It's simple: do something.

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If idle hands are the devil’s plaything, then consider me Miles Davis! Those who know me will not be surprised to hear that I am writing this from an airplane in between reviewing a script, moving a website, editing another script, and watching DP reels. And listening to Regina Spektor.

I’ve learned an incredible lesson about making it in this world. In fact, it might the single greatest lesson I have learned. It’s this: do something and get hired to do it again. When people want a certain result, they will look to others who have delivered it before, or are expected to deliver it in the future. There’s little further investigation about a person’s capabilities, because what better indication than what they have done before, people think. And with mostly good reason.

I see it in my own decisions as I look to hire a Director of Photography for my music video. I’m not going to choose someone based on talents they have not demonstrated when there are plenty of people desperate to work for free who have already demonstrated them.

The lesson came to me strikingly through web design. In February I completed work on Ted Hope’s shiny new blog, and he offered graciously to put my name on the bottom with a link that sends me an email with the subject line “I’d like to hire you!” No sooner did the blog get launched that I started to get emails.

Start a riot and people ask you to start another. Build a chess set and you are asked to build another, or someone asks you if you do backgammon too. So I’m in the web design business now. I swore to myself that I wouldn’t get into the web design business, but then I went and designed a website :-o. It’s not terribly challenging now that I’ve learned the basics (though is very fun when it is) and it certainly pays the bills.

But that’s what made me think, well what happens when I make a music video?

Projects /ˈpɻɑʤεkt/

I’m hoping to shoot our music video for Mark Williams Band’s song Wonderful in a few weeks – Mark and I are meeting about it next weekend. I posted an ad looking for a cinematographer to the film industry job search site Mandy.com and got 27 resumés. Now I’m contacting the applicants and discussing the project. We will try to shoot it on the Mark 7D or 5D (relatively cheap SLRs that produce absolutely beautiful images and have been used to make the SNL intro video.) They produce lovely film-like images, even in poor lighting. Our project is no-budget and will be shot outdoors so we need that kind of flexibility. No definitive word on the content of the video, but I’ll say for now that it involves not many clothes and a lot of paint.

I also recently built the website for Peace After Marriage, a great indie film that begins shooting in a few weeks. The creatives (Ghazi, Faruk, and Bandar) are really funny and on point and it’s going to be a great film. The most exciting aspect of the site is my integration of Facebook’s new graph API. It felt odd to implement the tools while I have such rage over Facebook’s privacy policy, but I was sure to make the process entirely voluntary and upfront. There was a certain solace in writing <!– Implement evil Facebook tools –> before the code, though. Check it out – with a single click it grabs your email address through Facebook and subscribes you to the mailing list. I expect you’ll be seeing this a lot in the future, as any filmmaker will tell you that an email address is worth a lot, and it’s risky to rely on Facebook for a publicity strategy. Mailchimp, our email address provider, detects a user’s location and allows us to segment emails by particular cities or regions. Peace After Marriage’s presence will include an iPhone application, series of web video on YouTube, among others.)

I am also working with movie distribution superstar Vanessa Domico to revamp the site for her LGBT distribution company Outcast Films. One of their most recent films is Sex in an Epidemic, which details the rise of AIDS and the ugly culture of hate that grew around it. The changes I implement in the site will mostly be on the back end but there will be some cosmetic changes as well.


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