I Will Read (Watch) This Again: Michael Caine on Acting For Film, plus Beating Creative Blocks

Came across a blog post today from Stage 32 featuring a couple of videos that might be of interest to creative types that might want to download them into their brain (see what I did there? A truly terrible attempt at a joke. That’s what you call a first draft, and would cut in editing.)

The first video is a unicorn for me, something I knew existed but has been hard to find. I’ve only ever seen ten minutes of it and was amazed by it: Michael Caine on Acting For Film. THE Michael Caine, teaching actors film techniques, filmed for a British production quite a few years ago. Caught part of it on PBS when I was younger, and even though I am not focused on the acting field, the techniques he displays and his passion for the work are inspiring.

PLUS: It’s easily adapted to directing tips, to screenwriting and storytelling. It would even help you if you are just taking a meeting. Caine advises you to “pick an eye”, and shows why.

But if I’m talking to you, and I don’t blink,
and I just keep on going, and I don’t blink….

He goes into methods for holding focus, grabbing attention, and simple tricks to hit your mark, demonstrating everything. Filmmakers: send this link to your actors. He’s not teaching for stage, but he makes comparisons and you can see those differences yourself and find things that would help whatever your venue, like being smaller or bigger with your performance without upstaging.

I’m not going to delve too far into it, because there’s so much here you will find different things than I do.

The second video is from Actualized.org, covering techniques on How To Overcome Creative Blocks and Writer’s Block. Even if you have writer’s block and you watch it and it doesn’t help you, you can tell yourself you were trying to be productive for thirty minutes and feel better about yourself, right? (I guarantee that’s not in the video, nor is it the best tip ever. But we all do it!)

This clip is a little more valuable than that, though. (Spoiler alert: it starts with commitment.)

Click here for the Stage 32 blog post with the videos

Just do it. No apologies to Nike. Why would you steal such a powerful statement and apply it only to shoes?


P.S. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Michael Caine:


Overcoming Creative Blocks is here:

P.P.S.  I successfully broke my writing addiction when I was younger (don’t do it!) but I still write (just a little less obsessively). Which was probably a mistake. I’ll talk about that another time.

But I always said I never got writer’s block. This is true in one common perception of the term: I don’t run out of ideas. But I do block myself from writing when I should, and that’s an even more insidious issue that I will be addressing with help from sources like this one.

I Will Read (Watch) This Again: Michael Caine on Acting For Film, plus Beating Creative Blocks was originally published on Creative Uploads


Creativity Rains Down

Or to quote the movie “Arthur”, “Sometimes I just think funny things.”

Got this one on camera and memed it for you.

Really that joy of discovery is the thing that gets you through the day, even if you only do it for an audience of yourself.


P.S. She claims she thought it was funny but she just didn’t want her picture taken, what do you think?

Creativity Rains Down was originally published on Creative Uploads

Capture Creativity Quick

So one of the difference between successful people and — let’s say less successful people? — isn’t the ideas. It’s sharing them. It takes a lot of work, but we can take the first step very easily.

If your goal is producing creative content, jokes, stories, music, art, whatever…. the trick is to capture the inspiration when you have it even if you can’t devote time to it when it first arrives. It doesn’t have to be finished; you are writing a note to your future self. It can be a sketch or fragment, it just needs to last long enough that you can work on it more, or remember enough to build on it, even years later!

I’m going to talk about musical creativity, but this works for all sorts of inspirations. ’80s pop star John (Cougar) Mellencamp wrote the lyrics to one of his hit songs on the shower door with soap. Who knows how many books and businesses have been built on the backs of bar napkins? I’ve chanted things to myself all day while avoiding just writing them down, kept a notepad by my bed — though now I’ll actually write notes to myself on my phone with a stylus –- which may or may not be better than my previous habit of just getting up for an hour in the middle of the night to write whatever song started when my head hit the pillow.

Countless songwriters have sung into tape recorders over the ages or scribbled down notes . With my first camera capable phone, I would record one-handed the melody that had come to me in 15 second video clips. Sometimes, like this example, I angle my iPad on my music stand so that I can see where my fingers were later.

The improvement on this is that now as soon as I’ve come up with the fragment of a song on any instrument, I turn on the electric piano and record the phrase and following improvisation via MIDI direct into a computer. (GarageBand on iPad works pretty good too in a pinch.) Not only does this give me the exact notes I played in the very improvisation I am building on, but it means that I can edit them, fixing glitches in my spontaneous phrasing, or creating a complete arrangement on top of the original sketch and eventually moving the first take out of the mix completely.

So much easier than my early attempts with cassette tapes. Heck, I once spoke the first chapter or so of a book I never wrote into a cassette recorder while hiking, that’s hilarious to listen to. (You don’t know if I’m pausing because I needed to breathe or I didn’t know what to say next.)

Anyway, my point is this applies to anything that you want to capture organically and move into the future as a more polished product. You don’t need to rely on your memory, and you certainly don’t need the conceit that if you forget it later, it wasn’t that good an idea. Don’t be a baby: write it down or capture it, and let your future self figure out that sometimes it’s crap and sometimes it’s not.

And if you end up with too many fragments of stuff to get to, oh darn why is that a problem? Learn to filter through it and work on your favorite thing until you have something done, then climb back on the pile and see what’s next.


P.S. For the record I often use S-Note on my aging Samsung Galaxy Note 4 for writing things down, and I love Evernote but now that it is free for only two devices at a time, I am trying desperately to use Microsoft OneNote which I find much more cumbersome and harder to search. It seems like OneNote wants you to have everything local before you can search, where Evernote searches in the cloud so you can pull down what you are looking for.

I really wish there was a reasonably priced plan for Evernote that gave me more devices but the tiny amount of monthly bandwidth that I really use. The upgraded plans are still too much of a stretch for the mostly casual user.

Capture Creativity Quick was originally published on Creative Uploads

The Internet Is Just Evolution

Humanity has been learning, collecting, cataloging and sharing information since the dawn of time.

The internet is not new. It’s just a new way of doing things, and it lets us search for and find information faster if we train our brains how to use it. Imagine the evolution that will grow out of that.

Some of the information we come across in our lives is wrong, no matter where we find it, both on purpose and accidentally, and that’s always happened. (Even mom was wrong about that whole swimming after eating thing.)

But don’t fool yourself: we aren’t doing something new, we’re just doing it in a different way.

Don’t be intimidated; we aren’t doing something impossible, just more complicated.

Just do something with it. It’s the library of Alexandria, check it out!


P.S. And don’t set your assumptions in concrete and never break them apart to see if they still hold up.  Even encyclopedias got updated every so often.



The Internet Is Just Evolution was originally published on Creative Uploads

Well, That Was Fun

Sorry the site has been down for a little while. But now it’s back live again and at our very own domain name, CREATIVEUPLOADS.COM !

The megawatson.com page is still live, the /CU subdirectory takes you here, and the root is still pointed at my Tumblr for now, but we’ll see what happens in the future.

I actually registered the domain in January right before starting a new job and attacking a dance show edit, at the same time I was helping a close relative recover from surgery…. time management worked great, time availability did not. In between wondering if I should leave the site data where it was or move it and play the SEO dance, it decided to go down and I didn’t have time to fix it.

I suspect it was an implementation of some fancy caching to make things faster, but in any case, I then had to decide if I wanted to fix it, then decide whether to move it or not…. layers on layers, what I love to do! Who needs Sudoku when you have brain teasers readily available, right?

Since I had grabbed a copy of the installation mid-January using the fabulous and famous Duplicator plugin (planning ahead is time management too!), I decided to just try a fresh install on the new server, and here we are half a day later with a live site that seems to have everything in its place!

And that half day included time to go to dinner and a play, so not that bad really.

So thanks to the Duplicator folks (the Lite free version even!*) and Google for the nice searches on fixing my redirect htaccess pages, especially this one at coolestguidesontheplanet since I wanted to move the subdomain and leave the rest where it was.

And here we are!

—– David

P.S. My video edit is done, my medical charge is motivating under her own power and my new job is fun and familiar now. Plus, the site is up. I should have written all these goals down on a piece of paper to give me the psychological satisfaction of crossing them off as encouragement for future endeavors!

Ah, what the heck:

  • Edit video and produce discs
  • Play nurse
  • Enjoy work, learn new stuff and get paid 
  • Fix website


  • Backup this fresh site while everything’s updated and working!

* And you better believe if there is a business need for the Duplicator Pro version they will be my first choice: it adds better migration for multiple sites and automated backups to several cloud destinations.

Well, That Was Fun was originally published on Creative Uploads

Fake It Until You Make It Is Terrible Advice For Artists

What does it even mean? Try hard until you succeed? No, that would be fine. Is it some perverse sexual wordplay? Well, art is art, but no.

So, pretend that you can do something until you do?

That’s great if you’re in an 80’s movie*, but really, if you are trying to make something….

Wait for it.

Please wait, or please do something


It won’t be good. It might be okay. Odds are it will totally suck. Privately, even you might realize it’s crap, or you might think it’s the best thing ever (and that’s great, but honestly this often happens because we are so happy we actually made something! But really we tend to give ourselves extra credit for understanding our artistic process and the subtext.)

So it’s made, but it’s bad. So what? And, so what now?

Simple: Don’t pretend it’s good and stop. Repeat the process. Make something else. Again and again. Again.

Hey wait, that time it was okay. Maybe it even shows a glimmer of something shinier than the sum of its parts. Maybe someone else gets a glimpse of your subtext this time, as you refine your ability to communicate it.

Because we get better with practice, but in the creative field, practice is actually fun. Oh, and hard work at times, but fun.

Faking it doesn’t make anything.

Make it until you don’t feel like you’re faking it. Or until enough others feel that way, depending on how deep you like to breed your artistic angst.


P.S. “In the creative field, practice is actually fun” does not only apply to textbook definitions of creative endeavors. You can draw on creativity, inspiration, delightful random chance, discovery, and whimsy in any situation with excellent results.

Part of that trick is sometimes using creativity more for creation and less for expression (And not with numbers. Don’t get creative with the numbers!). Technique and presentation can come from opposite corners.

I mean, I don’t know what Newton was doing under that apple tree, but an apple fell on his head and he decided to define gravity mathematically. You can’t tell me that’s not creative as hell. And pie. Who came up with apple pie?

And even longer ago:

Do or do not. There is no try.

Or so I have heard.

* I’m thinking Michael J. Fox in “The Secret of My Success” here, not Michael J. Fox in “Bright Lights, Big City,” one of which is funnier (not saying which) but both involve faking it and making it in business, though not in the creative field.

Fake It Until You Make It Is Terrible Advice For Artists was originally published on Creative Uploads

Christmas In Your Eyes

Another holiday, another song… (well a new recording, anyway) with a little video to entertain you while you listen.


From our Facebook page!*

“Happy Christmas holidays everyone! It’s time for another song (not the one I planned, but it’s sweeter….)

Your present is a song I wrote when my daughter was two. You can interpret it any way you like, but I think it’s for parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends and family who get a fresh look at the joys of the season….

It’s on Bandcamp too, especially for the free audio streaming.




P.S. An experiment in posting backwards — Facebook first and embedded here. What’s the point of life if not to test things, technical and otherwise? So I learned that you can’t read the text on the embed thanks to my current theme, and it steals you away to Facebookland instead of opening a new window. But the video will stream faster.

P.P.S.  A quick recording on in Logic X with my electric piano and the MIDI function. I do not love the string sounds as much as I hoped.

Christmas In Your Eyes was originally published on Creative Uploads

Not Dried Up

I know there’s been a drought of posts, but the site’s just been resting while other projects demand to be watered. Researched an idea to move hosts and now planning on taking everything with and not starting with a new blank page. Whether I have the time to post a lot or not, this will be sticking around for a while. I have a plan. And a hosting plan. The broadcast stays on air.

I also wasn’t sure for a little while if I was going to stick with a self-hosted version or just maintain the perfectly adequate and free WordPress.com mirror, and didn’t want to keep it all shiny to have it disappear shortly.* You do want to spend time creating, but not a disproportionate amount creating something that evaporates.

It’s hard to strike a balance. I have that conversation with my theater-loving performing child who rehearses for weeks and only gets to put on the show a few times, versus me wanting her to be on video or do a film project with me, which could last for ages and find a wider ranging audience..

But the camaraderie, process and applause are a siren call, aren’t they? For all of us, in our own way.


* Reference: borderline hoarding but also the economy of efficiency.

Not Dried Up was originally published on Creative Uploads

My Current Mission Statement?

This is a wordy first draft. I’ll have to talk to the committee.

Deciding that you know everything destroys your ability to listen, comprehend and grow. It’s terrible for teamwork. Once you can admit that you don’t always know everything but will learn and build on existing levels of understanding, you can embrace a “team ego” instead of individual silos.

That’s attitude I strive to bring to my business services, training, QA, and personal life. Except when talking to my child.



P.S. I love smart ass captions. I call this one “Library Photo” but I may shelve that name.

My Current Mission Statement? was originally published on Creative Uploads

I’ll Read This Again: How Blogging Teaches You To See – Taylor Pearson

Taylor Pearson Mini-Essay – Learning To See

It’s a interesting look at the fear and feeling that you have nothing to say, and pushing through to find your voice and what you want to talk about. And to build a habit.

Frankly, his essay could just as easily be: how to talk to strangers, or how to climb a hill, whatever.

Give yourself a reason or an excuse to try something, then try something. Provide some impetus to complete a critical step. Then psychological relevance makes you see it everywhere, and turn it over in your head and actually see the other angles. Even interact with others with similar interests.


P.S. So do you stay up late catching up on posts and pages that get you excited and feel inspirational so you get something pleasant off the internet before you go to sleep? I’ve often used television for that, sometimes reading. But how do we keep that little spike of happiness from keeping you up even longer? Personally I am still trying to figure out how to capture that feeling in the morning when an alarm goes off and what I love most in the morning is staying in bed longer….

I’ll Read This Again: How Blogging Teaches You To See – Taylor Pearson was originally published on Creative Uploads