PRACTICAL makes films and videos that are the culmination of cameras, research, travel, sketchbooks, sleep, screen time, and running wild. Based out of Traverse City and Grand Rapids Michigan, we love sharing our work and process with those around the world.

Starting is Most Important


Starting is the Most Important

       Just like breakfast.  But really, just as breakfast breaks the fast of not eating throughout the night, starting on a project breaks the inertia of not creating-- or more importantly, the confronts the fear of failure.  For me, it's easy to think that starting on a project means needing to have the concept completely or mostly figured out and having a clear and concrete direction.  But that's not true.  

       I'm finding it's nearly impossible for me be able to kick a fully developed idea from my head. Ideas and concepts come in pieces.  And those pieces don't multiply form a whole until I put pen to paper and get the first pieces down.  It's almost as if I need the ideas removed and stored on paper to make creative space in my head so that the next idea or piece of the concept can have space to develop.  But even after this realization, there's still something intimidating to me about putting those first underdeveloped pieces of an idea "out there," to actually start, even if it means doing something as simple as writing or sketching.  It seems like actually writing something down means committing to it, when in reality it's the fastest way to not only develop the idea, but to refine it and make it stronger.

       Often, inspiration is not the revelation of a new idea for me, but the confidence or motivation to commit to working on an idea that's been there for a while, realizing that in the right context it might be worth something.  Ideas grow on their own, and I believe there is a way to cultivate good ideas, but even the best idea loses its value if it's never acted on.  So I want to share a couple films I've seen recently.  Their messages are spot on, and they do a great job of giving direction and motivation to start.

Both films are from companies and people that I really respect.  

       The Music Bed is an incredible resource for contemporary film makers and offers music that not only wonderfully meets the need for really great scores and arrangements for film, but connects filmmakers with musicians in a way that feels a lot more like a partnership that a customer-vendor hierarchy.  The Music Bed also does a wonderful job of creating content that is both helpful, interesting, and motivating.  Aside from articles and artist interviews, they make films made by filmmakers for filmmakers and many are worth a watch and a rewatch.  Most of our films are scored by Grant Floering, but basically every one that isn't has music sourced caringly from the Music Bed.

       The instructional/informational film was put together for Willem De Kooning Academy students, but was produced by some people doing really wonderful work called From Form.  They are very smart people, based in the Netherlands, and it's always great to watch work from smart people.  I think this piece shows well that they combine really strong, culturally aware, and smart visuals built on concepts that are just as strong, aware, and smart.  So mostly that means that when they make a film about creating they can be trusted as authorities on the matter.

       There are many strong ideas and concepts out there right now, and just as many that are still in our heads (collectively as humans, not just our heads).  Starting is the most important.  And on the off chance that something is started that just isn't any good, well, then it can be abandoned and we just won't tell anyone about it.  Deal?

       Thanks for reading.

JohnPaul Morris 

Writer  |  Director of Photography