Staying Creative Outside of Work
In this line of work, it can sometimes be hard to remember that your job is fun. I know it sounds crazy. “But David, you get to be creative everyday and work with a bunch of cool technology!” Yeah I know, but hear me out. When you work for clients - your work is under constant review. It needs to live up to the expectations of both your employer and the client - and your own expectations. As a student, coming from a place where my work was considered finished when it left my hands (as in no revisions needed to be made,) this was really hard to get used to. I’m not saying my work was perfect, far from it in fact, but it’s something that was easy to get used to. And that's a bad situation because in this field you need to constantly be learning and pushing yourself to evolve. Without that push, what’s the reason to create media at all? It’s important to realize that not every shoot will be in an exotic location, recording something interesting, with cinematography worthy of an Oscar. In fact, most shoots won’t be. Does that make this job any less worthwhile? No. Does it mean things can start to feel tedious and repetitive? Absolutely. While every shoot will be different, with different ideas from multiple clients, they nearly all follow the same pattern. Conceptualize, pitch, film, edit, review, re-edit, review, send it out the door. Obviously it isn’t as simple as that, but what I’m getting at is most projects follow the same pattern. So how do you break the mold? How do you keep yourself from falling down the corporatized content rabbit hole? Remember to shoot for yourself and, perhaps more importantly, shoot for fun. If you create media professionally, it can be tough. The last thing you want to do after a long day at work is to go home and do more of the same work, right? But hear me out. I felt like I was in a rut. I was so creatively exhausted after work that I struggled to find time to enjoy creating my own content. That changed a few months ago when I was approached by a friend I met during my time spent in ZTV, the video program at The University of Akron. He asked me if I’d like to be an extra in his friend’s music video. With reluctance I agreed (I much prefer being behind the camera.) To my delight, that request quickly turned into “David, will you shoot this video for me?” which really meant “will shoot and direct this for me?” I agreed with gusto. All I knew was that I was shooting a rapper having a summer party at a pool. Regardless, I was excited to be shooting something with my friend - and something where I could potentially try out new techniques without any big repercussions. I was delighted to learn that the extras in the video were all my friends and/or people that had also gone through ZTV. Basically, I had no issue running a scene eight or more times. Having my friends on set also just turned into a relaxing time that we all used to goof around and decompress. We shot for about four hours that day in the summer sun, jumping in the pool, sliding down water slides and drinking Coronas. When it was all wrapped, everyone had a great time and we had some beautiful shots to show from it. At the end of the shoot, I realized that shooting video doesn’t always have to be stressful, when you’re shooting for yourself you can slow down, relax and enjoy yourself. You can work on your craft and really think about what you’re creating. On top of that, I was able to utilize new techniques I’ve picked up at PEG since I started which made my life much easier. In the end, I had a renewed desire to create my own media, which has since caused me to again take up photography and enjoy creating fresh content for my instagram. Relaxing and having fun with my own creations also helps break up the monotony of work and approach my client projects from a different angle. Any way you spin it, my quest for knowledge has been reinvigorated. Next stop, animation!