Tag: aspirations

Your Art is crap…but that’s okay

I’ve been putting it off for too long.

Let me fill you in: I wrote a novel four years ago. My first reaction? Hell YEAH! Take that Stephen King. Eat my dust JK Rowling. James Patterson—who’s that?! So there it was, a completed manuscript, in my hard drive, fermenting in digital soy sauce. And you know what? I was happy. I was exuberant. I was feeling like a freakin’ genius.

I read it last week.

 

It was crap. Damn…

I’ve written a few rudimentary novels in my twenty-seven years alive. I really cared about this one. That’s why it hurt. That’s why it hit me hard. That’s why I’m writing about it now.

Listen up. I believe this.

I believe that all artists—directors, writers, painters, singers, rappers, poets, and interpretative mime artists—take their art seriously. Too seriously. We’re an insecure group that craves affirmation and acceptance. We want people to say: “Hey, that was awesome!” although know-one truly cares. We want people to call us a genius, when, most of the time, our best work will remain invisible.

I envision my writing craft as a Jujitsu-trained pelican. It stabs me with its bill every time I make a mistake. It hits me hard. Every time. Pelicans don’t like me. Interesting fact.

Moving on.

I had to be honest: Kane, you’re a crap writer. Your sock choices are horrendous, too. Idiot.

But wait. Was it really that bad?

Think break. It hit me when I was on the MRT. There are levels to crap. It’s true—every profession, every artwork, every piece of work. So I began to think: what did I really do?

I transformed a dream…into a reality.

We often don’t give ourselves credit, but sometimes, the simple act of creating is enough. Transforming a dream into a reality, something you can see, read and touch, is an incredible feat. It takes time. It takes focus. It takes blood, sweat and repeated pokes to the heart. So what if we weren’t so self critical all the time? Where would that lead us?

Here’s my advice: Just complete. See your creations through.

Create your own story—an oil painting, a film, a stick figure drawing—and finish it. Make it personal. Care about it. Love it. Don’t have sex with it. That’s weird. But love the process.

Sometimes we need to think of our work as crap to push ourselves forward. And it’s okay to admit when it’s not your best work. Sometimes we put in infinite amounts of effort, and get nothing back.

Know this: you are making better crap every time. Slow steps. There are geniuses in the world. The simple fact is all of us aren’t. So practice and go through those growing pains. Pain is growth.

Right now I’m editing the second draft of my young adults novel. I’m looking back at myself four years ago, and I can see the intention, the enthusiasm, the fire to finish. But…

Art will never be perfect.

There will always be a “better idea”, a “better sentence” or a “better shot”. Make mistakes. Learn to love them. Do better next time.

So keep going. Success is just over that hill of crap.

You have a power beyond measure – GRADUATION!

I’m back again!

Apologies for the lack of posts but there was a good reason! Over the last few months  a lot has happened! It’s a time of transition for me – both professionally and maybe even a little spiritually (more on that later!). And it all began with my graduation from Chapman University Singapore with a B.F.A in Creative Producing last Sunday!

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For those of you that don’t know, I have been a full time student for the past two years, learning the intricacies of what it means to be a creative producer, media entrepreneur, storyteller and writer. I delved into everything from scriptwriting, marketing, distribution, film finance, new media and beyond! And it was one hell of a ride!

I think I truly found my calling at Chapman University. Call it destiny. Why do I feel this way? Because there comes a moment, as you work, create and ‘live’ what you are doing, that things become more lucid. The more hours you put into something, the more it eventually unravels, revealing truth.

For me, it was understanding that I could not only make filmmaking and storytelling my career, but also, as my gift to other people and the world.

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I was honoured to be the Valedictorian of the Class of 2013 (yipeee!) and was able to give a (nerve-wracking) speech. At first, it was near impossible to write. I had themes, but no words were coming out. I kept thinking that I had to be better than all of those great speeches on Youtube. Eventually, I settled on telling a story about how we all have a “power beyond measure”. And of course, talking about my experiences with my fellow classmates who I admire and respect.


My belief is that whatever you do as a career, remember you can change people for the better. In fact, it doesn’t have to be just your career – just you. The realisation makes your actions, words and thoughts have a far more powerful effect. An imprint that can change people’s lives – and hey, possibly the world.

There is so much suffering in the world – so much pain. I don’t think I need to convince you. The way you think matters. What you do matters. I don’t care if it’s making a film, writing a blog post or cleaning tables at a restaurant. It matters.

Why?

Because it can make a difference in other people’s lives. And isn’t that what we all want in life? To feel connected? I certainly do.

There is nothing more powerful than a caring act or an inspirational word at the right time. It doesn’t even have to be much. A smile. A handshake. A carefully worded text message. A caring whisper.

Embrace the fact that you can change your life.

During my two years in Chapman I met a variety of people and went through an even wider variety of challenges. Everything was made easier by relating it to people – human beings – than to the work at hand.

Trust me when I say this also: keep at it. I have also been through challenges these past few years – challenges that have threatened to derail my dreams. Things have always turned around. Life’s set-backs have a funny way of getting the hell out of your way if you don’t give up. It wants you to seek out the path of least resistance. Don’t follow. Seek out your own path and a reward will be waiting for you at the end.

I now look forward to trekking into the unknown. I have a lot of dreams. One is to helm my own animation series on a network. Another is to become an motivational speaker. I want to produce films, write novels and interact with greater minds than my own. I’ll take one step at a time – one word at a time if I need to.

Embrace your ability to change the world around you. Nothing is impossible.

How to Work Well with Others (And Make Everyone Happy)

As a writer, producer and budding entrepreneur it’s sometimes important to think about people. During the course of our lives, we’ll have to work with a whole host of people – whether in school, personally or during our careers.

That’s a fact.

Some people we will like. Others will be mere acquaintances (and we won’t like!). However the concept that lies beneath both of these facts – is that we MUST work with others at some point in our lives.

We simply cannot do everything ourselves.

If you want to achieve a goal (whether big or small) and feel passionately about it – then roping in the help of others is imperative.

But how do you strike a balance between your work goals and personal ones? How do you get the best out of that relationship, without ruining the work part?

What’s the secret to achieving your dreams…with others…and maybe even contributing to theirs?

1. People are NOT obliged to keep working with you: Every relationship is different. Every project or endeavor is too. But the important thing to note is: these are people you are working with — not robots.

They may have other things going on in their lives, have separate goals and dreams for themselves.

If it’s a personal dream/project of yours, and if they choose to help you out, it is your duty to make the experience as pleasant as possible. Think about it when you think about the project. They WILL appreciate it.

It’s not always about the end goal. It’s about the journey too.

Always remember that the people you work with (or have asked to help YOU) DO NOT have to be here. It doesn’t matter if you’ve known them for 2 days or 20 years. They are doing it out of a need to help you and they’re contributing to your dreams.

Respect that.

2. Listen – Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone sometimes has an idea or dream that gets too out of hand.

Listen to the people you are working with.

They are not trying to make your life more difficult. If there’s something they feel is wrong or strange about your work – then it is very likely others will feel the same too.

Feel free to push your ideas, but never forget that you should listen to their point of view. Acknowledge that you do. Then make a decision.

The goal is to make the work better through collaboration – not to use people like a sock.

3. Acknowledge their contributions: A pat on the back (maybe not literally). A thank you (spoken). A paid for coffee after it’s all said and done.

These will make others feel like they have not been used. Thank others for their contributions whether they’re big or small. Suck it up. Don’t feel just because they contributed a little that it didn’t mean anything to them.

The fact they tried to help you achieve your dreams means something. They put aside their dreams for an hour, a minute, a day — to help you.

Thank them for it.