Write through the suck.

It’s a new year, and the reason why we even have such a thing is because as humans we really need to mark the changing of time to evaluate how the hell we are doing. I mention this, I take the time to write this post, for myself and for anyone that is taking the time to notice the time. We need time. It is how we judge our health. Health of body, mind and soul. Are we better or worse. Richer/poorer. More or less in love with people, things or ourselves.

With that, I think a lot of us should stop paying attention to time;)

It really isn’t there you know. It’s a construct we made up, today doesn’t know that yesterday happened, and tomorrow really isn’t a thing. It really is just one moment strung across an infinite amount of time. We break it down to years, days, minutes so that we can measure different aspects of reality. It’s good for some things, like keeping us on track, loosing weight, making sure we have enough money or food or love to keep us going, but for the creative, it can be a disaster.

With creativity, forget time. It’s not just useless, it’s creativities disaster.

I ran across this little video of “successful” screenwriters giving tips on writing screenplays. I put successful in quotes not to be shitty, but because I think it’s funny that we need people that are deemed successful to give us advice. All of these people had the same advice when no one knew them, and it was just as valid then, if not more so, then now. It’s what Im talking about; it doesn’t matter how much time it takes to “make” something … it is the “making” that is the goal.

 

It’s a great video … and it relates to so much more then screenwriting. It really is good advice for anything creative or passion driven in your life. If it’s the desire of travel, making of films, or learning to bake, this advice hits home. Now with this new year upon us, take a second to reflect that every day is a possible new year, and in reality no day is a start of something new. It is a continuation of all time, and if this moment in that great moment is when you start something, consider for a second that maybe it’s not an actual start, as it’s been in the mail so to speak since the beginning of time, and just happens to be now that is presents itself. That said, whatever it is, stay at it, and remember to “write through the suck” because the suck is part of all of it.

Happy 2019.

How To Get a Vimeo Staff Pick.

 

So clickbait, amirite?

This essay isn’t really about how to get a Vimeo Staff Pick. I am fortunate to have a couple of my films to have been showcased on Vimeo’s Parthenon of special Staff Picks, but I couldn’t tell you a recipe on how secure your acceptance. Besides, other people have offered their advice on the subject, so why add to the noise.

What I do want to discuss is why some of my films become Staff Picks, and other’s perhaps not.

I have upward of 600 films on Vimeo. Each unique pieces of work, a mixture of client driven and personal projects. Somewhere along the way I left the ranks of an office worker and dedicated my full-time to being a filmmaker. I say filmmaker because I direct, shoot, and edit. It’s totally consuming, and even when I’m not “working” I’m still working. Like they say however, if you do what you love, you never work a day in your life. That is true.

Even though I have some compelling work with famous athletes or well-known actors or insane SFX, there are a few films that really resonated with the Vimeo staff. What I find interesting is that they are all projects I did on my own dime, with my own crew, and were totally self-produced. I think this is an important point for any filmmaker.

This last film, “Heretic” is a short documentary about Douglas Little. Douglas is an amazing guy; he’s one of the creative visual geniuses behind sleep no more, an award-winning designer, but what put him on my radar was actually my girlfriend. She forwarded me an article about this guy who makes personalized perfume in his baroque upper west side apartment. He sounded absolutely mad, and I really wanted to meet him.

So I wrote him an email.

I basically said I was a filmmaker, and make short docs about people I find interesting. I asked if he would be interested in shooting a short doc in his apartment. He said yes.

I’ll pause here for a second to explain why these short docs are so important to me. I love narrative work, both commercially and otherwise. Docs though hold a special place in my heart. Living in a city like New York you are literally surrounded by people whose stories are always as or more interesting than most narratives. These are real people, who are your neighbors, your office mates, your friends even. Their stories are already written and all you need to do is record them. For me the short doc is an easy day at the filmmaking gym; just bring your gear and work it out.

For Douglas, along for others I’ve done, I like to keep the crew real small. Just 3 or 4 people. Maybe two lights if any. Good sound. It makes it fast and easy to move around, and easy on the subject too. I’m sure Douglas was open to having 5 people in his living room instead of a crew of a dozen.

I also move fast and cover everything. I have a set list of questions, but really just want to have a conversation with my subject. I find out what’s interesting about them on the spot. What’s fantastic is there is no consequence; there is no client, no one paying you, so it really doesn’t matter if you get something or not, you’re there to experience someone and no more. It’s the going commando of filmmaking and it’s amazing.

Finally you must have fun with it. The crew I roll with is all other filmmakers and shooters. Since there is no client it become professional playtime, meaning we get to use all the toys we never do on paid sets because we’re not exactly sure what they will do. Russian anamorphic glass you bought on-line, a weird 360 camera you want to cut your teeth on, even an old 8mm film camera you found at your grandparents. We get weird, really weird with it, and it makes for some very interesting footage. Weird angles, strange lighting, you name it, the weirder the better. Leave it to the editor to figure out.

That’s me also. I love and hate editing like most editors do. When it’s tedious, it’s life sucking, but when its good, it’s mind-blowing. When I do a personal project like this because there is no consequence to anything we’re doing, it becomes extremely enjoyable. I make some editorial decisions that are frankly horrible and I love it.

In the end what happens is a few things. You get to meet someone who is very interesting. You get to learn and invent new techniques and gear, and you get to try something new in post that may or may not make sense. It’s basically the Jackson Pollock style of filmmaking; throw it against the canvas and see what sticks.

Now I’m sure some people will say that a planned line of attack is a much better use of a filmmakers time, and yes, there is a time and place for that. However if you consider that it takes half a day to shoot, and maybe a week to edit one of these films, it really isn’t that much of a risk.

The result has always been rewarding, not just from accolades, but from the experience of meeting new people and working with my core crew. One film we did together about master mechanic Peter Boggia went on to win a few great festivals and even brought Peter and I over to Italy for a month-long, once-in-a-lifetime motorcycle trip. This latest film about Douglas has spurred a bunch of new work from new clients, which I wouldn’t have even know how to approach otherwise. What I’m saying is that while paid work is great, it’s usually the personal projects that stand out, and often get the new work knocking at your door. What’s more it doesn’t really cost anything to produce, other than some lunch for your friends.

So how do you get a Vimeo Staff Pick? No idea, but if you know please tell me. In the meantime just email someone interesting, grab a camera and a friend, and go make a short doc, you won’t be disappointed.

Rs

Roberto Serrini is a professional Filmmaker who records his adventures in word, photography and film. He is a staff writer for Get Lost Magazine, a senior contributor to Trip Advisor, as well as a commercial film director and drone pilot. His work can be seen at www.robertoserrini.com where he can be contacted as well.

Do You Need Film School

No.

Thanks for reading.

Ok, I’ll go a bit deeper.

I went to film school. It was fantastic. I would definitely say that going helped me become a better filmmaker/storyteller/human faster.

Did I need to go to be a filmmaker/storyteller/human? No. But that’s me… some people do need to go, they need the structure, they need to meet the right people. Some people definitely don’t need to go, they are already on their way to making film fantastically. Either way, Film School is definitely not going to hurt.

I studied Film Theory. They didn’t actually offer Production at my school which is a bit different than most academic entries into the wonderful world of going into debt, I mean, making films. I studies a lot of Plato, Eisenstein, watched a years worth of Buster Keaton, and even studied Pornography with Constance Penley. The idea here was to look at film from a psychological, and theoretical standpoint. Instead of learning how to make something look a certain way, we learned why something was a certain way.

I’m not going to say you needed a lot of marijuana to fully understand most of what was taught, but it was California…

Ok, so now I’m out of school, and never even saw a camera. How the hell was I going to make films?

Well, you just sorta do.

You get a camera and you start making films. You’ve heard this before. Like anything, your success depends a lot on you. Also like anything else, you need instruction despite what Robert Rodriguez or Tarantino might have you believe. Sure, you might be able to make a sound by just picking up an instrument, but you’re going to get to playing a song much faster if you have someone teaching you.

Enter the internet. That’s right, it’s much more than just a tool to watch porn.

The first thing I learned was how to edit. This made sense because if you make films, and you suck, which you do, no one will want to edit your film. You can find a cameraman, actors, even a lowly sound guy, but an editor? Good luck. I still have a love hate relationship with editing, even though it eventually became a very serious career for me before I had enough skill to call myself a director. Being an editor is also an advantage at any level of production, no matter what you want to do. It’s like being a composer that plays another instrument. You just get the big picture.

How did I learn? http://www.creativecow.net

Before www.nofilmschool.com and other sites whose sole goal was to replace conventional film school, creative cow was the place to get free instruction. You could, and still can, learn absolutely ANYTHING. Final cut? Check. After Effects? Check. Da Vinci? Check. The name Aharon Rabinowitz taught me more than any professor in college, and for absolutely free. Indebted is not the word.

I have a nostalgia for these tutorials from time to time. They were funny, with cheesy jokes, easy to follow, and were at a time when filmmaking was still so new, and the idea of not having to work at a bar, or hotel, or retail was still so far off.

The way this learning worked was actually quite genius. Say you wanted to make something “glow” in post. You would search for it, and maybe find a tutorial on how to make a light saber effect. Not exactly what you wanted to do, but once you learned the skill you could apply it any creative way you wanted to. If you were in a classroom, the teacher may show you a different “more correct” way to get the result of what you wanted, but this way, you were using tools that perhaps weren’t designed for what you were wanting to do, in a novel way. That created originality. It also allowed you to do anything you want and not feel like you were doing it “wrong”.

There are a dozen ways to skin a cat, and about 30 ways to roto an object out of a frame.

So for me, I feel like film school was a great addition to my career. I feel that if I went to a production school, I may have entered my chosen profession earlier, but, would have had way less of a unique voice. I think by studying the philosophy of cinema first, then teaching myself the technical aspect of filmmaking, my craft is just that, craft. Self made. My own. I would imagine if I went to USC perhaps I would have been on a set at 21, and being told to make film a certain way, having my style be given to me more than formed. Mind you there is nothing wrong with that, I just think personally feeling that I don’t have a cinematic voice and trying to find it years after forming my craft would be way harder than working at the front desk of a hotel for a handful of years before teaching myself enough to call myself a filmmaker and be hired to do just that.

So, do you need film school? No. Is it useful? Yes. Most useful is your drive to learn, which if you have a strong one, the sky is truly the limit.

Thank God Someone Said It.

Failure, amarite?

I would say without doubt that the one thing that occupies most of my mind is “am I on track?” Everything I do, every project, every story, hell, this blog post “am I on track? Should I be doing this? Is this good?”

I’m about half way through with my life (I’m on the Hemingway diet) and it’s occurred to me recently that there really is two ways people operate; creating a persona for others, and being the person you are.

I’m not sure what is more “effective”. On one hand by creating your persona you get to craft/curate who you want to be, and more specifically what others take you to be, even if that’s not necessarily who you actually are. This can definitely get you where you want to go, and give you the life you want to have at the cost of being a phony. The other way is just more honest; you are true to yourself, which always feels good, unless others think you’re a piece of garbage, and then you got to deal with that.

Maybe it’s a delicate combination of both that gets you through life, but one thing is for sure; it is wholly human to judge yourself against others. Really that’s all we got.

That’s why this little video by the very genius Royal Ocean Film Society was so soothing. Thank you for taking the need for validation away for even just a minute, it feels good to breathe again. The bottom line is that anyone who is successful wasn’t born that way. It took a lot of garbage to get there. Unless you’re Scarlet Johansson. I mean she’s perfect.

 

FS700 + Odyssey = Face Melting

I get asked often, “what camera should I buy” … a lot of people would say “well, it depends what you want to do with it” which is about as helpful as a box of matches on the moon. I say one thing…

The FS700 and Odyssey 7Q+. Nuff said.

Its been about three years now that I’ve owned a FS700r and an Odyssey 7Q+. Three years is a long time for camera tech, and three years is even longer for your first praise post about it. Three years is actually the reason why I’m so damn smitten with this setup, because it’s still melting faces everywhere I take her.

Here is the deal, the FS700 is a prosumer camera from Sony that can shoot 240fps at HD for around $4,000 bucks. Thats pretty good. Now, add an Odyssey 7q+ which can record a RAW SDI signal out of the camera and ass kicking 4K and 120fps for another $2,000 bucks and what you have is basically the BFG 9000 of cameras.

I use this beast constantly. It’s small and light, it’s got more inputs then your mom, and more connections then Kevin Bacon, and wont even come close to the amount you owe for the college education you will hardly ever use. It’s an asset in any production, for interview footage to music videos and of course it’s slow motion abilities make it a very sexy devil.

Sometimes I just take it down the block with me… cause I can:

So yeah. You want a camera? You want a setup that’s gonna do any heavy lifting you throw at it, and leave you some coin to pay rent with? Then this is your dream team.

Rs

Roberto Serrini is a professional traveler who records his adventures in wordphotography and film. He is a staff writer for Get Lost Magazine, a senior contributor to Trip Advisor, as well as a commercial film director and drone pilot. His work can be seen at www.robertoserrini.com where he can be contacted as well.

Make a living doing what you love.

Choosing a title for this post was difficult. There is a lot of different elements here, but ultimately it is how to do what you love. What I mean by that, in my case, is how I feed myself, pay rent, and make money as a filmmaker.

I went to college, but it wasn’t that. I’ve been an assistant, and it wasn’t that. The bottom line is you have to make things, with the right people, about the right subjects. At least that’s how it has worked for me.

You have probably heard people like Tarantino or Rodriguez say “just make films” and yes, that is true, but I think you need to be a little more specific. This is an example of how that specificity works for me.

Douglas Little is a super talented guy. He’s a world class artist, who has done set design for spectaculars like Queen of the Night and beautiful work for labels like Dita Von Teese and Lady Gaga. He’s a genius. He also makes artisan couture perfume in his amazingly macabre Upper West Side apartment, and that is what really interested me.

So I wrote him an email.

Here is the email: Re: Doc about you.

Hey Douglass… My friend/beauty writer Katie Becker introduced me to you and I was captivated by the post The Window wrote up on you (http://thewindow.barneys.com/heretic-douglas-little/)

I’m a filmmaker/commercial director (www.robertoserrini.com) – who from time to time does short docs about interesting people doing extraordinary things.
Wondering if you wanna be captured on film?
Process would take a couple of hours. My style is loose and easy. Rock and Roll event-garde. Film is done for solely for personal reasons … you’d ok it’s release before it see’s the light of day. Just think you would make a beautiful story, your work, even outside fragrance, is exceptional.
Here’s an example of the last film I did – https://vimeo.com/118563384
Lemme know, I’m NY based, easy to talk to n get a hold of.
Thanks!
Rs

I had made docs before, and have been making films for a decade, so I had a body of work he could look at and decide if this was his jam. Luckily it was.

We talked on the phone for about 20 minutes so he could explain to me his process, key points about blending a fragrance and what his apartment was like, so I would understand shooting in it, lighting, sound, etc. We set a date and showed up at his door 2 weeks later. It was just that easy, no need to over plan or produce. Point number 1: Just grab your camera and go make something.

Our crew (because it’s not mine, it’s our) is the best, and this is a point number two: make films with the right people. Surround yourself not just with talent but people you like, that you think are brilliant, and that more then anything you have a great time with. Mikko Timonen and I have a company together, and he is not only one of the greatest DP’s I know, he’s one of my best friends. Ramsey Fendall and Matt Jacob are also best friends who both give so much to a project that working without them seems bland, and Russell Dreher is a life long best friend that I met a decade ago through a post on Craigslist looking for filmmakers wanting to make films together. These are the people that make working a pleasure, and make the work something to look at.

Douglass wasn’t really prepared for what we brought to the table, which is to be expected. We love our toys, and we’re all shooters, so we have lots to play with. First, no one is getting paid anything for these passion projects; which is the best way to create sometimes. Everyone is there because they want to do it, collaborate, and play. So Ramsey brought his RED and a Arri SR2 16mm film camera, Mikko a FS700 with Russian anamorphic lenses, Matt a BMCC and a VR360 camera and Russell an OSMO. We were packing heavy.

The shoot was simple; we set up, mic’d our subject, everyone grabbed a camera and we rolled. I had a conversation instead of an interview with Douglass, let him talk, made sure he understood that if he made a joke I probably wouldn’t laugh because I didn’t want my voice on camera, and more then anything tried to make him feel comfortable. As a director, I’ve learned that is my main job; the vision comes along side that, and I rest assured its going to look amazing because I have 4 guys who are loving what they do.

We shot for a few hours, played with some techniques we’ve been wanting to try, and had a great afternoon. Douglass was amazed at how we worked saying, “first of all, all of you are assholes.” because the stuff we shot looked so tasty.

I don’t make these film to get business, that is just a natural bi-product of the work. I do it because I really want to know what Douglass and perfuming and his life is about, and I want to play with my friends, and make something to show random people, to open up their eyes and minds to something cool, just like my friend Katie did for me and the journalist that wrote that article for her, and ultimately Douglass did for the journalist. It’s an interesting subject, and I know it is because A) I’m interested in it and B) someone already wrote an article about how interesting it is. So this is the third point to just make films: make the right films, meaning films that people want to watch. Make something that is interesting, topical, sharable and most importantly something you want to see.

The edit process is really where the love and hate come out. I never wanted to be an editor. I taught myself on a stolen copy of Pinnacle Systems (Im old) on a PC that I built (very old) just out of college. I had to learn because I wanted to make films, and no one, I mean no one, is going to edit your first film for you, unless you’ve made some pact with the devil or have a famous last name on your drivers license. So I learned how to edit, painful dropped frame firewire 400 DV tape at a time. Ultimately that got me into the business, and took me a while to actually get out of editing and focus on directing, but it has never left me. In the end directors can have a style and leave a mark, but with editors, their fingerprint is undeniable. For me, it’s where it all comes together.

It took me a solid week to do this piece. There was interviews to cut down, B-Roll to assemble, lots of Public Domain archival footage to find and manipulate, titles to create in After Effects, music to find, and color correct to work with. I’ve also never worked in such a wide frame, the anamorphic was a challenge on its own, and since we were mixing media and frame sizes, I had to get creative with the visuals. Creative means time consuming which means lots more cups of coffee.

Final result is that Douglass loved it. So much he started sharing the rough cut which I could have killed him for. Let a girl finish putting on her makeup before taking her out, you know? Already there are plans to do more work together, connections to other people, bigger projects with viable budgets in the future. This is how I get work, not through an agent, or a company, or some roster I’m on. Don’t get me wrong, those are perfectly fine ways to represent yourself, but for me it has always been boots on the ground and doing work I love with people I love. It makes sense to me; clients will see this work and want something similar, which is great because it came from a place of pure imagination and didn’t rely on a big budget to make happen. While taking creative direction is part of my job, it’s always so rewarding to be chosen for a project based on the work you like to produce.

So yeah, just make stuff. But make the right stuff and you’ll be where you want to be all the time.

Rs

Roberto Serrini is a professional traveler who records his adventures in wordphotography and film. He is a staff writer for Get Lost Magazine, a senior contributor to Trip Advisor, as well as a commercial film director and drone pilot. His work can be seen at www.robertoserrini.com where he can be contacted as well.

what missus Kendrick taught me bout filmmaking.

With Lego’s. Little tiny Lego’s.

For the holidays, my girlfriend’s mother, Mrs Kendrick (she’s English, no period after the Mrs … look it up), sent me a lovely little package, and one of the little treats was a tiny (read Japanese) Lego kit from a dope little company called NanoBlock.

nanoblock. adorbs.

I haven’t played with Lego’s since I was about 10 I figure… so it hasn’t been years, it’s been decades, if not a lifetimes. I kept the little pack on my desk, admiring it from time to time, realizing that I would be hard pressed to find a moment where I would say, “now, I make a Lego Santa Clause. And tree.” – you see, I hardly have time to eat during the day, let alone dive into this mini-puzzle, but, nevertheless I kept it close by.

Today was the day my friends. Waiting on a particularly long render I decided to go for it, instead of catching up on the blogs, bills and bullshit that is the interweb.

topshot

What I discovered, is that even in this manual task, it taught me a few very key lessons in filmmaking. Of course, you can see how demented I am, that I can take a kids toy and translate it into 4 years of college education, but, I like to think there is a practical lesson in everything. So, let us begin.

Detailed shot lists are like directions from God.

directoions

You don’t have to be religious to make films, but you definitely have to believe in the devil, in Hell, and have some sort of faith that what you are doing isn’t totally bullshit. In so, shot lists are the key, the bible, the ten commandments, or other lists of do’s and don’t in whatever religion you subscript to. They are your Virgil guiding you through the seven rings of production hell, so you should follow them, closely, and believe in them. That also means you should have them to begin with, and take as much time as you can doing your pre-pro. You’re just gonna get out of the forest of hell faster that way. Have faith!

Some parts on paper will take less time.

order

And some much more. Some things on paper look wicked easy. FOOL! They are not. Other things which may look like you will need extra coffee and perhaps a blood transfusion for, will breeze by. Remember that you can only schedule to the best of your personal knowledge. Things will go fast, and some slow, you must remember to float down the river and not lose your head if you find yourself behind time. You will catch up.

Steady is a good speed.

pieces 3

Don’t pause, don’t rush, and don’t go too slow. This is a tough one for a New Yorker. Your intuition is to blast through things sometimes, which is never a good idea with production. Things take time. So take the time to do things. The key isn’t to take too much time. Dragging out something too long will make you lose energy, and then lose interest, and then, hell, why do it. Steady and strong is how things get done.

Trust the design, but know how to modify.

adjust 2

This is a key one. Like trusting your shotlist, trust the concept. You will, on set, want to try a thousand new things. Don’t. Trust the concept, that’s what got you there to begin with. That being said, the real skill comes when you know exactly what you can modify. This is the zen spot directors get into when they really understand a project, trusts their crew, and knows their client. It’s not about throwing everything against the wall and seeing what sticks, it’s about adding just a little mint, and maybe, just maybe, a pinch of marjoram, to really bring out the flavor.

Measure twice, cut twice.

adjust

Right. Always be accurate in what you want, and what you need to accomplish. Filmmaking isn’t about doing it perfect the first time, but, it definitely isn’t about “lets give this a try”. Trying is for third graders with finger paint. Try to draw a house Timmy. Yay Timmy! You are Tom now, you are 20 years older, and you have a paycheck on the line. Be specific, and sure, if you need to take it apart and put it back together then do it, just make sure you got a damn good reason Timmy.

There is a right order to do things.

order

There is a very good reason this thing came with directions because it would take some sort of special idiot Lego savant to put it together without the help of this Ikea-esque paper. Filmmaking is the same, there is a reason we shoot things out-of-order and that’s because time is money, and shooting things logically vs narratively saves you time, and therefore saves you money.

If you have extra, used it.

extra

Everyone is there. Set is paid for. Equipment rented. You find yourself with extra time because you followed all these commandments (Godly I know!) then use the time. Try something new. Fun. Different. There is no reason to waste anything on a set. Think of yourself as a Native American and this film is your animal carcass. Don’t let anything go to waste. Those ribs become a sick waistcoat, the eyeballs a keychain, the poopshoot a dope choker. Johnny Depp might really dig it, you never know. That being said you probably will end up with something like this little guy above who should be put down, so don’t get too attached. (yes, that’s a baby reindeer. Call me Robby)

Them be the things that came up during my hour making a little holiday cheer during a heavy render. Remember to make time for yourself, and that all presents are potentially gifts that keep giving. Thanks Mrs Kendrick, twas’ very much enjoyed.

Rs

crumbling clients.

So I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of visionary brands (and yes, this is where I list the best of them so you can see my net worth. Deal with it.) Victoria’s Secret, Reebok, Lincoln, you know, the big boys (and girls). No matter who the client is, and this is absolutely true, I approach the job the same way; that it is not a job. I enjoy what I do so I bring that enjoyment on set with me.

See, I used to have “a job”. I used to work in hotels. As in a “hotel manager”. I choose that job because it afforded me the ability to travel, and to pursue my passions as a filmmaker and writer and all that good stuff. Well, passions were pursued, and eventually I caught up with them, and now their my bitch. People ask me what I do in my free time. I either tell them “I don’t know what free time is” or “the same thing I do in my not free time”. The reason is if I wasn’t doing this for money, I would still be doing it, so I can’t really call what I do a job. Shhhhh. Don’t tell my clients.

 

The Secret is out... how can you call this work?
The Secret is out… how can you call this work?

So it doesn’t matter if its capturing bodies for Victoria’s Secret or cam shafts for Victor’s auto body, the work, the actual work I’m doing, is always enjoyable.

That’s why, when a client suddenly doesn’t call you back, you cry. (well I cry.)

Unlike in the hotel biz when a guest doesn’t return, you feel a tinge of pain, but you know that you’ve done all humanly possible to make their stay better than they dreamed, or remedied any situation beyond their expectations. I secretly loved being a manager, because I love people, and I love fixing problems, and people problems are the best kind to fix. If the filmmaking thing didn’t work out I was going to become a Jewish mother. There comes a point though where there really is nothing you can do to help a person because they have decided that there is nothing that can be done. It’s a two-way street with people, and I guess, that’s what makes it interesting.

With clients though, because you are doing what you love, because it is not a job but an extension of you, you take it very, very personally.

About a year ago I used to photograph cupcakes for Crumbs Bakery. It was a fantastic time; sometimes in the morning I would have to shoot a Victoria’s Secret model, then in the afternoon, about 3 dozen crazy cupcakes. I used to call it “panty and pastry Thursdays” and all my friends hated that, and me, subsequently. The cupcakes were ultimately much more exciting, mainly because you got to eat them at the end of the session, something that would never happen with the models.

crumbs cupcakes
I loved the plus sized models….

Things were going swimmingly. Each week a new batch. Flag day cupcakes, Halloween cupcakes, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, Boxing day, Woman’s Suffrage Day. Crumb’s came up with new flavors and design for nearly every little note on the calendar. We had a great time building dioramas, getting creative with cream and sugar, and it didn’t ever seem it would end.

But then, it did.

They just stopped calling. We called them, asked, “anything this week?” they would reply, “No. Nothing this week. We’ll see next week.” but next week was the same deal. Soon we would ask, “did we do something wrong?” and they would say. “No. It’s just some restructuring.” the client equivalent to “it’s not you, it’s me”.

Well, I can’t tell you, this happened months ago, and I don’t pass a Crumb’s bakery, or even have a slice of birthday cake and not think of those beautiful days I spent with my Crumb’s cupcakes. I wonder where she went to, who she was hanging out with, and who was letting her beadboard light off of her. I would be jealous some days, others, just sad, wondering what was it I did, or perhaps, didn’t do, to make her stay with me.

Today I saw the news. Crumb’s is to close all its stores. They are totally bankrupt.

I can’t say I am happy. It’s not like the girl who dumps you, then you see her 15 years later at a cousin’s wedding and she’s fat with some sort of a mullet and a boyfriend named Ted who’s in “finance” (sells auto insurance over the phone. Nice try Ted). No, it’s not like that. It’s more like you found out your love had a terminal illness, and instead of telling you, she let you go, as to not bring you down. Or it’s like, “damn. So that was it.” and you might be able to eat a slice of Cookie Puss now without that sinking feeling in your stomach (you’ll still get that feeling. I mean, its Carvel after all)

The point (is there one Rob?) is that when you do what you love, it is impossible sometimes to separate your emotions from your “work”. This is the real challenge; to be able to give yourself fully to what you do, but have the restraint to be able to make cold business decisions when need be. I am constantly guilty of doing more than what is budgeted mainly because it doesn’t bother me. When you’ve listened to Hollywood hipsters complain about how they can’t get into the SkyBar for 5 years, and how it’s ruining their lives, then any request from a client asking to do something that you love just seems like heaven.

First world problems I suppose. Good luck Crumb’s. You will always have a sweet spot in my heart.

Rs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

where i like to stick it.

Mind out of the gutter folks. In the last post, I told you what I was taking. Now look where it’s all going. Actually, keep your mind in the gutter, for this is a bag so goddamn sexy, you may want to make love to it.

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This little hottie is the Partner’s & Spade VSTR Nomadic pack. Just say it with me… VSTR Nomadic Pack. If that doesn’t tickle the cockles then I dont know what’s gonna get you off the couch. Sure, it’s handsome as is, with it’s boot straps, architectural wire frame, and waxed canvas dopeness. But like all dangerous women, this one holds a surprise.

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That’s right bitches. That’s a messenger bag and … what? A MOTHERFUCKING HAMMOCK.

We’re done here.

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Hammock people. I did mention I was going to Cambodia. The last piece of the puzzle is my trusty Compass, given to me by Danger Zone lover Sami Joensuu for surviving eating Balut with him in the jungle.

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