How to be Amazing

What does it take to be amazing? It takes work. Lots of work. Talent too…of course but, without a willingness to do the work—whatever it takes…you will never be amazing.


But if you are willing to do  the work then you will have a chance to do a lot of good in the world.


To be amazing, however, is less about what you do and more about how you do it.


You must know your chosen craft deeply of course but to be amazing you need more than skills to deliver.


You need to touch people in a way that goes beyond the ordinary. It must touch them in a way that shifts their experience of themselves and the world.


And you really do need to do this. You really do need to be amazing! I want you to do it. I want you to be amazing. Indeed, the world needs you to be amazing.


So what does this kind of amazing look like? Simply put: Help others by inspiring them to become seekers too.


Your chosen field does not matter. Not at all. What matters is that whatever you are doing it effects others in a positive way. This is what will make you amazing.


And to do this you will need to do so with compassion and this is where the work is.


It’s not easy to act with compassion in the face of your own and others struggles but trying is enough at the start.


Compassion is the wish or aspiration that one or more beings be free from suffering and it’s causes.


Compassionate actions are those motivated by the desire to either directly elevate the suffering of others, to inspire others to do it for themselves, and  or simply giving people the tools to do so.


And importantly, no where in that definition does it mention the need to be soft or gentle. This is not an excuse to treat others as you wish but, don’t be a pussy either! Those that have lived with Tibetan monks will know this.


If rough and gruff is required. Use it!


Do whatever it is that you do with compassion, and people will be effected by you. I can guarantee it. Not everyone for sure. But that’s ok. Not everyone has to like what you do.


So, show up with that intention. Pursue your activities with single-mindedness to change the world. Do so with a compassionate heart and you will effect someone out there.


Even if it is only one person. This is a good thing.


But know it won’t be easy. It won’t be easy to be out there, trying to get things done even when motivated by compassion and have people believe in you and help you achieve.


Why? Because people are at their own level. They might not be open to hearing what you have to say. Or they might simply want to do things their own way.


It’s not that they are not good people but, it is that they are not the right people for your journey. No matter. Move on.


In the end the only thing you can control is your mind, your motivation, and your willingness to show up and do the work.


Practice doing whatever you do with this compassionate heart until you embody it. It is just who you are and before you even reach that goal you will already be amazing.


Go. Do. It!





Every Young Person Will Be 40 One Day

The older I’ve become the more aware I’ve become of the degree to which the wisdom of experience is under-valued in our modern culture. Having lived with a traditional culture that values wisdom, I know this is a real shame because wisdom born of experience is hard won and has much to offer.


I believe this devaluing of experience is mainly due to two factors — advertising and ignorance. From the 1950’s onwards we’ve been sold the notion that new is better. This might be true for products but it is not true for people.


To be clear, I’m not saying young people have nothing to offer (I work with a lot of young people and they are mostly awesome people).


No! I am not saying that at all. Rather, what I am saying is the notion sold to us by advertising and media companies that bright and shiny new things are of more value undermines our cultural in such a manner as to undervalue more than the products they are selling.


In short it is bad for all concerned. Bad for young people also. Why?


The video below is with a writer/director named, Zoe Cassavetes who happens to be a 44 year old and prime of her life! Yet she wrote the story presumably because she sees issues around turning forty — or knows people who are having these issues. This is sad.


The movie might be great and it is certainly a good idea to explore these issues regardless of how she deals with them (indeed another example of the power of cinema) but, when did turning forty become like this? Perhaps I’m overstating the issue? Am I?


Watching this interview, I kept asking myself…what is really going on here? The problem is not simply the number of candles on your birthday cake. (A side point you might find interesting. In traditional Tibetan culture many people had no idea when they were born. How old you were carried little importance. What was important were your actions. Period!)




What I find interesting here is how the devaluing of experience, and the effects this has on younger men and women, is directly correlated to how they see the process of maturing. In older cultures, the wise sage was revered. That is no longer the case.


My own mother is in her 70’s and stronger and brighter than she has ever been but instead we have a cult of celebrity as a pseudo-educator of today’s youth.


Indeed, how to act, what is valuable, and what one should aspire to, comes from a very limited and in my view narrow view of the world. A world-view whereby the marks of experience that appear on faces are deemed the signs of uselessness, and people are sold the notion that they must be vanquished with magical creams at any cost! …i enjoyed writing that sentence! But it’s true isn’t it! 🙂


But if our culture valued wisdom and celebrated knowledge then wouldn’t younger people look forward to getting older instead of fearing it? I think they would.


A culture of celebrity is killing our kids!


There are a number of questions remaining unanswered here. Questions crying for discussion. Questions such as: Does experience equal wisdom? Does youth have anything meaningful to offer modernity?


Young or old(er)? How do you feel about aging? Do you feel as if your experience is under valued?



Behind the Scenes of Portraits of Melbourne

Here is a behind the scenes look at the first episode of Portraits of Melbourne.

I interviewed Ella Cannon after we had finished recording her voice-over, and her thoughts on the content are pretty much how I feel about it all.

I am hoping to get around to doing a “commentary” of sorts at some point in time. Perhaps something that deals with the philosophical foundations of the piece?

Until then…I hope you enjoy this behind the scenes look at my process.





What We Seek Is Found Within

Well it’s live! The first episode of my narrative project Portraits Of Melbourne.

Below are a couple of  screengrabs, which I posted to instagram as I was editing –

I have an open plan for this project to grow into something larger than it currently is and if this were to happen each of these episodes will be the backstory for each character. More on that later!

But given the nature of, well, life, and just how difficult it can be to get things happening it remains open as to whether or not this/these short film(s) remain as stand alone works or not. As they say, time will be the judge!

To a large extent the deciding factor will be if I can find the right people—Ella was fantastic but can I find other actors? That is the challenge!

Below are the words from this piece, and links to the video itself, as well as the script I wrote for the piece.

It frightens to be open only to hear silence.
But I will not hide this heart; this love; this pain.
For I need to lose myself in order to find my way.
And it’s in that darkness I see what’s real, reflected back.

There’s knowledge in being so raw and exposed.
It’s a place where truth is revealed.
Truth revealed without the need of words.
Listen. Closely. Do you hear?

But I must not retreat from the world forever.
Be in but not of, I shall.
I will continue to live as you showed me.
Straight. True. Real.

I will remember the past but not live there.
And I will plan for the future without you.
I will remain open. Vulnerable.
For while life will come love is a choice.

I do not want to say too much about the meaning of the words, or I should say, I do not want to say too much about what these words mean to me. They are vague enough for the reader to form their own feeling and then relate these to the story and the images of the film itself. Indeed, this is what happens regardless! Of course the end title card just before the credits in the video is a give away! But even then, this is also rather open for each to form their own view. I like that!

Here is the link to the short on Vimeo —

If you are so inclined please go to Vimeo, like the video and a comment – it helps incredibly!

And finally here is the script as promised –  If I had another day – Clarke Scott

Now it is on to find another talented actor for episode two.





Dream Learn Plan—A Life

I dream. I learn. I plan.


Or should that be I plan, learn and dream?


We started out to get a computer in the hands of everyday people, and we succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. — Steve Jobs


I’m not really sure which ones came first but I do know that my days are filled with time spent planning — either for future goals, or present projects — learning something that will allows these plans every possible success, and dreaming about how things might actually turn out well.


It’s a strange mix of present and future orientated thinking and I believe the combination of all three are important. How’s why:


1. Plan — Create a plan

By creating planning you are in essence setting a course, a direction in which to focus your energies like a set of track for you to follow.


So it is more than simply “planning” an outcome as you might if you were planning a schedule for a large project. No.


Think BIG when you plan like this. Do not limit yourself is what you know is doable. Imagine a possible future (dreaming) and than Plan for that possible future.


But remain flexible with your dream and continue to monitor and adjust your plan as it is informed by new skills and changing future aspirations. Trust me…they will change.


2. Learn — Develop skills

By developing skills the skills needed to complete the journey you have set yourself. Effort is required and this in itself is a skill. So is perseverance. Skills are not necessarily just technical ones.


What I do when I have attempted anything is to break down or deconstruct the goal into smaller pieces and then go about acquiring these skills. That is a skill in itself too as we do not always know, what we do not know…therefore the deconstruction of the skills needed kind of unfolds as you learn more and move along the journey you have set yourself. I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying that, the more I know about “X” the more I realize I know nothing about “x”.


If this is happening to you then you are doing it right! 🙂


It might sound obvious but this is a very important part of being a life long learner. Embrace it. It will be like a friend and a peer. You will be unstoppable.


3. Dream — Execute on the above to.

By dreaming I mean day-dreaming. To let your mind wonder — thinking in a playful manner about possibilities.


What it will be like to have achieved your goal. Imagine it. I dare you.


Without this third component your plan and the skills are of little use. Without dreaming, you will not think big nor complete your task as dreaming provides both inspiration and determination.


Be as big as you like with your dream but make certain you do not spend all your time in the future thinking. For without time spent in the present you will never achieve the goal. Let your thinking be a balanced combination of dreaming, achieving new skills, and planning. Do this every day.




Raw and Exposed


It’s a scary place to open yourself up to only hear silence.

But unless your willing to live in that space, as raw and exposed as
it is, you will continue to remain unfulfilled.

Do not hide your heart. Your pain. Your love.

Rather,  live life at 11. Raw. Exposed. Alive!



Musing on Love

Over the weekend I finally got a good chunk of silent time to sit with the story of Boy Chases Girl.

The story, for the most part, has lived in note books and parts of it in script format for a while now. But over the weekend I wanted to map the inner emotional sub-text to physical actions as a test of the functionality of the story.

This of course always leads to changes and that is a good thing. Indeed it is the purpose of the exercise! Cause and effect are as much a part of storytelling as they are in so called real life!

I started Friday night:


And this is where I ended on Sunday afternoon:


This is essentially an old-school mind map.

As you will see there are five main acts to this story. You can see these by the five sticky notes off to the left of the pic.

The blue and pink notes are the emotional beats, while the yellow sticky notes underneath these are their corresponding physical actions.

I love this part of writing as it’s a chance to let the imagination run free. Just let it roam wherever it may but without letting the mind fall into vague sleepiness. Kind of like some forms of meditation really.

I also thought I would share part of a document I sent through to a producer about the project recently. Enjoy!!

Boy Chases Girl by Clarke Scott


Boy Chases Girl is a story about the development of LOVE. Not what we normally think love to be but rather the love to which the ancient Greek philosophers referred to as agape.

Spontaneous and unmotivated, agape is love grounded in the aspiration that another be well and happy. This kind of love is not motivated by one’s own aspirations or even preference for a particular outcome. It is unconditional in the purest sense. Indeed this kind of love is the love spoken of by Buddhists and called mettá or maitrí in Sanskrit. The etymology of the term mettá is often rendered as loving-kindness and I think this captures well the intent behind love in this purest sense of agape. For both are fundamentally a deep sense of caring—a strong yet gentle impulse to care.

To care and to be care about, this is the foundation of all romantic love. Yet this mutual and very symbiotic kind of love is hard won. It is hard won because while the genesis of love may be pure, as the years go by love can become mixed with resentment born of power-games, of pain from the things left unsaid, and even just plain old boredom. Love surely is a battlefield as Pat Benatar once remarked.

When things are going well in life there is a sense of what Aristotle called, eudaimonia. Often translated into happiness, eudaimonia is perhaps better thought of as well-being. It is a well-being that comes from within. It is what we bring to the world, not what we get from it that distinguishes eudaimonia from stimuli driven pleasure. When we bring this sense of well-being to close relationships then these relationships bring joy.

However I believe that when things are going wrong in relationships and arguments become the special of the day, we are actually fighting with ourselves—with our own fears and doubts. When fear of abandonment manifests into an argument over how much flirting is too much flirting, what is the real issue here? These themes are dealt with directly in chapter 3. Suffice it to say, it is only through the transformation of love from one based on the physical to one based on the mental that relationships survive longer term. And similarly it is only once the physical has become mental that the ego can be slain—the basis for unconditional love.

Ron Howard once said that film narrative is about mapping basic human emotions to interesting actions. And Kazan before him famously told us that we are trying to make the psychological, physical. In this regard, Boy Chases Girl is a map of sorts— the cartography of love if you like. It maps an argument (in the philosophical sense) for the potential to develop love in this purest sense. It argues that agape or mettá is both real and possible—even if only after a lifetime of struggle. Indeed perhaps only after a lifetime of struggle.


Boy Chases Girl has five distinct acts or chapters. Each chapter follows a boy and a girl at various ages as they deal with life, themselves, and each other. Each chapter focuses on a specific aspect of the development of love. From that initial spark in a young boy through to love beyond ego, Boy Chases Girl is a love story about love itself. It is a drama about human potential—the potential to love and to be loved.

1. The birth of love (10 year olds)

2. The exploration of love (20 yr)

3. The transformation of love (40 yr)

4. The maturing of love (60 yr)

5. The transcendence of love (80 yr)

Each chapter is roughly 15-20 minutes in length and could be shot as five short films.

Given the large chumps of time between each chapter we do not have to be too concerned about finding actors that look the same over the course of the five chapters. This will allow us to find the right boy and the right girl for each chapter, and to make certain the two are thoroughly engaging together.

The camera work, too, is a representation of some aspect of each chapter. For instance, wider lenses and flowing camera moves represent childhood in chapter one—the world just looks much bigger when you’re ten. A hand-held camera lets you live the chaos of life when you are in your twenties, while a conscious-camera esthetic provides a foreboding that helps represent resentment and boredom that can build in relationships over time.

Talking about time: the transitions between chapters occur as camera moves rather than cuts. For instance, as we move from chapters one to two there is a very slow, sweeping, and continuous 360-degree pan. Starting on the girl the camera begins to move as the boy runs away after a failed first kiss initiated by the girl, and then back to the same position only ten years later to find a beautiful young woman standing there. Who then calls out to camera right—the same direction as the previous boy ran off. Then walks towards this person. The camera is now hand-held and swings round to find the young woman walking down an inner city laneway after a young man…as we follow her…we are into chapter two.

This slow moving 360-degree pan should make us feel the way life can feel to young people. Slow! Yet it is not boring as the sound design carries the narrative elements that will engage. For instance, as the boy runs off we hear this and yet the camera moves painfully slow to catch up to him. Are we there yet? Are we there yet?! The audience feels this wait as young people feel the wait of growing up. As it reaches the boy (at 180-degrees) the camera does not stop as you might expect. Rather it continues on at the same pace and in the same direction as before. Just like life.

The transition between chapters two and three is perhaps even more philosophically and viscerally arresting (at least the image in my mind is!), and a key vision that represents the years between ages 20 to 40.

What we see in the final scene of chapter two (the exploration of love) is a love scene where in the end and only after some heavy petting the girl is placed willingly on her hands and knees as the boy enters her. They begin to make love. It is the culmination of their “exploration.” It is beautiful. Gentle. Not at all demeaning—although it should be very provocative.

Then the transition: bedroom at night. Poorly lit. We are side on to the camera. A 50mm lens close to the action means we only see parts of bodies as they sway rhythmically in the frame from left to right. Then in one continuous shot we track slowly down his body. At first we see his chest moving in and out of frame. We continue to move slowly down his body pass his stomach, then hips, and then begin to move along her body. Slowly slowly the camera creeps along as she moves back and forth in frame. We are close enough that we cannot make out her entire body and as we continue towards her upper area we begin to make out the shape of a breast. Then, as we reach her head, the camera stops to reveal the face of a 40 year old woman. She looks bored. Going through the motions. Suddenly we hear the sound of a baby crying in another room. She stops abruptly. Almost relieved. She gets up from the bed and puts a dressing gown on then quickly walks off camera to attend to the baby. The camera does not move. Then after a beat a 40 year old man flops down headfirst into frame. He rolls onto his back. He is confused and slightly annoyed at what just happened! …and we are into chapter three.

The other transitions are similar but for the sake of brevity I have left them out here. I believe this gives a good sense of the vision and the themes I want to explore in this piece.

More to come…

Anthony Minghella on Morality in Cinema

When I heard Anthony Minghella had passed away I shed a tear. Quite literally! For I knew the world, and in particular the world of cinema, was poorer for it!

As evidence of this I present to you a lecture given by Minghella only days after winning the academy award for The English Patient.

I believe in what he says. Indeed I think you should too. As he remarks at minute 33:00 it is through cinema that we come extend our experience of life. To understand what it is to love form a frame of reference outside of our own.

I’ve said similar in the past but never so beautifully!

So go ahead and listen from 33_00 for a minute or so then continue to read.

Now you may wonder why we need to experience these things. For instance, Minghella claims that through our shift of perspective afforded by the lens we are able to experience what it is like to love and to be loved. Ok. Get that. But he claims claims that we can experienced what it is like to kill and to be killed! And this is a good thing?!? Really!!

Is Minghella suggesting that screen violence has moral utility? Yes he is. As long as it does not generalise and or diminish what it means to be human. This is an important distinction.

Look at it this way, all racism, agism, sexism, all fascism, indeed all hatred, is born of a mind that cannot understand another’s lived experienced.

This is why cinema is important. It is important because it gives someone a chance to do so. A chance to live as if of another sex, another age, another color, and to experience life from that perspective.

In short cinema is an empathy-machine and for this reason he is correct but it is a fine edge between this, stupid filmmaking.

Unfortunately, I suspect, audiences that are in most need of this shift of perspective are the very same ones who will miss the point altogether.

Now if you can go back and listen to the Minghella lecture form the beginning.


In the End All We Have is Love

As you go through life some begin to realize that, in the end, whether you like it or not, we lose everything—money. health. status. friends. While for others this fact is lost of them and as a result they can spend the time they have left wondering why! Even bitter at the lost. This is not a judgement but rather an observation.


Still it seems to me that what life cannot take form us is our ability to care—to love. And when I say love, I mean it in the Buddhist sense, which of course, has little to do with anything that happens between the sheets!


While Lennon may have been correct with his well known, “All you need is Love”, statement this to me has always seemed glib at best…if not just hippy tripe!.


Either way it was without doubt the soundbite of the 70’s (or was it the 80’s?) that continues to water-down the truth of the statement and that is a shame really!


I think this attitude might be linked, somehow, to a general view about about or what one should do with their life.


There will be the people that watch, for instance, the video of Steve Jobs from the last post and nod in approve at the beginning of the speech where he outlines an a-typical life but then disapprove when he goes on the say that this is a rather shallow interpretation of a life well lived!


Or as one person close to me did recently…nod and smile in agreement that quickly changed to stoney-faced silent as it dawned upon them why I found this interesting! All you need is Love!!


This lead me to think about what is it that makes people believe certain things. Why is it that for some people digging pass the veil of the ordinary, the mundane, is so so natural and yet for others is to frightening beyond belief?!?


I do not know yet, but, what I do know is that it pays to dig—if only as a functional mechanism against the wounds of life. Know thyself as the Greeks were found of saying!


For the timid, however, it is clear that life turns difficult as they age because they value everything that is easily lost and do not understand that it was ALWAYS going to be “lost” in the end. Really…really…sad!


Therefore cherish your ability to care! It maybe all you have left in the end.


There are plenty of templates for a life well lived but you have to be brave enough to live them! And the good news is, it is never too late.


May all beings…those close and those far….have only happiness and its causes.