Through My Eyes

Timing was everything.

Love Is A Mixtape

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How haven’t I heard of this?

On this blog, I’ve talked about how certain songs remind me of certain people. A relationship might end, but it doesn’t mean you stop sharing similar tastes in music, humor, or your commitment to AMC/HBO Sundays. I often find myself watching something on a screen and thinking he would have loved that – he being an ex. Once the dust has settled, and you’re both no longer feeling that emptiness in your gut, it’s not so out of line to text or email that person you used to sit on the couch with playing the Mad Men game – you know, the one where you take a sip of scotch every time someone at Sterling Cooper Draper Price drinks in the office. If I hear or see something funny or interesting that I think he would get a laugh or some value from, I’m more than likely going to share it with him.

Now if only there was a game for every time Pete Campbell gets clocked in the office.



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April 16, 2012 at 9:46 am

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Title is Optional

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For one of my last classes this semester, I’m supposed to design a business card and create a personal website to show my portfolio reel, resume, and blah blah blah to potential clients and the general online public.

What I’m having difficulty with is coming up with a design, a brand, a name for my site. Having a name like Winnie Wong has always caught the (undesired) attention of teachers, classmates, co-workers, drive-thru cashiers, restaurant maitre d’s, acquaintances, and anyone else I’m introduced to. Trust me, If I could go back to being a fresh-off-the-boat 4 year-old, choosing my own name, knowing what I know now – I probably would’ve chosen Sara. But I’ve come to embrace it. The alliteration, the ease of which people actually remember it when they see me their second time, the references – everything from Winnie Cooper to Winnie the Pooh to Winnie, the daughter of Gordon Gekko from Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps – it is all good.

But when it comes to naming my site, coming up with a name for a future production studio, I’m not sure Winnie Wong works. In fact, it’s caused me to lose sleep. Sleep that I’m not getting much of these days. (And I don’t mean that in a good way.)

At least, up until now. I was on gchat a little while ago, and a friend of mine, whom I hadn’t seen since his last visit back from Singapore, IM’d me. I’ve always had mentors here and there, and he was one of my first when I started working in SF back in ’06. He was literally my mentor because the company we were working for paired us up and said, “OK, Jeffrey, Winnie is new. Teach her your ways.” Or at least that’s how I’ll always think it went.

We would go on coffee breaks and chat about how things were going at work. We’d meet up for an occasional dinner with our significant others tagging along. We’d run into each other and end up talking for half an hour on the sidewalk. I always looked forward to talking with him because I knew that deep down, I could trust him. He always seemed to give me advice that looked out for my best interest. And he would always play devil’s advocate, helping me to see every side – not just the good, but the bad, the ugly.

Tonight, after catching up (he’s going to be a dad!), I told him about my predicament. (#firstworldproblems)

He first asked me what type of work I want to do after graduating. I told him that I’d love to produce some kind of travel or documentary content where I would help tell the stories of really interesting or eccentric characters in different parts of the world. He then asked why I was so hung up on naming my site or attempting to create a brand name for myself that isn’t my actual name. His actual words, “The name matters a lot less than the content, right?” I had to step back from that one. Of course it does.

JF: “You are the brand. Your name is the brand.”

WW: “I know, I’ve thought it through. I’ve tried things that encompass my name, but my name is so cheesy. So many W’s.”

JF: “People aren’t buying into a notion, or something crisp. They’re investing in you. Why do you think branding is important here?”

WW: “I think in any creative industry, aesthetic is almost as important as content. I think content takes time to build upon, but having a brand image or style that is tied to you makes you that much more memorable and creates a kind of enigma.”

JF: “Ah, ok. I think that’s the most important word of what you just said. First of all, I agree with everything. But it depends on what you’re after. Do you want to be an enigma?”

WW: “No, but I want someone to visit the site and say, ‘Wow, I want to stay here and spend some time here.’ Not just watching videos I produce or contribute to, but to go through to find out who I am and why I do the work I do. It’s a very personal thing.”

JF: “Yes. Obviously, my perspective is biased because I’ve known you for years, but I think you are the type of person who people want to get to know.”

WW: “I guess I want potential clients to be intrigued and also feel the need to reach out and find out more.”

JF: “I think that your name would be fine because it’s really you that people will want to get to know, not a brand name, it’s the personal element you just mentioned.”

WW: “It’s also really easy to get caught up in this whole thing about having a ‘style.’ Creatives are the most judgmental people ever. Ha.”

JF: “Design, aesthetic are really important, no doubt. I just don’t think a clever name is super important at first. Start with your name, and change it later if you like. As a consumer of information, I would rather start out knowing who you are and see you evolve into a brand, than start out as a brand and evolve into a different brand.

I can think of so many people that are successful brands, but I cant think of the people behind successful brand names. As a consumer, I always relate more to people than the brand, but that is just me. People have all different consumption habits. You summed it up well. You want people to engage with your work and you as an artist, and to me, that doesn’t sound like a brand, it sounds too human.”

WW: “I feel sort of caught up in differentiating myself from others in this field.”

JF: “I feel that lasting success comes to the people who put their content before their brand image, and ultimately, the content winds up creating the brand image. If you do one thing really really well, people will pin that on you as your image, whether you like it or not. Then, you have to keep moving forward and letting the content redefine who you are.”

And that is why he is a mentor. Thanks Jeffrey.

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March 21, 2012 at 2:08 am


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March 11, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Kony 2012

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Yeah, so there’s a ton of controversy around Invisible Children, the organization that produced and spun this video around the interwebs for everyone to share like mono at party schools. Watch it and decide for yourself whether you want to support or criticize it.

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March 8, 2012 at 12:39 am

High highs, low lows

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Between demands made by your employer, instructors, friends, family, and candidates for your heart – it’s necessary to sit back, take a breather, and ask yourself what you really want.

I discovered High Highs through another great post by the guy who writes for everythingwehear. Seems like it’s where I’m getting my music fix these days.

I’ve had this song on repeat, regardless of my mood, over the last few weeks. As I look ahead towards a few changes (travels in the spring, a move at the start of summer, and whatever else may come along), I can’t help but reflect on the many that have shaped my last year. I lost a best friend (what usually happens when a relationship ends), said farewell to a roommate of 4 years, went back to working under a roof, learned how to shoot and edit, and embraced being independent and alone, again. Whatever stage you’re in, I think you’ll enjoy this.

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February 15, 2012 at 9:09 am

Where Are’ll The Chicks At?

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So I’ve noticed something. Maybe it’s something that has always been transparent, but it never really bothered me until now.

When I meet people in this industry (video production, filmmaking, media, whatever you want to call it), I add them to a mental rolodex – noting what they’ve done, what they’re doing now, and what they eventually want to do. Many of the small, boutique production studios in SF are run by…dudes. There are some cool dudes I know – dudes I can hang out with and simultaneously admire for their work – who are super talented, creative, socially aware, and just have good taste. How many of the studios I’ve heard about or have browsed online are run by chicks? I hate to say it, but I’ve yet to come across any (beside my employer, Joyus – but even with Joyus, a large portion of the videos we produce are geared towards fashion and beauty). Not to say they don’t exist up here, it’s just that I haven’t met any in this category.

There are a bunch of organizations, groups, cliques – things like Cinema Speakeasy (just the SF chapter is run by ladies), BAWIFM’s chicks chat – but most of these are purely women in media or video production meeting once a month or putting on weekly events, not actual production studios cranking out work.

I have yet to meet a female videographer/DP/cinematographer. Even in most of my classes and factoring in all of the freelancers I work with at Joyus, they are generally dudes who do the shooting. Why is that?

Now, I’m no feminist. I date dudes. I crush on dudes. I have nothing against them (besides the fact that they can eat way more and stay thin, whereas we work our asses off not to teeter over our daily average), but I would love to see more ladies take the reigns and do the actual shooting. Even some of my fella students sort of have guys standing behind them, telling them what to do with the camera (from what I’ve observed).

So, I bought the canon 5D a few weeks ago and have been running around SF shooting random things. No, my framing isn’t perfect, I still take a few clumsy minutes to figure out the lighting situation everywhere I go, you can tell when watching the raw footage that I’m still not familiar with constantly pulling focus…but it feels really good to just go and shoot.

There’s an event I’m interested in going to this Friday called House of Pong. When I first read about it on Urban Daddy, I wanted to register to play. But, I gave it some thought, and in my head arose this visual – slow motion ping pong, closeup tight shots of the action, sweat flying off foreheads, sporty headbands soaked with determination, young and old locals duking it out (with the possibility of a Susan Sarandon cameo – she apparently showed up last time and endorses it)…Why not go and shoot a video for them? I wrote to the guys who run it, Erik Petersen and Rodney Fong, and heard back from them the next day. He was stoked and comped my ticket. Friday after work, I’ll be heading over to this crazy Fisherman’s Wharf location (no-man’s land) where they will be holding this invite-only event and shoot until my one and only 32GB card fills up. God speed.

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February 2, 2012 at 12:46 am


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February 1, 2012 at 12:24 am

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