Open Call for Music Videos

Music is powerful. It can change the way people feel and think about themselves and the world around them. It creates a space where performers can truly express themselves to an audience that can relate. At its best it’s a kind of spiritual transformation, and at its worst it still makes people enjoy life more.

Awhile back I met a talented young woman who was looking for help with promoting her music. I story-boarded an idea for an involved video, but we didn’t have the resources to shoot it. Instead we decided to make a video for one of her shorter songs by just heading for the hills with no real plan to see what we could come up with. She was a very fun and fearless client to work with and we spent about half the day exploring some outdoor scenery together. At the end of the day this was the result of our efforts:

I’m looking for more local bands from SLO county that want to make a music video. If you or anyone you know might be interested, hit me up and we’ll schedule a meeting to come up with some possibilities within your budget of time and money. It also helps if you can show me a video or two that you like so we can communicate better.

One of my all-time favorite songs is Norman Cook(Fatboy Slim)’s remix of “Brimful of Asha” by Cornershop. It has such a good energy and it always cheers me up and makes me wanna dance. It’s a song about a Bollywood singer, Asha Bhosle, who did the soundtrack to hundreds of Indian films over the years. Did you know India makes more movies than any country in the world? And they all seem to feature a song and dance section.

A Pessimist Cannot be a Revolutionary

Went to see Bernie Sanders in Santa Maria recently and it got me thinking about the intersection of political and personal life, and how much I admire those leaders who are able to fashion something consistent and relatable out of the two.

When you live in a society that is built on injustice from the ground up you can’t expect it to change overnight. Of course there will be resistance. You should expect that those in power, whatever the flavor, do not relinquish it lightly. But the more you recognize other people as a source of support rather than as a threat, the less we need those who hold power over us. Don’t let your expectations for a single election paralyze you. Don’t let partisanship dominate the conversation or destroy hope for solidarity. After all, there aren’t any candidates that are exclusively good or evil. People are far more complex than that.

And so are societies. But we’re all connected, which means that every person, including you, affects how other people live, think, and feel. By making an effort to do something good for someone else in our own individual lives, we make the world a little brighter, a little warmer. But individual flames are easily put out or hidden away. When we join together to do something good that benefits the whole community, we can build a stronger fire that’s not so easily doused. When you hold the intention to help others throughout your day you can spark little fires of compassion at every opportunity. And what could be more revolutionary than that?

Loko Oh No!

In a world where the USA has the highest rate of imprisonment, what is it that cops do to earn their 3-figure salaries?

Around here, they like to go around shutting down every live music event possible.

Case in point: the other night one of my favorite local bands, Loko Ono, put on a small show in the industrial section of SLO. All of the neighboring property was zoned for manufacturing which means that they have the highest allowed noise level in the entire city. But that wasn’t enough to stop local police from shutting it down from the get-go and slapping them with a noise violation($350 fine last I checked). That may be par for the course in SLO, but it’s actually the first time I’ve witnessed a peace officer saying that he’s going to give someone a ticket because he’s ‘being an asshole’.

Truly a new low for this town. Those in positions of authority need to be held to a higher standard of accountability, not a lower one than your average citizen. You don’t make our cities any safer by destroying the parts of our community that make you feel personally uncomfortable. A society which is hostile to art and culture is not sustainable; it’s self-destructing.

We had to go hide in someone’s house to let Jurassic Shark and the other bands play. Why don’t we have any affordable venues for live shows in this area? Why do cops take a piss on the bright futures of our most talented???

Police are supposed to be public servants, and there are communities where the police work hard to improve the lives of others, where the bonds of trust go both ways. I know that’s probably hard to believe if you grew up around here, but here’s just one example of progressive police in Georgia who are teaching kids how to play music instead of shutting them down.

But democracy only serves those who show up. You have no real freedom if you never feel safe enough to exercise it. Join me in sending a message to the city council that this is not how we, the public, want our police to act.

We can make whatever world we want to live in, and I want to live in a world where we reward people, rather than punish them, for creating music.

Yoga On The Mountain Video

One of the great things about making videos is that it forces you to learn about new things when you wouldn’t otherwise have the chance or motivation to do so. Case in point, a friend of mine also happens to be a yoga teacher. So we spent a day hiking up Bishop’s Peak and I took some video of him practicing yoga in the great outdoors. It was definitely an adventure going off-trail at the top and climbing rocks while avoiding poison oak.

I learned that yoga is a lot of different things to different people, but at its core it strikes me as similar to Qi Gong: it’s about improving your physical health by balancing your internal energy with the world around you. And for me there’s no better way to improve your awareness than by getting out in Nature and realizing that the walls people build between each other through the various dogmas of science, religion, or politics are artificial and inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. I think what matters is not what you believe, but how those beliefs relate to your actions and whether or not they are making you a healthier being in a physical, psychological, and spiritual sense.

Don’t forget to delight in the daily miracle of other lives as you find your own path, wherever it may lead. And philosophy aside, yoga and hiking are both time-tested ways to release your stress and reconnect with yourself. When the struggle of modern life gets you down, sometimes it’s nice to just get the Hell out of Dodge for a day.

SLO Skate Park Video

Hey! Have you heard the news? There’s a new skate park in San Luis Obispo and it’s about time!

The local college radio station KCPR put on a contest to see who could make the best skate video, so my good friend Chris and I took some cameras down there to check it out.

Over a dozen hours of editing later, we’ve got something to show for it:

I loved seeing so many people out there having a good time and tearing it up.

It was also a good opportunity to practice tracking shots and to be a little more experimental than usual.

Maybe we’ll even win the contest? Stranger things have happened!

Poly Parkour

This is the Parkour club from Cal Poly playing around downtown. Please don’t try any of this unless you’ve been properly trained in the arts of being awesome.

Do You Know An Artist Who Wants $1,000?

Editor’s Note:

This program was canceled because local artists didn’t think that $1,000 was worth their time… I could have bought 100 BURRITOS with that money!?! Seriously though, all the artists I’ve met are always struggling just to make ends meet and that money would have made a big difference to me or almost anyone else I know. If that sounds like anyone you know, send me an e-mail and let’s try again together next year.

OMG! If you’re an artist in SLO county and would like some money, check this out:
Central Coast Art Share

There’s no fee for sending in an application: They just need 3 photos of examples of your work and an idea for making 50 12×12 or smaller works of art next summer.

And you could even apply to do this project with another artist if you don’t think you can do it all on your own.

Deadline is December 15.

Writing Exercises

I’ve decided to get back to my roots and write more. Sometimes I’m so busy moving around from one thing to the next that I have to make a conscious effort to sit down and remember what’s important. Production can be as complicated as you want to make it, but at its core it’s just about figuring out how to translate something already written to an audio-visual medium. I’m not saying that you need to have everything 100% nailed down before you start production; all creative work necessarily evolves during the creation process, especially when it’s a collaborative effort. I just want to reiterate that storytelling is the foundation for video production and other dramatic art-forms from traditional plays to modern TV shows or webcasts. Having the best crew, talent, and gear isn’t worth much without solid writing behind it all. With that attitude, I’m diving back into prose before I move ahead with screenwriting.

I think Graham Greene says it best, “To me it is almost impossible to write a film play without first writing a story. Even a film depends on more than plot, on a certain measure of characterization, on mood and atmosphere; and these seem to me almost impossible to capture for the first time in the full shorthand of a script.”

I’m going to post a new writing exercise each month. Bring your results to the monthly Writing Circle meeting so we can share our progress.

Writing Exercise #1
(Length: 1 page)
This exercise was suggested by John Gardner.

Describe a barn from the P.O.V. of a man who just lost his son in a war. Don’t mention his son, war, or the man himself.

REMINDER: !!! The October meeting has been postponed to the 12th instead of the 5th. I’m gonna be out of town. Sorry folks. !!!