Fair warning, this is going to be a multi-part post: one part is going to be small business insight, the other is a year in review.
Happy New Year… Now What?
Where to start… I had no actual intention of writing this post today. With everything currently going on, the thought of a blog post never even crossed my mind. However, it’s New Year’s Day. The first day of 2019, and this day never passes without reflection, hopes, dreams, regrets, and ideas of change.
I know, it almost sounds deeply philosophical, right? Maybe not. Nevertheless, here I am thinking about today. What brought me to today? Where am I going? Will I ever get to where I want to go?
Needless to say, the new year can be overwhelming. Aside from it now being time to do taxes [dies a little inside at the thought], New Years Day can be a pivotal moment for anyone. In reality, any day can be, but, today tends to have more focus on on it.
So, what do you do?
While I can’t really answer that for you, I can provide you with insight to how I deal with the new year, or, how I’m choosing to encounter it, this year.
Never look back!
I know we’ve all heard it, but, that’s just dumb. Yeah, I said it. Choosing to never look back, in my opinion, is just plain stupid. I know that that bit of advice is often well-intentioned, but, we all know about good intentions.
“But, Ross, we should always look forward so we can see where we’re going…”
That’s only partially true. I feel like the people who truly want to live with the never-look-back attitude are either those who feel like life is a sprint and really stand no chance of getting very far from where they are starting from, or those who are afraid and choose ignorance as a coping mechanism.
Sounds harsh, but, let me explain. If you choose to never look back, you are sacrificing the greatest set of tools that you have given yourself.
Let that sink in a minute.
If you choose to never look back, you are sacrificing the greatest set of tools that you have given yourself.
What does that even mean?
In my experience, people who choose to never look back are too afraid of what they will see. It could be failure, abuse, pain, anxiety… You name it. And I get it, who wants to think about that? I do. Sounds crazy, but, it’s actually quite simple. I firmly believe that, as humans, we find far better value in learning from what didn’t work than we do from what did work.
I’m not saying both aren’t valuable, but, think of it this way, if we only take our memories of what did work, we lose the “why.”
I had a geometry teacher, for a single semester in high school, who never bother to teach us why things were true. If asked to explain something, or posed with someone saying “I don’t understand this,” his response was always, “you just have to learn to think like a geometry student.”
I don’t know about anyone else, but, I certainly like to know why things are the way things are. Certainly, we can accept things as truth, but, if we understand why they are true, and what the falsehoods are surrounding the truth, it, to me, makes the truth that much more valuable.
In doing video and running a business, the things that I’ve learned DO work are much more valuable because I’ve learned what DOESN’T work, and I strongly believe that it helps me avoid making the same mistakes over and over because, while I know what does work, I know that I don’t have to feel the sting of messing something up by doing it the wrong way.
One of my earliest commercial music memories was a cassette tape I received for Christmas in the first decade of my life. It was a Billy Ray Cyrus album called It Won’t Be The Last. And, yes, the reason it was gifted to me was because it had Achy Breaky Heart on it, and 9-year-old me loved it. But, there was a song on it called “Talk Some.” I remember very little about that album except the title song, the obvious song, and one line in “Talk Some.” The line was, “how do we know where we’re going if we don’t know where we’ve been?”
That summarizes this point in a really good nutshell.
Now, let me address the other side of this coin. I’m not encouraging anyone to linger in the past. Living in the past is the biggest danger to the future. Work through whatever it is that hurts in the past and get past it. Push yourself to reach a point where that pain is no longer controlling you, but, you’re controlling it.
What does that mean?
What that means is, use that pain as a motivator to never GO back. If wherever that place in your life was so bad, that it’s still causing you pain, use that pain to drive you to something better.
I can’t tell you how to get there, but, I can tell you that a great place to start that journey is with a core training called Pathways.
I graduated in the summer of 2015 and I truly believe that Hamil Bros would have died long ago, if not for the experiences and tools we acquired through the training.
So, we’re aware of our past and using these experiences as fuel to propel us forward. But, where do we go.
Motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”
This is so big for me. I know I’ve got plenty of, “I never want to go through that again,” or, “I never want to experience that again.” That’s pretty easy to identify.
Life is a journey, and what do we never go on a journey without? That’s right. A map! Or a GPS for the rest of you. But, you never embark on a trip without knowing how to get to your destination, unless of course, you’re Sandra Bullock in Bird Box, in which case you just put on a blindfold and hope for the best.
But, if you left home in your car, and you wanted to drive to New York, but, had no idea where you were going, and you just took turns and exits, you could likely end up in Montana just as easily as you could New York.
If we’re being honest, none of this is new information. I’m just borrowing it from mentors and people I find inspiring.
What Is My Road Map?
This one is pretty simple. Your destination is a set of goals and things you want to achieve. Your roadmap is a set clearly defined steps in a particular order to reach those goals and achieving each one of those steps or milestones and celebrating the small victories.
What are my goals this year? I have a pretty decent set. Some personal and some professional.
The personal ones have to do with taking more control of our finances, and I want to use that to take my family to do some more things that we want to do.
Professionally, I want this current project to be the new direction that Hamil Bros Studios takes. I want us to take on more clients who will allow us the creative freedom to really knock their projects out of the park. With that, I want higher paying jobs and fewer of them. Do I want to work less? Not necessarily… I want to spend more time on fewer projects and I want those fewer projects to be bigger dollars so we can invest more in our business which, ultimately invests more in our clients.
All this to say, we’ve even further discovered what work we love and what we don’t, and we want to spend more time doing the work we love.
Year in review
These commercials are definitely some of the pinnacle projects of creativity meeting comedy and using very abstract, out-of-the-box ideas to promote products.
Corley for Commissioner
In short, Jason called us and said, “hey I need a commercial shot tomorrow, and it needs to be about my support for first responders.”
So, we came up with a really quick concept and we were shooting the next afternoon.
Flash forward, less than 24 hours later, we had this commercial and it was one of the first projects that utilized a lot of what we had learned about post audio and maximized it.
Read about the project, in its entirety here.
The Curse of the Were-Pa
This one was our baby, this year. We got a request for a short bit of comedy shot on Tokina Cinema Vista lenses. They asked for 30 seconds… We gave them 16 minutes…
This was the first short film we had done in several years that we wrote that we were able to take the time and really develop before we started shooting. (read the whole story and watch the commentary here).
Sustainable Crop Insurance
Talk about a project that we thought would be one thing and turned out to be another.
When you look think about it, who cares about crop insurance? We sure didn’t. We don’t have crops, so, it wasn’t anything that we thought would really pique much interest outside of farmers and ranchers.
Boy, were we wrong. By the time we were done, this was the first, non-narrative brand film we had done that we really felt exceeded our expectations. Jacob assembled the videos, and I did the coloring and the audio and it was, unequivocally the greatest soundscape we had ever developed.
You can read the whole story here.
I’ll Follow You
Michael Richards reached out to us about producing a music video for him to show his wife, Kyriea, at their wedding. Sneaking around and shooting the video was difficult. Convincing her to be in the video and achieving that, was insanity. Nevertheless we did it, and you can hear the whole tale here!