The film I’ve been making for the last 6 months is finally ready for post production. This short film called “One” is about love and how we hide our love behind the masks we wear, the stories we tell, and the excuses we make. I want to share the Kickstarter campaign with you because I believe in this film’s message that it will create more love and compassion in our lives. Before we can finish the post production, I want to gather $10,000 to ensure that we can push it through to the end. Please support this film and it’s message.
My mission is to create a compassionate world by connecting and calling people to action through storytelling and aesthetics.
In serving my mission, I’ve learned what it means to be a servant.
What does it mean to be of service?
It means that I serve the world, my mission, my friends, my community, and myself. It is not about me. It’s about channeling the energy of something grander than myself. Thus, looking at my life through this lens, I am able to remain humble and keep my ego/grandiosity at bay.
For example, when I do something great and people say “Le, you’re awesome.” I do my best to not let it feed my ego. I take it as “Le, I am grateful for the service because what you do brings me so much joy.”
This way I take immense joy in knowing that my service brought about the impact I want to see in the world. That’s enough for me.
Too often do I do things to get such accolades that make me look good. The dangers of making it about me is that I become grandiose. I drive home messages of “I think I’m better than you” and “I’m too good to do that”. In turn, I isolate myself. I believe that feeding the ego too much leads me to over analyze what others think of me. When my ego dominates my life, I start to lose focus on the mission, and I start doing things for the ego like buying shit I don’t really want just to look good/cool in my friends’ eyes. I take risks that may harm others and myself. I start to people-please. So on and so forth. All of these are distractions.
Nonetheless, it does not mean that I do not take care of myself while serving. Having financial stability, physical/mental/emotional health, training, knowledge, and experience, are all prerequisites to serve effectively.
It has also become easier for me to accept moments when I feel like I’ve failed, I’m not good enough, and etc. These moments I view as necessary hurdles in the journey in becoming a great servant. I might not be making blockbuster documentaries right away, and that’s OK. As long as I’m serving my mission in the best way I can now (even if it means taking a rest for myself), I am content and present.
This is how I’ve come to terms with the motivations and the ups/downs of my life. How about you?
This is what I learned about compassion today. I can’t help but share my story.
“Ding Dong, This is Lawrence.” I was relieved to finally get off the crowded rush hour redline. As I scurried towards the stairs, I saw an obese man sitting in his wheelchair at the top of the stairs. I beamed a smile as I made eye contact with him thinking that it would somehow brighten his day, but what he reflected back at me was an uneasiness. As I walked down I thought to myself, “I don’t remember there being an elevator at the Lawrence redline stop. How in the world is he going to get down?”
Half way down and more confused, I looked back up and saw that he was still waiting there for the last few people to clear out. Wanting to help I took a few steps back then I stopped myself. I thought, “Wait a second, it’s his own damn fault that he’s fat and he has to use a wheelchair to get around. He should suffer and maybe he’ll do something about his weight. I’m not sure he even needs help, and if he does someone else will, not me.” I bit my tongue, turned around, and moved on.
A few seconds later, I felt growing tension, inner conflict, and surging discomfort. I felt something pulling me back. I stopped again. ”Wait a minute! No matter where that man is in his life, no matter how fat he is, no matter what my judgement are, I couldn’t leave that man behind. I will not leave that man behind.”
I then rushed around the corner just to see him shuffle step by step down the stairs while struggling to carry his wheelchair. I called out to him, “Hey man, do you need some help?” And without getting a reply, I climbed up to him and grabbed his wheelchair. After we got to the bottom, he blessed me and told me, “If I couldn’t get down without the wheelchair, I woulda been in trouble.”
Walking away, I felt so good and proud of myself. Then something else happened.
Out of nowhere, I started to weep. As tears rolled down my cheeks I felt disgusted that so many people saw him and just walked by. Not one of them offered to lend a hand. I was sad and ashamed that I was so close to being one of THEM. We are so isolated from each other that we refuse to heed the call to help another human being carry his load.
While writing this blog, I understood why I went back to help him. The same moment I was helping that man lessen his burden, I was also taking off my load–the growing shame I felt walking away and leaving him behind. If I did nothing, I would have been sabotaging my own mission–to create a compassionate world by connecting and calling to action through storytelling and aesthetics.
And that’s what I learned about myself today.
Thank you and please help me share this story. Take a moment to stop, listen to your hearts, and connect with someone. If he’s calling out for help, help him. Do even the smallest thing to be of service to the world, your community, and yourself. Don’t leave the world behind. Don’t leave yourself behind.
P.S. I’m so grateful for my work at the ManKind Project and for all the men who helped me find my mission, kept me accountable to myself, and supported me to live it truthfully everyday.
Deathbyrd: Behind the scenes Photos
a Wangle Creative production
(photos by Gene Fojtik)
A week ago I met Sam and Bella of Deathbyrd. Today, we’ve completed a 3 song shoot, an interview, and released their first acoustic music video. Â Not only are they talented and easy to direct, they are so comfortable in their own skins and music. Hey it’s straight from the heart, right?
Tech stuff: The shoot was done with minimal equipment (Two Kinos and a HVX200 thanks to David Moravec of EZ3 Media). Â Location was Sam’s apartment but I still wanted it to look like it was shot in some swanky cafe. Â The door by the window really limited the camera angles on Sam and the sun was difficult to control through the curtains but I’m happy with the image quality in general.
In terms of sound, we had one mic that recorded them live and had them sing along with the playback hero track for the cut away shots.
This is what the location looked like before/after the lighting setup.
Â© All rights reserved on all images, music & video
Deathbyrd Music Video: Rings in Every Ear
Here is the ALBUM version of “Rings in Every Ear”
You can hear more of their stuff on Deathbyrd’s Facebook page or follow them on twitter @deathbyrd.
They will be releasing a new video every Tuesday afternoon so keep in the loop.
Special thanks to Gene Fojtik for Gaffing and shooting the behind the scenes photography!
Behind the scenes
for Schawk’s commercial shoot was the Pixel Brother’s crew including David Moravec (DP) who was kind enough to have me as the behind the scenes photographer. Â I wanted to capture some interesting moments when the same people are stuck on the same set for days. Â I won’t go into all the details because I don’t know what I am allowed or not allowed to say. Overall it was an amazing experience especially working with the William, the creative director and Matt, the marketing manager, and all the good folks at Pixel Bros and Schawk.
Â© All rights reserved on all images
Well it’s because the whole process of taking, developing, and scanning the photos takes a least a week (unless you have your own dark room/scanner).
Just a little about the Holga. The HolgaÂ is aÂ medium format 120 film toy camera designed by T. M. Lee in 1981, and first appeared outside China in 1982 with its appearance in Hong Kong. Â Back then, this camera was given away like getting a free action figure with your happy meal.
This camera is cheap and epitomizes the stereotypical Chinese mass produced merchandise. So bad in quality that the first copy of this camera I received from B&Hphoto didn’t even have a functioning shutter. Â However, as much as some belittle this little camera, the light leaks, blurry corners, vignetting, and general poor construction is also what makes camera so much fun to shoot with.
Shooting with the Holga is both frustrating and exciting. Frustrating in that there are no real focus markers, only two different apertures, 1/100 shutter or blub shutter and a flash. Â The photos below are some test shots where I documented all the condition/settings so I can get a better handle on this camera.
The picsThere is a lot of technical information. If not interested, just enjoy the photos These images were shot over a week with 400 ASA Fuji Pro color film.
aperture: cloudy ~f/8
shutter: default ~1/100 sec
It’s very easy to double expose the photos if you don’t keep track of which exposure you’ve taken. Â What I’ve learned to do is after taking the photo, I’ll roll the film just slightly (in between numbers) to indicate that it’s ready to take the next one. Â Also you can’t tell if the lens cap is on through the range finder
aperture: cloudy ~f/8
shutter: default ~1/100 sec
Taken on the Milkwaukee side of the building. I put the shutter on bulb just to test and vary the exposure. Indeed, the exposure was better than the previous two but I definitely can’t hold the camera still for the 1/2 second shutter.
aperture: cloudy ~f/8
shutter: bulb ~1/2 sec
Screen Hue Variance
Now that I have two iPhone 4s to compare, I noticed that their screen hues are slightly different, but it’s not just me–many people have confirmed this variance so don’t be alarmed if your iPhone is slightly different in color than your friend’s.
You can see it best when the screens are turned off. (no, it’s not the lighting that’s making the difference)
So the story goes like this.
My cousin and I were drinking coffee and Italian soda on the busy streets ofÂ Houhai–a popular spots for foreigners and locals alike. Â Houhai means “rear sea” in Chinese, but it’s really a lake with a variety of cafes, trendy shops, restaurants and night clubs, but they wereÂ rather empty on a Sunday afternoon.
The bathroom to this particular cafe is in the back–you have to walk through a set of old weathered doors before turning into the WC. To my surprise, a small courtyard and residential space appeared as I stepped through the old wooden frame.
After I got back to my seat, I glanced back through the wide openÂ doors and saw an old couple bantering, deeply engaged in their conversation. Â All of a sudden, they turned and noticed me. Not a second went by before the old woman hastily shut the doors. I saw this through my viewfinder just as I was taking their photo.
Alas, “I missed a great opportunity,” I thought to myself. Â But strangely enough, the aged, malfunctioning doors slowly squeaked ajar just wide enough and I snapped this.
I don’t want people to make international calls to talk to me and I surly don’t want to spend $2/minute to call them. Here is my set up on my iPhone 3GS:
Googlevoice -> SkypeIN number -> Foward to Chinese phone
Skype ->VoipOver3G -> US phone
To use this setup, you must get a SkypeIN number ($18 for every 3 months or $60 for a year) If you have a monthly subscription, you can get up to 50% discount). Â This number can be located in the US and a number of other countries. Â It’ll also require you to have Skype credits and will clost about 2 cents/min. Â The beauty of this setup is that your SkypeIN may change once you stop paying for the subscription but with a GoogleVoice number it doesn’t matter.
To make calls out on 3G it’s as simple as downloading VOIPover3G from Cydia assuming you have jailbroken your phone.
Before my plane took off, I called AT&T to suspend my service, to my surprise, the representative said that it only cost $10/mo for suspension. Later I realized that suspension means that I couldn’t use roaming on other networks even for emergency calls/information. So if you’re traveling, wait until your there and pay the $2/minute charge if you must until you have everything settled and have gotten your hands on a Chinese SIM card.
After a weekend of testing, Ker Than and Robert Roy Britt wrote an article for MSNBC on the “13 glaring iPad shortcomings” and they present a list of issues which I will address:
[Update] iPad will get multitasking in Fall of 2010 with OS 4. iPhone will getting it in summer.
- It’s awkward (to carry/hold)
- It’s heavy (tires your hands out)
- It’s slippery (unstable)
- The screen has too much glare
- Forget reading in the sun
- Fingerprints are annoying
- It does not multitask
- Browser is limited
- Virtual keyboard stinks
- No USB port
- iPhone-only apps look horrible
- Too Pricey
- Doesn’t replace anything
Numbers 1-6 are all physical grievances against the iPad where as 7-13 are more software/function related.
Glare, fingerprints and slipperiness
The glare and fingerprints issue is easy to fix. Just like the iPhone, the iPad screen is virtually scratch-proof. So if you don’t mind it, use NO screen protection at all, otherwise there are multitude of options to reduce fingerprints and glare on the screen. The concensus on the web from reviews and videos is that the Power Support Anti-Glare screen is the best at doing this job, although it does wear out over time and have to be replaced.
I show here in the photo that in fact the finger prints and the glare ARE pretty bad but even adding a cheap screen protector sample, there is noticeable improvement.