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Motion Sickness – How Not to F- Up Your Next Photo/Video Shoot

I’m big-time stoked to bring to my blog a heavy hitter in the world of adventure storytelling. Corey Rich has done commercial work for everyone from Apple and Adidas to SI and Outside. He has an eagle eye for the shot, both for still and motion, and I’ve invited him here to give you all a little what-for on the topic of transition from still photography to motion film [hint: it ain't about hitting 'record' and letting the talent do all the work].

Why Corey? Not only is he a bad-ass at what he does, he’s also going to be instructing a three-day course at creativeLIVE next week [deets below]. Check it out LIVE RIGHT NOW HERE.

Class is in session. Take it away, Corey.

Thanks, Chase.

So, you’re a still photographer shooting DSLR video for the first time? No offense, but you’re about to F— It Up.

The future of storytelling, for enthusiasts and professionals alike, is all about combining your still-image and video-capturing skills into a single dynamic narrative. Clients today don’t just want amazing pictures; they want amazing pictures AND amazing videos.

“No problem!” you think. “I’m a stoked-out photographer. I could nail the focus on a moving target at 200mm f/2.8, no tripod, blindfolded! I do exposure calculations in my sleep! What’s so hard about putting my camera on a tripod, sitting back and hitting the record button?”

Well, I’m here to tell you that you’re going to blow it. You will F— It Up (FIU)!

Sorry, but it’s true.

I was one of the most seasoned adventure and outdoor-lifestyle photographers in the business. And when the groundbreaking Nikon D90 (the first video-enabled DSLR camera) came to market, it changed my life. I immediately went out and purchased one, full of doe-eyed hope that becoming a filmmaker and director would be an easy transition.

Boy, was I wrong. Sure enough, capturing stunning motion footage, with great audio, all while making dynamic photographs, was as difficult as trying to hit a Mariano Rivera curve ball with a five iron.

Through a lot trial and error, not to mention working alongside some truly great filmmakers, I’ve learned a few things. Today I have more than a few successful still-and-motion productions under my belt, and I feel comfortable juggling the roles of photographer, filmmaker, and audio tech all at once—truly a three-ring circus act.

Check it out LIVE RIGHT NOW HERE.

Now I’m here today to tell you, photographer gearing up for your first still- and motion production, why you’re going to FIU. And hopefully after reading this … you won’t.

Corey, on location.

1) You’re going to run out of time.
You have a good sense for how long something should take. A trail-running shoot through morning mist? Two, three hours, tops, right? But when you add in the complexity of creating still images, capturing video and recording sound, inevitably your estimation of time will be way off. What you think will only take one hour will actually take three. By the time you’ve gotten your microphone levels adjusted, it’ll be noon and the opportunity will have evaporated along with the morning mist. [Corey is LIVE right now HERE]

Solution: Multiply time estimates by three: If you think something will take one hour, plan on it taking three.

2) Audio? More like Audi-NO!
Hands down, audio is the single easiest thing to botch. There are a million ways that you will FIU. I know, because I’ve done them all.

/ You will forget to press the record button on the audio recorder.
/ The distant, seemingly imperceptible noise in the background—the dog barking across the street, the refrigerator’s insipid hum, the airplane passing by overhead—will reveal itself to be a port-production nightmare.
/ The levels will be completely off and will require a lot of post-production work to boost it up.
/ You will mistake watching the levels with actually listening to the audio through a set of high-quality headphones, the difference being that levels only tell you how strong a signal is, not its quality.

Though not rocket science, audio is the easiest thing to screw up.

Solution: Budget yourself enough time and pay attention to audio throughout. Otherwise, I recommend hiring an audio expert to help you out. It’ll be one less thing to worry about, allowing you to put your creative energy where you’re most comfortable: looking through the lens.

3) You’ll give assistants jobs way above their skill level.
This is probably more of a universal problem than it is necessarily specific to just shooting motion. But as photographers and directors focused on operating our cameras, we will throw our poor, hapless assistants to the wolves by putting them in charge of, say, the audio (see above). You’ll toss your assistant a set of headphones and say, “Check the audio. It’s easy.” But they don’t know what they’re listening for. And inevitably they don’t hear the incessant crinkling of the subject’s shirt through the laval mic.

Solution: Assistants … love ‘em, hate ‘em, whatever. Either way, you still have to live with them. And if they screw up something tricky like the audio (which you’d also screw up anyway), remember that they are still making your life much easier in the long run.

4) You’re not Oprah.
When you’re conducting that all-important interview with your subject, what he or she says can make or break your film. However, it’s quite challenging to be a focused, attentive camera operator AND an engaging interviewer who can draw out those important, meaningful, storytelling lines from the interview subject. Most of the time, you’ll be so focused on composition, not botching the focus, and fretting about the audio to even hear the words coming out of your subject’s mouth. Formulating that next smart interview question will be challenging, if not impossible.

Solution: Have a list of questions you want to ask your interview subject in advance. Depending on the nature of the interview, you may want to spend a few moments with your subject going over the questions and conducting a mock interview before filming the real one. Otherwise, consider bringing in a journalist/writer to conduct the interview, leaving you free to focus on operating the camera.

5) You won’t have enough extension cords.
You’re doing great so far! You’ve found a sweet location outside for your interview. The backdrop is gorgeous, and you’ve thought ahead about where the sun will be when. Further, you’ve set up two continuous light sources to ensure your subject will be well lit. You’re so smart! One problem: the closest outlet is 100 feet away, and you only have a single 20-foot extension cord.

Solution: Bring more extension cords. However, because extension cords are so heavy and bulky, I never travel with them. When I arrive on location for a shoot, I always hit up the nearest Home Depot and buy 300 feet of industrial, orange power cords. If we can return them after the shoot is over, great. If not, we make our assistant happy by giving him 300 feet of cords, which, in all likelihood, the little bastard will try to rent to us next time we come to town.

6) When it comes to High Def, beauty is NOT in the eye of the beholder.
Many guys like chicks who don’t wear make-up and are just “naturally beautiful.” Turns out, that doesn’t work in the world of video. When you’re shooting a close-up of someone’s face with a full High-Def-enabled DSLR camera, most people’s faces reveal themselves to be ruddier and rockier than the surface of Mars. On a wide high-def screen, every imperfection of skin is exacerbated tenfold. Nobody in the audience will be able to concentrate on the lines being spoken if they’re too busy cringing at every inconvenient pimple, blemish and blood vessel popping through your subject’s translucent, pale middle-aged skin.

Solution: Don’t underestimate the importance of having a makeup artist. A basic powder and touch-up kit is mandatory equipment. Learn how to apply make-up, and do your subject a favor. They may not like it at the time, but they’ll thank you later.

7) You’ll cut the clip too short.
As still photographers, capturing decisive, singular moments is ingrained in our blood. We’ll press the shutter once, and in a fraction of a second we will have made an all-but final product. Video is very different. The tendency for still photographers is to shoot for a few seconds, recompose, shoot a few more seconds of video, and so on. But, once you get back to your computer, you’ll quickly realize that short clips don’t work and severely compromise what you can do as an editor.

Solution: A good rule of thumb is to never record for less than 10 seconds. Keep that red light flashing, and make sure the camera is rolling well before and well after the action/moment is over.

8) You’ll forget you’re rolling video and recompose the camera.
Again, another tendency we still photographers have is to be constantly recomposing our shots, always thinking of dynamic new ways to capture the same scene. Video is not one decisive moment. It’s a continuous series of seconds, unfolding naturally on the screen. Footage needs continuity to be beautiful and not jarring to the viewer. You can’t move the camera once you start filming to re-adjust the composition! Sometimes you’ll start rolling, you’ll realize the composition isn’t perfect, and you’ll just have to settle for a less-than perfect composition, because that’s better than recomposing and ruining your whole clip.

Solution: Think about your composition before you hit record. Consider if your subject will be moving within the frame; shoot a bit wider so the subject doesn’t actually fall out of frame. Above all, don’t recompose your camera while filming unless you make a conscious, meaningful decision to do so.

9) You’ll shoot vertical video.
Does this even need to be addressed? Have you ever seen a vertical television?

Solution: Mount your camera horizontally, and keep it there.

10) You’ll F— up the white balance.
As still photographers, we don’t usually pay much attention to the white balance. We shoot in RAW and, thanks to Adobe and our camera manufacturers’ software, we can easily fix the white balance before processing our images.

This is the not true with video. You have to nail the white balance in camera. Also, if you’re shooting with two cameras to get two different angles of the same situation, always do a white-balance check before recording. Each camera must be set to the exact same Kelvin setting.

Solution: Again, double check that the white balance is the same for all cameras. While you’re at it, make sure both cameras are set to the same frame rate: e.g., 24 fps and full HD.

11) Your sensor will be dirty.
I know some photographers cook and eat off their camera’s sensor, leaving pizza-grade smudge marks all over their images, which they then merrily clone-stamp into oblivion in Lightroom. However, there ain’t no clone stamp with video.

Solution: Keep your sensor clean and stop eating off the damn thing!

—-
Tune in August 26-28 to my creativeLIVE course, “Still and Motion: Storytelling on Location.” This three-day workshop contains 12 courses that I promise will save you 12 months of FIU!

Creative Boot Camp for Your Summer Brain [a public service announcement]

creativeLIVE chase jarvis summer sale

This is a public service announcement that I think is valuable… I’m banking you know I’m co-founder over at creativeLIVE – where we’ve delivered more than 15 million viewer hours of creative education worldwide. (If you’re new, here’s stories about it in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, TechCrunch, AllThingsD, etc and stay tuned for my MSNBC segment coming in 2 weeks…)

This is a short-notice opportunity to take advantage of these long summer days –> Just got off the horn a short bit ago with the biz ops team over at cL and talked them into making creativeLIVE’s entire catalog of workshops discounted now through July 31 — some up to 50% off. That’s photo & video classes from your favs (joeyl, zack, vince, jasmine, sue, sal, tamara, etc etc), business classes for creatives, design, software training on all those damn creative apps the you love but drive you crazy, and lots of other goodness.

Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make.

Here’s a link to some of my fav courses of the sale (and click the big blue button over there to shop the entire catalog – all of which is discounted for the next 48 hours).

And the same deal goes for your friends. If you believe in what we’ve created at creativeLIVE — trying to make the world a more creative place — I would be humbly grateful if you shared the good word. Namaste (or whatever is better to say at the end of a post like this and happy summer camping for your creative brain).

How to Shoot [photograph] Fireworks

Happy Birthday USA!
Quick and Dirty Tips for Shooting Fireworks:

[If you want an in-depth step by step check out the video above from creativeLIVE]

1. Use a Tripod
You’ll want to make sure your camera is stable and secure. Check out some support systems here.

2. Remote Release
Invest in a remote release device. You can also use the timer shutter release function – but a remote release is the best option.

3. ISO
Shoot a low ISO. I recommend 100.

4. Focal Length
Timing is key with fireworks. You’re going to have to anticipate where the action is happening before it happens. This can be tricky if you’re shooting with a longer focal length and trying to stay tight. A wider focal length makes this easier, but experiment a bit. Zoom in and see if you get lucky. If you shoot wide, you can always go back and crop for the desired effect as well.

5. Aperture
Fireworks are BRIGHT. You dont need a really fast lens and the general consensus is that somewhere between f/8 to f/16 will work.

6. Shutter Speed
Shutter speed is going to be the most important aspect of your fireworks capture. A long exposure is what you’re going to want to go for. Shooting “bulb” with a remote release is the best technique. Hit the shutter as the firework is about to explode and hold it down until it’s finished. This could be a few seconds. At the same time,
don’t keep your shutter open too long. Remember: Fireworks are BRIGHT. Just because its dark doesnt mean that you wont completely blow out your photos if you keep the shutter open too long.

7. Framing
Get to your location a bit early. What’s in the foreground and background? Try to figure our where the fireworks are being set up and where they will end up in they sky. You will have to aim before the fireworks go off. If you are really on it – ask the folks coordinating the display for some advance information. This will be a big help. Consider your lens selection before the show start. Are you going to shoot horizontal or vertical? Dont forget how you’ve framed it up because when you’re in the dark, you might spend a lot of time looking directly at the fireworks display rather than through the viewfinder.

8. “No flash photography”
A flash will do nothing but crush your photos and leave you with smoke…turn it off or leave it at home.

Have a great Fourth of July and share some of these photos in the comments section for Thursday morning!

Win a VIP Trip To Hang with Me + Some of The World’s Best Minds In San Francisco — “Secrets of Silicon Valley” with creativeLIVE

chasejarvis_secretsofsiliconvalley UPDATE: 5 bonus winners!!  Five folks have won a free download of Secrets from Silicon Valley featuring Reid Hoffman, Tim Ferriss, Guy Kawasaki –all who have profoundly influenced my career– plus many other great business minds. Congrats to:

Nelson Mouellic
Bob Fisher
Brian Bulemore
Rodrigo Figueras
Tony DiMaggio

Winners: email production@chasejarvis.com to claim your prize.

AND… Tune in  LIVE RIGHT NOW. Guy Kawasaki is coming up next.

UPDATE: Huge thanks to the 500 or so of you who took the time to submit your amazing stories in entry — and for a contest that just ran for a few hours. The winner is Jose Rosado. I’ll be flying Jose a few thousand miles, but it’ll be worth it. And he’s promised to pay it forward. ALSO: watch this space/blog post and my twitter facebook G+ as over the next 2 days we will be awarding Runner Up Prizes — the $99 dollar video download (or streaming) of the entire event — to several of you who entered. HUGE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE!!

This is another one of those gigs where I pinch myself – getting to work alongside some of the best creative entrepreneurs in the world – AND… Here’s a kicker: I want you and a friend to join me for FREE.

For one lucky winner + friend, I’ll pick up airfare, a room for 2 nights and 2 VIP tickets to attend the entire 2-day event below… plus time for us to hang out and drink beer together when I’m not MC’ing the event… The event starts TOMORROW!  PLUS WE’RE LIVE STREAMING THE ENTIRE EVENT. Read on for details + how to enter…

Transform your business with Secrets from Silicon Valley.
This event is more than a year in the works, thousands of hours of work from some very talented people, and more than a few sleepless nights on my own part. We are opening our San Francisco based creativeLIVE studio TOMORROW and the very first broadcast is one you don’t want to miss. I’ll be hosting and it’s going to deliver a punch of insider, unprecedented information from some of the world’s smartest people.

Just as Hollywood implies celebrity, Silicon Valley is synonymous with creative innovation. Attracting the greatest business minds in the world, SV is the world’s startup epicenter. This broadcast offers you direct access to the pioneering minds behind this powerful community. Whether your business is just you or employs fifty people, you’ll learn how to survive, grow, and thrive directly from entrepreneurs who have done it. Do you want to learn from LinkedIn’s founder Reid Hoffman and ask about his secrets to success? Tim Ferriss? Guy Kawasaki? Chris Guillebeau? You’ll hear from them and many more. I know I’ve learned a thing or two from these people I call friends, but knowing what I know about how valuable their secrets have been, I would have given a limb to be able to ask them questions years ago.

If you win the contest below, you can attend in person, but even if you don’t win, you can still get the entire knowledge base by >>> RSVP’ing right here under ‘sign up’ <<<< and then tuning in live.  All this access… No travel. Ability to ask questions. Totally free. If you miss the live broadcast or want to watch it again, you will be able to purchase the full event, just like creativeLIVE always works.

Here’s how you can enter to win t to join us in San Francisco. It’s easy.

First, you must RSVP/sign up at this event link here.

Second, just answer the question: Why do you want to join me at the event? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll pick a winner based on how compelling your answer is!

If you think of something better to say or something to add to your original comment, feel free to enter again or add whatever you want to say in another comment. We’ll trace your answer back to you.

Lastly. This contest is worldwide. If you need to miss thursday, we can fly you in for friday, etc. and please note****THIS CONTEST ENDS AT 6PM pacific time TODAY. Winner will be announced this evening VIA MY TWITTER, FACEBOOK AND G+ ACCOUNT. Due to tight timeline, we must hear back from you within 60 minutes so we can hop on the phone and work out logistics for your travels.  So make sure you are watching!

Official Rules HERE.
—–

Who: You, Me, and 15 of the world’s most creative entrepreneurs
What: a LIVE, interactive broadcast of Secrets of Silicon Valley from creativeLIVE
When: This Thursday and Friday, June 20-21 (Detailed schedule below)
Where: tune in to www.creativeLIVE.com/live

Here is the list of experts scheduled to give Master Classes, and the topics they will teach. Hope to see you there -physically or virtually.

Reid Hoffman, Founder LinkedIn & Ben Casnocha, entrepreneur (The Start-up of You)
Tim Ferriss, New York Times bestselling author (Solving your Business Problems)
David Goldberg, CEO Survey Monkey (The Art of Asking a Question)
Chris Guillebeau, New York Times bestselling author (The $100 Startup)
Pamela Slim, Business coach and author of Escape From Cubicle Nation
Megan Smith, VP of Google[x] (Networks Effects: 21st Century Collaboration and Opportunities)
Guy Kawasaki, New York Times bestselling author (The Art of Enchantment)
Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin (How to Sell Your Company without Selling Your Soul)
Sarah Leary & Nirav Tolia, Co-founders of Nextdoor (Look Before you Leap: How to Evaluate a Business Idea)
Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow (Lessons from 15 Years in Tech)
Toni Schneider, CEO of WordPress (Managing a Distributed Workforce)
Gary Swart, CEO of oDesk (How to Get More Done)
Niniane Wang, CTO of Minted (Creating a Great Website on a Budget)
When you tune in, you’ll hopefully learn some valuable lessons and skills. I know I will!

Contest Details:

1) Official Rules HERE.
2) Prize: Airfare for 2, 1 room for 2 nights and 2 VIP tickets, combined value $2,000 US
3) Contest starts: June 19, 2013 11am PDT
4) Contest ends: June 19, 2013 6pm PDT
5) Notification: Winner will be announced the evening of June 19, 2013 PDT via Chase Jarvis Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and the winner MUST respond within 60 minutes because of the short timeline or we will have to choose the next winner.

6) How to enter for a chance to win:
_Go to link in the text above and RSVP to sign up for the broadcast
_Answer the question in the comments below: Why do you want to join me at the creativeLIVE event?
7) Our team will determine the winner based on  how compelling your reason for wanting to attend is.

What Sustains Creativity? [Plus a 24-hour Photo Marathon]


My friends at the Photo Center NW are always showcasing new work and ideas that help progress the craft of photography. I’m a huge fan (and an honorary board member) of PCNW and this is a cool event they are putting on that I wanted y’all to know about… and it’s happening THIS WEEK. A 24-hour photo marathon going down on the longest day of the year June 21 (that’s in 3 days). Rafael Soldi from the PCNW explains more and interviews two wildly creative photographers about what sustains their creativity. Take it away Rafael.

Thanks Chase. There is an oft-quoted line, supposedly from Pablo Picasso: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” In two recent lectures hosted at Photo Center NW, we heard from two very different photographers who shared commanding stories about finding their creative force. And sometimes, as we learned, a creative force needs to be defended from external pressures to follow a prescribed route.

What sustains creativity? What are the forces that keep artists creating, and photographers inspired to share their work? We were compelled to learn more about what experiences had shaped the creative work of these two artists: Diana Markosian is a documentary photographer who at age 22 earned the Reuters photo of the year award; Grace Weston is an accomplished artist who creates constructed narrative images in elaborate studio scenes. Their stories of “un-learning” traditional modes of producing artwork, or rejecting values associated with their field demonstrated that creative hurdles are ever-present, and that they can come from personal choices and external forces alike.

As the Photo Center embarks on Long Shot, a 24-hour photo marathon, we share these stories of personal growth, in hopes that other photographers will join us and share their perspective with the world. Long Shot invites hundreds of photographers to participate by photographing anywhere they are in the world on June 21, the longest day of the year.

Tell us more about how you evolved your work beyond what was “expected” from a photographic project to what you really were passionate about?

Grace Weston: It was not a fast transition. I got to a point where my more formal, out in the field, black & white work was no longer fulfilling me. I felt uninspired and had no idea what to do next. Suddenly embarking on studio work turned everything upside down and put me back at square one. I had a lot to learn, and STILL had no idea what I wanted to shoot. I headed into still life, and made some “romantic” looking pieces, which were sort of “in style” at the time. But beauty has never been enough for me in a piece. I wanted to tell something, and found myself drawn to narrative. Magritte inspired my first successful narrative piece. I always loved the narrative found in surrealism, with its nod to dream life and the subconscious. That first piece excited me and I knew I was on the right path.

Diana Markosian: I isolate myself by traveling to some of the most remote corners of the world, immersing myself in a world that is often foreign to me. I stay in these regions for long enough to become almost invisible to my subjects. I try to push myself to find projects, which I can follow through different stages. On a personal level, I try to surround myself by other photographers, artists and people who I admire creatively. This has been the best thing for growth, just always looking for smarter and more creative people to spend time with.

Could you address the kind of “re-education” that you underwent about your process?

Grace Weston: After years of more formal black and white photography in the field I had the opportunity to assist a studio photographer. It was daunting, but also thrilling to start with a “blank canvas” instead of the “treasure hunting” of my previous work in the field.

I didn’t really know if my work would fit in the fine art arena or the commercial arena. I greatly admired the work I saw in Communication Arts Photography Annuals and often I saw no reason why the work (especially the “personal work”) was not considered fine art. I found the rhetoric around the divisions between fine art and commercial work confusing, and unhelpful. I decided to ignore it, and do what I felt drawn to, what felt authentic to me, and see where it fit later.



Do you have advice for photographers who are struggling with the pressures of how to create work that resonates, and that is fulfilling artistically?

Diana Markosian: You have to photograph things you really care about, things that really interest you, not things you feel you ought to do. I don’t believe in waiting for assignments. Most of my work has been self-assigned. If you want to see the world, do it. When rejection happens (which is inevitable), don’t be turned off by it. There are editors out there who will love your work. Your job is to find them. In the end, everything has a purpose. Trust your life and believe in the work you do.
Grace Weston: Forget about the end result while in the creative phase. Please yourself. Do work that satisfies you, and addresses your own questions about the world, life, and expresses your viewpoint. At that point don’t worry about how it will be received, or if it resonates with others. If you are making work that is authentic to who you are, it’s likely it will strike chords with others. The LAST thing you should be doing while in the creative mode is thinking about others’ approval. Later on, you can reflect on what the work is about, where does it fit, who is your target audience. These are two different parts of the brain. The creative, right side of the brain does not need interference from the analytical left side while you are trying to cultivate your own voice.

Join Grace and Diana this summer for the Long Shot photo marathon on June 21. Anyone anywhere can participate, and at least one image from every participant will be exhibited online and at the Photo Center gallery on July 27. This marathon raises funds for our non-profit programs, including lectures and presentations from today’s photographers like Grace and Diana. Registration and participation is free (and so is creativity).

ChaseJarvis_DianaMarkosian

Photo: Diana Markosian

ChaseJarvis_GraceWeston

Photo: Grace Weston

ChaseJarvis_DianaMarkosian

Photo: DianaMarkosian

ChaseJarvis_GraceWeston01

Photo: GraceWeston

A Good Interview. Photography + Entrepreneur Stuff [ Tearing Down Walls - A Podcast with Jenni Hogan]

I had the distinct pleasure of being a guest on Jenni Hogan’s “Next Big Thing” podcast a couple weeks ago to talk a bit about my life path(s), pivot points and the way that creativeLIVE is systematically re-shaping access to the best education.

For those who don’t know Jenni, she’s a super smart, sharp journalist who has a passion for connecting with like-minded people who impact, inspire and inform. Equally at home in the worlds of tech, media and fashion, Jenni pressed me on my origins as a creative, from my early pivots away from school and PhD’s in philosophy of art to my career as a photographer and entrepreneur.

In these days of media sound bites, those of us who are lucky enough to get a stage rarely get to give lengthy accounts of our experiences. This is a more lengthy account.

What we discuss:
-beginning as a photographer
-how “making it” is really not “making it” at all – just another chapter
-my #1 iTunes app from 2009 (Wired, Macworld, NYT top app) Best Camera – and what I learned
-how creativeLIVE came to be
-how creativity is the new literacy and cL is a big part of that future.

Big thanks to Jenni for having me on the show. Here is the complete podcast, below:

F*&$ the SATs – “I Will Not Let An Exam Result Decide My Fate” [A Public Service Announcement]

Creativity is the new literacy, and I’ve got an anthem brewing over here… But what fires me up is that I’m not alone. So many of us are feeling this anthem right now. Times are changing. The old methods of memorization and rigid exams for a diverse student body is not working for today’s world. Those times were for the factory. But what now? The average US college student graduates with about $27,000 in debt. For what? Students in the arts graduate with the highest level of debt. For what? Student debt now outpaces credit card debt. For what?

The good news is, for those of us who came up through the traditional education system and always felt there was something off with that path, we are rapidly approaching a new era of freedom (wisdom) to learn about what excites you first…not “later” after you’ve been chewed up and spit out by the system.

Our attitudes around education and learning need to shift. It won’t happen overnight, but I applaud this spoken word piece.

suli breaks education

So You Want to Be a Commercial Photographer? Here’s How… [Joey L on creativeLIVE]

Update: It’s official now, I’m dropping in as a guest on JoeyL’s show TODAY at 10:45 Seattle Time (1:45 NYC; 18:45 London). Join us – ask questions. I just was sent over the topics he’s going to grill me on and I haven’t given an interview this in-depth about commercial photography in more than a year. Tune in HERE to watch…

Occasionally I hand pick certain people that I’d like to see on creativeLIVE. Joey L is one of those people — and starting NOW, AND for the next 3 days, he’s going to be sharing everything he can muster about his approach to commercial portrait photography and personal projects. Specifically he will be walking photographs from concept, thru lighting, posing, shooting and post production…and doing it all LIVE (so you can ask questions) and FREE.

Why did I choose JoeyL?
Here’s 3 reasons you should watch:
1. Few photographers today know how to make the pictures they see in their mind. But Joey can do this as well or better than any long standing pro – he turns his vision into reality. In truth this is one of the hardest things for people trying to “make it” as a photographer, and Joey shows you how.

2. Professional photography is more than just capturing the image. This is the simple secret that few people know. It’s about 3 distinct steps… planning for the picture, taking the picture and then making it come to life in post production. In this course, Joey walks you thru all 3 steps with flair.

3. Combination of hard work and technical execution. Most photographers I see in the world have one of these keys, but not both. You can’t succeed with just hustle and yet having shitty technique. And you can’t succeed by being a genius technician without any hustle. JoeyL exudes both of these, and you’ll be able to learn the balance of these in action by watching him.

So check it out. (I’ll be roaming around off set for 2 of the 3 days, maybe even drop in. Hope to see you.)

Resister FREE here to get updates and info about the class each day
Just drop in LIVE here anytime here.

joey L on creativeLIVE

From Obscurity to Internet Sensation — How Creatives Can Win the PR Game with Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday is a media genius who promotes, inflates and hacks some of the biggest names and brands in the world. He’s also the Director of Marketing for American Apparel. Oh, and he’s just 25 years old. His point-of-view is enlightening when it comes to understanding today’s complex media landscape. You might remember that I had him on chasejarvisLIVE last year. Since then his book ‘Trust Me I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator’ has become a bestseller and his secrets have become well known. After dropping out of college at 19 to apprentice under the strategist Robert Greene (who appeared on another super popular episode on chasejarvisLIVE here), he went on to advise many bestselling authors and multi-platinum musicians. He is the Director of Marketing at American Apparel, where his work in advertising was internationally known. His strategies are used as case studies by Twitter, YouTube and Google and have been written about in AdAge, the New York Times, Gawker and Fast Company. Ryan is back in Seattle teaching for creativeLIVE (happening today and tomorrow here) with a course on PR for artists, entrepreneurs and businesses where he will be going deep with some of the topics we touch on in this interview.

CJ:I believe that this is the most exciting time in the history of mankind to be an artist. And I’ve heard you say that we’ve entered a “new economic model.” Do you agree with the fact there is more opportunity for creatives right now than ever?

RH:I totally agree. Look, you could post a video online tomorrow and it could get a million views within 24 hours. You could email a link to your product to a blogger and it could become a major media story within minutes. And what does all that cost? NOTHING. It’s amazing. I don’t think those things were ever possible before, or if they were, you’d have to retain enormously expensive agencies and professionals to help you. So yes, it’s a spectacular time to be a creative. HOWEVER, it’s not always as simple as just posting a video or emailing a link. Look at the people who have managed to have repeated success online–there are methods and tricks and processess that make this replicable and possible and that’s what I’ve spent my time studying, implementing and writing about.

CJ: You are a well-known voracious reader. What books could you recommend for people who are interested in growing their PR and Media efforts?

RH: Believe it or not, I think some of the best books about marketing don’t talk about marketing at all.
I like the 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene, I think Saul Alinsky’s books on community organizing are AMAZING (Rules for Radicals and Reveille for Radicals). I would also suggest people read Clay Shirky’s book about Here Comes Everybody and the book Blue Ocean Strategy (which is easily translatable to marketing and positioning your creative business). And of course, Seth Godin has laid out probably the best basics in terms of understanding marketing and business in Purple Cow, Permission Marketing, The Icarus Deception and all those books. I tried to write my book to fill in the gaps

CJ: What is the first step for a creative to get their work noticed… from someone besides their mom?

RH: I’d say hold on a second. People think about marketing too early and too late. Before you think about, I want creatives to be POSITIVE their work and business is ready for lots of attention. If your website sucks or your distribution is disorganized, do you really want anyone other than your mom to buy from you? Getting in the New York Times would be a disaster. So hang on a second and make sure your house is in order (and this is something we’re going to talk about in the creativeLIVE class today and tomorrow.
Then I would say: are you ready to be a full time marketer? Because marketing is not something you do two weeks before the product comes out either. It’s a lifestyle. You have to think and breathe it constantly. You have to know the influencers in your space, create messages and content they can spread. You have to bake that into your product. In other words, campaigns take time and resources and unless you’re going to dedicate yourself to doing it–it won’t happen and you won’t get results.

CJ: What are the tools you could not live without in getting your job done?

RH: There’s no question the single most effective tool in marketing is relationships: who do you know? Who can you reach out to to share your message? If you don’t have any answer to those questions it doesn’t matter how many great apps or tools you have. So I want to recommend that people spend less time obsessing about technology and more time with people, building connections, friendships and reciprocal relationships. But personally in terms of tools, I’m completely dependent on Google Docs and Basecamp. It’s how I collaborate with my employees and keep all my research and contacts organized.

CJ: Who are the people you really admire in today’s over-saturated world of noisy content? Who is breaking through that noise and more importantly,why are they able to?

RH: Joey Roth, who I’m going to have on during my class is an amazing example of what a talented, driven person can do–how one designer running his own small business can get more PR and publicity than he knows what to do with. And he gets it for the right reasons: he makes a great product and connects to the right influencers to share it. I’m going to talk to him and get him to share his secrets with everyone in the class.

The term PR is a slippery one these days. There is this blurry line between PR and Marketing now — but it really seems to put the individual creator at an advantage. What is efficient PR in 2013? Is there still a place for Edelman and giants of the PR world? Or are they on their way out in this time of the creator taking control?

RH: To me, PR and marketing are the same thing. And they all come down to a single principle in today’s attention economy: doing interesting things. Businesses need to be create content and messages that facilitate their customers talking about them and their product. That’s PR–giving the public something to talk about and relate to. Obviously there is still a place for PR giants because giant companies have totally different problems than entrepreneurs and growing companies. But if I had a choice, I’d much rather be a creator–operating on a small scale, able to do exciting things and quickly getting my message out.


CJ: Lets assume, with the help of your methodology and a lot or hard work, a creative achieves a level of success. They get the business, the attention, some audience. How do they take it to the next level?

RH:Marketing is how you scale–as they’re calling it now it’s a form of “growth hacking.” At the end of the day, the whole point of market is to drive new business right? So if you’re not doing that with your marketing its just an art project. For me, as I’ve grown my business, I’ve tried to bring people along with me. I am always training new people, teaching them what I know so they can come along and grow. I want to take on new clients so I can give them (and myself) an opportunity to try new things. I think creatives have an obligation to pay it forward and give the same training and advice that people gave them. To me that goes hand and hand with scaling up your business from a one man shop to a two man shop to a many-person shop.

CJ: Final thought: What are the opportunities that you see creatives missing? The things right in front of our faces that can make a massive difference in success that most people walk right by?

RH: The web is infinite. There’s no limit to the amount of content it can produce or the amount of posts that a blog can publish. So stop thinking that getting press is hard. People WANT to write and talk about you. So give them what they want! Stop sitting around and waiting for them to come to you. Embrace this awesome opportunity and use it to your advantage.

Check out Ryan on this week’s creativeLIVE workshop here.
Ryan Holiday currently lives in New Orleans with his rebellious puppy, Hanno.

Holiday Sale + Round-the-Clock Creative Education Streaming at CreativeLIVE.com

What does a stream of non-stop 24/7 creative education look like? In case you’ve been on vacation, it looks like what http://www.creativeLIVE.com/live has looked like for the past two weeks…and will continue to look for the remaining few days of 2012. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the rest of the year, you can join a community of more than 1 million people strong and check out the most popular segments of streaming video education on photo & video, business & productivity, design & software courses as well to teach you real skills that will improve your work or hobby and help you run your creative business.

But wait, like the Ginsu steak knives…there’s more. As a big thank you for all this community support you’ve given creativeLIVE.com throughout 2012, yours truly and the creativeLIVE crew have put all courses on sale at 20% off and — for an even beefier savings — check out discounted bundles of coursework on Photo Essentials, Wedding Photography, Post Production and more. All of these bundles have more than 40 hours (if I’m not mistaken…), of the highest quality video instruction content available from many of the world’s best creative instructors.

Thanks again for supporting creativeLIVE + and our little creative revolution.

And YES there is a limited time to this offer. Ends 12/31/12. Get some.

How the World Learns – Julian Germain Captures Classrooms From Around the Globe

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Nigera. Photo Credit Julian Germain

If you come around these parts often you know that I have a keen interest in education. The fact is, in order to find success in a creative career or otherwise, learning what’s most important and executing against it is critical. In short, if you want to kick-ass at your job, hobby, passion, life… you need to learn how to learn (see my homie Tim Ferriss’ creativeLIVE course from last week. Tim took us on whirlwind tour of some of the key concepts in his new book The 4-Hour Chef which officially launches and is available TODAY.)

As I watched Tim from the sidelines of our set at creativeLIVE – proud of this free learning channel – and wondering, on one hand how many countries were tuning in to our broadcast (somewhere north of 100)– but on the other hand, how many could not. How many people around the world were in a far different world than us… focused on the physical classroom out of necessity, opportunity, gratitude… I learned in physical classroom, as I’m sure most of you did too. We can all relate to those weird all-in-one desk/chair thing, the smell of chalk, the sound of a bell telling us that class is over — and it is a powerful and shared human experience.

It was in this vein that I recently stumbled across the work of Julian Germain and his Classroom Portraits series. Started in 2004, Classroom Portraits are photographs of physical classrooms full of students from all over the globe. Russia, Nigeria, Cuba, Taiwan — the man has covered some serious ground on this one. [Take a look at some of the classrooms visited in the gallery above.]

Germain’s images are many things, but more than anything for me, they remind me that the global education system is being re-imagined NOW, and will see a complete transformation in our lifetime. What will it look like it another 20 years? These portraits will become even more powerful. #Respect for Julian Germain and this impressive piece of work.

Class dismissed.

Learn How To Learn Anything, Hack Any System & Be Your Best: Tim Ferriss on creativeLIVE

UPDATED AGAIN WITH A TREAT: SPECIAL OFFER: This is LIVE right NOW. Buy the Tim Ferriss creativeLIVE course #4HourLife and get a free copy of Tim’s new book. Click for details http://cr8.lv/4-Hour_promo. Sale ends today! (somewhere around a $35 value …book + shipping)
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UPDATE: Tim is LIVE NOW… both today and tomorrow. Tune in here at creativeLIVE.com/live
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Short version: renowned 4-hour-everything guy Tim Ferriss is gonna be on creativeLIVE next week for 2 full days of badass, actionable inspiration and instruction. Go here for details.

More detailed version and how this relates to you: One of the most important characteristics in making one’s way through a creative career or any entrepreneurial endeavor is learning what’s most important and executing against it. What do I need to know and how do I acquire that skill, be it learning how to light with strobes, make a music video, dominate at Photoshop OR…. literally anything else. In short, you want to learn how to learn. How fast you can learn, grow, be in the system while simulataneously hacking it is, in my humble opinion, crucial to success in any field.

Enter, my pal Tim Ferriss. Tim takes all this to the next level. I’ve personally learned more from him about ‘how to hack learning’ than anyone else. You’ve probably read or seen one of his previous #1 NYTime Best selling books (4 Hour Work Week + 4 Hour Body) OR seen him on one of my most popular chasejarvisLIVE’s ever (I taught him how to build a studio set and then he photographs a bikini model), but the real news I want to share with you here is twofold:

1. He has a new, super badass book coming out in 2 weeks; and

2. More importantly he’s bringing this new book + BOTH previous books to life in realtime on creativeLIVE (the online learning channel I co-founded) next week. Two full days of live, interactive learning with Tim and host of world class experts. Not gonna lie to you, I’m canceling all other obligations and will be sitting in the soundstage during the entire broadcast.

I’ve seen the syllabus for the course, it’s insanely inspiring and ambitious. I’m an excitable guy, but I’m rarely as hyped as I am for this workshop. Learn how to learn anything from the meta-learning expert. The course is live on creativeLIVE on November 14th + 15th. Check it out here if you want more info or to register to attend online.

You can order the book here from Amazon. Check out Tim’s blog here.

Here’s his creativeLIVE pitch:

[the book trailer video was shot by my pal, director Adam Patch. Head on over to the trailer on YouTube here and leave a comment if you dig.]

tim ferriss on creativeLIVE

Business Essentials for Creative Entrepreneurs with Ramit Sethi

ramit sethi chase jarvis creative live

Big news. Ramit Sethi is doing a 3 day intensive course on creativeLIVE starting today. Right NOW in fact. If you know who he is and why I’m so stoked, go to creativeLIVE.com/live RIGHT NOW for free. If you don’t need or want to earn money with your creative work then no worries – total respect – skip this post and jump over to 13 tips for a more creative success (one of my fav posts). But if you do want to earn money or make a living with your art and DONT know why I’m so pumped then read on….

BACKSTORY
One of the most popular cjLIVEs last year was the Ramit Sethi episode. More that 25,000 people watched the 60 min live broadcast from 100+ countries, another 100,000 hit the re-watch in various places. And for good reason – it was a game changer for lots of people. Ramit is not a creative guru, a filmmaker or a photographer – this blog, my constant spouting, etc are full of that yummy stuff. Ramit is different. He’s a genius at teaching creatives like you and me who lack some business chops how to position our work. By example, in that single chasejarvisLIVE episode Ramit went into very specific detail about:

// how to win jobs by preparing ahead… specifically the “portfolio” or “briefcase” techniques…

// how to negotiate higher rates for your creative work – the very specific words to use that demonstrate high end value and vision

// how to position yourself as a high end creator – not a commodity that goes to the lowest bidder

// how to position yourself as the prize in any negotiation around you and your work

I’ll be honest – the reason I hosted Ramit onto #cjLIVE was because we’d met last fall and I learned more about the business of positioning yourself in n 1 hour talking to Ramit over dinner than I had from anyone prior to him. More than agents, managers, Hollywood people, marketing people etc. It was a shock, because I considered myself pretty good at that shiz… but he blew me away. The reason? Turns out he’s a Stanford educated behavioral psychologist. He understands value, perception, human delivery, persuasion, confidence and so many other things that – until he revealed them to me – were just nebulous concepts.

So don’t be fooled by the title of his NY Times best-selling book, I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Yes, he’s a personal finance guru – and you should listen to him for that advice as well (my wife and I are on his savings “plan”) – but why you should watch his 3 day course at creativeLIVE this week is simple – he’s great at teaching all these soft skills I’m talking about that will separate you from the rest… landing gigs, scoring that agent, billing higher rates, and getting respect in a crowded and noisy industry.

Check it out.

[aside - I'll be dropping into his show on Friday for Q&A. Stay tuned to my social feeds]

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