David Bowie - Always Remember

“Always remember that the reason that you initially started working was that there was something inside yourself that you felt that if you could manifest it in some way, you would understand more about yourself and how you co-exist with the rest of society.” 

Meredith Kuzma
Richard Walker - A day

“Anyone can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the battles of those two awful eternities, yesterday and tomorrow, that we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives us mad. It is the remorse or bitterness for something that happened yesterday or the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us therefore do our best to live but one day at a time.” -Richard Walker

Meredith Kuzma
Gary Synder - Learning

"Like most writers, I don’t educate myself sequentially, but more like a hawk or eagle always circling and finding things that might have been overlooked. " Gary Synder

Meredith Kuzma
The dignity of the human person

I've always had an "achievement" mentality, so I'm always wondering if I did well enough or wondering if my achievement meant something. Another thing I do is try to figure out how to spin things as achievements.

Have you heard of Brené Brown? The main crux of her talks is that if you want to inspire other people, if you want to be confident and brave and creative, you have to be vulnerable. You have to be uncomfortable. You have to be willing to share uncertainty and appear weak. Which on some level maybe is counterintuitive but on the other hand, I think we all can recognize this in light of The Hero's Journey in any story. In a story, the hero has to face something really hard and their weakness is revealed, often time allowing them to win the whole thing. 

And then I had the thought, isn't it a fascinating aspect of language that bravery, this word we see as bulletproof, in actual reality is completely dependent on a willingness to be small, to be vulnerable... for all intents and purposes, to appear... weak. 

To borrow from philosophers (Plato with his cave), communications professors (Marshall Mcluhan with "the medium is the message"), and personality psychologists (Carl Jung among others)... it's almost as if we can put ourselves into a language trance, where we stick to words that we think will protect us from the reality. I mean, it's pretty scary to think that bravery involves risk. Again we like to think of it as armor. Even the concept of confidence as "unshakeable" (I mean like the term "unshakable confidence").  Not so realistic. Confidence comes from the acceptance of reality as well. You don't go into the job interview with an inflated sense of yourself because that can pop. Your confidence from a job interview comes from knowing that you do your thing the best that you personally can, and then you wait to see if they also recognize that. 

This all in light of... kindness, the dignity of the human person, and empathy. That phrase, "the dignity of the human person," has got to be one of my all-time favorites. I like this quote that google pulled ..."The foundation of all Catholic Social Teaching is the inherent dignity of the human person, as created in the image and likeness of God. The Church, therefore, calls for Integral Human Development, which concerns the wellbeing of each person in every dimension: economic, political, social, ecological, and spiritual."

Where does human dignity come from? "Dignity is the right of a person to be valued and respected for their own sake, and to be treated ethically." (Wikipedia). Further, "Human dignity can be violated in multiple ways. The main categories of violations are: humiliation, instrumentalization or objectification, degradation, and dehumanization." From the CC "The right to the exercise of freedom belongs to everyone because it is inseparable from his or her dignity as a human person. Therefore this right must always be respected." (From 365 Why does everyone have a right to exercise freedom? 1738 and 1747 on Vatican website). 

In my life, it has been all too easy to minimize aspects of myself to get along with certain people, or to in fact highlight aspects of things to be seen in a more favorable light. I would like to work on becoming more present within myself to the reality of who I am as a person with certain likes, dislikes, personality, and so on, and really find my peace in knowing that I am not minimizing anything but that I am being truly brave and truly vulnerable with the full truth and reality of who I am. It is my belief that this self-practice turns into an external habit of kindness which can then be extended to others: one's own bravery becomes an inspiration because the depth and kindness exhibited makes others feel safe enough to try being the same way. 

Meredith Kuzma
Tracy Droz Tragos - Authenticity

“Films will be shot on different cameras, with different lenses, with varying degrees of success and cinematic splendor. But all of this is icing on the cake. Sure you want your film to look and sound good (sound is often underestimated), but ultimately, nothing matters so much as authenticity, story, and access — and by being a beginner at this, you may break form in fabulous ways.”  – Tracy Droz Tragos 

Meredith Kuzma
To make connections that didn't exist before

If you’re reading this blog post right now, you probably got here by visiting my website and poking around before you found this blog. That means you’ve probably seen the mission page, where I display the mission statement “to make connections that didn’t exist before.”

I love how open-ended this statement is. I love how it speaks to the creative action of combining two things in a new way to make something no one has ever seen before. I love how it speaks to human connection, empathy, and emotion.

Why do so many filmmakers use the word “story” on their websites? Isn’t it because story is the heart of film? Sure, but… why wouldn’t the heart of film be… the heart?

We all come into this world the same. Shrieking, bewildered, helpless. Across thousands of years and hundreds of cultures, research has discovered that human beings display six core emotions. It is these emotions—not the words we use to describe them—that create stories in the first place.

The heart is true even when the head is not.

It is the heart that will tell you what the real story is. The heart will tell you what you’re really passionate about. “If it doesn’t wake you up it’s not worth getting on about.” Rachel Shaw. We all play a distraction game with our jobs and our lives and our little decisions while our heart yearns for something more, something deeper.

It is the aim of life to align your striving with the yearning of your heart.

It is the aim of film to align cinematic technique with the truth and beauty of someone’s heart.

Meredith Kuzma
The hilarious art of book design | Chip Kidd

Chip Kidd doesn't judge books by their cover, he creates covers that embody the book -- and he does it with a wicked sense of humor. In one of the funniest talks from TED2012, he shows the art and deep thought of his cover designs.

Book designer Chip Kidd knows all too well how often we judge things by first appearances. In this hilarious, fast-paced talk, he explains the two techniques designers use to communicate instantly - clarity and mystery - and when, why and how they work.
Meredith Kuzma
Kraig Adams - Copying

Kraig Adams is a YouTuber I like. Here’s a quote from an interview with him that I appreciated:

Kraig went on to say that so many people are copying Casey Neistat, but if that if they just made two or three videos – one a week or one a month, even, that were entirely their own and unique – something no one has ever seen before – that’s better but it takes risk. “It’s really scary to make something that you don’t see out there as being successful. But if Casey has a couple million on a vlog where he skates on a skateboard, it makes sense to kids to try and copy that and then be successful.

We’re all living in some kind of content/attention/energy vortex known as the internet. You could give all of yourself, 24/7, for the rest of your life, and it still wouldn’t be enough for the internet. Another perspective on what he’s saying here in this quote is that what matters is what comes from you. It’s better to decide what you want to actually contribute to this world and take the time necessary to make that, rather than just trying to set a schedule you think you’re supposed to have based on other people.

Meredith Kuzma
Robert Bresson - Video Essays

All rights belong to the creators of these videos (I did not make them).

In this video essay I look at the inimitable minimalist style of Robert Bresson. Support the Channel + Extra Content - https://www.patreon.com/thediscardedimage Click subtitle/CC for film's referenced. Follow Me: https://twitter.com/julianjpalmer https://www.fb.com/TheDiscardedImageUK https://www.instagram.com/julianjpalmer Sponsorship and business inquiries: julian@1848media.com

Today I want to dig into my own method a little bit and talk about logging.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with logging (basically the process of creating a separate timeline and using markers to identify different aspects of footage for later use). It’s time-intensive but invaluable to me in the edit.

But what I find is that, the most valuable part of logging for me is the connection to writing. Logging forces me to decontextualize the massive amounts of information being conveyed in the interview and look at the physical words (I add back in the audible layer by using asterisks to mark the most emotional delivery).

Then I open a notepad in another window, and things really get rolling.

For me, there’s power in the written word. Seeing it physically helps me think about it structurally. I know what a 3 Act Structure should feel like. I understand the idea of going with the flow and using music and whatnot, but why not use the information that’s being communicated? Why not allow the emotional content of the interview to actually be revealed in a more significant and meaningful way?

It may sound like I’m waxing eloquent, and that’s because I am. Logging is just one of those things I hate to love.

Meredith Kuzmalogging
Stravinsky - Thinking

"A true composer thinks about his unfinished work the whole time; he is not always conscious of this, but he is aware of it later when he suddenly knows what he will do." Igor Stravinsky

Meredith Kuzma
Walter Murch - Sound & Trains

There are many, many nouns for the act of looking - a glance, a glimpse, a peep - but there's no noun for the act of listening. In general, we don't think primarily about sound. So I have a different perspective on the world; I can construct soundscapes that have an effect on people, but they don't know why. It's a sort of subterfuge.

There's a big link between trains and film. One of the first filmed objects was a train. The clickety-clack of the projector and the clickety-clack of the train are similar. There is the idea of the voyage - every voyage is a story. I wonder if film would have been invented without the train.

(read his book, In the Blink of an Eye).

Meredith Kuzma