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sweet summer child
ending at culdesac, film, and other ambitions
One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.
-Henry David Thoreau
It’s been a pretty satisfying summer. I boxed, read, frolicked in the sand, and played chess. Here are a couple things on my mind.
I’ve been at Culdesac for the last 9 months. I first approached Ryan with rosy-eyed idealism, wanting to work with a team I’d been impressed with from afar. I have small gripes, but I’m pleased to report that I’m still impressed, but from closer up.1
It was the first time I’ve committed to one thing in years. In the months before Culdesac, I was running on fumes, playing calendar Tetris to squeeze in 2 jobs, full time school, a relationship, etc. It’s so embarrassing to admit that I’ve cried while Swiffering. It’s even more embarrassing to admit that I was crying about not shipping a software project on time. This summer could not have been more different.
When I read my final reviews I had to sit and blush. I’ve never been hyped up like that in my life.2 Receiving this feedback felt good because it’s nice to do well, but also because I proved to myself that focus pays dividends that brute force can only dream of.
Overcommitting comes from a place of FOMO, where every opportunity is the elusive, fleeting, next big thing. Latch on before it’s too late, right? But the scarcity is a lie. Grass is green because you water it. Also, if there are so many potential lives to live - why try to do them all at once?
The team, work, and mission were all great. Ironically, how positive the experience was is a big reason why I chose not to extend my time there, even part-time. If I can’t full-send something, it’s a disservice to myself and the work to take it on.
So how do you know when the ‘thing’ is right?
Your guess is as good as mine. I say it’s when it feels like duty or you can’t shut up about it. My time at Culdesac coincided with a time where I met many people who introduce themselves with their work. By virtue of that, I know the spiel like the back of my hand, but somehow never tired of it. If in the future I’m unwilling to introduce what I’m working over and over, it’s not worth working on.
Previously, when writing for audiences of 100+, my voice devolves into something I can only describe as annoying. Too much wariness when trying to convey an opinion. Too much pre-empting to not step on any toes.
To fight it, I’ve written 30k+ words this summer: rote repetition in the form of logs, updates, and short essays. Edit, rewrite, repeat. Its been remarkable for distilling my ideal tone. I like my voice much better now.
I have some shoot opportunities lined up and am sharpening my blade before the battle by…
Refining editing technique - Using proxy workflows, making full use of my SSD, working with S-LOG footage.
Finding mentors - Finding people to roast my research and give guidance
Watching more classics - Doing studies on American Psycho, A Serious Man, and more
My current plan is to kick up a studio and focus on documentaries for climate/housing/futurism. HW mentioned that I should build distribution into the content but that all roads lead to TikTok. We’ll see if that’s where I end up but I’m resistant on grounds of not wanting success to be at the whims of an uninterpretable black box
My mom and I don’t talk about much. We bond by silently coexisting, sharing nods and ‘not-too-sweet’ desserts. At a bus stop, she asked me what my life’s ambitions were. Loaded question for a Wednesday afternoon! I sputtered around “to help the world” for a couple minutes before shutting up, tongue-tied and allergic to cliches. Revisiting the question, my thought process goes:
I want to help the world →
I want to help people feel like they can dream →
I want to help people fight the pessimism for life that hardens into us as we age. I want to surface a childlike vigor for life at scale. I want to bring whimsy to the ones I love, and fun to the places I touch.
This is the thesis that ultimately underlies every one of my interests; well designed cities, software that feels like magic, and media that inspires optimism.
I like this framing because it also means I’m hell-bent on fixing some of the stuff that gets in the way of fun: insufficient housing, food insecurity, loneliness, etc. If I need to be rich to do this effectively, then we’ll find a way to get there. But, this is my root ambition.
Came home to the farm. I am eating fresh produce off of trees and my grandpa is now a chicken shepherd
I’m going to the Arctic next week!
The Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM lens I have coveted for years is now in my possession. I am beyond excited
Visa chaos. Looking to marry someone for a Green card. Half joking.
The research project I’ve been helping with is launched!
Taking photos of kids (non-creepy connotation)
American Psycho gave me chills. LH says that the modern business card scene is just people comparing their personal websites. It’s funny because it’s a little true.
News Feed Eradicator continues to be my saving grace. Highest ROI for time saved of any tactic I’ve ever tried.
A+ for drinking salty water for hydrating without depleting electrolytes
If I don’t limit this section, it will eat every other one over time. Keeping it to 3.
To JZ, for being my rock. And being a shining example of what dedication to the craft really means.
To LS, who can teach a masterclass on humility. Radiating energy and expertise. Also just super fun.
To the Culdesac team, who has invited me with open arms and advocated for me every chance they can.
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A more thorough, tactical write-up coming shortly.
All inflation is transitory, even that of the ego