In Progress on a Busy Day

Check out #icprompts on Instagram. I’m sharing some of my photos as prompts. Coming soon to Idleblog too!

Percussion & Repetition x 11.

The formula to something ritualistic and guttural? I don’t know for sure, but I’ve had these phrases stuck in my head for a while. I used to record and experiment plenty with sound, but I haven’t had the chance recently. I do want to lay some tracks down for a few song ideas which are going to become a narrative. I should add, most of the work I do recording demos revolves around creating a story-based songs. I love that feeling of telling a tale that unfolds like rain drops collecting as a puddle; constant, rhythmic and somewhat unfiltered. This concept I’m tinkering with may be an offshoot of a demo album I recorded long ago, called Headphone Music for Nowhere People. It feels similar, perhaps it’s because I hear electric guitar and noise which feels like it belongs in a post-apocalypse, like in that old album.

The Flood, from Headphone Music for Nowhere People (2009)

I’ve thought about recording it on my lunch hour, since I have to go home and see how the cats are doing. Recording demos is really the last thing I should be doing so it doesn’t help to try to cram it in right now. I should probably reserve my lunch time for self care and time to pause momentarily. I’m troubled by my inability to slow down. I can’t blame the coffee either. The mind just wants to race and commit every spare thought to developing a story. Perhaps I need to convince myself once again, that writing and recording is my therapy, and one that yields continuous joy.

I’ll keep you posted,

j

All

All of these beautiful people

All of these people that walked the earth

And the salt of our tongue, resisted

The hall of demons in afterbirth

All of these people that walked the earth

All of these people that walked the earth

And did the Shaman run to the fire?

All of these people that walked the earth

And did the hollow gram of desire

Find you the consequence of your worth?

All of these people that walked the earth

All of these people that walked the earth

You find me not in the short carousel

You find me spiraling down the well

With all these people that walked the earth

Your dream as common as prairie dirt

And I am certain it’s what we deserve

All of these people that walked the earth

All of these people that walked the earth

All of these people that walked the earth

Up next: 25 years of ORMF!

Looking forward to one of my favorite video projects coming fast at the end of July: The Oyster Ridge Music Festival!

www.oysterridgemusicfestival.com/

Truly Wyoming’s Premier Music Festival event, the great folks in Kemmerer, WY host some of the best talent from the folk and bluegrass scene nationwide, and bring them to us FREE! This will be my third year providing videography for the festival and I am just overjoyed to know such a tremendous group of people. This festival, top to bottom, is a complete labor of love. Many of the musicians I have interviewed attest it’s one of the most well-run festivals they’ve played, and time and again, I have heard them say everyone is just so nice around here. I can’t imagine a better message to send out to the rest of the country about what we’re all about in Wyoming.

This will be the 25th anniversary of the festival and I, for one, can’t wait to see this lineup live! Here’s our recap from last year which included the Grammy Award-winning Steeldrivers! Bluegrass is not my default setting, but coming to this festival and surrounding myself in the genre has really made me fall in love with it. There is an earnest quality about the music and undoubtedly an insane amount of talent.


The prep begins!

To me, Oyster Ridge is a one man band videographer’s dream. There is so much happening that without a game plan, it is bound to overwhelm. Lucky for me, I was able to pick up a few tricks from my first trip that now I can simply enjoy the process, the friendly atmosphere, as well as the incredible talent onstage.

When in doubt, I always refer to two of my great inspirations for concert films: The Santana performance in the Woodstock documentary, and Queen’s 1985 performance in Live Aid. I liken that electricity they captured to something perennial and ritualistic and ultimately so gratifying. I’m fortunate this was my introduction to their music and my cassette tape sensibility, which still guides me when it comes to video work. It’s incredibly appealing to hold the camera in my hands as I record the details around me. The imperfections of an un-cinematic zoom, or a panning shot that slightly jitters, are there to remind you there is actually someone behind the camera. I was so hesitant to give up that organic, imperfect feeling that I didn’t feel the need to own a stabilizer until recently. Maybe it’s refusing to adapt, or being honest about what works and doesn’t work for me, but no matter the project, I choose to go handheld most of the time. It’s more immediate to me. More human. That’s what I love about those live broadcasts and now hallowed concert recordings: It really felt like the folks framing the shots really were immersed and invested in what was transpiring right in front of them. I know it’s a tall order to aspire to produce a work like those epic concert films, but it’s fun to revere them and emulate them. In my own way, I want to continue to create videos that highlight the pure joy and freedom of an expertly executed performance. I don’t mean to say great artists who craft technically superb projects using stabilizers can’t connect with their subjects. As artists, we all have an approach that rings uniquely true to each of us. The tools are there for us to create an aesthetic that makes sense to us, and hopefully, will make sense to a viewer. As long as we’re pursuing to deliver something honest.

I’ve been so eager to get back to Kemmerer, I’ve gone back to last year’s footage to remind myself what I’m in for. I like to do a multi-cam setup and work the cuts to amplify the intensity of the performances. I’m moving away from Premiere as well, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to play around with DaVinci Resolve and the other alternatives. The biggest difficulty so far is getting comfortable with the color correction “nodes” in DaVinci, but in due time, I think it will get the job done for me.

Of the many performances we got last year, this closing number from Mike Mangione & the Kin was amazing. Hope you enjoy! More to come,

j

Please check out the Oyster Ridge site for more information! Did I mention it’s free?!

Parade Day

The parade started at 10am and I thought I would get to sleep in. No parent with a young child gets to sleep in. This is my burden to bear and I accepted it as I woke earlier than I wanted to for a day I wasn’t prepared for.

I decided yesterday I would take today off for the local Parade Day. I figured it would be a great opportunity to spend quality time with my son and get to do the things we didn’t get to do last weekend.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I struggle with being present. I have a conceptual, scatterbrained mind that takes me decades into the future, then to the lessons I keep forgetting, then to next weekend, then to what’s in front of me. I need to look into that. But for the time being, I have condensed my goal for self-betterment into a concise, attainable focus:

Be present at least once a day. Don’t wander, get out of your head. Enjoy what’s in front of you.

Be present. My son deserves that from me. Typing this as the day comes to an end, I’m feeling pretty good about our outings. In spite of the parking availability, we made it just as the parade was getting underway. Second Street was lined with families and their eager children with their hands hungry for candy and handouts and they littered the edges of a road suddenly too small for parade floats. Then came the local clubs and real estate teams and other floats by organizations of influence and goodwill in our city, and the joy was palpable and bright on a breezy morning. We got sprayed by the water soakers, we got more tootsie rolls than we could handle, and even a little jump rope for my son to practice his hopping. I hadn’t even considered leaving, but after a solid forty five minutes, my boy was ready to go exploring downtown. Hoping to remain in the moment, I opted to let him lead for a little while. 

He examined the splash pad downtown. He hopped around and asked for a lollipop from his parade loot. He said he wanted to sit down and relax so we went into the coffee shop for some shade and a snack. 

We counted the candy spoils and sat enjoying our drinks and our shared chocolate chip cookie. And I didn’t think about anything else. 

These days are a luxury. This is why I opt to take something from them because I know they are few and far between. In those moments when we rise to the surface, and gasp for air before plunging back into the depths of adulthood, I think there is time to evaluate what is good about our pursuits, and why it’s important to stay the course. We must seize the opportunity to look at what’s in front of us, and grant ourselves the clarity to be moved and to be truthful about how things are actually going for us.

I’m lucky because I get to have moments of reflection more and more. I get to pause when others simply cannot. But it didn’t use to be that way. Just two short years ago, I was gasping for air every single day. My pursuits were not aligning with the person I wanted to be and I was investing my time and energy into something that wasn’t compatible with my life anymore. I remember feeling suffocated and directionless and joyless. With those bitter memories faintly echoing in my heart, I am reminded to take nothing for granted. So go forth, enjoy your families, let your commitment to the now grant you the clarity you’re looking for, and joy will come. 

I hope you get a parade day yourself very soon. You deserve that.

j

To-Do List on a Late Monday Night

  1. Meal prep: Chicken in the slow cooker.
  2. Pack for out of town work trip.
  3. Scoop the catboxes.
  4. Record & upload short Creative Drive episode.
  5. Gratitude Journal/Writing

My son’s about to fall asleep. I’m taking a breather before I get going on the tasks at hand. Not all Mondays are created equal, and this one has been a bear to tackle. So here I am, bruised and slightly mauled by the workday, but I get to come home to a quiet place full of gratitude and comfort. Please make sure you do this: Find your moments of warmth, let go momentarily in the embrace of a loved one, a delicious meal or a dick joke from a dumbass friend. The medicine for the daily bear attack is in the morsels of joy you collect in the forest. So when you nourish yourself and emerge from the wilderness, you’ll find peace in the fact you have survived, and have fought fiercely. You have given it your all, and the wild did not claim you.

In the little moments of clarity before sleep leads me to my pillow, I aim to breathe easy, find gratitude, and complete the items listed above.

Update 1/29: Wasn’t able meal prep, but I’ll do that when I get back.

No matter where you are, no matter what your station is, find the good. Work on your to-dos. Create beautiful art when you can, and go easy on yourself.

Make art, make haste.

j

Hiding from the Bear called Monday.

Revamped Creative Drive kicks off in 2019!

My 2019 days have been filled with upward stumbles in the creative department and good cheer. I hope the rest of the year follows this trend!

We’ll see about getting a new logo, this’ll do for now!

I had the pleasure of revamping my tentative podcast experiment known as Creative Drive into a proper podcast production with the help of my awesome wife, Maddie! It’s so nice to be able to find something that we can do together that’s not only fun to do, but a good opportunity to learn as we go. So far, we have two episodes to our credit and it feels right. Creative Drive started to sate the need to document and produce content on the regular. As we come upon the one year anniversary of this podcast experiment, I wanted to start investing more time and energy into something that I know will yield a positive message for us, and for anyone listening. In a nutshell, this iteration of the show will still cover my trial and error process of maintaining a decent work/life/creativity balance, as well as a brief conversation with Maddie on book and other content recommendations. I’ll still be doing some mini pep talks for working class creatives as well, all packaged in a short pod under thirty minutes. we have a lot to learn, but I couldn’t be more pleased with the first two episodes.

Yep, that’s it: Our living room setup Saturday night when we talked about gratitude journals and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. We had such a blast! It’s not much, but we have to start somewhere!
Now that I’m not forcing my gear to handle 4K video, I can actually work on my laptop and enjoy editing these shows. Just puts a smile on my face.

Coming from the exhausting nature of wedding videography, I am cautiously building new routines and I don’t want to overwork myself. It’s not about that right now. I don’t want to bite more than I can chew, I want this new goal to grow organically. It’s taken us so long to get into a comfortable work/life balance, the last thing I want to do is have the podcast or any new project upset the order of things. Let’s ease the creativity into the mix and we’ll go from there.

There’s never been a better time to do this. So here I am, trying to make this shit work. It’s not much, but the little increments inspire me to do more. I am free but overwhelmed, tired but leaping with joy, longing and aiming. Most of all, I’m desperately trying to be here, in the present, loving every goddamn second. It’s late and I have to get up early.

Don’t forget to get started on your happiness. We got this.

Much love,

j

Listen to Creative Drive on iTunes

Listen to Creative Drive on Google Podcasts

Listen to Creative Drive on Spotify

For all other options, check out our page on Anchor!

March 13th, 1998.

View on Instagram https://ift.tt/2NWqDCU
March 13th, 1998. During the Oscars. That was the first time I heard Elliott Smith. I was twelve years of age in a little Podunk town in Wyoming. He was just a guy with a guitar in his white suit. The music started playing and he proceeded to perform one of the most beautiful and captivating songs I had ever heard. It was honest, and spoke to me in a way very few artists of any medium ever have. Hearing Miss Misery was one of the first times I witnessed a work of art, and my mind exploded. He showed me the way and much later I would find my artistic sensibility, thanks to his guidance. Moments like that change lives. His work still inspires me. He was transcendent, and I think of him dearly, like an old pen pal who took time out of his day to write someone who never would write back. Thank you Elliott, I wish you were still around. You’ve been gone fifteen years too long. #elliottsmith #restinpeaceelliott -Jaime Alejandro

Trying to do better.

82118
I have been working on my photography, lugging my GH4 around, trying to work with the tools I already have. This was from a walk we took on 8/21/18, I’m so grateful for my family as they put up with me and the damn camera. More to come.

Hi all,

I am consolidating the content, so you’ll be seeing more of the stuff from Instagram making its way over here, like the photo featured above. I’m still wrapping up some videography and currently refining the Idlewind gameplan on my breaks at work. This has been a long transition. Most of this summer was a daily battle against routine problems, and because I didn’t want my posts to become redundant, I stopped writing. I focused on the writing prompts and ignored the other impulses to keep the blog and podcast going. I blamed lack of time and blamed my other responsibilities. As the summer winds down, I have come to realize that there is no excuse for lack of discipline. If you want to reach your goals, you must be disciplined. This is my downfall: I am not disciplined. At all.

This has always made my life difficult. I know some of you out there may feel this way and feel like the world doesn’t understand us. Why am I always running out of time? Why am I not learning fast enough? Why does this happen to me? Let’s face it: That problem is an internal one, not external. It’s taken me way too long to come to terms with this. My lack of organization, lack of discipline, lack of commitment has left me in a stagnant state. And I have brought this upon myself. Luckily, I am a human being, and I can choose to learn from my mistakes. Over time, I feel I have matured enough that I’ve cleaned up my act in my adult life. I try my best to maintain a schedule, to be reliable and stay disciplined in my daily life. Now, the only area lacking discipline is of course, the writing. When I was younger I would rely on the jolt of creative energy to strike me and guide me to the end of the writing process. I would ride the lightning bolt. This is all well and good until you run out of lightning bolts. You can’t live on that shit. You have to create lightning storms.

In college, we had a guest artist visit our school and we had the opportunity to work with said professional. This individual brought that east coast attitude, a straightforwardness that I wasn’t used to. I was raised in a small town in Wyoming, I didn’t know how to deal with that level of directness. Don’t get me wrong, his criticisms in acting class were not out of line. This professor was not a villain, but I saw him as one, because when I was a kid, I thought anyone asking me to change was asking me to compromise who I was. So I didn’t listen when I should have been. As you can guess, I didn’t do very well in his class. I went to see him at his office and long-story short, he asked me what I wanted to do with my writing, he wanted to know the end goal. I told him I wanted to write movies. That’s when he said “I don’t think that’s going to work out for you. Movies and TV, with all their deadlines, that’s not what you’re cut out for. You need time, you need to keep writing plays.”

I didn’t know how to deal with that honesty, so I took it as an attack. Clenching my teeth I left his office and bitched for hours in my head. How dare he pigeonhole me? How dare he know what I can and can’t do? Fuck that guy. I got so offended I forgot to listen to what he was telling me: All those hours in class for an entire semester, and I never showed him what I could do. He could see I was a talented guy. In class he would compliment my performances and my directing instincts, but I was always unprepared, half-assing my assignments, jumping from one distraction to the next. In that office, he wasn’t limiting my prospects or pigeonholing me: He was daring me to do better. To take it to the next level. He saw talent without discipline.

Any writer worth a damn knows discipline lies at the core of a solid, fulfilling writing life. I’ve never had that because I relied so heavily on my talent that I didn’t develop the other half of the equation. And now I am playing catch-up. Instead of developing good writing habits and focusing on those I distracted myself for most of the summer. I told myself my video work was getting in the way, or that work was rough or (insert dad responsibility here_____________________). That’s no way to live.

So I say enough with the distractions and excuses: I got so hung up on generating content and how to distribute it that I stopped writing for me. I’m putting the phone down for a minute because I have a problem wasting time online (am I alone on this one?) I’m planning to set a time to write daily, even if it’s just a few minutes. My wife bought me a new notebook and I am grateful for that. I’m all out of excuses, friends. I stopped thinking about the things I care about and want to say. Please don’t make the same mistake. Focus, be an adult about what you have to do. Write for yourself first. Write honestly and from your gut. Share it with those you love and those you don’t know. Let it out. This is what I want to do as well.

As the night came to a close, and I finished the last of this rant, the internet led me to Todd Solondz. I was reminded of an artist whose art consistently divides but reminds us that there should always be a place for the kind of work that man is creating. And there is room in the world for your work too. And mine as well.

I leave you with this brief interview with Todd about his work. Enjoy! 10 questions for Todd Solondz

It’s a little after midnight as I write this. It’s already Monday. But I’m ready to do better.

Make art, make haste.

-Jaime Alejandro

Letter to you, Void. (from Idlewind #1)

I’ve been trying left and right to express myself, but nothing works anymore. Social media is too much for me at times, I can’t rotoscope, sell, or innovate fast enough for youtube, no instagram filter is kind enough to my physique (and they told me that is needed if you want to beat the algorithm). An opinion-less voice makes for ugly hearing on an app made for your ears. Wit evades my tweets, leaving me a twit. Out of insight and personality when the reddit comment is typed: so I delete it. Get rid of it.

This has been me for a long time now. So I am putting those notions in the trash. Nobody asked, I didn’t ask either. But here I am receiving the creative impulse and letting it live. I’m ready to make art for me again. The curious stuff. Random stuff. That which doesn’t fit the narrative. The stuff of beauty. The little stuff you can take with you and breathe it in like dead silence in rush hour. What you and I really need to get by. That’s the honest stuff that really captivates. That’s the stuff I want to share with you.

I used to refine and tweak endlessly. I used to sacrifice for craft. I used to believe in a creative process. Social media and distractions didn’t rob me of it. My own hands yanked that desire out of my insides and removed it. So let’s get back to work. Life is good so long as these hands are building the track. The train will take care of the rest.

It feels good to have Issue #1. I’m very tired. But this is only the beginning.

Make art. Make haste.

-Jaime Alejandro