Visionary Storytelling (Byron Martin preview interview)

 

Every good project tells a story.

A story about goals, its members, deadlines, and what is required for completion. It also requires management to understand the story they need to tell, and to deliver it with gusto. Also, a REALLY good story follows a proper story arc, no matter if it’s an urban myth, a made-for-TV movie, a comic book or a stage play. Heck, even an improvised musical follows an outline to get to where it needs to be.

When you are in theatre (or any professional setting), you have the same kinds of responsibilities as any other business operator. You set a budget, plan out the year, and set meetings to ensure everyone is onboard as things happen.

No matter what you might think, communication and teamwork are at the centre of it. When you have a vision, and you bust your ass to see it happen, time movies along quite quickly. Every self-made business person will tell you this…

Learning to coordinate others and juggle the program is at the centre of it.

If you look at it in a very simple way, there are really seven major steps to consider as the process unfolds.

  1. Define project goals.
  2. Have daily, weekly, monthly deliverables.
  3. Set and then celebrate project milestones.
  4. Build an annual budget.
  5. Assign team members.
  6. Produce progress reports.
  7. Assess risks.

 

It seems like an easy set list, but not everyone is up for the task. Marrying a vision to an agenda is essential.

Byron Martin has a big vision for the Edmonton arts community, and while some of the projects his theatre company Grindstone Theatre puts on, like Henry V, might start out with conversations at a local pub, he’s learned to keep track of his ideas and commit to his vision with a myriad of tools.

He has intimately committed these steps to his vision and can do them without consciously thinking about it, and he has fun at the same time. Another good friend of mine, Byron Martin is a much needed presence in the Edmonton theatre scene.

I hope you enjoy this preview of our chat.

Yes, I am out of theories for the day friends, but I’ve got a vision for 2017 and this upcoming full length Byron Martin interview is a part of it. For now let’s focus on the good things which have been shared, and the exciting possibility of another week with Gord Downie.

That’s right, I just might have another album review coming which features the Tragically Hip frontman. But that could just be a theory.

Tim!

Checks And Balances (Ryan Andrade interview)

After some much needed time away from the lab these past two days, I’ve had something of a breakthrough. I realized that not every solution calls for immediate action, dear readers. Sometimes an opportunity will present itself at the last moment, and allow you to regain balance taking you towards the direction you should be headed. Want an example?

Okay. For instance, dating is hard.

It truly does take a lot of time, effort, and energy to go out and meet new people. And if you put all of your willpower into your dating life, the rest of your life kinda falls by the way side. Which quite frankly won’t win you any points with romantic interests in the long run. Unless they too are running into life obstacles and are themselves overwhelmed. But living that way will lead into a whole host of different problems, and likely a messy finish. It’s better for you to have your own shit together (or are at the very least regularly working on your goals), and make some time to pursue romantic relationships. As things move along, you’ll find that the quality of dates you have improve because you can spot red flags in potential mates earlier in the courtship.

But what the heck does this have to do with timotheories or even artist interviews?

Good point dear readers. Well, a lot if I’m being perfectly honest. Creative professionals are not exempt from the challenge of maintaining balance in their lives. I might even argue that it’s more difficult for them to do this because there are less obvious resources available about how to start an art related business then there are for other commodities. Artists have to deal with intellectual property issues, and a considerable amount of ignorance on the value of their work.

Which is exactly what today’s interviewee strives to clear up. His uncanny ability to work his own interests into all facets of his life are a great example of what we should all be doing in order to find and maintain balance.

Ryan Andrade is a journeyman welder who loves the arts. He’s made the time to pursue a post-secondary education while earning a trade and travelling in from Ft. Saskatchewan on an almost daily basis. His down-to-earth mentality of working and keeping things technical without getting hung up on explanations of his art or worrying about what it means, allow him to keep up with the work.

I think you too will enjoy what he has to say about the theme of balance and what he does to follow his own heartbeat. I’m gonna take a note from Ryan and stop right here. I’ll let the interview speak for itself.

And as always, if you want to check out more timotheories interviews or the Cross Talk series please visit our YouTube channel.  And please, please, please share this post and of course subscribe to both the blog and channel!

Now let’s get down to business – Ryan doesn’t have much in the way of social media at the moment. So please send an email to timotheories@outlook.com and I’ll get in contact with him for you.

Lastly my sincerest thanks to Ryan for being rad, real, and ready. See you tomorrow with an album review that’s features an angel and probably my favourite one of the year.

Tim!

Sand Castles In The Sand (10 Lists To Success)

Do you ever just want to say f**k it, I’m out?

6e31d4d3db73abde59f4d96f4a80576219cff6e4a6d7680647a22b904a020ab6

I’ve talked about motivations before dear readers, and I’ve hinted at how I stay on top of goals, but I don’t believe I have really and truly detailed for you the significance of keeping a variety of functional lists available at your fingertips at all times and the incredible satisfaction you will get from this habit – whether you are highly motivated, stressed out, feeling aimless or a combination thereof.

In fact, 2 of my oldest and first posts specifically addressed the areas of my own motivations and some of the ways I intend to achieve them, one was The Watch List and other was titled Motivation and Movies.

Motivation and Movies is about more than just my love of movies and their incredible ability to connect an introverted type like myself with the world around me. The heart of that post demonstrates that we all love to tell stories, be involved with the storytelling process, and that ultimately our various types and niches of society break down and are usually broken because of communication issues.

Sure I may be simplifying it, but don’t tell me that you believe we all keep this information top of mind!

That’s why today’s Wisdom Wednesday post is all about list making and how it connects with motivation. That’s right my friends, I got to the point of the post through a direct correlation of thoughts, without me using a story, meme or analogy to build it up for 500+ words worth of exposition. WHOA.

It can be done.

16e8c22f-641c-4324-b962-b6db22bba1bf

Granted, I threw in some fun memes, but they didn’t drive the plot forward, they were fun visual aids.

Having worked in marketing as my day job for almost a decade (and barely scratched the surface, might I add), I’ve read quite a few books and articles about the subject, and I’ve also learned some things along the way.

You see, I have this theory that the future of what’s cool and engaging is not going to be furthering technology and scientific achievement, though those things will continue to permeate our globalized village. Instead, because of the advent of the internet and the information age, those two achievements are going to lead us to the next logical step, refining our communication and storytelling ability.

This branding article kind of takes the roundabout to explain what I’m stating rather plainly, but to be fair the author IS referring to the future of business, which is full of plot holes.

tumblr_nszajnzdj91u8ncpjo1_1280

So let’s get down to brass tacks, talk turkey, and strike while the iron is hot.

If you want to be successful in life, you have to be persistent, work hard, sacrifice, be prepared to deal with lots of failures, and keep up good habits. Ask anyone who YOU think is successful, and they will without question give you some variation of that short list.

That’s why I am going to let you in on something pretty straightforward. If you build these lists laid out in this article for yourself and maintain them, ie work at them and add to them, then you are on the track to success.

  1. list of goals
    A reason to get up in the morning, reasons to respect yourself
  2. list of tasks
    Milestones to goal completion, daily – personal and professional
  3. list of contacts
    Reliable, skillful people, who you maintain a healthy and natural relationship with
  4. list of expenses
    Monthly obligations, to create a clear overview and stick to your financial guns
  5. list of useful tools
    Apps for restaurants, maps, task management, learning, etc. AND physical resources too
  6. list of self improvements
    Things you would like to improve or change about yourself, one thing a year may be more viable
  7. list of creative ideas
    To hone your focus and keep your mind occupied. Needs to be new, make sense, and have a use
  8. list of future plans
    Events, changes in law, trends, software – keep you well-informed and prepared for life
  9. list of contingency plans
    Be prepared for the backlash of major projects
  10. bucket list
    Keep your regrets to a minimum – put the impossible down, then find the next best thing, use to restore will power and keep going

If you can maintain these lists, you will never lose sight of yourself and what you need to be doing in your life to achieve your purpose.

I’ve said it before, but creative types are just as prone to dreaming rather than doing as those deem themselves more pragmatic and functional.

Be vigilant and you’ll achieve your goals. And those are all of the theories I have for today dear readers.

Tim!

 

 

Olé, Olé, Olé, Olé… Olé… Olé (Goal Setting)

In December of 2014, I wrote about a longstanding goal of mine and efforts I had made to set it up so I could eventually achieve it!

That goal was The Watch List.

I’ve referenced this goal a few times on this blog, because it’s a fun topic and seems a little silly, but mostly because it directly ties in with my bigger and longstanding goals of writing about the connections between pop culture, human behaviour, and living a successful life (which I’ve slowly been sharing with you, but will continue to build on as we go), I decided it was crucial to become a proper cinephile in order to contribute to the conversation.

Hence I went through the effort of visiting lists of the most popular as well as the most critically acclaimed movies ever made and committed to watch the best of the best.

The conditions I set up for myself were to sample from every film genre known to man, and use IMDB as a reference point for genres – 22 of them to be precise.

I removed movies that I had already seen from the lists, and created my own list to avoid duplicates. How I accomplished building this master list was by identifying all categories for each movie as I added it, that way when I would move on to another genre and look at the top 10% or top 25 movies if the genre was smaller, I didn’t add a movie twice or three times by accident.

Now The Watch List makes just a little bit more sense, right?

Today I want to share with you some developments in this project and a particular component of timotheories – Theatrical Tuesdays. Theatrical Tuesdays is my opportunity to either review a play or piece of theatre I’ve recently watched, a film which is currently in movie theatres or a movie that has been released on Digital HD, DVD and/or blu-ray.

I am choosing to do this for a few reasons.

  1. I want to stay on top of culture as it happens,
  2. It’s important to provide you with my perspective on it
  3. This forces me commit to the practice of viewing new content as it comes out, rather than just watching or purchasing what I am comfortable with when I feel like it

Some of you dear readers might think that this is an easy process and does not take any effort on my part – trust me when I tell you that it does. I have to commit to being available once a week within a certain window of time so that I buy the film (and often the album for Melodic Mondays), and then committing to a window of time to watch the film, and finally setting aside the time to write about the film.

This means I need to maintain discipline and say “no” to certain activities OR prepare posts well ahead of posting time so that I am consistently releasing these posts on schedule. As a consequence, my personal film collection grows by at least 1 film a week. Which is cool, but doesn’t necessarily guarantee I am watching a film that fits into those top rated lists, especially because the content on webistes like IMDB are curated over weeks of time and the top movies aren’t necessarily in said list exactly when they are released.

And this process also fights with my progress on The Watch List. Which is why I only watched a handful of movies from the list in 2015.

Another challenge I face with completing The Watch List is that I purchase blu-rays en masse during Boxing Day, Black Friday and during closeout sales or special events where movies are on sale. At those times I am buying releases I missed over the course of the year and movies I want to add to my collection.

With those types of purchases (bulk buys, not weekly review buys) I have decided to file the movies away once I’ve opened them and watched them. That way I’m not only collecting, I am also making use of my purchases. Because of this method of collecting, my collection is currently sitting at about 650 movies, and approximately 350 of those are blu-rays.

Now you are probably wondering how many movies I own but have yet to watch correct? 89 of them.

One week has already passed in 2016, which leaves me with another 51 weeks left to watch those 89 movies – if I want to stay ahead of my bulk purchasing habits and have fresh inventory for 2017. So that means I need to up my game.

But that’s not what today was about, today was about sharing with you what is going on. You’ll have to wait until Sunday to see how I’m going to address this issue.

What a tease, am I right? It is Timely Thursday after all! So leave some comments, tell me what your goals are for 2016, and how you are personally impacting the arts. I wanna hear what you have to say!

Until next time, I’m out of theories for now!

Tim!

Maintaining Your Zen (Zen Pencils)

Where does motivation come from?

I often wonder this myself, and I’ve met with different perspectives on the matter throughout my life so far. I fully expect to encounter more examples and perspectives as I go along, but for the purpose of making a point, I’ve outlined some examples below.

Some believe it is something internal which we are all born with, which is bottled up and given out in precise amounts each day, so that if it is squandered, you cannot get it back. Others suggest that motivation comes from healthy living and positive emotions. You will find that some believe that motivation comes out of adversity, that in moments of trial we are given the opportunity to rise to the challenge, and if we reach out for it we will be rewarded for our efforts, a matter of will. There is the biological track which suggests that because we are motivated to basic functions of eating, drinking, and sleeping, our behaviours are dictated by those forces of nature. I’ve also heard people say that motivation is a spiritual matter, which is given to us whether we ask for it or not, but in miraculous ways, providing us the strength we need in moments that we cannot handle life.

We could say there are either internal or external factors that can determine motivation. In the everyday, motivation is the word we use to describe the why of a person.

In the arts in particular, you will hear all sorts of opinion as to why something created is “good” or “bad,” and how to be successful at creativity is no exception to this varied and often heated discussion of opinion. As the old adage goes, opinions are like hearts, we all have them and most of them are overworked.

Just kidding, theres a better one – It’s about the anus. Let’s not lose focus though.

I’ve personally found that routine is essential for maintenance of a goal, dream or accomplishing something large in scope. By building good habits you can be assured that no matter what your level of commitment, in the tedium, this strategy will be helpful.

But when it comes to major shifts of life, that is a completely different matter. In those moments, I would argue that external factors should and do play a role in motivation. Whether they are biological or spiritual is a matter of taste, and we all have our individual journey to take, which is why I am not interested in dictating the course for you. Rather I hope to provide choice from my spot on the internet.

Which is why today’s Wisdom Wednesday is a double feature. I’ve served up part A already by assuring you that your goals are attainable, but how you achieve them is definitely dependant on what stage you are at and the kind of motivation you need. *Hint* A routine never hurt anybody while they were waiting for inspiration to strike.

Part B is a little bit more fun for me, because I get to share a website I look at from time to time, when I want a reminder that success is an ongoing pursuit and a lifestyle, and not a result.

The website I recommend you take a look at is zenpencils.com – Convenient link is here.

Gavin Aung Than has been making cartoons for his website since the end of 2011. He decided to quit his corporate job as a graphic designer and focus on his comics after he realized that he loved reading biographies of people who lived more interesting lives than him and that he wasn’t happy with where he was at. He adapts all sorts of quotes from inspirational sources and combines them with his drawings to produce some really beautiful art.

The kind of art which eventually inspired me to stop focusing my efforts on a corporate career and reorient myself back to my real passions: Being involved in the arts, making art, and collaborating with other artists.

I’m not going to bore you with details of why I like his stuff because I think it demonstrates its value in different ways, unless, of course, I get feedback requesting more information and/or a technical analysis. But I will leave some good example links I personally like right here for you to peruse at your leisure…

Chuck Jones

Marcus Aurelius

Ken Robinson

Robin Williams

Amy Poehler

Shonda Rhimes

Jim Henson

Timothy Ferriss

Jiddu Krishnamurti

But please don’t take my word for it, there are almost 200 comics on that website by this point. All of them carrying a message of hope and practical information about how to achieve in life, especially if you are a creative type.

So what did you think? Did you like the website? Do you want me to share more of these kinds of sources with you? Today’s theories are tomorrows realities, and I’ve shared what I could for now, dear readers. See you soon.

Tim!