Gearing up for the launch of my second blog was an amazing experience. I’ve been having a blast developing new content as well as the overall look and feel of the website. It’s been a challenge but the results have been incredibly rewarding.
This new site was my chance to delve into short stories while giving myself yet another excuse to write everyday. It’s a site that ties in very well to this blog while providing me with some pretty exciting creative opportunities. Basically, what I’m trying to say is, I love my new website. Before the finalizing my launch plans, I spent a lot of time thinking about how to make the new site as unique and interesting as possible.
To help inspire my work, I turned to the definitive web design movie:
The Social Network
What better way to inspire creativity than watching a movie about the creation of the most successful social network of all time? Facebook. While the film’s story is damn good, watching the characters react to inspiration while dedicating themselves to a project they believe in is fascinating. I could have easily watched the first 45 minutes or so over and over again just to watch the characters work.
Even though I really don’t know much about programming, it’s the creative energy that kept me glued to the screen. It’s the themes of inspiration, motivation, commitment and competition that made this a perfect movie to watch.
The second the film ended, I got to work on a couple new graphics for the launch. I found myself working faster than my fingers could move. In the film, they refer to this experience as being ‘wired in’. What a great term. There I was, wired in because a movie ignited my imagination. This is why I love movies. There’s one for every situation and emotional state of mind. On this particular occasion, The Social Network delivered exactly what I needed.
Now that my new website is finished, I can focus on creating new content and watching it evolve. There is a lot of work to do and if I ever get stuck, I’ll know what movie to turn to.
More information on the launch is coming! Stay tuned
These days, you have to be able to promote your films online. It’s impossible not to. You don’t need a massive budget to have websites, blogs, twitter accounts, Facebook updates, Youtube videos, posters, artwork and more for your films. It’s a free and effective way to get yourself out there. When it comes to promotional materials, you can do a lot with very little. The only thing you really need is a vision, a copy of Photoshop (or a graphic designer friend) and a lot of patience while you learn.
Years ago, I decided to teach myself Photoshop. I wanted to create websites, posters and other related promotional materials for 17 West’s projects. What started as a simple website soon turned into 4 including a blog that would promote them all.
That’s when my addiction started. Each new item needed to have a logo or an image attached.
But I’m not a graphic designer. So I had to rely on tutorials, books and blogs about design to see what was possible.
Obviously, all the research and practice paid off as I’m confident that my design work doesn’t suck. I’m not saying I’m a pro because I’m not. I don’t know color theory or overall composition techniques. I don’t really consider things like balance and other rookie mistakes designers make.
But I know enough now to create images that help direct people to the content I want them to see.
It all starts with a challenge.
Find something you like and try to duplicate it. You’ll never know unless you try!
The image below is from a hockey game I was watching recently. I liked the look of the image and decided to see if I could make one myself. The result is my new Movies image above. I think I got it pretty close.
However, it’s not enough to simply copy another designer’s work. What’s the point if you don’t bring anything original to it?
So while the Movies image is pretty close, I took the new techniques I learned and applied it to this image:
And this one…
And this one…
These new banners are another leap forward for me in terms of techniques and overall detail. My work is getting more and more realistic but I still believe I can be better.
Who knows what image will inspire me next. I’m always on the lookout for something new to try. Especially when 17 West isn’t in production on a new film. (That’s going to change pretty quickly though)
If you don’t have a home on the internet to show off your work and can’t afford to pay someone to do it for you I recommend the following.
1. Start a blog
You don’t need a heavy background in web development to get a site online these days. I recommend WordPress and a good free theme to get you started.
Make it your own. Look at other movie blogs for examples. Set yourself a part from the rest. Be unique.
3. Learn Photoshop
You don’t need a course. All you need is an internet connection to access tutorials and a little dedication. It’s frustrating at first when your images don’t turn out the way you hoped but power through it. Eventually you’ll surprise yourself.
4. Find inspiration and run with it.
Continue to learn new techniques and apply it to new film projects you are working on.
5. Repeat Step 4 keep evolving!
I’ve been addicted to Photoshop for about 5 years now. Recently, I started reading Advanced Photoshop Magazine and realized just how much more there is to learn. To some that would seem daunting but I think it’s exciting.
6. Don’t Forget Your Movies!
I’ve spent the last few days messing with Photoshop but it’s time to switch gears back to Screenwriting. These skills are worthless if you don’t have anything to promote!
I then spent a little time promoting and networking. (Social media etc…)
When I was finished it was time for lunch. I didn’t mess around here. Chicken, veggies and rice. From scratch. No big deal.
During lunch I watched some special features from my Star Trek Blu Ray. (Sweet)
When I returned to my office I decided it was time to start messing around with my newest project: An eBook. It’s an idea I’ve been kicking around for a while and I took some time to plan out what I wanted it to be. Then I went ahead and started gathering source materials. It’s going to be a side project of mine over the summer so stay tuned for more details on that.
Once 3:30pm rolled around, it was time to get showered and head to work to edit live television for the evening.
Tonight, it’s all about sports and editing.
Tomorrow, I probably won’t do as much… I really feel like… Not doing much…
This week happens to be the 3 month anniversary of this website. (The 15th to be exact) While The Athletic Nerd is still in it’s infancy, I thought I’d talk a little bit about what’s in store for 2010. It’s been an incredibly fun journey so far sharing my thoughts on movies, television and technology but I’ve got bigger and nerdier plans for the future.
The Athletic Nerd Brand
A while back I wrote a 2 part post called Self Branding. The branding continues with the new logo I’m unveiling here today. I think it’s important for a site to establish it’s identity from the beginning so you’ll be seeing those blue and red letters around the site more and more. It’s a fairly simple logo but it will certainly evolve along with the blog. (Actually, I guarantee it. I love revisions and redesigns.)
If there is anything I’ve learned about blogging during these last few months, it’s the importance of setting yourself apart from similar blogs. I’ll be dedicating a lot of time and research to continue refining the type of content I create and the audience I want to reach.
In terms of overall design, I think the site has finally found a good look and I’ll be sticking with it until a completely customized site can be designed. For now I want to focus on content and gaining more readers.
Film, TV and Technology from a personal and professional perspective.
This is the style I strive to achieve in my writing. You’ll never see a post that just regurgitates the news of the day. Instead, you’ll get a personal look into how the subject inspires creativity. Over the past 3 months, I’ve introduced a variety of different features that strenghten that idea.
Rainy Sundays – Probably the most popular feature on the site right now. Once a week, I dig into the past and pull out a movie you could easily watch on those lazy days when you just want to sit back and enjoy a classic. Throughout 2010, I’m planning to keep adding films to the Rainy Sunday list regularily with a couple added twists here and there. Click here for more…
What!? – Surprising news. Trailer debuts. Shocking announcements. It’s the closest thing you’ll find to a news article on this site but it’s reserved only for those special moments I just have to write about. Click here for more…
Really!? – A look at the little details about the industry that annoy. The beauty of the subjects on this site is they can both excite and frustrate. Films can flop. Equipment breaks. Hear about my personal encounters here. Click here for more…
10 Flicks – A relatively new feature that’s still evolving. At first, I wanted to have a countdown feature on this site. As time went on, I decided to take a different approach. So they are no longer countdowns and instead, will be carefully selected picks that fit the hot topic of the day. Click here for more…
Spotlight - Many blogs have reviews of popular sites, movies, blogs and technology but many do not detail how it affects their lives professionally and creatively. Why not give a personal account in addition to the normal review structure. Here is where I’ll be sharing what inspires me in my career. Click here for more…
iPhone FX – This is a rare feature that won’t show up often but it’s a fun side project of mine. Currently, I do not own a video camera and I have a deep obsession with motion graphics. When I got my iPhone, I saw an opportunity to add some effects to the videos I take. Once in a while when I have some time to mess around, I’ll be posting some shots with some added style and effects. Click here for more…
All of these features will remain and a few more will be added in the coming months. (I’m actually pretty excited about the newest features.)
17 West Productions Returns
First and foremost, I’m a professional editor at a major sports network in Canada. Beyond that, I also co-own a production company with my business partner Eric Gamache. Since The Athletic Nerd launched, there hasn’t been much to report in terms of new projects but that will be changing in a matter of weeks.
I’ll be directing a new short film beginning in January and I’ll be updating daily on the production. Every aspect of the film will be detailed with behind the scenes videos and stills.
In addition to that, we have 2 more productions ready to get underway. One is currently casting and I’m preparing to write the other in January. Expect regular updates on those projects as well.
You’ll also be seeing better integration with 17west.ca. The site will be getting a series of updates once these productions begin and I’ll be using The Athletic Nerd as a compliment to the stories on that site. Head over to 17W for the news and check out this site for rest!
A Screenwriter At Work
A few weeks ago, I started posting more and more about screenwriting. I don’t claim to be an expert but I will be posting personal accounts while I’m grinding out the pages. It’s my number 1 passion on this planet. I love screenwriting.
The Expansion Team
In 2010, you can expect to see contributions from other bloggers and people in the industry. I’ll be adding posts from a variety of working professionals as well as dedicated fans of film. Both sides of the industry in one place.
Obviously, the goal is to gain a steady stream of traffic to the site. The Athletic Nerd is still young but there is a lot of content here already. 2010 will be about generating more and better content for the readers I have and the readers I have yet to encounter.
This site has given me an excuse to write everyday. I may not have time to work on my latest script or a new revision but there is always twenty minutes here and there to write about what I love and why I love it. All the best in 2010. Visit often. Tell your friends.
2009 was a groundbreaking year for 17 West Productions.
We finished two short films, launched three websites and planted a few seeds for a pretty amazing 2010. Over at 17west.ca, I’ve posted the top 5 stories of 2009 as well as a look ahead at our upcoming slate of productions. That’s the official company perspective. I’d also like to offer my personal opinions on the last year.
2009 was both productive and frustrating for me. Productive because of the movies we finished and the sites we launched but frustrating because of the length of time it took to accomplish these goals.
I’m a workaholic at heart. Everything about my career and my company inspires me to be creative. Editing sports and producing movies is as good as it gets as far as I’m concerned. I just wish I had more time to do both. Balancing what essentially amounts to two separate careers leaves little room for extra projects. Directing and handling the post-production process for Playing Through nearly wore me out. (Let alone teaching myself web design.)
It hard to organize a team of people who all have different schedules around my limited number of days off. It meant a lot of long days and a massive commitment on my part. I was also lucky to work with people who were just as dedicated and that in itself is inspiring to me. It’s one of the many reasons why Playing Through was my favorite part of 2009…
John Steptoe and Michael Clarke
This film was easily our most ambitious yet. We shot it in June 2008 at Clear Springs Golf Course just outside of North Bay, Ontario. With an amazing cast and crew in place it was easily one of the coolest weeks of my life. (Even though it was extremely hot and we spent twelve hours a day in the sun. Actually, I was a fan of that too.)
I’m extremely proud of Playing Through. I learned an enormous amount about running a production. Most of that comes from my business partner Eric who handled most of the business side of things because I was clueless. What I’ll take away from the experience is how much work I’m willing to put in to make a movie I’m happy to show off. That dedication will easily spill over into 2010 where I’m planning my second short film, The Climb.
If you asked me two years ago, if I would be able to teach myself photoshop, web design and create 3 websites I would have told you that I wouldn’t quit until I accomplished those goals. That doesn’t mean I thought I would actually pull it off but I wasn’t going to quit until I figured it out.
These three sites are the result of well over a year’s worth of research and development. Yet even now, I still consider myself a beginner with a lot to learn and nothing but commitment to get better. I really love the fact that I now have enough knowledge to completely redesign the sites whenever I want. I’m not sure if I will in the near future but I love design, I love marketing and I love Photoshop so who knows. Web design has given me another creative outlet which has become my second favorite past time outside of writing.
I’ve been writing screenplays since highschool. Yet I’ve never experienced a year quite like 2009. I pretty much stopped calling myself a writer. I thought about it all the time but I could never seem to find the time to sit down and do what I love the most about this industry.
That changed a few weeks ago when I finished Eric’s website. I keep a running list of projects and tasks I have to finish. For the last 2 years it’s been insurmountable. Every time I finished something, another 3 would pop up. I suppose it was my fault that writing wasn’t high on that list. However, after finishing ericgamache.com, my list was blank for the first time in years. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. I was literally staring at a blank Microsoft Word document wondering what’s next.
So I started a new list. At the top? Finally finishing the feature script I’ve been working on for the last 3 years. Many who know me well, know this particular story is extremely personal and important to me as a writer and yes, I’m calling myself a writer again.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve felt rejuvenated as a screenwriter. A part of me was afraid I would never get it back. I’m happy when I’m writing and it’s the biggest lesson I learned this year. Make time to write.
Bring on 2010
I now consider 2009 a building year. I spent a lot of time creating a space on the web for our films and even more time on Playing Through. Essentially, 2009 was about finishing projects and catching up. It was about tying up loose ends and completing plans I’ve had for years.
Now that 2010 is almost here, it’s time to shift my focus to new projects.
Writing is back in a big way and I’ve already got a list of stories I can’t wait to write. Among those projects are 3 feature scripts I couldn’t be more excited to work on. I’ve got several shorts that are going to be extremely challenging to pull off as well. What’s important to me now is finally feeling like a writer again. I’m back to rushing home after work to finish a scene. Actually, thanks to my new phone, I don’t even have to wait that long anymore. I love this stuff!
Beyond that, I now have The Athletic Nerd which keeps me writing daily. I’m finally able to say that I write every day no matter what and I’m planning on taking this site to a whole new level next year. There are a ton of new features planned and even some guest bloggers on standby as I continue to expand this brand. (Is it weird that I’m calling it a brand? It’s a nerdy thing to state but I’m comfortable with it. Read my blog about Self Branding to find out even more about what a geek I am.)
A big feature coming to this blog is updates from my next directorial effort. Beginning in January, I’ll be updating constantly with details on pre-production and more. The script for The Climb has always been one of my favorites. We’ve been thinking about filming this movie for years and I can’t wait until the Spring. We already have a talented cast in place and rehearsals are set to begin early next year.
From a directing stand point, the movie is infinitely more complex than Playing Through. I’m going to be using a completely different visual style that will also create a fun and unique editing challenge once shooting is complete.
Just writing about all these projects has my heart racing and I haven’t even mentioned 17 West’s other projects yet. Between Strings and a few others we are developping, 2010 has all the makings of an amazing year.