Posts tagged ‘Non Sequitur’

I Love Tractors

August 28, 2014 3:08 pm


This post is part of our Non Sequitur Fridays series, which will feature a different Wistian’s take on a non-Wistia-related topic each week. It’s like our “employee of the month” but less “of the month”-y. Chris Lavigne makes videos at Wistia. His last Non Sequitur was about a GoPro ski movie.

I love tractors.

It’s all because of my dad, really. His affinity for all things Caterpillar and Deere rubbed off on me at an early age. For as long as I can remember, we’d be driving in a car and from the back seat I’d hear “Wow! Look at the size of that sucker!” Of course, my dad would be referring to a giant piece of heavy equipment. Caterpillar D8 bulldozer, 988 payloader, whathaveyou. I inherited this passion in a big way. Just ask my wife Courtney! I do the same exact thing to this day.

Although a machinist by trade, my dad has run a small snowplowing, construction, and landscaping business on the side. He has owned or rented tractors, backhoes, bulldozers, and dinosaur-esque excavators for as long as I can remember. This afforded me the incredible opportunity to drive all kinds of heavy equipment as I grew up.

Working with my dad as I grew up engrained a certain work ethic in me. Some key memories:

– Riding on my dad’s lap as he cut the grass.
– Feeling like a superhero at age 5 as I dug a series of pointless holes in our backyard.
– Fighting to stay awake in the truck as my dad snowplowed through the night.
– Driving the backhoe on main roads in a snowstorm… before I had my license.
– Tearing down (and eventually rebuilding) my first house in an enormous excavator.

Tractors. So what?

We’ve all seen the truck & tractor onesies for kids. That’s because all kids are viscerally enamored with tractors. They’re big, they’re loud, and they’re painted in bright colors. What’s not to love?! It’s this “little-kid-feeling” that inspires my love of tractors. I believe the same applies for my dad.

It doesn’t matter if he’s driving a small lawnmower or a behemoth excavator. When I see my dad driving a tractor, there’s a grin on his face. It’s as if he’s saying “Yup, this is cool!” over and over again. It’s this feeling that makes a 10-hour day of driving a machine feel more like jumping on a trampoline than a day of work.

If you’ve driven one, you haven’t driven them all. Every machine and even every size machine has its own personality.

– If it’s small, it’s nimble and fast. You play games with how much you can lift or how hard you can push it.
– If it’s big, it feels like you can do anything. With the flick of a finger, you can drop a 20,000 pound rock on the ground or fill up a dumptruck with 1 bucket. That is awesome.

This allure makes me instinctually hit the brake pedal on my car whenever I pass a construction site to check what equipment is being used. I stop, gawk, and ask myself, “I wonder what I could pick up with that thing?”

Here’s my bucket list (pun intended) of machines to drive before I die:

A *big* bulldozer (Caterpillar D8 or bigger)
Road grader
Crane with wrecking ball (preferably while knocking down a building or crushing a car)

I’ll leave you with this.

If I had an “A Superpower”, it’d be to have the ability to fly. Obviously. But if I had a “B Superpower”, it’d be to have the ability to drive any piece of equipment on any construction site and do anything I wanted without anyone questioning why I was there. I’ve said this amongst friends and colleagues, but it feels really great to finally share this nugget about me publicly.

What’s your favorite piece of equipment? Are you as obsessed with tractors as I am? What’s your “B” superpower?

#videowkd: The Weekend Video Project

August 28, 2014 7:01 am


I don’t have a great memory. That’s really where this all started.

It’s not *terrible*, but I have a tendency to blink and realize it’s already the next season, without appreciating distinct moments in those months that have blurred together.

Chris Lavigne’s Non Sequitur blog post on vacation video, particularly his footage of a dreamy Italian adventure, gave me that inspirational itch. I want to be an old lady someday, watching my youthful adventures with a hefty pour of Pinot grigio and a time-worn perspective. Heck, I want to do that *tonight* for good times I had a few weeks ago!

Me, pretending to know what I’m doing with my first DSLR in Newburyport, MA.

As Chris described, I vowed to “supplement my brain’s powers with moving pictures,” and started a casual challenge called #videowkd. Here’s the gist:

### What is #videowkd?

A non sequitur video challenge for all!

### What’s the purpose of #videowkd?

Beyond the memory-capturing inspiration above, #videowkd has a practical purpose: **get better at making videos.** If you’re new to video, it can be pretty intimidating to make an important video for your business. Making a personal video of your weekend is a *super* low-risk way to get comfortable with the process.

On the other hand, if you’re a seasoned videographer, chances are you have loads of clips hanging around that you haven’t had a reason to edit together. This is a great opportunity to stretch your creative muscles, make short stories, or try something wild and new.

A recent example of one of my #videowkd efforts, shot in the Adirondacks.

### How do I jump in?

Make a short video of your weekend and share it on social media with the hashtag #videowkd. Not sure where to start? Just keep your phone or camera handy, shoot a few clips over the weekend, then throw ’em together into a quick story! You’ll get better at finding the story with each weekend you shoot. While we love seeing your business videos, this challenge is for non-work-related adventures. Take a load off!

I love this example from Jeremy Hurlburt in Buffalo, NY.

It has been pretty thrilling to see so many people getting involved with #videowkd, and it has also just made for an amazing opportunity to get to know people better. Folks on the Wistia team as well as members of our community have shared glimpses of their real lives and creative spirit. As someone who loves bringing people together, I can’t think of anything more awesome than that.

So I challenge you (*yes, YOU!*) to make a video of your weekend. And the next. And many more to come! Don’t worry about having a plan. Just do it. Practice editing it together, telling the story of your time off, and sharing it with everyone. Learn by doing, and collect a library of memories to share with friends and family while you’re at it. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

### Resources I’ve found useful along the way:

Meryl’s favorite shot sequences
Danielle’s iMovie tips
Free licensed music for video (not the best tunes, but free and legal)

My First “Real” Video

August 22, 2014 8:04 am


This post is part of our Non Sequitur Fridays series, which will feature a different Wistia team member’s take on a non-Wistia-related topic each week. It’s like our “employee of the month” but less “of the month”-y. Jordan Munson is a customer champion at Wistia. His last Non Sequitur was about A Link to the Past.

In my fourth Non Sequitur post since joining the Wistia ranks, I feel as though I’m due for a change. In my 20 or so months as a Wistia employee, I’ve only made two videos (both of which were for the #videowkd initiative). I decided that for this particular Non Sequitur, I’d change that. It was time to make a *real* video.

### But about what?

That’s a good question, and one I didn’t really know the answer to for a long while. I had been mulling ideas about in my brain for a few weeks, but nothing really stuck. Would I make a skateboarding video? Probably not, even though I’d always wanted to make one (I don’t think I’m a good enough skateboarder to really pull that off these days). Perhaps a documentary about something? No, not that either, as it felt like too big a project for a Non Sequitur post.

Then it dawned on me; I should pay homage to one of my favorite videos of all time: Monty Python’s “Ministry of Silly Walks” skit. From the very first moment I saw John Cleese take his first fantastically silly step when I was a kid, it’s been one of my favorite things to enjoy.

After that came the arduous task of coming up with an idea for my own video. The concept took some thinking, and the scripting took even longer—a script I ended up throwing out anyway, since it ended up being pretty bad when it was on film (note to self: table reads are definitely still important).

### Unexpected Snags

Eventually, I had all the details nailed down, and it was time to shoot. Not long after I realized there was no way I was going to successfully do this on my own (our cardboard cutout of C3PO makes a pretty mediocre stand-in for shots).

Thus, I enlisted the help of my lovely girlfriend to be a stand-in and help with the things I needed extra hands for. In this particular situation, I took a lot of things for granted, including (but not limited to):

– Providing direction to the person shooting while also trying to deliver lines is very difficult.
– Being able to communicate when to start and stop rolling is not a given.
– Knowing whether a take is good is hard when you fail to instruct the person behind the camera what a good take is.
– Being unable to gauge whether the camera placement has changed since you can’t see the framing from in front of the camera.
– Not thinking ahead about how you’ll sync up your audio and video during editing.
– Remembering lots of lines (even when you wrote them all).

### My “Ministry of Silly Walks” Video

At the end of the day, I think I might be able to be pretty happy with the result of my first (mostly solo) video-making experience once I get over the anxiousness of releasing it to the world. I know I can do better, but as my first scripted and planned video, as well as my first video featuring voice parts, it came out pretty okay. If nothing else, it was a fantastic learning experience that I can’t wait to build upon even more!

Without further ado, my first “real” video (and the very Non Sequitur of this post):

I’d love to hear about how your first “real” video experiences went, and what stuff you learned the hard way! More importantly, though, how silly are your walks? You can consider this an official challenge to film your own Ministry of Silly Walks submission. Bring ’em on!

This Much I Know Is True

August 15, 2014 2:18 pm


This post is part of our Non Sequitur Fridays series, which will feature a different Wistian’s take on a non-Wistia-related topic each week. It’s like our “employee of the month” but less “of the month”-y. Laura Powell does operations at Wistia. Her last Non Sequitur was about sweet potatoes.

I’m twenty six. Well, almost twenty-six *and a half*. Twenty six isn’t that novel, besides being the age where you are smack dab between your college years (which you can now recount with appropriate nostalgia) and **REAL LIVE ADULTHOOD** – also known as the moment you decide to buy your own Netflix subscription and stop eating peanut butter as a meal.

Twenty-six is like the half-baked version of the grand “*who you are going to be*”. It’s amorphous and raw – and not the good kind of raw that’s edgy and attractive and wants to try new things. It’s more like salmonella, in that it invokes a lot of nausea, exhaustion, and self-doubt that only abates with time.

My current version of adulthood isn’t guided by any specific dogma (or Buzzfeed list, for that matter). It’s mostly guided by tenets that I’ve stumbled upon or borrowed or ripped from larger philosophies that I have to adapt to fit into my life and my relationships, square pegs that I’ve whittled to fit into round holes. They are the truths that work for right now, for my twenty-six-and-almost-one-half self.

I spanked my iPad until it worked again. #adult

— Laura Powell (@lau_and_order) June 9, 2014

Thank baby Jesus there is a new Denzel movie. My day is saved.

— Laura Powell (@lau_and_order) July 2, 2014

I still want a Zune. #sorryimnotsorry

— Laura Powell (@lau_and_order) April 6, 2014

*Adulthood still pending.*

### Wear shoes you can run in.

I haven’t always been as smart as I am now. When I was younger, along with being naive and completely negligent in my financial obligations (read: rent money to *Vogue* subscriptions), I was also incredibly impractical. So, it would not surprise anyone to learn that in my past life, I constantly wore beautiful shoes, beautiful but painfully high shoes that made me walk either like a duck or a constipated toddler, depending on the heel height.

I wore these heels through the metal detectors and pat-downs to work, at a job that required me to visit clients in correctional facilities. I did this until one of my clients commented to me, upon seeing said beautiful shoes, “I would never wear shoes here that I couldn’t run in.” And that was the end of that.

### You don’t need that.

I’m a minimalist. An obsessive minimalist to some. This is mostly borne from a childhood of frequent relocation (as a leisure sport) and a very impatient mother. When you are forced to pack, unpack and account for all of your belongings every year, it makes you second-guess all of those Beanie Babies and pairs of Old Navy corduroys (don’t judge me, I know you had them, too.)

This mentality was further reinforced when I studied abroad in Denmark – where I lived with a large family in a small house that could have been featured in an Ikea catalogue. Every piece of furniture, every bowl and clock and pair of shoes was nested perfectly inside – the direct result of a conversation: *Is this necessary? What purpose will it serve in our home?*

Thinking about affordability in terms of space (instead of financial cost) forces a regular purge of objects that clutter your home and workspace – old books, ill-fitting clothes, appliances and gadgets that sit in disrepair. A good rule that I try to (force everyone to) live by: if you haven’t used it in six months, you don’t need it.

### Take deep breaths.

My grandmother taught fifteen of her grandchildren how to swim. She patiently walked each of us around the shallow end of the pool, our arms around her shoulders, telling us to kick, kick, kick, while she blew bubbles into the water – our own human kickboard. She also taught us how to breathe deep when we graduated to swimming solo, so that we could do our strokes underwater or float on the surface.

We sat in a row on the edge of the pool, slathered in SPF 50 and reluctant to give up our flotation devices as she made each of us place a hand over our bellies and name the Seven Seas as we inhaled and exhaled. “In for seven, out for seven,” we repeated, until our bodies relaxed and we could all forward crawl down the pool lanes.

And now, when I’m caught in emotionally overwhelming situations or am trying to comfort a friend, I mimic the deep breaths we learned at pool. Which is also why, on any stressful occasion, you might overhear me murmuring “Adriatic” or “Caspian” to myself. Super normal, right?

### Curiosity killed the cat, but I do just fine.

I don’t believe there is such a thing as asking too many questions. *Why is the Golden Gate bridge painted that color? How do rainbows work? Why is beef jerky so damn expensive?*

It would serve anyone well to be able to answer these questions, especially if you find yourself on Jeopardy or have to generate interesting conversation topics organically (read: first dates).

Understanding the motivations behind actions is ideas is generally more helpful in relating to other humans. It can also provoke a level of empathy that you might have been unwilling to give someone before you understood how they acted at an elementary level. Most times it’s not feasible to ask someone point blank: “Why are you such an egomaniac?” “Why did you leave your last relationship?” “Why do you struggle with authority?” but you can tease out explanations behind those behaviors that will inform your future interactions. And worst case, if you ask too many of the wrong questions, you can make a quick getaway in those shoes, yeah?

What truths do you live by? How did you discover these tenets?