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> Hey Dan,
> Hope it's not too hot in Orlando! Sounds like Hurricane Bonnie
> may come by and help if it is.
> Need some perspective...

> I hope I don't sound like a worn out record, but, I have a human problem   that I could use some godly counsel on from someone with a creative bent. Gotta minute?

> First, I have been working on our... promo and  was almost  satisfied with it when a company in Virginia, who did the ...  sent me a copy of their promo that they did. I won't go into  why they sent it to me, because it's not important, but after  watching it I  was deflated at my meager effort and decided to spice it up. The  good news  is that I think the new version is better. The bad news was that I found  my self feeling uncreative and completely out of my league creatively and  equipment wise (capabilities. The more I do the more I realize what I   can't do with my system).

I was even jealous of this guy in ...

> Next chapter. I called a guy in ... who is with the regional team of ... there and does all the video for the .... He's

> on their staff  and his main role is to work on the office computers part time and do other ministry part time, but he is smart and very creative. I was asking him   about a lost tape, but in the course of the conversation he  shared with me   about an opportunity he had this summer. ... asked  him to fly  out to ... and preview and approve the video that is going  into .... And even make any changes he thought  necessary. Well you may ask, "so what's the problem?" I hate  to admit it  but I began to be jealous of his creativity and even wondered why ...  didn't call me. I've had this problem with this guy before, too. He did   some stuff for the ... that was amazing and it,  too, left me  feeling deflated and wondering if I was as creative as I thought I was.

> I know this all sounds amazingly petty and immature, but I was  wondering if   you ever experienced that or if you could lend me a little perspective.

> Ultimately I';ve got to give it up and move on which I am very  interested   in doing. I know your not a psychologist, but you're the only one who  might be able to understand, coming from this field.

> On a lighter note, if you were investing in software to up your creative   abilities and you were using a Media 100 what would you invest in first?   After Effects, Photo Shop and Illustrator, Boris Effects? I'd  like to be   able to layer and do more fun things with graphics as well as show two or > more clips at one time.

> Sounding pitiful, I know, but deeply appreciating your thoughts,

Your friend...

____________________

I have had the same thoughts on numerous occassions. Like, "why am I even trying?" I too have been blown away by the creativity of others. But I know God has called me to do this, He's given some measure of ability, He's given me tools - not as good as some, better than many (same as you) - and he's given me jobs to do. There is so much to be done in this field, we've only scratched the surface of potential, so it really doesn't matter that other people do better stuff. If we weren't doing something, others might take up some of the slack, but something somewhere would not get done. There is no way around that fact. Yes, I get jealous of what others can do sometimes, but you have to do a reality check re: what some things cost, the big picture of the eternal value of things. For ex: I get deflated every time I see anything Spielberg does. Makes my little VX-1000 productions seem pretty puny. But then, souls in the Kingdom are going to survive the big fire. Steve's films, incredible as they are, will not.

Yes, some are faster and have more and better ideas than you or I. I say, God bless 'em, encourage them all I can to go at whatever it is with all they've got. Have that attitude and there will always be something for you to do as well. Might hurt a bit sometimes - deflate the pride - it has happened to me more than once. But I am determined to put the Kingdom and what's best for "the project" first. That attitude has always paid dividends of respect among the people I work with and for and believe me, I've never had a lack of something to do.

Creating video on whatever level of technology you have available is a consuming task. We tend to push the tools as far as they can go or as far as we know how to push them, whichever comes first. We make the effects as cool as we can get out of the machine, we make it sound and look and feel as good as we are able. I don't know about you, but I suspect you are the same as me and most other people who do this - I only have one mode of operation: I do it as good as I can. Sometimes I have to comporomise because of budget or time, but then I try to do the best I can within those constraints. When you give something all you have, when it's over, you're spent. That in itself is difficult - I call it the "post production blues." Kinda like the post-partum blues I think. After the elation of finishing a big project, no matter how good it came out and no matter if I and everybody else loves it, I usually catch myself wondering around aimlessley for a week or so not knowing what to do with myself, feeling an odd sense of purposelessness (regardless of how much else I have to do) and there is a certain depression that comes with this. Maybe it's like having a child leave the nest. You have just given it so much for so long and now it's over. It leaves a hole for at least a little while. My wife hates this little phase I go through. She usually just gives me some space to get over it. Anyway, you are vulnerable during this time. And if it happens like it did to you that you are exposed to something that makes you feel like your work doesn't measure up, well it can be pretty devastating - a kick while you're down.

Another thought as I ramble on, often a new toy sparks creativity and gets the creative juices flowing again as you get into the possiblities. The little Steadicam did wonders for me. I absolutely recommend you getting some additional software. It will do this for you I'm sure. I have Boris FX and consider it a must have plug-in as most everybody I know who uses it does. I have ver 3. I'm about to upgrade to v 3.5 which adds particle effects and faster rendering and some other stuff. I'll get free upgrades for a year (as you would if you buy now) and v 4 is coming out I think in the fall. It will have a full 3D CG built in. This is THE program for doing multiple DVEs and stuff like that. It does spheres, cylinders, and such. It does cubes of many types so easy and renders them so fast it will make your eyes pop out.

Photoshop and Aftereffects are fantastic programs too. I have not mastered either of them, but I want to.Much of the cool look you see on TV ads is from animated layers which Aftereffects does. They are pricey - you really need PS and AE together (as you mention) and they are up to $500 ea. The Adobe programs (PS and AE) are very much computer animation oriented in feel. Whereas Boris has a decidedly video kind of a feel to the interface. PS and AE will present you with a steep learning curve before you get anything cool out of them. Boris is much easier to learn. And you don't really have to learn it at all to start getting cool things out of it. It has dozens and dozens of prebuilt effects files you can use without setting up anything.

I think you can get along without Illustrator.

A competitive program to AE is Digital Fusion - whoops, I think it's for NT, may not be a mac version. It costs a bit less and has a somewhat easier interface, I'm told ( I haven't seen it run)

Anyway, don't be discouraged by what others do. There will always be someone better than you. And me. Try to learn what you can from them and do what's in front of you to do. Most people in your area aren't going to see the promos for the other regional conferences. They will think yours is great.

Also, don't forget that life is not static, it's dynamic. You may think you're in a doldrum now, but God may be - shoot, I can guarantee that He is! - getting you ready for the next thing down the road. "He who is faithful in small things..."

Here's something Katherine Stenholm, the dir. of our film department said back in college: "There's a prepared place for a prepared person." That's always been an encouragement to me.

And then there's that classic syndrome we are dangerously hovering around - midlife crisis. It's natural for you and me to feel this way once in a while. That's okay and totally normal. It's what we do about how we feel that's important. Try to keep the compas pointing in the right direction, smoother waters and bluer skies will surely be ahead.

Well, there's a ramble for ya. Hope this helps.

Dan Philgreen

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>Dan,

Your words were just what I needed. Thanks for letting me whine  a little.  I knew your vast experience in a creative world and as a brother

> in Christ  would be a safe harbor for me to bounce my frustrations off of. From the  innermost part of my heart I thank you.

>

> The Lord's timing is interesting.... Of course, as I battled the  jealousy   and feelings of inadequacy I went to the Lord. It wasn't long  after I had   written you that I got a call from a staff guy in ... who wanted to  order several copies of the ... video I did. He was so  encouraging  as he descirbed how well it explained ... and how  each time  he showed it to a pastor the pastor would say "sure! let's get it  started!" Needless to say, I was comforted and reminded of my call to > produce video.

> It amazes me at how fast I can get too introspective and allow wrong   feelings to guide me. I'm giving myself a lot of slack, but I am  disappointed that I'm a bit too slow to be excited that others producing  video for the cause of Christ are putting out quality products (more  creative than mine)...Oh well, room to grow and mature. It's incredible  how I can identify with your post production blues and other  thoughts even  though my experience is limited. Nevertheless, thanks for you  ear and your  heart. Thanks also for being my "video mentor." I can't tell you how  comforted I am just knowing your like mindedness and your selfless  availability. Well, better go. I'm sure we both have plenty to   do.........

> (lobbying for Boris Effects with my boss) Thanks for that input, too.

Your friend...

______________________

Glad you're feeling better about life. I got a couple more things on this.

Don't know if I ever told you this, but I'm a lover of the guitar. I own a very sweet '72 Martin D-18 I bought new when I was 15. It's worth about 5 times what I paid for it. Anyway, I've gotten a lot better playing it in the last 5 years or so. I'm sometimes very pleased with how far I've come, since it's a hobby. Once a guy in a guitar shop even asked me if I was a professional. (He probably just wanted to sell me the Strat I was playing and falling in love with but it made me feel good!) I play in church most weekends when I'm home. And I've got the best music situation at our church that I've ever had in my life. Some really good players and singers, doing good music, and fantastic servant attitudes all around for the most part. It's a lot of fun.

Phil Keaggy did a concert down here that I saw some months back. Absolutely brilliant. No, way beyond brilliant. It was stellar. I experienced ecstacy and agony. It was so good it almost hurt. And a friend of mine who is a big fan has all his training videos. I absolutely love watching and listening to Phil play. As you know, I'm sure, he's considered by most to be the greatest guitar player of all time. It's thrilling to see and hear him. And inspiring on one level. At the same time it's depressing. I get a VERY strong feeling of "why should I try?" and my efforts seem totally ham-fisted and juvenile. I feel like the thought of labeling myself "guitar player" is a total fantasy. But there is certainly much to learn from being exposed to Phil. I try to pick up something and try something new. (All alone when nobody can hear me, of course.) And I go to church and realize that Phil Keaggy 'aint there today. If I don't play, there won't be any guitar sound at all. So, better that I play than nobody, even if I can't keep up with Keaggy's dust.

And, truth be known, I would bet any amount of money that Phil has his days when he thinks, "Gee, all I can do is play the guitar. What good is that? Have I wasted my life?" Just some thoughts to gain perspective.

Another thought is that one project can be worth a career. One of the first things I did after getting out of school was "Come By Here" in Papua New Guinea for Wycliffe. That little film has had a tremendous impact for 17 years. I've gotten a good bit of feedback on it and it's quite an amazing thing. Many times through the years when I thought I was spinning my wheels or that a particular project was a waste of time - indeed some times when the project absolutely was a turkey and a waste of time - I could look back to that early project and it's results and say that even if I worked my whole life and the only results were what came from "Come By Here," it would be a worthwhile career. Maybe you don't yet have something to point to quite as dramatic as that, but you will have them and even your ...  piece, a very early effort, is yielding fruit. Looking back on that can give a lot of comfort and help you make it through a lot of lean times.

Gotta go.

___________________

 

Dan,

Thanks for the additional perspective. Wise words, no doubt. As you

continue to minister to guys like me I'd suggest keeping "perspective"

tucked away in your files for a "must read." I don't know how often other

folks have those "What's the use" days, but if they don't they need a good

dose of eternal perspective and reality check. Even if they're

particularly talented, and especially if they are average. We all

contribute to the Great Commission is some form.

On another, but related, subject....how do you handle not having a team of

people to work with. I, of course, have a one man operation and

occasionally wish I had folks to work with. However, part of my "need" is

for a little over the shoulder direction as well as companionship and

someone to bounce ideas off or gather constructive criticism from. On the

other hand, I do like doing my own thing and being able to make creative

decisions on my own.

I got some feedback from .. I did a ... video for.

She isn't sure how she'll use the video even though she loves it. It has

her on it sharing her vision and I think she's not sure if she'll feel

comfortable showing the video on an appointment. If I had someone working

with me we might have been able to approach that problem, although I still

think it's appropriate to show it with her being present. After the video

all she has to do is fill in the details....but my point is that having

different perspectives could be profitable. Though impossible at this

point...

Anyhow, what a growing time I'm going through! A lot of time I love the

learning and exploring, but in all growing process there are some acutely

painful times as well. The essence of life itself. It does cause me to

cling to the Father more tenaciously

Well, better let you get back to work. Thanks again!