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The Office Life — Command+Edit Podcast Episode 78

 

Hey there!

Nick and I are back together for a conversation about the differences, pros, cons, productivity levels, emotions, etc. between editing from a conventional office and your home office.

We also catch up and recap my recent trip up to Toronto to visit Nick and meet him IRL for the first time. Hope you enjoy!

If you enjoyed this conversation and want to stay in touch whenever I come out with a new post / podcast / video / newsletter / etc. you can go here to signup. No spam. Ever. Just the good stuff 🙂

– Josh

What is an After Effects Template?

“Hey…how’d you make that so fast?” a voice asked from over my shoulder.

It was an editor at one of the companies I freelance at. I removed my headphones and swiveled my chair. “Ah, you mean this transition?”

“No, like the whole thing. The graphics, the camera movements, …” I sensed confusing under his breath.

“Oh! This After Effects template?”

He raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean by…template?”

“Yeah I just grabbed this thing online and it has everything in it.”

“OMG MAGIC THAT’S THE COOLEST THING EVER!” Okay, he didn’t actually say that but his jaw just about hit the ground. He had never heard of an After Effects template.

If you’ve been reading lately then you know I’m trying to run with this theme of “you don’t know what you don’t know”. Let’s file this post under that theme. There is no dumb question and if you’re an “advanced editor” reading a post that’s designed for new editors feel free to stop reading here and go yell about LUTs or something on Reddit.

In this post I’m going to explain what an After Effects template is, some of their benefits, some of their downsides and where you can get them.

Alright. Let’s jump into it.

What is an After Effects Template?

An After Effects template is a pre-built After Effects project (.aep) that is made in a way so you can pop in your assets (i.e. footage, logo, headshots, etc.) and create a video in record speed. After Effects templates can be entire explainer videos, typography videos, logo opens, title packages, green screen virtual sets, infographics, etc. etc. And I’ve used just about all of them.

For example, let’s take a look at this After Effects template. And now let’s take a look at what I made it into.

To get an After Effects template go to one of the sites I’ll list below, pick one out, purchase it, download it, watch/read the tutorial, open up the .aep, and get to work. There are usually a handful of places to check out when you first jump into a project like compositions titled “CHANGE LOGO HERE” or “INSERT COMP1 FOOTAGE HERE”. Also look for layers titled, “CHANGE COLORS HERE” and typically you select the layer and there are parameters you can adjust in the Effects Controls Panel.

It kind of goes without saying but you need a license of Adobe After Effects in order to use an After Effects template. Most templates are backwards compatible for a few versions. If you have any CC version than you are most likely fine. It should say somewhere on the website what minimum version of AE you need though.

How I work is once I open up the .aep I find the MASTER comp or the RENDER ME comp (it’s typically labeled something like that) then work my way backwards through the precomps to see how everything works together. Then I get to work.

Here are a couple screenshots of what a typical project looks like when you open it up:

This is basically what you can expect to find when you open an AE template

This is a basic example of what one of the comps *could* look like. Daunting, huh?

This is an example of what the Project Panel could look like. Fairly self-explanatory?

Benefits of Using After Effects Templates

Let’s bullet point this out.

  • They save you time. A lot of time usually. This is by far their biggest selling point. I’ll ballpark it that 30-50% of a project can be completed right off the bat just by using one.
  • They give you boundaries to work in. I was using the AE template in the little story in the intro to this post because I needed a starting point for this project. I literally had free rein to do anything I wanted which is great until you find yourself with no place to start. So I picked this AE template in order to have some basic constraints for the project, which got the ball rolling.
  • You learn how others use After Effects. AE is incredibly deep and editors can do one thing a dozen different ways. You will generally always learn a new tip or trick or just go, “oh, so they did it like that?” at least once. A lot of us don’t get to work with other editors and seeing another editor’s project is rare. This gives you a glimpse into how others work.

30-50% of a project can be completed right off the bat just by using one.

Downsides of Using After Effects Templates

  • They give you boundaries to work in. Yes, I know I just listed this as a benefit. The boundaries are great sometimes but will give you massive headaches other times because they aren’t always easy to modify. Quick example… Let’s say you want to change the length of a precomp. Cool. You go into the Composition Settings (Cmd/Ctrl+K), change the time then extend all the layers. Oh wait. They used a 10-second .mov for one of the background elements and it doesn’t loop and when you change the speed it looks weird… See where I’m getting at? Also, having a picky client can be tricky. Oh, they want all the squares made into circles? Yeah…that’s probably not going to happen.
  • You don’t truly know how easy it will be to manipulate an AE template until you buy it. This is piggybacking on my last point. Make sure to read the reviews if available. A lot of them are really easy to use. However I’ve found that you can also get some lemons every once in awhile.
  • Cost. Yes, they most of the time they cost real cash. Expect to spend $15-$45.
  • Tutorials are typically lacking in substance and quality. About half the time you’ll get a video that will [sloppily] walk you through how to change different elements (colors, insert logos, etc.). The other half of the time you’ll probably have a .pdf that probably isn’t worth reading IMO. Jump in and dig around to figure stuff out.
  • The music generally does not come packaged with the AE template. Most of the time when you watch the preview there’s this nice song or sound effects that go along with it. Yeah, these aren’t included. Most of the time they are linked on the website where you buy the AE template. FWIW I get most of my music through Soundstripe (affiliate link) (p.s. You can use the coupon code EVF for 10% off 😉).

Where to Get After Effects Templates

If you have other places you like to get After Effects templates leave them in the comments!

Putting It All Together

An After Effects template is a wonderful tool you can use to spark creativity, give you a jumpstart on a project and teach you new things about such an in-depth software. However they cost money and can occasionally be difficult to adjust to your needs.

I recommend trying one out if you haven’t before. Occasionally the sites listed above will have massive sales or do something like give away a free AE template of the month. Take advantage of those if you have a chance.

I hope you found this article helpful. I have a ton of posts and tutorials coming up in the queue once I can get a couple more freelance projects off my back. If you’re new around here and want to stay up-to-date with the latest on EVF go here and you’ll never miss out on posts like this one.

– Josh

We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

You don’t know what you don’t know. There is so much out there that I know I don’t know. And there’s so much out there that I don’t even know that I don’t know about. A few months back I wrote about a situation that arose where someone didn’t know something they probably should have.

I remember first getting started as a young professional video editor when the topic of compression came up. Those editing classes at JMU taught me something about compression but not nearly enough to be a competent professional. I had heard of H.264, knew that QuickTime Movies were “massive” files and WMVs were something else and my head just spun and spun. That was even before learning about bitrates and all that even tech-ier stuff. I was lost. But little by little, reading blog post by blog post and chatting in forum after forum, I finally started to get a grasp of the concept.

I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I only knew what I had experienced up to that point. Up to that point it was making high-quality QuickTime movies for my professor to review on the “huge” 50″ TV in the front of the classroom. It wasn’t about web delivery or making sure the videos were compatible with the player in the software I was making videos for.

The other day I was helping out a fellow video professional with a problem with the audio they had been recording. We were troubleshooting over the phone while I was in the lobby of convention center where my niece’s dance competition was taking place. Pacing back and forth with one hand covering my free ear so I could hear better I asked what kind of mic they were using and they rattled off some Sony U-something. I continued, “It’s a wireless lav, right?” And they said, “Ahh I don’t think so.”

Spoiler alert: it is. And I knew it was because I was fairly certain it was a lav that I used to use.

“Does the mic directly connect to your camera? Or is there a separate receiver?”

“Umm I’m not quite sure what you mean.”

Pause.

They didn’t know what they didn’t know.

“Ohhh…” I hear from the other end of the phone.

As someone new to the industry they had only used wireless lavs. They didn’t even know there was a difference between wireless and traditional wired lavs so there was no way they would know some of the troubleshooting tactics that would be needed to fix their issue.

I ended up giving them a couple tips on checking the frequency between the receiver and mic and they fixed the issue.

They didn’t know what they didn’t know.

Do you remember a time when a concept that seems so simple today was completely foreign and confusing? I’d love to hear about it below.

In the coming weeks I’ll be posting some more stories and quick tips on how to fix issues you may or may not have come across in the video world. To receive email updates for these posts go right here. It takes 15 seconds.

Editing in Japan and Across the Globe

Hey guys!

I got a chance to talk to the one and only Norman Hollyn. Norman is a professor of Cinematic Arts at USC and travels all around the world as an editing educator. Basically Norman is living my dream.

You can listen to our conversation below. In it we talk about his time teaching in Japan and all across the globe, how students of film and their editing styles differ from one country to another, how to manipulate your audience’s emotions and much, much more.

If you enjoyed this conversation and want to stay in touch whenever I come out with a new post / podcast / video / newsletter / etc. you can go here to signup. No spam. Ever. Just the good stuff 🙂

– Josh

May 2017 | EVF Recap

I took this picture of my dog the other day. It appears though that she stole my phone and took a selfie. I swear the world would be a better place if dogs could use phones and we could text our dogs while we were out of the home.

It was the last day in month of May in the year two thousand and seventeen. Alone in a cold edit bay on a warm sunny afternoon an editor watches a blue bar slowly move from left to right inside of a gray box. 47 minutes remaining. He thinks to himself, “I’ve been wanting to write on my business’ blog for weeks but haven’t found the time or self-awareness to actually do it. Maybe now’s a good time to try.”

And here we are. If I haven’t lost you yet I’d like to take the next thousand or so words to talk about what’s been going on with EVF, the podcast and my freelance editing work.

The online comedy show I’ve been working on for the past several months recently launched! The only editing left to do is a small change in one of the later episodes and the creation of some more marketing material for them. This project is so. darn. close. to being done.

Let’s have some #realtalk for a moment. I’ve been so close to this project that I find it really difficult to share it with the world. All I see is imperfections, shots I wanted reshot and lines of dialogue I want changed. But deep down I know it’s pretty darn good and about as good as I was ever going to get it based on the constraints I was working under. Warning: the comedy show is definitely PG13. Here’s their website where you can watch the first two episodes. (yes, I’m still terrified to share my work. I believe most editors get the same way too)

Here’s some more #realtalk. I screwed up my 2016 taxes. I thought I had nailed it back on April 15th. However I met with an accountant to talk about 2017 and while going through 2016 he found two fairly significant screw-ups. And they’re probably going to cost me a couple thousand dollars. Whoops. But we’re sorting it out and it’s better to get it done right than risk getting dinged later down the road. Needless-to-say I’m disappointed. It’s a learning experience that I’ll grow from though.

I was meeting with the accountant because I’m getting an LLC for my freelance business (which EVF will eventually reside under) and I wanted to see how my accounting would work with my new business. That’s when we discovered my mistakes in 2016. Anyway, back to the LLC. Getting an LLC is something I’ve been putting off. Why? It’s completely foreign to me. I hate things like legal paperwork (but who doesn’t?). As my freelance business matures I need to protect myself, “legitimize” myself and set it up in a way it can continue to grow. BTW, if you’re interested in the process for setting up an LLC let me know as I’m considering writing about my experience with it.

Oh, May marked the 1-year anniversary of going fully freelance. Woo!

Enough freelance. Let’s talk about the podcast.

This month’s episodes:

  • Command+Edit Episode 72: Nick and I interview Niel Guilarte of the All Things Post podcast about his documentary The Messengers that he directed and edited.
  • Command+Edit Episode 73: I interview David Colantuoni of Avid to discuss Media Composer | First
  • Command+Edit Episode 74: Nick interviews Mae Manning about unique journey from bartender to successful editor

We currently have two interviews booked for June. One is with an editing educator about their time teaching editing overseas and the other is with a screenwriter.

In Command+Edit Episode 73 (above) I chatted with Avid about their upcoming Media Composer | First release. MC | First is basically a free, lite version of Media Composer. It sounds perfect for anyone interested in learning Media Composer but might not be ready to pull the trigger on a year-long subscription without first getting to know Media Composer a bit better (because let’s face it, Media Composer is a tough software to learn). I’m [highly] considering taking a dive deep into MC | First and creating some training material around it. However it depends on if there’s enough demand. If you’re remotely interested in MC | First and using resources (guides, courses, tutorials, blog posts, etc.) that I create to help you learn it, I’d really like to hear from you. All you have to do is reply to this email.

Here on the EVF website you may have noticed I switched themes! However in the process I accidentally deleted my homepage. Oops. I don’t mind because I wanted to overhaul it anyway. I’ll be doing some other minor updates around the site while I continue the painful process of switching hosting companies as well. All I want to do is create videos and write helpful things on the internet and it feels like there’s always a thousand other obstacles standing in the way!

Anyway, thank you so, so much for reading. Please give me a shout if there’s anything you’re struggling with and you think I could help or if you just want to chat post or baseball or dogs or travel or anything. 🙂

Cheers,
Josh

Batch Exporting in Avid Media Composer

The other day I had to export nine different parts of a training course I was editing in Avid Media Composer for one of my clients. Media Composer isn’t like Premiere where I can add a bunch of videos or sequences to a Queue in Adobe Media Encoder. From inside a sequence you have to export them one at a time. This isn’t convenient for anyone. In this project in particular I’d have to go back and check every 20-30 minutes and then go and export the next video. However there’s a trick you can do to batch export out of Media Composer and I’m going to explain that in this post. In fact, this trick is allowing me to write this blog post then go take lunch outside at a park next to the Potomac River.

Let’s jump right in. How do you batch export? Instead of exporting from a sequence we’re going to export from a bin. And to export from a bin we need to create copies of our master sequence(s) that we want to export.

To begin create a new bin. Label it something like, “For Export Only”. Take your master sequence, set in and out points and select just the tracks you want to export. If it’s all tracks, select every track (Hit Cmd/Ctrl+A to quickly do this).

Next duplicate your master sequence. Highlight it in the bid and hit Cmd/Ctrl+D to do this. Move the duplicated version into your For Export Only bin. Rename the duplicated version of your master sequence to the filename you want it to have upon export (i.e. abc-course-part1-v01-170418) but without the file extension. Go back to your master sequence(s) and repeat as needed until you have a bin full of sequences you want to export; each with their in and out points set and tracks selected.

Close out of every bin expect your For Export Only bin. You don’t have to do this but I’m OCD about screen real estate and digital clutter. Then select all the sequences in your For Export Only bin. Right-click on the sequence icon for any of them (it’s the little film stripe next to the name of the sequence).

In the menu that pops up find Export (pre V8.5ish) or Output (post V8.5ish; the name changed somewhere around MC v8.5). If you’re on an older version of MC it’ll open a dialogue box up immediately. If you’re on a newer version you will have to go into a sub-menu in Output then you choose Export to File… Once you do this the same dialogue box will pop up as in the older versions of MC.

Pre Version 8.5(ish)

Post Version 8.5(ish)

This is the box that’ll open after selecting Export or Export to File…

Navigate to where you want to files to go like a watch folder or an exports folder or just somewhere on your hard drive. Then go to your export settings at the bottom of the box. Set your export preset to a QuickTime Movie or whatever you want to export it as for you to then compress in Adobe Media Encoder or Sorenson Squeeze or another compression software. Go into it’s options (click the Options… button) and make sure Use Marks and Use Selected Tracks are checked (this might say “Use Enabled Tracks” in newer versions of MC…I’m still on 8.4.4!). Doing this means that you are MC to export the enabled tracks and in and out points you set for each sequence.

Make sure Use Marks and Use Selected Tracks are checked

Click Save in the export settings then Save again in the Export As… dialogue box to begin batch exporting.

Next go to your favorite local lunch spot and relax while Media Composer does it’s thing. Where am I going? Perfect Pita 🙂

I hope you found this quick tutorial helpful. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments below or shoot me a message here.

Cheers,
Josh

P.S. If you’re new around here and want to know more about EVF and learn more helpful tips and tricks on being a faster video editor go to this page to begin your journey. And please never be shy if you have a question or just want to chat about editing (or baseball!).

Recommended Reading:

April Update for EVF

It’s been awhile since I’ve just sat down and written. I’m through with my third cup of bad Keurig coffee, this export from Media Composer has another 20 minutes and a blank page is in front of me so why not give this a shot?

I’ve been “gone” from Edit Video Faster officially since February 12th. Since then I:
  1. Turned 30 years old,
  2. Went to Spring Training,
  3. Recorded a handful of fantastic Cmd+Edit podcasts,
  4. Started a practice of learning a new language (Vietnamese) and
  5. Been working my tail off seemingly 25 hours a day with freelance work.

Life just has. not. stopped. I’m sure you can relate.

#Freelancelife has been ever-consuming. I try to squeeze in an hour here and there. Go out for happy hour or dinner with friends then head to my iMac when I get back to make a quick revision and let something export overnight. This isn’t me complaining or whining. Quite the opposite. It’s kinda fun in a weird way.

Over the past 2ish months I’ve started a handful of small projects and, more importantly, two really big projects. The first large project is a massive training course in the healthcare field. Approximately 80-100 1-minute videos. Phew… FWIW I’m working in Premiere. This was my call and it’s odd to say that I choose Premiere over Media Composer. Why? Let’s admit it. Premiere still handles mixed media a lot better than MC, or at least it’s easier to get it in the NLE so you can begin cutting right away. My client is sending me all sorts of images, GIFs, .mpeg2s, .mp4s, .mp3s, etc. Everything is a different size or frame rate. Premiere just lets me edit. ::ducks under desks::

For this project I have to deliver a handful of videos each week. I’m maybe 25-30% done at the time of this writing.

The other big project is a comedy show! Which I don’t know how much I can talk about! So I’m just going to say that I have six episodes to cut along with all the marketing material. Currently one and a half episodes have been cut and we want to launch in early May. ?

In the coming weeks I’ll also be working on getting an LLC for my freelance business (which EVF will probably ultimately rest under). That’ll be an adventure in itself; or at least I’ve convinced myself that it will be. I’m thinking of writing a post on my process of getting an LLC. Would something like that interest you to read?

The next several weeks are going to be how the previous weeks were. Jam-packed with freelance work and life. Which is fun and interesting and TBH thrills me to be in the middle of. I just wish I had more hours in the day to commit to my other projects like this one or new projects I want to pursue. I’m attempting to figure it out though, as we all are.

I’m still unsure if or when I’ll be back with any regularly scheduled content here on EVF but I’m always here for you if you need anything.

– Josh

Stepping Away from Edit Video Faster

As I write this it’s 4:39am. I’ve been up since 4:00am fighting heartburn. Is it from dinner? Is it from last night’s whiskey? Is it because I’m turning 30 tomorrow and this is what getting older feels like?

I’ve been attempting to write this post for months but haven’t been able to find the words. I can’t think of a better time than the present to try though.

Over the past two and two thirds years I’ve spent several thousand hours of my life dedicated to Edit Video Faster. Check out this massive archive page I recently build as proof. This site or business, whatever you’d call it, is a very large part of me and who I am. I love it dearly and want to see it grow into something much greater than what it is now. However I’ve reached a point in my life and in my career that the hours I spend on EVF and the many more hours I spend stressing about the never-ending to-do list I’ve created for myself around EVF are not in alignment with where I’m trying to take said life and career.

All the stress around what I want to build and actually building it are taking a toll on me. I feel it every morning when I write out my most important tasks of the day. I feel it all day as I work on and for my freelance business. I feel it every evening when I’m trying to spend time with my wife and dog. I feel it every night lying in bed realizing I didn’t get this or that project moved forward at all today. And it hurts. It hurts so bad and it’s my fault.

Regardless of blame or why, I’m incredibly sorry. I feel that I need to step away, temporarily but indefinitely, from Edit Video Faster to regain the perspective and motivation I need to continue to build EVF into the honest, thorough resource for video editors that I want it to be and that you deserve.

What does that mean? Well, not a whole lot since I can’t seem to finish any project for EVF anyway!! (Just kidding, but a little self-deprecating humor felt needed)

But for real, what does that mean?

Some, but a lot less content. One of my priorities for this break is to take the pressure to create wayyyyyy down. No deadlines. No broken promises. I want to create how I used to create for EVF…organically and about whatever was inspiring me at that time instead of creating based on some arbitrary content schedule I set up for myself months prior. That’s the system I’m currently working under that is not working.

My plan is still to continue to write blog posts, send out newsletters and create video tutorials but when the mood strikes. I don’t want to publish a newsletter because I publish a newsletter every week. I want to publish a newsletter because there’s news that you should know about!

The video editing podcast I co-host, the Command+Edit Podcast, will not be affected. My daily blog, Short On Beer, will not be affected. EVF’s coaching services will still remain running but on a more limited schedule.

There’s a 100-mile long backlog of projects, tasks and to-dos I need to carefully inventory. Taking this time off, whether it’s for a few weeks or a few months, will hopefully allow me the time and perspective to reorganize them in a way that will be the most meaningful for you and in a way that’ll allow me to actually complete them.

At the end of the day (btw, I hate the phrase) I want to be able to create more and better stuff for you, focused around your growth as an editor. The current state of how I’m doing this is not working. If you’re ever in need, have questions or just need someone to talk post (or baseball) with I’ll still and will always be here for you. Just shoot me a message here.

Cheers,
Josh

PS: I’ll still be active on Twitter and Snapchat. Please say hi to me there if you haven’t before!

Why You Should Respect iMovie

As we start a new week I’m sitting here scratching my head searching for some cool, relevant post production news to write about. I could mention the Oscars and Joi McMillon being the first black female nominee for film editing. I could mention the recent Editors Retreat. I could mention any number of political issues dominating seemingly every bit of social media, news coverage or casual conversation we may have. But I’m still sitting here thinking about iMovie.

On Friday night my wife and I went out and bought her a MacBook Air. Our previously laptop-less household was in desperate need of one. $849 later we were back home signing into iCloud, iTunes and a dozen other applications that begin with ‘I’.

::Jump cut to Saturday night::

My wife, who is not an editor, edited a 6-minute movie of our trip to Vietnam. It’s complete with animated lower thirds, timewarps, blur dissolves, stock music (that I provided from my Soundstripe account) and more. It’s a legit video that most any big-time travel vlogger would be proud of. I couldn’t be more proud of her!

It’s apparent that iMovie has shortcomings, especially for us trained editors. But it can get the job done for a lot of people. Some of the biggest people on YouTube began cutting in iMovie. You may have started in iMovie. After watching her spend a few hours in iMovie it’s clear that iMovie has two jobs. First, to help amateur video creators edit their first videos. And second, to those that let it, inspire them to be creative.

My wife will never be a professional video editor. But she could very well become an inspired video creator in her free time. And iMovie seems to let her do that. The creative tools are right there and fairly easy to use. Titles automatically have (darn good-looking) transitions. Timewarps have automatic presets. Color corrections apply like filters on Instagram. Anything a new editor could want is right there.

I’m going to try my best not to rag on iMovie anymore. It’s a piece of software that we should encourage people to use as a stepping stone to more advanced NLEs if their videos require it.

I’d love to hear any thoughts you have on iMovie. Share them below in the comments section or send them to me privately here.

BTW, the other day I created an Archive Page that contains every article I’ve written and tutorial I’ve created. Please check it out if you’re new around here.

– Josh

Hey, one last thing. I publish a weekly(ish) newsletter about post production news and happenings around this site. If you’d like to receive it and notifications about new blog posts go here to sign up.

 Note: some links used may be affiliate links

Straight Up Hard Work

I had to fire up my 11-year-old PowerBook G4 laptop in order to find this picture. Can’t believe that thing still works.

I had just turned 18. I was covered in a cold sweat from the February gymnasium air. I had my red, white and blue wrestling singlet on. My black Nike mesh shorts. My Asics black and white wrestling shoes tied way too tight like always. My headgear laid on the floor next to me as my head laid even lower.

A few minutes before I had lost my second match in the Virginia AA Wrestling Regionals. That meant I was out of the tournament and my four years of varsity wrestling was over. My 119lb body, which was north of 140lbs back in November, that could run 7 miles without being winded suddenly felt worn out.

As I sat on that floor so many emotions and memories ran through me. Anyone who has every knowingly competed in a sport for their final time can relate. When you are that deep into something you feel complete.

The amount of effort I put into wrestling was astronomical. Running literally an uncountable amount of laps in the hallways before practice. Up-downs. Monkey rolls. That stupid circle from Vision Quest where you got up and ran around all the guys laying down then the next guy got up where in my junior year one of the seniors accidently stepped on my ankle which was the only time I ever had to go to the trainer but I sucked it up and wrestled the rest of the season on it even though it was probably severely sprained or worse.

At that moment as I sat on that hard gym floor, my back against the cinder brick wall, I told myself I’d never do something like that to myself again. It felt like I was the most tired 18-year-old on the planet.

Sitting there felt like an eternity when it was probably less than a minute before my dad walked over. He nudged me with his foot. I looked up. “Want some pizza?” he asked.

I bit into my second slice of lukewarm Papa Johns off of the white paper plate we got at the concession stand in the hallway of a high school in Orange, VA. Never again I told myself.

Fast-forward, jump cut, wipe or cross-dissolve your way 12 years into the future. At almost 30 I consider myself successful. I’m college educated. I run a steady self-employed company. I write on multiple websites, podcast, have a fledgling YouTube channel, have the best wife and dog in the world, travel the world on occasion, get to see friends and family whenever I want, have no health concerns and overall a pretty happy guy.

Why does it feel like there’s constantly something missing?

I could be wrong. I could be 100% wrong about this whole thing. But I think I know what’s missing and it’s on that gym floor in the middle of Nowhere, Virginia lying next to my wrestling headgear.

It’s not the wrestling mat. It’s not sprawls or takedown drills or pushups (even though I still do at least 50 a day). It’s that all-in dedication to doing straight up hard work.

No one, at least no one I can imagine, vomits in the hallway trashcan after writing a blog post or recording a podcast. This stuff is still straight up hard work but of another kind.

Anyone can find 15 a day to write a blog post and publish it everyday for a year and a half like I have on my other site. That’s difficult and takes a hell of a lot of dedication. But it’s not like the straight up hard work that went into wrestling.

Anyone can find an hour or two a week to write a newsletter and cut a quick tutorial. It’s scary to put yourself out there to the world like that. But it’s not like the straight up hard work that went into wrestling.

What’s like wrestling is completing this massive list of unfinished projects or projects I haven’t even begun that I stare at everyday.

I haven’t been doing straight up hard work for you and I’m sorry. I can blame those early mornings before school sitting in the sauna at the community center a county over in order to cut weight. I can blame those offseason bleacher runs. I can blame any number of things or memories or the residual pain left in my right shoulder from this one match that took everything out of me but I won 2-1 in overtime, securing a tournament win for my team.

I haven’t been doing straight up hard work for you and I’m sorry.

I have no action plan. I have no idea where to begin. Outside of completing the above massive list of projects I don’t know what straight up hard work for Edit Video Faster even looks like. But I know it’s something that I have to do in order to feel whole, to feel complete again.

I’d love for you to stick around for this journey. If you’re new around here I recommend starting here.

If you have any thoughts to share or old wrestling stories leave them in the comments below or send me a private message here.

– Josh

Written Saturday January 7th, 2017 at 2:10am.

Okay, one more picture. I can’t help myself.