March 27, 2016
Somedays you need to come back to nature to realize there is more to life than just what is emotionally going on in your head. It’s usually a great opportunity to ground yourself for the week ahead, life is movement, it is constantly in motion but every once and a while it is nice to sit back and enjoy the scenery we so often taken advantage of.
Walking towards the site at Canterbury Falls, you will take note of the massive power this piece of property harnesses. The mighty roar of the water as it rushes through the river below, carving a path through the mud and stone, rumbled through my body like thunder and lightning.
“Canterbury Falls is located on property once owned by the Milne family. Lieutenant Willam Milne (1766-1826) bought the land in 1819. After William Milne’s death, the heirs sold all the land to James Milne in 1832. In 1845, the property was sold to Alexander Tower. In 1960 it was purchased from the Hamilton Lions Club by the current owners, the Anglican Church of Canada, Hamilton Diocese, which operates the site as conference retreat, church and children’s camp.”
You can really get taken away by the remarkable beauty and spiritual vibe of this place, the scenery and peaceful nature is always a nice change from the fast pace, bumper to bumper traffic that the urban jungle provides.
Finally it hits you, this remarkable piece of property and all the gifts it can offer you. The power of the water as it rushes over the face of the cliff down to the river below. The Trees that once were small seedlings, now tower over you giving you shelter and shade. The arrangements of the rocks, mother nature’s works of art, and as smooth as silk from the persistent pressure of water flowing around it.
And then suddenly the problems we face during our day-to-day lives seem meaningless and obsolete. You realize you didn’t have to consume anything by being there, just observation and the funny thing is, it never once ask for anything in return. Just your ability to be in the present moment for a small brief window in time.
Canterbury Falls is a remarkable place for a Hike. A place to revive your imagination and get back to the root of what it truly means to feel alive. For more information you can visit City of Waterfalls
November 2, 2015
Jim Rohn – “Ways To Develop Your Leadership Skills”
“How To Get Shit Done – The Inner Game of How To Be Productive” –
“Goal Setting Like A Warrior” – Gregg Swanson
“Steve Jobs’s Top 10 Rules For Success”
Tony Robbins’ “Rapid Planning Method”
September 20, 2015
“Every Accomplishment Starts with the Decision to Try”
Success doesn’t always add up to what we see on television, it is not the fancy cars, vacations and traveling time or just the ability to do what you want when you want.
Success is the bi-product of hard work, determination and most of all the ability to never give up without a fight. Success is struggle and failure and the knowledge one gains from going through it.
“If you’re going through hell, keep going” – Winston Churchill.
The moment you decide to change, the moment you decide to put forward action behind your emotions & goals is the moment you start being successful.You don’t like your circumstances, you don’t like where you’re heading. Then do something about it.
It can be as small as deciding to go back to school and reinvesting in knowledge to upgrading your skill-set by learning a new trade. Whatever it is you must be willing to move forward, to be uncomfortable and hustle.
You must be willing to put forward the time and energy it takes to accomplish the goal. You must be willing to see the bigger picture and go through the natural steps to get where you want to be. You must be willing to do the stuff that you don’t really want to do in order to be where you want to be.
Opportunities don’t just happen to great people, they are created, with enthusiasm and relentless hustle.
August 1, 2015
July 22, 2015
It’s the Weekend and you can’t wait to trade in your dress shoes for hiking boots. No longer are you focused on career goals and the only path you need to take is the one paved in mud and stone.
The smell of evergreen trees, over 100 years old, fill your lungs that rid your system of toxic fumes. With Waterscapes carving an intricate path through the river stream that allows for the soothing sounds to enter your mind. A perfect time to reflect, the perfect moment to just sit and be grateful.
Time, well that is just irrelevant, when it comes to nature. And the only thing nature asks of you is to leave your doubts and fears before entering. So you may truly appreciate the awe and inspiration it has to offer every single time you pay her a visit.
And in the grand scheme of things, isn’t that what makes life worth living and fighting for.
June 14, 2015
June 11, 2015
“It’s not what you do, but it’s how you feel, that matters the most.
It’s time that you start Designing your life through the power of inspiring emotions. If you want to wake up every morning feeling the strength of 1000 empowering minds. Do as they do. If it works for you, keep doing it. Your lifestyle changes might not be everyone’s cup of tea but they aren’t you and you are not them. So why waste your time and energy trying to gain their satisfaction and acceptances.
Trying to do what is right by you is not always easy but it is most defiantly worth it in the end. Learning how to stand on your own, when you have 1000 and one voices going on in your head and opinions of people that sway you from left to right while you are trying to stay focus what truly matters is difficult and takes time to perfect. But it will get easier over time.
Begin your day feeling grateful for everything you have. Expand not only on your body but mind and soul. Exercise compassion throughout the day, staying aware of your emotions. Strive not to be better than the person next to you, but, who you were yesterday. And never be afraid to lend a helping hand to lift the spirit of another human, being regardless of how you might feel at that particular moment.
So What if there was no such thing as tomorrow? Only what you had left of today. Would you squander your time with sadness or live the last precious gift of life in the luxury of happiness. Happiness that is always around you at any given time of day. Family. Friends. Cherished loved ones. People that have taught you to embrace oneness and celebrate togetherness.”
June 8, 2015
Over the last few months I have had the privilege of having many discussions about success and the arts. And encountered many superbly talented artist over the many years and seen some amazing success stories. I often find myself breaking down peoples success to get to the heart of their story. This in my opinion are the top 4 characteristic traits that turns any artist into one of the greats.
The Pistons that drives the Motor
“If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you. – Les Brown
Finding your purpose is one of the hardest accomplishments you will ever achieve. For one, there are times when it can be a bit of a grey area in which no one will fully understand your passion as a potential “money maker”. Forget about making money in the beginning. Passion for a project that you hold in high regard as purposeful might not translate into revenue in the beginning. But that’s okay, because there are a lot of examples out there that defy all of that. Look for them as your sources of inspiration.
It will look different for each example as everyone defines success differently. Equally so, liking what you do will ultimately be different from being able to do what you want with a sense of purpose.
A great exercise to do is to start with your ultimate vision of how you see your life, work backwards to reengineer how you got there, right down to the last minute. But keep in mind, we are only human, as you break everything down be sure to leave room for forgiveness. Set backs will only define you but it certainly will not break you.
“It’s All About The Dollars and Sense”
“It is better to risk starving to death then surrender. If you give up on your dreams, what’s left?” – Jim Carrey
It’s one thing to be a great artist, it is another thing to be a smart business minded artist. Knowing the value of your work is key. You and you alone know the blood sweet and tears you have put into your vision. Never settle and definitely never compromise, even if you have to say “no” over and over again until you obtain your goal.
Be frugal! A sale is not just profit gained, it is potential investment for the future. Create a savings plan then determine how much you can afford to pay yourself. Just like you would with any other type of job.
If the ultimate goal is to own a store front, use the money earned to invest, create a road map of how you will get from point A to point B and start implementing that map into action.
There are benefits to renting, but I never liked the idea of being in the hands of someone else’s pocket. It’s terrible for an artist to believe that you are entitled to that location because you’ve built your business and community there for the many years of renting that some how you own that space.
Developers and landowners make long term investment in properties because they know it will bring a return. So don’t be so shocked when they sell, it might not be something you had plan on doing, but long term, it is not only business savvy but could be lucrative for you as well.
“When you want to succeed as much as you want to breathe, then you will be successful” – Eric Thomas
The art of the hustle will take you beyond the ability to write a good business plan into making revenue. Business plans are great, but if you can’t sell your passion in person, you should be focusing all your energy on the pitch. Business plans don’t always translate into sales, passion for your product and a solid pitch to the right people does.
So know who your customer base is, learn how to get inside their head to create an emotional need for your product. Ask yourself questions like;
• Why should they buy from me?
• What makes me so different from the rest?
When you can champion other artist’s success stories, you’re really building a community of strength. Which breeds cross promotion and creates more ways to be discovered.
It allows for more of a two way communication on social media and nurtures more of a thoughtful relationship between everyone.
Don’t be afraid to reach out and bridge those gaps, in the end, a community that rises together creates growing economy together.
But at the end of the day, success is created by your ultimate vision. Those were just a few points I’ve noticed over the years that have helped artist grow into a more comfortable stage of their evolution.
Now it’s your turn, what do you feel makes an artist successful? What are some characteristic traits that turns struggle into triumph? Leave a comment down below, always looking forward to hearing your thoughts!
May 31, 2015
The city of Hamilton has no shortage of opportunities to meet and network with
young vibrant individuals. Here are just the top 5 that creatives might be interested in.
5.) Think Tank Tuesday with Tracee
Date: Tuesday June 2nd 2015
Time: 6:30 Pm – 10:30PM
Website: Think Tank Tuesday
“Join Tracee and Guests every Tuesday @ 6:30pm to approximately 10:30pm.
It’s a chance to experiment and dialogue with others and see what viable situations we can muster to launch some ‘fabulousness’ and generate revenue streams within our collective.
A small totally informal gathering of like minds beginning at 6pm.
All are welcome. Artists, Advocates, Creatives, Musicians, Anyone with ideas to share. There’s no charge. Feel free to bring anyone who may be interested in an exchange of ideas. Feel free to bring munchies. Donations of any sort are cheerfully accepted.”
4.) Hamilton Freelancer Summer Patio Networking Dinner
Date: Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Website: Hamilton Freelancers Association
“It’s summer! The sun is out, the weather is getting hot. And the patios are open, just waiting to be filled
For the summer months of June, July, and August, we’re going to try something new that I hope interests you.
Freelancer Summer Patio Networking events
Hosted by the Hamilton Freelancers Association
Based on how many of you RSVP, we’re going to pick a nice local patio where we will reserve a large table just for us. Arrive between 5:30pm-6pm just after work. Chat about your business, share tips and advice, network and meet new people over drinks and dinner.”
3.) Game Dev Drinks
Date: Wednesday, 17 June 2015
Time: 6:30 PM to 10:00 PM
Location: Pheasant Plucker
Website: For more information Click here
“Come join us at the Pheasant Plucker and grab a drink with the local video game community. The goal of GameDevDrinks has always been about creating a casual inspirational social setting where students, enthusiast, or industry professionals can come together to share ideas, war stories, game demos, or anything else.”
Creators of “Lost Orbits”
For more information click here
2.) Innovation Night Showdown
Date: Thursday June 18 2015
Time: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Location: Innovation Factory
Website: Innovation Factory
“Join Innovation Factory on June 18, 2015 for our Innovation Night Showdown and Summer Social! If you haven’t been out to an Innovation Night before, this is a great opportunity to come out and see what it’s all about!
Innovation Night is open to the public and attendees will have the opportunity to observe up to 15 2-minute presentations from local innovators, vote for their favourite pitch, and network while enjoying a delicious dinner!
The Innovation Night Showdown will be held in the Atrium@MIP from 6pm to 9pm.
The schedule of events is as follows:
6pm – Dinner & networking
7pm – Innovation Night Showdown pitches!
8pm – Post pitch networking”
To give you an idea of what an Innovation Night Showdown looks like watch this clip.
1.) Hamilton WebSeries Community Meet Up
Date: Thursday June 25, 2015
Time: 6:30pm – 8:00 PM
Location: Homegrown Hamilton
Website: Hamilton WebSeries Community
The Hamilton WebSeries Community is for those that wish to get involved in Online Series, from Camera Operators to storytellers, it is a tremendous opportunity to meet new and interesting creative individuals.
This is a informal meet up, just to engage with like minded people and share their tips and tricks of the trade.
April 19, 2015
We fail at something not with great reason but for a greater purpose, when we fail we allow the negative emotion attached to failure overshadow the positive strength that dwells within the opportunity to renew.
Think back, way back to a point in time when life appeared simpler, that iconic image to me, a giant oak tree. Attached to one of the branches was a rope with a tire hanging from it. I can still hear the wind gently rustle the leaves below the tire as it sways back and forth. The summer heat was thick as thieves and only made the evenings even more enjoyable. Being in a short sleeve t-shirt, hanging out in some random parking lot with one of your 3 closest friends and zero responsibility for the next day.
Your first full-time job as a human is to learn and grow your mind, soaking up as much knowledge as possible. Emulating those that are closest to you, adopting values while developing your own.
It is hard to imagine at times, something that can be so rooted into who we are, who we potentially can become, is something that we do sub-conscientiously.
Failure much like death is something we can not escape, at some point in our lives we lost our sense of fearlessness we developed as a child. Playing it safe, making sure we just survive and stay on a rational course of action which leaves very little room to innovate and grow, even as a human being.
Innovation is born when the greater purpose overshadows the shear will to survive. When mixed with the company of contentment, for most, innovation fails to thrive past the idea phase because of our adopted values and perceptions of our own self-image.
Now imagine if we did that when we were children, if we were happy & content just crawling and not being able to stand on our own two feet. We would not develop strength in our own abilities by riding our bikes, with the training wheels attached and feeling that sense freedom, driving for the first time on our own.
We fail at something not with great reason but for a greater purpose, to regenerate ourselves over and over again. Failure will happen from time to time, much like falling in attempt to ride a bike or learning to walk for the first time. Even while you’re older and more experienced, circumstances out of your control, could render you unable to prevent the inevitable. But that should not prevent one from embracing the process, seeking new opportunities to grow. Even when you fall, scraping your knee, pain is temporary and your skin has the ability to heal on its own. If your skin can do all that without worry, so can you.
January 2, 2015
Imagine if you will, you’re sitting at a table, ready to enjoy the music stylings of the next artist during an open mic. Just like you would hear every Thursday evening at Homegrown in Hamilton.
And now imagine this elegant, funny and passionate soul unleashing her own brand of song writing that only she herself could share. To my own surprise this person just happens to be an old friend of mine Hanna Bech.
A classical musician at heart with a flair for theatrics, the sound produced by her and her piano will have you at a loss for words as she takes you on a journey of Whimsical proportions.
The best way I would describe her music, a light and airy mixed with thunderous & spell-binding undertones. Matched with her inquisitive and bubbly way of storytelling will create a smile from ear to ear as you listen and hang on to every word and note she conjures up.
But you don’t have to take my word for it, you can listen for yourself. But if you want to get the real sense of what I mean, I highly recommend you check her out this coming Saturday at Homegrown in Hamilton. Follow the link for more details.
December 1, 2014
5 Reasons For My Happiness
5.) Knowledge, my heart has been open to so many new possibilities.
Ever since I started reading “Buddha’s way of Happiness”, my life has change drastically. And everyday I try to put into practice something that I have read, like the act of patience and being just more self-aware of certain things I do.
The book has opened up my mind to letting go, freeing myself from taking ownership of any and all emotions. Instead, learning how to move forward through the emotion and letting it flow through me instead of consuming me. Understanding first why certain emotions we tend to grasp on to tightly, thus, making it more toxic experience.
But most of all it has taught me to understand why, as humans, we do certain things or at the very least to be aware of them. I’ve been enjoying the book where ever I go and allow myself the time to read it. But I enjoy it the most whilst listening to classical music and at my favourite coffee shop, Homegrown, where I feel the most comfortable.
This past week there was a moment of clarity, I paused and put the book down to allow myself sometime to soak in the words that pierced my soul like a sword upon flesh. And as I looked out the window, to what my eyes had seen but the snow dance in the midst of a picture-esque scene. I watched as mother nature interacted with the elements and I pondered at that moment if anyone else out there saw what I saw and felt the same way about what they saw as I did, at peace.
4.) Health, this is my fourth week going to the gym.
A decision I’ve been wanting to do for two years now. But for one reason or another I could never manage to make the leap and get out there and start. Over the course of this month I have noticed a huge change in my mood. With each trip to the gym I make, my mood greatly increased. And in-turn people have been gravitating to the positive vibes that have been oozing almost at times rather disgustingly.
I never knew how much a difference it could make, read about it yes, but never truly understood it until I felt it myself. And now I am completely in love with the process of transformation. Not just in body but evolving my mindset.
3.) Out with the Old, In with the New.
This week also brought on a change, the final straw to quit smoking, another choice that has been long time coming. This week has been a whole new kind of process in itself. Being on the patch has reduced my need for a smoke but what really got me was disassociating daily rituals and noticing the physical repetition of the habit as an automatic motion.
The feeling of a spirit trapped within the physical world left to replay parts of life over & over again, best way to sort of describe that feeling. Understanding this habit and the little triggers has been utmost important to me.
And I am not going to lie to you, I did break a few times just for a puff here and there. But each time failing forward and keep moving forward. Sticking to this until the end because I can and I know I am ready and willing to.
2.) I am happy that I can channel my experience and share it with you!
This blog began as just something to occupy my time in which I wait for something intriguing to happen in life. But it has since them evolved and shifted over the last year as I have. I have found a great purpose it could potentially serve.
And over the next month I will be reviewing new and greater possibilities as to how to share and tell stories with you. I am very excited to start that and work some new ideas into the mix.
1.) The last thing that has made me happy and is actually number one is YOU!
I am grateful for all the comments and support and conversations over the last month. They have been truly inspiring to me.
Every single one of you has brought a smile to my face with every word from you that I have read. I think it is very important to enrich each others lives by focusing on the possibilities and sharing what we could give one another so freely.
I hope to continue to have the amazing dialog with you and we continue to feel so deeply, understand each other more completely and inspire one another in our daily lives, and always moving forward!
November 25, 2014
Feeling rather accomplished, day one is now complete, with a whirl wind of emotions that flutter around like moths to a light source. He says good bye to something that brought him comfort but was slowly killing him from the inside.
It should have been a no brainer from the start, but sometimes you get so caught up in the moment you don’t realize the damage you are doing. He started building newer and better habits, but couldn’t help but feel out of alignment.
After weeks of battling his emotions – he said good-bye to a darling friend. And so begins a new journey. One full of excitement and change. Even after his workout routine, he can feel the the power surging through his spirit, as he gets closer and closer to where he wants to be.
November 23, 2014
“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” – Dalai Lama
This past week I’ve had the pleasure of having many great conversations, which then sparked the inspiration for this blog idea. The over-all theme of a majority conversations I had centralized around Purpose. What is your purpose in life? What Motivates you to stay in line with your core purpose. What inspires you to do what you do, and finally what kind of legacy do you want to leave behind? I Spent a couple of hours quickly writing down all the things I love. The list is actually longer but this is what I love the most off the top of my head.
There is a strong underline pattern you’ll notice, I am in love with creativity. Having the freedom to be creative in my life is vital to my existence. If it wasn’t for art I am not sure what type of person I would be other wise. I would be lost without the ability to express myself through my artistic endeavours.
But what is it about being creativity that I love so much? I think it is the idea of freely sharing my vision with the rest of the world. It is sharing the brilliance of art that inspires. Evoking profound emotion upon anyone that it comes across, conjures up feelings of being alive and happy inside.
So, what motivates me?
The two biggest motivational factors for me is; the relentless pursuit of achieving a better me and constantly rejoicing in what experience can offer in building a wealth of knowledge.
Mistakes will happen, every human is prone to making them from time to time. It is how we handle recovery that matters the most. Is it swift & precise, are you able to make a mistake and keep moving forward with relatively no downtime to dwell on the process. Every single day I learn something new about myself how well I handle pressure & how swift of a recovery I can make and each time I get better and better and recognizing my own patterns while still connecting the dots looking forward.
It is in knowing and having unwavering faith in my own abilities, stepping outside of my comfort zone and constantly redefining who I am that I can then build upon living a life even more so passionately and expand my horizons and thus helping others be more inspired.
And yet there is something to be said about just simply, being, that is remarkable and beautiful.
Finally what kind of legacy do you want to leave behind? To answer that question I turn to two exercises. The first exercise, it is 40 years into the future. You are now deceased. Your body maybe lifeless but the spirit of you lives on in each of the individuals you had the pleasure of embracing. What would they say about you?
I hope at the end of my journey people would respond like this:
“Michael was a kind and compassionate soul, he loved to laugh and positive attitude towards life was contagious. His warm smile lit up the room & the kindness of his heart was without boundaries.
He is an inspiration to us all and walked a way of life that taught most of how to be more like a kid again. Especially in the face of troubling times, there was always a bright glow about him and a silver lining to everything.
He did a lot of good within the community and always tried to help those in need when he could. His love for life and helping others brought great joy to many of us.
And even now, he is looking down upon us with a smile encouraging us not to grieve but celebrate life & all of its splendours wonders one can achieve.
He taught us how to live, laugh, love and feel with encouraging words and the softness of his touch, he will greatly be missed.”
I believe that would sum up into words how I plan to live my life over the next 40 years, continuing on my quest I’ve started many moons ago. Now moving forward, the second question you have to ask yourself is, what would your dying 90 year old self say to you right now?
Knowing myself, I would probably joke and say something along the lines of “going crazy is just a part of life & normal so you might as well embrace it while you’re young and have fun with it.”
Followed by “The things we fear the most today, will not be what we fear tomorrow or the next day. Fear is not the worst thing we can experience or go through, but sitting here and having all the time to dwell on regret is. Be who you are meant to be. And start living.”
I will leave you with this quote, as you finish reading, stay quiet and still. Breathe. Now imagine your life and where you want to be…
So, what is your purpose?
November 9, 2014
New Horizons – Adopting new behaviour
For about a year now I’ve been slowly telling myself, I should really get into a gym, and for that year I’ve been making up excuses for myself why I can’t. It wasn’t until about a month ago when my wild behaviour for the night life just became too much.
I became counter productive on the weekends, essentially I slept and I knew in my heart that it is not where I want or needed to be. So I made a strong push forward to getting myself out there and about 2 weeks ago I did in fact sign myself up for the gym.
So far for this month it is about setting up a routine in terms of time. I hear this a lot and including myself “I don’t have the time to go to the gym”. What I found was that is merely a pathetic excuse.Which is why I really had to stick to my guns and dedicate 3 days of the week to get out there. No matter how tired I might be to simply push forward.
At the end of the day we can find a million and one reason why not to go, but it will always be the one reason why you should go that counts & that is for your health.
Before I found the gym I wanted to go, I took the time to write out why I wanted to go to the gym.
Here is what I found by going to the gym just within the last two weeks.
• My emotions have stabilized and even more so positive then ever before.
• My quality of sleep at the end of the night has increased.
• Retaining the ability to focus better through out the day.
• Maintaining sense of discipline through out the week with a weekly routine.
• My appetite for alcohol has decreased as the perception of what makes me feels good at the end of the day changed.
While I still am smoking, over the next month and half – by New Years I hope to reduce smoking to a grinding halt.
Michelangelo’s “David” was created between 1501 and 1504, now you’re probably asking yourself what does a statue have anything to do with fitness or your own well-being.
I have taken an artistic approach to fitness in order keep disappointment from occurring. As humans while we would like to think we are not flawed the truth is we are. We will have set backs, doubt and we will fail.
In creating “David” I am sure Michelangelo ran into his fair share of struggles and problems over the 3 years of creating such a marvellous masterpiece. The point is to keep chipping away no matter what you may encounter and what kind of discouragement might arise.
Another side bonus that is slowly coming back with the discipline of the gym I found myself dedicating more time for reading. As my body expands so does the thirst for more knowledge to improve myself.
One area in particular I’ve always been fascinated by is the D.N.A of great leadership.
I would then love to share my thoughts and perspective on the book as it relates to our every day life. As well as many other books I’ve picked up in the recent months.
My final thought is if you really want something, you are going to have to want it badly. Thats why I started this way of life before New Years. I didn’t want it to be a New Years resolution because your health is an every day resolution. And I know once the routine becomes a natural occurrence like breathing it will become just a way of life.
And with that I hope you have a tremendous week ahead and happy living & always stay Legendary!
September 7, 2014
“It Feels Good to be Lost in the Right Direction”
I thought this first image & quote would be fitting to start this blog post about my trip to Alberta this past summer. I’ve been away from the entire blogging world for the last couple of months because the idea of sitting at a computer when the great outdoors is calling my name seems wasteful. And for that I do apologize.
But it wasn’t until this past week when I was out on another adventure through the bruce trail that I got this inkling to share some images and talk about what I loved from my trip and ultimately share my adventure with you all.
So this is Calgary from 525 feet in the air, via the Calgary Tower. My first initial reaction was, just like Toronto. But my adventure on the ground led me to believe differently. Calgary was definitely not like Toronto at all.
The giant skyscrapers looming over the city & the interesting artistic installations that were present might have given that suggestion. But my gut feeling was telling me a different story as I ventured out deeper into the city limits.
I spent a lot of time on this street, Stephen Avenue. It pretty much was the epicentre of Calgary’s downtown core.
According to this map, it approximately takes 15 minutes to walk the distance of the entire core from one end of Stephen Avenue to the other. I’d say that is pretty good timing! How might you do that, you ask? Well the first and most obvious is by walking, it is very bike friendly as well.
With some amazing locations to be able to park your bike and go exploring but if biking is not your thing the bus is sufficient enough as well for coming to the downtown core.
Or you can ride in style with the Calgary LRT that actually runs parallel from Stephan Avenue, which I thought was interesting to see. Between the bus and the LRT, people from all directions are able to enjoy the core. I’m not 100 percent sure which direction has the most dense rural population, North, South, East or West but one thing is for sure, they do have all their bases covered.
The other thing I thought was very nice about Stephan Avenue was just how pedestrian friendly the street was. During the peak time they actually shut down the road allowing pedestrians to walk freely through the streets.
It was very different to see how accommodating that can be for a city with a busy downtown core allowing people to actually go into the shops instead of just viewing from a distance in some sort of mode of transportation. That was very appealing to me, and the noise pollution was actually lessen which made my stay at some of the patios on that street more enjoyable.
The Riverwalk was another favourite spot of mine in Calgary.
A great place to go for a walk, ride your bike or even rollerblade. The one thing I could certainly tell just from talking to the locals and observing people for a few days, while Calgary is bustling with business, opportunities, and deals being made behind closed doors, they certainly have a good sense of work / life balance.
Stephen Avenue alone which is mostly made up of various restaurants, pubs, some shops here and there it always seemed jam packed with people during 11:00 am to about 1 or 2pm their peak lunch time hours and again from 5pm to 7pm for dinner.
And having a park like the one I discovered on the RiverWalk trail is just an added bonus to escape to a whole new world, which was literally maybe 5 to 10 minutes away from busy downtown core.
Alberta winter months can be brutally cold I would have to assume anyone migrating from Ontario to Alberta, it would take a bit of getting use to the climate change. So it was again nice to see the thought process behind creating a section of the mall with a tropical theme.
The tropical garden also includes water fountains with fishes surrounded by tables one can enjoy a moment of zen while on lunch or enjoying a coffee with some company.
And the other interesting part of this section of the mall was that it is completely vendor free. No store fronts, no vendors of any kind. Allowing people just to enjoy the space and what it has to offer.
The core also brought out some very entertaining buskers offering a flair of excitement to the street.
Another great spot I enjoyed was Calgary’s Olympic Plaza
The Olympic Plaza is an urban park and gathering place in downtown Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Located around Macleod Trail and 7th Avenue S., it was created as the venue for the medal ceremonies at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games. In 2004, over 30,000 people packed the plaza to celebrate the Calgary Flames run to the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals.
The last thing I loved seeing is how a city embraces programs like the “Take a book, leave a book” making it part of their downtown culture.
I know it is such a small concept, but inspiring people to read, is that not a big deal?And having a city embrace it and really making it their own with a splash of colour is really very touching.
Just think of how many lives this small little box has changed. Simply just by being their and encouraging a sharing culture in the physical world, it is truly amazing.
And with that, I leave you with this image of one of the sunsets captured in Calgary along the RiverWalk trail. If you’re from Calgary, or have been there, the floor is now yours… What is your favourite part of the city?
June 17, 2014
My nightly ritual, at least when it is warm enough to, I have found myself rollerblading from Princess Point to the bayfront park. I have found the ritual to be very spiritual for me. There is something freeing about gliding across the smooth pavement, whipping around the curves guided by water and nothing but the wind to hold me back.
And when the wind picks up or there is an incline of some sort, I push forward, using every ounce of strength I have in my body. Regardless of how my muscles feel at the time, I ignore the pain until I have reached the top of the incline.
And as I look back, I do not think about the time it will take me to get back to where I need to be, but instead I just enjoy the quiet moment I have to myself. And as I sit there watching the sunset beyond the line of sight casting various colours upon the darkening sky. Wondering and contemplating the meaning, I alway come back to the conclusion you are always where you need to be as long as you are in that moment.
Worry not about the future, for the future may never come. Worry not about the past, for that too has come and gone. All we have is the minutes existing before and after now, and not years to past.
So as I look towards the sky, and wonder what is the meaning of all this, all I can do is smile. Smile because this moment will I never get back, there will always be different cloud formations creating a new version of what sights I see.
The sun may not even show up tomorrow, nor the next, but perhaps the day after that follows. So I must enjoy the moment I have now, with this sky so bright with a fiery red and yellow.
And I might take for granted knowing the sky shall return, maybe not in the same way but I will be able to see it once more. And so I say to you, never take for granted the moments that you have, for it is all that you are, all that you will ever be. Success is not a destination, but a journey through life. And success is relative to just how you plan on spicing up your life.
It is not your job you work at, it is not the car you drive, nor the money you earn but the moments you truly enjoy. It is the smiles you share, the hopes and dreams that you believe in. It is the moments you cherish with one another, and even the pain we have to bare.
Take good care, be well to each other, for you will never get this moment back again the same way. You will take away something different every single day, so make sure it is something worth while. Something that you will fight through the presence of resistance like the changing of the wind or an incline to slow your progress down, just never give up on experiencing that brief and utterly beautiful moment that is before you.
You shall prevail, with persistence. You shall prevail because you know you deserve it, and you will experience life like no other. Just as that sunset will be different every single day, so to is our lives from one another and how we experience it.
Live well with bravery and strength
and always stay Legendary.
June 7, 2014
The wind has its way of changing direction on a whim, it should never be forced but instead embrace the journey. For you may never know what is a dead end street or a street with many side avenues unless you walk down that path and explore it with a positive mental attitude.
Change can be scary as well, fear of the unknown can cause major stress upon one soul and simply being set in our own ways might make it even harder to adapt to situations so that the wind may blow in our favour.
But if one were to greet change with open arms even on the most problematic of days, one can use the stressful markers as a resource tool. It can educate us on the limits in which we can grow. It shares with us where our strength lies, so we may exploit it. And it can create a sense of accomplishment as we look back in our past how far we’ve come.
Knowing at the very least we gave this world 110 percent of ourselves for every minute of every hour shall set our mind at ease as we dream for a better future for tomorrow.
It is in learning from our failures, improving ourselves and celebrating our success that we go from simply living to living simply.
Success can mean anything you want it to mean, it has no dollar value to it, as a matter of fact, it is when you give of yourself you are able to obtain more than anything money can ever offer you before in the past.
It is your world to control and manipulate, conjure and create, so do not simply paint what you see but create a universe this world has never seen before. And truly explore the gift of life.
It is what we were meant to do…
March 20, 2014
The Hamilton WebSeries Community Presents: The Hamilton WebSeries Meet up
This networking opportunity is open for all creatives, it is a great chance to get out and meet some new people and focus on WebSeries content and New media.
Our hopes is that a fresh new breed of tech savvy storytellers come out to this event, and want to be apart of the ever changing landscape.
So register down below, and get involved in the conversation!
March 16, 2014
The Hamilton Web Series Community is hosting its 9th meet up, it is truly hard to believe there has been 9 so far, yet alone very close to 10. I started hosting them and building the Hamilton Web Series Community after being completely awe-struck and inspired by what the Toronto Web Series creatives had built for themselves over the past few years.
On a whim, I hopped on the Go-Bus and went Toronto bound to one of their Bi-Monthly meet ups in hopes to connect with creatives that were just as passionate about the innovation of storytelling as I was. I must admit, I felt a little out of my element, generally I am an outgoing individual but being in the big city amongst all those individuals I couldn’t help but feel too intimidated to speak.
I remember scouting the scene, sizing everyone up in my head trying to figure out whom I should speak with first, I ended up going to the front again where the bar area was to have another shot of liquid courage. That’s where I had my first encounter with Rodney, I owe him everything to our first encounter at the bar. He politely introduced himself and asked if I was here for the Toronto Web Series meet up, and I had told him yes, and I was from Hamilton and from there he took me by the hand, metaphorically, and introduced me to the rest of the community.
Rodney (Active member of IWCC) has been inspiring to me in so many different levels, he is a machine when it comes to developing Web Series, most notably his project “Out of Time” A Sci-Fi Series about a man who loses his wife and steps back in time to try and change the outcome.
Upon our introductions, Rodney, introduced me to Carrie & Rob. Their words and wisdom over the last year have been most encouraging and provided me with the necessary supportive system needed to start trail blazing a path of my own in building a web series scene in Hamilton.
Carrie (Treasurer and Executive Director, IWCC) has the most amazing energy, and deeply involved in so many different aspects of the Web Series community in Toronto. The amount of work she puts forth is beyond me and still has enough time to sleep. Her passion for storytelling is certainly contagious and her outgoing nature puts a smile on my face.
Her most notable project she is currently working on is entitled “SpyWhores” a Web Series inspired by the late 1970’s & early 80’s films and also the Producer on SNOOF RIDERS Web Series & SYNCHRONICITY Film.
Robert (President, IWCC) is another inspirational individual I had the privilege to meet, the depth of his work continues to blow me away. After studying film and working in the theatre, Rob’s career took him to television where he worked for over twelve years as a puppeteer with Jim Henson’s Muppets.
Robert has also appeared as a variety of characters in numerous Henson feature film and television productions, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II; Labyrinth; Short Circuit II; and Dinosaurs.
Without Rodney’s first initial interaction with me at the meet up, I would have never been able to be inspired by a tremendously gifted community and I’ve met so many now that all I want to do is grow it out even further. The meet up I attended was also extra special, they were just in the process of gather donations to build the IWCC (Independent Web Creators of Canada)
A Canada wide non-profit association of web series creators who seek to support, promote and bring awareness to independent and creator-driven, audience-focused Web Series in Canada and internationally.
Founded in 2013, the IWCC-CIWC grew out of a community of web series creators who, initially, were making web series in Toronto. They started organizing bi-monthly social nights, which grew into a Facebook group; The Toronto Web Series Community. It quickly grew beyond simply those who were creating in Toronto, even beyond Canada
Their first major move under the IWCC, with the financial support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), has engaged Nordicity to undertake a groundbreaking study to develop the first ever industry profile of Ontario’s web series creators. If you’re a Web Series Creator and you want to participate in the study, you can follow this link for further information.
It was through these interactions I also had the privilege to work along side the wonderful IWCC team on their social media campaign to generate awareness and engage in the community across Canada & beyond.
And privileged enough to be apart of their FanExpo panel discussion about the future of Web Series in Canada.
Image courtesy of Jess Morton of PressPass Web Series
Which never would have happened if I didn’t take a chance and hopped on a Go-Train and meet the wonderful people I did that faithful evening.
This is why I am extremely excited to have the 9th Web Series Meet up in Hamilton and continue to meet, inspiring and gifted creative storytellers like yourself that pursue their dreams, create meaningful pieces of art that continue to touch and entertain us.
Over the last 6 months to a year there has been some major changes to the landscape in how we view and perceive content. And actively seek the insight from people from all walks of creative life.
With Netflix and AmazonPrime taking centre stage grabbing for your viewing habits and attention. Making Binge watching original programming such as “House of Cards” the social norm in our culture.
It has become evidently clear that once a small idea, the use of passion driven host can grow into an expanding network with mass appeal in niche markets. thus completely engage & captivate an audience using social media to drive the next evolution of new media. This is something studio’s are willing to invest their money in and Why wouldn’t they? The ground work has already been made and they can engage in a new form of tech savvy audiences.
They also prove to be great testing ground for experimental content, reaching a key target demographic they wouldn’t normally have access to through traditional methods.
Digital Lab TV: Todd Barish, Courtney Holt, and KassemG of Maker Studios.
I also see in the near future more sites such as Just the Story.Tv popping up, JTS.Tv is subscription based service for independent Web Series, like NetFlix or AmazonPrime.
It has already provided AdFree access to most of the popular WebSeries and is affordable enough for any WebSeries enthusiast, as stated in this article on Gigaom.
Another reason why one in the creative space, should be mindful of what is happening in Canada for Web Series; the explosive nature that is WebFest. How so many of them have been popping up in every major city across the globe in such a short period of time is very exciting
WebFest’s in short are award ceremonies dedicated to you, the storytellers, creators & collaborators. 24 of them have been noted in this article posted here.
It’s like having our own oscars in the digital space which began with the LA WebFest, established in 2010 by Emmy-Winning producer & 5-time NAACP Image Award-Winning producer & Playwright Michael Ajakwe Jr.
But we now have 24 of them during the course of the year to celebrate you, the work you create and stories you passionately tell to an audience that are compelled to watch and share within their circles.
This year will be extra special for Canadian web series creators, after taking the world by storm with most internationally known WebFest and bringing home a plethora of awards, two of Canada’s biggest cities, Vancouver and Toronto will be hosting their own internationally recognized WebFest. VanWebFest & T.O. WebFest will be taking place back to back in the month of May and prove to be a great space to enjoy the hard work of Web Series creatives, access to knowledgable individuals that have a proven record of success and celebrate online storytelling as a whole.
You can check out Vancouver’s Web Fest Official Selection below, access to T.O. Web Fest will be made public on April 1st.
This time of year has WebSeries creators buzzing with activity as well because of the Independent Production Fund. The Independent Production Fund was established in 1991 to provide financial support for dramatic television series created by Canadian independent producers for Canadian private broadcasters. In 2010, the IPF expanded its mandate to include an experimental pilot program to include financing of drama series for the web. This program has now been extended indefinitely and will continue to support content creators of drama series created for the web or mobile platforms.
The IPF’s Professional Development Grants program supports Canadian non-profit organizations or associations whose activities reflect the objective of the Fund and enhance the quality and availability of Canadian dramatic television and web series. You can have access to the IPF’s Canadian Web Series portal by click on the link here to check what other Canadian creatives are creating in the online universe.
Jess Morton of the PressPass WebSeries, a web series about web series, has been awesome enough to create this on-going guide to the IPF2014 pitch trailers. Providing you a one-stop viewing shop access to all the trailers going up for this years IPF grant and showcase some of the most promising WebSeries created by creative Canadian storytellers.
Which brings me back around to this event, The Hamilton Web Series Meet Up, Tuesday March 25th, 2014 which starts at 7pm at The Baltimore House on King William.
Another inspirational individual has been Kevin Browne of Software Hamilton. Before attending the Web Series meet up in Toronto, I had already been attending most of the events that he and a faithful few have been hosting.
The work he has done in the Tech & Startup community in Hamilton has been inspirational to me, seeing the problem of individuals from Hamilton that graduate from Mohawk College or McMaster University, leaving the city to pursue careers in Toronto or Waterloo and abroad, due to lack of jobs compelled him to create the vehicle and necessary collisions to build a sustainable Tech community from a grassroots level.
It is that same sense of passion that drives my own ambitions for the Hamilton Web Series community. I had many friends and acquaintances migrate to other cities to pursue their careers. And I would have done so myself, if I hadn’t fallen in love in the change of landscape in Hamilton’s creative community.
My vision for the Hamilton Web Series Community is to provide the necessary collisions and support, inspire the uninspired, to become better storytellers.
To be the first official ripple effect that emanated from the Toronto’s Web Series community. Help grow a thriving scene in Hamilton and build an arm access to other cities such as Guelph & Niagara’s creative community.
It is a rather ambitious undertaking to say the least but with each meet-up it inches us closer to that goal.
So come out, Tuesday March 25th at 7pm to the Baltimore House & meet some creative’s who are as passionate and like minded as you are. Don’t be afraid nor shy, take a chance and make that first connection, like I did. You never know when one of those connections could dramatically change the course of your life in ways never thought possible.
For more information, RSVP on the Eventbrite link
And lets keep connecting the creative visionaries of tomorrow, today!
March 3, 2014
March is a great time of the year, it signals spring is near, brings us new found hope and gets us prepared for better weather to come. I know, it might not seem like that at the moment, but trust me it will be here sooner than you can imagine.
With that, here are the top 5 events that are happening in Hamilton that one must check out!
Innovation Night at McMaster University 1280 Pub.
Innovation Night is Hamilton’s key event for innovators and entrepreneurs to practice and perfect their pitch, and present their ideas to their peers and Hamilton’s innovation community.
Innovation Night is open to the public, and attendees will have the opportunity to observe up to 15 2-minute presentations, meet the innovators, network, and enjoy light refreshments.
Innovation Night will be held on March 5, 2014 from 6:00pm-9:00pm McMaster University at TwelvEighty.
6pm – 7pm: Networking
7pm – 8pm: Pitch Competition
8:30pm: Winners Announced
8:30pm – 9:00pm: Networking
Young Entrepreneurs Night
The Globe and Mail invites you to a night of food, wine, and networking with fellow students, young entrepreneurs and professionals.
Report on Small Business, in partnership with Hamilton Hive, invites you to the next Young Entrepreneurs Night in Hamilton on Thursday, March 6 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The event will take place at 100 King St. West on the 21st floor.
Join us for food, wine, and networking (hashtag: #youngtreps), with a mix of students who aspire to be entrepreneurs, and established small-business owners who can talk about their successes and challenges.
As part of the evening, we’ll host a live photo blog on The Globe and Mail’s website and shoot video with attendees. We’ll also be unveiling our new Young Entrepreneurs Night logo designed by Kait Bos.
When: Wednesday March 12th, 2014 @ 6:30pm – 9:00pm
Where: The Pheasant Plucker (2nd floor) @ 20 Augusta Street – Hamilton, Ontario
What: StartupDrinks Hamilton is a monthly networking event for Hamilton’s startup community to make connections over drinks and relax a little! Feel free to talk about projects, ideas, funding, technology… or just shoot the breeze! Starting in 2014 we’re going to experiment with a featured talk by a local startup and a tighter runtime.
Factory Media Gallery Series presents
ful*ﬁlm*ent March 14th, 2014
Screening willfeature works by some of Canada’s award-winning, independent, female filmmakers. Selected films will focus on women’s lives, experiences & issues.
Come celebrate the voices of talented media artists who have forged their own path and found creative fulfilment through filmmaking.
Freelancer Meetup #3
Join us for our next Freelancer Meetup! Whether you’re just starting a freelancing consulting business, or you’re running a consulting business full time, we bring in some of the best and brightest to give talks on ways to help you build and grow your entrepreneurial venture, along with networking. This month we’re excited to have Mike Kee, partner at SB Partners, in to talk about tax planning for your business and answer any questions you may have.
The Hamilton Freelancers Association is open to everyone, from designers, developers, and marketers to videographers, writers, photographers, and everyone in between.
2:00-2:30 – Registration and networking
2:30-3:15 – Short presentations and group discussion
3:15pm-4:30pm – Networking session
4:30pm – Wrap-up, feel free to stay to chat
February 17, 2014
This past week, the Hamilton Media Guild hosted its first major event after having a successful launch in 2013 at the Radius Cafe. The event entitled “Doing Media Differently” was held on Wednesday February the 12th at the gorgeous Lincoln Alexander Centre in Hamilton, Ontario.
“Doing Media Differently” was a panel discussion with Hamilton’s most prestigious trailblazers in which having carved their own path and unique course, thus, changing the way we look at Journalism today in Hamilton, the discussion was also moderated by Jim Poling, managing editor at The Spectator.
The vision of the Hamilton Media Guild is to align the stars, in our wonderfully ambitious city, arranging important open discussions between the knowledgable and trendsetters with those that wish to learn more about the changing media landscape that is growing here in Hamilton. By facilitating opportunities for networking, panel discussions and undoubtedly workshops in the near future. Thus creating potential collisions to help grow a self-sustating infrastructure to keep future media students here in our city, sharing knowledge & expertise and foster talent & resources to create better storytellers out of us all.
I for one am glad and super ecstatic something of this nature was created here in Hamilton, where I might find local, like minded individuals that I can connect and form potential partnerships with on future projects. I also enjoy being inspired by other creative minds and hearing their story of trials and tribulations, relatable conundrums we all face in this, fast pace digital media realm, where not even corporate companies are safe anymore and forcibly have to downsize. So kudos to the team at Hamilton Media Guild for stepping up to the plate and delivering a unique two-way discussion we all can tap into and learn from one another.
“Doing Media Differently” was a sold out success, both young and old a-like came out to hear what knowledge the panelist could share through their experiences being the trendsetting, trailblazing, courageously passionate individuals they are could give & where they saw the future of Journalism of Hamilton.
The panelist consisted of Ryan McGreal of “Raise the Hammer”, May-Marie Duwai-Sowa of “Illuminessence”, Jamie “Gunner” Smith of “In the Neighbourhood”, Martinus Geleynse of “MGI Media” & Mathew Ingram of Gigaom.
and of course as stated above the panel discussion was moderated by Jim Poling, managing editor at The Spectator.
The discussion began with a brief introduction to each individual and what they have created to get them a seat on that comfy couch and speaking about their “business model” behind each creation.
“Raise the Hammer” – a website one can goto, if one was interested in urban issues that effect us all. Offering ideas and solutions to make Hamilton a livable and more vibrant city to lay down potential roots in. Raise the Hammer is a sharing community of passionate citizens, their “business model” rest heavily on the contribution / participation of others who share in their passion for the city.
“The secret to our success in Raise the Hammer in business is we just decided we weren’t going to play. Right from the start we decided we would be strictly non-commerical, non-for-profit. We don’t bring in any revenue of any kind, we don’t pay anybody of any kind. It cost 10 dollars a month to host the website, 10 dollars a year to register the domain. Those are our only expenses, and so the way we are able to operate, is that because no body is making any money off the enterprise and because we kind of have a civic engagement focus, Raise the Hammer is more of a public discourse rather than an enterprise or a business so people are willing to write and contribute and not expect to get paid for it. My background is a software developer and almost all the software I use is free or open source software. Programs that have been written for people by people and then given away for free and that kind of sharing philosophy or sharing culture. People are willing to contribute because on one hand they want to be seen and recognized and they want to give back and I think that same kind of philosophy is what drives Raise the Hammer”
– Ryan McGreal
“Illuminessece” – A lifestyle e-magazine aimed to celebrate Hamilton’s young professional women and their accomplishments. While they do have hyper-local roots, their “business model” also reaches a global audience. Engaging in multi-platform conversations, their aim is to also discuss relatable issues that effect professional women not just in Hamilton but in other cities as well.
“We have to work across different mediums, so having the magazine is one platform, but, now we again launch The Chat with Illuminessence because we realized people want to have conversations with us. We have fantastic contributors and writers and people want to hear what they have to say, they want to get their opinions, as well as, try to showcase people we feature on a broader scale. Where they can also share their experiences or success journeys as well. This platform will also broaden that audience we also have but also build that connectivity, that’s really important on a multi-media platform.”
– May-Marie Duwai-Sowa
“In the Neighbourhood” – Once a radio program on CFMU, turned internet podcast, their “business model” relies heavily on going to find the stories of interest. Again a Hyper-Local approach. But since moving from radio to podcast, they are now been given complete freedom to approach the show in a more mobile fashion. By going to to the stories themselves rather than bringing the stories to them thus making “In the Neighbourhood” very much field reporting by going to various local businesses in the city and giving them a voice on a digital platform.
“Our model is actually going to find the stories where we go to a certain ward in the city and sit down with a shop owner or someone from that neighbourhood and we talk to them. What effects your neighbourhood, what is going on here, what do you have to say about politics, what do you have to say about the hole in the room, what do you have to say about Hamilton. And because of that there is great interest in the website”
– Jamie Smith
“MGI Media” – A For-Profit venture that has different ways in which they generate multiple streams of revenue. From BoldBoard network, publishing with such endeavours such as Urbanicity, to experimental approaches like Hamilton24 & Bus Tours.
MGI Media has proven time and time again that it has made Hamilton its home and here to stay by laying down this foundation of various ventures staking a claim in Hamilton’s media world.
“The interesting the thing is, because this is all that I do, it needs to in some way make money. It doesn’t always, and that’s the struggle with media. So I would love to say there is some special sauce which is just working, but the truth is, its extremely difficult. At Urbanicity, I know has gone through some rocky terrain over the last year and you’re going to see some major changes over the course the next few months. There is going to be a big Re-launch in May actually, so I don’t know. Some things we are doing are working and some things we do are not working. And I think that’s why I’m excited for this conversation tonight and to be apart of, and to hear where everyone else’s minds are at… where what we do on multi-platform will ultimately fit in to that.”
– Martinus Geleynse
“Gigaom” – Began in 2006 as a blog by one writer, Om Malik, and has grown into one of the most credible and insightful voices at the intersection of business and Technology. Gigaom audience is global and the “business model” behind Gigaom is using multiple streams of revenue to sustain itself. Some of those streams include advertising dollars on their online website, a series of 4 or 5 conferences a year they host, and sell proprietary research to companies about specific industry sectors.
“We are Ventured funded so we raise ventured financing which means we’re not profitable but we are desperately trying to become profitable. It would be alot easier to say we are non-for-profit because then we wouldn’t have to try and make a profit, but we do try.”
– Mathew Ingram
One of the main key points from the opening dialog that took place during “Doing Media Differently” event was how each individual panelist defined success. Each member of the panel had a different approach to how they defined their success in what they do with a clear sense of vision as to why to do what they do in the first place.
When asked if Raise the Hammer is at the epitome of success or they would ever consider advertising revenue to help sustain the site, Ryan McGreal stated
“It’s a question we go back and revisit from time to time. But we are at a point now where Raise the Hammer is sustainable in the sense that it doesn’t cost us more money than we can afford and it doesn’t take more work than we can put into it.” – Ryan McGreal
Which clearly shows Ryan’s dedication to stay as authentic and true to the vision of Raise the Hammer as the first day it was conceived without having the notion that money means success.
Jamie Smith of In the Neighbourhood shared his vision with this statement,
“My vision of it is just to do it for so many years and just leave it as a legacy on the internet where at some point someone will go and say that was actually going on, I didn’t know that, I wonder what that person is doing now.” – Jamie Smith
Martinus Geleynse of Urbanicity shared his vision when he explained why Urbanicity was created in the first place.
“We started Urbanicity because we were quite frustrated, no offence to Jim at all, but with the The Spectator’s coverage of the 2010 municipal election. There were 20 candidates running in ward two and there were two articles printed about the ward two race and one of them was about Matt Jelly shaving his beard. Now I’m not saying this out of frustration because I ran against him in the ward two election and he beat me fair and square, but the man shaved his beard, and that warrants an article half page with a picture? And I’m sure there was a decision making behind that, we were so frustrated. We had said there are people reading print other wise The Spec would have been evaporated, so they are reading print.”
and so they started Urbanicity
“But what we found was a very interesting audience, every month I get a phone call from this lovely woman, she’s 86 in the Augusta Senior’s tower and she wants to talk about the last issue… now she’s not our only reader obviously but it’s interesting because she would not have found us online, she would not have found us on twitter. And so now we are now building a digital site as well because you simply have to I think. But there was just a big open space we found in the market for long form conversation about hyper local topics in print format.” – Martinus Geleynse
Martinus’s statement about being frustrated with local coverage is highly relatable. I felt that frustrated about media coverage after I went to my first DemoCamp two years ago. I was completely inspired by what I saw, what Kevin Browne was doing at Software Hamilton and often wondered, why isn’t there more coverage? Why wasn’t someone out there, aside from the Mohawk College students covering what was happening in our city?
And thats when I came up with the concept of TechTalk4HamOnt which later was morphed into TechTalk X Series. I wanted to give the people that demoed on stage a platform in which they can share their passion project.
While I don’t make a single cent on what I do, my success is defined by being able to inspire others to go out and create more.
I believe a lot of projects that people start in our city and in other cities as well are motivated out of frustration. That’s when passion plays a big role, especially if you don’t get paid for doing what you do. While it would be nice to get paid for doing what you love, it does not define success.
Which leads me to the second key point observed during the course of the panel discussion, passion. Passion is the driving force in which keeps most projects going. Especially when there is no payment transaction being made. And the majority of work that you will do is through your own blood, sweat and tears, a labour of love for knowing that you are apart of something that is bigger then just being able to get a paycheck at the end of the week.
Journalism and more specifically, journalism in this digital age is relatively new to all of us. The sad part is there are some that are chasing the money, trying to make a profit out of their passion. Which sometimes works and other times it does not. When it doesn’t work, most just give up, however, there are some cases where people just push forward regardless and continue to do what they do.
A problem arises when we try to superimpose a general business model upon new media format. Expecting it to have the same successful outcome as traditional media.
Just remember one thing, traditional media has had decades upon decades to build and grow their audience. They spend enormous amounts of money on advertising dollars just to be seen and or heard doesn’t mean that particular audience is paying attention. And in this fast pace digital age, traditional media is now failing to see how people are interacting and reacting to the media that they consume.
Because of Social Media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube. We want our news updates to be quick and responsive. Which is exactly why someone like Joey Coleman is so successful. Being as mobile as he is, someone can tweet to him an accident, he goes and checks out the scene and can be up online, streaming video of the accident almost instantly.
And because he does have a journalistic background he is able to find the sources, conduct the interviews, and proceed to inform the general public just as quickly as possible through streaming media on youtube, and using Facebook & Twitter as the vehicle to get his message out there. Then, archiving the footage online for others to see later on, who might not have been able to catch the live stream as it happened almost instantly give or take a few hours of uploading time.
It is this passion for covering newsworthy events, events that usually don’t get seen by the general public that creates value in what Joey Coleman does for our city.
And with all our various ways to communicate and transmit our message, who becomes our biggest competition as Independent Journalist / Journalist with a title and a paycheque. Is it mainstream media? The other independent journalist next door? Or possibly ourselves?
I have yet to see an overlap in which a conflict of interest may arise with two parties covering the same topic such as politics, entertainment, music or sports. And even if there were, every voice is unique in which what they have seen and or heard.
“I think that’s the beauty of us because I think that we compliment to a large extent. Because again because you are on the web you are really speaking to a global audience, and probably only when we realized looking at our followers on Twitter or Facebook that it is so wide we’re not just in Hamilton when we look at our stats. We’ve had over 50,000 views and just from all over. So I think we are not in competition, if anything we are complimenting each other. And just giving that bulk of information out to the public to really just have various avenues of information. So I think thats the beauty of it.” – May-Marie Duwai-Sowa
That is when we also have a responsibility, to help one another grow as a community of passionate individuals sharing information.
“We have a responsibility as professional news journalist, I’m professionally trained, I’ve worked for Maclean’s magazine & Globe and Mail. We have a responsibility to actually to do workshops and train people on Journalism so the act of journalism improves.” – Joey Coleman
Which I thought was a fantastic idea put forward by Mr. Coleman. Not just in the sense that yes we do have a responsibility to share the vast knowledge of proper storytelling.
Lets put a scenario out there, you’re a media student just graduating from College or University, taking either Television Broadcasting or Journalism. Your future is full of hope and promise and you are ready to get out into the “real world” and make your mark.
Only thing is, established media companies are not hiring in your local city. You start widening your search, but you’re already in debt from college and or university, which making the move to a bigger city difficult.
So you take on a couple part-time jobs just to dig yourself out of the hole. And by the time you’re ready to pursue your dreams of being an active journalist, with a title and a pay-cheque, you ran out of steam and lost that sense of passion within you.
And this is another reason why people start to actively purse a dream through blogging. Not only is it just a great way to keep exercising the act of journalism through your other passion.
It also provides real world portfolio experience you can then show other media outlets. Which is exactly why we need to remove this wall we create for ourselves between what defines us as storytellers, regardless of the fact of this person collects a pay-cheque at the end of the week and has a title, while that person just merely writes on his own site that he has built from scratch.
And stop thinking of “Us Vs Them” when it comes to Independent Journalist & Traditional Media Journalist. We are merely journalist sharing information and emotion in this digital.
“You are better to share the other persons information and connect with them. In radio we never went on air and said big shout out to someone over at Y108, you would never mention, you were the only thing on the planet and thats it. But on the internet, doing a blog or doing independent journalism… Everyone is sharing this information.” – Jamie Smith
Vincent Van Gogh, a post-impressionalist painter created some of the most stunning pieces of art of his time. Created over 900 pieces to be exact and in his life-time only sold, one single painting.
Does that make him less of a painter then, that his work is priceless now? I think not! He is, he was and forever will be a painter, a gifted painter at that. So does title, and a pay-cheque, dismiss what is within you as storytellers / Journalists?
“It is pretty amazing when you think about it, when you can produce something for almost nothing. For dozens of dollars maybe to host your site. Then it’s just people who feel like writing for you, and you can theoretically reach an incredibly large amount of people. That’s really never been possible before. You had to spend so much money on printing, or publishing, or radio and T.V had to have all this equipment. I mean still you can do those things as it grows, but, it really is amazing what you can do for virtually nothing.” – Mathew Ingram
And now my final thoughts about Doing Media Differently event, this is just the beginning. While there are some that are truly gifted at what they do, I would say over all Hamilton is still lagging behind in some respect.
Posting content, creating a blog or a podcast this is nothing new. We are still playing catch up with the rest of the world as what we accept into our homes as the preferred choice of content that even mainstream media in our own backyard can’t even learn to accept, and, co-exist.
Our differences might create oceans between us but our similarities keep us tighter than ever, otherwise we would not be having this conversation in the first place.
Our strength lies not in creating riffs, or segregating one group of individuals in one section and mass-media in another. For those lines have already been blurred beyond recognition.
It is not the title that defines you but the act of what you do. If you wish to write about politics in your city, then do so and you will be a writer.
If you capture something with your video camera and tell the stories of your city then you are a journalist and or storyteller.
And the only competition you have, is within you, to make the next piece you create better and better.
Let your passion be your guiding force behind what ever it is you decide to do, the possibilities are limitless in this digital age.
And the only person at the end of the day that can prevent you from doing what you love to do regardless of that pay-cheque or not is you.
And finally share the gratitude for your experiences by passing on the valuable knowledge your trials and tribulations have taught you to make other individuals better storytellers.
And lets strengthen our bond as storytellers, develop a deep sense of respect for what each individual brings to the table and help each other grow as one flourishing creative community.
January 5, 2014
Regardless of it being a new born infant, or a year older to grow stronger, a new year brings new life into the light from which we can only know by knowing our darkness.
Before I begin, may I extend my deepest wishes to you with great pride and pleasure on this very happy New Year. It was pretty shocking to see and remember the moments of 2013 come and go so quickly, while doing some reflecting this past few weeks over my holidays.
I personally made great strides in personal growth developments that I am truly proud of, and, I look forward to strengthening this trend of growth into 2014. For you see no matter what age you are, from 5 years young to 90 years old, our mind, body and soul continues to expand and thirst for continual change. Until our body is no longer needed as we head into the next phase of our spiritual development.
2013 also brought upon me great gifts of joy working on various projects that melt my heart on both ends. Being able to use talent and passion in a way that moves people emotionally has always brought fulfilment to my inner spirit. And this is the driving force to push forward to discover and re-discover inner peace we yearn for on a daily basis as a creative spirit.
That being said, 2013 wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, oh lordly no. The beginning of 2013 was still bearer of my knee deep, soul crushing state of depression I was facing. After feeling like I lost the very essence that is me with a string of bad events that occurred, leaving me bitter and angry. Unhappy and completely disgusted by the way I lived my life at times, it took me what ever strength I had just to smile at times in public. Just so people wouldn’t have to ask the dreaded “What’s wrong?” and insist on exploding the dam of contained emotion that was locked away inside of me.
Forceable making me make decisions that were emotionally driven by my alter state of mind thus making me accessible to making wrong decision in haste just to satisfy current needs without thinking of the consequences of my actions. This of course caused me to create a dramatic change in lifestyle, until I realized the change of lifestyle was not for better but for worse.
In realizing this, spending the next few months reversing the damage done, but alas the biggest learning curve was realizing I may just have to accept the fact that some of the damage created is undoubtably irreversible. And the only hope we have for ourselves is to turn forward in the process of recreating ourselves again and never look back.
And that is exactly what I did with my time to myself, a chance to re-group, recalibrate and thus reenergizing my soul. By giving myself that time to think straight and detach from my selfish needs and focus on what is the best not for today but for tomorrow. And ever since then it has been a string of joy in rediscovering myself again in ways I never thought were imaginable.
So this brings us to 2014, a chance to begin a new again. Forge new friendships and strengthen old bonds. Reach out to those that drifted, but never forgot about, merely we just got caught up in the storm known as life. Perhaps take up some new creative endeavours to fulfil our inner child’s needs, that we have neglected as we too got swept away in that great storm known to us as our daily lives.
And satisfy our curiosity by engaging in a meaningful conversations with a complete strangers at a local coffee shop to get away from the pity little distractions. And away from the ideas we hold fast in our sometimes mediocre and painfully negative lives we lead by actually caring what others believe in, just for the sake of being able to communicate with one another, in a humanly fashion. Start seeing more of the good in people and situations by sharing the good that is within us all and inspire others to continue that trend.
Promote and cultivate a sense of optimism, especially in areas that a vortex of dark energy circulates. With zero positive resolution to resolve the issue at hand, it is merely a lot of finger wagging and playing the blame game until we’re all just too tired to fight, how will one create the necessary change that is needed if everyone is then too disenchanted and skeptical of a good thing instead of believing in hope.
And lastly, to take a quote from George Bernard Shaw:
“Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people.”
Ever since I was very young I continue to have visions of life in the future and what my existence will look like. And this vision is grand but fair and most rewarding. The road leading there is no walk in the park, but, I never really cared to walk when I been merely resting for far too long not to run at this time.
And thats my wish for you as well, as our souls both meet within the realm of 2014 and intertwining energies collide in the future. Be unreasonable with your vision of your future, our future together. Begin now, by exercising your mind in preparation for tomorrow by listing anything and everything you are grateful for.
Focus on what you do have today, to then catapult you to where you want and need to be in life for tomorrow. Setting new standards for yourself that challenge your personal growth development. Becoming more mentally & emotionally stronger, and honing your ability to develop a fierce sense of focus for what matters to you at heart and thus to meet the expectations of your vision.
And finally, hold fast to hope – hope is the most powerful weapon given to us as spiritual beings living in human form. Hope always saves the day and will continue to do so during our most uplifting times in life as well as the most challenging ones when all seems to be lost.
So, my question for you good friends is what does your future look like in 2014?
Strength and Bravery.
And as per usual always Stay Legendary,
September 4, 2013
So as early morning approaches, and waking up to the sounds of crickets filling the air I thought I’d take the time to write a blog. I have two other blog ideas going but as I was on my way home today, seeing a bus filled with wide eyed impressionable minds excited about starting a new year at McMaster University or Mohawk College. I thought I’d take a minute to introduce some events those students might be interested in going to.
It’s never too early in a school term to get yourself out there to some of these networking events happening in Hamilton, and as I look at my calendar I keep of all these events I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by just how many events there are. Some I come accustomed to going on a monthly basis because I love the social interaction I have with them. Some I know and feel obligated to go as you never know what opportunity might come by going.
So I thought I’d compile a list of 3 event/networking events happening in the city that I feel as a creative individual or entrepreneur should attend and why.
This is actually a fitting one, not only is it coming up really fast but it’s also just a great way to ease into your month of getting yourself out there. I think I’ve been attending Startup Drinks for about a year now. I don’t think I missed one yet. It is not because it has my favourite word in it… You can hazard a guess which word that might be! But truthfully it is the individuals, like me, that go out to Startup Drinks on a regular basis. It ranges from Developers to Graphic Designers, Lawyers to Game Designers. You name it, they will probably be there.
My favourite part of Startup Drinks is the discussions that happen, some will pitch you ideas, some will come just to introduce themselves but one of my favourite conversations happened just last month. Entrepreneurs discussing how Yoga and Meditation can help create a balanced lifestyle which is not really something that is discussed often enough. When you tend to go to other networking events, it is a lot of “pitching”, I remember when I first starting going to events oh how nervous I was, and scared to talk about myself especially when I know the other person is judging me by how I dress, how I present my ideas, how I act. Meanwhile still waiting for their opportunity to speak so they can talk about themselves. Finding Startup drinks, to discuss topics such as like how each individual handles stress was to say the least a stress reliever to know that others feel the same way.
Startup Drinks isn’t like that though, there is no agenda to it, no formal address from a speaker, it’s just a group of people gathered in one centralized location discussing matters that sometimes do not get addressed. I highly recommend anyone that is interested in starting to build a networking presence to come out to Startup Drinks, you will meet individuals that you will see at other events but have an opportunity to greet them with no-pressure environment. As they say, first impression is key, and when there is already pressure on hand how will one truly get to know you in the end?
Startup Drinks is happening:
Thursday September 12, 2013 (monthly event)
At Winking Judge on Augusta St.
And starts at 6pm and goes until late.
Now, on the other side of the spectrum, Creative Exchange I love to attend, again, I only have missed one or two over the past year due to the fact that there was way to many events to go to. Go-Hamilton-Go! In all honestly while for a person like me that I try to attend everything is a nightmare… it’s great to see so many different types of events out there to suit your needs.
Creative Exchange is a monthly networking event for Hamilton’s creative class, it is organized by the city’s Film & Television office. This one does follow a routine, but I do enjoy that routine. They allow you to openly address the group, introducing yourself with usually a minute pitch and explain what you do, and what you’re hoping to get out of being at the event and from the Hamilton community. You’ll also get updated on what is going on in Hamilton’s Film and Television world as well as any other sort of news that might be taking place in the creative space.
There is always a great turn out of highly respected creative individuals to create an engaging conversation with, and as always a great opportunity to meet someone new to Hamilton that is just excited to be apart of the Hamilton Creative Community.
While this is usually a monthly event, I’m not 100 percent sure when the next one will be, no formal updates have been made just yet however, Creative Exchange has been spending the last 6 months working on a Music Strategy plan after the Ontario government announced its plan to invest 45 million dollars to help cities like Hamilton to promote their music industry.
So, why should you attend their open house? You will be able to meet the very same individuals who come out to a normal Creative Exchange Networking event, plus be introduced to some of the movers and shakers of Hamilton’s Music Scene.
Now you’re saying, but, I’m a photographer, or videographer what does that have to do with me? It has everything to do with you, the Music Strategy plan will include everything from marketing and promotions to the musicians themselves. Pretty much anyone or any company that will be or can be involved in helping promote the scene should and needs to be included.
To find out more check out the link below!
The Creative Exchange Music Strategy Open House is happening
September 24th 2013 at Tourism Hamilton (Visitors Centre)
from 6pm to 9pm.
Innovation Factory’s Lunch n Learn
This is a different kind of event, I’ve been to a few so far and I’ve always learned something new in the business world. There is usually a formal networking part while you enjoy a nice lunch. And then a speaker discussing a certain aspect of business. I enjoy going to them because it allows me an opportunity to see people in the startup space that I don’t normally get to see at Startup Drinks.
Here is what will be happening this month from Lunch n Learn
“All About Franchising
Please join iF on Tuesday September 24, 2013 for a unique learning and networking opportunity presented by KPMG. Enjoy a free lunch while Ash Vasdani (McDonald’s) offers his insights into franchising. Do you own a business that could be franchised? Are you looking at buying into an existing franchise? Or, are you just interested in learning about franchising? If so, this Lunch ‘n Learn is for you! Ash will discuss franchising as a growth strategy, the motivations, benefits and opportunities for both the franchisee and the franchisor when entering into a franchise relationship, and shares his experiences with different types of franchise partnerships.
Our Lunch ‘n Learn events are a great way to get out and network while enjoying a free lunch, and learning something new! Please forward this to all of the innovators you know.”
If you want to see more about Innovation Factory’s Lunch n Learn check out their website.
And there you have it, this is merely a taste of what is happening. There are more events happening in the city and new ones being created by awesome community leaders every single day. So I’ll leave you with this, as we become accustom to social media to interact with individuals and stay within our own comfort zone you lose sight of what it truly means to be human. Fear of the unknown challenges us to grow beyond expectations. And real life social interaction helps develop the foundation of human communication.
It’s very easy to say how we feel online, but it is another thing to be able to speak eloquently in person to express our ideas and our dreams. You can stay within your core inner circle or you can grow your inner circle beyond measure. Start now, build your connections and relationships. You never know what opportunity might come your way just with a simple introduction.
August 25, 2013
So, as I sit down to write this blog, all I keep thinking of is to apologize to the reader profusely. This is not going to be a short read but I hope you read it all the way though and feel inspired by it, with that being said this is a blog entry about my three year journey of networking, and being involved in community activities and why it is important not just to you as a creative mind, but as a person.
The three year journey begins where I use to work, the company was the video production company that did all the Invest in Hamilton videos. It was there that I picked up so many skill sets I contributed most of my success from.
I will begin with my love of Social Media, and when I say social media I really mean Twitter. In the beginning I never understood twitter. I thought it was a silly site, writing what you want to say within a 140 characters seemed very ridiculous! But I knew as a company, you must be on the majority of the social media platforms to reach an audience / build relationships with people and other companies.
Perhaps it’s more of the psychologically nature of it, you might not need a service of a company right away but by building key relationships with people, somewhere down the line when they need your services they will instinctively remember you because you might have been the last person they tweeted with.
So I took up doing a majority of their social media relations, making sure their brand and message was heard through a couple of hours a day doing social media. It wasn’t until I started interacting with clients, that I knew there was more that could be done. Clients boasting about the customer service, which is free advertising to the company never hurts and it is highly authentic.
I was also privileged to work on a couple of music videos as a camera operator with two of my co-workers from the video production company as side projects with them.
On top of my regular day to day stuff, social media, editing and cutting online commercials for directory based business. I was also going out to shoot as part of Invest in Hamilton. It was in doing that where a majority of my networking, community, and relationship building came into play.
Interviewing Hamilton’s high profile individuals either in business, community related, and provided me to meet individuals I call my friends to date.
One such individual was Kevin Browne. Kevin, has been a source of inspiration in my eyes for a such a long time. A community leader in the Tech & Startup field in Hamilton, organizer of DemoCamp and Startup Drinks and very much for the grassroots movement to change a city. (Software Hamilton)
First initially met Kevin during a shoot by Invest In Hamilton for DemoCamp, I was completely inthralled by what was happening in the startup space at the time, all these great and awesome minds building something of value for community use. And I often wondered to myself, why isn’t this being covered more?
I mean, mainstream media covers a majority of the big events, Lions Lair, Startup Weekend, but nothing really at the beginning stages, the moment where everyone gets started. Seemed like a shame to not be able to tell their stories too.
Thus, enters the TechTalk year. For about a year and half now, I made it my mission to cover Demo Camps for the soul purpose of capturing individuals and or group of developers at the beginning stages of their ideas. One individual stood out in my mind which is Ethan Do of OverAir, where just last November he was pitching his idea for the very first time to the general public, we captured an interview with him along with his pitch and since then has gone on to win awards and funding in Toronto and taken his company to the next level.
I don’t find success to be inspiring, success, a long side with perseverance is almost the inevitable. What I find inspiring is hearing the individual story and where they came from and how they came to be and not about the company that has a million dollars. When you talk about inspirational stories from highly successful individuals or companies you’re already putting them on a higher stage and above the individuals you’re looking to inspire. As the quote goes, you can’t compare someone’s chapter 20 to your chapter 1, and I would much rather hear about chapter 1 then chapter 20 right now and get lost in their story of success.
I have been using other networking events such as Startup Drinks as a way of getting validation from Startups and Entrepreneurs to find out ways to improve quality and make TechTalk a more of a sustainable Web Series that creates more value for the viewer. So make sure you keep your eye out this fall as we come back from a summer hiatus to bigger and better TechTalk.
It was also through Kevin and DemoCamp where I met my next source of inspiration, Dale Mugford of BraveNewCode. He has another highly motivating story about how life can throw you a curve ball and turn your entire world upside down, and it is ultimately up to you to wallow in self pity or learn how to adjust the sails and start a new journey.
Having already the privilege of knowing his fiance, Roz of Double Barrel from other encounters, they told me about this exciting new event they want to bring into Hamilton. WordCamp Hamilton, another grassroots movement that is in almost every major city fathomable. Dale thought it was ready to have one in Hamilton to.
Again, another interesting project to work on that was more so self-gratifying to me to be involved in such a great community building event. Bringing together individuals that before didn’t know they blogged or had a word press account and learning from such people Like Kevin Browne, Joey Coleman, Kristen Archer & Seema Narula was a delightful way to spend a day.
They (Roz & Dale) brought me into do some social media engagement, again, knowing what they knew about me and my past and how much I love Social Media they thought it would be a great fit and so well & being that I have become so connected to different aspects of the community from creative to startups to individual bloggers in the city helped me source out individuals that I know would find an event like this valuable. Also helped Roz and Lee of Double Barrel with filming and capturing the event which was sold out by the way for WordCamp Tv.
Another such instance was meeting Matthew Green, another truly inspiring person that has helped me a great deal and motivated me to do a lot of what I do. He also introduced me to Leo of Empowerment Squared and brought me on board a life changing moment to produce a 6 minute video for his project to build a Learning Centre in Liberia.
This project was many months of us back and forth about how to create a well rounded story that will encapsulate everything that Empowerment Squared stands for, sharing Leo’s story with the rest of the world. The video was recently launched last week, and the only reason why I brought it up in this blog was again the power of networking and building relationships with individuals has connected me to both Leo & Matthew and thus being able to work with both of them on such a phenomenal cause that will make a HUGE difference to the people in Liberia.
Which brings me back to where I have been, and what inspires me. As most of you know and probably think, and the answer is yes, I totally am YouTube obsessed from time to time. I don’t feel it’s an obsession as much as it is a dedication and a sense of passion for storytelling.
That journey began in 2006 when I launched my first Youtube channel, and Youtube was, well very much what it should be today. But that moment changed when Google then bought Youtube and now it’s less about community and more so about eyeballs on your content. But still some of the bigger names still hope for the best and want to do more for the people that are just launching channels which is also nice to see. But growing an audience does not happen over night. You don’t just post a video on Youtube and expect it to automatically reach your target market or demographic. It’s a lot of hard work, 40 hours a week almost to connect with people with similar interest to make a series or vlog successful. And it is not just a one way street, Youtube, like any form of social media is very much a two way street of commenting on other channels.
I became immersed in the vlogging culture youtube adopted. What is vlogging you ask? well it’s simple, right now you are reading a blog, vlogging is just video blogging. People sharing their thoughts and life online. Seems kind of weird don’t you think? But no doubt you’ve got a Facebook account, and isn’t that what Facebook was created for, so I guess it’s not so weird after all?
If you want to see a really awesome documentary pre-google check out the Anthropological look on Youtube
Link is below.
Anyways, getting back into the story, I soon stopped posting, to do the whole school thing but I knew I wanted to come back to it all in some way. I took Television Broadcasting at Mohawk as most of you know and successfully graduated. After looking at the landscape of the television world there was something that sunk into my mind and that is do I really want to be in the Television world?
After spending three years of my life learning everything, it has come down to, did I just waste 3 years of my life? Thankfully the answer is of course no, but that is when I started working for the video production company and worked there for 2 years.
But I started to notice and discover all these high-quality social web series, mostly through Revision3. A network that accuired certain high profile content creators to be apart of their larger network. That Network was then soon bought by Discovery Channel. And that brought the inspiration to do TechTalk as a Web Series and try and adopt their model of using the power and influence of a host to generate ad revenue dollars, same way old school television and radio ads were back in the day.
It also jump started to see if anyone else in the Hamilton area enjoyed creating Youtube videos as much as I did. And again inspired by Kevin Browne and the Startup Drinks meetups I began hosting my own YoutubeDrinks Meet ups.
This was also around the same time Creative Exchange a networking event hosted by the Hamilton Film and Television office shut down their events for the summer. Feeling frustrated not being able to meet new creatives and engage in new ideas that is how Youtube Drinks came to be.
It wasn’t until May/July of last year when I heard about the WebSeries Community growing in Toronto, hesitant to go venture out to Toronto by myself, I willed myself to go and meet new people. When I first got there I felt kind of out of place not knowing anyone there, until I met Rodney Smith (Out of Time WebSeries), an out-spoken, outgoing, vibrant individual that first said hello to me at the bar.
It was there where I introduced myself and told him where I’m from and thats when he took me around to meet some Toronto Creatives. Soon after it felt like I was home, I met close to 50 creatives and had a conversations with. All of them working on some sort of Web Series project, I remember thinking “This is unbelievable!”
All these individuals, are so forward thinking and ahead of their time right now and they are sitting and having drinks all in one room! My first initial thought was this is the kind of community I would love to see grow in Hamilton.
Hamilton’s creative class would LOVE this, and that was the turning point for Youtube Drinks to then become the Hamilton Web Series Community, a monthly meet up for Hamilton’s creative class that wish to do more web based projects & series ideas.
Also, while in attendance at the Toronto web series meet up was their launch for funding to start the IWCC (Independent Web Creators of Canada) a non for profit organization geared to help promote Canadian Content Creators, which has since launch and is now well on it’s way to host it’s first huge public event which we will get into in a moment.
But first, through speaking and networking with the Toronto Community I met an individual by Robert Mills (Rubber Chicken Players, and coming soon SteamPunk Adventures)
who then invited me to be on the panel the IWCC was hosting during FanExpo.
(photo courtesy of Jess Morton of Jess the Press)
For anyone that doesn’t know what FanExpo is you can check out the link here
It was an honour to be up with the panel with individual creators of such Web Series as Steampunk Adventures, Clutch, Tight & Fights & Pretty in Geek, Kids town, BJ Fletcher Private Eye, and many more to speak about the future of Web Series.
You see, everything is changing now. You have the Canadian Screen Awards which is pretty much the Gemini and Genie awards now open to submission from the Web. Which means your little Web Drama Series can be internationally known.
There is of course WebFest’s springing up in major cities around the world such as LA, Rome, Australia that accept international submissions. And new to 2013 -2014 Vancouver and Toronto will be hosting their own WebFest.
So what exactly does this all mean for a creator? Well, one thing that was talked about on the panel was a screen is just a screen! Doesn’t matter if you’re watching your content through an inferior device such as a Television Screen or you’re watching shows through your smart phone or tablet. Technology has made it easier to watch your favourite content any where at any time.
A network is merely a name that your favourite show is on that you probably don’t even remember the name of in the first place. Services like netflix, allowing you to watch all the episodes of your favourite series to be downloaded or streamed where ever you might be is becoming more of a trend.
So what’s the difference if you find a series on Youtube such as H+ Digital (Produced by Bryan Singer)
Or Video Game Highschool
or if you watch it through something like CTV’s mobile App that is now accruing Web based content to be apart of their library, is there really one any more?
Such as the Web Series GuideStone that went from Youtube to the CTV site as a series.
And CBC, publicly funded by Canadian tax dollars to bring you Canadian content, isn’t that relatively the same as a content creator with a large enough audience to do a crowd sourcing campaign to bring you a second and third season… and they do it because they have a choice to do so.
Another item spoken about at on the panel, does length matter, if you’re trying to gear your web series towards a television audience is it better to make 26 minute long episodes and then break them down with the idea in the back of your head that it can be commercialized at some point down the road.
With all of that being said, being on that panel was terrific experience and I loved every minute of the discussion, now the question is where do we go from here.
From Hamilton’s side of things, I hope this blog post encourages more young vibrant creatives to come out to the Hamilton Web Series Meet ups. I hope it inspires them to get actively engage more so than ever to be apart of this growing movement. I hope that the more established individuals come out so that they can offer assistance with a younger generation wanting to get into the digital production space.
From the Independent Web Creators of Canada stand point, they are well on their way to becoming the flagship to build a strong united frontier. Future programs I would love to see come from the IWCC are more panel discussions and mentorship programs (which I’m sure are already in the works) to take your idea from start to finish learning from already well established Web Series.
And create a bridge between the city of Hamilton and the City of Toronto’s Web Creators, utilizing Hamilton’s unique city landscapes, and tapping into the Hamilton creatives to help build projects,
and of course for Hamilton to do the same within Toronto.
I also would love to see IWCC become the “gatekeeper”, where funding can come direct from the organization that has the creator driven mindset. And understand the challenges every web creator must go through in order to make a project successful.
And for us to continue to grow and learn from one another, build strong relationships with individuals even if you don’t know the reason for meeting each other just yet, the answer will reveal itself over time.
I will leave you with this Quote from the late Steve Jobs.
Here is how I determine this quote it to be in reflection of my own experiences, you can either work for someone else and see their dreams come true, or you can really focus on what you’re passionate about. And sometimes it means to work while you’re working. Taking on one or two jobs just so you can self fund projects with out having to worry about the headaches so be it, but never lose sight or feeling you have in your heart. Never stop building relationships with people, never stop networking and meeting individuals that some day down the line might be able to assist you in accomplishing your goals and dreams. Always be community driven with the best intentions to help others discover what makes them come alive inside.
P.s I also had an opportunity to have my picture taken with Hannah of Verses Valerie.
Which again I thought was pretty cool!
And as always, Be Legendary.
March 3, 2013
Lately I find myself, what use to be a side project, is now my complete and utter full time obsession. A series of interviews based off of the growing Tech & creative startup scene that’s growing rapidly in Hamilton.
I cannot explain my obsession fully, all I know is, If you build it, they will come. And while I still struggle to find different ways to monetize myself with this project, I know this obsession will not go away.
Part of it is just my fascination with the culture that is growing, people who have an idea and just say lets roll with it and become successful at what they do interest me. More so the D.N.A of an entrepreneur. What compels a person to create a business, what is in them, that sets everyone else that is just happy with their day to day job.
I wouldn’t say I’m knocking them, but isn’t there a need, or a fire within everyone to create something for themselves instead of just being told what to do?
My second part of the obsession is that I am hell bent on creating not just good content, but sharable content, content that people want to share with their friends to spread the message of what’s going on in Hamilton. Every once and a while I’ll get frustrated by people’s lack of understanding of my obsession with this project.
I could make it something I do part time, but if they actually knew how much effort goes into something of this nature they’ll realize that creating great content is a full time job. And while the investors aren’t there yet, I am positive they will come around and I am merely ahead of the curve right now.
The other reason why I’m so obsessed with TechTalk is that this serves as a vehicle for anyone that comes after, who are or were like me being so disenchanted by the Television and Film industry right now and only to become someone of lesser authority on the outcome of the creative process.
This serves as, if you work hard on something, build a strong following and audience, the people that don’t get it will have to soon enough.
It’s been a long road to this point in time, met a lot of great and inspiring people in my life. I hope I can leave something of a legacy behind here as well.