The first two weeks of January gave us a luxurious amount of time to do a bunch of things—not just reclaim the house from Christmas decor and detox from the overindulgence of 2017 (I mean right? We had so many feelings to eat and drink since last November!) but to look inward, examine our past, pinpoint what got us to the present and sum it all up with new goals and ideas moving forward.
A few things became very clear in our clarity.
1. This is not our job.
Since 2010, Dru and I, with the Shine team (in its many incarnations) have been working on building this ship. Since then we've had a lot of changes, heartbreak and struggle and there were many times when we just wanted to quit and get 'real jobs'. Real Jobs. Working for someone else. Steady paychecks. Regular 401K contributions. Office politics. The idea of working for someone else revolted us so much that we just had to make this work.
And somehow, it did.
With every challenge, we had to push a little harder. There were so many moments when we thought we were done—like throw in the towel done—when we'd get an amazing phone call with another project, then another and another and keep the ball rolling—becoming hyper-aware that we live and die by the principle of momentum. We recognized 'the dip' (more times than once) and shook it loose and pivoted or broke open something to give it air. Rattling our cages has become a familiar pastime and we actually now know firsthand that changing and shifting is a good thing. It keeps us fresh and focused.
What all this has taught us today is 'this'—what we are doing right now—is not our job. This is our life. The work we do now is a product of a lot of research, process, heartache and pain as well as all the things that have informed our creativity since childhood. Which brings me to number two.
Dru made this.
2. We are first Creatives.
In building and growing a business, we often spend hours and hours writing, reading and looking at stuff and sometimes we forget. We are Creatives. We make things. Visuals excite us and inspire us and then we like to make stuff that rolls around our brains until we get it out and done—whether it's a video idea or rearranging a room and restyling it or creating art. We are makers and are challenging ourselves to make more in 2018. We are ready.
3. We are filmmakers and storytellers—but also more.
Some like to refer to us as videographers. I'm not a snob about semantics, it's really more about accuracy. When I think of a videographer I think of someone who shows up and shoots something—like a wedding or an event. There are amazing videographers doing incredible work out there, but that's not us. That's not what we do. What we have become really good at over the past eight years is humanizing brands (because we need to make money) through stories about people who share their values and ideals (because we like telling stories about people). We first look at story structure, plot, arc, characters, locations and set as one would a film. Our next thoughts are execution: tone, lighting, color, look and feel. What camera makes the most sense? How do we tell this story in the most compelling way? We plan in pre-production as one would a short film and we hire crew accordingly.
But there's more.
It's not enough to be just 'filmmakers and storytellers' anymore. We've realized that it's the extra mile that makes our work better, so we will continue developing the Shine 'secret sauce' through more thoughtful essays on video like our Empathic Doorways and the Hero's Journey. We'll do more to experiment with new challenges in storytelling on our time/dime. And we will continue to hone our 'Steps to Story' that helps us engineer the left brained things (like structure, organization and time) that give the right brain the freedom to think, create and get weird (sometimes).
So here we are.
What we are intending and hoping will come out of this clarity is to share more of the details on the blog about making work, being creative and keeping the fire stoked. About what inspires us now and staying inspired. We're not focusing so much on trends but on the journey. What we find and what finds us.
We'd also like to share more about making video (of course) in this new era of 'advertising'—from storytelling to visual inspiration to the tools we use.
That's our commitment to our clients and our followers in 2018. Cheers to a new year and to new ideas!
-Jamie, Dru and the Shine Crew