I have a problem with perfectionism. Especially so when it comes to my work. But, maybe that's a good thing, I'd tell myself. It's necessary, right?

The business of making images is incredibly competitive. To stand out, you have to obsess over the details.

The margin between the awesome work and everything (and everyone) else is a chasm of lesser choices. So take your time & consider your steps. 

Seems like wisdom, but I've come to believe that these are not statements of truth, but crutches of fear. And fear is a barrier to the revelations that creating things reveals.

This may not be a universal truth — hear me when I say that — but it's definitely true for me. My perfectionism is a delay tactic, a way to keep a project from crossing the finish line, because I'm scared. God forbid it wouldn't be liked or up voted or, hell, seen!

What if no one likes it? What if no one cares?

Yeah. What if?

And this begs a much bigger question: Who am I creating for?

Somewhere along the way, I lost sight of why I did any of this in the first place.

I remember, as a kid, sitting on my bedroom floor for hours on end drawing army trucks. I made sure that the camo patterns were all different. I would draw one truck per sheet of paper then line the sheets up so it would make a convoy of trucks & tanks. And the only person who ever saw those machines of my imagining was me. But that didn't stop me from breaking out pencil and paper every. single. day. because, simply, I loved to draw.

Today, I make a living creating things for others — the clients who pay me or my followers and their digital affections. But that's a backwards economy. I should be living to create. I should create for the sheer enjoyment of seeing, feeling and translating the world around me.

Actually, this whole line of thinking started right after seeing that Casey Neistat film I wrote about back in April. And the big lesson I've arrived at boils down to this motto I adopted:


Since that day, I've made about 20 films. Twenty, since April 10th. I've made some of them for clients. I made some using my normal mode of filmmaking. Some have been shot but not edited. I've even taken to Snapchat (add me: squarerootof9) to tell stories.


So, last night, when the storms blew through & the sun was going down, it felt natural to just grab my camera and run down to the lake. It felt natural to find a way past the construction barrier & tell a tiny story about a magnificent sunset. One lens, no tripod, but more than enough enthusiasm to make up for all I lacked.

The sharing is still part of the equation. I don't see that as the issue. We create because we enjoy and we share because we want to share that enjoyment. It's a small adjustment in the heart with pretty profound consequences.



Okay, so several years ago I learned about this renegade filmmaker named Casey Neistat through a film he made to help promote (one of my favorite movies!) The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Fast forward a couple or three years to last week, when a tweet led to me clicking a link & seeing Casey's distinctive, friendly face making a promise to create a new film every day until he got bored with the idea. He had successfully caught my eye again.

There's something incredibly refreshing about his unpretentious style, as well as the ambition that compels one to hack together a film every. freaking. day.

I've enjoyed every one of his vlogs, to date. But, yesterday, I watched one from earlier this week that has me fired up. Someone questioned why in the world he — a serious filmmaker — would vlog. Like somehow he's slumming.

His answer was awesome:

Our job as creators is to further define any medium.

I paused the film and sat with those words for a minute. It hit me:

We no longer have to rely on distributors to validate us. Or studios to fund us. We no longer have to rely on theater owners to screen our films. All we have to do IS MAKE FILMS. And make them our way... whatever way WE MAKE UP.

I felt like he was saying, "MrGorbachev tear down this wall!"

If you're a creator, you should be pumping your fists in the air right now. If you're a student, you should be jumping up & down because the wall has come down. We are living in a unprecedented time of creative freedom, especially if you aspire to create stories using images.

If you haven't done so yet, I would highly recommend you watch that whole video up there. Watch the whole thing. Subscribe to his YouTube channel. Watch them all.

Maybe you're like, "just show me the best part, Trey". Fair enough. Click here. Just, whatever you do, don't ignore this.

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