Lessons from the Road: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love to Film

Yes, the title of this blog post is a ridiculous take on the great film “Dr. Strangelove,” but I’m feeling a bit saucy today, so sue me. On second thoughts, please don’t sue me. Seriously 😉
Sorry for the hiatus, but spending 42 days straight on the road for the #CFLive Tour with Philip Bloom stretched our resources a bit thin. We are back at it now, and we hope to continue to evolve with all of you this year.

Lesson #1
The best thing about DSLR’s has nothing to do with technology.
For me, the best part of the entire tour was the meet-ups afterwards. Meeting so many like-minded people was inspiring and reinvigorating. The whole “civil war” that goes on, via Twitter and forums, about what camera is best, and why people with DSLR’s are inferior, etc. is a useless self-mastabatory exercise, that I want nothing to do with. Seriously, I wish people stopped wasting their time being negative, and got out more and created something great. There are no more acceptable excuses. The only thing stopping you… is YOU. That being said, there is a contingent of amazing talented people from the nations capitol of D.C. to the dusty streets of Albuquerque. Local DSLR groups were sprouting up behind us like Fight Clubs as we weaved our way across the country. That made the whole trip worthwhile. So seek out fellow filmmakers in your area and get to it. People are our greatest resource not technology.

Lesson 2
Don’t ask what, ask why?
Philip Bloom made this point and it is a great one. If you ask someone what camera they shot something on, follow it up with “Why?” Why someone chose a camera or lens is more important then what camera or lens.

Lesson 3
42 days is a long time to be away from home.
That may seem like an obvious thing but my point is that sometimes until something is taken away from you, you never fully appreciate it. So, if you have a roof over your head, friends, and loved ones at home, don’t take them for granted. I’m really trying to be more thankful for all that I have in life. Also, if you have a bulldog named Bruiser, he may get so excited when you finally do get back that he pees all over the kitchen floor, so have some 409 and paper towels handy.

Lesson 4
Don’t ever let your ego get too big. Always stay humble.
Philip Bloom has a huge following. He was the headliner of the tour, but when the bags had to get loaded up, and equipment had to get schlepped around. He was right there with us. That’s how it should be.
Someone came up to me at one of the events and said, ” I’m really glad you guys are so down to earth. Don’t take this the wrong way but, I kind of thought you might be dicks.” I was taken aback at first, but then he went on to explain how he had been to other events and some people get a following on the internet and then treat other people like they are better then them. He told me I was “famous on Twitter.” I laughed and said, “I do the same things everyone else does. I eat, sleep and put my pants on one leg at a time.” The minute you start to think you are better then everyone else, even if you are super talented, is the minute you start to lose respect from people when they actually meet you. Plus it’s just a dick move, so let’s keep it classy.

Lesson 5
No matter what the show must go on.
The show can be anything. Work. Life. Whatever you happen to be doing. There will always be snafus, snags, and pitfalls. You just have to keep your head down and keep it moving forward. Whether it was technical problems at venues, delayed flights, or getting sick, we just kept going. You can’t just throw your hands in the air, and say, “This problem is too big. I give up!” The biggest difference between people who are successful, and people who fail in life is just showing up. Talent is obviously important, but persistence is imperative.

Lesson 6
No matter how big the idea, if you put your mind to it and work hard, you can do it.
When we finished the workshop at the last stop in L.A. it was bittersweet. However, I have never been as proud in my life. Philip obviously worked extremely hard on the presentations,helping lug around gear, promoting the event, and we never could have done it without him. That being said: the team behind the logistics of the tour: answering emails from potential attendees, designing the website, contacting sponsors, booking hotels and flights, finding venues, finding meet-up venues, buying all the necessary cables/projection equipment, contacting local video associations, promoting, and countless other tasks we didn’t foresee consisted of Cristina and myself. It was a process that spanned 6 months and consumed countless hours of our lives. It had it’s ups and downs. At the end of the tour, though, we did it. We successfully pulled it off. We made up our mind that we were going to do it, and we saw it through. If the two of us were able to do that, it is proof that if set your mind to it, and are determined, you can do anything you want.

Anyway, that’s a few lessons we learned on the road. Hope it didn’t come off as self-important, it is just a few things I needed to remind myself of, as much as anything. If you happened to attend any of the #CFLive workshops, we’d love to hear what you learned. If you didn’t attend the workshops, we’d still love to hear what you think, so leave a comment and let’s keep the conversation going.


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21 replies
  1. Nino Leitner
    Nino Leitner says:

    Awesome insights, Jon! Thanks for that.

    I find that sentence SO true but all too often forgotten: “Talent is obviously important, but persistence is imperative.”

    Looking forward to do some workshops with Philip in Europe, I know it’s a daunting task!

  2. Samuel Hall
    Samuel Hall says:

    Aw. Bruiser.

    This post has some great timing for me. I’m about to do a 48hr film this weekend and thinking “Why the hell am I doing this to myself?”. The answer is I have to keep working. Because if you never try you always fail.

  3. Bryan Cantwell
    Bryan Cantwell says:

    The first rule of #CFLive is you DO talk about #CFLive. A lot.

    You, Cristina & Philip put on a great event, thank you all very much! It was very interesting, the mix of people that came out for it. I ended up meeting people I didn’t know I was already working with… It is a small world, after all.

    So when’s the next one? 😉

  4. Bill Vincent
    Bill Vincent says:

    Hi Jon! I just want to say that Deanna and I loved meeting and hanging out with the three of you – and I also want to say that you all did a really professional, great job throughout the day. I had been to a presentation by Philip before @ WEVA, so I knew what to expect from him, but you guys were all great fun together and kept the “wheels on the bus”. Thanks for picking Nashville – it easily could have been sidestepped in your travels and we are glad you came!

  5. Chad Nickle
    Chad Nickle says:

    Guys, I can’t be more proud of what you have accomplished. I don’t know anybody else that could have had drinks that many nights in a row without needing a liver transplant 🙂 But seriously, you guys are ninjas.

  6. Dustin
    Dustin says:

    I had no idea that Eagle fan was capable of doing such a good job….. 🙂

    All kidding aside, you, Cristina, and Phil did an awesome job. I look at workshops and meetups as an excuse to build relationships with other peeps, and if I happen to learn something in the process (which I always do) then that’s a bonus. Equally important was seeing 6th street in daylight for the first time. Who knew???

    It was great getting to finally meet you in person. It will come in very handy as I try to picture you crying after every Eagles’ loss this season! 🙂

  7. Rob Ruscher
    Rob Ruscher says:

    Great post. Really enjoyed meeting with you guys and had a lot of fun at the meetups. And I was extremely glad that you guys were so down to earth and all around cool people. I hope I get the chance to meet with you guys again real soon. Congrats on the tour

  8. Jim Goodlett
    Jim Goodlett says:

    Well done on not just the series, but the scribe…I found the HOTlanta event to be rather smarting, and more so that Philip plus crew were so engaging, and willing to discuss bits from the starter to the pro…looking forward to the next one, and will again, bring numerous of my employees!

  9. Chris
    Chris says:

    I drove 916 miles round trip to see Seattle #CFLive. Was it worth it..? Yes! Cristina, Philip, and Jon were engaging, and down to earth. The meet up afterwards was equally as good as the event itself. I was able to talk and exchange ideas with many shooters from all over the Northwest. P C & J were kind and shared many stories from the road, and answered any questions that were asked. I hope to see them all again, maybe next time somewhere in Oregon! I mean come on guys, Guilmette came to Southern Oregon. Don’t let that clown show you up! Haha!

    Thanks again for all of your hard work, and sharing your passion with the rest of us.

    Ashland, OR


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