Watch the above. The man and the process are intense. The inspiration is color.  

This film changed my very flat perception of Jim Carrey. It proved again we have to live on the edges. 

Columbus. 

Einstein. 

Warhol.

The woman in her shop welding alone. 

The guy staring at a blank page. 

Living on the edge means living on the edge of failure. It means, when asked to sing, you let 'er rip even though you probably aren't the best singer in the audition. Voice cracking, you do it anyway. At it's worst, it will be real. At it's worst, it's everything we got. 

And that's enough. Even though we may be scared shitless. 

That's the price of being interesting. Of creating interesting work. We might still have to care about what people think (I do,), but maybe the true level of success is if we answer the day. If we meet failure as a stepping stone rather than as a judgement of who we are. If we take the sword to doubt and the helping hand to our own passion. 

I'm still working on that. 

 

 

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson

Nobody said it was going to be easy. 

There is a concept among the stoics called the 'Inner Citadel' - that fortress that protects your inner soul. These are the walls of integrity, protecting our purpose. 

No matter how strong the walls are, however, there can always be a breach from the inside. This is when we concede too much and care too little. When compromise (or maybe something worse, like greed) chips away at who we are.

Our job is to protect against that at all costs. To be battle ready when the attack comes - and it will come. To take the time to follow who we are, and be who we are. 

That's what #FindTheHour is all about: Shoring up the weak spots. Tapping into strength. Protecting the inner part of us that's life critical.

It's not easy. I struggle all the time with this. Especially the last couple of days, when all I want to do is watch TV or give in to the status quo. I push back, halfheartedly. I hesitate. I do make compromises. I strike deals with the Devil. 

But I also put in the hour. 

 

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson
 
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Today is day 59 of my #FindTheHour streak. Join me in reclaiming existence. 

An old friend of mine Shawn Delaney always used to say 'Put the Couch in the Kitchen'. 

Apple says 'Think Different'. 

There's a thousand different people out there talking about 'Reimagine' or 'Rethink' or 'Transformation'. 

That's the function of #FindTheHour: to get us to take the time to reflect on how we spend our time, then make changes to reclaim our existence. Putting the couch in the kitchen is about a fresh blueprint. 

A few people asked me last week about the structure of #FindTheHour. Does it have to be one project? Can you mix it up and play a trumpet one night then throw pottery the next? Does it have to be disciplined around one primary goal?

The short answer is 'yes'. 

But that goal can be whatever we want it to be. That goal could simply be 'Doing that which brings me joy.' Or it could be finishing a book (my case) or starting a side-hustle. It's about shedding other people's expectations and focusing on what you want to do. Just for an hour. 

Sounds selfish, doesn't it? But it's the same kind of selfishness that's sparked the best art. The best life, perhaps. 

So choose who you want to be. 

Next Post on Thursday: Finding the Time

 

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson

Tools for Creativity and Productivity

This blog is posted every Tuesday and Thursday about my quest to deliver quality. This is tied to my #findthehour project, where I am working at least one hour a day on a passion project (right now a novel called 'Devil's Candy') - and then counting the days that my streak is kept alive. Don't break the streak.

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson

Today is day 54 of my #FindTheHour streak. Join me in reclaiming our existence. 

This is what the beast whispers in your ear:

You're too tired.
You're not good enough. 
You should focus on your spouse/your kids/your friends/your work/your abs today. 
You're schedule got turned upside down again. 
There's never enough time in the day.
Can you do it? No. 
Are you worthy? No.
You'll never have what you need to get started. 
It's just too friggin' hard. 

These are the words of the RESISTANCE, the greatest single adversary to creativity. These are the words I usually listen far too long to,  often even before I get out of bed every morning. These are the excuses that try to prevent me from #FindTheHour. 

But we are worthy. We are the slayers of dragons. 

If you want to do work that matters, but don't know how, the first step is fighting the beast. Not listening to your own excuses. Just putting your head down and putting in the time. And if you want a great book to read about this, grab Steven Pressfield's DO THE WORK, which I can't recommend enough. It's a gem. It speaks the truth about how we can tap into our muse and do things beyond imagination. 

That's what it boils down to. Just sitting down or standing up and doing what you know you should be doing. For an hour. 

That's a great start. 

 
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LOG-IN ENTRY:

Streak Count of writing ONE HOUR A DAY: 54 days.
#FindTheHour

Music to write by: New LCD Soundsystem, yo! 

Most Frequented Writing Haunt: My house

Stay frosty. 

#POV. 

 

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson
 
 
Download the sheet. It's magic. 

Download the sheet. It's magic. 

 

Today is day 52 of my #FindTheHour streak. Join me in reclaiming your existence. 

I decided 52 days ago to commit one hour a day, every day, to writing. I was going to see how long I could keep the streak alive, inspired by Jerry Seinfeld, and as I started to gain momentum I thought I'd share some of what I've learned. 

My advice is very simple: find the one thing you love to do, and do it an hour a day. Sounds so simple, doesn't it? You'd be surprised at the enemies, real and imagine, standing in your way.

But here's 5 ways you can get started:

  1. Decide What Do You Want to Do - Maybe it's playing music with your kids, or gardening more, or writing, interior design, drawing. Don't worry about outcomes, just pick the one thing that floats your boat. I don't want to minimize how hard this can be, but noone else can figure that out but you. 
  2. Pick a Day to Start - I want you to look at your calendar and commit. Maybe this is today, maybe it's next Monday. Then I want you to outline how the perfect week looks to you - and where the hour fits in. Then plan it out. On most days, my hour is 7:30AM - 8:30AM, but sometimes when I know my better half is working late, I move this to the evening. But it has to be planned in advance, or the resistance will win. Guaranteed. PROTIP: Let the people closest to you know what you're doing. Say you would appreciate their support. Better yet, invite them in.  
  3. Download this Sheet - See the picture above. This is my streak. Jerry Seinfeld was once asked how he created so much, and he said he NEVER broke the streak. He wrote jokes every day. No exceptions. This has done pretty well by him. 
  4. The magic of 'Yes, and...' versus 'Yes, but...' This is an old improv trick. Open yourself to the universe, and instead of saying 'Yes, but...' (which implies resistance to all things good) you can say 'Yes, and..." to build on ideas and provide bigger solutions. And it also implies less internal judgment (I'm still working on this one). Internal judgment might be your biggest roadblock. 
  5. Go. You don't need permission to make it happen. Just start. Pick up the pencil or the guitar and create something. Don't judge, just do. Put the 'Yes, and...' into action. Write a poem to yourself. 

A lot of people have talked about the power of INTENTION. That's all this is, I'm no mastermind. But since I've been dialing in on #FindTheHour a lot of great things have happened. Awards, films coming together, a novel that is wrapping up, a lot of pieces that would not otherwise exist. And that is what this is all about, existence.

Go.

If you need anything, let me know. I don't have many of the answers and you probably have some great ideas too. Share them. I want to #FindTheHour along with you. Who knows what kind of cool shit could happen?

Next Post: Killing the Beast that is Resistance. 

 

LOG-IN ENTRY:

Streak Count of writing ONE HOUR A DAY: 52 days.
#FindTheHour

Music to write by: New LCD Soundsystem, yo! 

Most Frequented Writing Haunt: My house (spooky)

Stay frosty. 

#POV. 

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson
3 CommentsPost a comment
 
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I've just completed by 48th straight day of #findthehour, where I work for at least an hour on my novel Devil's Candy. You can be working on anything you want, as long as it brings you joy. 

I won't kid you and say every one of those hours was quality, but I was there. I was doing the work. Some of it sucked, some of it didn't. 

And I've learned a shit ton. Here's a quick list:

  • 1 - Learning is not as important as doing. Too many people are afraid to start because they don't think they know enough. Or aren't good enough yet. That's an illusion. Start now. The pile of 'how-to' books on your bedside table isn't going to get you there. 
  • 2- The first two hours of your day go by the fastest. If you fill that with good work, rather than dicking around trying to get warmed up, you'll see exponential results. Get to work as fast as possible. PROTIP: This Monday morning (yes, even on Labor Day), just do an audit of what you do in the first two hours after you wake up. You might be surprised at how little actually gets done. Optimize. 
  • 3 - People are going to hate you. Making #findthehhour a priority comes at the expense of time with others, or recreation, or entertainment. And people don't like it when you prioritize your goals above everything else, like a good time. Minimize this by asking them to help you first. By saying, hey, I want to try this - is that cool? The people who love you will say 'yes' and empower you. The others you can ignore...
  • 4 - It's damn hard. 
  • 5 - Self-doubt is a bitch. Fear carries a big stick. The resistance that is in all of us speaks loudly. You're going to have to stop complaining and kill the beast. 
  • 6 - #FindTheHour actually adds more hours to your day. It's counter-intuitive, but doing what you love for an hour actually opens everything else up. Try it.
  • 7 - One week of #FindTheHour isn't going to do it. Talk to me after two weeks. Three weeks. Four weeks. When it starts to become a habit, when you can't imagine a day without it, that's when the magic (and better work) starts to happen. Trust me.
  • 8 - You need this sheet to track your days. Thanks, Jerry. 
  • 9 - I can't stop. Resetting to ZERO DAYS after all this work petrifies me. Eventually it will happen but not without a crazy fight, perhaps to the death. 
  • 10 - You're probably not 90 years old yet. When you're 90, how are you going to look back at things? Don't let regret be part of that future existence. 

The biggest thing I've learned is to stop complaining. Nobody cares. If you aren't doing what you want to be doing, now's the time. 

Next Post on Tuesday: How to GET STARTED. 

 

LOG-IN ENTRY:

Streak Count of writing ONE HOUR A DAY: 48 days.
#FindtheHour

Music to write by: Radiohead Live in Milan

Most Frequented Writing Haunt: The Black Drop. 

Stay frosty. 

#POV. 

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson
 
 
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I was pretty lame when it came to the eclipse. I'm not sure what I wasn't quite understanding: if I drove a few short hours South I'd be able to see a potentially once in a lifetime event.

Totality. 

My mind wasn't big enough to understand that, and on Sunday I finally started to get my act together, went on Craigslist and bought a pair of eclipse glasses for $25 (which was money well spent). But in the end I settled for the 90%. 

And the 90% was pretty damn amazing. Inspiring. Brilliant. I did feel the awe and the glory. 

But it's a shame that the other 10% was right there to be had, with just a little imagination and foresight. With just a bit of work, I could have pointed myself south and been there. 100% could have been achieved. 

Life rarely tees success up for us like that. In a way I let inquisition and imagination down. Let that be a lesson. 

 

LOG-IN ENTRY:

Streak Count of writing ONE HOUR A DAY: 39 days.
#FindtheHour

Music to write by: Radiohead Live in Milan

Most Frequented Writing Haunt: Back to Camber. 

Stay frosty. 

#POV. 

 
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Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson
 
 
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It's easy to talk a Big Game. We all do it. 

In LA, this is called 'Cocktail Producing'. 

And though there is something to be said for faking it until you make it, at some point your verbal aspirations have to actually intersect with doing the work. Sitting down and making it happen. 

This isn't cursory. We can sometimes kid ourselves into believing that the first pass is enough. Or that we'll be able to accomplish it in an hour. 

Chances are, we are going to have to dig deeper. Do more homework. Stay up the extra hours, forego hanging with the bros. 

Have you ever done a time audit to REALLY see how you spend your day? Are you protecting your most productive hours? Are you saying 'No' and 'Yes' to the right things?

When you wake up tomorrow, measure how much sand slips right through your fingers. You might be surprised. 

 

LOG-IN ENTRY:

Streak Count of writing ONE HOUR A DAY: 37 days.
#FindtheHour

Soundtrack to write by: Social Network. 

Most Frequented Writing Haunt: My bed. 

Stay frosty. 

#POV. 

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson

...Is a state of mind.

In the film business, being Camera Ready is when an actor is ready to make it happen. To turn it on. To make some magic. When the set is locked in and all systems are a go. 

The green light. 

 
It's all in the preparation. 

It's all in the preparation. 

 

There are people I know who are always camera ready. Sure, this might have to do with looking good, but it's more about being prepared to deliver. To make a first impression. To kill the interview. To close the deal. To help someone who needs it.

Being camera ready is about being open and receptive to the world and proactive around opportunity. It's one very powerful approach to getting out of bed every morning. 

 

LOG-IN ENTRY:

Streak Count of writing ONE HOUR A DAY: 30 days.
#FindtheHour

Soundtrack to write by: Social Network. 

Most Frequented Writing Haunt: My bed. 

Stay frosty. 

#POV. 

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson
 
 
Hit the button. Photo courtesy of @RightonBrotherFilms

Hit the button. Photo courtesy of @RightonBrotherFilms

 

Yesterday we delivered a short film to the Banff Ski Festival. And the director, Sam Giffin of @RightonBrotherFilms, lit a candle before we hit the export button. This was a tradition, he said, his mentor taught him. 

So we lit the candle and watched the file export. We knew we could have made more changes. We know there's more changes to be made. Bolts can always, always, be tightened. 

Many years ago, I told myself all my ducks would have to be in a row before I got married. 

Then I told myself the same thing before I had kids. 

I tell myself that before each project: once things are in order I can start. 

But we all know the truth: there is no order. Ducks are never in a row. It's about Progress, not Perfection. It's about delivery of something really really good, not stuck in the maw of over-analysis and the search for something that doesn't exist. 

Hit the button. 

 

LOG-IN ENTRY:

Streak Count of writing ONE HOUR A DAY: 25 days.
#FindtheHour

Soundtrack to write by: Midnight Express (classic use if Midi)

Most Frequented Writing Haunt: Woods, Boulevard Park. 

Stay frosty. 

#POV. 

 

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson

Want to create some cool stuff? Of course you do. Watch the video to learn how:

 

Here are the steps that will jumpstart your creativity - guaranteed:

  • Download this cool calendar, where you can mark off your daily progress. This was inspired by Jerry Seinfeld, who forced himself to #FindtheHour and write comedy everyday. Thanks Jerry. 
  • Have some fun. This isn't a chore. This is you. If you break the streak, so what? Just start again. 

So do you want to commit to do this with me?  The first person who comments below - and who is in - will get some #FindtheHour swag and some other coolness down the line. I'll also be posting at least 3-4 times a week letting you know how to make it easier - and will look to you for ideas as well. Let's make it happen. 

 

LOG-IN ENTRY:

Streak Count of writing ONE HOUR A DAY: 22 days.
#FindtheHour

Soundtrack to write by: Chocolat

Most Frequented Writing Haunt: Starbucks. 

Stay frosty. 

#POV. 

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson

Lost for a moment in the ripped from the headline news, you'd believe we're all screwed. That people everywhere are stepping on the third rail. 

And maybe it's true and maybe it isn't, but I'm reminded how much easier it is to create dust around an issue than actually work on the issue itself. How some of us, when it comes right down to it, sidestep the deep thinking it will take to actually make something. Why make that hard choice when there's a 24 hour mainline media fix, just the click of a button away?

Which reminds me in an odd way of Selena Gomez. Who at first blush we might all be tempted to relegate to tabloid fodder, but truth be told is creating some really interesting work. You may not love - or even understand - it, but it's different. It's risky. It's taking chances. It took a strong vision and a deep seated commitment. The heavy work was lifted. 

So maybe next time we're so fast to comment on something, we should just put our head down and do our own work instead. Critics aren't remembered. We might be.  

 

LOG-IN ENTRY:

Streak Count of writing ONE HOUR A DAY: 20 days.
#FindtheHour

Soundtrack to write by: Chocolat

Most Frequented Writing Haunt: Camber.

Stay frosty. 

#POV. 

 

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson
 
Sarcophagus found in the middle of France. Summer 2017. 

Sarcophagus found in the middle of France. Summer 2017. 

 

AMRAP is one of those crazy acronyms I have fun blurting out in the middle of meetings. It confuses the hell out of people, and then I can just nod, say 'That's right' and back out of the room gracefully and get back to work. Like, you're either on the inside or on the outside. 

In the CrossFit world, this means As Many Reps As Possible. Which in a nutshell should be what each day is about. 

Just one more. 

A minute longer. 

Just a little more weight. 

Lift that bitch. 

Write another word. Make another call. One more meeting. Another kiss. This is it, no use waiting for tomorrow (which is a myth anyway). 

One of my favorite sayings: the days are long but the years are short. AMRAP the fuck out of it, and you won't live in regret. Time will be as long as it's supposed to be. 

AMRAP. Say it with me. 

 

LOG-IN ENTRY:

Streak Count of writing ONE HOUR A DAY: 16 days.
#FindtheHour

Favorite New Writing Haunt: Camber.

Stay frosty. 

#POV. 

 

 

 

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson

One way to get unstuck is to imitate your favorite artists. It was Elvis Costello who said 'All artists are magpies and thieves.'

So steal from your favorites. 

If you'e stuck writing movies, read.

Here's a great resource. 

http://nofilmschool.com/2016/08/read-screenplays-online

 
 

LOG-IN ENTRY:

Streak Count: 13 days.
#FindtheHour

Stay frosty. 

#POV. 

 

 

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson