Monthly Archives: July 2013

5 Things I wish I knew in college as a creative

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I learned in my college years at Mohawk College as a Television Broadcasting student the past few weeks. And had many conversations with highly engaged community driven creative individuals and I can’t imagine what the future for creatives in the city will be like in 5 to 10 years down the line.

The industry is changing very drastically even from a month-to-month basis that it’s hard to know how everything in the digital space will pan out. I’m not going to write something like Television is completely dead. It really isn’t, but how we consume our media has drastically change.

Our society has slowly changed, we no longer have valuable family time on a Friday night, watching Family Matters, Full House, and Whose The Boss. We no longer sit down at 6pm & or 11pm to watch the evening news… why would we? We’ve checked out our facebook, twitter feed and got the news updates as it is happening in real time. It use to be normal just have one single television set in the family room where we could all congregate, and then, it became normal to have a television set in every room of the house… okay, I’m exaggerating, perhaps one in each bedroom, plus a family room.

But as the digital age progresses, fewer people are watching “television” the way we use to think television should be watched. A majority of television consumption is now through our Smart phones, Tablets, laptop and desktop computers. We are also consuming media in shorter lengths of time because our attention span as dwindled down right to the core. If it doesn’t capture our attention within the first 30 seconds you’ve lost the audience. If you’re not a die hard fan of the concept why do I care to watch it in the first place.

So with all that being said, I wonder what kind of education is being programmed into young idealistic minds today to shape the future of tomorrow. Are they learning about the importance of content being produced and know why we create with an idea of cross platform purposes. Are they merely being taught the basics of video production or other technical aspects that would go into storytelling or finally are they being taught to think in new innovative ways, and think beyond the box we tend to put ourselves in.

So with that being said, I comprised a short top 5 list of things I wish I knew when I first got started in College.

1.) Networking, biggest favour to yourself is getting out in the community and network with other creatives, bring your friends, along with you too, force them into it if you have to!

Networking at events such as Creative Exchange, anything by Factory Media Arts, Cobalt Connects, get out there now, even if you’re just starting out and have nothing to show, it doesn’t matter. The skills you develop by actually interacting with people that are doing something in real time will go a long way with your professional career.

And you never know, you might just end up with a job with a simple handshake and a smile. Find the grassroots networking events, Startup Drinks comes to mind, which is a great networking event that happens once a month that will allow you to easily break the ice, but be consistent when attending. Once you do that, bring a friend, then they feel comfortable and may know another individual that might consider it of value to make connections. That is how we grow together as a community and build long lasting relationships with our peers.

And if at all possible, if you see something missing and you think the creative community could benefit from, build your own networking event. Reach out to the people you wish you could see more of at networking events, never get bogged down being and be an island only to yourself and a select few. The more individuals you know the more opportunities are then created for you to grow not only as a professional but as a person as well.

That’s what I ended up doing over the last year, after I attended my first Web Series meet up in Toronto, I fell in love with the energy that flowed through the space. It was something I was already passionate about so it only made sense to me that I wanted to bring that energy to the Hamilton Creatives.

And don’t be afraid to take the lead, and be a leader if you have to, even if it’s not widely accepted in the beginning. The more you work on building your connections the more people get to know what you’re up to and trying to accomplish.

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2.) If you’re not on social media, start now! And I don’t mean just the usual suspects (Facebook and Google) I mean twitter, Linkedin, even instagram. Use them to build your digital presence, another fellow Mohawk Grad actually brought this up. And after thinking about it, it was so true. You don’t have to have a company twitter account, it is more about getting into the process of interacting with again your community, building trust online, and creating engaging conversation.

Just make sure when you do sign up for twitter, you make your user name as simple as your first and last name. Try not to make it too crazy. The friend I spoke of which most of you reading this probably have seen his tweets, has gone through a few name changes and the only reason for this is as he continues to grow his following on twitter he has changed his work place at least once or twice and with each time he does, he merely changes the end of his twitter handle to reflect the company that he might be working for.

Linkedin, another great way to build relationships and potential leads for future job opportunities. Again, regardless of work experience, start building your professional connections now! It will make the transition process of being a student to a professional a whole lot smoother.

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3.) Take a business course: I would have loved to have more of an intensive class within the 3 year program that talks about the aspect of being a creative entrepreneur. For those individuals that have a passion and drive to build their own business. To be able to learn more about team building, managerial, sales, marketing side of production services. And the knowing what a reasonable rate is for the line of work that you’re doing. Obviously it will vary depending on the situation, a team of one won’t charge the same price as a team of 5 or 6 individuals as a company so that is a must to take into the consideration.

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4.) Development of boundaries: In other words, don’t ever let anyone walk all over you and take advantage of your skill sets as a creative. There is a statue of limitations on proving yourself in the industry and get away from the “It will be a great demo reel piece.” Knowing how much your time is worth, how much your equipment costs and your educational background. You are not a ‘starving artist’ there is no such thing, you just have to develop the right mindset as a creative well in advance before you dive in.

I can tell you through my experience, I spent almost a grand total of 14,000 dollars on getting all of my equipment. I saw it as an investment opportunity, and I haven’t regretted that decision yet. I also spend money every time I go out and buy a new external hard drive so I can properly archive and maintain raw footage just in case if I have to go back to something.

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Now going back to education, if your in Television Broadcasting, you’re using industry leading, cutting edge equipment that probably costs more than anyone is willing to admit. You’re trained in the art of storytelling, knowing what drives a great emotional piece that psychologically compels the viewer to share. You’re using equipment has to be properly taken care of and update and software that costs a pretty penny, unless of course you do it the old pirate way.

So knowing where, when and why you’re setting the boundaries is key. This isn’t a hobby class you’re taking this is your professional career and people have to understand that but most of all you have to understand that. And you might have to say no to projects you really want to take on, but, if you say yes all the time and especially with little to no pay being rewarded it will be that much harder to break later on in life.

5.) Follow your passion: This one is probably the most important of them all. Follow your passion, passion & enthusiasm will set you apart from everyone else. Never let the industry drain your passion to the point that you become jaded. The minute that you come across like that, get out of the way.

And there is a big difference between being realistic and jaded, even when your realistic you still have enthusiasm but if you’re jaded you just rip apart anything that someone new wants to try. And it becomes more pessimistic view on the world. Never let someone else’s path derail you from yours.

Even if they have 30 years worth of experience behind them, the fact is, times are changing. What might not have worked 10 years ago when they first tried to implement the very same idea, could have a completely different impact on how it could work now. Be mindful of these individuals, and stay true to your passionate side, keep the imagination alive and be open to endless possibilities, hang on to that as tightly as possible!

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And my final thought for all of the above is always stay true to yourself, never try and pretend to be like someone else! Be as real as possible. You don’t need to impress anyone, you just need to be you! Let your passion shine through your work like the golden sun breaking through the clouds of a stormy day.

Love and cherish every minute that you spend filling your head up with knowledge and truly empower yourself to be the best creative individual you can be.

– Cheers Michael

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5 things to be grateful for

Today was a great day of self reflection, after doing my morning post I took some time to meditate. It was very relaxing and a found myself in a very peaceful state of mind. I also started watching a bunch of different documentaries about the startup culture in the US, particularly how immigration laws make it difficult for entrepreneurs who move from over seas to the states in order to start a business.

Even if they were creating jobs that would employ 100 employees of Americans in the process they make it very difficult to start anything, I find that to be fascinating since I’ve always stated that North America was founded by immigrants. Now all of a sudden we close the doors and don’t let anyone in? It was a very good documentary regardless. One particular startup had to shut down his already up and going startup and lay off American employees to go through the process of getting a work visa. It’s bizarre.

Here is the link below of the video definitely worth the watch.

I also got into watching the BBC documentary on Steve Jobs, he is the most amazing person when you see his entire life story unfold on screen, it’s getting me very excited to watch the new film about his life ‘Jobs the Movie’ due out August 16 in theatres. I think Ashton Kutcher by the looks of the trailer will play Steve Jobs role very well. Personally probably will be my favourite movie of the summer!

And of course I did a few facebook posts, and tweets about stuff during the course of the day and that was pretty much my day in a nutshell, very relaxing and gearing up for a week of busy work and getting projects done and shipped out there.

I also reflected a little bit about my life on all the things that I am grateful for, and the list is absolutely endless if you really start to think about it you can rhyme off item after item, one by one. There is just so much we take advantage of knowing that it’s just there that we don’t pay enough homage to them.

Here are a little list of things I am grateful for:

1.) I am grateful for life, particularly my life, it has been an unusual journey of self-discovery, something that while there are things I wish I could go back and change in actual fact, things are just the way they should be. Firmly believe that things do happen for a reason, and while you might not know what that reason is right away just have faith that everything was meant to be as it is and should be. I am also particularly grateful for my natural artistic abilities. Something I discussed in the previous blog with the bible quote. It has always resonated something within me about that. And how many of us choose to live a life where we aren’t using our talents to it’s full potential. And lastly about my life is I am eternally grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had so far in my life time. And had a chance to work on some amazing projects with great people!

2.) Family, we take advantage of family so much in our life because we are surrounded by our family all the time. But when our family starts to disappear, and members of our family grow older and move on creating new families, we lose touch with them. It’s sad in a way but it’s always a beautiful thing when that sense of togetherness comes back for a BBQ or just simply hanging out for the sake of hanging out. And during tough times in our lives family is very important, that supportive feeling can be an awesome and uplifting feeling to have at your side.

3.) Friends, I’ve gained friends, I’ve lost friends, and I forged new friendships with people, that is the name of the game. I find that the quote about friendship is very much true…

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I will also add not just ‘real’ ones but people you can count on when in need, people that won’t lie to you just so it benefits them in the end. I would rather hear the truth from a real friend then hear a lie from a fake friend. But even the ones we weed out of our lives as not important to us, do teach us something. Even if it was a bad experience, it can be a humbling realization that humans will be humans and we must take them as they are and not what our idealistic views of how a friend should be like. Some friends were meant to only stay in our lives for a short period of time and when they leave it opens up room in your heart to let new and more exciting people to come in.

4.) Emotions, I am completely grateful for having the ability to freely express my emotions. Regardless of the type of emotions they are, even sadness, pain, and heart ache. Without these emotions we would never know what it feels like to feel in love, happiness, and fulfilment. It also makes you aware just how alive you truly are. I would not want to go day after day only feeling one emotion, even if it was happiness. I don’t think I would every feel right if I walked around with a smile 24/7 for the rest of my life. I need to have that personal struggle in my life to know how strong I am. I need to have the ability to express sadness when I need to, to show I am an emotional human being.

5.) Humbleness and Humility, sometimes we get very high and mighty on ourselves and can prove to be a detrimental, there is nothing wrong with pride. Only if you have the ability to be humble about your pride, and willingness to share a piece of vulnerability in humility. Sometimes life isn’t going to be this picture perfect life. You will fail more times than you will succeed at life. But the important aspect to remember is to never give up, no matter how many times you want to throw in the towel. Especially if your vision is as important to you as the air that you breathe. You will find away eventually, as long as you keep attacking from different angles and never get stuck on one particular thing.

I think from my point of view, I am just blessed to have so many wonderful things in my life, things that individuals take for granted and never seek gratitude to have that in their lives. I welcome pain and suffering just as much as I welcome love and happiness because I know good things never last but neither do bad. It’s part of the roller coaster of life.

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We can’t hide from pain, we can’t escape suffering, it’s better to develop natural coping mechanisms that will help you rise above your discomfort by working through it all to better understand yourself and understand the world we live in. But as we get better at understanding and knowing we will not know everything there is to know about life, the more you will risk and take more chances and when that happens life is a beautiful place.

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The most powerful weapon human kind has, the power of choice.

A few days ago I had a few meetings to go to and a few things to sort out with my life, probably one of the better days I’ve had in a little while. I noticed something about myself when I started talking to someone about some of the stuff that I’ve done in the past and what I am looking forward to do, I get really soft and silent when it comes to certain subjects but very loud and animated when I discuss things about community and just in general certain stuff I am passionate about.

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It’s very strange what happened, I wanted to ask to get into this certain program that will help me develop what I want to develop in my field of video production and storytelling, but that’s not what the weird part. The weird part came after when someone sent me an email to a link to the very same program I was looking for more information on, which brings me to the conclusion that this is something I need and must do.

I might have to sacrifice a few things in my life at the moment but I am prepared to take those sacrifices on to continue to build what I would call my legacy, sounds a little bit vain, I know but having an ego is not necessarily a bad thing to have in life. It just means you know what you want, and the image you want to leave behind. And this is merely one part of the legacy I wish to leave with the rest of the world.

These blogs of course are apart of that, making sure I document every step leaving my footprint upon the world and making sure people know, I was here, and I am never to be forgotten. The other most powerful moment of the day was having a conversation with a young creative entrepreneur I met just about a year coming up this August. He is two years younger than I am, but he has this passion and drive and ideology towards life in him that I’ve never really seen before at a relatable level. We talked about his project which is this festival he started and how I come to cross paths with him called “A mid-summer nights dream”.

This is something I captured of the day event festival.

His outlook on life was very refreshing to see, a majority of individuals I meet or are friends with are slightly older than I, and there for have become jaded by pursing something new and with a sense of purpose. That I really enjoyed my conversation with him. His story about struggle and not knowing if the festival will be a success or not but something told him inside of himself to just do it and keep going. “Push on through” as he said things happen during the right time and place it is suppose to happen.

Needless to say he is very excited for this years festival and I to am as excited because I watched his progress and seen how much effort and work he has devoted himself to this festival that it will pay off in droves. I think the festival will have a bigger turn out than last year now that people who were there are helping to spread the message. And I think it is the best time for a festival like this.

You can see it, within the past two artcrawls in Hamilton even for the summer the amount of people that are out and about exploring James St North which is the centre for not only Hamilton, but Hamilton’s Art & culture community. The last artcrawl almost felt like supercrawl which only happens once a year and they shut down the streets, there was enough people and energy that fills James St N that warranted that to happen so people could freely walk down the street rather than a sidewalk.

The exciting growth in Hamilton’s Arts community grew organically, and that growth and excitement is now hitting a huge turning point in how art and culture can revitalize a city.

The third most thing that happened to me on that very same day was a friend of mine took me to a bar and I very suddenly realized that they had karaoke, which again gets me going sometimes when I want to express that side of me. Nothing like belting out my favourite songs to sing to unleash the musical creativity in me. Since I don’t play any musical instruments Karaoke and singing to me are the next best thing I can do to satisfy that need.

Karaoke Playlist: Frank Sinatra – My Way, Bobby Darin – Mack The Knife, Jerry Lee Lewis – Great Balls of Fire, Louis Armstrong – What a Wonderful World, Jerry Lee Lewis – Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going on, AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.

Afterwards my friend that I was with said to me that she didn’t realize I had the range of music, and I was a renaissance man of talent, which often goes unnoticed. This made me smile, because this is how exactly how I feel about me and my art. A few of my idols as artists such as Michelangelo, or Da Vinci were best known for a wide range of talents and I always transplanted that idea in developing my creativity. So needless to say I feel like I’ve done something right now that people are starting to take notice.

It is important to me not just as an artist but as a human being to be able to freely explore the endless pool of abilities that God has given me, and I’m not much of a religious individual, I grew up catholic but I find organized religion to lose its purpose when you have agendas that have nothing to do with a calling from a higher power. I do believe in God, I just don’t believe in the catholic church. I don’t believe in going to a place of worship every Sunday especially since God and the spirit of God is all around us and surrounds us. I believe in celebrating in my own way and I think God would want us to do that.

“For qit will be like a man rgoing on a journey, who called his servants3 and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five stalents,4 to another two, to another one, tto each according to his ability. Then he rwent away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and udug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now vafter a long time the master of those servants came and wsettled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and xfaithful servant.5 yYou have been faithful over a little; zI will set you over much. Enter into athe joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be ba hard man, reaping cwhere you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here dyou have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You ewicked and eslothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 fFor to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And gcast hthe worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place gthere will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” – Matthew 25:14-30

This bible story always stuck out in my mind when I think about talents and abilities, and finding purpose within your talents to be able to share with the rest of the world the gift that which you have been given. Never fear your abilities, realizing that you have so much to give, and the more you give freely of yourself, the more ye shall return by the grace of God.

I am more of a spiritual human being rather than a God fearing individual, so hope you didn’t read into this as if I was just that. I am open to the endless possibilities that can and will only be discovered after departed from this body and where our souls go afterwards. And if you don’t believe in anything like that I certainly hope you’re making the most out of your life if you think that this is the only thing we have to look forward to.

I am eternally grateful for having this kind of mindset that was nurtured within me, to be humbled by not knowing what might happen after we pass on, but appreciating all religion’s just as they individual belief systems. My favourite religion teacher once said to our class “The secret is just to do and be good, if you do and be good with your life that’s all that matters”. And I believe that to be true. Just do the best that you can with your life and not be afraid. There are no right or wrong answers just experiences. So go and experience as much of life as you possibly can. Be good to your neighbour and fellow man/woman. And love as much as you can with out fear of being hurt in the process, because even in pain there is always a reason and I believe with all my heart and soul that you would not be given a bad experience you were not meant to handle.

Best part of being human is our ability to adapt and gain strength even during our darkest moments, the human spirit will always prevail.

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Love & Life – Poetry by Michael Canton

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Love & Life
Written By Michael Canton

Life is a wonderful thing, in the beginning so full of curiosity,
simple pleasures we experience, they are what make our heart sing
Share & experience so many emotions, riding high or sinking low,
We love with all our heart and souls.

We love with all our heart and souls,
without asking for anything in return, but to simply know.
To simply know, you too are being loved,
and being loved so simply so.

Without bias, only to believe, we will always be there for each other,
and that is all I need, that is all we need, to be together so.
Not money that grows from trees, to know you will always believe,
nor anything else us humans think we need in order to just breathe.

Just a simple hand, upon my chest, and my hand upon your heart,
to let us both know as humans our heart beat so.
So simply so, our heart beat as one, so sweetly though,
you can hear the love whisper within an echo, I love you so.

Don’t forget to check out my GoFundMe campaign for upcoming novel I’m writing!

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5 Amazing Motivational Quotes

Some people really hate motivational quotes, I personally love them, especially when things get really tough. You need that muse to uplift you to a higher self and realize that no matter what you go through, there was always someone, somewhere that went through tougher times than you.

And who better to inspire you, then someone who has live through a lot and made it through the other side alive, maybe death has taken them via naturally but still what ever personal struggle they went through in order to be quoted, they still survived it with a touch of positivity!

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“People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

“The empires of the future are empires of the mind.”

— Winston Churchill

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; noting on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

— W. W. Ziege

“One key to successful leadership is continuous personal change. Personal change is a reflection of our inner growth and empowerment.”

— Robert E. Quinn

“To lead people, walk beside them … As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate … When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!'”

— Lao-tsu

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How do you feel about your art?

This weekend I decided to finish up a painting I started a while back, felt good to be back into the painting spirit again.

It feels very spiritual for me when I’m creating something out of nothing and through an artistic endeavour like painting.

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How do you feel about your art? It could be painting, writing, drawing?

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What’s your purpose?

“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it” ― Gautama Buddha

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I’ve always struggled to find my purpose in life, I’ve done everything I was suppose to and every time I did I would find myself unfulfilled. Sometimes it felt like I was floating down someone else’s path and living someone else’s life.

The only thing I love is art, and creating art to be viewed, to be heard, to be read, and the excitement I get when someone see’s something I’ve created for the first time and the initial feedback receive is absolutely thrilling to me, unmatched by anything I have ever experienced before. Even when the impact is negative, I don’t take things straight to the heart, I do listen to suggestions about the craft I might be participating in.

One constant theme through out my entire life was storytelling and the art of telling a riveting good story, something that is driven by characters and their purpose. I suppose that’s why I am a sucker for a good 80’s movie. Back before we could honestly say “That movie had some amazing CGI effects”

With my novel project, I wanted to do something completely different, not that I am doing this to make money although that is the end result but it’s about working on a project for a short period of time and then having it self-sufficent later on. Basically while I sleep it could still be generating an income.

I think it takes more courage to do something you’re afraid of doing because the result could go south, then not to try anything at all and follow the path with least resistance. It’s the resistance that makes for great stories to tell at the end. And I think that is part of my purpose is to find that and be daring, not afraid to do it because in the end it could lead to something absolutely beautiful and pleasurable and I would and could be in a position to help others that are in a similar situation.

So I suppose in short, when I talk about passion and purpose within my life, in a nut shell is to be creative in everything that I do. Tell stories that create emotion within people and never hide my talents from the universe and explore how they can all interact with each other building a unique force of passion that challenges me.

So what’s your purpose in life?

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