Giving thanks for what really matters

Hello guys. Today if you are in the United States you are most likely celebrating Thanksgiving. So I wanted to talk about something that is not the usual post I have here on my website.

Most of the time I post tutorials or reviews of new products that are coming out. However on this day instead of talking about all those subjects, I want to concentrate on something much more important. First of all, I know how we all like to keep up with the news on everything happening in our industry. It’s good and maybe even important if you want to stay on-top of the game. Whether it’s looking at the current trends in films or style of music videos, it is helpful to stay current. Same when new technology allows comes out that lets us produce our work faster and better. You definitely don’t want to get left behind in any area if you are working in the video and image making industry for a living. This of course applies to anyone working with video or photos for clients. Doesn’t matter if you are producing music videos or if you are a cinematographer, film director or maybe someone who makes corporate videos or wedding photographer. In the end we all have a client we have to keep happy by delivering great quality images for a great price. Still too often I see people get completely blindsided by what they are doing and instead of becoming more successful at life, they are just hurling forward trying to reach financial and work success.

Remember that to be truly successful it’s important to be conscious of every aspect of your life. I say this because I myself got caught up in the game of winning in the filmmaking industry at a young age. I got my first job working on an animated film at just 17 years old and by 22 years old I was making more money then I could image just a few years prior. I was holding a senior VFX position on a multi-million dollar Hollywood film. Many aspiring filmmakers my age thought I had it made. But in reality I neglected my friends, family but most importantly my health. Still I did not notice that the more money I made I just simply found more ways to spend it. The bigger the projects I got to work on got it never seemed to be enough. It went on like that for years while I worked very hard trying to be the best, except I didn’t realize that this was just life not a competition. Doesn’t matter how big of a important job I thought I was doing, in the end none of it really mattered. If I did succeed then it felt great for a moment while people congratulate you and then everyone moves on while the same thing begins all over again. New project, new deadlines. More 15 hour film shoots or doing all-nighters trying to finish that edit or the visual effect, etc. Fast forward a few years later when my health suffered from overworking myself, lacking exercise and contact with nature, not to mention eating badly. That’s when I was forced to stop. If you don’t do what is necessary then sooner or later nature will make you stop and change your life in a cruel way. That is when I realized how much my relationships also suffered. It took me years after that to find that balance and most importantly to be successful in life, not work. It’s all about living consciously every aspect of your life weather it’s work or health, friends etc.

Since then I’ve seen too many people around me chasing that “success” only to hit rock bottom when they reach it. Friends who’s health suffered or who ruined their marriage etc. So I guess today I am hoping that you realize the lessons that it took me years to understand. I heard great advice from a guy who gave me one of the first jobs in the industry, that “it’s important to work smart not hard”. At the moment when I heard that I honestly didn’t think I believed him or really thought much about what he said. Part of it was because I was raised in a family where I was always told if you want to be successful you had to work hard. I’m here to tell you that after 20 years I finally get it. You don’t have to work hard unless you want your life to be hard. You do have to work smart, which doesn’t mean it will always be easy but it sure as hell will be more efficient. Another thing that took me years to understand is that you really gotta love what you do or do only what you love. If you are in this industry because you want to make a lot of money or because you want fame etc. then quit right now. Because even if you do get those things you will realize those things will only make you happy only for a moment. Soon you will be off chasing another goal. You have to love the process! You have to love being on set of a film late at night. Or working by yourself on the computer editing, etc. If you love it then the goals or reaching them won’t even matter because you will love every moment of just doing it. When people ask me what I do for a living, now I tell them I don’t. They are confused of course and then they ask “What do you mean? You don’t work?” and I usually just say I am just living life. Once you truly do what you love, it won’t even matter how many hours it is or how much money you are making. Weekends won’t exist and neither will vacations. My life is a vacation. I travel and do what I love. It will become a part of your life. Now my family is obviously very important to me but I still do what I love. So somehow I end up getting my kids or wife involved in a lot of the work so that I don’t even have a definite line that separates my work life from family life. It’s all just life. Last big lesson I learned is to be truly thankful for what you do. If you are doing what you love then it’s easy to do it. Of course I still work on projects where we run behind schedule or where weather doesn’t co-operate or maybe unexpected costs come up. Instead of stressing about it, I just remind myself how lucky I am doing what I love for a living. Be thankful, work smart and just live.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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