10 Reasons Why My Mom Is Better Than Your Mom

  1. You can talk to her about anything (except maybe computer semantics).
  2. She cares less about jewelry, makeup or fancy houses and more about good art, people, travel and food.
  3. She never says no, but she will give you a good example of why it might be a bad idea.
  4. She is straightforward and honest (no passive aggressive crap).
  5. She can have loads of fun without turning into a sloppy, embarrassing mess (thank you, Mom, for your alcohol tolerance).
  6. She works her ass off and still finds time to feed her family.
  7. She is creative, handy and inventive (I’ve never met a woman who can reuse wine corks like she can).
  8. She puts up with and endorses nerdiness like few other women can.
  9. She stops at nothing to serve her friends, students, coworkers and family.
  10. She never gives up without a fight and always forgives you.

I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.

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Just Ask

We preoccupy ourselves with speculation. More than half of our stress comes from inferred details that may not even be true. We can keep working ourselves up over nothing. Or we can just ask. Ask the truth. Try to get to the bottom of things. You don’t need to be confrontational. If it helps to fight ambiguity with more ambiguity to sound less direct or confrontational, that’s fine. However you do it, just do it.

We’re Hiring

For those who do not know, I moved to Denver in November and joined Sympoz, the team behind Craftsy, to help oversee production of the site’s video course product. Together, we are building an online video education platform that helps people follow their passions and learn from renowned experts. As one of Denver’s fastest growing startups, it’s an exciting, creative and challenging place to work. I left Hollywood because no one was figuring out how to platform content online. We’ve figured it out. And it is thrilling.

We’re growing at breakneck pace and we need help. I’m looking for a dozen or more talented filmmaking professionals interested in joining the team full time, producing meaningful content and building a production division together. Specifically, I’m looking for solid cinematographers, editors and producers. Creative producers with experience directing instructional content or talent without on-camera experience. Videographers who can light small spaces dynamically, operate jibs or other dynamic rigs and anticipate action like no other. Fast editors with live switching experience or an eye for long form. I’m looking for specialists that are not one-trick ponies – willing to do it all and get your hands dirty. There’s a fair amount of travel involved. I hope to find work-hard/play-hard people with great ideas on optimizing process and raising the bar. Benefits. Medical. Dental. Vision. Life. Equity in the company. Open vacation policy. Booze, ball games and a lot of fun. We have a blast and we’re making a difference in people’s lives.

Not a film professional? There’s plenty of other open positions. If you are interested in any of them, let me know and I can help direct you. Email me directly at craig@sympoz.com.

Fools

I’m getting married this summer with an elementary school sweetheart. There was a pregnancy involved.

I’m quitting my job to raise sheep in New Zealand with my brother.

I maintain a few hacker handles online, including one for Anonymous.

On Wednesday, I secured $2.5M in seed funding for a mobile application.

I’m going vegan in April.

I got away with every single one of these scenarios today.

Check the calendar people.

Different Should Not Be the Only Reason

I am a huge advocate for different. Different gives you a competitive advantage. But I do not think different should be the sole reason to make a decision. Different is branding more so than a core value. Different does not sustain when other people copy you or if you fail. Different should support, qualify or celebrate a decision; it should not be the decision itself.

Clichés exist because they worked before and can work again in certain situations. You should not rule out an opportunity because it feels familiar. Sometimes familiar solutions to a problem can be focused, modernized and differentiated to a competitive place. I’m not saying different is bad. In fact, I encourage different 99% of the time. But you have not made a thorough decision if you support something only because it is different.

One Year Anniversary

I started blogging one year ago today. I’ve successfully posted every single day since then. 373 entries, nearly 70,000 words and 17,000 unique visitors so far. I have no intention of stopping.

This year, I hope to focus my material and brand this blog. If you have anything you like or don’t like about the direction I’ve taken, please let me know!

Thank you, dear reader, for keeping up with and sharing my posts. This continues to be a wild and fulfilling ride. An extra special thank you to Shirl for proofing my posts and never missing a word! Love you all.

2011 Academy Award Wishes

I have no vested interest in making predictions this year, but there are still a few people I would love to see with a golden statue. Here’s my list of people and films I think deserve awards in each category (or my best stab for categories where I haven’t seen everything). [In brackets, I’ve listed people who weren’t nominated and deserve a shout out]

Picture: The Artist
Actor: Gary Oldman
Actress: Michelle Williams
Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer
Supporting Actress: Bérénice Bejo
Director: Michel Hazanavicius [Nicolas Winding Refn]
Screenplay: Woody Allen
Adapted Screenplay: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Animated: Rango
Foreign: A Separation
Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki
Editing: Thelma Schoonmaker
Art Direction: Hugo
Costume Design: Hugo
Makeup: Albert Nobbs
Original Score: Howard Shore [Alexandre Desplat, The Ides of March]
Original Song: “Man or Muppet”
Sound Mixing: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Sound Editing: Drive [Rise of the Planet of the Apes]
Visual Effects: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Documentary: Undefeated

The Camera Will Not Let You Fake Honesty

For most people, you cannot script honesty. Actors get paid the big bucks to bring someone else’s words to life. Most people can’t do that. Most people stale up when forced to read a script. If you mean to be honest with your audience, words must come from the heart and without censorship. If you cannot deliver a genuine message from a page, throw the page away. Skip the expensive production value if you need to. Keep it simple: one shot, one take. Nothing between you and absolute truth.

Repetition Can Turn Insanity to Truth

Public speaking and education theory underscore the value of repetition. If repeated, the odds of audience retention increase dramatically for a given piece of information. Repeated more, listeners may start to engage with the material. Debates, testing, execution or indoctrination may ensue.

Take repetition to the next level: get people to live and breathe the information. If repeated enough, opponents may even give up opposing and join the team. The information may not be true. How do you think we came to associate the Trojan War with a lust battle? Enough people recited the Iliad as historical literature, over and over again. Call it “truth conditioning.” Tell a lie so many times that people start to believe it. You may even start to believe it yourself.

When you surround yourself by theories, people and literature that never leave you alone, you start to accept their fiction as fact. Watch Star Wars enough times and you will believe in the Force. Read a book enough times and you will believe the world started six thousand years ago. Spend enough time in your environment and you will believe it’s the only way to live life. We live and breathe conditioning every day and fall prey. You accept “truths” within the world you live and move on accordingly.

Repetition and persistence may be the most powerful tools in mass communication. Say something loud – and then say it again. And again. And again.