A few weeks ago I got a call from Lydia Hurlbut, wife and business partner of Canon Explorer of Light and Hollywood cinematographer Shane Hurlbut. She was calling to 1) tell me how much she enjoyed reading my blog (who knew!) and 2) to invite me to a special premiere event where Shane was going to reveal a new camera rig system, the Master Cinema Series, designed in partnership with Letus Corporation. When she told me some of the names that were invited to this VIP event, to be honest, the first thought that came to my mind was “Umm, you sure you got the right number?” The guest list read like a who’s who in DSLR filmmaking: Fresh DV‘s Matt Jeppsen, Planet 5D‘s Mitch Aunger, master cinematographer Tom Guilmette, wedding filmmaker extraordinaire Kevin Shahinian, FilmRiot‘s Ryan Connolly, YouTube superstar Freddie Wong, Titanic DP Russell Carpenter, 24 DP Rodney Charters, Vincent Laforet, and more movers and shakers in the industry. She just wanted us to come out, take a look at the system, and give honest feedback. As the weeks drew closer to the event, I kept waiting for the inevitable email that would say, “Sorry Ron. I need to rescind my invitation. There was a terrible mistake. Maybe next time.”
Suffocating Our Creative Voice
No matter how much “success” I think I may have achieved in this business, there’s always that part of me that feels unworthy. I compare myself to others and determine that I’m not good enough to be in the same room with that crowd. Based on other conversations I’ve had with people, I think it’s safe to assume I’m not the only person who feels like that. But I don’t know. Maybe I am.
Why do we find it so easy to belittle our own accomplishments? No doubt a big part of it has to do with the fact that most creatives are never satisfied with where they are in life. Nor do I think they should. We should always strive to push ourselves and reach for higher ground. But what tends to happen is that we get so caught up in belittling our own talents, our own accomplishments, that we start trying to be like other creatives. We want our shots to look other other peoples. We want our music to sound like other peoples. We want our writing to read like other peoples. Instead of just being influenced or motivated by our colleagues, we become obsessed with being creative Dopplegangers, doing everything in our power to look, sound and BE just like our heroes. In doing so we run the danger of squelching our own creative voice. I constantly have to remind myself, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me!”
“When God throws you a bone, it’s usually still connected to a cow…so be sure to feed others.” ~ Ron Dawson
I learned a long time ago though that when God blesses you it’s best not to second guess it. What’s better is to take those blessings and see how you can use them to bless others. If it’s wealth, give to the poor. If it’s knowledge, share it with others. That’s something I’ve tried to do on this blog. So, when I knew I was going to be in the midst of so much incredible talent, I knew I wanted to take this opportunity to be able give back on my blog.
A couple of years ago I started a video podcast called “The Flip Side.” I’d take my FlipMino HD to photo and video conferences where I was speaking, then grab other speakers to share a nugget of advice for the viewing audience. “Bite-sized advice shot on a bite-sized camera.” I only ever posted about 2- or 3, but there a bunch more I have and now I’ve added a few more after this past weekend. So I figure it’s time to drag them out of mothballs and start sharing.
The Flip Side with “Planet Mitch”
Here’s a great bit of advice from Planet5D creator Mitch Aunger. The value of asking for what you want.
If you can’t see these videos in your email or RSS reader, click here.
Have I Arrived?
Going back to the original question of this blog post, “have I arrived?” the answer is unequivocally no. There’s so much more I need/want to learn. So much more to accomplish. But along the way, I’d like you to tag along for the journey. Better yet, let’s all be fellow sojourner’s on the path to creative excellence. The ride is so much better when you have companions to tag along.
In the spirit of this blog post, I thought you’d enjoy this too.
Thank you Ron for this timely piece. My wife have to remind me at times that I need to give myself credit for what I have done as I continue to strive towards doing great and relevant work.
PEGGY MORSCH life photography says
Thanks Ron for the reminder about following our own path and celebrating our successes. It also makes me think of ‘conceive it, believe it, feel it, achieve it’ as a method to generate our own imagery that satisfies the self as well as others.
It was great meeting you at the launch event and dinner. Love your non-technical reflection of it. Glad to see we share the same perspective on letting ourselves being a vessel that brings God’s blessings to other. Keep up the good work.
Great post Ron! I am my own worst enemy when it comes to making something “good enough.”
Side note, anyone got the scoop on why Shane switched from Redrock products to Letus?
Ron Dawson says
Didn’t know Shane switched. I wasn’t familiar with what he used before hand.
As we say in my family “if you think you arrived, you won’t probably going anywhere”
Ron Dawson says
I love it! I’m going to remember that one.
Thank you Ron! I just sent you a message on LinkedIn.