During times where I could be sitting on my couch playing Xbox or digging myself into a YouTube wormhole, I find it easy and better yet, FAR more rewarding to replace that down time with lighthearted, video projects that although may not generate instant revenue for me or Fidelis, nor do they directly benefit any of our clients, help me improve myself and allow me to make the best use of my time.
A wise man named Tim Douglass – also conveniently the founder of Fidelis (What are the odds!) – once described to me the concept of Mangoes and Broccoli. Yes, like the fruit and vegetable. Often times in the workplace, there’ll be projects that just need to get done, these are the Broccoli projects. They’re not necessarily the most enjoyable projects in the world. They’re just there. But in the midst of the Broccoli, its important to enjoy some Mangoes – work that is enjoyable and inspires you creatively.
More recently, I’ve come to more fully appreciate the value of Mangoes in my work and creative life. These projects give me a space to try new things and fearlessly pour my random, and untested ideas into a video without worrying about what people, or a client, thinks.
An example of my most recent Mango project is my trip to Los Angeles for Spring Break last week. As a matter of fact, I honestly would consider this trip the most eventful, feel-good, yet highly productive vacation I’ve had to date. Especially because going to a place like California 100% called for a video.
I think part of the reason for the successful trip, was that I was visiting and staying with my high school best friend named Sam, who like me, has a passion for film and video. He’s actually a film school student in Los Angeles and has been my biggest role model in terms of video skill and creativity. Seriously… If you liked my most recent video, or really any of my work at Fidelis, watch his stuff and your jaw will drop. He’s that awesome.
He and I also just think alike in so many ways. It was super cool to see the instant connect in terms of our outlook on the trip. We wanted to make the most out of every minute together. We’d have time to relax later. And we also knew we didn’t want to spend a whole lot of money, so we were going to milk every last dollar.
Throughout the trip we traveled all around California – going as far south as the palm tree farms in Coachella and sand dunes near the border of California and Mexico, but also north up to El Matador and the Santa Monica mountains. Every day was fast paced and we went non-stop. And naturally, I filmed every minute of it, but also not necessarily in a prepared fashion either.
With a regular Fidelis project, you typically sit down for hours planning out scripts and shot lists before even touching a camera. This kind of work is much more free flowing. Although I had some ideas for certain shots and things to film, a lot of it was pure improvisation. I intentionally left a lot of the footage up to what I call “creative chance”. Basically, if I can capture all of the amazing moments in a creative way, when I sit down to edit, I know my brain will come up with new, sporadic ideas I would’ve never thought of on the actual trip.
By the end of the trip, I was completely worn out. I had exhausted all motivation to do anything. Which worked out perfectly, because the last 3 days of my break were spend at home with my family, in which I had a lot of down time to work on the video.
It’s amazing how I somehow never get bored editing projects like these. I get to just re-immerse myself in the footage and the memories and be spontaneous and randomly creative in the editing process. I use this down time to try new things. I might spend an hour trying 20 different transitions, but at the end of that hour, I have a dang good looking transition. I knew that if I let myself practice these things, the final product would show it. It would show spontaneity, passion, creativity, and fun. So by the end of the week, I had my final video.
Work like this is something I’ll treasure forever. In 10 years, I’ll be able to look back at these little projects and see how much I’ve grown, both skillfully and personally. So I guess the moral of the story is… find your creative outlet, and people to share that with. Try to implement it into your daily life! Find times throughout the day where you can take a break from the Broccoli in life and treat yourself to a Mango:)