Year In Review 2016

Dude,  What a year. 

I don't mind being cliché in saying that two thousand sixteen can get the hell out of here. 

That being said, we had as a family had quite a year.  What an amazing journey we are on, and I can't wait for two thousand seventeen and all that it'll bring with it.

After looking through all of our footage from this last year, I have already pinpointed a few resolutions I'd like to make for two thousand seventeen.  Here's to better times, greener pastures, and hopefully a million more adventures to come.

Bring it.

Kilz Visionaries "Chip Gaines"

My family is definitely what one would call "big fans" of the show Fixer Upper. 
It's not that I necessarily seek it out when it is being premiered on teleivision, but if it's on, we will watch it.  Since they've finally put the show on Netflix, it's one of our go-to background shows.  A show to put on and then fold the laundry to.  Something we watch while cooking dinner.  That kind of show. 

A recently client of mine had the opportunity to use them in some of the branded content they were creating, and I couldn't have been more thrilled.  The piece isn't ground breaking, or earth shattering.  It is however beautiful, and even more enthralling is being able to hear the philosophy of both Chip and Joanna straight from their mouths. 

I couldn't be more proud of how these pieces turned out, and I hope they turn you into fans of them, and their show as well.


An Email That Makes Your Day

photo by: Carina Romano (Love Me Do Photography)

photo by: Carina Romano (Love Me Do Photography)

I'm sure you (reading this) are like me in many ways, and in some ways we are completely different.  However, I think we can agree on this.  Sometimes you receive an email that just completely makes your day.  Recently I received one of those emails from a wonderful woman who is an editor at a website called Motherly (  

They were looking for a few quotes or sound bites from fathers to incorporate into a piece they were writing about.  I have quotes, I thought.  I also have a lot of shit to say, I also thought.  I asked if there was an opportunity to write a column of my own as well and be featured on the site.   Lucky enough for me, Colleen and the team at Motherly were very welcome to the idea of allowing me to contribute.  All of that out of the way, I'd like to link you to my first written piece on entitled.  "4 Things I Learned to do for my Marriage after Children Came Along."

I hope you enjoy it.   If you have an suggestions of things, topics, situations or anything else you may want read my thoughts about, leave them here in the comments.  I want to write more, but I need your help.  Are you interested?

Coffee: Brújula Specialty Coffee Roasters

I got this pound of coffee from my in-laws who spend quite a deal of time in Mexico.  They found this tiny Café while on their trips and said that they fell in love with the coffee and brought back as much coffee as they could.

I must say that this bean was quite incredible.  I brewed it first in a French Press an it had a beautiful swirling top layer of coffee oils.  I knew it was going to be pretty tasty. 

I also had this in our coffee maker a few times before using the pound up and it was great!  I wasn't hoping for an online ordering presence like my in-laws, but if they go again, I'll definitely ask them to grab me a bag.  Yum!



Coffee: The Infamous Kopi Luwak Coffee

Oh here it is... a few months back my sister took a trip to Thailand and she asked if there was anything I wanted.  Obviously I mentioned coffee and happened to have mentioned something about this rare/expensive kind of coffee called Kopi Luwak.

If you're interested in learning about what exactly Kopi Luwak is, follow the link above.  Regardless of how you feel about how weird the method of roasting is, or if you think it's gross or not.  I just had to try it.  Because I'm a fan of food.

Let me tell you, it's a very very good bean.  Mild and smooth, the acidity is wicked away and it is very easy to drink.  However, the price/value ratio is way off.  For how much this coffee costs, and the extensive process that this coffee takes to create, it's really not worth it.

Yet, if you're a foodie, you have to try it. 

Coffee: Knight Owl Coffee

I'd seen Knight Owl Coffee at different events around Los Angeles over the past year or two.  I've picked up a bag, or a bottle of coffee concentrate occasionally.  I am super happy that they appear at a Farmers Market not too far from my home.  I really get frustrated with the coffee selection at most farmers markets and having Knight Owl there is a refreshing surprise.  I love that being based in Los Angeles they focus on having an Iced product and over all I feel like their beans are two thumbs up.  Give them a try if you see them at Unique LA or Renegade Crafts Fair or a local farmers market.  You won't be disappointed.


Knight Owl Coffee

Coffee: Steep Organic/Fairtrade Coffee

Over the summer we had the opportunity to spend a little bit of time in the WAY WAY Northern California region.  Of course while up there, I was on the lookout for some local coffee roaster/brewers and I happened to have found one in the tiny town we were staying in.

This is Steep Organic/Fairtrade Coffee out of Hopland, California in Mendocino County a roast that is packaged by Thanks Giving Coffee which I believe is based in Fort Bragg.

This is a delightful roast, bold, but not a completely dark roast with a flavor that goes well both as an iced coffee and as a hot coffee in pour over method.  If you're in the area, go pick yourself up a pound to enjoy.


Steep Organic Coffee & Teas
UNIT 7 / 13275 S Highway 101
Hopland, California 95449

Coffee: Lucky Jack "Sweet Thing"

This is LUCKY JACK coffee...  Here in Los Angeles, we have stints of fall and winter punctuating what commonly is referred to as "perpetual Summer".  Which means that almost year round you can find a few days to enjoy iced coffee and this is one of my favorites.

The last two of my major professional jobs have been fueled by this stuff, and whether or not my clients appreciate my bursts of enthusiasm that come from me consuming this beverage is yet to be determined.  However, this stuff is wonderful.  The top perks include that it is pre-sweetened.  Meaning you can open the bottle and it has the right amount of sweetener to make this the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.  The best part about it, is that the small co-op across from my current work place keeps these things stocked.  I just have to be careful about how many I drink so I don't get that dreaded caffeine migraine.

I prefer this drink poured over ice with a little bit of half and half, but that's my personal preference.  I think you should give it a try and let me know how you like.


Lucky Jack Iced Coffee

Curated: The REVENANT / A World Unseen

I was just thumbing through a few of my favorite filmmakers on Vimeo.  Just seeing what they've been working on and what's been out there.  I came across this awesome piece that Elliot Rausch did on Alejandro G. Inarritu and the film The Revenant.  There's been a lot of rumors, stories, and speculation around the creation of this film.  Both from industry insiders and those on the outside looking in and it was awesome to be able to take a deeper look, however guarded it may be, at Alejandro's process.  

The Revenant was one of my favorite feature films of last year.  I believe in many of the things that Alejandro is doing in the filmmaking world.  I love his aesthetic, and his approach to story telling.  This is a long watch, but maybe you have an hour lunch today and you can sit down with your bowl of whatever, and enjoy a little story behind the story.  


The Tools of My Craft

I've been interested in telling stories all of my life.  I've invested my money, my effort, and most importantly of all, my time, into being relatively knowledgeable about all things story.  Whether it's capturing a look, a feel, an image, or a moment.  All of which are super important to the process of becoming great at the art that you make.  

As I've progressed through life and seen a shift in technology, along with it has come a shift in the way that people view the artist behind the technology.  I believe that the democratization of filmmaking has been extremely valuable.  

You can be a traditional artist by walking into a art store and buying a paintbrush for a few bucks.  Hell, you can become one of the most world renown artists by painting on walls that aren't even your's to paint on.  Yet, becoming a filmmaker always had about a billion barriers in the way.  Money being one of the biggest to overcome.  With the price of cameras dropping drastically, and every computer shipping with editing software, the ability to make video content has become very easy.  Your ten year old son can edit films on his iPad at the dinner table while you listen to NPR on your am/fm radio.  Brilliance can be born at any moment.  Yet as I progress through my career I've started to fully understand my value, and why my clients see value in me.  

The delicate balance of creativity, art, and ability to work well with others.  To stay organized and balanced, and ability to shift gears if needed.  To be able to talk to people as people, and talk work when needed.  All things that I've learned on my path towards what I call my career today.  

Expectations have risen, and payments have fallen, but I've found a way to make all that work despite the odds stacked against me.  Mostly, because I think I'm finally starting to realize that I am really good at what I do.  Me, as a human being, can do something that others most definitely cannot.  When you finally realize what it is that you're good at, and what it is that you like to do.  That's when you realize your worth.  The democratization of filmmaking tools has been one of the most epic shifts in an industry in the last twenty years shouldn't be scary.  It should inspire you to be better at what you do.  Not just with better visuals, but better at actually telling the story.  The quality of the camera shouldn't mean as much as what you can do with those images you captured.  What tone, what mood, what position you take in the story.  

That's what I'm good at.  That's why i've bought camera after camera to help me tell the story.  To help me move the process along.  To help me get right where I need to be, with the right tool, to tell that story.  That's why I keep all my camera's on a shelf.  Ready to go, ready to work for me.  I worship their ability to capture what I see, and at the same time I treat them as just another tool in my shed.  I take care of them, but I also push them to their limits, and they reward me.  The tools of my craft. 

They Ask Me How I'm Doing

Amazon Slideshow Upload-05733.jpg

Over the course of my life I've done my best to keep in contact with a vast variety of people from all the different walks of life I've found myself in.  From sports, to music, to work, to family and everywhere in between.  Whenever I chat with someone I haven't seen in a long time there always seems to be a constant theme coming from my answer.  In fact, I'll just let it out there right now.  I'm tired.  Just very very tired.  Yet, this isn't really, "how I'm doing."  

I'm doing fucking great, I haven't been better in a long long time.  I miss a lot of people, and I miss certain things about my past, but all in all everything is going absolutely wonderfully.  This may all change so I'm knocking on all the wood, but for now, I'm great.  Which I suppose is the reason that I'm constantly expressing my exhaustion.  I feel as if I've been running at a fever pitch at least since Elliot was born, and honestly probably for a a year or two before that even.  I feel like things don't really slow down.  We think that they're going to plateau and they don't.  This is all just fine with me.  So for the moment, I'm doing fucking great, and I'm tired.  At the same time. 

I've been trying to find the time to create, make, build, formulate, and at the same time try my hardest to be a good father and a good husband.  I'm trying to take care of myself, physically and mentally and I'm trying to navigate my way through my relationship with work.  Let's get up and do this.


Letters On Paper

I created this piece called "Letters On Paper" over a year ago when we still lived in a 520 square foot cottage in Santa Monica California.  We were staring down some big changes to our family, the way we were living, and our how we'd relate to our work.  I haven't felt super comfortable sharing this work, but I figure if I'm uncomfortable with it, it's probably worth sharing.  I wrote this piece in a series of segments and split the film up into pieces based on those segments.  I hope you can take the time to watch them all in the order I had intended them to be consumed.  I hope you enjoy it.


Part 1:


Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:


Temporal, Temporary, & Fleeting

There are a million reasons to NOT do something.  The trick is, sitting down, powering through and creating something that was not there before.  This is something that my good friend Annie Saunders does very very well.  This is something that I'd like to get much much better at.  I write this at a desk on which a hard drive sits filled with unfinished thoughts, idea's and projects. 

My wife sent me a saying today, and it felt great.

"Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim."

This year is about swimming, making, creating, building, forming, establishing, centering, filming, making, loving, and continuing on a path towards perfecting my craft.

Starting today, with the posting of the latest installment in the My Friends Are Talented series entitled "Temporal, Temporary and Fleeting."  I hope you enjoy it.


Year In Review: Two Thousand and Fifteen

Wow.  What a crazy year we had.  A new addition to our family, a new home, new perspective.  I always say it, but life changes really fast when you put yourself in a position to let it.  We've come so far in just three hundred and sixty-five days.  I can't believe where and what I was doing just one year ago.  

This Year In Review video is a little longer than those in past years.  I think mostly due to the dramatic changes our family went through in 2015.  I apologize if you're bored by it, but really, in the end, this kind of video is more for us to turn around and look at it 10-20 years, or even in two years and enjoy what we have done.  

Happy 2016, hope you've gotten off to a great start.


- John

Slate Coffee Roasters

I was up in Seattle last year attending a good friend's wedding and I had a day where no one was really available to hang out, so I did some Seattle exploring.  I happened upon the small store front that Slate operates out of.  Had a great cappuccino and picked up a small bag of their beans.  Expensive for the amount offered, but still a good bean if you're in the area.  

Slate Coffee Roasters
5413 6th Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

Handlebar Coffee Roasters

If you're at all like me, and every town you visit you try and find that local roaster or brewer.  Something slightly unique that hasn't completely been wiped out by big chains.  Then you've probably already found and been to Handlebar Coffee Roasters.  Located in downtown Santa Barbara.  It's one of my favorite spots, and a constant for my family and I when we're up that way visiting Grandma.  They have an espresso "Milkshake".  It's 8$ which is a bit steep, but it's pretty much the most amazing thing ever.  Seriously... no joke.

Handlebar Coffee Roasters
128 E Canon Perdido St,
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Kicking Horse Coffee

I happened across Kicking Horse by accident.  We were strolling down the coffee aisle at Target in Culver City and the bag caught my eye. The coffee was a little cheaper than Intelligensia's a shelf below, and I'd never heard of them, but they seemed to pride themselves on a dark roast which is not necessarily all the rage right now.  I picked up a bag and it's been a staple in our house since.  

At this point, I'm buying even larger bags and having them delivered to me via which is pretty much the most amazing thing ever head over to Amazon and try it out.  Or you can be all old fashioned and stop by.  Let me warn you though, even their own website says "Invermere is halfway between heaven and the center of the universe.  Which puts us precisely in the middle of nowhere."  If you go, take pictures, and send them to me.  Seriously.

491 Arrow Road
Ivermere Canada