Whoa! It’s been a while since I last had a blog post written. There are just so many awesome things to share with you guys but I’ll reserve all those for another time.
In this post, I would like to touch on the following: The importance of documenting your progress as a Creative
This came to mind during our awesome collaboration with cosplayers from both Singapore and Malaysia to get a photo series paying homage to the film, Mad Max Fury Road.
Having started in 2012, I have come to realize that I have tried my best to push my own limits in photography and digital art. I have taken to Youtube for inspiration and tutorials, or other blogs for thoughts and ideas.
I hope my works show this progress.
I let viewers and clients be the judge. Over time, people leave feedback. Some constructive, some not so. To be honest, there were days where I would feel down about what was said but after some reflection, I told myself I should pay attention to them too and take those criticisms positively – like how I can get my shots to be better!
I kept on experimenting. I failed and tried again.
I see every failure as a gentle (sometimes, not so gentle) prod towards the right direction, in the name of progressing as a creative. I can at least tell people, “At least I have attempted something in an experiment, and when I fail, I realize that I need to find another way to get the job done and actually do it.”
At least I have tried. Realizing this is important. There is no use lying down wondering what went wrong and wallowing in self-pity and misery. I have seen fellow Creatives do that and it can be destructive. My advice is: Take a break if you need to, but don’t give up totally if this is what you really want to do. Do not be overly concerned about how others are doing. Be aware, but don’t actively be distracted by that. Chase Jarvis summed this up perfectly in this Instagram post.
“Energy put into worrying about others is energy not being focused on improving yourself.” – Chase Jarvis
There must be progress in being a creative. Be it learning Photoshop, Lightroom or Capture One Pro, or re-learning the fundamentals of photography and lighting, or revising my workflow. Even things such as communicating and networking with others must show progress.
I also came to realize that one of the best ways of documenting progress is through journal entries or blog posts such as the one you’re reading now.
Another excellent way to document progress is to compare older shots with newer ones. I have be realistic about what I am looking for when it comes to the differences. A lot of factors can make an image work. Likewise, a lot of factors can make an image fare poorly.
Factors, like time, change.
I have also started working with videographers who lend their skills and time to produce behind-the-scenes videos – one of which was done for another of our previous shoots, Lightning Cosplay feat. Rainer Cosplay which you can view here. If you are keen to come on board and collaborate as a BTS videographer for future projects, do let me know via email! Show me what you’ve done before and we’ll see how it goes from there!
A behind-the-scenes video chronicles what I have done during a previous shoot, and from watching it, I can understand better what needs to be done to improve my photography and workflow. Think of this as an After Action Review or AAR.
From the following behind-the-scenes video, you can see how many people were involved in this collaboration and how important it is to communicate with everyone on the set. I have prepared storyboards and had a crew member reminding me of the time and which shots need to be done as the day goes by. Prior to the shoot, everyone was briefed on what was going to happen throughout the day so everyone would be better prepared.
Everyone had a role to play: We had cosplayers with their own costumes, make-up artists, drivers who double up as crew members who help out with equipment movement, prop makers who are on stand by to help fix props.
Most importantly, everyone knew his or her role well and exercised the initiative to get the job done.
It is always important to find people who are passionate in what they do. People who love doing what they do just get things done better. Of course, they must know what they’re doing too.
If everyone has got the same vision as the photographer/director/team leader, then that’s even better. You will have fun on the set because everyone is aligned!
I am not saying that everything will be perfect. Stress strikes now and then, and tensions can rise, but when you get your “AHA!” moments and find solutions together, it is all worth it. Remember your goals, your love for the craft and you’ll be fine.
If there’s an issue on set, find a solution together and work on it quick. If it can’t be solved there and then, take it down for the AAR on what can be done better.
Progress, guys. Don’t hold yourself back with failures and from not trying.
So what did we learn from this shoot? And how did we progress collectively?
We learnt loads.
We learnt to appreciate good communication. Seeing how we worked with people from across the Causeway in Malaysia, we had to prime everything up, get everything ready to go way in advance. Every little detail had to be carefully scrutinized and briefings were made. Nothing that was required for the shoot was to be left behind.
Jon Dei Goon of Helios E and Venus Lim of Costurera Haberdashery were on top of their game with their props and costumes. They also cosplayed as Doof and the Valkyrie respectively for this shoot. Jon also helped coordinate the crew from Malaysia while I coordinated with the crew from Singapore.
We learnt to appreciate good time and logistics management – especially since we were shooting outdoors with so many people, and we were basically fighting against time. Some of the shots required the sunset.
Progress can be seen – we never had the opportunity to do a photoshoot collaboration with so many people from two different countries. This project was our first collaboration together and to see the results was satisfying.
Everyone gave their all for this project and you can see how amazing the details all come together – from the costumes to the practical effects. We hope it was a worthy paying of homage to the film.
We hope we have been witnessed, and Immortan Joe himself would declare that he would bring us to the gates of Valhalla himself.
As a Creative, I can only think of doing something greater and bigger in the future – for passion projects and for our clients.
Gotta progress onwards.