creative process

Ep014 - Briana Malmquist, photographer, blogger, & social media guru

Bringing you one of my favorite photographers and an episode full of resources.

Briana has been our family photographer for the last few years. Every encounter she captures those special shots, ones you get as canvas prints that end up proudly displayed for all who visit. We first took photos in downtown Spokane on the bridges near the river. My daughter was at the age where she couldn’t sit still no matter what, but somehow, Briana captured some of the best pictures we’ve ever taken. Now that I’m writing this, I remember we were some of the first families to pose for Briana. She used us for practice sessions and we got some of the best stuff we could imagine! When she delivered the photos to us essentially the same day, it was an incredible gift that we’ve appreciated ever since.

Her ability to compose a shot then further the emotion of it post-production is top freaking notch. I mean top shelf, thousand dollar a bottle, crazy good. I’ve seen some serious editing and I have great respect for all photographers. Briana’s work is special beyond what you already expect from a serious photog. There’s emotion and atmosphere pouring from every shot. Nothing feels overly staged and the candidness helps bring the audience into the scene with the subject. You feel like you’re standing with Briana as she shoots when you look at her albums.

After recording this episode and further learning what makes her tick as a creative, you can see the wholesomeness in her motivation. We discussed her philosophy on using social media for your projects or business and it reiterated some of the comments other guests have had. Briana has a very helpful and sharing mindset. She offers the keys to the kingdom during this episode and does so like she owes it to the world. That’s something others can work towards emulating, eliminating the ego and competitiveness. Aaron from the Cascadian Beer podcast does so as well. They don’t flinch at the idea of a competition or challenge, they just want to help people!

I learned a fair amount myself this episode. We talked significant shop and I walked away with new ideas and directions to implement changes to my brand immediately. The idea that Briana wants a story to be told or an emotion evoked each time she posts is something that I didn't really consider. I’m almost checking off boxes with the posts and there should be more of a connection to the audience other than simply being an announcement and a pretty graphic. An immediate change will be the switching of styles for the audio previews and we’ll have more of them. It doesn’t hurt that the photos Briana provided for my graphics are in the mix as well. Did I mention she takes good photos?

This episode is exactly what the podcast needed - jump start the fall and the looming holiday season. Briana mentioned how nervous she was to record and how little she desires to be captured on video or audio, and I am forever grateful she stepped out of her comfort zone. There has been a guest or two that showed slight initial hesitance and I will never blame them for it. I still get nervous each time I record and my job is easier than the guests!

We have lines out to a few more potential guests so hopefully I can make up some of the missed time for the end of summer. I’d like to get the new segments launched in October so we can hit the ground running in 2019. Is it weird that I’m already discussing events months from now? That’s how fast time moves these days.

You can check out Briana Shae Photography and also Piper’s Zoo for her photography and blog. Please visit her Instagram pages for her photography business and Piper’s Zoo as well and give her a follow!

Peace!

-CM

Ep012 - Josh Jensen, craftsman and entrepreneur

The podcast is six months old, and Josh brings the content for the first episode recorded outside

There are many ways to identify Josh. Craftsman, maker, entrepreneur, father, husband, hustler and all around super cool dude, just to name a few.  Check his website, his Instagram and please go get yourself one of his openers if you are from Washington or Idaho. Hell, even if you're not. You will enjoy that handcrafted piece of art for the rest of your life.  I've bought one for my dad and I'll arm my entire family with one before I kick the bucket.

This particular episode was recorded outside, yet another "first" for the podcast.  We did so because our schedules were ultra tight, and I didn't have time to reach out to Propaganda HQ and secure space there. Josh suggested a coffee shop that split the difference between my work and home, and because really, we just needed coffee at 7 am.  Josh is a peach for meeting me so early.

So we sat on the back patio, sippin' 'mericanos, and I got a chance to test the microphone in a new environment.  I'm happy to report a passing grade; no complaints here. To be honest, I really liked recording outside.  That doesn't mean I wouldn't pick a quieter road next time, as distractions aren't necessarily welcome. The sound of birds chirping brought a level of relaxation, which transferred into our mindset and conversation.  It really shook away the formal tenseness that recording an interview can create. 

Josh is one of those guys that you have incredible conversations with, but he is so modest and "lime-light adverse" that you have to sort of stay on him about recording an episode.  For reference, Josh was one of the first people I reached out to when soliciting guests.  Though at best I'm guessing, I believe Josh wanted to see a bit more fit and finish before he jumped on board.  And I'm okay with that.  That makes you better.  It made me work harder to legitimize and elevate the podcast's content.  I have no concrete moment to point to and say, "this is what I did to get Josh to come on the show".  In reality, I just kept checking in and taking the temp of interest. 

Our conversation is the sort of content I really hope to build on as new guests join the show.  We spoke a lot of what makes Amalgam the project it is and why it even exists.  Josh's accomplishments and mindset motivate you to assign a higher purpose to your work.  He donates much of his time, money and energy to other people.  This is what we should strive to be like.  Amalgam's goal is to give the audience the motivation to do something different, within or outside their comfort zone  We really harp on this as the episode progresses, but in a purely positive light.  We speak a lot about "wins" and what classifies them as such.  If you are paying attention, there is a win in every single thing that happens to you.  But the hard part, for everyone, is opening our eyes to what that really is.

I'm thankful for Josh,  and for his commitment to this project.  He joins the ranks of eleven other individuals who have taken the time to contribute content for the world to indulge in, who have all played a part in making this podcast legitimate and engaging for a wide audience.

To each of my dozen guests, thank you. 

Thank you for taking the risk with me.  I asked a lot from these creatives.  The waters were murky, no one could claim complete understanding of what they were contributing to. It was hard enough for even myself to fully articulate, before things started rolling.  Now here we are,  twelve episodes in and the party is really just beginning.

The podcast was always meant to be a living, breathing medium that composed and acclimated after new interaction and stimuli. With each new episode, I learned a bit more, and the upcoming guest was the new guinea pig (aye).  Each person I interviewed wore a smile on their face, chewed through cringe moments and answered my poorly phrased, overly descriptive questions.  They took time out of their day to meet me in person, or they waited until I put my kids to sleep to take the call to record.  The first poor eight souls answered my questions in real time because I didn't have the bloody decency to send them in advance.  Danny, Ep001, had to deal with what I like to call "Whisper Corbin." That man deserves more than the $15 I paid for a few digital copies of his album.  

Some people met me for the first time in the interview.  Some people hadn't seen or spoke to me in over a decade.  None of them had to help me out, they did so because they believed in my goal and that means the world to me.  The feeling of someone saying "yes, I'll join you on your podcast" is a very special feeling. They could have seen the risks outweighing the positives and turned the other way.

I started this project as 2017 was wrapping up, with many questions and little answers. In the last six months, the podcast is not only legitimate, it has direction and a defined processes leading to its goals.  The audio quality has improved, the hosting is legit, the graphics and Instagram posts are essentially automated, the After Effects templates are in place, and the metrics are beginning to provide insight for decisions.  There is an extreme level of patience guiding everything forward.  People expect the show to go on, they are no longer wondering if it will fizzle out as life gets in the way.  The momentum is gaining, and the pressure has subsided.  It helps tremendously that I've got hands on deck ready to assist, whether it's a recording space, the publishing end, or blogging.  Shout out to Propaganda Creative, Aaron the Audio Engineer, and my sister respectively.  Those three have made the show better and have given me the help I needed to remain confident in this project.  Every other guest, from the first to the last, brings something new to the podcast and make it better simply by participating.

Thank you for joining me in this project.  I hope you find even the smallest bit of information valuable. Doesn't have to be everything at once, just one bite at a time.

Peace

-CM