5 Things We Can Learn from Jay-Z’s New Album

Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge Jay-Z fan. I love his music, his character and what he means to young black men all over the world. To me Jay-Z represents success, triumph over bad situations and constant personal growth.

He has set a good example for anyone to aspire to but today I want to talk about his new Album MCHG and what messages creative people can get from the songs on the album. My boss always says “Success leaves clues” so let’s see what clues we can pick up from the great Hov.

“Bright lights are enticing but look what that did to (Mike) Tyson.” – Holy Grail

Don’t be blinded by your success –

As artists, sometimes we struggle for so long that when success comes we get carried away in it and lose ourselves in the hype. This has happened to a lot of creative people who become successful and find it hard to remain creative or inspired. Remain grounded in the good times and the bad.

“I just want a Picasso in my casa, no my castle.” – Picasso Baby

Aim high and know what you want out of life. In order to reach a destination we must decide where it is we want to go. In the song Jay Z raps about what he wants out of this life, his goals are lavish but at least he knows what he wants and is more likely to get it. Our goals may not be to own a Picasso but we should have some clearly defined goals and say them out loud, don’t be afraid to tell other people what you want. This is part of the speaking into being Christians talk about. What do I want? I want to win an Oscar.

“Don’t be good my ni**a be great” – F.U.T.W

Don’t settle for being good, we should always strive for greatness. But what is the difference between good and great, what is that defining piece of the puzzle that takes one from ordinary to extraordinary? For this industry there is a different defining factor, there is not one formula that will work for everything, but one thing is for sure, hard work and never settling will take you further than share talent. Always strive to be greater than you are today and your greatness will come to you.

“My uncle said I’d never sell a million records, I sold a million records about a million times” – Crown

Don’t let other people put parameters on your success. You are not limited by what people say you can do, you are only limited by yourself. People may not always believe in your dream but that does not mean it will not come true. Some of the world’s greatest men were once considered mad for attempting things others thought were impossible. Yet these things have been accomplished through will, power, determination and belief.

“No guilt in giving clear a n**** conscience out, no guilt in receiving, everything within reason.” – Nickels & Dimes

As artists we should not be afraid to give to others without asking for returns. This is not to say we should work for free; or give away what we earn but I believe that everyone in a position to, should help others. The other side of that is that we should not be embarrassed to receive from others. Sometimes we let our pride prevent us from taking gifts, this may come as money or even advice.

And there you have it, my 5 pieces of advice which I got from Jay-Z’s new album. I am sure there are lots more messages we can get from the album along with the great music.

Enjoy the album.

Kishmar Shepherd
@DaDirectorsCut

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Dealing with Disappointment

Don’t you hate it when things don’t work out the way you planned? Here is my story.

A few months ago  (April) my classmates from CARIMAC helped me to plan and shoot a short film to enter the  Lignum Vitae Film Festival hosted by NCU (Northern Caribbean University) however the pressures of finishing our final documentary did not give me enough free time to edit the film so we missed the deadline.

I didn’t mind much, I still had all that great footage so I figured I would enter the Kingston on the Edge Film Festival in June (plenty of time right?).

Fast forward to June the deadline for the Kingston on the Edge Film Festival was fast approaching and I was so busy with transitioning from school to employment the film still was not edited. So I got a great idea, I decided to take the project to one of my friends who is a noted editor for him to spice up the edit with special effects and make the movie even better than I could (I’m no go with special effects).

Long story short, that was a bad idea he took the film and stalled until the last minute, then on the very last day of submission he sent his edit, but it was way below what I would consider acceptable. At that point I tried to re-edit to make the deadline but that was impossible. I missed the deadline and to this day the film remains unseen.

What hurt the most, wasn’t that the movie wasn’t seen, I was more upset that I missed a great networking opportunity. Kingston on the Edge Arts Festival is a wonderful event and has grown a lot, gaining a good reputation as showcasing high quality talent. Many persons involved in the film and production industries attend the Film Night to see what their friends are up to and to have a look at what other upcoming talents are doing. It would have been the perfect night to have my work seen by people who matter. These were the people who could give me sound advice and direction, people I hope to work with in the future and people who I want to know my name.

I sat and thought about all of this on the day, I did not even bother to attend the event. I just stayed home and sulked in my misery. But feeling sorry for yourself does not help much, so I had to learn to deal with my disappointment.

    1. Accept

First I had to come to terms with the fact that I missed a great networking opportunity and I had to accept that.

I had to accept that despite the involvement of others in the mishap it was MY fault. I should have overseen the editing more closely and made sure it was done right or just do it myself, it was my project at the end of the day and that means it was my responsibility.

    2.Analyse

After I accepted the reality of the situation I analysed everything and looked at my mistakes. I was too busy to edit the film, although I had a significant amount of time.
I tried to pass off my responsibilities to someone else when I should have taken charge of the presentation of my work.

If something is important to you, then take time out to handle it properly don’t leave it up to others.
When something goes wrong analyse your mistakes, learn from them and never make the same mistakes twice.

3. Prepare

Often time after disappointment we spend so much time feeling sorry for ourselves, we miss a second opportunity or don’t even realise we had one. We may not always get it right the first time but if we learn from our mistakes the second chances should never pass us by. When dealing with disappointment we have to use that sour feeling as fuel to correct what went wrong the first time and prepare for the next opportunity. And if it comes make sure you bounce back with intensity.

Follow these simple steps and you will learn and grow from your disappointment as I have. Since my unfortunate situation I have been putting more of my time and effort into what matters to me. I re-edited the movie myself and although it is not perfect I’m proud of it. I used that disappointment to motivate me to work harder on my craft. Missing that opportunity was a big wake up call for me, things won’t always go your way but if you want something bad enough you won’t let disappointment discourage you form pursuing your dreams.

Kishmar Shepherd
@DaDirectorsCut

P.S.

My film is finished and will be on display at the second showing of the films from the Kingston on the Edge Arts Festival so look out for that. I will post more information when it is announced.

Following your Passion

On Wednesday June 28 I attended an event titled: Goodbye University, Hello Unemployment. There were many notable persons there who made presentations for young graduates to do more than just look for a job, but to create an industry. Many suggestions were thrown out to the large audience on how to innovate and earn significant salaries through conventional and unconventional means. I stood there and listened but no one mentioned passion. So I did.

When the questions for the panel came I asked them “What about pursuing passion and looking for your life’s fulfillment there”. Of course many people retorted: “well you need money to survive and passion won’t pay the bills,” but I don’t see why the two cannot be intertwined.

One of my former colleagues from CARIMAC came to the mic and challenged my statements, I listened and took her comments, I saw her point of view and after the function I approached her to further discuss the topic. She explained that after finishing University she has been struggling to find paying work in her chosen field of Public Relations and how frustrating it is to have to work in other areas where her dreams are not being actualised.

I understand her position, I have been there myself and surely it was not easy for me either. However, through hard work I have put myself in a position where people now know me for my interest in my industry and automatically associate me with photography and videography. This is because I constantly talk about, practice and offer assistance and advice in these areas to anyone who will listen.

I have been in the same institution with this young lady for three years and I am sad to say I do not know her as a “PR Guru” as I know some of the other students in her class to be. To be known in your industry you have to be seen, maybe not by those at the top of your industry but by whomever will look your way. Get out there and talk to people, listen to advice interact, spark conversation about your passion and surely enough your name will reach the ears of those in the right positions. Most of the jobs I have received have been referrals. Why? I follow my passion not money an people see that.

The smart man does not blindly jump into their passion without a plan however, but I am sure that Mark Zuckerberg had a passion for programming first before the created Facebook, Henry Ford had a passion for cars before he built some of the best in the world. Without this passion their work would not be as fulfilling and probably not as good.

Many of the world’s wealthiest and most successful business people are in that very position because they pursued their passion for something, this does not mean that it came easily however. A fair amount of sacrifice and clever thinking is required for any amount of success, as my readings of authors such as Napoleon Hill has reinforced.

So as artist we must remember that I will not always be easy to follow our passion, we may be broke sometimes but we must never allow our spirit to be broken. It may seem as if there is little or no money in our industry at the time, it may be hard to find a job in our chosen field, but that is where we must get creative and find ways to earn from our talents.

Here are a few tips to help you to follow your passion.

1)      Research your industry; see who is making money and how they are doing it.

2)      Find ways to get close to the earners in your industry and learn from them, this may include doing volunteer work for a while.

3)      Make a plan, don’t just go in blindly have an idea of how you will get what you want. Your plan may include working in a job outside your industry for a while before making the leap of faith, this is smart thinking.

4)      Believe in yourself and in your talents, Marcus Garvey said this “If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.” No truer words have been uttered on this planet. You must first believe you can do what you set out to do before you can actually do it. (that was a mouthful)

5)      Re-evaluate your situation continuously. If one plan is not working out make another, look at what isn’t working and change it, keep what is.

Don’t get discourage because things are not working out at the moment, hold fast to your dreams and work towards them. Your greatest achievements are yet to come.

Kishmar Shepherd
@DaDirectorsCut
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5 Great Online Sources for Camera Info

Its Friday so it a new post for My Life On Screen,

 

Many people want to get into photography or videography but they don’t know where to start. Now 10, 15 years ago this may have been a problem but in today’s world this is just a lame excuse.

Man has come a long way from inventing the wheel, today we have the internet, that magical place where every, and anything can be found.

When I first decided to take up photography seriously I went online and read hundreds if not thousands of articles on anything that mentioned cameras. I watched tutorials, camera reviews and even videos comparing products.

 

To save you guys some time I have compiled a list of good sources for information on photography and videography online. Hope it helps.

5 Great sites to teach you how to use your camera.

1) PhotographyTalk.com – If you are like me, and many other people across the world, you are most likely on Facebook almost every day. Photography Talk is a great website in itself but they make my list because they constantly poste tips, tutorials and advice on Facebook. So between spying on that ex you can learn something about your camera 🙂

2) Digital Photography School –  If you want to learn to be a professional you have to study the professionals. DPS gives you the best content from industry professionals and also keep you abreast about what’s happening in the world of photography. They keep you in the know about what new cameras are coming out, new lenses and interesting techniques. What’s better is that they send you a weekly email with updates on what’s been happening that week.

 

3) NoFilmSchool This is like the sister site to DPS, but NFS is the place to learn all about videography and independent film making. DSLR filmmaking has become very popular and NFS keeps you on the edge of all the happening. Their weekly email updates keep me on top of new software, equipment and interviews with established filmmakers and other industry professionals.

 

4) YouTube – There are many channels on Youtube dedicated to teaching Photography and DSLR Video it may be hard to choose which you should follow.

Here are three good ones, note they are many more out there you can try.

             Adorama TV – Great for tutorials and equipment information. http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8Pksdbj37CdE00kmE7Z1dw

Digita lRev TV – Great for equipment testing and comparisons. http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuw8B6Uv0cMWtV5vbNpeH_A

FroKnowsPhoto – Great for understanding workflow, Jared is funny and knowledgeable. http://www.youtube.com/user/JaredPolin
5) Vimeo – Vimeo is like the preferred video network for film inthusist. Where Youtube tutorials mostly focus on Photography, Vimeo users more go for video. Here are a few channels you should take time out to watch.

Vimeo Video School – Great place to get started doing video on your DSLR camera. They teach the basics you will need to start your journey into            cinematography. https://vimeo.com/videoschoolvideos

            Cinemacueto Film School – This is a more intermediate to advanced channel but it has great information on there to help you develop you skills with the camera and work with equipment. They also show you which equipment will get you the best results and how to use them. https://vimeo.com/channels/filmschool

Shoot For The Edit – A great place to learn camera and lighting techniques. This is for more experienced people but the more you learn the quicker you will develop. So don’t be afraid to check them out. The only way to get better is to challenge yourself. https://vimeo.com/channels/theedit

Wednesday Catch-up

Its Wednesday June 19th, five days since my first blog post, so I decided to let you guys in on what I have been up to.

First, I just want to thank everyone who expressed their support for what I am doing with this blog and to especially thank those who encouraged me to keep going. The feedback has been amazing. I promise not to let you guys down.

Ok let’s catch up on what I have been doing since I last posted.

I visited Boone Hall on the weekend to do a small photo-shoot for one of my clients, I had never been there before but I think I will return someday. It’s a very beautiful location and a good site for good photography or video shoots. There is a river which runs through the property, lots of open space and dense foliage. It gives a photographer or director several options to work with.

While there I didn’t only take photos for my client however. I usually like to squeeze in a few shots for myself when I do shoots in new locations. It’s a great way to keep adding stuff to your portfolio and to your Flickr account.

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Check out my Flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/77283497@N08/

On Sunday I also did a photo-shoot for a hair salon which was amazing, hopefully there will be behind the scenes footage of that coming soon.

I  also started writing some concepts for a short film series I’m thinking of, more information on that at a later date.

I missed an opportunity to enter a short film competition in Barbados because I found out about it on the final day of submissions. Not to worry there are several other competitions to enter that I’m getting ready for.

I have not finished my entry for Kingston on the edge Festival as yet. The deadline is Friday so I have to get cracking.In fact I’m going to start right now, later guys.

Look out for the next official blog post on Friday when I share: 5 Great Sites to teach you how to use your camera. I will also be making a video for it, so stay tuned.

Kishmar Shepherd
@DaDirectorsCut

Five reasons for starting this Blog

Here are my five reasons for starting this blog.

1) To challenge myself – 

I always wanted to impact my culture, but, like most people my age I suffer with a sever case of procrastination. As students we complain about not having enough time because of school, as adults we complain about not having enough time because of work. The only way to find time to do something you want to do it to make time rather than making excuses. I realised that you challenge yourself to be more productive, that is the reason for this Blog I will challenge myself to make more content. Each week I post a story from my life as an aspiring story teller. It may be life advice, professional advice on camera equipment or techniques or even a challenges for the readers to undertake a task. I promise to keep the posts coming and it interesting.
 
2) To share my knowledge – 

Through my life I have grown a lot as a storyteller, a cameraman, and an individual. I now want to share some of what I have learned with the world. I have learned from other people who wrote articles, made tutorial videos and shared what they knew with me. Now I think it my time to help others who want to become better photographers, directors, or script writers. I will put my knowledge in a very Caribbean context and show how we can tell our stories in a very real and interesting way.

3) To share my stories – 

One of the best ways to learn about something from someone is through their stories. I intend to share my stories with the world hence the title of this blog. Through articles, videos and even poems I will share my experiences with you, happy, sad, upsetting whatever it may be. This is where you will get to know me and maybe even learn from my experiences.

4) To inspire others – 

I have achieved some level of success and I want others to do the same. It may seem a long way away from where you are now, but I want to show you how close your success really is. I want to inspire other people to challenge themselves and pursue their dreams no matter how far fetched they seem. Others have inspired me to be better today that I was yesterday. I want to do the same for someone else.

5) To build my reputation – 

This blog is also to show my skills and knowledge in wide range of areas. By helping you to learn I will be polishing up my skills and building my portfolio. We will be going through the processes of making short films, conducting interviews, writing scripts, screen plays and much more. It won’t always be easy but if you are as passionate about storytelling as I am you will enjoy it. Let’s become renowned for our storytelling.

Kishmar Shepherd
@DaDirectorsCut

Check out the video for this post below