We're a few episodes into the new season of Creative Freedom, and I'm giddy at the overwhelmingly positive response at this season's show. Fingers crossed I don't jinx anything along the way.
Getting to this point wasn't easy. As I alluded to in Episode One this season, I took a LOT of time off. The last show of Season One aired near the end of August. That's almost a year between episodes, and I'm sure that at least one person thought I wasn't coming back.
Well, I'm back with a vengeance, and an upgrade to boot. But not every upgrade happens with ease. In fact, most of the time, there's a desire to upgrade BEFORE you're ready to actually take the plunge. That's what happened to me.
Here's this week's episode to give you the glossy version. Read on below for the juicy details.
Creative Freedom was actually born from a video challenge that Jason Stein and Rachael Albers launched in a facebook group. I knew I wanted to do more video, but I'd been stalling, and the Wisdompreneurs video challenge was a perfectly-timed kick in my pants to get things going. So I did.
But then life happened, as they say, and by August, there was too much on my plate to keep up with a weekly series. So I pulled back, took a hiatus, and spent time trying to figure out what I really wanted to do next.
As a business consultant to creative entrepreneurs, one of the things I teach is to build your business around who you are and what works for you. I thought it fitting to practice what I preach.
It didn't take long for me to decide that I wanted to do another season. I enjoy video, because it's a chance for me to "be on stage" and help people at the same time. But sitting on a yoga ball in my living room didn't leave me feeling like my best self. I wanted better audio for sure, and hopefully a set upgrade. Then, we decided to buy a house, which meant packing up everything and relocating it. So even my makeshift "set" wasn't going to be available for filming.
We moved and, in the process, I thought I was going to get an office - a studio where I could set up and film a show with better production values. I started painting, and sharing my progress on Instagram. It was exciting to watch the process unfold.
And then life happened again, and my teenager moved back in. He needed a room, obviously, which meant the office was a no-go. It's all good. I set up a mini-office in the fireplace room:
For the most part, it works well, and since this photo was taken, I've added another level of shelving (milk crates ROCK!). But it still doesn't give me a viable space in which to record video. In fact, when I do webinars, I often move over by the window, which works for up-close, talking head-style videos, but doesn't give me the ability to be my fun-loving, arm flailing self.
That, and there was simply no room for my fancy lighting set-up. Last January, I invested in softbox studio lighting so I could film better quality videos. They have a small footprint, but they still take up space, and the angle of the roof in the new house doesn't allow me to get the lighting up high enough to be effective.
Cue the violins.
So my friend and mastermind buddy, Pam offered to store my lights at her place. And then, in a stroke of supreme generosity (or madness, I'm still not sure which), she agreed to let me film this season's episodes at her place. It's an entire floor of studio space, with plenty of room for everything I could possibly need. I could bring the Damn Whippersnappers into that space and do a show, it's so huge.
I got way more than I bargained for... in a good way. I wanted to upgrade, sure, but I had no idea the Divine would bless me with something this awesome.
Still, I wasn't ready for it.
The first season of the show was recorded a bit more, um, on-the-fly, shall we say? It was not uncommon to script, film, edit, and upload the video in a single day. But now, I had to develop and coordinate a shooting schedule. That way, I could film multiple episodes in a single day. It would be impossible, not to mention rude, to just show up at Pam's house and say "Hey! I had a great idea for a video today, let me in so I can film it!"
Instead, I had to be more intentional. I developed a slate of episode ideas for the entire season. I think there are about 45 or so topic ideas on the mind map you see here, in various stages of completion.
Then, I had to script and rehearse each episode before filming. I also had to collect my makeup, wardrobe, video and audio equipment, and any props I'd need for filming, since Pam lives a few miles away. I couldn't just run back home if I forgot something. That meant developing a checklist to make sure I always had everything I needed when I got to Pam's for a day of filming.
Once I arrive at Pam's, I've got about five hours to get it all done. Why five hours? Because I have a kid that gets off the school bus and I've got to be home for him! During the summer, I have more flexibility, but I still want to keep my shooting time tight, to keep my costs low. Pam's "doing me a solid" right now, but one day, I may need to rent studio time, and that has a cost.
Just because it's free now doesn't mean it won't cost later. Being efficient always pays off. (Tweet this)
I set up and test all the equipment. It takes about an hour to set up the lights, get the balance right, and test the audio gear. I am a one-man camera crew for the most part, so it's up to me to make sure things work properly. Sometimes the lights are a little too hot, and I might not catch it until after I've filmed everything. Oh well. Next time. #ProgressNotPerfection
Once everything's up and running, I have to make sure my hair, makeup, and wardrobe work well and actually shoot the videos. I wish I could say that every video happens in a single take, but that would be lying. Shooting the end of this episode took me over an hour - so I only filmed three that day.
I can usually shoot 4 episodes per session. Then it takes about 30 minutes to pack everything up and get ready for the drive home. Why five hours? Because I have a kid that gets off the school bus and I've got to be home for him!
Now I've got a handful of videos that need to be edited, posted, scheduled, and ready for broadcast. Yep, I do that, too. But like I said I enjoy video, and since I'm a Fusion type, I actually do a fair job at it. Plus, I'm not so busy yet that I feel the need to hire it out.
I'm familiar with filming so most of this wasn't news to me. The only variables I didn't know about related to how long it would take to set up and test the lights and sound, but I've done a lot of tech rehearsals for theater, so I had an inkling. Yes, this is a LOT of effort, and I wasn't sure that, once I dove in, I'd be able to maintain it.
Frankly, with everything else going on, I wasn't ready to assume this much responsibility before winter was over. We were moving, and yes, the divorce is happening. Had I launched season two in the middle of all of that, I probably would have had a mental breakdown. I wanted to create a new normal, and in order to do that, you have to be ready to maintain it - or it isn't normal, is it?
The next time you're chomping at the bit for an upgrade, ask yourself if you're aware of the new responsibilities that come along with the upgrade. Then ask yourself if you're ready to do what it takes to maintain your "new normal".
The answer might surprise you.
What do you want to upgrade? What's waiting for you on the other side of your next upgrade? Are you READY for that new level of responsibility? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments, and be part of our Rising Tide Community.
It's not every day one of your heroes gives you a public acknowledgement. Perhaps that will change one day, but for now, I'll keep savoring the occasional tweets, nods, and virtual hi-fives that come from people I admire in the world.
Sometimes we forget that competition isn't always about "winning" in the traditional sense. In truth, there's often a slew of other lessons and gifts that come when we show up and do our best, regardless of whether or not we actually win.
Here's a story and a song that I hope inspires you to keep showing up and doing your best, even if you don't think you're winning.
Back in May, I was joined on stage by The Damn Whippersnappers for my first virtual concert. It was a fun-filled and amazing day. I've posted clips from that show, but none of them really do justice to the fantastic musicians that played with me that day.
Well, as luck would have it, Des, the keyboardist from that show, has graciously offered to join my in the studio today to record a few tracks for the 300 songs project. He can take a song in any genre and effortlessly move it into a new one. So when I got the idea to do ZZ Top as a jazz piece, he was the first guy I called.
Here we are (and you might hear my 8 year old "playing drums" in the background on this rehearsal clip. In truth, this was both a rehearsal and a performance, as we were recording live both on camera and into the studio board. We're considering making it available as a download. Let us know if you're interested in the comments below.
One last clip from the May show. This is our original jazz arrangement of that classic Mowtown hit "Tears of a Clown".
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If you missed the May show, you can catch the replay here.
This was the finale from our show this month. Needless to say, this was one of those "dream come true" moments for me. When I first started writing this song a couple of years ago, it begged to be played with a band. The Damn Whippersnappers do not disappoint, and Kris' solo is just the soulful kind of melody the song needed.
I heard a whisper on the wind
and an echo in my heart trying to tell me to begin.
I knew the words, held deep inside,
but the spirit wouldn't flow
and no matter how I tried
to fill the void of distant spaces
with the workings machinating in my mind,
to find true love in vacant faces,
it was you. You were with me all the time.
And you will never know what love can do.
My wounds are deep, I can't deny.
And the salty rivers flow down my face 'til they run dry.
I ran away, in shame and pride,
but the echo in my heart keeps telling me to try.
And once again your love is calling with the words so gentle and so clear
I'd give my heart, I know I'm falling into faith.
I just want to have you near.
And you will never know what love can do.
Once again your love is calling with the words so gentle and so clear
I'd give my life, I know I'm falling into faith.
I just want to have you near.
Consecrated deep inside, emancipated, satisfied.
And you will never know what love can do.
(Lyrics copyright 2012 Lisa Robbin Young. All Rights Reserved.)
Saturday, May 17, 2014, will be the day I count as the day my dream began anew. My whole life I wanted to be on a stage and perform for an international audience. Well, the first installment of the Front Row Sessions played host to people in London, Canada, and all over the US.
It's the first time in my life I've had the honor of playing my own original music with a live band. And WHAT a band! The Damn Whippersnappers are simply a fabulous bunch of boys - and fun, too. This monologue and song opened the show and set the tone for what I believe (from all the comments on social media) was a powerful and fun afternoon for everyone watching. This was also the debut performance for my new song, "Photoshop Me" - a song about self acceptance and being proud of who you are (the song starts around the 6:40 mark).
This afternoon wouldn't have happened without this awesome band I call The Damn Whippersnappers:
Piano: Desmond Sheppard
Bass: Owen Ananich
Drums: Joe Neminski
Guitar: Kris Kress
It also wouldn't have happened without the gracious support from the folks at Gigee.com and my behind-the-scenes team of Tanya Brayer and Jen Harris. They kept the broadcast working like a charm and the chat room hopping.
And lastly, this dream come true wouldn't have had any meaning without an audience. My fans all over the world are the biggest reason I put this show together. THANK YOU for being so awesome and supportive!
Happy Mother's Day! Today, I'mma be chillaxin' with my fam, opening gifts and posting the pics on facebook.
This coming weekend, I'll be doing my first live "solo" performance in about 10 years. I've been in a lot of shows since I got married and had another kid, but I wasn't really the "star" of any of those shows. This weekend, that changes.
On Saturday May 17, I'll be hosting the first in a series of livestream concerts with my band "The Damn Whippersnappers" (get tickets here). They are so named because they're all about half my age, and I could almost be their mom. But don't be fooled, these guys are phenomenal talents. The video below is only after about 15 minutes of rehearsing "I Cain't Say No" from The Rodgers & Hammerstein cowboy classic, "Oklahoma!". You'll notice that Des, our piano player, isn't even using music.
This was our first rehearsal. These guys are THAT good - and we didn't even have our drummer, Joe, with us! This song - and others like it - are just the tip of the iceberg.
While I'm thrilled to be singing some of my favorite tunes - in my own style - I'm more excited that this show isn't just about great music. It's about inspiring people to own their dreams. In addition to the fantastic music, I'll be sharing some personal stories that I've never shared publicly before about my journey to own my dreams and be myself without apologies.
The Damn Whippersnappers are incredibly talented and dish it out as well as they take it. We have a blast playing together, and they're going to knock your socks off when you hear them play in a performance setting. Heck, they blow me away in rehearsal!
The Damn Whippersnappers have never played to a national (or global) audience before. They all have musical aspirations, and this project is an important opportunity for them to bring their very best to the world. I'm humbled, honored, and amazed at the musical gifts they bring to each rehearsal.
More than that, though, I'm impressed by their level of commitment and professionalism - that's only rivaled by their ability to have fun. We've had some fun outtakes where music just spontaneously shows up - like our "Jazzthoven" moment, or the rehearsal where Michael Jackson's "Thriller" made an impromptu appearance. They are SO much fun to work with, and the best gift I can give them is a huge audience.
A huge audience would be awesome for me, too! This show is truly a dream come true for me. I've always wanted to play tunes I love - and a couple of original tunes I wrote - with a band of my own. To have an audience that hears these songs, these stories, and leaves the show inspired, changed, and better off because of it.
My biggest dream is to help you live yours.
If you're worried about the time, grab a VIP seat and you'll get recorded highlights from the show, so you'll have the best bits to enjoy for years to come. We're hoping to do more shows this summer, and ultimately record the best songs for posterity. In less than a week, it'll be all over, you'll miss out on a huge dose of inspiration and you'll probably kick yourself for years to come.
Save yourself the bruises and get your ticket to the show. And if you're local, we've got house seats, too... but not for long!