Chasing After the "What If"
Updated: Jun 1, 2018
Before we moved to Austin ten years ago, my wife Angela and I had a conversation about whether we were going to relocate. We decided that if we didn't leave Colorado Springs, we could build a good life and be happy, but we'd always wonder "what if?" That "what if?" was enough to spur us into deciding to move. It turns out that moving to Austin was the best thing we could have ever done. The community of people, the food, and my career have made this life we have in Austin a particularly special one. If we hadn't moved, we would have always wondered whether any of the things that we've experienced would have happened. Over the past year, I've been starting to feel the tug of new "what ifs."
One of the main reasons we wanted to move to Austin was because we wanted to be making films. In ways, we've accomplished those goals. I didn't have an IMDB page before moving to Texas, now I do, and it continues to grow. I hadn't ever been to a large film festival. Now I go to SXSW pretty much every year and have had films I've worked on premiere there. In other ways, we haven't succeeded.
At SXSW earlier this year, there was a documentary about Mister Rogers. I was curious about the film but wasn't excited to see it. The last weekend of the festival, the organizers schedule all of the audience's favorite films one last time, and I ended up seated at the movie. The trailer's below.
I don't think I've spent more time as a blubbery, emotional mess than I did while watching Won't You Be My Neighbor. Aside from being an amazingly great person, Mister Rogers had this intense focus on showing kids that they were loved and there wasn't anything that they had to do to earn it. It gave me a prism to look at my work. A big part of what I do is showing people that they're loved and have value by the way I care for their project. That core value has worked for me, but what it hasn't done is allowed me to chase after the thing that I've wanted to pursue... creating my own projects and putting them out into the world.
Today I'm proud to talk about the first step in that plan. I've left Rooster Teeth to pursue freelancing. I can't express how thankful I am that I was given the opportunity to work on that brand for seven years.
Here are some of the things I'm proud of from that.
I created on-screen brand imaging that made the company take a leap forward in professionalism. (I'm looking at you Jenkins 2.0)
I helped merchandise sales double year over year multiple years in a row
I had a big part in delivering a movie to YouTube Red (Lazer Team) that looked way better than it had any right to for its budget. Later, I had the opportunity to see some of my work advertised on the Grammys.
That same film helped me to annoy the prime minister of Latvia (full story here). I think there will be few things I'm more proud of than seeing the Latvian Prime Minister on National Latvian television tell the newscaster in her last interview before she retired that "no, she didn't know she was in an American movie."
I got to go around the country and tell people about Rooster Teeth and teach them about design. Rooster Teeth gave me a mantle to feel like my words meant something, and I could speak. I consider that priceless.
I introduced the Rooster Teeth audience to the power of smooth jazz with my tenor sax playing, Michael-Bolton-wig wearing alter ego on the Relationship Goals talk show.
I got to start the process of building a maker space and populate the walls of RT with internally produced propaganda. Then, I taught screen printing to coworkers to help them learn how to be creative in other ways. I'll never forget how proud a coworker was when he discovered that the printing process wasn't as scary as he thought it would be and he was able to create something cool.
So, back to today. What's happening with Brian? I'm glad you asked.
I've already begun to freelance. If you'd like me to come work on a project with you, I'd love to temporarily join your team. Today I also want to show you the promo for my first Skillshare class. It's called Channel Branding Lessons: Using the World Around You To Tell Stories.
It's a course that focuses both on branding and finding ways to be creative with limited resources. It's an updated version of a workshop that I've taught at RTX, Rooster Teeth's conference in Austin. I'm excited to have a new way to share the things I've learned and a home to be able to launch those classes from. Sign up for my mailing list and I'll let you know as soon as it's launched.
Very soon, I'll be back to talk about art prints I've been creating. We're going to be launching those for sale this summer. Without going into details right now, I can say that they'll all have an augmented reality component to them. I'm excited to be able to bring my animating skills together with my design skills in a different way. I think AR is going to be a big part of the future and I don't see a lot of people thinking about how that works with art.
There are other things, but we've already talked about a lot. To summarize:
I'm available for freelance. I want to work with you!
Lastly, I'm starting an e-mail list. Sign up here to stay in touch. I promise I won't be spamming, but I'm hoping to start sending out book suggestions, highlights of cool things I've discovered and news about what I'm working on.