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  • Writer's pictureCraig Van Horne

Never stop learning

I always find it amazing how many people in this business I run into who say they don’t have time to read industry articles, or who don’t have time for tutorials or simply don’t read any general subject matter that would help them keep up to date and current. Actually in a lot of cases it’s really about staying curious and being reminded of things we often already knew but had forgotten about. Christmas having just rolled through, like many people I was very generously given some gift cards and one of the most popular gift cards here in Canada is the Chapters card. And while Chapters now sells loads of cool trinkets and knick knacks, and I tend to buy all my fiction and most other books now on my Kindle, I still really like books about technical stuff or that contain beautiful glossy images from films and creative works to be proper printed books, and those coincidentally I can buy from Chapters.

So I ordered five books, virtually all of them published by Focal Press… After Effects Expressions, because I want to become a lot more efficient with my motion graphics work and make not only my life easier but also continue to improve the production value we deliver to our clients. The Art and Technique of Digital Color Correction, because well, color correction and grading is really an art form and very subjective. There is no singular way to go about color correction or grading and while I do know a lot about the subject and how to actually do the work with various tools, I can always use a refresher on some of the things I’ve already learned but got dusty in my mental library.

Next up are two books in a series called FilmCraft, one is on Directing and the other on Cinematography. The fifth one is called Shooting Movies without Shooting Yourself in the Foot, I have no idea what to expect from this one but I’m hoping to learn something I didn’t already know. Again, one can never know everything and continued learning and refreshing only serves to improve the creative capabilities any of us can bring to the table. I’ve always been a staunch advocate for learning and one of the most irritating things for me is a closed mind. Continued learning also does something that I cannot over emphasize, and that is to remain curious, and through broad and vast learning we learn not what to think but how to think.

By applying our broader knowledge to the task of, not knowing the answers all of the time, but how to approach formulating the right questions is the most valuable problem solving skill there is. And it is here that I believe is the crux, a truly talented person in the business of creating visual content, whether they be an editor, graphic artist, director, producer or anything else, will be able to ask the right questions and problem solve effectively when they know through experience and broad knowledge how to ask the right questions.

Never stop learning is the most critical piece of advise I think everyone can benefit from in life in general. This not only has personal benefits but it also makes our individual skill sets that much more valuable. If things were as easy as just pushing a button then there would be nothing special about the skills we develop and the knowledge we expand.

So here I go again, spending a fair bit of my time…. learning. But for me learning and continued advancement of my knowledge base is just as important as the work I do for clients and the time I spend with Family, balancing all of that is an entirely different subject. However Philip Bloom recently post an excellent article on the work/life balance, I highly recommend it.

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