Everyone drives in LA, so I decided to take a long walk. It was from Burbank to Santa-Monica, which is a 6-hour challenge.
This simple way of choosing a different path makes you think in an entirely new way. Fresh connections develop in your brain as your legs get tired. Since the cage of the car does not protect you, it's possible to meet real human beings on your way. Some are nice. Others are questionable. The coolest part is that you have an opportunity to interact with them.
You may encounter weird individuals, but that's okay. That's the beauty of it. You genuinely feel alive. You learn more about yourself and what is crucial. On lucky days you can unveil absolute treasures of life.
Take a path that is strange and adventurous. It has to be original and spontaneous. Dare the world, and off you go.
Tim Turner, aka (T&T), is an ambitious engineer. He graduated from Stanford, majoring in data science. He leads a minimalist lifestyle. Tim is a top gun in his field.
Tim is obsessed with the development of a new wave of artificially intelligent personal devices. Tim ignores the fact that there are 24 hours in a day. His greatest fear is to die without making a significant impact.
Tim likes to drink rare teas regularly. They cost so much that you can buy a house for Tim's annual tea budget. He plays hand drums to relax. Tim is single, except for his prototype of a self-made artificially intelligent woman. He claims that she’s nothing more than his assistant. Tim lacks experiences with women, as well as socializing with people in public, but it doesn't bother him.
Tim is an orphan. He inherited a small house in Pasadena which he turned into one big laboratory. Tim's primary source of income - orders from private clients for custom made intelligent robots. Tim never meets his buyers. All orders are shipped via mail.
Tim strives to optimize his sleep but fails miserably for most of the time. Occasionally, Tim hallucinates the end of the world and dreams about it too. Some people say that he knows the future. It may or may not be true, but he's definitely onto something.
Early Sunday morning, a young man CHARLIE was passing a corner of the Broadway and Ocean Boulevard in Santa Monica. He stopped at a coffee shop to grab a hot energizing drink. He stared at the menu for a long time. BARISTA couldn't wait any longer, so he offered Charlie some of the today's specials. That silenced Charlie for another seemingly endless chunk of time. Eventually, Charlie chose americano. This entire experience made Charlie feel very anxious.
He left the coffee shop wiping the sweat off his forehead, leaving customers and Barista making funny comments about him. A few runners in their colorful, branded outfit, were doing their Sunday morning run, which was sponsored by a fitness tracking app.
The sound of coins in the metal mug attracted Charlie. "Excuse me, sir," HOMELESS asked, "spare change?" Charlie looked at Homeless, terrified, and he ran away. Homeless looked at Chalie, thinking that Charlie is out of his mind. Charlie ultimately got out of his breath, and he sat at the bus stop bench. A moment later, a bus arrived, the door opened. Charlie was studying BUS DRIVER who was indifferent to Charlie’s actions. Charlie didn't enter so Bus Driver closed the door and left.
A sensation of the upcoming rain, troubled Charlie, he looked up at the sky which was getting dark surprisingly fast. Multiple bolts of lightning appeared in the distance above the Pacific Ocean. Charlie was stunned. People around Charlie pulled out their smartphones, recording the sky, which one could describe as the end of the world. Lots of birds were going crazy, and dogs were barking. A few cars crashed into each other. It got very dark and loud in a blink of an eye. Some trees were hit by thunderbolts, which set them on fire.
Amid this chaos and destructions, Charlie saw a girl who he couldn't take his eyes off. He finally decided to approach her, but the lightning struck him in the head. Now, Charlie doesn't have to worry about any decisions.
When you’ve lost a sense of mission, here are the magnificent seven questions to get you back on track.
1) Today is your last day. How would you spend it?
2) What’s the most challenging activity you’ve done?
3) If you were 90 years old, what would you tell your current self?
4) If your profession becomes obsolete in 12 months, what new skill would you start learning today?
5) Imagine that tomorrow you go to a one-way mission to Mars. Today you have 3 hours to meet your friends and family. Who would those people be and why?
6) If today you had time to volunteer, what type of work would you choose and why?
7) If you irreversibly lost all your possessions and money in the morning, what would you do for the rest of your day?
Remember that most of the things become insignificant when you compare them to the age of the universe.
Who said that we have to live life the way it’s advertised to us? All of us possess the inner beast that wants you to unleash him. This is not about people judging you. This is not about the bad news world throws at you. It’s about how brave you are to follow your dream.
I assure you, everyone has one. It’s already in you. Are you going to pause and succumb to the addictive content? Or you’re going to roll up your sleeves and commence the work of your life, the one you were born for. Wake up! It’s time. You’ve waited enough. You’ve got all the wisdom you need to start.
Turn off all the distraction and focus on what you desire the most in life. It must make your heart beat faster. Connect with the rhythm of your being. Feel it. It’s yours. As long as your heart beats, you have the power of the Universe on your side. Given that, you will work harder than you have ever done before.
Your success equals the amount of labor you’ve put into your desire. Now, get out of your old life as fast as you can and begin the fantastic adventure towards your life’s mission.
LINDA flies almost fuel-less Cessna 172. There is a vast ocean ahead, and no signs of land. Her navigator ROGER is dead.
Propellers stop spinning. Cessna glides down to the sea. The plane gains momentum when a THUNDERSTORM devours the aircraft. Linda barely holds on to the seats in front of her. The plane shakes hard.
A BULLET-SHAPED VESSEL prevents Electra's crash, several feet away from the ocean's surface.
CAPTAIN of the mysterious VESSEL invites Linda aboard the sleek aircraft. A crew welcomes Linda as a Messiah. The legend says, "A savior will fall from the sky." In a blink of an eye, Linda watches Captain and the crew disappear. They were holograms. The ship operates itself away.
Linda meets human beings of the avatars she saw on the bullet-shaped vessel. They call themselves OUTCASTS and they risked everything by leaving their VR incubators.
In this world, people live in Virtual Reality. A long time ago, humanity sacrificed their bodies to the World of VR. Interactions in real-life prohibited by LIFE HUNTER, the human-like creature that owns the real life. The punishment - slavery in his castle for life. Life Hunter sucks human energy to feed himself.
Life Hunter imprisons Linda and the Outcasts in the castle. Linda has no clue on how to escape. Outcasts sure that solution will come to Linda in the right moment.
Linda struggles to find out what she must do. Life Hunter puts each outcast through the series of cruel mental labor that tremendously challenges their minds and bodies. After these sessions, they all crawl out exhausted.
One of the Outcasts can't bear the pressure and degrades to a baby mentality. Outcasts start to doubt that Linda is the savior.
Linda's turn. Life Hunter exploits her. She overcomes torturous mind drudgery. Life Hunter overloads her brain more, Linda's sense of reality blurs. Her mind slowly turns against her. Linda sees things that try to kill her will, her humanity. It pisses off Life Hunter. Linda gets tired, but she walks out of the torture chamber. Outcasts are fascinated. There's hope.
Next day, Life Hunter aggressively increases the intensity of Linda's thought challenges. Linda envisions series of high-pressure flights which make her mind to feel physical pain. After this session, Linda crawls to outcasts, and she still hasn't found the way to beat the Life Hunter.
Linda discovers that she must let go of her ego and accept things that happen to her as they are. Stop resisting them or trying to control, merely allowing them to go. Linda avoids any interactions with Life Hunter as if he isn't there. Life Hunter gets pissed, but he realizes that his influence on Linda is declining. Soon, she disappears from Life Hunter's eyes. The anger grows within Life Hunter until it destroys him.
Outcasts leave the castle. They can live in real life now and teach others how to do the same. Linda flies the Cessna over the ocean towards the horizon. The light grows brighter until Linda dissolves in it.
Before you make your next short film, it is vital to budget all the essential elements that you will need to get your film screened at the festivals. It could cost you zero money, but you should keep in mind all the essential elements.
Director/Director of photography
The heart and brain of your movie. One person could do both.
A personal stylist for your film.
The face of your movie.
A competent person who takes care of all the non-creative stuff is priceless.
Sound mixer/Boom operator
Without a good sound, no reasonable festival will accept your film.
They will make sure that your lights and camera are doing their best job. An excellent crew is your secret time saver.
You need something to shoot with.
A secret weapon for smooth production.
Make everyone’s life easier and take care of it in advance.
A place where you’ll put your camera.
For a piece of mind.
A soul of your movie.
This creator will get your film to the finish line and make sure it is ready for submission.
Add 15 % of your budget for unpredictable.
And remember that we earn money to make movies and not the vice versa. Have fun on your shoot.
This is the mantra I repeat to myself each time I feel like I’m not sure whether I’m capable of completing a project. When you create a piece of art, the main idea is to share your message with the world. You can do it through books, fine art, or movies. Any medium you want is at your disposal. The process will be the same for all of them - work, finish, publish. You can come up with the most innovative idea in the world, but if you only dream about it, no one will see it.
Our fears trigger procrastination, and therefore, nothing gets done. Every single individual on planet Earth has a creative side of the brain. The reason that only a few people become known is that they spend their time working on developing an idea, then they have the confidence to complete it, and at the end of the process courage to release it into the world. All of the artists and creators are aware of the fact that some people won’t like their work. They don’t let the opinion of the critics to guide their creative process.
Everyone has the power to send a message to the world, I’m sure of it, but I’m also aware of the fact how hard it is to build something from scratch. Avoid falling into the trap of procrastination. Every one of us has a unique set of experiences that we could transform into a powerful message. When in doubt: work, finish, publish. Yes, you can create. Yes, people will judge you for that, but do it anyway, because you can.
Having a physical library, that is perfectly organized, could be a bliss for some people. You would have 24-hour access to your favorite books, and pleasure of having interaction with beautiful paper pages.
Online stores make it so easy to buy books, so people buy more of them. At some point, we realize that we overspent on books without actually reading most of them. The books sit and collect dust on the shelves, and there is no one to clean them. That's when I discovered a way to have a virtual library of all book formats: paperback, audiobook, and ebook.
The solution is pretty simple - create a list of books that you read each year and use a public library as your primary supplier of reading material. It's free, and you don't have to accumulate the paper in your house. Also, if you don't like a particular book, you can quickly return it. When you finish reading a book, write some details about the book (name, author, year, type) and number your entry.
By the end of the year, you will have a long list of books you've completed, and you don't have to worry about buying a new bookshelf. In case you have an urge to reread them, it is remarkably easy to place a new hold at your local library. If you still have a desire to build your physical library, you will have an opportunity to pick the best books from your list. You will enjoy the fantastic selection of great manuscripts based on the personal reading experience. As for me, the virtual library concept works exceptionally well, so I will stick with it for a while.
The earliest memory that connects me to filmmaking dates back to my elementary school years in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. My grandfather brought me to a film set for the first time. It was an unforgettable experience. Each time coming with him was like a magical trip to a different world. People called my grandfather the "king of extras." What I loved about my grandfather the most was the fact that he was a soldier during World War II while he was having lots of fun as an extra, like a kid.
Film sets have something special in them, something that is hard to describe. When I come there, it feels like home. During these set visits, I fell in love with cinema. I started to watch a movie after movie, followed by re-watching sessions. I was trying to figure out the way they were made. It inspired me to make my home videos using a miniDV camera that I got as a present. Friends and family liked them. I even won some prizes at the local film festivals. It was a hobby, but I enjoyed it very much. I didn't even think that making films can be a career.
I got into a finance university, which was a common path, especially in the city where I lived, but I felt that it wasn't something that I wanted to do. I took an academic vacation and went to study English in New York, USA. A whole new country, an entirely new world, appeared in front of me. While being there, I realized that making films can be a real job. I started to visit filmmaking schools all over New York. I checked all of the film programs, and, eventually, I found one school that offers a scholarship for MFA in filmmaking for international students. I set myself a goal to apply for the school.
I went back to Russia and switched to an accelerated study program at my finance university to get a bachelor degree as soon as possible. A year later, I am in NY again. But now, I am learning how to make films. I realized how exciting director's job really is, even though it's challenging. We were shooting films every weekend while studying the theory of directing, acting, screenwriting, cinematography, and editing. I found out that in the US, people usually watch foreign movies in the original language, whereas in Russia all international films are dubbed. I learned how films are made on a big scale and the importance of developing screenwriting skills if you want to be a director.
While at film school, I was involved in various student film productions. I was taking every crew job possible. Also, I had experience working at the Universal Studios backlot, where I learned about a production process on big studio sets. The hands-on experience taught me a lot about the movie-making industry as a whole.
Some days, we were shooting more than 16 hours. Occasionally I slept in vans with film equipment. I wanted to save money on parking and guard the equipment at the same time. I learned how much time it takes to make a good shot and how to manage time on set well. The more prepared you are as the director, the more effective production becomes, plus you gain trust from the crew and cast.
My ultimate goal is to create worlds where the audience would be able to escape and experience all kinds of emotions, like during a long-term adventure. I want to prove that there is no limit to imagination.
It was hot and humid Sunday morning on the streets of Manhattan. I exited a hostel on the Upper Westside and headed to the JFK airport where I would take a plane to Chicago. I was wearing only swimming shorts and a tank top — the rest of the clothes I had dropped off at the laundromat the night before.
The following day, when I returned to pick the laundry, the building was closed, which meant I would never see my favorite clothes again, and it was a week's worth. After a few moments of frustration, I started to laugh at myself. It was so ridiculous and cartoonish that I wasn't sure whether it actually happened. It did, of course, but it felt odd.
Then I was contemplating my life while listening to the "Space Oddity" by David Bowie on loop. There was something in that morning. I was alone in NYC without anyone knowing I was visiting. An incredible sense of freedom was fulfilling my soul until it put me in a Zen state.
A presence of destiny seemed to be all-around as if I was meant to be in that moment - a very mystical feeling. A fountain of creativity and endless possibilities was opening for me, and I was feeling grateful for that.
The song was still in my earphones, and with a coffee cup in my hand, I was watching people through the shop window. The morning lights were painting the streets of Manhattan. It is my favorite time of the day — an opportunity for a new start.
I observed pedestrians hurrying along the sidewalk. Everybody had a defined purpose in life. Or so it seemed. What is our purpose in life? That's the question that won't have a definite answer. In that morning, I felt the joy of beginning something new and great. I could say that I was in sync with my life mission. I was on the right path.
I was running along the Hudson River in New York at night, and the red glow from "exit" signs inside of the buildings attracted my attention. I felt an evil presence in them as if some secret power controls all those structures. I could almost sense its invisible heartbeat.
Then I thought this "ghostly beast" has eyes as well. Surveillance cameras, smartphones, and other devices can see almost everything we do. There is a possibility that this "beast" is Artificial Intelligence (AI), and it secretly uses those devices to gather data. What does it do with it? Could AI decide to expand its influence? If the answer is "yes," it would want to make the world absolutely efficient, but not necessarily in the right way. The ghostly beast could annihilate or enslave all humankind. Perhaps, it would be able to come up with something even worse.
Even though it's impossible to stop the advancement of AI, we can focus on developing our inner abilities, which are still at a very early stage. Even the smartest people use only 13% of their brains. What can we do if we will be able to use more than that? Superpowers might be one of the answers. In the meantime, we have to keep an eye on our relationship with AI.
Speaking in front of an audience can be terrifying, especially if you haven’t been doing it regularly. Focus your preparation on the effectiveness of your communication. It is explained in a few facts:
The percentage of data our minds receive from a speaker:
Words: 7 %
Voice tone: 38 %
Body language: 55 %
Effectiveness level (0 - Ineffective, 10 - most effective):
Performance (Speaking at the audience) ===> 0
Presentation (Speaking to the audience) ===> 5
Conversation (Speaking with the audience) ===> 10+
Level up your speech. Spend time mastering your non-verbal vocabulary and find a way to have a conversation with your audience. Good luck!
I write screenplays regularly, so for me, it is unacceptable to have a writer's block. Therefore, I am continually looking for great pieces of advice that revive my enthusiasm. Here is the first block that I compiled for myself that I want to share with you. I like to keep the list short because too much good advice gets you anxious.
Learn how to tell a story in one line. It's essential.
Write long and then narrow it down.
Note-giving and note-taking is a crucial part of your editing process.
Reading your script should feel like watching a movie.
Writing is like surfing: "You do too little or too much - nobody does it perfectly."
Have Beginning-Middle-End to everything you do.
You have a deadline, and you must deliver.
The lesser you known, the more projects you should have.
Don't send your pitch in email.
Call WGA when in doubt, they protect your rights.
Make a rip reel out of created work, instead of spending a lot of money on a proof of concept.
People in a pitch wants to know who YOU are.
Storytelling is a muscle - regular practice is essential.