In order to be great at snowboarding, you need passion. You need to be madly in love with the whole concept of it before you even try it. Because by the time you’re doing your first run down the bunny slope, it means you’ve already had at least half a day of catching edges, face planting forwards and backwards, 20 slips, 100 falls, bruises everywhere and lastly you just watched a group of 6-year-old experts whizz past you. And you think to yourself, I’m never going get th… but then you interrupt yourself mid thought, get back up and try again.
Becoming a good designer also has the same shift back and forth between inspiration and passion. Maybe you saw a piece of design that really inspired you, like a movie poster for Johnny Mnemonic or a painting by Vermeer. It was just mind blowing how perfect the art was. Then you create your first piece of art. You revise it so many times, and somewhere around the 60th revision, you’re pretty sure you have no future in this at all. Then you get over the hump and taadaa it’s done. There are probably still tweaks that needed to be made, but for the few skills and the limited time that you had, it’s totally perfect. It’s a piece of crapola if you put it next to that movie poster, but something clicked, that eternal flame gets lit for the first time and it pretty much never goes out.
Being fast and tuned in
When you’re shredding down a slope at top speed you pretty much notice everything that you need to know. You are very attuned to the environment around you. The little kid on skis is about to cross in front of you, most of the run is roped off, you’ve been skidding on ice for about 30 feet and you’re scanning the texture of the snow for just a little powder for you to turn on. It continues this way for the rest of 20 minute ride until you see your friend’s fluorescent jacket as he waits near the lift.
Editing video is exactly the same. You’re already made selects of video and you’re trying to create the perfect edit to represent this new brand that you’re working on. Oh yeah and the project manager walks by to remind you that they need it an hour and you’ve been in a meeting this whole time. You pick up your trusty tablet pen and sink in. A few minutes later, your headphones are on and if the world stopped outside, there’s a possibility that you might not even notice. In both cases, it’s like you got hypnotized into a trance. You’re so in tune with the work that you know every bite, every gesture, every frame and that’s when your cuts bring the characters and story to life.
Snowboarding is basically real time problem solving. There are a million things in your way and the trick is to get around ALL of them. If the last run of the day from the main gondola is at 3:30, and it’s 3:00 now and you’re at the summit, which run has the most blacks and blues so you don’t need to slow down for any of beginners going back to the lodge on the greens. Or maybe you’re shredding fast down the mountain and haven’t used an edge in while, there’s a big deep left turn coming up with a little roller that you can totally get some air on. What’s your next move? Oh yeah, the terrain just changed and you’ve transitioned from hard pack into slush. And also it just started snowing, but your goggles are hanging off the back on your helmet. Now what’s your move?
Creative solutions are the same. There are a million creative little decisions that you are making and only 100 undos. You can only go forwards and though you make take a step or two backwards, very rarely do you start from scratch. On set, the hand model was hired to show designer acrylic nails, but her hands are on contract so she can’t wear them. The lights are melting the ice cream. The actor can’t remember his line. The actresses got in a fight the night before so the claw marks on the face need to be covered up. Right before delivery of the campaign, someone just thought up a new line of copy and it’s a really good idea. Now all the artwork for the campaign must be revised, but you know that at this point it’s pretty much perfect. Now onto the après ski!