The most difficult part about mastering a skill

Time for a little free writing session…

There are an infinite amount of projects one can work on. New project after new project pop into our heads and we want to pursue each one. So we start down a path hoping to make this one great thing. But then a new idea pops in our heads for something completely different. Ahead, the path we’re currently on seems shrouded in mystery and overgrown with bushes and thrones. So we backtrack and start down a new path.

Path through the woods
Photo by Zack Silver courtesy of Unsplash

We get far enough down this new path when the same thing happens. Maybe we go a little further this time before starting something new. Maybe we stop at the first bend in the road or rain cloud in the sky. Time for a new path.

The hardest thing about accomplishing a project or completing a goal or mastering a skill is staying on that same path regardless of obstacles.

A path I recently vacated was learning Vietnamese. I reached a point in my Mango lessons where it was too difficult to retain the information in the time I was allowing myself to focus on the mission. My willpower was gone and I have zero guidance. I quit. I gave up. It got too hard. The thrones were too much to take.

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Some brief thoughts on creating creative work

There several dozen half-written and probably twice as many fully-written but never published blog posts scattered across my computer, laptop, Google Drive and various Moleskins. They contain thoughts I’ve had on many post production-related topics that I’ve worked countless hours on. And they’re just sitting there in digital purgatory.

“It’s not good enough.”

“Someone could say that you don’t mention ______ method/shortcut/etc.”

“You aren’t really an expert. Who are you to give advice?”

I could think of endless reasons not to ship each one of them.

Today I was watching some random YouTube video from this guy another YouTube guy I routinely watch recommended. His production quality was low. He knew it. But he said something that struck a nerve with me.

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Straight Up Hard Work

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 … Read more

8 Lessons from 12 Weeks of Freelancing

Today begins my by 13th week of freelancing. I’m (verrrrrry) far from saying I’m comfortable. However I’ve never been happier with my employment situation or made more money than I am at this very moment. I’ve also never had this much uncertainty on where I’m finding my paycheck each week or never worked so hard. … Read more

The Fundamental Flaw in the Profession of Video Editing

Fundamental Flaw in the Profession of Video Editing

There’s a fundamental flaw in the profession of video editing.

When a carpenter goes to work they have their tools – a hammer, a saw, a drill, a screwdriver and a pickup truck filled with a hundred other tools. Each tool has it own job and does it’s own little thing when the carpenter is building something. Every once in awhile a new tool will come around that’ll make things easier for the carpenter. He or she can decide whether or not to learn how to use that tool and whether it should be added to their tool belt.

Editors face a similar situation except that the growth of new tools is out of control. Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Anything that’ll make our lives easier as editors is awesome. However there’s a point where we physically cannot keep up with the rate of new tools available to us. Then we get docked for not knowing this one random piece of software and might lose out on a job or gig over it.

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Mastering Avid Media Composer’s Keyboard Shortcuts Exam

I want you to become a keyboard shortcut master. If you know the keyboard shortcuts and understand their functions, you’ll be a faster video editor. That means you finish projects sooner, get paid faster and make your bosses and clients happier. When I was learning Media Composer I wish I had a way to check my progress. I didn’t. … Read more

Keyboard Shortcuts Exam Pre-Sale!

Please note the pre-sale is now over. Please visit this page for more information on the exam. If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been creating a bunch of lessons about Media Composer’s keyboard shortcuts and their related functions. This is because I want you to become a keyboard shortcut master. If you know the keyboard shortcuts … Read more

Free Avid Media Composer Quiz

This is a free quiz on the keyboard shortcuts for Avid Media Composer. It is part of the free Master Avid Media Composer’s Keyboard Shortcuts Series.

When You Have Enough Tools and It’s Time to Start Building

WhenYouHaveEnoughToolsAndItsTimeToStartBuilding

Me, and a lot of other editors, like to say that knowing an NLE is just another tool in your tool belt. I like to take that analogy and go a step further. Every effect you learn to apply, software trick you implement, skill you acquire, connection you make, value you create for others and anything else you can think of that works towards improving yourself is a tool. Your tool belt consists of all of these. Each tool preforms a certain action whenever you are working on a project.

With your fully loaded tool belt you can build all sorts of things. The majority of time we tackle two types of projects. The first project is something simple, let’s say a chair if we can turn my analogy into something physical. We know there are four legs, a seat and a back to it. We have at least a rough blueprint we can follow or can easily find someone (or a YouTube video) to guide us. The other type of project is to build more tools! We build ourselves another screwdriver or a hammer or drill bit. These two types of projects pay our bills (barely) and (we hope) make our bosses happy. Are you happy though? If you are anything like me then you might not always be satisfied with the things you are building and their outcomes. Do they have enough reach? Do they improve my life or someone else’s life substantially?

Sure, we’re content after we sell off our chair or put away our screwdriver. We sold enough to pay off the mortgage this month or make ourselves more valuable candidates for a future job by having more tools. What we built was average. Deep down that’s not what we want. That’s not why we do what we do. We want incredible. As I lay here at 11:00PM drafting this on my phone in bed with my wife and dog already asleep long ago I’m reminded about how much incredible I want in my life and how little I am doing about it. For now…

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Turn Off the Clock, Get More Done

Increase your focus while editing
Increase your focus while editing

On Monday I worked 100% distraction-free for hours for the first time in recent memory. I was completely sucked into my work and it all happened by accident. I’ll tell you how in this post.

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