Life after Sundance

Kat Candler, director of Hellion, on life after Sundance:

I do want to emphasize that this wasn’t an overnight success. I’ve been making movies, for well over a decade … shorts, features, music videos, commercials and I’ve been writing lots and lots of scripts. I submitted to Sundance more than I can count on two hands and have gotten rejected almost all those times. But then one day after years and years of honing my craft, taking risks, learning and growing and sticking to my guns, I got in. And yes, it changed my life. And yes, even after having three films play at Sundance, I can’t sit back, relax and wait for the opportunities to roll in. Instead, I still have to get in the ring, put my little gloves on and fight for my life.

Another important reminder that what seems like an overnight success is usually years in the making.

Tyler Deeb's "Coil"

I was fortunate enough to meet up with Tyler Deeb this past spring to talk about his company, Misc. Goods Co., and his creative process for my series Why We Create. His perspective was refreshing - particularly his focus on the idea that nothing lasts forever, so why make everything out to be a life or death decision?

"So many variables are outside of your control. I've come to peace with decisions. You can only make the best decision based on what's available to you at that moment."

He just released a new Kickstarter for a genius method to make iced coffee. It's called Coil. I caught up with Tyler to chat about Coil, but first, watch his installment of Why We Create if you haven't yet.

Do you have any specific processes when coming up with a concept like Coil?

I'm not much of a process thinker -- not sure why that is. I've always been inclined to rely on my gut reaction to ideas and I've often found it difficult to overthink anything. I've wondered in the past if this was my laziness coming through. As if I just was too indifferent to create 10 models of something and critique each one. I've ruled out laziness at this point -- because I objectively look at my work days and see very little slothfulness. Instead, I've come to the working idea that I prefer things to be simple -- and I have a very specific idea of how to see that idea, and when it clicks ... it clicks.

What was your inspiration for creating Coil?

We made Coil for the simple reason that it didn't exist yet, and we believe it has importance. The coffee industry is growing more and more each year; the level of commitment to process is growing with it's popularity. We felt that people were making huge strides in hot brew methods, but that cold coffee was left without a great brewing solution. We thought our Coil solution was better then what is already out there, and we wanted to give it a shot.

What's your process like for translating a complex design into a physical prototype?

So for Coil it started with a prototype that the inventor, Chris Heiniger, showed me. It was a 1 gallon ice cream container with a ton of copper crammed into it. The concept seemed so important and simple that I was immediately attracted to it. From there I drew one sketch in Illustrator, I came back to it every so often over the course of several months and made tweaks. Once I felt as though it was finished I contacted my 3d illustrator and began working with him on a 3d model. After that we printed the model as a 3d print and sent it over to my ceramicist to create a temporary mold. From there we tested several different glazes and finally landed on the iteration you see now.

What's the future for Misc. Goods Co.? Do you think you'll go down the path of coffee-related hardware and expand Coil, or will you continue trying different things?

We believe there is still a lot of room for Coil to grow. I believe that once industry influencers and others get a chance to try the product we will get a second wave of popularity that will outweigh the first. If I'm right, then we will just let the wave carry us as far as it will -- and I'm open to creating more coffee products, as long as I believe they're worth making. But our next product will not be related to coffee -- which I'm equally excited about. We hope to release that product by the summer.

You can support Coil on Kickstarter through Christmas Day.


Jason Snell on podcasting and equipment


Anyway, the great thing about podcasting is that anyone can do it. You don’t need to have access to a broadcasting company’s radio transmitter and studios packed with equipment. You can reach people with your voice right now. Yes, these days there are a lot of big names (often from those big broadcasting companies) doing podcasts, but there’s also an incredible diversity of voices and subjects.

If you’re just starting out, don’t allow yourself to be intimidated by all this audio talk. If you have something to say, say it.

Great advice. I've missed having a radio show since college.

I might give this podcasting thing a go.

Officer Darren Wilson's story is unbelievable. Literally.

From Ezra Klein of

...on Monday night, St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch released the evidence given to the grand jury, including the interview police did with Wilson in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. And so we got to read, for the first time, Wilson's full, immediate account of his altercation with Brown.

And it is unbelievable.

I mean that in the literal sense of the term: "difficult or impossible to believe." But I want to be clear here. I'm not saying Wilson is lying. I'm not saying his testimony is false. I am saying that the events, as he describes them, are simply bizarre. His story is difficult to believe.

This is not over.

Getting rid of your ideas

Ideas are easy. So why is coming up with a great idea so hard?

Jason Santa Maria writes:

Over time, I came to realize that the only way to get to the good ideas was to trudge through all the obvious and bad ones first.

I started keeping track of every single idea - whether for a film or other creative project - in text documents, and I soon noticed something. My ideas got better. The more I wrote, the easier it was to write more. Writing really does encourage writing. Ideas formulate more easily the more time you spend in that mindset. Ultimately, it gives you a chance to get through the bad ideas - the ones that are obvious and just sitting on the surface - and get down deep to the better ideas.

But it's important to keep track of the bad ones, too. You can use a notebook or Google docs. I use Notational Velocity on Mac, 1Writer (and sometimes Byword) on iOS, and I sync all the notes in Dropbox. You never know when the dots will connect. A bad idea might inspire a good idea, or maybe it's the missing piece of a different puzzle that you're working on. 

The other cool thing is, months or years later, you can look back on all those notes and ideas. You can see where your head was at. You can be reminded of things that you forgot. Little things that seemed dumb, now make sense in a different way. Sometimes you'll combine them. Sometimes you'll scrap the ones that are really, really bad. Whatever your approach, tracking all your ideas will give you a forward sense of momentum that keeps you from getting stuck. And if you do feel stuck, go grab an old idea and try to look at it in a different way. It works.