Ep. #9 3 Words That Changed My (Dance) Life with Jason Bonner

Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Ep. #9 3 Words That Changed My (Dance) Life with Jason Bonner
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Episode 9 will leave you feeling fine. Personal trainer to the stars, Jason Bonner is on the podcast to talk motivation and excellence.  These words will help you take your work to the next level whether you’re in the gym, in the studio, on screen, or on stage.  Warning, you may leave this episode feeling very VERY motivated to make things happen.

Show Notes:

Enter our instagram contest!

https://instagram.com/wordsthatmovemepodcast?igshid=ctagczvve4kf

Transcript:

Intro: This is words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers like you get the information and inspiration you need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host, master mover, Dana Wilson, and if you’re someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artists story, then sit tight but don’t stop moving because you’re in the right place. 

Dana:  Hello, hello friends. Welcome to the podcast. We’ll come back if you’re a recurring listener and welcome, welcome for the first time. If this is your first time listening, I’m stoked to be talking to you today. I’m very excited about this episode, but before I get into that I want to talk about something else that I am very excited about and that is the Instagram contest that we are having right now. We definitely are wanting to spread the words that move me and make sure as many people find the podcast as possible. So to do that we’re having an Instagram contest and I would like for you to take a look at all the details @wordsthatmovemepodcast on Instagram. It’s in our story. It has a special little album there. I think I’m using the right words all of a sudden I am not the master of Instagram anymore. I’m learning and I’m right there with some of you as I learn. Anyways, I’m very excited about the contest in order to see all the terms and the ways that you can win and also the things that you might win. Make sure you follow us on Instagram. That’s going to be the best way.. Well it’s the only way to be a part of the contest. Um, and it’s the best way to make sure that you are playing by the rules. Although occasionally I do recommend breaking them. Okay. So in addition to the contest, I also want to clear up a few things. Cause the other day I ran into a human being, an actual human in the flesh and she was like, Oh my gosh, I’m doing the daily challenge and I absolutely love it. I was like, that’s great. What’s your handle? And she told me her name, she told me her handle and I didn’t recognize it. I was like, I don’t think I’ve seen your project out there. And then through a little bit more digging, we discovered that she had been hashtagging “daily doing” instead of hashtagging “doing daily” And honestly you guys, I think I’ve probably said it both ways from the start of the podcast until now and this is something that is definitely worth a little clarification and carving out a special place for this. I want to see your daily projects.  

So I have decided to create a special hashtag, a bucket that we can put all of those beautiful things and that is #doingdailyWTMM as in words that move me. So if you are a daily doer, which is confusing cause I do say that a lot. If you’re a daily doer then you are hashtag doing daily. Yes. It feels really good to have that cleared up. Excellent. If you have no idea what I’m talking about right now, that is probably because you haven’t listened to episode one or episode two where I pose the challenge to all of my listeners to take on a daily creative act every single day. For some amount of time, preferably an amount that’s slightly longer than what you feel comfortable taking on. I promised myself I would make a video every single day for 365 days and I did it plus some. It changed my life. And I know that a project like this can change yours. So jump on over to episode one and two after listening to this episode and happy making, I’m so excited for you and for the ways that this can change your life. Hats off to all of my daily doers. Keep the hashtag doing daily. This is how I remember it by the way, hashtag doing because the doing is the important part. #doingdailyWTMM now let’s get into it. 

I’m stoked about today’s episode because I got a chance to catch up with one of my favorite people, Jason Bonner. Jason and I met when I was a dancer on tour with Justin Timberlake in 2007. So this was the, um, future sex love show tour. I was 20 years old. I turned 21 while we were on the road. Um, so I’m this tiny young danceling and this man who at the time was Justin’s personal trainer became my trainer as well and a very, very dear friend.  He’s one of the relationships that I made on that tour that has stood the test of time and is still um, a great friend and inspiration to me up until today. So I got to catch up with Jason and I have to be totally honest with you. We talked for over two hours and a lot of that talking is actually just cackling like words and sounds that you would need subtitles to understand. So I did edit this episode down into some really good digestible chunks of information and inspiration and I really hope that you dig it. Okay. Before we get into the words with Jason, I want to explain the being that is Jason, I want you to imagine a life scale GI Joe, like actual man sized GI Joe and then turn that up to X. Like, he probably isn’t, but it feels like Jason is eight feet tall and his like the circumference of his bicep is probably the circumference of my thigh at its widest.  You will probably hear in this interview him slamming his hands on the table and the microphone responds to that a little bit. So I do apologize. This is my first phone interview ever and I’m still learning a lot about that technology. So bear with me on the learning curve. Also, did I mention I am coming to today from my hotel, actually my hotel closet in Las Vegas, Nevada, which is where I am working right now. So I apologize if the sound is different or if there’s an occasional passer-by in the hallway, a door slam, a weird pipe sound. My pipes are making weird gargly sounds. I can’t explain it, but I think we’re safe. I don’t see any water anywhere, so I think we’re safe. Anyways, all sound aside. I’m very, very excited to share this conversation with Jason Bonner. So let’s dig in.  

Dana: Jason Bonner! I am so excited about this call. Really, truly, utterly. I can’t even handle it. Um. All right, so, the podcast, because it’s young and I want to tell you a little bit about the podcast and our listeners. Its primarily about creative careers and making art in entertainment. So some of my guests might be confused as to why I am speaking to personal trainer to the stars and I would tell them that is because you are much, much more than a personal trainer to the stars. So number one, please introduce yourself, all of your interests and all of the many different hats that you wear. 

Jason: How are you doing Dana?  My name is Jason Bonner, whether it’s training, whether it’s life coaching, whatever it is that I’m doing, I really love helping people. And through my friends in industry, the people that know me, they call me like the Jack of all trades because I really can do whatevers thrown at me. So I do everything from training to styling to image to branding for an artist, this is actually what I do. I kind of wear many different hats. I’ve done everything from A&R record to written on records before, as a writer. In it past eight months or so. I’ve uh, I started a management company. I have a two artists that I manage and a songwriter. And I wrote a film, with one of my best friends. About something that happened in my life, true story. It’s a comedy. So we’re in the process of getting that done now, so excited about it. The movie is basically like a mixture of Friday and Ferris Buller’s Day off. That’s the best way I can describe it. 

Dana: I want to live at the center circle of that Venn diagram that is exquisite.

Jason: I am, I’m beyond excited about it because it was something I didn’t really think about getting into. Oh. So it just happened. Mmm. The working out  on is really the easiest part of it. That’s like the easiest thing to do. Um, I work with, uh, Josh Groban, the a Joe Jonas, Frank Ocean, hit boy, Bruno Mars producer Rob Knox. This new kid. Aaron Wright, he’s amazing You hear about him soon? I worked in Luke James. Mmm.  Another producer named Monsour Producer Harvey Mason Jr before? I’m actually working with Chris Stapleton right now. Amazing guy. Flat out. Amazing. Mmm. I take it very seriously because I was on my way to be a pro athlete. Before, I got hurt. So I’m very competitive when it comes to what I do when I work with somebody in that capacity. Whether it’s training, whether its, branding whether it’s you know, conditioning for shows or whatever we’re doing. I’m really serious about it. And part of it is, you know, when you’re working with artists and people you’re close to, you kind of have to read them and understand the mannerisms. So part of why it worked so well with the people that I work with is because I studied their habits, I studied everything about them. So like, like for example, um, I’ve been working with Justin Timberlake since, the year 2000 so I pretty much know like the back of my hand. Like I can walk into a room and tell him, “you need something to eat or you need to go to sleep? Mmm. Anything. Literally anything.” 

It’s true. Jason is a great study of subtlety and human behavior in general and I think he gets a lot of that intel from movement specifically like posture, someone’s walk , their body language, their performance at the gym or their performance on stage. He could almost always tell if something was off, like if something wasn’t quite right and some of the time he could tell exactly what it was, whether it was not enough rest or too much rest occasionally or homesickness, relationship drama, family drama and by family drama I of course mean tour, family drama because when you eat, sleep, breathe, work and play together, that’s exactly what you become. You are family. So Jason’s eye for detail and like Olympic level people watching skills are what taught me that you don’t need to perform all the time. In fact, being a good audience member, being watchful that can help you do your job even better than all of the, all of the uh, exporting, right. Do a little importing. Just sit and watch. When I was on the road and training with Jason, his type of watchful felt a little bit like, um, like a law enforcement officer or like the way that a teacher watches over their classroom taking a test and they’re like looking to see if somebody is cheating or passing notes or something or a little bit like a referee watching a game like very, very closely. But I really think there’s more compassion to Jason’s style of watching. And actually one of my favorite things about becoming a people watcher thanks to him is that it helps me feel more compassionate towards others. And I like that. Okay. So now we’re going to talk a little bit more about my first tour and Jason’s style of quote, compassion, which is a special brand of no BS. Tough love.  

Okay. So I want to really quickly go back to the year that we met, which was, um, I believe it was 2007. The future sex love show tour. And I was a dancer and I assisted the creative director and choreographer, Marty Kudelka on that tour. I was 20 years old and I was green. And I remember meeting you and you, you make quite an oppression, quite an impression on a young lady, um, because you are so certainly who you are. And I remember at that time, I’m still figuring out who I am and I, um, I had these ideas about what a personal trainer to the stars was and you certainly look like that. Like you look like that guy. But I remember being very taken aback by how generous you are in giving your attention, your time, your talent. And I was very interested in getting healthier, getting more fit.  And I remember you, I remember thinking that a personal trainer was a certain thing and that I would have a whistle in my ear at 6:30 in the morning and you’d be a drill sergeant and you’d be like, banging down my door, get me to the gym. And you really weren’t that. So I would like to hear a little bit about how you encourage people into their own greatness without being a drill Sergeant and a heavy hand, even though you look tough. Mmm. And it was your voice in my head when I was like, no, get to the gym, get to the gym. But you only showed up for me when I showed up for myself. And I would love to hear more about why it is that you, why you operate that way. 

Hey Listen! This is the only thing in life. Only thing in life, no matter how much money you have, no matter how much you think you have,  that nobody else can do for you, right? You have to do it yourself. Like there’s, there’s no way around it you have to do this for yourself? So it’s one of those things where it’s like, listen, I could yell at you, I can scream at you, I could get mad at you, whatever did you face, whatever. It’s not going to matter if in your head you don’t want to do it. So I don’t care who you are. I can look somebody in the face and tell them you’re not serious. And there’ll be like, why is it because I know people, okay, who have that look that they want to change their lives. You don’t want to change your life? I say, so don’t ask me again or waste my time. Ask me something that you’re not serious about. So for me it’s like I don’t have the patience to deal with, with BS. So it’s just like you don’t take yourself serious. So why should I? Again, because I was a, you know, I was working on trying to be a professional basketball player. My drive for myself was very high. Right. So I learned how to channel into me, erm, at an early age, so when everybody else would be partying or people would be asleep in the dorm, I was up at five in the morning running stairs, you know, getting ready for the season. Mmm. In college, the basketball season. So I kind of took, well not even taken, I, I’m actually wired to, to be self motivated. So if I see that somebody has something in them, I feel like if I have the tools to help them get to that space, have the obligation to give you, if I genuinely care about you as a friend or as a family member, I’m going to give you this information so you can be great.  Um, so saying all that to say, so like when I got called to work with Justin for the first time before I met you, I meet with them in the first thing I say to them, this is a true story. The first thing I say to him, I said listen, before we start this meeting, let me tell you who I am. I don’t care about being seen next to you on TV, film, magazines, tabloids, anything. The only thing I care about is if you take this serious. I say, because I am very competitive and if my name was attached to you, I’m going to make sure I pull whatever’s out of you. I’m going to pull it out of you to be great. I said because of what I think thats inside of you. You have the opportunity and hear me when I say this, the opportunity to be one of the best people in music history. If you take this serious, I said, you have to come to a world where you make it. You have to make a guy like me, like you. And he’s only there because he has to bring his girl that he come see you and he’s mad. That he’s there to watch you, So I say, so whenever we do in the gym, we’re at rehearsal, dance rehearsal. If it takes you a hundred times a thousand times to get a dance step, right? You want to do it a thousand times still you get it right. Thats it. Because you don’t have the luxury to mess it up and that’s it. And , I said, so when you see that guy, he’s looking at you like this <inaudible> you have to get that guy to move. And I told him, I said, you can get that guy to move. You get the world to move. You hear me when I say that? If you get that guy to move, you can get the world to move 

Um, did you write that down? Literally one of my all time favorite ways to lock in an incredible performance is to lock in on one person. The one person that’s not feeling. It’s a game. Of course, I don’t know actual voodoo or like mind trickery, but after hundreds and hundreds of shows, I became able to get at least a smile and a step touch out of even the most unenthusiastic concert goer or chaperones as I like to call them. They’re the ones giving off the, Oh no, no, no, no, no. Um, I’m not here for you. I’m here for my girlfriend or my daughter or my wife or whoever. Okay. Don’t get me wrong though. There is something very, very moving about a room full of screaming fans, but if you can make the not a fan move, Oh my gosh, it feels like winning the lottery. It is incredible. Although I have never actually won the lottery, so maybe that’s not the right analogy. Also, I’ve never actually bought a ticket. I’m getting off topic. Okay, we’re back. Okay. Let’s get back into working out with Jason and the three words that changed my dance life forever.  

I remember a lot of our workouts. I remember your pushup routine that I still do occasionally. I remember you bench pressing me as your weights. I remember, um, frog jumps. Is that what we call it? I don’t remember. I got so ridiculously sore that I couldn’t dance and I had to like dial it back. But this one moment it was not workout related. This one particular show during the 20/20 experience, um, I was, I think I was under the weather. I was either like physically sick or maybe homesick. I don’t, I don’t remember exactly what I was going through. But I came to you as I often did and I was like, yo, Jay help me get through this show. Like what is going to get me through the show tonight? I don’t, I don’t, I need fuel, I need juice. And you said “You only have three things that you need to worry about in this show. Three that is all, hips, lips and fingertips. And it sounds silly, but within that confined I found tremendous freedom. So by cutting my mind off from the things that were distracting me and focusing it on just three things. I was able to go so deep on hips, lips, and fingertips, and it was just so liberating. I think I delivered one of the best shows of my life that night. Um, what other wisdom might you have for people that are feeling less than.And that can help us focus into being more than. 

Well, my motto is I’ve been saying that since I was a kid. If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready. Because you have to be prepared for whatever’s thrown at you in this entertainment business at all times. You know, you’re gonna have random sleep. You know, you’re gonna have random food. You know, you don’t know if the hotel beds going to be comfortable, well, you don’t know. Did she just prepare for anything? If your show was two hours long, then we’re training for three hours? The main thing is to get your mindset ready for anything. This is always my answer is always do you have to program your mind to already be ahead of whats about to happen to prepare yourself for anything. If you’re the sports team and the star players coasting everybody on the team is not going to give that kind of effort. You have to give the effort to set the example.

I think that’s an important note because not only for the leader or the the front man of the group, but for everybody in the group because you’re leading somebody, whether you know it or not, someone is looking to you for the tone, for the vibe, for the energy. It might be a fellow dancer on stage or it might be somebody in the audience. I think setting a bar, setting a high bar is so important. It’s why people are drawn to you. It’s why I was drawn to you. It’s why we’re still friends and I just, I can’t thank you enough for being so excellent.  

So being somebody that’s so, uh, face to face with popular culture all the time, do you have any recommendations for how to drown out the noise in terms of what people should be and how to reinforce all the lovely things that we are 

The biggest thing I would tell people is to understand your inner voice. And what I mean by that is the only person that knows what’s really going on in your head is you. And if you understand the field, or the business that you want to get into. Meaning, something tangible that can work in this space and you know your work and you really understand what it is then don’t listen to anybody but yourself. Your intuition is never ever wrong. It’s something that we are born with, that we have inside of us that connects us to everything that’s happening around us.  And if you really understand it and you really listen to it, you understand how much you’re in tune with the world and other people. But you have to be open to receive it. If you’re not open to receive it, then you’ll miss it. Listen to yourself. No. Then if you put a really, if you put your mind to something, you can do it with no problem. You just have to understand that it’s not going to be, nothing is a cake walk. There are very few people that are like  gifted to do certain things. It just give a born to do that thing and there’s nothing you can do about it. There’s just, there were born to do that thing. They were built for that thing. Body’s constructed for that thing. Their mindset, their feet, their hands, everything about it was built or that thing.  Most of the people have to work towards that thing. Even though you understand that you might have to work towards it. But some people are just gifted to do that thing. You know, it’s like by Kobe Bryant, his passing, he was built to play basketball. Everything about his body was built for that sport. It wasn’t built to play football. He was good for the sport of basketball. Michael Jordan, the same way. Certain people are just built for that sport. No. Um, and then you have an exception to the rule. Mmm. Like 

There’s always an exception

Ryan Williams who’s know, six, seven, six, eight 285 pounds. He looks like a defensive lineman and he jumps like he’s 160 pounds. It doesn’t make sense. So you have those anomalies every once in a while. But again, that’s just a gift that they’re born with. But most people, again, I understand it’s something you really have to study it.  If you want to, you know, learn how to be a great dancer, then you study with other great dancers. If you want to be a great artist, study with great artists, you have to be around people who are great, In order to observe, greatness, unless you’re just a freak of nature and you just born with that gift of whatever that thing is that you’re doing know. So like when my, my godson, who’s an artist, right? The only person who’s want to teach them showmanship is you like, you’re on what you’re already on. Are you already on my list of people who are going to be part of his team? Because because of what you are, he needs what you are. He needs you to teach him. That’d be a certain way on stage because he doesn’t know. Mm. Yeah. He can move. He has natural talent. He can dance, but he needs YOU.. 

Yeah, I am flattered and you know exactly where to find me.  

It is really, really cool to see how far time, talent and connections can take someone because over the years that I’ve known you, you’ve been so many different things to so many different people. I cannot wait to meet music producer Jason. I cannot wait to watch the movie that you wrote and produced and or directed. I cannot wait for the world to see these things. I’m just so happy to put you in touch with a part of my world. Introduce them to you because you’ve really helped mold me into what I am today. Thank you so much for doing this. 

You don’t have to thank me. You know i’d do anything in the world for you. I’m your family. You already know that, so thank you. I appreciate it. I’m glad I could help you. 

Oh by the way, I have on the podcast, I have a a sign off line. My sign off is “keep it funky.”

Oh, I like it keep it funky. 

Yeah. Okay. Keep it funky everybody. I’ll see you next week. 

Good. If You smell something, It’s just Dana. 

Ep. #8 Why My Headshots Won’t Suck

Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Ep. #8 Why My Headshots Won't Suck
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A headshot is a picture of your head and Episode #8 takes a look at what is going on inside of it on a big shoot day.  From hair & make up to mind set.  From backdrops & wardrobe to wide angle distortion.  We get to the bottom of why the getting great headshots can be challenging, and you’ll learn how to make your next shoot the best day of your life.  If you’re not careful… This episode might turn you into someone who loves being photographed. 

Show Notes:

Quick Links:

Bobby Dacones (Commercial Shots): https://www.instagram.com/bobby11dacones/?hl=en

Taylor James (Editorial Shots): https://www.instagram.com/taylorjjames/?hl=en

Gia Harris (Makeup Artist): https://www.instagram.com/missgiamakeup/?hl=en

Retouching: www.digitalheadshotretouching.com
digitalheadshotretouching@gmail.com

Printing: www.photocitylabs.com photo-city@sbcglobal.net

Pink Hair Dye: https://us.kryolan.com/product/color-spray#D30

Favorite Red Lipstick: https://www.sephora.com/product/cream-lip-stain-liquid-lipstick-P281411?icid2=products%20grid:p281411

Transcript:

Intro: This is words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers like you get the information and inspiration you need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host, master mover, Dana Wilson, and if you’re someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artists story, then sit tight. But don’t stop moving because you’re in the right place.  

Dana: Good day. Good people. How are you out there? I hope this podcast finds you fabulous on this lovely day or night. I don’t know what it is for you right now. I do know that it is morning time for me and this is kind of an impromptu podcast. Today is headshots day. I am getting two different rounds of head shots taken in one day. In the early afternoon. I’m going for the commercial stuff, the clean, fresh, super cute. “Let me sell you things”, head shots. And then in the afternoon I’m getting my super artsy fartsy editorial. “I’m an artist with creative ideas” headshots, and those really are two very different things. Um, and I’m excited. I’m excited about both of them, but I did wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. So I did a little journaling and started digging up what I thought could be a really cool podcast episode, a look inside my head on headshots day. So you’ll be able to see what my head looks like on the outside as well as what’s going on in here today. So, uh, if you don’t mind, I’m going to get right into it since I am on a bit of a sscheduley.  

Okay. The inner dialogue that happens on the morning of headshot day is not so dissimilar from the dialogue that happens on any big shoot day. So if you don’t have headshots on the books coming up, don’t discount this episode. There’s a lot of big lesson in here and I hope you get big value out of it. Okay, let’s start at the beginning. This morning I woke up to kisses, which is incredible. But also I did say that I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. So you might be wondering how is that possible? Well, let me explain. Number one, I wanted to stay asleep. This is something that I blame actually on my very, very comfortable bed. I have the best bed ever. You might think that yours is better, but mine is better. I really, I’ve actually considered trying to increase productivity by swapping out my awesome mattress and sheets and pillows for something different, but that would never fly.  I really, really love my bed. I have these bamboo hypo allergen pillows. They’re the best and all of it. It’s great. So anyways, I got out of bed eventually. Then I saw how puffy my hands were and that reminded me of the bad choice I made last night when I had so much of that soup that I knew it was a little too salty. I was like, I’m going to be puffy tomorrow. Sure enough, fingers, super puffy. My rings were like, eh, not moving. And then I saw that my morning belly was not. Its typical morning belly smallness, you know that. Don’t you wake up sometimes you look at yourself, you’re like, man, I look really good right now. I want to look like that all day long and literally like you might not even drink water, but in the next hour or so you just don’t look. I don’t know. There’s something about the morning body, so I was bummed by the puffy fingers. I was bummed by the puffy body and then I got in the shower and my husband asked if I tweezed my eyebrows. He said they look smaller. He did not say they look bad or Whoa, you really messed up there. He really said no. He just said they look smaller, but in my head I heard they look awful. You look crazy. You’re really getting head shots today. And then I went into the landscaping mode where for the next 15 minutes from pits to legs to “vathighna”, which is the place.. Some people call it the bikini area, but let’s be honest, it’s the place between your vagina and your thigh. It’s the vagthina and on my landscaping journey, all I can do is think about those perfect hairless bodied models that I see headshots of all the time. And then I came here to my computer where I started to do a little download. A thought download by the way is where I just spew out thoughts, stream of consciousness at my computer and then I work on managing those thoughts.  

Okay. We’re going to get into my thoughts in a second, but first let’s take a quick moment to talk about the facts. Okay. The facts about headshots are this. Head shots are pictures of you, your top half usually, but sometimes your whole body, they land on your website or on your agent’s website. They land on casting networks, which is sort of a casting directory. In other words, online casting networks are where casting directors and clients will go to look at the talent pool to decide who they want to see audition and ultimately who they will cast for their projects. I’m going to do a full blown deep dive on casting networks another day. We’re going to talk all of them backstage, breakdown services, actors access, casting frontier, casting networks inc, we’re going to do it, but not today. Casting networks are not a happy place for me and we’re going to keep headshot day a happy place kind of day. A few other facts about your head shots. They will likely wind up a two inch thumbnail on somebody’s computer or phone. They also may get printed. It is really good practice to have printed head shots. By the way, maybe that’s my thought. That might not be a fact. Although since the digital revolution hard-copy headshots are becoming less frequently asked for when you audition, it is good practice to have them. Okay, here’s some more thoughts about headshots and I did a quick Google search, so these are other people’s thoughts, not my own. Here we go. Oh, this is a good one. If your head shots don’t work, you won’t work. A good headshot is essential to getting work. A headshot is your most valuable asset.  People also say things like, go pro, spend the money. I did get a good quote. That seems true to the price range that I’ve experienced. That good headshots range from 400 to $1,200 yeah, that’s about right. Oh, here we go. These are fun. A headshot has to show uniqueness and warmth. It’s important to show variety, but don’t be confusing. Your look should be different but unified. Okay? That’s not confusing at all. Um, or these, these good old fashion rules. Don’t wear white. Don’t wear graphics. Don’t use too many props. Don’t do anything that’ll distract from your face. Okay, good. Thanks for your thoughts everybody. Okay. This morning when I did my download, here are a couple of thoughts that I couldn’t shake. I shouldn’t have had that soup last night. My body isn’t what it could be right now. It doesn’t look like it’s going to be a good hair day.  Totally honest. Those are my thoughts. All right. Now my thoughts mixed with all the other thoughts that I found on the internet today landed me thinking this is the one opportunity I’ll get in the next year to show the world who I am and get me all the jobs. Now that thought landed me feeling pretty stressed out and feeling stressed makes me overeat, over drink, It makes me really try to muscle certain things into place and make last minute changes that are kind of frantic. For example, tweezing my eyebrows at 11 o’clock last night. I don’t relax, I don’t have fun, and it’s all over my face. Those actions land me at a result of not so stellar headshots.

So with a little thought management, a little, a little grooming, this is where my thoughts have landed. Now today I get to play, dress up and make things that have never existed before.  This very, very moment with my friends. Okay? Now I know I’m lucky in that regard. My dear friend Gia will be doing my makeup today. My good friend, Bobby’s going to shoot my commercial looks and then my friend Taylor is going to be doing my abstract, artsy, fartsy fun stuff. These are people that I dig. These are people that I respect and I get to hang out with them for hours on end today and I get to dress up. Boom. This makes me feel excited. And when I’m excited, tasks like doing my hair, doing my makeup, eating well, they all come with a smile. I don’t rush other people or myself. In general, things flow and that flow state happy action lands me at a result of having a great day playing dress up with my friends and having photos that prove it. Okay. Now you may be thinking, all right, positive Patty, you just, you can’t like actually just change your mind from being stressed out about this very important thing to being really, really excited and fun.  Well, I would argue that it’s actually impossible to hold the thought. I am so excited to play, dress up and make stuff with my friends at the same time as you hold the thought curse my fair skin and dark Mediterranean hair. I don’t think you can think those things at the same time. I really think you have to choose one, so I’m going to choose to stop worrying about silly physical things and focus on the thoughts that I actually want to hold. Okay. Here are a few more that I’m going to hold onto today. That soup last night was other worldly that was so good and I’m so glad I experienced it. Next time I get head shots done though, that probably won’t be my move. Oh. And also I have never, ever not once been casting for a project where everyone in the room thought, man, that girl would be perfect, but her fingers are just a little too puffy. Simply never happened to me before. Also. How about this? I woke up to kisses today. It is gonna be a fabulous day. I’m excited to make stuff with my friends. I’m excited to play, dress up and I’m excited to tell you how it went. So don’t leave. Um, I’m going to leave. I’m going to go have a whole day, but you don’t, you’re going to have about three seconds of a musical interlude and I’ll be right back to tell you how it went today.  

Hey guys, I’m back. It’s like time travel I really like this one day, two recording sessions thing. That was very, very fun. Whoa, what a fun day. It was really exciting. I genuinely felt excited almost all day. Um, and wow, being excited is very energizing. I was excited up until 7:00 PM when I ate my first legitimate meal of the day, which was a beyond burger and it was delicious and then I continued to be excited even while I was washing the temporary pink hair dye out of my hair at 10:00 PM and I am going to sleep like a baby. All right. These are some of the things that came up to me that I thought were worth mentioning today.  

First off, your tribe is your vibe. The people that you have around you on big days like this make all the difference and I was so lucky to have some of my favorite people around today. Firstly, my makeup artist, Gia Harris, longtime friend, who I’ll talk a little bit more about later, did an awesome job and on the subject of makeup, my mom calls putting makeup on gilding the Lily, but when you’re getting professional photos taken, having great makeup is part of this complete breakfast. You really actually need it and you need it to be great. You need it to be natural. You needed to be well maintained throughout the day and yeah, you might as well enjoy the process. I always enjoy the process with Gia. At one point I even remember, maybe it’s about as high stress as it got was when we were trying to find the perfect red lipstick for my sophisticated, sexy look in the second half of the commercial headshot shoot. Gia is a woman that understands red lipstick intimately. In fact, she introduced me to my favorite red, which is actually Sephora number one. Just for the record, we did not use Sephora number one for this shoot. However, we explored a little bit and we found something incredible and I don’t know what it was, so I can’t tell you. Gia and only Gia knows. Alright, Gia knows reds and she knows my face. If you’re shooting with a makeup artist that you’ve never used before, I strongly recommend paying them for a test day so that you’re sure you can land on looks that you love before the big day. For the record, I feel the same way about hairstylists crucial. Now, today I did not have a hairstylist. I was manning my own mop and I think I did a pretty good job for the record. See, I have kind of unusual hair, but I know how to work it.  It’s one of those things that if I can’t get the stylist that I know I love, I’m not going to take a risk on somebody that I don’t know. I’m going to do what I do and I’m going to do it well. Today was no exception. I’m patting myself on the back. I did pretty good, especially in the first half of the day. The second half of the day took a turn. It got a little playful. See, Taylor James has been wanting to shoot me with pink hair for a very long time. He’s been trying to convince me to go pink ever since I went blonde. So I gave in because Taylor puts the Tay in taste. He’s really so great. So I did a little research and I talked to a couple of real live humans instead of just trusting the internet. This is my hair after all, and I decided on Kryolan color spray in D 30 it’s this lovely, powdery pink.  I almost went for the more neon pink, kind of like what you might’ve seen in the yummy video. Shout out. Yummy, and I heard horror stories about how that stuff stained those girls hair, especially with light hair, a dark temporary hair dye can actually do some real permanent type of damage. So I went with D30 this powder pink and I just crossed up my fingers. Lucky for me, it not only washed out, but it looked fabulous. A word of wisdom. I would advise that you settle on the style first and add the color later. It was really difficult to style my hair after that spray was in there. It’s like kind of chalky and powdery and tough. It was impossible to brush through and I’m not crazy about the shape of my hair after the color went in, but Holy smokes color so great. Really happy about that. I think actually we’re going to go round two on pink hair shoot. LOVE. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even commit full time some other day.  

Okay, so that covers face. That covers hair. Now, next and maybe most important, let’s talk wardrobe. I am a person who loves clothes. I love many different styles. I love many different periods of fashion. I love texture, I love color, I love crazy, but headshot wardrobe is not the same as daily wardrobe and editorial wardrobe is certainly different than daily wardrobe. So how do you settle on your look? Well, as I’m sure you can imagine, there really is no one rule of what to wear. Brunette shouldn’t always wear red. Blondes shouldn’t always wear blue. This is just something you’re going to have to find for yourself. My best recommendation here would be try everything, take a lot of photos and start keeping little photo albums of your little favorite things, the things that work for you. Before I even set my date to shoot and before I locked in my photographers, I sent my agents and a small group of friends and family like nine or 10 different looks and I asked for input and feedback. What do you guys think I should wear for my head shots? I’m always surprised by the way, what I hear back when I send out little calls to action like that because it’s almost never what I would have chosen. Over the course of this week. I’ll share a few of those sample shots that I sent to my agent so that you can see what I thought would work and what actually wound up working. Actually throughout the course of this week, I’ll do a lot of behind the scenes of today. I’ve got a lot of great captures. Stay tuned on the gram @WordsthatMoveMePodcast, get ready. So on this round of preliminary wardrobe sausage. I heard back from my agent first and she recommended a few looks that I didn’t really love, but once I tried them on in front of a backdrop on camera, I was smitten.  So I shot in two looks that really weren’t my favorite, but on camera they look great. As far as the golden rule here, I would say do your homework. Not only did I send my agents a boatload of options, I also asked them to send me the headshots of their clients that never get a no. These are headshots that when submitted the casting director says yes, we want to see that person. From those I learned solid backgrounds are best, vivid colors are a must, skin must look natural and great. And red seemed to be an overwhelming theme. So based on the looks that I submitted and based on what my agency sent me back, I settled on a couple different wardrobe options and then chose backdrop colors and textures that I thought complimented them the best. And that’s the game.  

Okay. The day went fast and that is to be expected. But I never felt actually rushed. I was, it felt more like I was just in a fast car that was going fast, but I didn’t feel like I was having to run or pull or drive. It was just a quick moving day. But I took time to look at my friends and smile and love them and I took time to look at the images. Oh yes. That was advanced to take a moment, pause, say, okay, let’s look at what we’ve got so far before you say, all right, moving on. Next. Look, every photographer is different when it comes to showing the model or the director the captures as they shoot. Sometimes it can make the model get a little bit too in their head. So even though the goal is to establish a strong trust and healthy working relationship, it can wind up having the inverse effect.  But I love seeing as I shoot it helps me correct. I’m a dancer, love corrections. Um, it helps me correct and it helps me feel like we can move on if at a certain point it’s time to move on, you know, as far as the clock is concerned. So that’s one of the reasons I really like shooting with my friends is that that conversation can be really loose and open. Hey, can I take a look at that? Hey, do you mind if I see that, Hey, can I take a look at that? I feel like we might have it. Can we move on? Of course. I feel more comfortable having that conversation with my friends, but, but I really encourage anybody who’s paying for headshots to take a look at some of what they got before you change outfits to the next look and certainly before you leave for the day.  

At one point I actually noticed as I looked at the monitor, a little, um, body insecurity cropping up where I was like, ah man, my torso is so short and my head is gigantic. Wait is my head really that big. Uh, that might actually be the lens. Hey Bobby, what are you shooting on right now? Sure enough, it was kind of a wide lens. We’re in a small space so I understand that choice. But I asked Bobby to use a different lens cause I noticed like the slightest kind of warping in my body. Um, and because Bobby is awesome, he was like, yes, absolutely right away, but I wouldn’t have known to ask that necessarily if I hadn’t gotten so comfortable with seeing myself on camera at number one. And number two, um, getting used to what certain lenses do to the body. So that was cool.   Um, also cool. I came across my first professional headshots ever. So these must have been taken in 2005, like early 2005. Um, yes I did laugh at them and yes I did ask what were you thinking? And I sit in kind of a mean way at the moment, but after a little bit more digging on the, what were you thinking? Question. I really believe that I was thinking do it right. Just be the right thing. Just do this right. And I’m actually very proud of that. My efforts to do the right thing or to at least not be wrong, were not for nothing. My pursuit of right got me very far. It got me here. Here is well connected, supported, inspired. Here’s a place where I have the perspective to think of headshots as an opportunity to play and make versus the do or die moment where my livelihood is on the line.  So thanks past self for really trying to do it right and trying to be right. However, I’ve got to say the girl in those photos does not look like she’s having fun. So while the thought I’m going to do it right, I’m going to be right, might’ve served me well in the career in the long run today instead of thinking do it right, be right, I was thinking do it bright and be yourself. Just be yourself. It was also nice to remember that head shots are just pixels on a screen or ink on a piece of paper. That brought me comfort to knowing that I am much more than pixels. I am much more than ink and when I believe that the camera seems to capture that. I was also very comforted by the thought that these don’t have to be the best headshots ever taken ever by man or woman or space alien.  These are just the head shots that I am taking today with this color hair in this body in this moment and that felt really, really good. So maybe someday I’ll look back and laugh at these two and that’s okay. But until that moment I’ll be very proud and I’ll celebrate that.

This was an awesome day where I got to dress up and make stuff with my friends for I might add less than a thousand dollars. I shot five looks in three locations in six hours and I could absolutely not have done that without a killer team. Top of that list of course is the man that woke me up with kisses. Next step is the one and only Gia Harris who did my makeup on this series of head shots and maybe every single other in my life at least in the last 10 years. Right. Gia man, she is my dear friend.  She is a Saint. She was the first to arrive and she was the last to go home and she did a phenomenal job. Then of course there is mr Bobby Dancones, the sweet and Swift photographer. I have almost all of my files from him already. Holy smokes. Thank you Bobby. And then of course Mr. Taylor James. He has a great eye and incredible imagination and more prom dresses than any woman that I know. He is a master behind and in front of the camera. And I would also say he is a monster behind the wheel of a Prius. Thanks Taylor James!

Well, there you have it guys. A look inside my head on headshot day, I felt beautiful. I felt powerful. I felt silly. I felt sexy. I was excited literally all day long.  And I hope that you feel all of those things today and one sure fire way of feeling that is to think you get to go play, dress up and make stuff with your friends almost anytime. Literally. So go get out there, do it. And while you’re at it, keep it funky. Hey, sneak attack with the tagline. Thank you everybody for listening. I’ll talk to you next week. I literally just waved at my microphone. Great. Okay. Bye. 

Ep. #5 Is Fear Keeping You Alive, or Eating You Alive?

Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Ep. #5 Is Fear Keeping You Alive, or Eating You Alive?
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Episode #5 is here and it’s frighteningly good. This episode digs into #FEAR; The kind that keeps you alive and the other kind that keeps you from LIVING!  Give a listen and cut the ties to fear that are holding you back.

Show Notes:

Quick Links and Further Readings

The Power Of Vulnerability – Brené Brown

The Call to Courage – Brené Brown

Daring Grately – Brené Brown

Failing Your Way to Success

How To Be A Successful Failure

Gift of Fear – Gavin de Becker

Brooke Castillo’s Thought Model

The Farwell – Akwafina Movie

Episode Transcript

Intro: This is words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers like you get the information and inspiration you need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host, master mover, Dana Wilson, and if you’re someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artists story, then sit tight. But don’t stop moving because you’re in the right place.

DANA:   00:33    Hello and hello. Welcome back to the podcast. This is episode five. Can you believe it? Episode five already. I’m stoked. Thank you so much for joining me. Thank you for tagging me for communicating with me on the socials. Um, a lot of real creative types popping up there. So hip, hip, hooray for all my daily doers. Um, if you are not daily making jump back and listen to episode one, very inspiring, exciting stuff back there. I am daily doing in some way, shape or form working on this podcast. Whoa, podcasts are way more work than I thought, but I’m learning so much about myself. The things that I know, the things that I don’t know, the way that I speak. I’m also learning about, for example, right now how to transcribe my episodes and leave you guys all the awesome show notes so that will now be available to you on all previous episodes as well as this one. If you are listening via Apple podcasts, you click the three little dots in the top right corner, you’ll be able to access shownotes from there. If you are not listening on Apple podcasts, go directly to my website, Thedanawilson.Com/Podcasts and you’ll have all my show notes available there.   

Cool, so if you are digging the podcast, I would love if you would re, ha, reeve a leview you love if you would reeve a leview, or leave a review, whichever suits your fancy. The more reviewed a podcast is, the easier it is to find and I really would love for all our creative types to be able to find these episodes easily. Sharing is caring. Oh, speaking of caring, quick shout out to my mom for calling me up and calling me out on a made up word that I used last week in episode four. She said de-motivated is not a word. Also super shout out to Google for letting me know that I did not make up a word. It turns out de-motivated is a word. Um, unmotivated means that one being lacks motivation. De motivated means that motivation has been taken. Right. That distinction. Very impressive. Also, I had no idea of the difference of those two. I think I really meant unmotivated. De-motivated came out. Google backed me up. Thanks anyways, mom, really appreciate you having my, uh, best interest in mind and really looking out for my grammar. Hmm. Um, let’s see. In this past week I worked on another music video. I taught a great class at movement. Lifestyle. Had so much fun. If you are listening to this on the day of its release, which is Wednesday, I’ll be teaching again this Friday, which is January… Wait for it. Wait for it. 31st, last day of the month. Oh my gosh.  It’s going really fast. Is it just me or is that everyone? Gosh, man. Um, so this past week in my class, we channeled what it means to be attractive. Um, which reminded me of last week’s episode talking about our dancing birds and mating dances and all sorts of fun stuff, but it was really, really challenging to have like Heidi Klum in the mind, but a Muppet or a Fraggle in the body. So much fun. Um, I don’t know if we’ll do that again this week, but I do know that we will have fun again this week. So if you’re in LA, stop by movement lifestyle, I will be teaching at 1130. Killer. Um, let me think. Any other updates? Oh, big one. The nails are off. I got acrylic nails for a job. I don’t remember what episode I talked about this and, but I got my acrylic nails removed. The first thing I did was take out my contacts because I couldn’t do that cause they were too long and Oh my gosh, that felt so good. For all my optometrists out there, please don’t worry, I do have the contacts that are the type that you’re supposedly allowed to sleep in. But Whoa, I had slept in my context for many, many nights. Eyes feel great. Fingers feel great. I feel great in general, crushing it at 2020 again this week. 

Today, However, I want to talk about a specific thing that might be keeping you from crushing it in 2020 and that is fear. Yes, good old fashioned fear. Insert the dramatic Halloween scream right there, which turns out, actually this is an aside, I found out recently that the director of photography from In the Heights, the film that I worked on over the summer last year, Alice Brooks is her name is the scream from scream.  

That’s Alice’s scream. That’s the scream that I want to put in my podcast right now, when I say this episode’s about fear. So now, you know. 

Moving on a couple of weeks ago, I put out a survey on Instagram. Thank you so much for responding by the way, those of you that, that hollered back. Um, I asked what scares you, what are you afraid of? And it was very cool to take a look at my responses. I’ve basically sorted this out. I’ve determined that there are two types of fear, the kind of fear that keeps you alive and the kind of fear that eats you alive. The first one being of course the animal instinct that gives you the freeze, fight or flight response. And then the other one is literally everything else. So let’s talk very quickly about the fear that keeps you alive. Our animal instinct fear has really served us well.  It’s helped us get to the point where most of us are not afraid for our lives on a daily basis. 

Do you remember the game, the Oregon trail, by the way, speaking of fear for your life, it was a computer game that taught us about the early settlers and all of the ways that you can die in the 18 hundreds for example, your wagon might break an axle and you might have to walk yourself to death or you might get dysentery or cholera. Now that is some really scary stuff. Even before that time though, you might’ve been afraid of being trampled in a stampede or you might’ve been afraid that your child might be eaten by a saber tooth tiger. That stuff right there. That is real fear. Now, there’s still a lot of real danger in the modern world. It’s just that our stimuli have changed. We don’t have saber tooth tigers or wagons anymore, which is kind of a shame cause wagons are darn cute. So next week I’m going to talk about one of my favorite books called the gift of fear. And we’ll talk about reading subtle signals in our modern everyday life that could really save your tail. That was an animal instinct pun. Um, especially if you live in Hollywood or if you’re a person that tours frequently

But for today we’re going to discuss in depth the kind of fears that eat you alive or what I referred to in episode 0.5 with my friend Nick Drago as creative fears. So these are the fears that are not really life threatening, but I was shocked that when I put my survey out to Instagram, like 99% of the replies I got were these type of fears. So that’s what we’re going to dig into today. Buckle up, let’s go.  

 8:39 Okay, thanks again for submitting your responses about things that you are afraid of. Please don’t be afraid right now. I’m not going to call anybody out by name. I’m going to actually kind of group some fears together based on a few trends that I noticed. So two things in particular. Almost every response fell under one or both of these two umbrellas. Those two umbrellas are judgment and failure. So I’m thinking if we can tackle these two little guys, we can step into some real big power. Now, last week I introduced Brooke Castillo’s thought model and I’m going to really quickly review on that. But if you haven’t listened to episode four, I really encourage you to do that. The model starts with a circumstance which is a neutral fact about your life. It is provable. It is uncontestable incontestable? Which one is it? Mom, call me.  Circumstances trigger your thoughts. Thoughts are just sentences in your head, which you actually can control. Thanks to your prefrontal cortex. More science words. Thoughts cause your feelings, which are sensations in your body. And those feelings lead to actions, which are what you do or don’t do with your body. And your actions create results, which are always proof of your initial thought. So it’s really important that we choose our thoughts wisely. Okay, so on the subject of fear, I’m not encouraging you to simply not think the thoughts that frighten you. Actually quite the opposite. I’m suggesting that you understand the thoughts that frighten you. I’m suggesting that you get to the core of them. I’m betting that at the core of these fears, you’re probably wrestling with your thoughts about judgment and or failure. And I’m telling you right now that the tiny seed inside the core of the big, big fear is just a feeling, probably an unwanted feeling.  So you see, fear is actually the avoidance of unwanted feelings. It’s your body and your mind’s way of keeping you from experiencing unwanted stuff. But thoughts create your feelings and we get to choose our thoughts. So what if we choose thoughts that lead us in the direction of wanted feelings? One of my favorite ways to illustrate this. There’s a little exercise in metacognition or thinking about thinking, if you’re funky.

 I’d like you to invite an imaginary friend to sit down beside you, preferably a very curious friend, somebody who’s very compassionate, but asks questions that have five-year-old would ask. Maybe this imaginary friend is a five-year-old. They ask a lot of questions like, why? And so what if or what does that even mean? So this imaginary young person is going to ask me tons of questions about my thoughts, and I’m going to rattle off answers as if I know everything.  And once a feeling shows up in the answer, then I’ll know that we’ve gotten to the root of the issue. Let’s start with a a fear of being injured. So if I have a child sitting next to me and I say, “Man, little one, little nugget I am, I’m afraid of being injured.” And that child might say, “why?” And I might say, “because then I won’t be able to do the thing that I love.” And they might say, “why?” And I’ll say, “because I’ll be in pain, if not physically then mentally for sure.” And they might say, “why?” And I might say, “because dance is a part of who I am without it, who am I?” And they might say, “I dunno who are you?” And then I might say, “well, I am an almighty dancer and I can do a unnatural things and I can do anything. And I am indestructable, except for when I’m injured, when I’m injured, I feel mortal and I prefer to feel indestructable.” Okay, ding, ding, ding. There were the feelings that just showed up. When I’m injured, I feel mortal, but I prefer to feel indestructable. So there’s my key feelings there. I’m actually afraid of being injured because I prefer to feel indestructable. Well what if you could be injured and still feel indestructable?  Would you then have the same fear of becoming injured? 

Okay, let’s take a look at a different fear. “I’m afraid my work will be bad.” The child might say to that “why?” And I might say, “because that might mean that I don’t know what I’m doing.” and then that child might say, “when I don’t know something and I ask about it, my teacher calls it learning. Or sometimes when I’m playing, I don’t really know what I’m doing and that can be really, really fun. So what’s wrong with not knowing what you’re doing?”  I might say to that, “well, I really like to play too, but I don’t like feeling unskilled. “ Aha. Here’s my feeling. I’m afraid my work will be bad because I don’t like to feel not good at something. Well, how do you feel about yourself after you’ve learned something really difficult or how do you feel about yourself while you’re playing? Is it possible that you might not be afraid of making bad work if you thought of your work as play, if you thought of it as learning. 

All right, how about this one? “I’m afraid people won’t understand me or won’t get the work. I’m afraid they’ll think I’m bad or stupid.” Kid might say “why?” And I say, if feeling very honest “because I want people to like me. I want people to relate to my work. I want them to think I’m great” and that kid might say, “so what if they don’t?” And then I would probably get real real with myself and I would say, “well then I would feel unwanted. I would feel uncool and I prefer to feel cool. I want to feel appreciated.” Okay, great. So it’s not that I’m afraid of people not understanding me, it’s that I want to avoid feeling unappreciated. Well, what if you felt cool and wanted and appreciated no matter what other people thought of your work? Would the fear still be there? I’m thinking, no.

Okay, here’s one more. What if I told the kid the very, very smart kid, by the way, “’i’m afraid of going to auditions.” Kid might say, “why?” And I’d say, “well, I don’t completely love putting my all on the line in front of hundreds of judgy eyeballs, including a couple pairs of eyeballs that ultimately decide if I will fail or succeed in getting this job or not.” And then the kid might say with all of his wisdom and experience, “isn’t that what being a dancer is putting your all on display for a bunch of eyeballs to look at?”  That smart little sucker. Got me. All right. I’d probably say fine. “Smart little sucker. You got me  I guess it’s not the audition that I’m afraid of. It’s getting cut.” The kid might say “with a knife?!” and I’d be like, “no, we use the word cut as another word for being dismissed or rejected and I guess it feels pretty crappy to be rejected.” Ding, ding, ding. We have a feeling there. Feeling rejected. Well, what if you could go to an audition and not feel rejected no matter what? What if instead of feeling rejected, you felt genuinely sorry for those poor sons of guns that don’t get to work with you? Like what if? What if getting cut actually felt like a surprise birthday party for you? Like what if everyone in the room erupted in applause and there was confetti and streamers and cake every time you got cut, would you still be afraid of going to auditions? Mm. Probably not. I would go all the time.  

Now if you’re like me, you might be getting a little suspicious right around now. Like all of this power of positive thinking stuff. Is there really any grit to it? Like is it real? I remember specifically when that book, the secret became very popular. I had some big questions about that. Like does taping a dollar bill to my ceiling and looking at it in the morning and at night before I go to bed really turn me into a millionaire. 

Now, I could be wrong here, but I highly, highly doubt that this work is a bit different. It’s more systematic and it requires action, some effort and a lot of consciousness. So let’s do that work. Let’s put in a little effort and let’s get real thoughtful about judgment and failure.  

Okay. What is judgment? The internet says and the internet knows that judgment is the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions. Well, that doesn’t sound so bad actually. I kind of loved the idea of being a person that can make considered decisions or sensible conclusions. I wish we could just leave it at that. But the internet also offers an alternative definition and that is misfortune or calamity viewed as a divine punishment. Huge, huge range there. How did we go from sensible conclusions to divine punishment? I don’t know exactly, but considering that judgment is part of what’s kept us humans around for so long, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, thankfully. I’m going to opt to think of judgment as the first definition. I’m already hard enough on myself as it is I don’t need to think of everyone else in the world is passing divine punishment on me. Gosh, that’s terrifying. All right, so that’s the what of judgment. Now let’s talk about the who. Who gets to pass judgment? Well, one of two people. You or someone else. So let’s talk about judgment from others. At least in dance, I’ll speak specifically for dance. There is no bar exam, there’s no MCAT. There is no one institution that says, all right, you’re good, you’re a dancer, you pass, go on, go dance, go make money doing dance. And I actually think that’s a great thing. I have no student loans because of that thing, and that means that everyone gets to dance even if they can’t afford to go to dance school or take dance test. But here’s where that gets a little bit tricky. In the absence of an almighty dance deity, that gets to click a price tag on us and deem us valuable. It can sometimes feel easier for our minds to give power to literally anyone else instead of keeping it for ourselves.  In other words, instead of saying, I’m great and I know that I’m just getting better, we say, ah, I don’t know if I’m any good. What do you think world? See, I think that seeking validation is not so uncommon. It’s human and I think it’s a result of how we were all raised, but what’s unique to dancers and people making art, especially in entertainment, is that we and our work stand at the epicenter of our pop culture’s screen addiction and fascination with view counts and clicks and engagement. It can be really challenging to separate popular opinion from your opinion. And that can be dangerous because then you have a bunch of people who don’t deeply understand the work determining its value. Yikes. So does having a lot of likes mean that something is good? No. Does having very few likes mean that something is bad? No. So what does make something good or bad? Your thoughts about it. That’s what. And that brings us to your self judgment, which can be a tough one. So I’m going to call on the old thought model.  

If the circumstance is my work and the thought is people will think my work is bad or stupid or somebody’s work will definitely be better. Then the feeling that that thought creates is disempowered. Checking in mom, is that a word? The action that comes as a result of feeling disempowered is actually inaction. You don’t make work. So the result is no work, which proves the original thought is correct. Somebody else’s work is better than your work on a technicality because your work doesn’t exist. So here’s the new model with a little bit of flexing of my prefrontal cortex muscles. I know your brain is not a muscle. I just, it’s an analogy. All right, so the circumstance is still my work, but what if my thought about my work is that I am a person with the tools and determination to make the work that I love. That thought makes me feel empowered, that thought makes me feel motivated and feeling motivated, sends me into action. That action is making work. A lot of it and probably failing a bit along the way. And the result then is that I will have work that I love and I’ll have stronger tools and determination to make even more of it. See, the result is proof of that first thought.  

Now here’s something I didn’t touch on much in the last episode and that is that your results are really just yours. In other words, you won’t have a result like everyone loves my work because you can’t control other people’s thoughts, which I think is a great thing by the way. All right, let’s touch on failure now. What is failure? Well, again, I turned to the internet and the internet says failure is the lack of success. Now to avoid going down an endless pit of defining, defining words, I’m going to skip success, which we’ll talk about in another podcast and I’m going to jump straight to the second definition, of failure, which I really, really like by the way. The internet says that failure is the omission of expected or required action. See, it’s all, it’s not this death, destruction, awful, the worst. It’s just the lack of, or the omission of expected or required action. To me, it’s just simply missing the mark. So some people are so afraid of missing the Mark that they never even shoot. For example, people who would love to become a dancer someday, but they don’t take class because they’re afraid they won’t be good. You know, they’ll miss the mark of greatness so they don’t go. Some people are afraid of missing so big that they set the mark real low, like you know, keeping it real safe, freestyling at a nightclub or lounge or party, but never entering a freestyle battle.  

Did you hear that? That was me raising my hand. Oh, failure.  There is one other way that a lot of us choose to avoid failure. That’s kind of special and that is self sabotage. I say that it’s special because this is a type of avoiding unwanted feelings that actually feels really good, at least in the moment. And then it sneaks up and gets you. Here’s some examples, my personal favorite procrastination, putting things off for later so that you can feel good now. My mom has a famous saying, shout out again mom, love you. Uh, she says, why do today, what you can do tomorrow and why do tomorrow what you can avoid doing all together. Man, mom, you are a professional procrastinator. Here’s another one, another form of self sabotage and that’s drinking or self-medicating and other ways that might seem really harmless or even helpful to an extent in that moment, but man, they can lead straight into the arms of some really undesirable results. Another one might be lying or faking sick, or here’s one that you might not expect. Overworking is total self sabotage the whole time you’re thinking, look at me crush this. I am crushing it. I can totally work until 4:00 AM every night and then wake up at six and then go to the gym and, and and, and, and until you exhaust yourself to the point of injury or inefficiency. Self-sabotage is a sticky one and it deserves a podcast all to itself. So let’s jump back to failure. 

There is a metric ton of research and a boatload of really great talks about failure and specifically failure and its relationship to success. I’ll link to a few of my favorites on my website under the show notes for episode five. Just go to theDanawilson.com/podcasts and click on episode five to get all that good stuff. But for now I want to just point out a couple of my favorite thoughts about failure. Here’s a real popular one. The idea that the more you fail, the more you will succeed. I really love that and I like to think about if there were a number, like what if you knew that exactly 25 fails equals one win. Like a really big win. I bet you’d be down to fail 25 times. If you knew that right after that you would get your big win. Well, I also think that it’d probably take way less than 25 fails to get a win. So just jump in and find out. Another one of my favorites is this, and it’s a quote, and I don’t know who to credit for this quote. ***(post edit) this quote is by Fritz Perls, MD, the psychiatrist and founder of Gestalt Therapy.** So if you do, please let me know. The saying is, “The only difference between fear and excitement, is breath.” Consider that people actually pay money to see scary movies and go to haunted houses and go on roller coasters.  

In a way, fear has been rebranded in our minds as fun. So take a deep breath, put both arms up and scream your whole way to that audition. You’re going to have a ball at some point in there for even just the second. You’re going to have fun, I promise. Oh, here’s another quote and I do know who wrote this one. It’s from the movie the Farewell which is written and directed by Lulu Wong starring Akwafina. And it is one of my favorite movies of 2019 please, please see it. Akwafina’s character’s, mom, whose name I’m blanking on at this particular moment, says, “Chinese people have a saying. When people get cancer, they die. It’s not the cancer that kills them. It’s the fear.” Please go see the farewell so that you understand this powerful context, and also, please don’t let your fears eat you alive. Watch over them with the curiosity and compassion of a young child. Get to the root of them and rewrite them and keep it funky. hahahaha, How come I can’t say that without laughing. Oh, it feels good to laugh. That was a serious one. Whoa, boy. All right, everybody. If you’re digging, what you’re hearing, please leave a review. Send me a message on Instagram or a comment on the website, theDanawilson.com/podcasts and I will talk to you next week. Bye. 

Ep. #3 Dance Lessons are Life Lessons with Chloe Arnold

Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Ep. #3 Dance Lessons are Life Lessons with Chloe Arnold
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If knowledge is power… this episode is a super hero! I talk to Emmy nominated choreographer and master teacher, Chloe Arnold, about the education that didn’t only land her at the top of the industry.. it taught her to elevate her community along with her. If you’re looking for the motivation to take your training to the next level, this episode is for you

Show Notes:

Quick Links:

Follow Chloe: Website, Instagram, Youtube

Transcript:

Intro: This is words that move me. The podcast were movers and shakers like you get the information and inspiration you need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host, master mover, Dana Wilson, and if you’re someone that loves to learn, laugh, and is looking to rewrite the starving artists story, then sit tight. But don’t stop moving because you’re in the right place.  

Dana: Hi there. I am so excited that you’re joining me. Today is a big, big day. It is a great day. It is a super day. I’d like to dig right in, but first a word from our sponsors. No sponsors, just my words. So let’s dig in. We start with a story. It is a true story. Once upon a five years ago, I was teaching a dance class, big old dance class. Picture, a hotel ballroom with low pile carpet and one of those wooden like wedding dance floors right in the middle of it. Now add about 100 to 125 dancers. Oh, and those dancers are between 7 and 10 years old. Oh yes. I know what you’re thinking. That’s a lot of 7 to 10 year olds. I agree and I think that life is like a ballroom full of 7 to 10 year olds. You never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes it’s cartwheels. Sometimes it’s a deeply insightful conversation and sometimes it’s a pants pee. You really never know. Now there’s loud music. We’re in the thick of it. We’re sweating, we’re dancing. It’s going well. Everybody’s hitting the steps, which is dance talk by the way, for doing the steps well, and there’s maybe like 20 minutes left of class. It’s usually around this time that I like to throw a little curve ball, not an actual curve ball. Of course, I’m not a sports type. This is basically the point of the class where I like to shift the focus to being more about a verbal communication. So I decided to ask the room a question and I’m expecting a few brave souls to raise their hand and answer, Oh no, no, not this group. A sea of tiny arms and hands sprout up. I swear nearly every person in the room raised their hand or both hands in some cases.  

You know it’s very funny actually. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they raise their hand. Think about it and observe next time. Okay, so cut to the chase. I asked the room of seven to 10 year olds, mind you, “why do you dance?” And these are some of the answers that I got back. Okay. Anonymous dancling number one says “because I can’t not dance” and I thought, Hmm, I’m impressed. I would go to your birthday party. Anonymous dancling number two says, “because it’s how I choose to express myself.” Also a good call. I love that you’re 7 to 10 years old and you have a number of ways that you can express yourself. This is just one of them. Your chosen way to express yourself. This is great. I’m thinking I can’t get enough. Who’s next? And a young danceling catches my eye. She’s wearing thick glasses and I can’t remember what color, orange maybe. I remember looking at her and thinking, Oh, you’re little miss sunshine. I cannot wait to hear what you have to say. So I call on little miss sunshine and she says, “because dance lessons are life lessons.” And at this point I’m blown away. I’m speechless because she’s right or her mom was right or her PR coach was right, but something about her delivery and the slight veil of steam on the inside of her glasses where it rested on her cheeks. Something told me those were her words and she could not be more right. Dance lessons are life lessons. Now the message here is not for everyone to go and enroll in dance class so that they can start kicking butt at life. Although that would be great for my industry. The message is actually that if you can master the art of learning, you can master anything.  

Now, not every one of my students will grow up to be a professional dancer or choreographer, but they will grow up to be something special because they have a place to practice. Things like taking direction, giving direction, and my personal favorite changing direction. And that’s even on top of things like managing a schedule, articulating complex thoughts and feelings and of course sewing. That’s right. Point shoes. Don’t come with the ribbons on them. You have to do that yourself. Today’s guest has more to say about tap shoes than point shoes, and she’s also going to tell us about how her education shaped her life. Chloe Arnold is an Emmy nominated choreographer, master teacher, entrepreneur, co-creator of the globally famous syncopated ladies, and she’s a dear friend of mine. I’m so lucky. It’s insane. Chloe is a bonafide master learner and I am thrilled to get to learn from her. I can’t think of anyone that’s a bigger advocate for dance and she’s got an Ivy league education to boot. I hope you enjoy and learn a boatload from this conversation with Chloe Arnold. 

Dana: Holy smokes. Um, introduce yourself. 

Chloe: Well, hello everybody. I am so excited to be on your podcast. Dana Wilson. Um, who am I? Well, I am a professional tap dancer, entrepreneur, choreographer. Um, I created a company called syncopated ladies, which is an all female tap dancing band with a mission to bring tap dance to pop culture in a respectful and uplifting way. I also choreograph television. I was recently nominated for an Emmy for the  Late, Late Show with James Cordon. Um, I’ve been working with them for about five years. I’ve choreographed over 50 episodes of television now. And um, my work has been seen online by about 50 million people, uh, from the work that I’ve created. So I’m a content creator and, um, one of my, one of my pinnacle moments and turning points for me was, uh, when Beyonce shared my work and hired me to bring syncopated ladies, um, to represent her. And I am a protege of Debbie Allen and that’s where I learned almost all of the lessons that I’ve applied to my life as a dancer and a business woman entrepreneur.  

Oh. So outside of the school of Debbie Allen, you are also a Columbia graduate. 

Oh yes

So I have this theory that you don’t have to be book smart or even necessarily street smart to be a great dancer, but it’s not a coincidence that the best dancers are also very intelligent. I would love to hear if you could pinpoint the qualities that you gained from your dance training that carried over into helping you through your Columbia days. And also what Ivy league lessons you learned that crossover into making you such a successful dance unit.  

Woo. Okay. So my dance training was quite unique from the standpoint. Well, it started very normal where I was in a strip mall studio and I took ballet, tap, jazz. But my mom recognized that the training wasn’t really, really good. Um, and she had us re choreograph a tap duo that I was a part of. She was like, this is not good. We need to go figure this out. And she sent us to our friend, my friend, my partner’s basement and left us. That’s the interesting thing. She didn’t like come and have oversight. No, she’s like, go figure it out. So, so that was my first experience with a couple of things. One, understanding what it is to have a quality education, right? So understanding when you don’t have someone that is, um, insisting upon your excellence that you have to, you know, look inside yourself and find it and level up yourself.  Right. And so that was a really great lesson and I remember that the teacher ended up letting us keep it because it was good, but that was also the turning point in my mom saying, okay, we need to find somewhere else. But also recognizing that I had this love for tap. So she looked into the newspapers, the trades, well not the trades, they were no trades, the newspaper regular, it’s called the city paper, DC and there happened to be an audition for a youth tap company. And so I went to that youth tap company audition and I got into the company on probation. So I had three months to improve as a tap dancer or I would be out. So I was on probation, and I did improve. And um, and I think that it was wonderful for me to have that deadline because who was practicing? I was in the kitchen when my tap shoes.

In the everywhere. 

Everywhere. Yes. But I re I remember the kitchen the most because that’s where, you know, the loudest part of the house. Right. So, um, and but no, absolutely under my desk in school, everywhere that I could possibly at the bus stop, et cetera, et cetera. So it was great because at a young age, uh, I was responsible for the outcome of my education. So it wasn’t like, Oh my mom can just pay and I’ll get it. If I didn’t level up. It doesn’t matter whether you pay or not, you’re not in it. So that was really great. Then I was in that program and uh, there was this big audition coming to town for a tap show and the teacher told me that I wasn’t ready yet for that big audition. So this is another example where my mom was like, you don’t limit what you’re capable of.  You go try. If it doesn’t work out, that’s fine, but you’re not going to not go. So she sent me against the advice of the director. I ended up getting the audition and I was the youngest kid. Again, I wasn’t, wasn’t necessarily at the level, but you know, people we know as teachers you feel someone’s spirit and the grit. And so that’s what I really learned is through that experience is you can’t let other people set the ceilings for your success or your potential. Even if they love you, even if they’re nice to you, even if you know they believe in you to a certain extent. There are things that you can imagine for yourself that are just far beyond what someone can know is in your imagination. So at a very young age, I learned this idea that there are no ceilings and even if I’m not good enough yet, which I wasn’t and I knew that, that I, I have the ability to practice to become better and I just need an opportunity to go and try. Yeah. So then I had a, there was an African American woman in DC who had been watching me over these years and she approached mom and said, I really think I can do something for your daughter. I would like for her to come work with me. And in actuality, her technique was not necessarily as good as the technique of the program I was in. But my mom again had like a, a vision for like, I think this woman is going to see her in a different way and pull her potential out. And that’s exactly what happened. So I went to this woman, she actually mandated that if we were going to tap, we had to take ballet, modern and jazz, cause she had been on Broadway. So she was like, you’re not going to just be over here just tap dancing by itself. You have to augment, learn as much as you can and it’ll all work symbiotically together. So that was another experience of just because you love one thing, it does not make it the exclusive thing you should learn about. Right. So diverse education of every genre of everything you can do, the more you can learn, the more you’re empowered. So that was an incredible lesson because then it came to save me when I auditioned for my mentor, Debbie Allen and I went in because there was a tap role. So I went in like, Oh am I get this tap role? And I went to the tap audition and Debbie said, that’s great. She loved the tap. She said now go put your jazz shoes on. And that was the big gulp moment. But if I hadn’t had that teacher who had made me diversify, I wouldn’t have known what I was doing and I wasn’t the best again. But I was able to, you know, bring a fire and I was able to get the tap duo role at the show and also do the other genres.

And also choreograph 50 episodes of James Cordon, which was definitely not exclusively tap. 

No, I only for James cordon, we’ve only done tap on two episodes. 

There you have it. 

And so God bless Debbie Allen and my teacher Toni L’ombre for expanding my education because without that greater knowledge I wouldn’t be able to, to have the freedom of expression that I have right now. I learned through all of these and I have to say, in my case, very empowered women. That education will always come to save you in the long run, like your training and education. You don’t know when, you don’t know how, but you will one day hit a roadblock and the things that you learned somewhere from your, your childhood to through college, through your adult life. There will be a lesson in there that will help you surpass that obstacle.  

Okay, I’m going to pause right there because there is a lot of greatness to sink our teeth into. Firstly, I love how much emphasis Chloe puts on quality training. It’s good to have a sense of when you are or when you aren’t getting what you need, but what I really love is the way that she talks about improving even without someone else insisting on your success because to an extent we can’t always choose who our teachers are, but we can choose what kind of student we are and that is what really determines our progress. Chloe was and still is the type of student that puts in time and effort on her own. Even without the supervision or encouragement from others. She also takes big leaps even before others would say she is quote “ready” and I think there’s a lot to be said for that.  I really love the way that she talks about not letting other people, even the people that love you, set the ceiling for your success and what’s possible for you. I really believe that your vision for yourself can be far beyond what others could ever have imagined for you and dreaming that big can be uncomfortable. I’m still getting better at it myself. It takes practice and patience. I’m really interested in the power of goal setting and I’m excited to dig into that in future podcasts. Now, before we dig back in with Chloe, I want to add some thoughts about the importance of diverse training in Chloe’s story. She talks about auditioning for Debbie Allen and the way that her jazz skills came in handy in support of her tap skills and that may have been what tipped the scale in her getting that job. Now, like Chloe, I grew up in a program that required training in many styles.  I was what you would call a “Jack of all and a master of none.” I wasn’t the best at any one style, but I genuinely loved elements of all of them. When I first started auditioning for professional work in Los Angeles, I remember being frustrated because it seemed like all anybody ever wanted was a specialist. They wanted the sharpest of sharp jazz dancers or the most technically flawless ballerinas or the Illest of the illest B-boys, or the sexiest of the sexy ladies. You get the just what I wish somebody had told me then was that by nurturing my diverse training and indulging in other genres, even outside of dance, like acting or mine for example, I’d become not only the best, but the only person quite like me. Let’s jump back in with Chloe and find out more about what makes her so singular.  

In my research. Chloe, I discovered that you were president of your high school all four years, so I’m wondering, have you always loved school or was there something else driving you to the top in terms of education? 

Okay. I’ve always loved school. I’ve always, I’m an overachiever and I think it’s fun. So it’s not like over achiever because I need somebody else’s accolade. I derive pleasure from hard work and like achievement. So from, I was captain of the patrols in fifth grade. Okay. That’s the safety patrols to make sure that everybody in school was A-okay. Like I’ve always, and I’ve ran a campaign at a sash and I had a badge and it’s the captain on it and um, and he had to learn how to like fold your belt. Anyway, I took great pride in it all. I’ve always loved leading and I’ve always been the um, like anti bully campaigner.  So I was always very popular and I, and I liked using my popularity to create equity and that is what I still do right now. I want to make people feel good. And so I think it started at a very young age and then.. And then again in high school, his class president LOL. I was very aware and that was very, I stood up for people. I just stood up for the kids and because I was quote unquote cool, I was able to get the cool kids to be nicer cause I was a nerd. I was a cool nerd. So I was living in both worlds. And as the seeing both sides and also like for the kids that were struggling, a lot of the younger like underclassmen, I would like make incentives cause I, I would be like, I’ll take you to lunch, mind you, like look at a $2 lunch if you get on the honor roll.   And so we’re like, you know, try to use my leadership roles to affect a change. And so now with like syncopated ladies, we just perform for example in, um, Folsom state prison. But the way we were brought there is because the work we created online and we, they knew we had choreographies and pieces of work that could speak to the inmates and give them hope and um, inspiration. And fortunately that’s what happened. And we got so many beautiful messages. For example, one of the inmates said it was the first time in 20 years that he felt free. And so for me, like that’s how education and empowerment come together cause I studied filmmaking at Columbia and I knew going in I was like, I’m going to put tap dance and dance on film and television and that’s how I’m going to change the world.

If your history is any indication of what’s to come, then I’d say you will be changing the world. 

Thanks Dana Wilson. Thank you so much. We’ll Do it together. 

Yeah.  Ah, thank you so much. You’re an inspiration. Alright, in Chloe’s story, her mom always saw great things for her and several other people stepped into the picture because they saw her potential. That’s not a tremendously uncommon narrative, but what is unique and most appealing to me about Chloe’s story is that the guidance and generosity extended by others was not only matched but exceeded by her appetite for hard work and her big picture vision of how she will change the world. My biggest takeaway from this conversation with Chloe is that education and empowerment really go hand in hand and if we’re doing it well, one leads directly to the other. Thank you so much for listening and I will talk to you soon. 

Ep. #1 Doing Daily

Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Ep. #1 Doing Daily
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In this episode, I tell you all about the project that changed my life more than any other. It is my argument for MAKING SOMETHING EVERY DAY, EVEN IF IT SUCKS.

Show Notes:

Transcript:

Intro: This is words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers like you get the information and inspiration you need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host, master mover, Dana Wilson, and if you’re someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artist story, then sit tight, but don’t stop moving because you’re in the right place.  

Dana: Well, hello and thank you for joining me on episode one. This is a big day. This is a very, very exciting day. If you are listening to this on the day of its release, then it is new year’s day. It is also new decades day. Today is January 1st, 2020 and I can’t think of a better day or a better way for that matter to talk to you. You may be hungover right now. I really hope you’re not. You may already be at the gym working on the new year, new you, idea. Either way. It’s a great day for a podcast, specifically this episode, even if it isn’t new year’s day, when you’re listening to this, today’s topic can be the perfect mile marker for a new year starting right now. Today I want to talk to you about the project that changed my life possibly more than any other, and it’s likely not what you would think. It’s not a big movie or a music video or a TV show or a tour. It’s actually much, much smaller, much, much, much, much smaller and in some ways a whole lot bigger. Today, I’m going to tell you about my 365 consecutive days of Instagram videos. Actually, it was closer to 420 I think, but who’s counting? I’m doing this today on episode one because A. I’ll probably reference this project or something that I learned from it a lot down the road. B. a masterclass and commitment is exactly what I’m looking for as I embark on this new year’s challenge, this weekly podcast and C. because I believe that there is genius and tremendous momentum in doing daily. In my 30 years of training to be a professional dancer, nothing prepared me to make art the way that this did. This project unlocked my creative superpowers and now I want to share the key with you.  

So journey back in time with me to March of 2014 Instagram was a very different place at the time. No ads, first of all, and videos were limited to 15 seconds. Do you remember that? Does that sound really short to you? Like does 15 seconds sound impossible? Does it sound stifling? Just as a fun extra credit assignment, go check out 5secondfilms.com you will see five seconds is plenty of time to tell a story. Anyways, 15 seconds might be short to some of you. It might seem terribly long to others, but to other others, 15 seconds was the perfect play place. Adam Carpenter is one of those others. When I found his account, I wasn’t very active on social media. In fact, I was not very active in the digital world period at all. Cameras and film terminology confused me. Computers made me feel like a toddler and occasionally cry like one.  Um, and editing software made me want to pull my hair out. Anyhow, Adam S Carpenters on Instagram did a daily dance. Now I wouldn’t call him a dancer per se. He’s much, much, much more, he’s like dancer meets clown meets Gandalf. He is literally a wizard, a dance wizard. I loved his stuff on Instagram. Loved like sometimes I would lead conversations with, “hi, I’m Dana and have you seen Adam carpenters on Instagram? The guy’s a genius. Check it out.” I would be constantly tagging people in his comments. Um, and I think that’s ultimately how we came to connect. We started talking back and forth in the comments and decided that we should meet and that I should guest star in one of his daily dances. True story. I was so nervous about this day because I did not know if I would be funny or cool enough for Adam S Carpenters. Long story short, we met in a really dirty back alley somewhere in the garment district of LA and there were a bunch of mannequins everywhere, specifically the lower portion of mannequins, a lot of butts. Uh, and of course we did a tiny 15 second dance to baby got back because that’s what you do. I digress. We had a ball and it was really cool talking to him actually and hearing about his little tricks of the trade. Actually one I got to witness in person. We were asked to kindly leave the alley by one of the store owners. Um, and I recall Adam just really casually slipping him a 20 and guy just kind of disappearing. I went back to that alley recently and um, there was a sign up that said no photos, no videos. I think Adam might have started a trend if he didn’t start it, at least he was ahead of it. He did. He made this look so cool and so fun and so doable. And then he really encouraged me to try my own daily dance video challenge. The next day I left for uh, the European leg of my second world tour with Justin Timberlake. Perfect timing. On that day I started posting daily videos and I didn’t miss a day for over a year. Thanks hugely to my husband for the occasional tech support, often, the almost constant tech support. Speaking of tech support, one of the greatest rewards for doing this project was the shift in my understanding of cameras, dance on camera and a video editing workflow. Holy 180! before I started the project, my husband tried teaching me premiere pro and I cried hard at the very beginning of my project I used an iPhone and imovie. Then I got tired of the five transitions and the six fonts that I movie offers.  I’m exaggerating a little. So while on the road with JT, I taught myself Adobe Premier Pro with the help of a site called lynda.com and that’s with a Y.  L- Y- N- D-A hugely recommend, big fan. So thanks to the help of Lynda,  I wound up about as comfortable inside of that editing software as I am inside a dance studio. Eventually I formed a relationship with GoPro and a company called Ricoh that has a 360 degree camera called the theta. Whoa real game changer and I found myself seeking even more from premier pro, so I taught myself a little bit of after effects jump to today. I am up to my ears in cameras and I’m producing my own podcast in Adobe audition. See what I mean? This project changed my life, so thank you. Adam Carpenter. Thank you husband. Thank you Adobe suite and thank you Instagram, which we are going to talk about in depth in later podcasts.  I’ve got a love hate thing going on with that. 

Back to the daily videos. Surely there were days that I didn’t want to do it and I had a plan for that. I had a small backlog that I’d pull from a, yeah, actually that means that there were days when I didn’t make a video and there were also days where I made more than one video. There were also days when I’d wake up stressed and feeling totally awful and completely out of ideas. Then I would go out into the world and see a place that needed to be danced in or a person that needed to be danced with or I’d hear a song that made me want to move and I just plop the camera down, hit record and there you have it. My video of the day, I feel like I should mention by the way, they weren’t all dance videos.  

In fact, I feel like many of them were like bogus commercials. I’ve always really liked commercials. Some people fast forward through them, not me. Often I will fast forward straight through the program, especially if it’s a sports type and just watch the commercials. I love them. I am a product of consumer culture, but this project gave me an appetite to produce and that, Ooh, that is such a gift. Now I’m not saying that everything I made was brilliant. In fact, it often wasn’t. I’d be watching and editing and dreaming of all the ways it could be better. Or sometimes I’d sit with the final result and like hold my head in my hands like, God, this is awful. And that’s kind of the point. It is also my other favorite reward for doing this work and that is the practice of putting the perfectionist in the passenger seat and letting the inner child drive for a little while. Mmm. bad analogy, don’t let kids drive. Let the artist’s drive, let anybody drive except the perfectionist. That’s easier said than done. For many of us, I suffer from a terrible affliction called perfectionism and I know I’m not the only one, especially my fellow dance types. This project taught me that it’s impossible for all of your work to be your best work and it’s also highly unlikely that your early work will be your best work. So relieve yourself of all that extra perfection pressure and get closer to your best work by working every single day, even if that’s just a couple minutes a day. Am I asking you to make an Instagram video everyday? I dunno, maybe I am. Does that excite you? If it does, then go for it. What I am doing is proving that creativity is a renewable resource and anyone can mine it. Even if you consider yourself more of a idea person that struggles with the follow through or if you think of yourself as a type A person that’s really strong on the technical side but has been fooled into thinking that you aren’t the creative type. 

Speaking of creative types, I think it’s really interesting that everyone seems to have a different definition for art. Like what is art? Actually, take a second and answer that for me. Need more time? Now. Ask someone else, the next person you encounter. This is a great challenge. Ask the next person whose path you cross, “what is art?” and I guarantee you they will give you a different answer than the one that you just gave yourself. So okay, people have different definitions of art and people certainly have wildly different ideas about what is good art. Well, I have a different definition of creativity. I believe the word creativity is simply another word for problem solving. Yup. That’s it. Google says the definition is the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of artistic work. Okay. Let me take that one more time. Creativity is the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work. Wow. Okay. We could really rip that apart and ask, well then what is an original idea? Is there really such a thing? And we could have that, What is art? and therefore What is artistic? conversation again, or we could just say that creativity is problem solving and every living human being will be met with problems, I’ll call them challenges every single day. Some of these challenges will be more pressing or demanding than others. For example, squats or global warming and some might be small and seemingly trivial like deciding what to wear or what to have for dinner. Just as there’s a range in magnitude. There’s also a sliding scale of creativity that’s exercised in solving these challenges. My husband and I, for example, could look into the same fridge with the same challenge, Dinner. And I would walk away with some solid food item like an Apple or a broccoli dipped in Greek yogurt, then dipped in almond butter. Don’t judge me. And he’d come out with a three course meal inspired by a specific ingredient or region of a variety of homemade sauces or mustards and probably a cocktail that compliments a flavor profile of the main dish.  He’s always tasting as he goes, tweaking and changing and then finally plating from start to finish. It’s a production, it’s a sight to behold and it is a taste to be tasted. Alternatively, when tasked with the daily challenge of what to wear, he will wear whatever clothing items are clean and closest to his feet when they hit the ground as he gets out of bed and I’ll leave the house usually several hours later prepared with multiple looks selected specifically for their color, shape, size, and texture, which all affects how they make me feel and how they look in motion and how they’ll help me better express myself.

Think about all of the decisions that you make in a day, what you eat, what you wear, how you get around, what you watch, what you listen to. Every time you make a decision, you have an opportunity to flex your creative muscles. The creative muscle can get stronger, but it can also get weaker if you don’t exercise it. So yes, I’m asking you to flex your creative muscles. I’m asking you to problem solve and now your problem is that you have to make something every day. Go and solve it. You could solve it by making a latte, a hot and very thoughtful, artistic and beautiful, well curated latte. Or it could be an eight count or it could be a sweater that you knit, I don’t know, it could be an eight count of choreography about knitting a sweater while you’re drinking a hot, thoughtful latte. And it doesn’t need to be for a year either, or even a month. I’ll admit it. A year is a really long time. A 365 day challenge will change your life, but big changes can still be made in smaller amounts of time. I suggest you choose a length of time that is just barely longer than what you’re comfortable with. Once you have a timeline, pick a challenge. Turn one of your many interests into a daily challenge and remember it doesn’t need to require increasing your expenses. For example, if you’re a foodie, you could make a new recipe or research a new ingredient every day. Fashionistas, you could challenge yourself to build a new look for a friend every day or additional challenge, You could use items that you already have. Actor make a daily monologue every morning. Artist, How about a daily doodle Photographers, photo of the day? You see how this is going and you’ll probably notice that it gets way more exciting when you add a few parameters to your work. For example, movies have to be 15 seconds long. Doodles must be made with non art supplies or photos must be taken with your feet, so on and so forth. The next step, of course, is to share it with the world. Okay? The digital capture or public display are not an essential part of this challenge, but here’s why I’d recommend it. Number one, the simple thought of others looking in on a project helped me stay accountable. Number two, the feedback I’ve received provided really unexpected insights into what moves people. For example, I learned people really love dogs, dogs and babies. If my video had a dog or a baby in them, boom, instant hit. Alternatively, if I wasn’t in the video, a lot less engagement. It’s cool to get that feedback and to get it so quickly. Number three, the real life skills and face to face relationships that come as a result of this challenge are worth more than gold. With these little videos, I attracted the eyeballs of people that I might have never ever come in contact with. Some of these people are my real life heroes.  Some of those heroes. In fact, it became real life friends and collaborators all because of this platform. That is an incredible thing. Number four, if given the opportunity to improve your own life or improve your life while possibly improving the lives of others, wouldn’t you choose? The latter? Sharing really is caring. It’s a cliche. I know it, but I think that there’s truth in it. I also think that creating something every day will change the way you see the world and the way you interact with the things and the people around you. Solving the problem. What am I going to make today? We’ll give you the tools, strength, and confidence to tackle other challenges in your life. So now that you’ve decided on an interesting topic, given yourself a timeline and decided how or if you’ll share it, here’s a little starter kit of tips. 

Number one, keep a list. You’ll be shocked at how fast ideas come once they start flowing and it can actually be really hard to remember them all. You don’t even need to keep them all in one place, but have places that you keep them. Number two, always be rolling. In other words, record everything. Your rehearsals, your scouts, your setups. You never know when genius or magic will strike. In my experience, it usually strikes right after I hit stop. So always be rolling. Number three, be prepared for people to not be as thrilled about your project is you are, especially if your project involves a camera. Not a lot of people are that comfortable around cameras, truly, and I’m not saying that your project needs to be built around making other people comfortable, but it’s good to be aware. Also, be aware that cities and states have different rules about filming in public spaces. So study up and decide when it would be better to ask permission or forgiveness. In my next episode. I’ll talk more about gear production approach and more. But right now I think you have more than enough to get started. I want to hear all about your journey, so be sure to message or tag me at words that move me podcast, All one word, on Instagram. All right, I think that does it. That does it for episode one. Hey, thank you so much for listening. I’ll talk to you soon. *pew pew* It’s amazing. That’s my sign off for this episode. It comes with finger guns  *pew pew* and a little body roll. Bye!