I did my Best Year Yet Strategy this year I decided on my major focus for the year. It was this – LEARN AND PRACTICE NOW TO BE FASTER AND MORE EFFICIENT LATER. That’s the final point I’d like to make here, and of course, this counts for any endeavour. The time you spend on learning and proactive now will make things all that much easier, quicker and more efficient later when it might be time-sensitive. Next week is earmarked for me to sit a course in Davinci Resolve. I’m blitzing the learning of it over a few days so that I don’t have to potter and struggle with it later on. You should do the same with whatever software you end up using. I hope that this has answered your question.

  • A quickie here that was raised on Instagram I think it was, but It’s worth responding. One of my followers there, Anne pointed out recently that some of this show's episodes appeared to have been deleted from Apple Podcasts.

I think this was solved though. If you think some episodes are missing then don’t panic. The Apple Podcasts app and other apps on android, sometimes automatically archive episodes that you have already listened to. They are still there though. All episodes that I have released are still up, but you may have to go into your app and find the ones that have been archived. The reason I have an official website btw is so that, if something catastrophic ever happened, like the show was banned for some infraction, real or imaginary, on Apple Podcasts, that it would still be accessible there.

  • Another Instagram follower and a friend of mine, Jordan, asked when I will be putting the show up on YouTube? I know you Jordan, and the bigger question is perhaps, when are you going to learn to listen to podcasts on an app like everyone else?

But your point is taken and rest assured I am definitely planning to move the shows content onto YouTube AT SOME POINT. If it were easy, I’d already have done it, but after some time looking into it, I have come to the conclusion that it isn’t easy at all. Starting a successful YouTube channel, and I use the word successful quite deliberately here, a channel where people actually watch and listen to the content requires a skill set and understanding of YouTube which as yet I don’t have. I mean I’m looking into it and beginning to learn about it all, but I’m just not there yet.


Just making and promoting this podcast, simply as a podcast, is very time-consuming as it is, so to add to that the necessity of converting each episode to video would mean an output of time far greater than what I have available.


I kind of think that each episode would have to have a waveform generated for it in its video form, and would probably require me to do a piece to camera to promote each and every episode just get people interested enough to listen to a show which as an intrinsically audio piece really doesn’t have any visuals. I’d have to generate keywords and SEO, and website and social media updates as well as a whole heap of new content in video format. Now that’s not something I am averse to, and it’s possibly something I can delegate a lot of, but in my current situation, I know that I simply don’t have the time to tackle it or the money to pay someone to do the conversions for me.


Let me just finish this answer by stating that I am working now to get the skills and the knowledge to not only produce high-quality video for the show quickly and efficiently but to promote and market that content. As I said in the last episode in my ham fisted baker analogy, it’s not enough for me anymore to just produce content. It has to be presented in a way that attracts and keeps an audience who want to consume it. Marketing the content is therefore just as important as creating the content in the first place. When that happens of course, that YouTube audience could cross-pollinate to this podcast and vice versa. I certainly feel therefore that it is a worthwhile endeavour. The process too may also be interesting to listeners if it’s not altogether off-topic.


So next up we have Ray who is a screenwriter from the UK and a very good one I might add! Ray was the very first person I think to send a question so I definitely feel bad about not including this in the last mailbag show. In the end, I just didn’t have the answers either, and I put it off till now. To be fair though you managed to ask 15 questions in all and I’m not entirely sure that you didn’t answer some of them yourself somewhere along the way, but I’ll give it a try.


Your questions which I reply to in batches are as follows:


  • When do you know the idea is ready to execute?

  • I have a great many ideas, all with some vague potential, but when and how do you know which idea is ready to go and which has to sit on the shelf maturing a little longer?

  • Do you write the one you're most excited by just because it's the shiniest object in the room this week - then run aground when you find out it's not developed enough yet?

  • Do you batter that one script you've been working on forever until it finally submits to your will and miraculously works - or do you move on to other stuff until genuine inspiration hits?

  • Or do you play a game of inches, nudging every idea along until they all either cross the line or fall by the wayside in a sort of natural selection style?

  • When do you know that single line you wrote on the back of the electricity bill has run around inside your skull long enough and is now ready to be thrashed into a treatment?

  • When do you know that treatment has gone as far as it can and it's time to move onto your script?

  • When do you know that script is as good as it’s gonna get and it's finally time to start shooting?

  • And when do you know when the edit's as good as it can be and it's finally time to lock?

  • Essentially, when do you pull the trigger and when do you hold fire and give it another minute/month in the laboratory?

  • Do you really need to have trusted collaborators to sound stuff out with and be your fresh-eyes?

  • Should we wait for that an innate feeling when we just know something's as good as it can be - and then tweak it again next week when we think of yet another way to make it better?

  • Or do we never really know and just have to navigate as best we can?

Let me interject here - I don’t want to lead with the predictable answer of “you just know”, but I think it’s a good opener for this and I believe it’s where you are heading. As we know all too well, there’s no blueprint for those of us that work in the creative arts - that build worlds from scratch and hope that they will be understood, enjoyed and accepted by others. We just have to do the best we can. Having people read your work when it’s reached a point where you’d like feedback is a good thing if you can find truly talented people you trust that is, and when you remind yourself that you can always accept or reject their input.

There’s an American journalist called Cecelie Berry who said “Self-assurance doesn't come from looking perfect and having a great title, but from accepting yourself with all your mistakes and eccentricities.”

and I think that’s a good description of the fear of failure that can swing by as we make decisions about our own lives and work. But there’s a quote from Peter Drucker too that comes to mind.

He says “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”

If you accept that mistakes will sometimes occur and you decide not to beat yourself up about them when they happen then you can more easily move forward with courage. That courage will eventually lead to greatness if you have the strength of heart to make those difficult decisions and trust in your instincts and in your own worth as a writer. Your questions continued, but you interjected this useful thought.

  • As a professional, deadlines clearly help. It's collaboration too; on a film, everyone has their department/task and we all cede control to the next person in line.

And I agree with that. But you continued.

  • At the development stage though; the thought to mouth, pen to paper stage - as a professional whose livelihood often depends on timing; knowing exactly when to give a bright idea oxygen and pitch it, or knowing exactly when something is polished enough to present it to the waiting world and try to exploit and monetize it –

I’d say here that you should trust your experience and if you have a feel for what is going on in the outside world, and for the company or individual you are pitching to then you will know what the right project is and which is the one that still needs some time.

Barbara Kingsolver said “Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer.”

So I’d add that it’s your unique voice that has the real value, and your decisions although tied to a financial incentive as I know you have to eat and keep a roof over your head, are what really matter here.

The muscles of writing are not so visible, but they are just as powerful: determination, attention, curiosity, a passionate heart. Natalie Goldberg – UNQUOTE

You continue with:

  • How do we reconcile ourselves with the onslaught of opinion our work will inevitably face and the fact that we'll sometimes get it wrong?

  • And maybe my real question is how do we deal with the rejection our hyper-competitive industry will inevitable throw up?Don't take it personally, I suppose. Possibly not a topic for the show, but seeing as you asked.

I’m tackling the topic of rejection in a full season 4 show which is likely going to be called “Rejection and Resilience” but for now let me just say that

“the key to life is resilience... We will always be knocked down. It’s the getting up that counts.”

I hope I’ve said enough here Ray to help in some small way, and that others who are listening get something from your observations too. I’m sorry I couldn’t go deeper into that last point there but I will get to it and will cover it in depth when the time comes.


Now there was another question in here which was kinda delicate and it was associated with funding – I’m going to answer that in a season 4 too, in an episode called something like WHY WE SHOULDN’T APPLY FOR FUNDING, so if you’ve asked that question and you will know who you are, please bear with me.

  • I’m going to end today's episode with this one from Diane from the USA who asks -Why is your show called FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY? Would it not be better calling it something less specific?

Believe me, I have racked my brain over the title time and again. Your question was asked of course before I decided to change the name to Film Pro Productivity and Success but that decision in itself was a big one and this is the first episode to officially go out under that banner.


My answer to you is that they say in the world of podcasting that you must niche down as much as possible to find your audience, so that’s what I did – even now I suspect it may still be too broad but I’m not complaining.


There are many big established shows from celebrity level podcasters, which cover productivity for the masses, but there wasn’t one that tackled it for film professionals and creatives. As I was a film pro, it just seemed appropriate that I tailor the show towards what I know and what I am passionate about and filmmaking, theatre, TV, film, design work and of course productivity itself are what I know well.


My hope now is that the addition of the word success WILL broaden it, however, to encompass a new area of interest to listeners, and inform prospective listeners what it will entail. It will also broaden it in a way that will continue to keep me interested in its content. Ever since I did The Law Of Success in 16 lessons miniseries, I have become very interested in success and how it can be achieved by all of us. I don’t know if I have made the right call of course, but I’ve not come up with anything better in the interim. In the future too I may broaden further, but for now, I’ll just focus on producing more content and gaining a listener-ship that wants to hear what I have to say.


Ending


So that’s it, that’s another batch of your questions answered and I hope that you’ve found it interesting. Please keep these questions coming in though, as the last episode and hopefully this one too, was really very popular. Questions should be kept as short as possible, under 50 words and emailed to filmproproductivity@gmail.com with the word MAILBAG in the subject line. Please don’t send them by any other means as it’s a devil to track them down. Alternately though you could leave them as a voice speak pipe message on the contact page of the website filmproproductivity.com/contact.


I’ll be back online in February and I’ll be able to respond to any comments made on social networking at that time. In the meantime, if you have enjoyed this episode please do me a favour and screenshot it in your phone and post it on your own social media pages with a working link. If you can do that it would be greatly appreciated. I really need your help to promote the show so if you can also just mention it to a few people, if you think it worthwhile, then please do.


Today’s episode was sponsored by my good friend Petra and it is greatly appreciated. If you are interested in sponsoring an episode of season 4 or one of the inbetweenisodes before that please get in touch. It’s 25 pounds and it can be paid via Paypal - if you want to just drop me a line I’ll send you the details. These contributions go directly towards promotion and marketing and make a big difference to the show’s profile. When season 4 launches I’ll be running various marketing schemes along with it…


One other thing that I’m looking for btw is topic researcher writers. I am desperately trying to delegate some of the episode writing and I am interested in hearing from you if you’d like to get involved. There is a small fee for this assistance which I personally pay too. If you’d like to know more please again email filmproproductivity@gmail.com this time with the words EPISODE RESEARCH in the header.


In the next inbetweenisode, if all goes as planned, I’ll be interviewing fellow podcaster and filmmaker Ian O’Neill from the Canada based podcast How They Did It Filmmaking, where we’ll be talking about productivity and success amongst other topics. I’ve never done an interview show before so I’m looking forward to it, and hopefully it’ll be something you will enjoy too. Ian is a great guy and I’ve been on his show a couple of times, so now is time for my revenge!


Many thanks for giving me your valuable time today, I know that there are many things you could be doing other than this and I am so very grateful for your attention.


Let me end now though with a great quote from productivity author Les Brown. He wrote a book called the 12 LAWS OF SUCCESS which I must look into btw. He said:

“Too many of us are not living our dreams, because we are living our fears. Decide to become fearless. Face the thing you fear the most. You're stronger than you give yourself credit for. If you can laugh at it. You can move past it. You have the ability to do more than you have ever hoped, imagined or dreamed. You have GREATNESS within you!”

For now, though, take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’ and join me next time on FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY AND SUCCESS!


The music you can hear right now is Adventures by A HimitsuYou can view the show notes for this episode on the official website filmproproductivity.comYou can follow my personal account on Twitter and Instagram @fight_director or follow the show on Twitter @filmproprodpod or on Facebook @FilmproproductivityPlease support the show by subscribing, spreading the word and leaving an AWESOME review.

References: NONE


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© 2018 Carter Ferguson - Film Pro Productivity

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