Balcony TV to Barbados

A few months I was browsing the Internet and came across something truly brilliant, a movement called Balcony TV. For those of you who don’t know about it, Balcony TV is an international movement which started in Dublin, Ireland and spread to every continent on the planet. Balcony TV is a simple concept, a band or artist performing live on a balcony recorded by one camera. Very simple, yet in these short videos we get a sense of intimacy, culture and a true love and appreciation for music.

I immediately became a fan and started watching Balcony TV episodes from around the world. New York, London Spain and over 50 other cities have set up franchises of Balcony TV so far.

Then it occurred to me, there was no Balcony TV in the Caribbean. I was amazed that no one had thought to bring this great show to the Caribbean given the amount of talent we have in our small region.

So I took the decision that I would be the one to bring Balcony TV to Barbados, a bold move I admit. I ran the idea by my business partner Damien who loved it. We then approached Balcony TV and told them that Nu Visual Media would like to produce for Balcony TV in Barbados.

We were not sure if they would even reply to a small production company in Barbados that’s just getting off the ground, but they did and they loved the idea. Days later we were planning a demo shoot on the Balcony of my house.  Aim high, attempt great things.

First attempt

The first time we tried we started late and were racing against sunset, we couldn’t find the right shot, and didn’t have any lights, needless to say it didn’t come out the way I envisioned. I had promised Balcony TV to submit the demo within a week but looking at the footage we had I wasn’t ready. So I opted to reshoot rather than submit sub-par work. This turned out to be a great decision.
Never settle for anything less than great work.

The following week Yellow Bird Hotel stumbled on to my Instagram liked several of my photos, and an idea sparked in my brain. Acting on impulse I quickly send them a message offering my services free of charge in exchange for the use of their balcony to shoot my demo. Just like that things began to happen, we met to discuss the shoot and the hotel management fully bought into my vision for Balcony TV Barbados. We contacted local bands and to my surprise booked Kite for the shoot the very next week.
Follow your instincts, get creative, and reach out to others.

Things were looking up, but the day before the shoot Kite called and cancelled; they had urgent business to attend to. Needless to say I was crushed when I called my business partner Damien to give him the bad news. When I told him Kite cancelled his response was so inspiring it restored all hopes of our business being successful.

He simply said “ok, let’s get someone else” without hesitation or a second thought of giving up. This gave me such confidence in our partnership, words cannot explain.

Having a team member that immune to defeat is an empowering feeling, someone who will battle on through obstacles even when I have doubts of success is exactly what our company will need if we are to be successful.  Value strong team members.

We did the shoot the following day and submitted it much to the delight of Balcony TV who went on to award Nu Visual Media the franchise rights to produce Balcony TV Barbados.

It was a ride of ups and downs but we took an idea and made it a reality, and I am proud of my team and our supporters. Thank you Damien Pinder, Dwayne Pinder, Jamario Maynard and a special thank you to Mrs Geeta Chatrani of the Yellow Bird Hotel and Stephen O’Regan of Balcony TV.

This is the beginning of great things; I am excited to see where this journey takes me.

This is Balcony TV

Here is a look  behind the scenes of our demo shoot for Balcony TV

Kishmar Shepherd
@DaDirectorsCut

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Build Caribbean Connections, Don’t Burn Them

Much has been made of the Shanique Myrie “finger raping” case over the last few days. It seemed like everyone had an opinion on the ruling. For those of you that were living under a rock last week, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruled that the Barbados Government breached Jamaican Shanique Myrie’s right of entry when she was denied entry to the country more than two years ago, and awarded her more than $75,000.

This was a very touchy case for me as a Barbadian who has lived in Jamaica for a few years and built strong connections with my Caribbean neighbours. I had to endure senseless rants from both Barbadians and Jamaicans, thank God my Trinidadian friends stayed out of it for the most part.

 How we treat each other

As Caribbean people, we tend to say terrible (and untrue) things about each other all too often. and this case brought out some very awful comments from normally nice people.  Fortunately there are still some sane people in the region who want to see us come together and solve our problems. I am also thankful for the University of the West Indies and Cricket (although they have their problems). They have been bringing Caribbean people together for many years.

How we should treat each other

Now the younger generation must take up this cause. We must realise that we are the future of this region and we must do what our forefathers could not. I strongly believe that it is only by standing together that the Caribbean will begin to solve the problems we face individually. I am not claiming to have all the answers but I do have a suggestion.

In working with a truly incredible individual while in Jamaica, I learned to see the world in a different way. Incredible people have a way of rubbing off on you that way. This genius (as he thinks himself to be) suggested that instead of trying to change the world externally, each person works on being a better individual. He proposed that if enough people did this we set examples for others to follow and eventually we would have an infinitely better world.

While this may not be the real answer to the world’s problems, it does have some merit. I look at people like Oprah Winfrey, Jay Z, Sean Combs, Barack Obama, Will Smith, and too many others to mention. These people have achieved success, but they have done more than just succeed, they inspire others to reach for greatness.

Indeed I subscribe to inspiring others by living my life as an example for others to follow. I’m not perfect, but I honestly try.

And so I have joined forces with my “genius” colleague to set an example for building Caribbean connections and we are doing it through our start-up business ventures. As you know I manage a video production company Nu Visual Media and my colleague owns Ikonik Social Media Agency, a Jamaican Social Media Management company. Together we have combined our efforts to produce Ikonik “Quotes”, a weekly inspirational video for our joint Caribbean audience.

 

 

I hope this partnership will inspire other young Caribbean people to find ways to work together in whatever area they find themselves in. Rather than burn bridges with hateful words towards our Caribbean neighbours, let’s all reach out and try to bring some unity to this region.

I am doing my small part. What about you?

 

Kishmar Shepherd
@DaDirectorsCut

Learning from Failure

It has been over a month since I last made a blog entry, but today I break the silence.

There are several reasons why I have been absent from my writing. When I started this blog I promised to share my journey with you, but somewhere on the road my journey took me to a place where I was unhappy; and since I had nothing positive to write about I decided not to write anything at all.

I know now that this was wrong, for the purpose of this blog was not only to inspire others with the stories of the good times but to educate through my own experiences; both good and bad.

So here goes my story, I hope it prepares someone for the tough times ahead in their own journey.

I guess should start by admitting that I was overly optimistic to think things would just go exactly how I planned them to. I was in a new and exciting situation and I only looked for the best possible outcome, ignoring the signs that my ideals were far from reality. This was my first mistake and I would advise all dream chasers to analyse your situations carefully, looking at both the best possible outcome and the worst and make intelligent decisions. Also, constantly monitor and evaluate as time progresses and do be afraid to walk away if you see no benefit for yourself. Sometimes we hold on too long and miss other great opportunities. Don’t be afraid to let go, it may be whats best for you.

Another very important lesson I learned over the last two months is that you must know your worth, and not sell yourself short or let others devalue your work. When I was a young photographer I did jobs for little to nothing or sometimes even for free, because I was new to the art form and was still learning. After I had mastered the basics, gotten some experience I started charging more. Eventually I became even better after lots more experience and building my reputation so I started charging what the other professionals charged because I knew I was worth it. Then I started working with others who would book jobs and they wanted to pay me what they could afford, which was fine with me at first but then I realized that I was putting myself in a bad situation because I was giving high quality service for bargain prices. This left me in financial strain and eventually the quality of my work suffered because I was worrying about balancing my finances and not on my service.

This was a very important lesson for me and it could be beneficial to share this with others. If you have worked hard to attain a level of skill you should be rewarded fairly for that. Charge a fair wage and deliver the best possible product to your clients. Do not give poor work and DO NOT accept less than what you are worth.

Of course they are exceptions to this rule but be very careful how charitable you are you may be helping others and setting up yourself for failure.

The other lesson I will share with you is to never be ashamed to admit failure. Sometimes we let our pride stop us from admitting when we fail, this is dangerous. It is better to admit we have fallen short and learn from our mistake than to ignore our errors and carry on in denial. Saving face for other people will not help you to grow and become better. I have learned to quickly and openly accept my failure because I know I have learned from it and will succeed in the future. In every failure there is a lesson, a wise man will learn it, study it and be better, a fool ignores it and is blinded by arrogance.

My final lesson learned on my bumpy journey is that I really have found my passion and nothing will stop me from pursuing it. Truly it is only when your dream has been so severely tested that you can tell if you still really want it or not. I could have easily given up on my dream, and on my passion. I could have gone for a regular job and made some money and lived a normal, simple life; but I decided to not let my passion die because of my initial failure. Instead I have taken an even bigger risk; I returned to Barbados and started my own media company. It is called Nu Visual Media and we specialise in Video Production, Photography and Marketing Communications. Be sure to check us out on Vimeo, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter and show your support. We will be bringing lots of high quality content to the web when we launch on October 1 so save the date.

Two Tone

 

That’s all for now, I hope this information has inspired you to keep following your passion and to learn mistakes not avoid them.

I leave you with these questions. What is your passion and are you following it?

International Reggae Film Festival

This week I’m blogging from Ocho Rios Jamaica, the location of this year’s International Reggae Film Festival.

Last night was the first of five nights of films, documentaries, animation, music videos and fellowship for film enthusiast from around the region and the world.

I would firstly like to thank Mark Foster of SWAT Productions for bringing me along to this film festival, great guy.

The Festival

Although last night was plagued by technical difficulties which forced the programme to start late and end early, we were still able to view a few films, grab some interviews and engage in dialogue with film makers from around the world. I was impressed by some of the work of Jamaican film makers, especially the animators. I think there is a bright future for animation in Jamaica evidenced by the buzz  recently created by such events as Kingstoon.

I was less impresses by the organisation of the overall event. It seemed a bit lacklustre in presentation and preparation, this may have been due to budget constraints or maybe I was expecting too much.

I believe if we are to get more attention and generate revenue for the film industry in Jamaica, festivals such as the Reggae Film Festival have a huge part to play and must up the ante. To reach international standards we must strive for excellence in all that we do.

All in all it was a pretty good start for me and I applaud the efforts of the organising committee.

I love film festivals because they are filled with people who are involved in film and can be a great way to make connections, get help for my own films or just learn from others in the industry.

Not to mention you get to view the work of your peers, for me this fuels my inspiration. Either I think the film is crap and I could do much better or I’m blown away and I strive to make my next film much better. Which ever it i,s I find these festivals a great source of inspiration.

I look forward to the rest of the festival which hopefully will be without further technical difficulties.

One of the Interviews we shot at the opening night of the International Reggae Film Festival.

 

No Maddz share their views on the film industry in Jamaica.

Kishmar Shepherd
@DaDirectorsCut

Have an Inspiring Week

It is Friday July 26 and I woke up at 6:30 this morning to write this blog. My past week was one of my most inspiring ones thus far in my life, and I want to share the highlights with you.

On Tuesday night I was talking to one of my friends about my dreams and what I want to do with my life, and into the conversation she asked me a simple but profound question. One that I know many people ask themselves daily: “How can I find my passion, how do I find what I really wanted to do with the rest of my life?”

At any other point in my life I may have been unable to provide a sensible response, but my experiences over the last few months had prepared me for this one question.

Surely there is no one way to find your life’s passion. Some people stumble upon it, other go out searching and find it and for others go through situations that change their lives and set them on a purposeful path. I knew my answer wasn’t the only one but believe every word I said to her.

I paused for a minute, gathering my thoughts for my friend who so desperately wanted to find her purpose in life. Then I gave her the best advice I could.

My Advice

I told her that to find her passion in life you should start with the things you like to do, then look at what you are good at and find something that fits into both categories and do more of it everyday. If you like it continue, if not repeat the process. If you still come up blank after doing this several times, just keep exploring and experiencing life because you may not be ready for your life’s work as yet.

Life is a journey

Sometimes we forget that life is about the journey and not the destination. We see other people younger than us doing great things and living their dreams and we get caught in self-pity and disappointment. I was once guilty of this. At 22 I had no real, clear vision for my life, I had no real definition of my own success, sure I wanted to be wealthy and all that but wealth is not the only form of success and by no means is it the greatest symbol of true success.

Amazingly enough, a few years later I am filled with a burning passion to accomplish great things in my chosen field. I have a vision, purposes and passion for life, and I found them all in the last six months. Everything that happened before that was just a warm up exercise for the real challenges of life and I am grateful for every experience.

So do not be discouraged if you do not know your calling as yet, keep living, keep experiencing different things and keep learning, life is still preparing your for your destiny.

A true story; I was doing a video shoot for a client this week and after we finished we had a very inspiring discussion. This man in his late 20’s who is the managing director of a company was telling me that he had just discovered his life’s passion. I stood in awe as he spoke with such fire and passion about what he wanted to do with the rest of his life and how he was going to turn his passion into a business and touch people all over the Caribbean. And as I stood there listening I felt a sense of joy because the way he spoke about his passion is the way I speak about mine.

The second impactful thing that happened to me this week was even more touching

One night this week someone sent me a message over Facebook to tell me they love my work and that I inspired them to buy their camera. We proceeded to ask me about a few technical details and I gave as much advice as I could. This encounter meant a lot to me and I want to thank that person for their kind words. Believe me, as much as I inspire you, you have inspired me.

Your words inspire me to keep going, to continue to be a positive example for others, to share all that I know so that others may follow my path or create a new one for themselves. I woke up at 6:30 this morning to say thank you. Let’s continue to inspire each other.

And for those looking for their passion and purpose in life let me share a few videos that inspired me this week from Ted Talks:

 

Go for it, sometimes we have to forget about the odds and just go for what we want.

 

 

Be honest with yourself and others, honesty can lead you to some interesting places and harsh discoveries about yourself. This can also lead you to a purposeful life.

 

 

And finally, surround yourself with positivity. This one I can personally attest to. In the last 6 months of my life I have been with some of the most positive, ambitions free thinkers on this planet and my life has changed tremendously because of it. Thank you guys

 

Kishmar Shepherd
@DaDirectorsCut

My week of challenges and questionable decisions

I know I missed my blog day on Friday, but I assure you it was under extreme circumstances.

Last week was particularly hectic for me, on Monday I got a call from one of my former Classmates offering me a job to do two 5 minute video for Digicel by Friday. Now this of course took precedence over everything I was doing before. Digicel is a great company to have in your portfolio so we channeled all our energy towards our new project.

We shot on Wednesday and brought in an editor to edit the videos, unfortunately when working with external people time can run thin as I found out, and the clients can get antsy to see “something” as soon as possible. Needless to say it was a very tense and stressful week for me, but I came out stronger and wiser at the end; and Digicel got 2 great videos.

From that experience I learned the importance of communication, attention to detail, patience and keeping a cool head. All that in 4 days (It wasn’t easy).

So after that I was persuaded (by my boss) to go to a party on Friday night to celebrate, which would have been fine if I didn’t have a shoot at 9 am the next morning. Even worse, while we were at the party we got an email asking for me to do two additional shoots on Saturday afternoon. The problem was, by the time the emails cam in I was already in the party vibe (had a few drinks) and I was feeling great.

I wasn’t feeling great the next morning however, when I had to wake at 8 am to get to my shoot. I was bit hung over from the night before, sore from the football game I played Friday evening, and operating on less than 10 hours of sleep for the entire week thanks to the Digicel project which kept me leaving the office in the wee hours of the morning only to be awakened by phone calls a few hours later.

Still I showed up early for the shoot which entailed working with small children and annoying (unwanted) assistant creative directors aka Parents. It was a horrible morning; simply put I didn’t produce my best work. Still I got what I came for then left to try to get home and grab some food to soak up the alcohol and a few hours’ sleep before the next shoot.

If not for a call from our social media manager to ask me how the shoots were going I would have missed them completely. I jolted out of be quickly got ready and hurried to the location (still tired). Thankfully there were no small children on this shoot and I could relax, get into my groove and produce some good images.

After a week like that I was in no writing mood. But can you blame me?

Anyway guys I have big news coming up this Friday do stay tuned to the blog. I promise it will be worth it.

 

Kishmar Shepherd
@DaDirectorsCut