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The Universe is Your Stage so we Ignite our Souls

Sunday September 22nd 2013, I experienced something I don’t think my mind will ever let me forget.

I always wanted to attend a Poetry Slam, and, it has been increasingly been on my brain over the last year to go to one. However, between other obligations and just life in general prevented me, until this night, September 22nd 2013.

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A little back story on poetry and I, I use to write a lot of poems when I was in High School. In fact I became involved in a poetry community where I would post some of my latest work on a board and got some pretty amazing feedback from it. As I grew older I simply stopped. Periodically, I would write, but not as much as I did before. I went through a very troubling time, where I just hated anything artistically & creatively I had done. And as I grew more and more depressed realizing I was not like everyone else… in a fit of rage I tore all my work into pieces and threw away almost 10 years worth of emotions in a single evening.

I would eventually regret my decision to do so, realizing I should have not turn my back on the one thing that eventually would mean everything to me.

Sunday September 22nd, 2013 I attended the Hamilton HYP Poetry Slam, held at Baltimore House. I knew, I just knew I was going to be writing about tonight, and probably a majority of individuals probably won’t be able to begin to understand but I do hope it makes some sort of sense to people reading this.

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First off, I will begin by saying that all of the poets involved in the Open-Mic & Poetry Slam were absolutely amazing. Not just because their poetry was amazing, just to go up in front of that microphone regardless of the poetry reading themselves, displays a lot of courage. Public speaking is the most well known fear and phobia a individual can experience, people would rather die then get up and speak thats how bad it is. So for those individuals that got up on stage on that faithful night of Sunday September 22nd 2013 at Baltimore House Cafe, I applaud you, for that.

Secondly, aside from getting up on stage in front of an audience, pouring something you have written about your emotions. Deep feelings of sadness or thoughts & views on society, in a world where we are only taught to think and feel a certain way and if your views don’t mesh with everyone else you’re considered an outcast… but you, you stood up for what you believe in, spoke your mind, through rhythm and rhyme and told your story… is a source of inspiration for others.

Finally, the energy level that came shining through, the sense of passion displayed within every single word you spoke and breathe you took to let the emotions settle, took my breathe away. I could feel my heart beating faster with each line you read upon that stage, may you make note, words do truly effect us all.

But my experience did not stop there, what came during each of the readings I can not begin to put into words. There were times during each one of those readings, where my eyes would focus and re-focus between the poet and the backdrop of the stage at Baltimore House. And I kid you not, as it defocused upon the backdrop I saw your true self upon that stage. The beautiful most immaculate souls these eyes ever did see.

I saw the fiery courage within the voices, the power and strength of an individual, in which, one would only assume was weak just at a glance. I saw the beauty within a person and the confidence of a warrior ready to do battle. It was right then and there I knew I was meant to attend this amazing event. To experience what I experience and share what I saw with others.

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You see most people go through their entire lives not knowing who they truly are. They get trapped in this idea or vision of who they think other people believe them to be. But when you embrace something so pure as what I saw that night, you can not hide the beauty of your soul.

We grasp on to ideals and adopt them as our own, listening to what society tells us through media and pop culture that this is the ideal lifestyle you want to live. That you should look like this or that. You should run with this crowd because they are the most popular. And we believe in it, we believe in it so strongly we stop at nothing to fit in and we lose ourselves in it.

We deny our true self, but, if we only pursue and listen to our hearts you know it is not who we were meant to be. We end up feeling empty inside, so we fill our lives with meaningless objects & drama that creates stress in our lives, so much so, we caught off our ability to breathe. And all the things we think we want in our lives end up owning us, instead of us owning life.

And all of a sudden we are working just to maintain this lifestyle, but if only we gave ourselves more and surrendered it to the will of the universe, our inner spirit, will we then become whole again. And with that, that is the true meaning of life and that is what I saw up on stage that faithful Sunday night.

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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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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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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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“While They Sleep” Novel CrowdFunding Campaign

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I am a storyteller, content creator, and I help promote other creator’s content because I believe in what they do.

Have you ever had a dream, and come so close to accomplishing it, and but gave up shortly after, and all you needed was to push a little further to and just need someone to give you a hand up to really build something tangible.

I feel this novel is just that for me, I’ve worked tirelessly on this project, and now I just need that hand up to really make this project come true.

The novel is an action & adventure story about a woman, Sarah Monroe, a writer / archaeologist who goes on incredible journey of self-discovery.

The novel is also about the disconnect between humans and technology. And how technology is suppose to serve us better as communicators but really it destroys the best part of being human with social interaction.

The novel will also have a film / series counter part to go along with the novel.

So in funding this campaign you will help me with

• Having an editor go through the book with me
• Publishing the novel as a paperback/hardcopy version
• Marketing and promotion of the book
• Graphic designer to work on the cover of the book as well.

The 9,000 will also help fund the series / Film production costs
and there for you will also be acknowledge as a producer role in helping me fund this project.

Link to the first two chapters of the Novel:  While_They_Sleep_Novel_By_Michael_Canton
Link to the GoFundMe Site to donate to this Novel:  http://www.gofundme.com/3kxm9k

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DemoCamp 12 – An Inspirational Evening

You know sometimes it’s always great to stop and look around you, look at the people you surround yourself with and be absolutely grateful you are alive and full of life. And your friends are alive and full of life too, and your friends are inspiration to you.

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This can sum up what the keynote speaker Dale Mugford of BraveNewCode said in his speech the other night at DemoCamp at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. Afterwards I thanked Dale for such an inspirational & Motivational speech.

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I’ve known Dale for sometime now and his fiance Roz of Double Barrel Studios, both individuals are just again one of the two most amazing individuals you will ever meet on this planet.

And I have a lot of respect for what they do within the community and helping the community grow within their own respected fields. They inspire me as both an individual as well as a person who wishes to be apart of the same movement that’s happening in the Hamilton community.

And as I sit here, trying to find words to express my emotions that are rushing through my heart right now and in my mind, I can’t. It’s again another one of those instances where I could tell you all about them, and what they have shown me or what we’ve talked about but really its more than that.

Tonight has opened my eyes to a lot of really good things in this world, about passion, friendship, community, engagement and why these events are important to be able to connect to those individuals that want to make a difference in the world. That want to help others grow and create and prosper.

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I felt a lot of happiness and love in the room tonight at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, hope and dreams and with that my heart, my soul, my entire spirit wants to explode with that emotion. Passion, passion is what makes things happen, drive and determination is what helps us along the way to know not to stop, if it makes you happy to keep driving it! Until it works.

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I have held a camera in my hand capturing various things, people, places, events and it’s those moments where you look around the room and you see no media coverage, no one with a camera to tell the stories that often go untold by media sources.

And to be able to say, I captured an interview or a piece that no one else had at an event. I want to talk about people and their stories, when they were down or looked like they were failing but came back up what brought them back into the game to not struggle anymore.

I want to learn from these individuals and help them spread their message.

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Creative Entrepreneur

So, you want to earn a living doing something you’re truly passionate about, chances are maybe it is something in the creative spectrum.

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While watching television, I thought about something Bob Proctor had said in a seminar I was watching the day earlier. Which was ‘Think’ and he goes on with during this seminar how we don’t use our brain power enough basically.

Which I think is true, we only use as much brain power it takes to take on what ever task we might be under taking at that time. It was at that time I really turned off my television, television really doesn’t help you think. It’s really a form of escapism from our day to day lives.

After I turned off the television set I went for a drive and started thinking about my life and current state it’s been. I thought about all the things I want to do with my life and my future plans. And at that moment I started thinking about the past, as I was heading down a road I use to take all the time that is filled with memories.

It was at that particular moment I realized just how much has changed around me, I instinctively thought but I myself haven’t changed very much. Which is obviously not true and took action to correct that thought.

Physical form, a lot hasn’t changed, environmentally hasn’t really changed a whole lot but both mentally and emotionally I’ve been growing drastically. And then I thought, I wonder why that is? In dealing with all theses shifts and changes that have occurred with my surroundings, I learned how to mentally prepare myself in dealing with change.

Change, regardless of you want it or not in your life is inevitable. Things change all the time, sometimes slow, some times rapidly, so rapidly as such that you don’t even know it has happen.

So getting back to the title ‘creative entrepreneur’ – It’s true, my environment hasn’t changed much sometimes I get a tad bit edge of the seat about this because I want to create movement with my life, so much so, I can actually see the difference.

But what I am coming to understand is through my experiences I am able to call upon these new skill sets in order to really jump start a new life in as a Creative Entrepreneur. I wouldn’t exactly call it a ‘New Life’ really however, after looking at my past once more I have and always had a creative Entrepreneur sensibility to me.

One example came to mind, one of my passions has always been photography and I loved going out and taking shot after shot after shot. I developed a fairly keen eye for what looks good on camera. Any rate, I had taken all these pictures and I had never really done anything with them until one day I decided I was going to create greeting cards out of them. Where I was working at the time agreed to let me use a little corner space to have them on display and I decided to sell them for 2 dollars a piece.

I remember the within the first week of having them up people flocked to the display and they were bought and sold within a matter of a couple weeks.

This kind of creative and entrepreneurial thinking must be revisited in my mind, sure it won’t make me a ‘living’ but it is just one of many income streams that could prove to be lucrative. It’s also more than just selling, it’s about developing these creative ideas, and really brining these ideas to life with precision and direct results.

Now it’s your turn, have you ever been in a similar mind frame? How did you over come it?

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