Viewing posts from the Tips category

The Magic of Natural Light

Any time I am given a job to light something whether it be a commercial, a narrative, or anything in between, I first ask myself what the project/story is asking for (in terms of light). More often than not I will need a variety of lights for a variety of different situations, but that’s not always the case. Recently I worked on a project for a little film festival in the boonies of Wisconsin with a few friends. In an ideal world we would have been given days and days to plan our lighting layouts and shot lists, but we weren’t, we were given two days. In order to keep on schedule while staying true to our story we opted to shoot bare-bones, natural light.

The name of our project was Won’t, a story about Tanner Lofgren the NHL’s best hockey player as he abandons his team during the middle of their playoff push. There were a few things I loved while working on this project. For one, I got to get together with some friends and make a movie, which seems to never happen these days, that was amazing by itself. Another thing that was a real breathe of fresh air was being able to utilize natural light, there is something so beautiful about how it wraps the face, it can be so incredibly gentle and also so aggressive.

I really enjoyed our indoor scenes during this shoot, they were elegant and strong, but with that said; our outdoor scenes did not hold the same emotion as the indoor ones. There are a few reasons for that I feel, one we were stuck shooting in the dead of the afternoon for a few of our scenes. This led to our image turning a bit flat and faces to loose a bit of that “grit”. Ideally we would have shot the sidewalk scene with the sun coming from the side, and a bit later in the day, but the location was a bit to good to pass and we needed to get rolling, the trails and tribulations of 48hr film festivals.

In the end I was very happy with our final edit. I felt we used our resources effectively and told a beautiful story. Sometimes you don’t need all the bells and whistles to get a wonderful image, you simply need a window and some talented friends.

Until Next Time.

Pat Shelton


Who Likes a know it all? No one.

3 Words That Create Instant Credibility

Originally written by Geoffrey James



When it comes to credibility-building, the three most powerful words in the English language are: “I don’t know.”

Many salespeople and most managers think that they’ll lose credibility if they admit ignorance, especially about something about which they “ought” to know. However, the exact opposite is the case.

Admitting ignorance makes everything else you say more credible. Admitting ignorance marks you as a person who’s not afraid to speak the truth, even when that truth might reflect poorly on you.

To read the rest of the article click here

5 Easy Steps to Remember Names

There is nothing worse than spotting someone you met previously (or went to high school with) and completely blanking on that person’s name. Hopefully this article helps you avoid that situation a little more frequently.

Recently we have been taking it upon ourselves to go out and join/attend different networking events around our area. As you may have guessed from looking at the title of this post, it can be a real pain in the ass trying to remember 5-30 names in one night. You may be thinking to yourself, “I can barely remember my own name, let alone 30 other people’s.”, all I have to say to that is you’re hopeless. No but seriously, if you go into the situation with a plan and maybe a few tricks to remembering a person(s)’s name while retaining what the hell you actually talked about during the conversation, you’ll have a much easier and enjoyable time.

By no means am I an expert on name recognition or interpersonal communications, but I do enjoy educating myself on the subjects and learning new ways to get better at them. As of recent I have come up with an acronym that I use in order to remember people’s names, are you ready for your mind to be blow? Listen, Ask, Visualize, Associate, Repeat, or LAVAR, like “lava” but with an “r” at the end. Now at this time you may be insisting I’m a bit crazy and I wouldn’t argue that, but does work.

1. Listen: Truly listen to the person you are speaking with. I wish I could count the times I’ve been talking to someone and before they even say their name my mind has drifted, or I’m thinking to myself what “brilliant” sentence I am going to recite to this person next.

2. Ask: When I say “ask”, I don’t just mean ask their name. If for whatever reason you didn’t hear the person when they said their name, or it is difficult to pronounce, simply ask them to say it again. If you still didn’t get it, ask them to spell it out for you, seriously. This will help your brain remember what letters are in the name, and in turn will help you “connect the dots” when trying to recollect it later.

3. Visualize: Imagine writing the person’s name out on a piece of paper, again this will help your brain track back to that when trying to remember it at a later time. I will also visual their name written on their forehead in big marker, it sounds weird but it works. I learned this technique from a very popular book by Dale Carnegie, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, to this day it is still one of my favorite books.

4. Associate: Rather than just pairing this person to this name, try and associate the name with something or someone. For instance if you meet a person with the same name as your child hood best friend, associate your new contact with your best friend’s name and maybe even a trait or theirs. You can also associate their name with something, say the red tie they’re wearing, “Red tie Jerry”.

5. Repeat: After your conversation with this person, be sure to repeat it in your head and engrave it into your memory. Of course you can also pull out your phone and make a specific notepad for everyone you meet that night (with notes). Although say you aren’t able to pull out your phone for whatever reason, in this case I still repeat the names in my head, it’s just a little more complex seeing that every time I’m done with a conversation I rattle off all of my new connections, plus the one I was just introduced to. This process works much better if you are able to look at all the different people as you check the names off in your head, try not to look to obvious.

This method only works if you keep working at it, don’t worry about not remembering every single person’s name at first. In the beginning you may have to keep reminding yourself what the hell the next step is, but eventually it will be second nature. So there you have it, LAVAR, the ingenious name recognition acronym that will have you hopefully not looking like a crazy person at your next networking event, or party.

Until Next Time.

Pat Shelton