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Say Yes to Creative Opportunities

The start of a new year is always a time of reflection. We look back on the past grateful to have learned from our successes and failures. It seems that life is never short of challenges, but at Rhino, we like to call them opportunities. And before I start sounding cliche, let me explain with a story that starts here.


Last week my good buddy Pete reached out to me. It’s been a minute since we’ve been able to hang out. He’s a big snowboarder and knows I love to ski but don’t get out enough. He’s the kind of person that actively tries to help people do what they love—we all need friends like this. He asked if I wanted to go cat skiing with him and a couple of other friends. 


As fun as this sounded, I immediately thought about all of the reasons why I couldn’t, from family responsibilities and work, to not even having the right skis for this type of trip. It was just going to be too much to line up on too short of notice. Saying no seemed like the only sensible answer. 


This got me thinking about the boxes we often put ourselves in—professionally, creatively, and even emotionally. Was I viewing this whole situation with the wrong lens? What could I gain from saying yes?


Fresh air and a new environment does a lot to spur creativity. It’d be a nostalgic revisit to what got me into film in the first place. Then I thought about a recent call I had with a Rhino user, Richard Watson. He’s an incredible time lapse photographer based in Ireland. We talked about how his business has changed as a result of the pandemic. The lack of corporate work forced him into new creative territories. Now, months later he’s mid way through an insanely ambitious project. 


He said something that really stuck with me—


Richard Watson:


“In order to keep momentum in what I’m doing is I try to come back from every trip with one time lapse I’m happy with—one decent clip. But what I find—and it's the ultimate thing really in doing this—is you just have to enjoy being out, because I’ve had plenty of times where I’ve got nothing and you come back really disheartened and you just have to remind yourself that you're out in the mountain range. 


“You’re normally really busy with commercial work and you're out watching the sun—oh darn!—albeit you might be in that cloud. You have to learn to enjoy the experience. If you get a really nice time lapse clip, then happy days, but if you don’t then it’s just nice to be outdoors.”


That was it. That was the inspiration I needed. Now I just needed to figure out what my “one shot” was? I’ve primarily used my slider to do live video moves. I’ve always been fascinated by time lapse photography but haven’t put as much time into as I’d like. Ever since the crew nailed this shot on our short film, Grounded, I knew this was a skillset I wanted to add to my filmmaking arsenal. 


So I answered “Yes! I’m in.”


Now to figure out the details. My lovely wife was cool taking kid duty. Pulled a few strings, found a deal, and got the skis I needed. Then like the proverb says, find a way to make your play your work. Check! And just like that, my reasons for “no” had become a “yes.”


Now this pretty much goes without saying, but the skiing was awesome. Even when Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate with the best conditions, nothing beats the view from 10,000 feet. 


Normally, my nights are saturated with light pollution, but being camped out on a remote mountain is a great way to escape that. The night sky was crystal clear and the Milky Way did its thing. 


And just like that, I had my shot. Was it perfect? No, and that’s ok. It was a great learning lesson that even the next morning I built upon. Creative growth often happens in stages. There are extreme periods of growth and then plateaus that you just have to keep pushing through. When crawling through those creative ruts, it’s easy to get discouraged making it even easier to say no. 


Perhaps those challenging times are especially the times when you need to say yes. That’s our resolution for the year—find the right hurdles to say “yes” to. Here’s to a new year full of fresh chances to learn and grow. 


What’s your first “yes” going to be? Let us know in the comments below.