Shredding Rocks

The term “shredding” reminds me of a snowboarder “shredding” down a slope

Going into this week, our theme as a class was to go shred; meaning that we should now be able to freely work and fully immerse ourselves in our projects. With that in mind, I was hoping to ease into the
immersion and begin a spectacular sequence of workflow. At the time it sounded amazing and easy, but a week later I can see that working freely is not as simple as grabbing a board and sliding down a smooth hill. To be quite honest, shredding through this week felt like trying to shred through rocks instead of snow.

I’m not exactly sure why this week was so artistically dry for me, but it forced me to take a different approach to my progress. I was afraid this week because I wasn’t pushing out as much new audio content as I would like. A few of my current tracks are stalling because the ideas just haven’t been coming but, this isn’t anything new to me; I always seem to make it work in the end.

So rather than a production week, this was a week to reflect, refine, and receive feedback. I started off by looking over some of my old work and spicing it up with the techniques I’ve adopted this semester. That went REALLY well, and those re-works have been the highlight of my production this semester. It was amazing to hear the changes I’ve made by comparing my older work to the remastered versions, my progress as a producer was finally quantifiable in a sense; I really enjoyed it.

After all of that, I finally started to openly seek feedback for my work including my website, my remastered work, and the music I am currently working on for my album. Even a few sentences of good feedback from 1 or 2 people can make a massive difference in my confidence pertaining to my project overall. I showed Mr.Hansen my website and he liked it. I messaged another artist on SoundCloud for feedback (on a track inspired by his “4AM Type S***”) and he absolutely dug it. He himself wouldn’t even make any changes he said.

So in the end, the rocks of the week forced me to take a detour in my project but hey; some paths split in order to converge again later on. The difference here is that I feel better about my project, and now I’m ready to hit the snow.

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The River of Propel is Flowing

In career development today, Mr.Magnifico rambled on and on about his stuff as usual. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy the sessions however it can still be said that he generally just steps up to the front and talks for an hour. With that being said, every career development session has about 10 solid minutes of content and ideas that stick with me forever.

This time around he touched on the idea of The Flow, the times when your workflow is flowing so well that your perception of time is completely skewed. It’s an amazing thing and I’m definitely not new to it, but Magnifico’s presentation of The Flow prompted me to reflect on my previous experiences with it.

The Flow has granted me many great memories from my independent projects. My game dev project is almost entirely crafted upon timeless work sessions that feel so short in the end. Most of the music I’ve been making comes from an idea that implements itself during the flow. It’s crazy to think about how great working feels when you’re flowing well, only to be brought back to reality by a growling stomach or a remark from a family member.

Anyway, it’s time for me to start flowing again. Or maybe just keep flowing, because honestly this entire semester has somewhat felt like one giant iteration of the flow. Maybe it is, but I don’t know yet.

Maybe I’ll know when the final presentations are happening and my project is set in stone. Or maybe this flow will carry on past propel and inspire me to go to even greater heights in the field of production. I hope so.

But that hope will only be fulfilled if I keep working, so I guess it’s time for me to get back to work now.

 

Pick a Table, any Table

So this week, our Propel classroom was instructed to attend CAPS. For those of you that don’t know, CAPS is a Career and Post-Secondary Symposium put on by the Louis Riel School Division. Honestly I wasn’t ever sold on going, but everything changed in the final moments of my time at the symposium. Everything changed after I reflected on the conversations I had.

I remember being shocked by the amount of people attending. My mom, brother and I stepped in and the foyer was already so packed that we could barely move. I was a bit anxious at the sight of so many people, but then I opened my eyes and saw that this could be a legitimate opportunity to make some connections. If there were this many people around, it had to be something special.

There were some pretty cool booths, I got free pens and free gum. I even got a free airplane that flies really well. Of course these mementos were kind of cute, the best thing I received that night was the chance to talk to someone who wanted to know more about what I do. This interaction happened in the last room I checked out that night.

I walked through the door and saw nothing but tables and intelligent-looking adults sitting at each. I was scared. I only saw a massive opportunity to embarrass myself. But after a gong-show of conversation, then a decent one, and finally a solid one; I have a potential future connection with one of the developers from bacon bandit games.

 

Bitter Sweets

After a very good football season and months of work, it all came to an end. Of course anything great that begins can’t last forever, but usually they leave you with  little smirk and some positive feelings. If you get lucky, maybe even some life-changing positivity. It can be a good thing but sometimes an easy ending makes moving on too simple, too quick.

On the 30th of October, I knew two things. I knew that I was about to play a football championship against the Greendell Falcons at 1pm; and I knew that I probably was not going to go out on Halloween the next day. With those two things in mind I had hoped that a sweet victory would compensate for the lack of sweets for me on Halloween, but then the event ended in a 39-13 loss. Instead of pride and sweetness I was left with shock, bitterness, and 2 whole nights to chew on it (What a combo).

The coaches were just as dumbfounded as we were. The locker room was completely silent, but the echoes could be heard everywhere.

“We just lost a game by 26 points… the championship game… we lost to Greendell… what the hell just happened?”

What was there left to take away from it? None of us had any idea, I don’t even really know myself. But moving on isn’t easy, the look on the veterans’ faces and the toxic atmosphere after are things I will remember for a long time. The lasting bitterness of these feelings does give me time to learn from them though.

Eating Halloween candy felt weird. I could try to enjoy the chocolate and tootsie rolls but they wouldn’t get rid of the bad taste from the loss to Greendell. They all ended up seeming like some pretty bitter sweets in the end.

The Notebook

While back-to-school shopping in the sumbook.jpgmer, I had made a stop at Old Navy. I picked up a few shirts and some of their famous jeans, however the most interesting acquisition from that day had been a coupon that was handed to me while checking out of the store. “One free customizable notebook from shutterfly.com” it read.

At first, I didn’t think much of it. I didn’t realize that a custom notebook could be such a cool thing. A notebook just seemed like another standard school supply to me.

But then I remembered how much of a thinker I am, and how much thought from my daily life simply gets forgotten and left in the dust. After these reflections came into my view, I customized the notebook and ordered it right away. I wasn’t too happy about still having to pay shipping though (haha).

These days as I write more and more in this book, I can see it turning out to be something great. It should be able to pass as a legitimate representation of my general thought process throughout the semester and school year. Whenever I’m stuck on an idea or temporarily paralyzed by choice, I get the urge to pull out this book. Whenever I’m mentally planning out anything, I take out this book. Something valuable goes into it every day, and honestly I think that my workflow is severely impacted whenever I don’t have this book available.

With that being said, things are going amazingly well. I now know that things wouldn’t be the same if I never took a second look at that coupon.

Every idea relating to my songs and my project will be in there, and maybe even some more from the rest of my daily life.

A fork in the road

“It isn’t enough to just pick a path, you must go down it.”, a memorable line from an excerpt of Creativity, Inc. By Edwin Catmull and Amy Wallace.

Our workflow leashes have been virtually eradicated this week, and thankfully the project ideas came to me right away. However there are so many ideas and so much energy that breaking it all down into decisions feels impossible. Picking a path out of multiple could be easy, but since the split is so early on in the journey; the amount of backtracking needed after a dead end would be immense. It’s a pretty scary idea.forks.png

If right this second I could step into another dimension and map out what the journey could look like; I imagine it resemble a figure of this nature. One initial opportunity becomes a self driven drive with many, many turns and decisions. Some of the potential alleys converge, others split, and some even split in order to inevitably merge once again in the future. Sitting back looking at this is really intimidating, but I know that I could still be wrong.

There could be more splits or more merging. More or less variations. Maybe every path leads to a different outcome, or maybe they all lead to the exact same end result. There isn’t even a way to tell either. This could end up being an easy project, or the hardest of my life; but there’s no way to even know anything without exploring the potentially dangerous neighborhood.

With that being said, I guess it’s time to jump in.

I’m picking a path soon, whether I’m ready to go or not.

Here comes the cold…

The weather has been consistently cold this week and the days are getting shorter and shorter. Waking up in the morning is a completely different experience for me when the sun isn’t all the way up yet. It makes going to school harder, but it could be worse. Most of my day to day life isn’t affected since I don’t go out much, however football practice has been significantly less enjoyable this week. I have a game tonight too and it was snowing a little today, so I’m not feeling too optimistic about the upcoming weather either.

Last year’s winter was a weird one. It started late and ended earlier than usual (by Winnipeg standards) so I almost forget what it’s like to live through a rough winter. Even the winter before last year’s was mild, so we could all be in for a big surprise in the upcoming months. It’s gonna be “fun”. I can only hope that this year we don’t have a winter reminiscent of the one from 2012-2013 because that was one of the worst seasons of my entire memorable life.

But other than changing the way my body feels, the colder days and longer stretches of darkness change the way I think as well. My ideas become somber and blunt, but there isn’t anything wrong with a reality check I guess. This is also the time of the year where I reflect on the decisions I made and the things I did before the winter, and I learn the most about myself during the winter too. I really hope that this winter isn’t any different in that sense.