I wasn’t ready. I’m usually ready.
I was editing Episodes One and Two before I left for Colorado right up to the wire. When I’m in “edit mode” my sleep schedule goes to shit and the work takes the role of backseat driver. On NYE my “lunch break” was the Sharks v. Kings game downtown at Staples Center. I almost went to the final matchup of the season yesterday but thought better of it. After finishing the videos and scheduling the posts, around 5am on New Years Day I hastily packed up both of my cameras, the Ultracage, rails and handles, my Tascam recorder & Senn-y, a long lens (just in case), two IDX batteries, both of my snowboards and an ill-advised pair of Lakai skate shoes which ended up handling the more blizzardy climate just fine. For the proceeding two weeks I helped the good people at Lifestylez manage and run ski trips for a few thousand LSU and Mizzou students through Keystone, Breckenridge, and Steamboat. More accurately I stayed out of their way and filmed the fun stuff while pitching in when the going got rough. The upshot from having to deal with so many “youths” is you get to enjoy amazing, literally breathtaking mornings like the one I experienced in Steamboat (hence the video), cementing it as my Number 1 favorite mountain of all time. It’s got the town, the people, the views, but most importantly: the snow. Perfect, plentiful, impeccable powder for acres and acres accompanying one of the most stunning valleys I’ve ever seen, comparable only to the first time I actually “looked up” as a kid in Yosemite or a different time when I was in Italy. Different reasons. In any case, you can imagine how abruptly I was brought back to sea level when I was informed via text message 18 hours before it was set to go up that Episode Three wouldn’t be finished in time.
Episode Three was slated to be a writeup about failure. Apropos, then, that the post would fail to get completed. So, mind still high from the serenity that only mountain air and quiet snow can bring, reality came crashing through my inner calm and the second I got home from the airport I sat down to my fantastically noisy home-built PC and immediately started scrolling through two weeks of B-Roll. For those of you who’ve been following along since last year, I took the time to edit the video above solely using the OWL BOT Steam Controller configuration to try and see what it needed in v4 and to my surprise I found myself easily churning through footage, quickly making the cuts/inserts, and in general enjoying the process more than when I’m hunched over a keyboard. Certain acts of Fine Tuning may need the precision of a mouse, but overall I was able to comfortably edit 98% of the film with the controller, including effects work. I’ve upgraded my enthusiasm for the Steam Controller as an editing tool from “Mild Interest” to “Reasonably Excited” so there’ll be a followup to that here soon, which I’ll tie into a bit I’ve been thinking about in regards to today’s realistic shooting scenarios pushing filmmakers more and more into needing a “cinematic mindset but a documentary practicality.” If you’re into hearing people yammer on, that’ll be a good one.
I think we miscategorize failure. Someone wiser than me said that depression was freaking out about the past and anxiety is freaking out about the future. Freaking out about the future is futile because you can’t predict it anyway (and according to quantum physics, theoretically you’ve “made” those decisions already so, ya know, relax) but freaking out about the past means you haven’t extracted the wisdom from those experiences and your brain is trying to tell you that. The only reason we remember anything is to ensure we do (or don’t do) something again, so if a memory is causing you discomfort, it means you just need to figure out what the lesson was in that experience and then safely file that thought away. Often times these moments we focus on get categorized as “failures” but that has a certain finality to it, as if it’s a black mark on your record. In actuality, failure is the key to success as you can’t “know” everything right off the bat. Even if you have a simple 50/50 shot at guessing right or wrong to every decision in your life, at some point you’ll pick “wrong” and that’ll be an instant lesson. “Failure” isn’t something to be ashamed of, it is to be embraced. Shame only comes from having that lesson stare you down for 6 years with you ignoring it. Failure, then, (using the definition we “feel” it holds) is more accurately “repeating mistakes”: the first mistake is necessary for you to learn, the following mistakes are “failures” as you should be using that energy towards an avenue you know to be fruitful instead of blindly running into the same wall over and over.
It takes determination to apply yourself and think critically every day. We don’t have to hunt for food, we don’t have to labor physically to travel anywhere, we have Postmates… life’s pretty good. When life’s this good, this easy, when the average standard of living is so high, it’s easy to get caught up in little things that take the place in our minds of what would otherwise be real threats or grievances. When you’re working towards a goal and you experience turbulence, take a deep breath, focus, and keep problem solving.
Anyway, there’ll be more from the Lifestylez trip and from me. Next week we should be hearing from Trent Wilson.