Category Archives: Uncategorized

Movement


So you know, this blog location is currently on Hold

If you would like to keep up with what I write, they are divided into two main locations:

Things of Faith+Art, theology, philosophy etc. will now be located at: http://www.logos-think.com/ where I have been asked to blog with some others. Come check it out, join the forum discussions, comment on my latest blog regarding Disneyland, Art and Transcendence

Things about, social media, the music industry, video production etc. will be at www.checkeredowl.com I’d love for you to come check it out, there is lots there already!

Thanks for all the support and love,

Andrew


The Rebellion of Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a time of celebration, a time of counting blessings, a time of family, a time of REBELLION!

Rebellion – resistance to or defiance of any authority, control or tradition.

Sure, we have the tradition of thanksgiving, but we have a much stronger tradition and culture of defending our rights. We have a culture of entitlement. We have a very strong sense of what we “deserve”. Employees deserve certain things from their employer, employers deserve certain things from their employees. We deserve respect. We deserve to have a job. We deserve the products we want. We deserve free shipping. We deserve internet access. WE DESERVE TO BE HAPPY. We “deserve” a lot of things.

I saw an incredible/absurd/comical example of this the other day. I was researching whether or not you can run two YouTube channels from one Google profile. You can’t. In order to have FREE distribution of your videos to the WORLD (on two separate channels), you have to set up two FREE Google profiles. Well, obviously this is an OUTRAGE! As one commenter said (and I quote, emphasis mine) “We DESERVE to have multiple YouTube channels on one account”

You deserve that? Did you invent YouTube? On what possible grounds do you DESERVE that right?

Thanksgiving is the anti-thesis to claiming our rights. Thanksgiving is a recognition and appreciation that this life is a gift.

I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for clean air. I am thankful I get turkey dinner. I am thankful there is a God that loves me. Heck, I’m thankful for YouTube; I deserve none of it.

 

Vive La Revolution


Captain America & The Berenstain Bears


My kids love the Berenstain Bears. Especially my oldest, it is currently her favourite show; as such my wife and I get to hear/see it sometimes as they watch on Netflix.

Sarah (my wife) pointed something out the other day which gave me pause. She pointed out that  the Berenstain Bears remind her of who we want to be, they challenge her to remember things like family time, or the importance of Dad teaching the kids to build their own kite instead of picking one up at the store. This observation led to a conversation that I would like to invite you all into.
Now I’m not saying The Berenstain’s are without fault (I agree that it’s unfortunate that Papa is generally portrayed as an idiot etc…), however there is a certain goodness there. They live in a family who loves each other, they value their community, they are encouraged to help out the left out kids at school, and I could go on

However these aren’t the kinds of families the media usually puts in front of us, when we think of families from TV we are drawn to The Simpsons, Modern Family, The Family Guy (All of which also feature dolt dad syndrome). Sometimes we get to Everybody loves Raymond etc. which is okay but thrives on dysfunction.

Not often do these examples call us upward.

Now I remember making countless arguments to my parents as a teen that the media I was consuming wouldn’t drag me down, and in large portion I wasn’t totally wrong. What I was saying is that watching “Half Baked” wouldn’t make me start smoking pot, listening to Limp Bizket wouldn’t make me want to “Break Stuff”.  They didn’t, but what about heroes and culture that challenges me to move upward? Not just that I can avoid being pulled down by, but that pulls me up? It’s rare.

It seems that now the majority of our heroes have become so “relatable” that we are pleased just not to stoop to their level. Anyone really look up to Dr. House? How about Jack Bauer, he’s cool but does he challenge you to be a better person? Iron Man?

Captain America has come back into the public consciousness lately thanks to Marvel and DC exploding the comic move market. The Captain is many people’s favourite Avenger. He has the worst powers. Why do people love him? Almost always, because he’s good. He’s a good guy who challenges us to be better, this was the function of heroes; they called us to something higher. If you are unfamiliar with the Captain America storyline the basic story (apologies to comic fans if I screw this up) is that Steve Rodgers was a small weak man, however he always was drawn to fight for the little guy and to stand up to Evil (specifically to join the war effort).  Eventually he is injected with a serum and achieves the peak of human fitness, strength etc. give the guy an indestructible shield and we are off to the races! But at his core he remains a fighter for those weaker than himself, he can make mistakes, but he always tries to do things the right thing. This is who our heroes were.
Berenstain Bears & Captain America
And then came Spider-Man (again apologies to my comic fan friends who know FAR more about the genre than I). In my understanding Spider-Man was created by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko, to reflect a more human super hero. Specifically a more teen relatable super hero. When you read the Spider-Man comics (or watch the movies) you see quickly that Peter Parker is a conflicted guy.  He is still good and makes the unselfish choice more often than not, but there is always a conflict there. If he wasn’t Spider-Man he would be able to get the girl, get better grades, he wrestles with the selfish choice.

This in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. Art is at it’s best when we can identify with it, we all face these conflicts, we connect with characters who are conflicted too.  We want to see how they wrestle through and many (like Spider-Man) come to admirable conclusions. however the trend continues, we keep moving along these lines, making our heroes more and more relatable, more and more conflicted. Pretty soon we are left with the anti-hero, the “hero” driven by revenge, the “hero” who can justify any means, the hero whose brilliance is seemingly fuelled by depression and contempt, the hero whose motivation is rebellion, the hero who we don’t want to be like.

Art should be relatable, we should connect with it, we should connect with the characters especially the protagonist.

But what does it mean when our societies heroes are more tragically flawed than inspiring? What happens when they don’t pull us upward?


3 Reasons to Relieve Your Creative Constipation


I had trouble deciding what to write about this morning…We all have those moments, call it writer’s block, call it “not feeling it”, I call it creative constipation.

However, here I am sitting down on the pot to work it out (nice visual hey?). Here are three reasons you should do the same.

#1. Creativity Breeds Creativity. It’s just the way this world works, the more you discipline yourself to do something the easier it comes. If I sit around all winter and then get up in June and play a big game of soccer, it’s brutal. If I am playing every week, playing one more game hardly takes a toll. If I get in the habit of eating healthy food, eating greasy fast food is an unpleasant prospect; the converse is also true, If I eat McDonald’s everyday, soon my body craves it.

Creativity is no different, the more you exercise your creativity the more creative idea you will have, the more you will want to create.

#2. You Never Know What Will Have Impact. I use social media intentionally. I use it to connect with people I know and that I don’t yet know. I think about things to post and blogs to write. I also sometimes just throw things up for fun. Do you know what got the most engagement and interaction of all the things I posted or blogged about in the last couple months?

Two things:The Grad Hair

  1. A picture of me from highschool, goofy hair and all
  2. “Tonight a drunk guy threw his hot dog at me.”

You never know what people will connect with. Throw it out there, risk yourself, there will be people who connect with some of what you share!

# 3. Creativity Breeds Creativity. Wait…wasn’t that point #1? Kind of. Creativity also breeds creativity in others. When people see you take a risk, create, share, be open; it encourages them to do likewise. It’s never easy to go first but, wouldn’t you love to see your friends come alive, be honest, be open and share with you?

Someone has to go first.


There is This Moment…


Have you ever done theatre? If you have, you know the moment I’m talking about, the moment when the stage is set, the audience has been seated, the cast is backstage, the lights are down, and the show is about to begin…

It’s beautiful, it’s terrifying, it’s exciting, it’s what you (as an artist) live for.

Performing is great. Applause are rewarding. All the multitude of hours of prep are an amazing challenge. But that moment backstage, that’s the one I love.

All your work is ready, it’s as good as it’s going to be; all that’s left is the delivery, and the chest-tightening nervousness to see a response.

I feel that today. Luke Dowler’s new album drops in 9 hours. It’s crazy good. I really hope you dig it.

Blank Stage



Never tried re-blogging before, but I think this is a brilliantly written review.

Turn the Dial Flick the Switch

I love hearing new music so when I was given the opportunity to hear the latest offering from Montana born Luke Dowler, I jumped at the chance. In a world where music is more about the strength of your computer programs than true talent it’s refreshing to hear music again that’s  raw and passionate…

“Polarized” starts off with the grunt and drive of a stadium rock anthem with the track ‘Coming Alive’ with a stadium style chant, a great way to start of an album and it’s the perfect entree to what Luke’s about to serve up… melodic, honest music that’s not leaving anything behind… there is blood on this record.

One thing I love about this record the more I listen to it… is the fact that it’s polished to the point of quality but still raw to the point of emotional integrity… and like a chameleon Luke molds and sculpts his favourite artist and influences…

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Change The World


Last night before bed I read two great blog posts, the first was by Steve Jones who is the author of a business book called “Rock Star Branding” it was about how, “When you do your job with passion and purpose, you change the world” you can read it here. Shortly after I read a post by my friend/family member/fellow blog writer with his name cleverly disguised as “Christhompso”, in it he challenged himself, and by extension me, to really take life and run with it. To fight the power of apathy and so called “realism” that tries to inject its self into our lives. You can read it here.

While I don’t want to blatantly copy either of these writers this morning, their thoughts are strong in my mind. As some of you may know, few things ring in my mind stronger than the ability/responsibility to change the world. Anything less, is well…less.

It takes a certain brashness, a certain incautious spirit, a lack of realism. But it’s what makes life worth living.

I spend a lot of time booking concerts for Mr. Luke Dowler in the long grind of leaving 100 voicemails it can be easy to lose track of why. It can be easy to forget that we are there to change the world.

I also edit a lot of wedding videos, it’s enjoyable work but sometimes, after watching the same 2 minutes of someone’s wedding for the 48th time, it can feel a little tedious. Unless you remember you are there to change the world.

I have 3 kids and they are an unending joy to my wife and I, but when I’m changing the ______th diaper of my life…Unless I remember.

Luke Dowler has an incredible ministry. I have seen his music and his conversations with fans after the shows change lives. He changes the world. That comes after hundreds of phone calls.

I hope and pray that when I edit someone’s wedding video I give them a chance to remember that they promised “forever”. I hope that plays a small part in changing their lives and marriage. That comes by nailing a transition.

When I see my kids, I see promise, I see hope, I see little world changers! But they have the best shot at it if someone, loves them, cares for them, and gives them clean bums.

What are you going to do today? How is it going to change the world? Comment below and let’s get changing the world!

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Noise


Noise. We are surrounded by it. We are inundated by it. We get used to it.

Every day we are surrounded by more noise, more messages, more advertising than at any other point in history. I read a stat recently that more content is uploaded onto YouTube in 60 days than the major TV networks created on their first 60 years. That’s a lot of video! Stats vary but it would seem that most of us see/hear approx. 5000 ads per day. Eric Schmidt recently said that “Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003”

It’s a noisy world.

So we adapt. We filter. We become incredibly proficient at filtration, we have to. I scroll down my twitter feed and only click on the links that interest me or seem important. Same with the news site. Same with TV. We don’t even notice the plethora of ads on the side of Facebook unless one “jumps out” that is our brain, trained to filter without us even having to “see” the content. Every time an advertising executive spends a million dollars to cut through the clutter, we adapt, our filters get stronger. It’s how you survive a noisy environment.

Here’s the problem.

What if what is good for us, isn’t what catches our eye? What if we don’t like the truth, we need to hear? What if the words that nourish, aren’t what interest us. If our brains are instantly filtering the world through what we want to see, what happens to the other “content” that we need to see?

How do we listen to “still small voice”s in a world of noise?

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Likes, Comments and Shares (and what they mean)


So you know, this week’s post is going to be a little different than most…

As a fairly avid social media user I tend to get a few questions about Facebook.  Everything from how to edit your profile, to what strategies companies should employ to engage their customers.  Lately I have been asked the same question by a few people though so I thought I would give a quick rundown on here.  Hope it’s helpful!

The question is: What exactly do likes, comments and shares on Facebook do and why do people ask me to do them?
There are a few layers we can answer this on, so let’s start at the most simple and work our way down the rabbit hole.

Level 1 – Basic function: You probably already know this.
Facebook Social Options
Like: If I click “like” on this status.  Both the artist and the world can see that I appreciate this content.  It helps people know what they should be posting; it’s just a little show of support.

Comment: If I choose comment, I can drop a quick note or question.  This allows for the “social” in social media; this allows for interaction.  As much as someone may appreciate your “like” they can’t tell you they appreciate it & even if they try you won’t receive a notification to let you know.

Example of shareable contentShare: Sharing is caring.  If I clicked “Share” on Shane’s status I would be sending out his content to all my friends.  Might make some sense in this situation, but even more if his status said: New album coming out on Oct. 23!.  Clicking share allows me to actively spread the word.  Share is also useful when you see content you just really love:

When you see a great article or link, “share” allows you to spread it to more of your friends, give them a chance to read/watch/listen/interact with the content you found helpful.  As you can see on this post.  65 liked 18 shared.

Liking a pageNote: Liking a page is different than liking a status/link/photo when you like a page you are essentially subscribing to their updates or asking facebook to show you what they post.

Level 2 – Hidden Personal Function: Where things get interesting…

Facebook has an algorithm hidden inside your account.  It’s called Edgerank. Edgerank’s job is to sort out what content you ACTUALLY want to see.  Sometimes it’s nice often I hate it…but it’s there.  What edgerank does is look at what content you find interesting and fill your newsfeed with that, how does it know what you find interesting?  By tracking your interactions!

So… If you “like” Rubbermaid and always click “like” or often comment on Rubbermaid’s statuses, facebook is going to assume you REALLY like rubbermaid and update you on everything they do.  But if you “like” Mc Donalds  and never ever like/comment/share then after a while facebook will assume you don’t actually care about McDonalds that much and remove them more and more from your newsfeed.    This happen both with pages you like as well as your friends.

Level 3 – Why people/companies/artists/bloggers/”inspirational” posts ask you to like/comment/share

There are a number of possibilities.

  1. They need exposure.  When you “like” or comment on something, it CAN appear in your friends news feeds.  Commented on a postThis especially happens when multiple of your friends like or comment on something.  Remember Kony 2012?  After 34 of your friends liked it…you checked it out.  Even if you don’t see it in the newsfeed it definitely pops up briefly on the little micro reader in the top right.Little like
    The same is true of shares but even better.  People who share are your best friends when you are trying to get the word out about something.  Sharing essentially posts that content right into all your friends newsfeeds, exactly the same as if you posted a status.  Shares, do exactly that, they say to your friends…I think this is cool and want to pass it along to you.
  2. They want to stay in your edgerank.  The few pages that know about/understand edgerank…want you to see their future posts
  3. They genuinely want to interact with you. Hopefully this is the reason.  This is the function of comments.  This is essentially the function of social media.  interaction.  People who genuinely want to interact with you are the best pages to be on.
  4. They want to be cool.  Hopefully this is not the reason of any page you are following but you know those “Click ‘Like’ if you think ducks are cute” photos…they just want likes to be cool…they are lame.

So hopefully I helped make things a little more clear for those who are interested.  For the rest of you…it’ll be back to normal next week

So go ahead, like, comment and share away!  Help expose great content you like to your friends and avoid people who just want to feel cool.

P.s. If you like what I do on this blog, feel free to like, comment and share it around!  Reasons 1-3 apply.  If you are in the article there are little share buttons below to make it easy.  Thanks!


Nothing Looks Easy Without a Lot of Hard Work


It has been a long time since my last blog.  A combination of insane busyness, both work-wise and personally.  Back at it now!

Yesterday, my wife and I took our kids to the park, my oldest daughter rode her bike.  She’s still working on mastering the bike and often (once she gets tired) there is some whining that accompanies the second half of the trip.  For her biking is hard work.

At one point in our journey her bike fell over while trying to navigate a curb.  After we got her up and dusted her off, she said she was done.  She wanted to walk home.  But I reminded her of what we were up to last weekend.  Last weekend I had the opportunity to do the video work for Shake The Lake.  Shake the Lake is a great music/action sports festival in Alberta, one component being BMX.

My kids were amazed at the things these guys could on on their bikes. Huge flips and tail whips that looked almost effortless.  The kids also took note of how often they fell.  But they got back up.  That was the lesson I reminded Lilah of yesterday.

I was having breakfast with a good friend a couple days ago.  We haven’t seen each other for a few years and were catching up.  As time went on we came to the subject of marriage and relationships.  Some marriages of our mutual friends are strong and others that have dissolved and many are in between.  But all of them, maybe even especially the strong ones, require hard work.  I believe my wife and I have a very strong marriage.  It may even look pretty easy to most people.  My wife is a wonderful woman, a great mother, makes me laugh a lot and is the kind of person everyone loves to be around.  In some ways it is easy, it’s certainly easy for me to keep falling in love with her.

But it still takes hard work.  I can be a selfish guy.  It takes me reminding myself on a regular basis that I promised to always put myself second, even more than that, that God calls me to give up my life for her.  It takes effort, to observe how she is doing and remember to take appropriate time away from work when it’s too much for her.  It takes work to have difficult conversations when I don’t want to.  I love my wife and I love my marriage but as easy as it is to love her, it takes hard work to be a good husband.

I was catching up on podcasts yesterday, listening to “The Rockstar Branding Podcast”  which is a regular for me.  They were talking about Carly Rae Jepsen and her “instant” rise to fame; they pointed out that it has been far less than instant.  I pay quite a bit of attention to the music industry and that was my impression.  However, it’s not true. She’s been working it for years.  She placed 3rd on Canadian Idol five years ago, released a full album 4 years ago and has been working hard and hustling ever since.  I know what that is like.

As you many of you know I have the privilege of working with an incredible artist by the name of Luke Dowler.  I have been working with Luke for about 4 years and he was pushing hard for another 5 years before that.  I cannot tell you how many hours Luke has put into performing, rehearsing, mastering the guitar, writing songs, creating videos, interacting online, etc.  I have also put in countless hours making phone calls, landing interviews, blasting links, talking to promoters, working the label, sending e-mails, etc.  I have spent many nights without going to bed at all so we can make deadlines.  Luke has spent many days driving half dead vans across the continent.  It is a crazy amount of work.

Luke Dowler has a new Album coming out on Sept. 18th.  It is crazy good, and we are very hopeful that it will do really well.  When that happens, I’m sure, Luke Dowler will be called a newcomer, an instant success.

Nothing looks easy without a lot of hard work.

p.s. if you are willing to help Luke and I, we would really appreciate it.  Below is his latest video.  They did a great job on it.  If you would be willing to share it/pass it along to some friends, in honestly makes a MASSIVE difference.


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