Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.William James
Notes on Earl Nightingale’s Recipe for Success.
“We are all self-made, but only the successful will admit it.”Earl Nightingale
What follows are notes I took while listening to a recording of Earl Nightingales‘ on his Recipe for Success.
1. Our rewards in life will always be in exact proportion to our contribution, our service.
The money you are paid by the company you work for will always be in direct ratio to the need for what you do, and the degree of difficulty involved in replacing you.
2. The Goldmine: The key to every human being’s success lays in his mind, the goldmine between his ears.
One idea can make you rich.
A lot of good ideas can move you steadily upwards in the work you do.
Nothing is now being done as well as it must be done in the future.
Think deliberately and with a purpose.
Begin by thinking at a special time every day.
How will my business be conducted ten years from now? Try to do it now.
a) Start getting up a little earlier than you are accustomed to.
b) Write your financial goal at the top of a blank piece of paper (the amount of money per year you intend to earn soon).
c) Think about your goal and what it would mean to you and your family.
d) See how many ideas you can come up with to help you reach that goal, ideas to improve what you now do for a living, ways of increasing your contribution to match your income goal.
f) Think of ways of improving what is now being done.
Try for five ideas every morning and write them down.
Save those sheets of paper in a special ideas file.
Try to develop a feeling of expectancy. Try to develop a feeling that the goal you are shooting for is a sure thing and that it is only a matter of time before it is realized.
TRY NOT TO THINK OF THINGS OUTSIDE OF YOUR OWN LINE OF WORK OR WHATEVER IT IS YOU ARE MOST INTERESTED IN.
TO THINK WELL AND PROFITABLY YOU MUST DISCIPLINE YOUR THINKING. KEEP IT ON COURSE, CONTROLLED. KEEP IT IN ONE FIELD. SPECIALIZE!
3) The Word: ATTITUDE.
Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes and mind.
WE BECOME WHAT WE THINK ABOUT.
Your total environment is a reflection of you as a person.
Beginning now, begin to act as would the person you most want to become.
IF YOU WERE ALREADY IN POSSESSION OF THE GOAL YOU ARE SHOOTING FOR, HOW WOULD YOU CONDUCT YOURSELF AND ALL OF YOUR AFFAIRS?
Well, do it now, and tomorrow and the next day.
BEGIN NOW TO ACT THE PART OF THE PERSON YOU MOST WANT TO BECOME and you will end by becoming that person, subtly, in little ways, in the way you dress, in the way you talk, in the unfailing courtesy you show to every person to whom you come in contact.
Begin to act the part of the person who has already achieved that which you are shooting for.
Before you can do something, you must first be something.
When you behave like the person you most want to become, the things that person would have tend to come to you. It is simply cause and effect.
Don’t be in too big of a hurry. It takes longer to build a skyscraper than to build a chicken coop. Build slowly, steadily, and well. Then when you make it, you’ll keep it. You’ll stay on top.
It’s your attitude toward the people with whom you come in contact with, that will determine their attitudes toward you.
Practice your attitude every day, every waking hour.
Ray Dalio on The Future
What is most important isn’t knowing the future—it is knowing how to react appropriately to the information available at each point in time.Ray Dalio
Notes From Rich Dad Poor Dad
Investment risk comes from not knowing what you are doing.
The government taxes the income you work hard for more than the income your money works hard for.
IMPORTANT: The key to becoming wealthy is the ability to convert earned income into passive income or portfolio income as quickly as possible.
TYPES OF INCOME:
1. Ordinary earned
Don’t play it safe, play it smart.
Action always beats inaction.
Small people remain small because they think small.
Most people look for what they can afford, so they look too small. Think big.
PROFITS ARE MADE IN THE BUYING, NOT IN THE SELLING
For there to be profit in a deal, there must be two elements: a bargain and change.
It is repetition that causes to see slight differences.
MAKE OFFERS, SOMEONE MIGHT SAY YES!
Copying or emulating heroes is true power learning.
A common bad habit is “dipping into savings”.
Savings should only be used to create more money, not to pay bills.
1. Don’t get into debt. Keep your expenses low.
2. Don’t dip into your savings or investments
3. Use financial pressure to come up with new ways to make money.
Personal self-discipline is the number-one delineating factor between the rich, the poor, and the middle class.
You become what you study.
The reason you want to have rich friends is because that is where money is made. It’s made on information.
Wise investors buy an investment when it’s not popular.
Invest first in education. Each of us has the choice of what we put in our brain. First invest in learning about investing.
STEPS TO GET STARTED
1. Find a reason greater than reality: the power of spirit. Deep-seated emotional reasons born out of wants and don’t-wants provide the energy to do the work.
2. Make daily choices: the power of choice. Our spending habits reflect who we are. Choose to be rich. Dedicate time to take actions and to learn. Invest first in education.
3. Choose friends carefully: the power of association.
4. Must a formula and then learn a new one. The power of learning quickly.
5. Pay yourself first: the power of self-discipline.
6. Pay your brokers well: the power of good advice.
7. Be an Indian giver: the power of getting something for nothing. When you invest, ask yourself: how fast do I get my money back?
8. Use assets to buy luxury: the power of focus.
9. Choose heroes: the power of myth.
10. Teach and you shall receive: the power of giving.
People use arrogance to hide ignorance.
Whenever you find yourself avoiding something you know you should be doing, ask yourself: “What’s in it for me?” Be a little greedy.
You overcome laziness with a little greed.
The most common form of laziness is laziness by staying busy.
Staying busy as a way of avoiding something they do not want to face.
I don’t-wants hold the key to your success. (I think he means that what you fear most or don’t want to happen is a great motivation to keep you productive.)
INVESTING IN REAL ESTATE
An obstacle to invest in real estate is the time it takes. The solution is to hire a competent property manager.
A great property manager is the key to success in real estate.
Diversification means playing it safe. Focus means to contrate on one thing until success.
Failure inspires winners. Failure defeats losers.
People don’t win financially because the pain of losing money is far greater than the joy of being rich.
Obstacles to Success:
4. Bad habits
The primary difference between a rich person and a poor person is how they manage fear.
Be able to give as well as to receive. Be a good teachers as well as good students.
You must manage three things in order to be successful:
The world is filled with talented poor people.
Fear of failure and rejection are the main reason people are unsuccessful.
Get over your fear of failure and rejection.
1. Find an opportunity that everyone else missed.
2. Know how to raise capital outside the banking system.
3. Hire people who are more intelligent than you are.
4. Manage risk instead of avoiding it.
Good investors create investment opportunities through knowledge and research.
It’s not the smart who get ahead, it’s the bold.
Wealthy people own nothing. They control everything but own nothing.
1. Accounting: the ability to read numbers.
2. Investing: creative strategies and formulas of making money from money.
3. Understanding Markets: the science of supply and demand.
4. The Law: tax advantages of incorporating. A corporation can pay expenses before paying taxes. Protection from lawsuits.
If you work for money, you give the power to your employer. If money works for you, you keep the power and control it.
Businesses that do not require your presence (if you have to work there it’s not a business, it’s a job).
Income-generating real estate.
Royalties from intellectual properties.
Anything else that has value, produces income or appreciates, and has a ready market.
Keep expenses low, reduce liabilities, and diligently build a base of solid assets.
MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
To become financially secure, a person needs to mind their own business. Your business revolves around your asset column, not your income column.
There is a big difference between your profession and your business.
The rich focus on their asset columns while everyone else focuses on their income statements.
The rich buy assets.
The poor only have expenses.
The middle class buy liabilities they think are assets.
Wealth is a person’s ability to survive so many number of days forward—or, if I stopped working today, how long could I survive?
Invest in income producing assets.
When it comes to money, high emotions tend to lower financial intelligence.
An intelligent person hires people who are more intelligent than he is.
More money seldom solves someone’s money problems. Intelligence solves problems.
Cash-flow tells the story of how a person handles money.
More money will often not solve the problem. In fact, it may compound the problem.
Money only accentuates the cash-flow pattern running in your head.
ASSET V. LIABILITY
An asset puts money in my pocket. A liability takes money out of my pocket.
RULE 1: You must know the difference between an asset and a liability, and buy assets.
Rich people acquire assets. The poor and middle class acquire liabilities that they think are assets.
It’s not how much money you make, it’s how much money you keep.
Be an observer, not a reactor to your emotions.
People’s lives are forever controlled by two emotions: fear and greed.
It’s easier to change yourself than everyone else.
If you think someone else is the problem then you have to change them. If you realize you are the problem, then you can change yourself.
Money is one form of power but what is more powerful is financial education.
I don’t work for money! Money works for me.
There is a difference between being poor and being broke. Broke is temporary. Poor is eternal.
Notes From The Go-Giver
What you focus on is what you get.
1. Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.
2. Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.
Your compensation is directly proportional to how many lives you touch.
Being broke or being rich are both decisions.
Survive, save and serve.
3. Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interest first.
Focus on the other person’s win.
Watch out for what other people need, with the faith that when you do, you’ll get what you need.
A genuinely sound business principle will apply anywhere in life.
Fifty-fifty is a losing proposition.
You can excel by adding value. If you need money, add value.
4. The most valuable gift you have to offer is you.
You are your most important commodity.
No matter what you think you are selling, what you are really offering is you.
Receiving is the natural result of giving.
Every giving can happen only because it is also a receiving.
5. The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.
The point is not what you do. Not what you accomplish. It’s who you are.
Here is a small sample of my screenwriting work taken from a few different screenplays.
Some of the scenes come from scripts that have already been produced into feature length movies, short films, or episodic format, while others have yet to see the light of day.
Click here to open a PDF sample of my work as a freelance screenwriter.
Make Your Own Acting Demo Reel
Have you ever seen an actor in a movie or TV show and thought to yourself: “I could do a great job playing that part!” Unfortunately, for one reason or another, you haven’t been able to get yourself in front of the right agent or casting director. An effective way to get in the door is an acting demo reel with a few strong performances.
It used to be that the standard approach was for an actor to start working on student films, short films, and as many independent productions as he or she could until there was enough material to put together an actor’s showreel. The problem with this particular approach is that it can take years to gather enough material for an awesome acting demo reel. It took me about 6 years before I had something I was proud of. Things are different today.
Actors no longer have to sit around and wait for the perfect role to come along. More and more performers are choosing to create their own content, and that applies to acting performance reels as well.
Back in early March of this year, I was contacted by an Italian actor through LinkedIn. He was planning to relocate to Hollywood in May and asked if I could custom-make an acting demo reel so he could showcase his acting talents in English. The first thing I told him was to start looking at Hollywood movies and television series to pick the roles and scenes he’d like to be playing. Once I had an idea of what he had in mind, I put together a budget for him and a timeframe to get it done. I estimated that the whole process would take me about a month to complete.
By the time he arrived in Los Angeles, I had put together the logline for half a dozen original scenes similar to what he had shown interest in so he could have a few options to choose from. We settled on shooting four scenes and I got to work on the screenplay. By the end of the first week in June, I had the ten-page screenplay ready with two solo scenes and two scenes with one other actor in it.
We cast the other roles and spent the next week rehearsing and prepping for the shoot. We opted to shoot one scene per day giving the client time to change his looks and transition between characters. We wrapped shooting on the 13 of June.
I would have liked to have more time for post-production, but the client had a sense of urgency so we delivered the finished product on June 28.
Below is a link to a video of the scenes as they were originally edited before I created a shorter version for the client with a focus on his performance.
I understand not everyone has the means to hire a director, a makeup artist and a small crew to produce an acting demo reel, but in case you do, it can certainly increase the chances of being noticed by other industry professionals.
An Editor’s Journey to DaVinci Resolve
It has been a long time since I first witnessed the magic of non-linear editing. It was a hot and sunny Southern California winter day in the year 2000 at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. Garry and I took the short walk from the soundstage over to the editing department. He asked me if I had ever seen a film editor at work. I was too embarrassed to tell him I had no idea who a film editor was, so I kept my answer short and simply said no. The man we were going to see was Bruce Green, Garry Marshall’s editor.
The film editing department was a small structure that stood in the shadow of the much larger Seven Dwarfs Building on the Disney studio lot. Oh, the irony! Even dwarfs towered over this little-appreciated art that in essence is the heart and soul of cinema!
We stepped into the humble bungalow-like building, reminiscent of a place right out of the 1930’s where Walt Disney himself may have worked half a century ago. Bruce sat in a small corner office hard at work editing Garry’s latest film, The Princess Diaries. I sat through the editing session looking at Julie Andrews and a then-unknown Anne Hathaway bounce back and forth between monitors as the scene came to life under my very eyes. It was magical! I was nineteen years old and it was the first time I understood how a movie was actually made.
The interaction between editor and director, so crucial in the filmmaking process, was effortless and poetic. Garry sat on a small yellowish couch behind Bruce’s workstation limiting his comments to nods of approval or notes that were straight to the point. He showed a great deal of trust in his editor and witnessing their work relationship was a true delight.
Later that day, Bruce’s assistant took me next door where I got to see the actual cutting and splicing of 35mm film. I can still remember the first time I inhaled the distinctive scent of celluloid. I had no idea what a rare sight that was going to be after the advent of digital cinema.
It wasn’t until 2003 that I was to start experimenting with editing myself. I had recently bought my very first camera, the Panasonic AG-DVX100, from a friend at a great discount. When it came time to look for an editing software I still remembered the name of the program they were using during that editing session, Avid! Back then, apart from the inaccessible Lightworks, Avid Media Composer was the only professional choice for aspiring filmmakers. Final Cut and Premiere Pro didn’t exist, or had yet to be taken seriously by industry professionals. A little research led me to the Avid website where all my dreams went up in smoke. I can’t remember the software’s price tag at the time, but it was higher than my rent. As a struggling actor, I had different priorities on my list, food being one of them. Just as I was about to give up on my aspirations, I stumbled upon a little-known product on Avid’s website, Avid Free DV. I was ecstatic, and pushed my dial-up connection to its limit during the hour and a half it took me to download it. The moment it was installed I got my camera out, took a few shots of the fish swimming around my fish tank, and after learning to import the mini-DV into my computer, got to editing.
This was before the days of YouTube video tutorials, and teaching myself wasn’t easy. After hours and hours of trying, it is hard to the describe how proud I was of my fish swimming around to Ennio Morricone’s theme from “Once Upon a Time in America”. Despite the “amazing” results, I had struggled so much to do so little, I came to the conclusion editing was not for me. Or so I thought.
Like all independent filmmakers operating on a low-budget, sooner or later you’ll find yourself having to learn every single aspect of the process. It wasn’t long before I was forced back into editing out of necessity.
A few months later, during the turbulent post-production of one of my very first short films, my editor went missing. When I recovered from the initial panic, I decided that the only way to never be put in that position again was to become an editor myself. It was time to get serious. Armed with a copy of Avid Xpress Pro and James Monohan’s instructional book, I locked myself in the apartment for a week and didn’t come out until I had a finished product. I went through moments of desperation and exhilaration, but every frame was exactly where I wanted it to be. I had finally harnessed the power of non-linear video editing and felt invincible!
Meanwhile, the world of independent film editing kept evolving and more and more of my acquaintances started working on platforms I had never heard of; Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, and even Vegas. By this time I had moved on to Media Composer so I looked down on everyone who was not an Avid man. Truth be told, I was at a great disadvantage compared to my peers. Media Composer was born as an integral part of the studio post-production workflow and was not suited to churn out two-minute YouTube videos by the hundreds. This made me an extremely slow editor and I often spent hours encoding, transcoding, and tweaking settings everyone else never bothered with.
By 2010 I had edited everything from live concerts to music videos, to documentaries, and from shorts to a feature-length film. Although I was grateful to Avid for allowing a mere mortal to edit like a studio editor, I detested the workflow and all the difficulties I had to overcome in order to make it work in the era of run-and-gun filmmaking. So by 2012, almost ten years after I edited my very first frame of digital video, I decided to hang-up my editor’s hat for good.
Almost a year went by before I got wind of a new “revolutionary” editing software that was going to blow everyone out of the water! And the best part of it all was that it was completely free! Lightworks had just released their free software and I was first in line to try it. I remember telling anyone who would listen that it was time to ditch the old ways for the new ones. I downloaded the software and was determined to become proficient at it. I gave Lightworks an honest try, but moving between editing platforms is excruciating. After a week of trying and interacting with other editors on various forums, I decided to give up. Sadly I also discovered that the free version of the software was mostly useless for serious work.
Over the next few years I took on a few more editing projects, but was never a happy camper. Editing was always a chore I did not look forward too… then something happened that would forever change my views on it.
In the spring of 2016, I was hired to be the cinematographer on an indie feature, the director had chosen to shoot the film on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Cameras. The first time I laid eyes on those little things I was skeptical. At my request, the director allowed me to spend a week experimenting with the camera, and what I saw coming out of this little workhorse was impressive. Working with the BMPCC was a breeze and if it wasn’t for the short battery life, I could find no fault with it. This was the first time Blackmagic Design got my attention.
I had heard of DaVinci Resolve before as a grading platform, so it came as a surprise to me when I found out Blackmagic Design was expanding it into an NLE application. Did I mention they were giving away a fully functional software for free? This time I didn’t jump up and down with joy, I had been hurt once before.
By the time I was hired for my next project I forgot all about it and reached out to an editor I had worked with before and his Final Cut Pro set-up. I had come to dislike editing so much I didn’t mind paying top dollar to hire someone to do the work for me. When he never got back to me, I dreaded the thought of having to reach out to people I had never worked with so I knew what awaited me at the end of filming, a miserable ten days of editing! Incidentally, this project was recorded on Blackmagic Design cameras as well so I felt like I had an obligation to give Resolve 12.5 the benefit of the doubt.
As of the time of this writing, I’ve spent a little over ten days editing, grading, and finishing the project on DaVinci Resolve and I am the happiest I have ever been sitting in front of an editing bay since that magical day 17 years ago when I first learned what non-linear editing was.
DaVinci Resolve has blown my mind at every turn. This free software is the best thing to happen to independent filmmaking since the introduction of the first 24p mini-DV camera. Everything in DaVinci Resolve 12.5 is intuitive and even though it has some room for improvements, I couldn’t have asked for a better application. When it comes to professional editing software (NLE applications), it is all about the editor’s personal preferences but I don’t believe there is anything out there quite like it, whether it be free or with a price tag in the thousands. But don’t take my word for it, give it a try!
The best part is that by putting professional filmmaking in the hands of anyone with a computer and an internet connection, Blackmagic Design is democratizing the process and contributing toward the advancement of the artform.
Confidence and Consumerism
Is there a relationship between confidence and consumerism?
While watching Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, I first heard part of Jimmy Carter’s speech from July 15, 1979. This speech later came to be known as the Crisis of Confidence Speech. The documentary itself was not particularly well made. Even though most of the people in it discussed valuable ideas, the filmmakers made questionable creative choices. The inclusion of several Black Friday shopping madness videos, countless commercials segments, and footage of the rich and famous, only cluttered the viewer’s mind instead of driving the point home. The filmmakers missed the opportunity of making a minimalist documentary, with very little distractions and room for contemplation. Instead, they followed a standard format and piled one thing on top of the other. Pity. But I digress.
I’ve been struggling with the concept of minimalism since becoming a father and hoping to raise my little one less dependent on things than I am. In the past few years, I have done some considerable decluttering but I haven’t been able to stop the steady stream of things coming in. I have a few theories on why that is but I’ll save that for another time.
What caught my attention while reading the speech, was that the concept of over-consumerism was already part of America’s collective consciousness back in 1979. This came as a surprise to me, seeing how things ended up playing out in the average American household over the past thirty years.
A lot of Americans ended up disliking Carter and hailing Reagan as the second coming. I don’t have enough information to form an intelligent opinion on this. The aim of this article is simply to highlight some of the things I like about the speech.
Here we go:
The erosion of our confidence in the future is threatening to destroy the social and the political fabric of America.
In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption.
Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns.
But we’ve discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning.
We’ve learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose.
As you know, there is a growing disrespect for government and for churches and for schools, the news media, and other institutions.
This is not a message of happiness or reassurance, but it is the truth and it is a warning.
We are at a turning point in our history. There are two paths to choose.
One is a path I’ve warned about tonight, the path that leads to fragmentation and self-interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others. That path would be one of constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility. It is a certain route to failure.
All the traditions of our past, all the lessons of our heritage, all the promises of our future point to another path, the path of common purpose and the restoration of American values.
Little by little we can and we must rebuild our confidence. We can spend until we empty our treasuries, and we may summon all the wonders of science. But we can succeed only if we tap our greatest resources — America’s people, America’s values, and America’s confidence.
In this speech, President Carter equates the lack of confidence in the future with self-indulgence and consumption.
I don’t know whether this was intentional or not but from a sociological standpoint, it warrants further examination.
Do we consume more when we have less confidence in the future?
Or to put it simpler, do we buy more when we are scared?
There a lot of conclusions that can be drawn from this but for now, I will leave my readers with this question:
If we buy more when we are scared, does a seller have a vested interest in keeping a buyer afraid of the future?
Rumsfeld’s Known Unknowns
Rumsfeld’s Known Unknowns is a concept made popular by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
It is part of a broader theory about the influence knowledge has on strategic thinking.
It first came to the public’s attention when Donald Rumsfeld used it during a Department of Defense news briefing on February 12, 2002, to answer a reporter’s question about the administration’s failure to uncover weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Here is the answer how it was given by Donald Rumsfeld himself:
There are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know.
Years later, in Errol Morris’ documentary The Unknown Known, and on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Rumsfeld went on to explain that the third category, the unknown unknowns…
…are the ones that get you.
For the sake of simplicity, I am renaming what Wikipedia calls “There are known knowns” into Rumsfeld’s Known Unknowns Theory.
The aim of this article is to expand the theory and to present a different conclusion.
Let’s first revisit the elements of Rumsfeld’s Known Unknowns theory.
The elements are as follows:
Known knowns are things we know that we know.
A person familiar with basic arithmetic knows that 2 + 2 equals 4.
The second element is:
Known unknowns are things we know that we do not know.
When asked for the square root of infinity, a person can reasonably assume this is something they don’t know.
The third element is:
Unknown unknowns are things we don’t know that we don’t know.
This third category is where things get tricky.
Unknown unknowns can only be categorized as such for as long as the person is unaware what it is he or she is supposed to know but does not know. The moment the what is revealed to the person, it would inevitably fall under one of the two categories above.
This category is better described simply as Unknowns.
Unknowns are relevant only if they impact the outcome of a decision adversely. Taking our first example, if someone hands you a piece of paper with 2 + 2 written on it and asks you for the answer you would answer 4. But what if they tell you your answer is incorrect and that they forgot to hand you the rest of the piece of paper which completes the operation to read 2 + 2 x 3 = ?
You did not know x 3 was part of the problem. You gave the wrong answer only because you were asked the wrong question.
But what if you were asked the right question and still gave the wrong answer? More on that later.
Strictly from a logic stand point, this category does not reflect adversely on the person giving the answer.
This is where I find it necessary to expand the theory unto a fourth and most critical category.
The fourth new category is:
Unknown knowns are those things we think we know but we actually don’t know.
This is the most dangerous category!
The information is still unknown but the person thinks he or she knows it.
This one is a bit harder to handle because the responsibility for an erroneous outcome falls on the person who made the decision.
When you are certain 2 + 2 is 5 and base your calculations on that you will get an erroneous outcome.
In strategic thinking:
Known Knowns yield correct outcomes.
Known Unknowns should not yield any outcome.
Unknown Unknowns cannot yield any outcome.
Unknown Knowns always yield incorrect outcome.