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Raymond Spaddy
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This.
Would you ride in a plane where the windows were replaced with panoramic screens? http://bit.ly/1BkK7qB
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First hand view of what it looks like to play Coachella with Pharrell! #OnTheGig  via +OnTheGig 
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Awesome Water Slide! Atlantis Resort in Bahamas...
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New Year Hit List for Creatives

http://bit.ly/191dAcH

Give. Whether to yourself or to a fellow artist in need. Every photographer, director, painter, writer, creative, entrepreneur, whatever mold into which you fit (or don’t) has basic needs. And thankfully, these needs are mostly free of charge. I’ve read 100 artist biographies, studied my own life and the creative LIVES of those around me and distilled some of the commonalities — and the outliers — for how and when, under what circumstance creatives kick ass. A pattern emerges. Therefore I suggest that you immediately (or ASAFP) give to yourself or to others….

1. Adventure + Experience. Whether in mind and spirit OR in actual physical practice, give yourself adventure and experience. Do stuff. Some stimulus, some INPUT is required as the raw building materials of a creative life. Profound is good, but unnecessary. What’s necessary are emotions, highs & lows, chinks in one’s armor, dents, road wear, and a range of experiences. What are yours? Some people go looking, others get hit but the truck, but in every case an experiential narrative is required for inspiration. So let me be blunt. Get off your ass. Given the chance to “go” or “stay”, you go. Whether you really go looking or metaphorically do, you won’t find “creativity”, you’ll find the stuff that creativity glues together. You’ve got to either cultivate, dig up, source, uncover or live these raw materials, these bricks, the sticks, and the meat to make something that only you can make. Live a life so that you can have a point of view.

2. Space. Creative synthesis doesn’t happen during your adventures, amidst the chaos and the noise. The mayhem and the delight of life gives you the ingredients, but synthesis only happens when you’re quiet, when you’ve got space, a moment to breathe. Sometimes it doesn’t require much space: a sleepless night, a shower, or an hour inside your head. Other times it requires more. But I guarentee it won’t be while you’re in the thick of it. Inspiration might rain down upon you, but building that inspiration into something meaningful takes more room than you’re giving yourself right now; it takes time (even a sliver), and it takes iteration. Rarely if ever will something come to you fully formed, despite all the fairy tales you’ve heard. Provide some respite, some space after inspiration, and harvest you will.

3. A Mirror. Give yourself a mirror. Not literally, but a figurative mirror to reflect on that voice inside your head, and capture that voice in an emotion. The raw materials of which I spoke above, are certainly out there in the world, but a quick reminder that you’ll not find any answers per se “out there”. All those answers – and I mean every one — are “in here”. In you. Things coming from you – from an only-you-could-have-made-this perspective is a requirement of outstanding art and creativity. Hence the mirror. No opportunity to reflect, no creative answers.

4. A Schedule To Make, Ship, or Do. Give yourself the schedule you hate – the one that says make it today, ship it, build it, do it. Chuck Close said (paraphrased) that… “If I sat around and only made art when I was ready, I wouldn’t have made much art.” It’s because Chuck knows that we excel at what we practice. And if we practice everyday – even in the absence of the raw materials, the mirror, the space, we’ll certainly be ready when all that shit lines up. Trust me on this one. And don’t try and say I’m contradicting myself. given the above points. You’ve got skills that need honing, even in the absence of the creative moon lining up with the creative Venus. Make things every day. Publish, launch, post, iterate, share. By God it’s the only way anything gets done.

5. A Break. Give yourself a damn break. You don’t have to be weird, unhappy, in ecstacy or pain to create great stuff. You have to be there. You have to be in the game, not on the sidelines. Adventuring and synthesizing, and reflecting and creating and shipping all take work; and that work won’t always be great. Don’t be a critic. The lives of critics are boring, ugly, short and full of yuck. Haven’t written a book? Don’t hate on one. Haven’t made a film? Be generous in your commentary. Don’t take, give. Give time, give gratitude, and by all means give yourself and others a break.

That’s it.

And don’t think you’ll get by with just one of the above. You’ve gotta wrangle all 5. Trust me on that.

http://bit.ly/191dAcH
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The new SmugMug is awesome. Can this little company beat Yahoo and others?

All you have to do is see how excited photographers like +Thomas Hawk are: http://thomashawk.com/2013/07/smugmug-rolls-out-completely-redesigned-new-site.html or +Trey Ratcliff https://plus.google.com/u/0/+TreyRatcliff/posts/PSfCYsviPnh or +Karen Hutton https://plus.google.com/u/0/+KarenHutton/posts/ijQEXqr2eZZ or others who are great photographers here on Google+ (a search for "SmugMug" here this morning shows a bunch of others: https://plus.google.com/u/0/s/SmugMug ).

I shot these photos in a demo that founders +Don MacAskill and +Chris MacAskill gave me last week. Their wives (and dogs) were sitting on the floor, demonstrating just what a family affair this company is. I don't remember any other startup having such a family feel to it.

Which brings me to this point: can this company continue to find a way to compete with much bigger and better funded companies? I think so. Why: they are attracting great developer and customer service talent that other companies aren't. The singular focus they have on pro and advanced amateur photographers gives the service a focus that other places, including Google+ or Facebook, er, Instagram, will never be able to match.

I wish every startup entrepreneur could visit SmugMug. The lessons on how to build a company and not just a cool product are everywhere (it's very rare you'll see a cool product come out of a dysfunctional company). 

I'd say to start with the wives and the dogs on the floor. That says volumes about the kind of company they are building and the product on the screen reflects those values.

I wish Silicon Valley had more companies like SmugMug.
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Nice. Right up there with teaching financial responsibility. 
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Indie Filmers + Photogs Continue to Step Up — Cascada Kayak Film Is Worth Your Attention

http://bit.ly/11fIzsj

The banal and boring quickly get lost as noise among the infinite video and photo uploads that occur across the interwebs on the daily. To rise above and be seen, you need to step your shit up, big time.

The peeps over at NRS Films and Forge are on a serious streak of producing killer, award-winning films of their paddling adventures. “Is this a vacation?” they ask themselves? Watch the video and tell me this is anything but passion-pursuit disguised as hard work. No one wakes up in the morning and says, “I think I’ll spend the day in the rainy jungle getting eaten alive by a blood-thirsty insect population and subjecting myself to countless viruses — all for the hell of it.” You’ve got to have a damn good reason to put yourself in that place. For Erik Boomer, Tyler Bradt, Galen Volckhausen and the rest of these dudes, the reason is pretty simple.

I spent an hour last night devouring this stuff. Enjoy.

http://bit.ly/11fIzsj
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10 Essentials to Go the Extra Mile (for Your Clients + Crew)

http://bit.ly/10fxj5o

One of the ways you can set yourself apart as a creative professional is to really go the extra mile for both your client(s) and your crew. This applies to YOU, whether you’re a photographer or director producing your own jobs with a small crew, or a producer wrangling a hefty crew with a lot of moving parts. Here are some things to think about before your next shoot:

1. Flights: We do a lot of traveling around here, and we all know that flying can be a pain in the you-know-what. Lines, waiting, more lines, more waiting. Knowing whether people prefer a window or aisle, bulkhead or exit row, goes a long way to make the experience that much better. Be sure to include frequent flier numbers, when applicable. Also, how is everyone getting to the airport? Can you arrange for a car service to carpool some folks that live close to one another? Or should everyone cab it individually and bill the cost along with their final invoice?

2. Hotels: Whether you’re staying in a 3, 4, or 5-star hotel with tons of amenities, or a low-budget motel off the highway, providing the front desk with some details about your stay can really help things run smoothly.  Be sure to let them know how many of you are traveling together and if you have any special needs (early check-in, late check-out, meeting space for your pre-pro, printing capabilities, wi-fi access, breakfast, gear storage, etc.). Ask for dining recommendations or the location of the nearest grocery or drug store. Additionally, since you’re perhaps spending a serious chunk of change with the hotel, you might be able to wiggle into a few extra benefits as well that could help your shoot – early breakfast, discount rates, or extra rooms for gear/meetings. Also remember: the front desk is there to help, if you let them. You can show your appreciation by generously tipping the staff, the shuttle driver, bell hop, housekeeping, etc. Upon checkout, we like to leave an envelope at the front desk for housekeeping. Generally, the rule of thumb is $2 to $5 per day per room.

3. Rental cars:  Think about what kind of space you need:  you may be traveling with so much gear that an SUV is a necessity or maybe even a cargo van.  Or maybe your client wants a convertible if you’re shooting somewhere warm and tropical. Which company should you use?  There’s a balance to be found between price, convenience and reliability. We are usually hurrying off to a pre-pro or a scout and need to know that our car is ready and right. Whenever possible, we go with a company with whom we have a preferred account for fast service and a location in the main terminal.

4. Food: I could go on forever about this one. Food is often an undervalued aspect of a shoot. Keeping your crew well-fed and watered can go a long way to making a tough day feel less tiresome.

Know food allergies and/or preferences. Is anyone allergic to nuts, gluten-free or vegetarian?

Snacks are an easy way to make people happy. Our crew likes Peanut M&Ms, red Swedish Fish, beef jerky and string cheese. What does your crew like to have handy?
What kind of restaurants does your client like to eat at for dinner? Sushi? Mexican? Find out so you can make a reservation in advance. We always love a spot with a private room for large parties. In many restaurants, there’s not even an extra charge!

5. Community: Make sure you get to know your clients and crew well; nothing brings a crew together like an off-duty meal. It’s a fantastic opportunity to talk about things other than the j-o-b and really get to know everyone on a personal level. Your client’s wedding anniversary is next month? File that tidbit away so you can be sure to send him or her a card and perhaps a bottle of wine.

6. Follow-through: Make sure everyone has received and read the call sheet you emailed by following up with a phone call to confirm. It sucks when a key member of your team calls bright and early on shoot day frantic because they don’t know where to go and when.

7. Organization: If there’s one skill that every producer should have honed, it’s organization. It can be tricky to keep track of all the moving pieces, but if you have a good system in place, it can help out tremendously. Try centralizing your information into a production book, with the creative, contact info, schedule, shot list, talent, locations, permits, calendar, travel confirmations, etc. that you can constantly reference. Not only is it super helpful for you, but it instills confidence in your client that you know what you’re doing and that you have everything under control.

8. Details: You know what they say, the devil is in the details. It’s often the little things that make the difference between an okay shoot and an awesome one. Is there a concierge we can leave our skis + snowboards with at the hotel? Is there a hotel shuttle available to take us to the location? Did you remember to get that radio to the 1st assistant? Or make sure everyone has their lift tickets on them? There are a million of these little details to think about on any shoot. The more you can anticipate in advance, the smoother your shoot will go. And the more you’ll impress your clients.

9. Communication: Words to live by, friends, “over-communicate.” Make sure everyone is on the same page and knows what the expectations are. Just had a conference call with your client? Summarize what transpired and who’s responsible for what in an email. I promise you, this will save your behind at one point or another during your career. This is also an effective way to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

10. Be (sincerely) nice: This might seem like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten myself out of a jam by simply being really nice. I’m not suggesting that you overdo it on the saccharine; in fact, no one likes a kiss-ass. This can sometimes be easier said than done, but don’t forget that we’re lucky to be doing what we love for a living. You’ll find that people (both clients + crew) are a lot more eager to work with you on a long-term basis if you just be nice.

http://bit.ly/10fxj5o
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