Document Your Life: 4 Methods to Live More Intentionally | Nathaniel Drew | Skillshare

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Document Your Life: 4 Methods to Live More Intentionally

teacher avatar Nathaniel Drew, Online Content Creator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Intro: Cut Through Distractions


    • 2.

      Class + Project Overview


    • 3.

      Why Document Your Life?


    • 4.

      Principles of Intentional Documentation


    • 5.



    • 6.

      Method 1: Ultrasimple Vlogging


    • 7.

      Method 2: Journaling Reimagined


    • 8.

      Method 3: Film Photography Made Easy


    • 9.

      Method 4: Become a Reporter of Your Own Life


    • 10.



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About This Class

In a world that feels incredibly fast moving and ephemeral, it can feel easy to get swept away with the distractions and temptations offered to us at every turn.

I designed and created this class to share with you my techniques for cutting through those distractions and bringing a lot of meaning and depth to everything that you do in life, big or small.

To do this, we're going to explore a concept that I call Intentional Documentationwhich I consider to be a powerful alternative to auto piloting your way through life. In this class, we cover the principles of effective documentation, the right mindset to approach documenting your experiences, and a variety of analog and digital options.

I'll teach you 4 methods of Intentional Documentation:

1. Vlogging

2. Journaling

3. Photography

4. Reporting your own life

There is something beautiful about capturing pieces of your life in a thoughtful way, and having these moments to look back on. Their value is immeasurable. They can create a sort of loose outline of your past. They will become portals to see where you’ve come from and what you’ve been through. This class is all about the cultivation of those moments.

This class is for anyone interested in a change of pace from the fast-moving, information saturated world that we live in.

Meet Your Teacher

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Nathaniel Drew

Online Content Creator


Thanks to a very strange series of events that took place in our universe, I exist. It’s weird, I can’t explain it.

My interest in clarity and intentionality stems from a desire to take as much of it all (life) in while I can. I don’t want to get in my own way.

Born to two immigrants from Argentina, I grew up in the Pacific Northwest.

I felt deeply unsatisfied with staying in the same place for the rest of my life, which is what pushed to spend as much of my time as possible doing what I call slow travel which is a more low-cost, sustainable way of spending time abroad.

This gives me the chance to learn the languages of the places that I’m living in, which I find extremely enjoyable and fulfilling.

A major motivation for me to p... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Intro: Cut Through Distractions: In a world that feels incredibly fast moving and [inaudible] , it can feel easy to get swept up in the distractions and temptations that are offered to us at every turn. I want to share with you a way of cutting through those distractions, a way of bringing a lot of meaning and depth to everything that you do in life, big or small. I call it intentional documentation. I consider it a powerful alternative to auto piloting your way through life. In this class, I'm going to take you through the principles of effective documentation, the right mindset to approaching, documenting your experiences in a variety of really creative ways to go about doing it, all of which have a very low bar of entry so that you don't have to have very much or any experience at all beforehand to get started. I've developed this class as a response to the empty consumption so widely practiced across the Internet and in the 21st century. This isn't about randomly snapping photos at everything that you see or sitting down and journaling just because you saw that it got popular in the world of self-help in the last few years. That doesn't work. More likely than not, those photos will get lost in this camera roll and those journal entries will be quickly forgotten and won't mean anything to you six months from now. There's something beautiful about capturing pieces of your life in a thoughtful way and having those moments to look back on, their value is immeasurable. They can create loose outline of your past. They will become a portal to see where you've come from and what you've gone through. There's no time to waste. Let's get started. 2. Class + Project Overview: Hi everybody. Thank you so much for your interest in taking this class. As I mentioned before, this is going to be about me sharing with you my ways of intentionally documenting my own life. But before I dive into that, I thought it would be good to lay down a little bit of groundwork and a little bit of context. As I mentioned briefly in the trailer, the first little bit of this class, I'm making this because I've felt that the world that we live in it's ever-accelerating nature, can be incredibly ungrounding. It's so incredibly easy to get swept up in the stimulus and in the distractions, and in the options and decisions and the choices that are available at every turn. They're everywhere. It just feels like a constant bombardment no matter where you go, no matter what you're doing. I believe there's a better way. I believe there is a path that we can take to navigate this. I truly believe that cultivating the intentional capture of moments in your life can be a way to bring joy and clarity to your day-to-day experience, your day-to-day reality. I think a lot about the shortness of life and how I want to spend the time that I have here, and what I want to do while I'm here. Lets start with the bad news. I suppose unfortunately, there's not a whole lot that any of us can do about the fact that there's a finite amount of time that we all have. Life does not last forever, that is a non-negotiable. The next best thing is to make that time that we have available as rich and meaningful as possible. That fortunately, is something I do think we can do quite a bit about. Let me put it another way. Since developing my methods for self-documentation, I have felt like a new layer of depth has been added to so many of my experiences. That is what I want to share with you guys. I think the antidote to that feeling of emptiness that we feel sometimes, that I feel sometimes, is not necessarily more, but rather more intentional. I'm really excited about this, and as you will see, this is a subject I'm very passionate about and that I have a lot to say about. In the first part of this class, I'm going to start off with a why, I think that's the best place to start, as well as the principles for effective documentation and how I think about all of this so that you can get an inside look on my thought process and what I'm paying attention to, what I'm considering when I'm doing this. Then the second portion of this class, I'm going to dedicate all of that time to breaking down different methods of going about this. I have once again developed these methods so that there's a low bar of entry. I've offered in almost every case an analog and a digital option so that you can adapt this to your own personal preferences. I know that we don't all operate the same way. For me personally, if you're familiar with my work on YouTube, then you know that I have developed a massive bias towards analog. But again, there is no wrong way to go about this. There are absolutely digital methods and techniques that I use for myself on a very regular basis. We're going to talk about things like photography, but do not worry, this is an extremely non-technical class. You don't actually have to know how to take photos. I have thought about that and I've planned accordingly. So do not worry about that. If you do know, then that's an added bonus and that's great. But what I'm saying is, you do not need to feel like you need to come to this with any prior knowledge of anything really. What I've done in designing this class is to essentially leave you with no room for excuses. I'm always surprised when people ask me for tutorials on filmmaking and photography simply because there are technical tutorials available all over the Internet already, for free. In my opinion, that's the easy part. What we're going to be doing here is a lot more nuanced, but a lot more interesting, in my opinion. I'm a little bit less worried about style. This is a class on substance. Now remember, we're fickle creatures and we all operate a little bit differently. Not all of the methods that I'm going to present here have to necessarily click with you. I feel confident that at least one of the methods that I'm going to cover will likely speak to most of you. But even if none of them do, by the end of this class, I hope to leave with you an understanding for a mindset, a way of thinking about intentional documentation. That is the most important thing because with that, you can develop your own methods of intentional documentation in your own life. That is what matters because with that, you can develop methods that are tailored to you and that can stick with you in the long-term. All right, let's dive in. 3. Why Document Your Life?: Why document your life? I think one of the first questions that come to mind, and this is very much worth answering is, why bother doing this? What's the point? Aren't we already capturing our lives with our phones by snapping photos and recording video with far more ease than ever before? That's a part of that, the fact that we can capture so much so easily now, that is undeniably incredible. I have built my entire career around tools that allow me to do that. I'm not complaining, but I have to admit there have been moments in the past where I could take a photo and capture a moment with such ease that I could just do it and then forget about it completely. That moment then passed. There was no lasting impression, no lasting impact, not enough thought and presence went into what I was going through, what I was experiencing. Clearly, this is nuanced. More doesn't always equal more. Have you ever asked somebody a simple yes or no question and they respond with an absolute avalanche of word vomit? Have you ever just wanted to get a box of cereal and found yourself looking at 47 different options? That is sometimes how I think about what we're doing with our new technology, what we are doing in this world of absolute abundance, an overwhelming amount of abundance. Documenting your life in an intentional way is about decision-making. It's about deciding where you want to place your focus and attention instead of having that be decided for you. If you don't intentionally make that decision, it most likely will be made for you. one of the great discoveries that I made in the last few years is that, intentional documentation of my life is actually one of the pillars of my own mental health. At first, I wouldn't blame you if you're having a difficult time making the connection like, what does that have anything to do with my well-being? Here's the thing. This is about so much more than whatever final product you end up with. The final product is huge. Don't get me wrong, and sticking with this across a long-term, in my opinion, can really lead the compounding benefits. But also in my opinion, I think that is only about a quarter to a third of what all of this is about. Maybe that's just a reflection of me and my own priorities, that amount of importance may vary for you. But regardless, there's something else going on here. As cliche as it may sound, this is very much about the process itself. It can be meditative. This is about a way of living life. That's attention that you bring to whatever it is that you're doing. Doing this has helped me more richly live the beautiful moments of my life. But it's also done something else, which is, help me identify trends in my life. It's helped me become an observer of myself, take me out of my first-person perspective. Like I said, I've created a trail of memories that I can look back on and relive, which is, again, for me, priceless. I think I felt a lot of anxiety when I was younger, that I would forget my life, that I would lose my memories and therefore a sense of who I am. It's true that you can't hold onto everything, over time, many of the details do fade away. But in capturing intentionally the important moments, you can hold on to the essence of that memory and add depth and reflection to that. Believe it or not, proper documentation of my own life has helped me better understand the things that happened to me, and also my own behavior which is sometimes inexplicable to me. I don't know where certain impulses or desires come from. It is sometimes a mystery where these things come from. Getting a bird's eye view of my own behavior is incredibly valuable, as I think especially in the 21st century. It's funny to say it aloud, but I think life really is an endless process of getting to know yourself. There is no instruction manual on how to act or what to think. I'm surprising myself all the time. The power of intentionally capturing moments in your life is truly beyond anything I'm able to express to you. I'm doing my very best to put this into words here, but this is something that must be experienced. You live this, and then relive it. I will say this, it is 100 percent one of the top priorities in my life on an ongoing basis. If you've ever seen anything that I've created and shared on the Internet, it is thanks to these processes that I have in place for documenting my life and my experiences. I don't feel like I'm exaggerating when I say that, I believe this to be one of the most valuable skills that I have. It is the principle source of inspiration for all of my storytelling. 4. Principles of Intentional Documentation: Principles for successfully documenting over the long term. There are many ways that you can go about this. You might just want to capture a particular season of your life, and that can be really, really cool. It could be a three or six-month project if that is something that you feel fits you. In general though, I think this is the thing that just gets better with time, and if you can stick within the long term, it is really incredible how you can start to see things evolve. It's like wine. All the memories, all the captured memories that were done in an intentional way to carry something with them, it just gets better over time. I'm definitely preaching the benefits of consistency and sticking with this over the long term. But having said that, although I've been doing this now for about a half decade on my own, there are definitely periods where I'm less consistent, where I'm less productive in an output sense, periods when I'm just capturing a little bit less. My one warning regarding that is that oftentimes that corresponds with difficult periods, periods of challenge in turmoil and upheaval. It's understandable. Resources are more limited. It's hard to think about documentation. But documenting precisely in those periods, in those times can be so incredible. It can be even more valuable as a way to then go back and reflect and better understand those periods of your life. At the end of the day, life is about ebbs and flows. I've said that plenty before, but I feel like it bears repeating. Our priority here is to stay organized and to not get lost and so that you can easily go back and navigate what you have done before when you've captured. It's a key element of proper documentation and essential for all this to work. You need to not really have to think about it. If you're confused about how, whatever it is that you're documenting is organized, then you're going to lose willpower and energy over trying to figure it out, and that has the potential to cause you all kinds of problems in the future. Having said that, let's go right through. One, keep it simple. I'm going to go through a few methods of going about this a little bit later on in this course. But for now, what that means is to not add complexity where it isn't necessary. You don't need something complex to get amazing results. In fact, I would venture to say that complex is often inferior. Two, date everything. This is a no-brainer, but I feel obligated to include this in this list here because even I have forgotten to do that from time to time, and when I do, I'm always kicking myself because then it is impossible to recover that information afterwards. In the case of if you're doing journal entries, for example, dating everything right at the top. Easy, simple. If it's video, I'm going to show you how you can date folders and organize that way. Same thing applies with audio. It's just making a simple roadmap that you can go back through and navigate without having to think too hard. Even though it might feel like you'll be able to remember where and when certain things happen to you, it's really not that simple. You're unlikely to be able to recall everything, especially as I get older. I imagine this is true for everybody. My internal library of experiences continues to expand, and so it becomes more and more difficult to exactly pinpoint when different things happen to me. Three, be as clear as possible. Fourteen months from now, you are not going to be in the same headspace that you are in right now. It's important when you're documenting your life to be mindful of that and to be as clear and specific as possible. I'm going to go through a couple of quick examples here. If you're journaling about experiences that you're having with other people, it often makes sense to be really explicit by writing out their names, what you're doing with them, what you're thinking about them, how you met them. Specific details that might not necessarily seem necessary in the moment, but once again, far into the future, years into the future. They might help you recall those details and remind you who those people were. Same thing with audio. It's really powerful to take a moment and describe what you're seeing, what you're feeling, what you're thinking. Capture those things, even if they seem basic and simple. They're going to be useful. They're going to be powerful when you look back on them far enough into the future, I promise. It's really interesting actually. Even seemingly random details can hold an almost magical importance when looked back on far enough into the future and in the right context. If you think about the 1970s, for example, which is a full half century ago at this point, even little things seem interesting to me. Particularly, once again, in the context of their relation to me and my life and my family. Thing that comes to mind is the memorabilia that my parents held onto from their time as children in Argentina. The little toys, the stamps, the boxes. They probably weren't very special at all at the time. But now looking back, it's incredible. These things are not easily accessible anymore. I'm going to talk about this a little bit later on as well, but the scarcity of these items has drastically increased their value and their specialness. Four, make sure you enjoy doing it. Very simply put, just make sure you don't suffer through doing this. I can't stress this enough. You are not going to stick with this in the long term if you don't see the point and hate doing it. Now, it might take a little bit of sticking with it for it to become an incorporated part of your life. I think journaling, for example, is an acquired taste, and I really had to stick with it and experiment with it before it started to work for me. I did not fall in love with photography the second I held a camera in my hands for the first time. That also took a while. I think patience is the order of the day. I always encourage experimentation. I talk about that a lot, and I think it is an amazing way to approach life. There are things that I have experimented with, things that I've tried out that didn't work for me and that I didn't stick with. Collage making is really beautiful and really works for some people. I think it's just a gorgeous way to distill down a period of your life or a particular theme in your life. I do remember a lot of homework assignments to make collages as a kid, and it just never worked for me. It just didn't stick, and that's okay. I found other methods to go about documenting my life. For that reason, I'm not going to include it in the list of methods that I'm going to talk about a little bit later on. But if you are somebody really into arts and crafts, it might be worth some consideration. Five, make it accessible. Building on this vein of keeping things simple, keeping things easy, accessibility is huge here. One of the things you're going to notice when I go through my methods of documentation is that I always have the tools to make it happen, my tools for documentation with me. I always have them with me, even when I think I might not need it. You never know. Things that I'm thinking about are, first of all, size. Small is easier to take with you and carry around without having to worry about it too much than big and bulky. That is a point really worth doubling down on because carrying around something that's too bulky, too heavy, too big can really create friction and make it unenjoyable to carry that around with you. I also don't usually want to run the risk of the potential of forgetting my tools for documentation, so I'll often leave them in my backpack or my bag so I'm just always ready to go. A couple of examples of that. I have this little bag that I ordered on Amazon. I have no idea what brand this is. This is years ago, and I'm sure there's a million options available. It doesn't really matter the brand, but this is a bag that is just big enough to carry a small camera and one lens potentially. In here, I have a camera. This is nice and easy, also big enough to maybe take my wallet, but really not much more than that. Many of you might be familiar, if you're familiar with my other work, with this backpack that I carry around with me almost everywhere, certainly when I'm traveling. I love it. It's waterproof, which is huge. This bag is from Brevite. A huge plus is this pocket here where I store a camera. There's always a camera in here. I love this pocket because it's accessible. It's right next to me. Without having to open up my whole bag, I can just unzip, pull out that camera, and get rolling. You know what I mean? That accessibility is wonderful. There's always a camera in there. I rarely leave that empty because I just don't want to miss that chance. Even if I have no intention of capturing anything in particular, it's always there. It's easy and it's accessible. Just as a final point here on this note on accessibility, I think it's really important to think about your risk tolerance. By that, I mean, don't carry around with you tools that make you uncomfortable with the idea of losing them. If they're really valuable, if they're really expensive, I understand. I know that feeling of, do I want to take this with me, and having to make that decision. Sometimes I don't want to take an expensive camera with me or what have you. That's a problem because, say, you do go and there's an incredible experience to be captured there, you've missed that opportunity. Thinking about that trade off and finding a tool that you feel comfortable carrying with you, no matter what, that can be huge and it can be something that you don't stress enormously over when you lose it. That is something to think about. Once again, this is going to come down to your own risk tolerance and who you are as a person, but it's another point to consider. Essentially to recap on this point on accessibility, you just want to remove friction, make this easy. Six, there's no right way to do it. Like I said, I have a variety of methods for documenting my life, and I feel that in many ways they compliment each other because they captured different details of my experiences. One really cool thing that you can do is to mix mediums or to combine mediums and to pair together a journal entry or a poem that you wrote with a photo, or a song, or what have you. What matters is that you're creative, you're trying things out until you find something that fits. Once you find something that fits, sticking with it. Seven, think long term. One thing that I think is fair to say and that I've alluded to before is that this is the thing that is likely to get better over time if you stick with it. It's like wine. There's a compounding effect. It gets exponentially more awesome if you can stick with something, and not just three months, but three years or 30 years. It is unbelievably cool to look back on things that were well captured, intentionally captured from your distant past. When I look at periods of my own life where there was a lack of intentional documentation, it makes me sad. There are absolutely memories there that I would love to have greater access to greater connection with that I can't now because those periods are gone. I might have some blurry photos, some shaky video. That's something, for sure. However, flipping that perspective to the future, I am thinking about ways to avoid that happening, and to make that happen, you need to develop a system or systems that can stand the test of time. For it to perform its intended function, which is to capture important spontaneous moments of your life, it needs to be, once again, easy. I'm going to keep saying that because it's huge. It bears repeating. The third time that I've come back to that point, it just shows how important it is. Thinking long term is also helpful because for me at least it takes off some of the pressure. I don't have to do it all right now, this isn't marathon. There's really no race to the finish because the finish would be the end of your life. We're not trying to rush to that. You can do this in little pieces. To recap what I've covered so far, there have been seven principles that I touched on. Keep it simple, date everything, be as clear as possible, make sure that you enjoy it, make it accessible. Different methods can compliment each other, or in other words, there's no wrong way to go about it. Think long term. Having established those principles now, I want to talk a little bit about my mindset and what I'm thinking about when I go about intentional documentation in my life. 5. Mindset: I just gave you seven principles for effective, successful documentation and now we're going to talk about mindset. There are three levels to this. I'm going to break them down one at a time. I think they build off of each other almost in terms of complexity really. We'll start with level 1 and build up from there. It's about a feeling. Whether something is important or not is entirely subjective. You're the one that decides that. The way that you decide that is by placing your attention on that thing. Your intention is an incredibly valuable, finite resource. There's a cycle that takes place here, where when I feel something pull my attention, tugs on my curiosity, I find it beautiful in some way. That feeling I try to feed with my attention.That cycle continuous. Attention, curiosity, attention, curiosity. Now, tying this back into the idea of intentional documentation in your life. Documenting is paying attention. It's the act of saying that this is interesting, valuable, important because I say that it is, and that's it. You don't need to ask for permission from anybody. I almost always start with a feeling. When I sense that an interesting story is unfolding, I begin documenting, or I might start from an even more elemental place. I might not even necessarily think just yet that there's a story to be told. I might just be following a brief sense of curiosity about something that is happening or about a way that I feel. It can be anything really. That's actually the beauty of curiosity, that you can truly be curious about anything, including your other emotional states. To do this, all you have to do is leave a little bit of space for that curiosity, a crack for that feeling to creep in. It's about protecting your attention from the dangers of endless scrolling, for example. It's about paying attention for something that speaks to you. Fortunately, for all of us, we live in a very vibrant world. There are stories happening all the time, all over the place, and it's up to you to find them. Capture now, think, edit, judge later. The next step up from level 1, from the feeling, is to capture, is to take action, essentially, is having your finger on the trigger and firing. The fastest way to ruin the process of documentation is by overthinking it, especially when you're just starting out and you're just trying to find your feet. Now, the beautiful thing about all of this is that you don't actually have to have a plan. That is what I love so much about documenting versus creating. There is no wrong way to do it as long as you're following that feeling, as long as you're chasing that curiosity and that pull. This is what I'm advocating for here, is removing the judgment from the process. It's about pushing the thinking, and the editing, and the polished presentation off to later on. Being picky, having standards, those are not bad things. They're really not. I think it's actually fantastic to have standards, very important to have standards, but they have a time and a place, and they can absolutely have a harmful effect on the entire process this early on. On many, many occasions, I accidentally captured things that I later found priceless. In a sense, this is a game of once again, experimentation and also timing, of paying attention at the right time in the right place. You have to understand there's a story unfolding in your life right now. Actually, in my opinion, an infinite number of potential stories unfolding and you're the one that decides which one to follow by choosing what you pay attention to and what you capture. I'm talking in terms of stories, but in the moment it might not feel that way. The story may not necessarily be visible right now. It doesn't necessarily have to reveal itself to you. In general, there may quite simply be a feeling of there is no story right now. I'm just capturing moments. That could remain the case for a long time, until 30 years from now, you're looking back on these moments and the story of your life reveals itself to you, or the story of whatever it is that you were going through at that time, or whatever it may be. I find that so poetic. In fact, this is the advice that I offer to anybody who asks me for advice on how to get started as a filmmaker, or a photographer, or a writer, or whatever. I say, just get started by documenting. Just start capturing. If you find something about the process that you just embarked on, it pulls you, whatever it is that you're capturing, whatever it may be, that will be a force for you to improve because you will look for ever more sophisticated ways to capture whatever it is that you're capturing and that will lead you to improve. As a general rule, instincts play a huge role in my own documentation of my own life. When I find something curious or beautiful, I document it. Sometimes it's not beautiful at all actually. Sometimes, it's very painful, but instincts tell me document it, so I do. I'm following that feeling. I don't even necessarily need to know how or why I'm feeling the way that I do. I just do it. I pull the trigger, and then oftentimes, I come back later to figure things out, to connect the dots. Developing that killer instinct. Now, this third level, I call developing the killer instinct, and it's absolutely an ongoing process. It's like a sixth sense. The first thing that you're going to find upon embarking on this process is that not everything you're going to capture is going to do a good job, if you will, of poignantly capturing, or reflecting, or encompassing what it is you're feeling, what it is you're experiencing. There might be something of a gap that exists between what you're trying to do, what you're trying to capture, and what you're actually capturing. What it is you're actually capturing, once again, may not necessarily feel fully reflective of whatever time and place that you find yourself in, or whatever emotional state you're trying to convey. There is absolutely such thing as over documenting. Now, this might seem absolutely counter to my previous point here, where I said, just go for it, take action, get out there, don't overthink it. But believe it or not, this really isn't counter to that point. It's just the next level up in terms of complexity and sophistication in this process. It's getting better at being intentional about what it is that you do capture. Let me just say this. If this doesn't make sense to you right now, don't worry about it. What matters is getting started. But I will say this, you will get better at this process by doing it. Going through this process over and over again will hone your instincts and two things will happen, you will get better and it will get easier. Now, this third level is where, in some ways, we go full circle. Back to the idea of how less, oftentimes, not always, but oftentimes is more. I think there's something incredibly beautiful about capturing an entire day trip, or an entire weekend, or whatever it might be with six photos or 11 lines of poetry. More doesn't necessarily equal more. You can overwhelm yourself with your documentation. So take things in little pieces. Often, I've been asked if having a camera in my hands, taking a camera with me when I go off on an adventure, if that takes me out of the experience and my answer is that it depends. It can. It absolutely can. But a camera in my hands can also have the opposite effect of making me pay much closer attention to my surroundings, of looking for the light and being an observer. It can switch me on. The deciding factor here between being distracted from the present experience and being more switched on to it is the energy. It's the intentional part of intentionally capturing. You don't need to capture every second to tell the story or stories that make up your life. In fact, oftentimes, in storytelling, it's about what you don't show, what you don't share, what you don't reveal. Those gaps are huge for allowing imagination to connect the dots, to fill things in. When you're starting out, don't worry about it too much. It's much more important to just get going and to try things out and to see what works. However, I have found that over time, that over-capturing happens less and less. The thing to remember here is that there's no magical amount that is correct. It's going to depend on the experience. It's going to depend on who you are. It's going to depend on what you're trying to do. It's not about less or more, it's about intentionality. It doesn't matter what you capture really and I truly cannot emphasize that enough. It could be anything that you find beautiful or ugly. It's all subjective. What matters, once again, is about the energy in the act. It's about paying attention. It's about being present. Now, let me share a little anecdote here to fill this in. A few years ago when I was starting out in the world of photo and video, I got a few gigs as a freelancer to capture, to shoot auctions, if you will. One of the biggest things that I recall when thinking back on that is this feeling of running around like a headless chicken, trying to capture as much as I possibly could while it was happening, in every direction. I was running around with a monopod. It's like a tripod, but just one leg. I would have it, I would stand somewhere, I'd film, I'd move around. I was running. I felt so much pressure to capture as much as I possibly could because I was terrified of not having enough material to tell the story afterwards, because I would then take what I captured and do a three-minute edit of the auction itself. It was part of the gig. Well, that was not a very effective strategy for me to take. What I ended up with was garbage. It was not good, not quality. It wasn't even just because I wasn't taking the time to do proper setup and good composition, and make things look beautiful. That's really important, of course, but I wasn't even present to the action of doing that. I wasn't there. Naturally, what I walked away with was low quality. In nine out of 10 of those types of situations, I'm usually kicking myself saying, gosh, it would have been better if I just took my time and walked away with less total material. When it comes to documenting your life and living your life in general, be a turtle. There is really no rushed to the finish line. Furthermore, I may have mentioned this earlier on, but scarcity really can increase value. When you do it right, when what you're capturing is meaningful, it's valuable, then less is absolutely often more. This is why film feels so special, because you're dealing with limited resources. You're being forced to pay closer attention. I have often found that a photo of me from 20 years ago has this intangible value to it that I cannot replicate with my film. It's just not the same thing. This concludes the first portion of this class. We have arrived at the end of the theory, if you will, of effective documentation, how I think about it, the principles that you need. You're set on that front. We are now going to dive into the methods themselves. This is the action portion of this class. I'm going to go through them and break them down one by one, all the while sharing my thoughts and how I think about all of it, and what you should be looking out for from here on out is the things that resonate to you. What speaks to you, what excites you, what interests you, and we'll just go from there. You ready for this? Let's dive in. 6. Method 1: Ultrasimple Vlogging: I want to remove from your mind all of the ideas that you already have about vlogging. This is not going to be a lesson on how to become Casey Neistat, vlogging can look like many different things. I think it's helpful to remember that vlogging is video logging. You're logging the events of your life in video form. I am going to show you a really simple method of doing this. It will be of particular interest to people interested in video, or maybe the idea of starting a YouTube channel or something along those lines, and it involves this. I use my phone a lot, believe it or not, and if you have a smart phone, you already have the camera that you need. You're welcome to invest in more expensive gear, higher-quality materials out there. I have an updated list of the gear that I use on my website, You can check that out. But you really don't have to have any of that to get started. Once again, take it from me, I use this. This is my phone that I use on a daily basis. I use this to vlog a lot of moments in my life and I use that footage in videos that I create. For those of you curious, this is an iPhone 11 pro Max, but I have used clips shot with previous phones that I've owned all the way back from probably 2014 when I had an iPhone 4S or something along those lines, and those clips were plenty good. Basically, what I'm saying here is if you have a smart phone from the last, let's say six years, you should be fine. I've used video that I've shot from my iPhone 4S once again, in videos that I created this year. My point here is just to say that, yes, there's a great camera on this phone, which is on the more expensive side for sure, but almost all smartphones that have come out over the last few years have a camera that is plenty good and they're only going to get better. As you are going to see, it's going to have a lot more to do with what you do with your phone, with your camera, then the camera itself. Now, when I'm in intentional documentation mode with my phone, I'm mainly doing two things. I either film myself where I'm expressing a particular feeling or a thought that I'm having in that moment. I am not trying to be a TV show host, I'm not trying to create something that is viral, I'm just capturing a moment. It's freezing, so windy over here. I'm told this is the Westernmost point in Europe. I'm sort of expressing what I am experiencing in that moment. I'm so nervous. My heart is pumping out of my chest. It has been so long since I've been to the beach. This is glorious. My God, and it's still warm. What time is it? It's past 9:00 PM. Sometimes what I say comes out really damn, it doesn't matter. I can edit that out later if I want to. So it's really not a big deal and not that any of this even has to see the light of day in the first place. It's just spontaneously capturing what I'm experiencing in a particular place at a particular time. On a road somewhere in Southern Portugal. The light is just ridiculous right now. I mean, ridiculous. Basically, I'm going to attempt to learn how to drive stick for the first time. Let's see how that goes. The other thing that I do is that I film what I'm seeing, a POV of what I'm seeing, what I'm walking through, where I'm going. I film my surroundings, and there's really no wrong way to go about this. Although there are a few basics to keep in mind that can improve the quality of what you're capturing. I do my best to keep my hands steady so it's not overly shaky. A lot of phones now have built-in stabilization, which is great, but in general, just steady hands. When I shoot something, I make sure to keep my camera on it for at least a couple of solid seconds, maybe a little bit longer than feels natural, simply because I'm making sure I capture that visual. Also, as a personal preference of mine, I really love shooting things wide, as in with a wide angle, and that can capture more at once, and it's a nice look for vlogging. I know that this phone has a wide angle, that of course is absolutely personal preference. It doesn't really matter too much, but I like to shoot things wide when I mean vlog mode, and that's about it. I'm not using any fancy apps or gear, I'm literally just using the camera app, like so, and nothing special whatsoever. Sometimes I will lock exposure, sometimes I will lock the focus and what not but not that often. Honestly, I'm really not making this a technical thing. Usually, I'm just pulling out my phone and filming within the span of two or three seconds because I'm just trying to capture the moment. I'm trying to follow through on that impulse, that urge to capture. Nothing special, nothing fancy. I don't own a gimble from my phone or any other accessories to go along with it. Those are oftentimes very much worthwhile investments. But what I'm basically telling you here is that you don't need that to get started and you don't need that to capture interesting moments in your life. Now, of course, I think about composition and how to make things look beautiful or interesting, but I also think that that thing comes with time, with practice. Of course, it's something that I pay a lot of attention to because I've made a living now making video for at least half a decade. If you'd like to see an example of an entire video that I shot with my phone, I documented my experience moving to Paris. That was a little challenge that I gave myself and I feel like the video came out great and illustrates hopefully that you can do a lot with your phone. My point, and hopefully the takeaway that you get from this is that simplicity is king, use the tool that is available to you, and if that tool is the phone that you have in your pocket, then that's more than good enough. Stop making excuses. Within this example of video, it's much more worth your time to seek out interesting moments to capture or beautiful lighting because that has a huge influence on video quality and the final image capture, then an investment in the gear itself, in better lenses and better cameras, all of that. By the way, I think it's just important to mention here that I think we should all from time to time remind ourselves how lucky we are to live in a time where these tools are so easily accessible. It wasn't that long ago that tools to make video like this were far less accessible for most people. Now, if you just want to store those moments somewhere, a free option to do this safely is with Google photos. You can upload everything up to 1080p quality totally for free. There's an unlimited amount of storage, and beyond that high resolution, say if you want to upload 4K counts against your Google Drive storage space that you have. That's a free solution, and I actually really recommend doing backups on the cloud. It's a smart idea. It's something that I do as well, so I think Google Photos is definitely a solid option. However, I also do local backups on external hard drives. My rule of thumb is to always have two copies mirrored and I will name them. A brand that I like a lot is Western Digital. These are four terabytes, and I'll label it. This is O3b, this one is O3. These are mirrors of each other. When I run out of space, I move on to O4, O5, O6. The storage is getting cheaper and cheaper, and is worth the investment, honestly. This should not be an excuse I think, for not documenting more. [inaudible] storage as well. Little anecdote here, I got robbed in London, something like almost four years ago at this point, and I came this close to losing two years worth of memories that I had not backed up. That really woke me up to how devastating it can be to lose these memories. It is absolutely worth your time and effort to come up with a little plan with external hard drives. Maybe you keep one at your parent's place and the other one with you, just in case something happens. Then another backup on Google Photos, as I suggested, which is free. It's smart to do this because there's truly few things in life I think more devastating than losing years worth of memories simply because you didn't take the time to back them up. Take a moment to share with you how I organize my video files, my B-roll, the moments that I capture with my phone or with other cameras. I have an extensive folder structure for a whole variety of different things. But for now, I'm going to show you how I organize, I call this B-roll. There's probably a better name that this could have. Within B-roll, I have just a generic iPhone backup that I throw on here. But more specifically, I keep things organized by year, this is 2020, and then by month. This is just what I have on my desktop right now. Every once in a while, I will take what's on my desktop and back it up, throw it onto honestly, a pair of these external hard drives so they're mirrored, because I run out of space on my desktop. I keep only the last few months easily accessible on here. It is backed up already as well, but I keep it on here just for accessibility, for little edits or moments that I want to create. We'll talk about that in a second here. But as you can see here, I have 09, so September, October, and November here, 9, 10, 11. In here, you can see that I give a little label, I'll basically number them so you can see them in an organized way. Then a little description of what I was capturing. Clearly, I've had some wide angle fun, so I just walked around and shot with a new lens, a really wide angle lens in Paris. This is wide angle goodness. Then an interview and then a trip to the Netherlands that I took. You can see I have iPhone moments here. I find that you don't need to be that much more elaborate than that. I find that it's plenty good to have the year, the month, and then a little descriptor of what it was, where it was, something along those lines. I'm not going to remember everything that was shot. But if I'm looking for, for example, B-roll that I shot on a little trip to the beach in 2018. I know it happened in 2018. It will only take me a few clicks to find those files again. I'll just have to go to the year 2018 and then maybe click through a few of the months if I don't remember exactly when. Then within there, there'll be a folder that says beach trip, and there you go. It's pretty simple, works for me. The simplicity is what makes this easy to maintain. Now, the leveled up version is the level 2 version of vlogging your life as a way to sort document your experiences, is to take clips from a particular period of time. It could be an afternoon, it could be a weekend, an entire week, a month, your entire summer, something along those lines, and create a little edit with really clearly defined creative restrictions. Maybe you have 90 seconds or three minutes to tell the story of what you experienced in that time. Now, this is obviously a little bit more effort and a little bit more time-consuming, but if you're motivated, if you're really interested in making this happen, basic video editing is available to you right now. You can get started today if you have a computer. There are millions of tutorials available out there that will give you a really clear run through on how to get started within a few minutes. When I do a little edit of my vlog moments, I do mainly three things. I take my clips every month or two, let's say, and make sure they're on my computer. The way I do that, oftentimes, at least in the case of Apple, is AirDrop. But if you don't have an iPhone, you can easily upload things on Google Drive for example, or just plug into your computer, then you can take free editing software. iMovie is plenty good and free if you have a Mac or Da Vinci Resolve is fantastic as well, available for Mac or PC. I will oftentimes find some music that I was listening to during that period that marks that period of my life, and then I will pair that with some thoughts that I record in voice-over of that time. I arrived right before golden hour so that most likely had an impact. But the first thing that really struck me upon landing in Lisbon were the colors. The colors, man. The Portuguese color palette at least in summer is gorgeous. It's those three things coming together to create a little edit. There are several examples of this on my channel, No Backup Plan if you're curious. An example that comes to mind immediately is a video I called, this was the strangest summer of my life or something along those lines. Another one I did about visiting the [inaudible] capital of the world. If you want to monetize these videos, which can be fun as well. To get a YouTube career started, I highly recommend Musicbed, which is a resource that I use a lot. You can sign up and get a free trial with the link. It's a fantastic resource because there's a lot of great music on there and it's cool to monetize your work. Making this in our project adds an incredible amount of depth and meaning to the memories, in my experience. It's an opportunity to relive them, to process them, to revisit them with a little bit of perspective. You're interpreting and you're making something beautiful at the same time. I can then permanently revisit periods of my life within the span of a few minutes. It's cool to do that to spark more memories from that time. Because of course, you can't include everything, but that's not the point, you're just trying to get that essence, that feeling. It's sparking an emotional return to that place in time. Here's an exercise to try this out for yourself. Give yourself a time frame of an afternoon, or weekend, or a week, or an entire month and practice this. Try capturing your thoughts and your feelings in different times and different places with your phone. Also take the time to get POV shots of what you're seeing and what you're experiencing, where you're walking, whatever it may be. Take those clips, put them in a folder, in a nice spot on your desktop, and back it up on an external hard drive or on Google Photos. Then optional, create a 90-second edit those moments. If you do that, I would absolutely love to see that in the project section of this class I'm really curious about what you guys are going to come up with. 7. Method 2: Journaling Reimagined: We're going to now dive into a method I'm calling Journaling Imagined. This is inspired by my own experiences here. I tried and struggled to develop the habit of journaling for a very long time. It wasn't clicking, it wasn't working for me and I think I found the secret to making it easier for myself, that is what I want to explore and share with you right now. Grab a journal and a pen. I don't have a pen with me but you should have a pen, and we're going to dive in, that's all you need. Here's my pen. As you can see here, I have multiple journals which might seem overwhelming, but we're going to break all these down. Let's start with the issue here. I'm a huge proponent of journaling, I think it has a ton of potential benefits. It's incredible to externalize your thoughts and be able to see them. I really am a huge promoter of journaling as a whole, but I think the challenge so many of us face is a blank page. There are few things more difficult to navigate than a blank page. It's hard to know where to start and it's hard to get going. I find it difficult sometimes to know what to write about, so we're going to change that today. The solution I have found is to theme your journaling. To incorporate restrictions, in a sense, so that you're working within a framework. Restrictions, believe it or not, limitations can actually trigger creativity when done right. This can actually make the writing process a whole lot easier. I'm going to give you a few suggestions about how you could do this, these are ideas. What you end up doing does not have to look exactly like what I'm doing here. This might spark some ideas. My favorite example is to have a, I don't know if you can see this here, is to keep a language journal. If you are in the process of learning a language, it is absolutely incredible to write the vocabulary that you're learning, the expressions that you're picking up, but also to journal, to write out your thoughts and experiences in a foreign language. At first, you're going to probably not write super eloquently. It's really challenging and more time consuming for sure to write in a foreign language. But it is so amazing to look back on my journal entries from last year in Italian and see what I was going through, what I was experiencing, and whatnot, but through the lens of a foreign language and with the additional perk of getting to see my own progress with the language. It's funny writing in a foreign language made writing simple things, basic things that I was experiencing so much more fun and stimulating because it was all a challenge. I think this is definitely one way that I've tricked myself in my own brain into enjoying what can sometimes be a process that doesn't seem super fun from the outside, but this ended up being a blast. So that's one example. Another example is to maintain what I call a mental clarity journal. This is definitely in line with my brand online, if you're familiar with my other work, I talk about mental clarity quite a bit. Mental clarity, in this case, and by the way, this could, for you, be just a spiritual journal or it could be a dream journal or it could be a manifestation journal or whatever you want to call it. This is a place where I keep all different things that feel related to my own journey in understanding myself and understanding the world around me. There is absolutely a philosophical spiritual bend to all of this. This can be notes that I write down when I'm meeting with my therapist. It can be quotes that I heard or saw somewhere that I want to keep. It can be almost like I give myself a little thought experiments and little prompts to write within when I'm trying to sort through my thoughts and ideas on if we live in a simulation or what have you. There's really no rules other than this is a space for me to write out and accumulate resources relating to this mental clarity path that I'm on. I'll give you a little example here. In here, I wrote out a few thoughts on my strategy for lock down number 2. For those of you watching this far into the future, lock down number 2 is in reference to the second lock down of 2020 here in France. I was feeling nervous and anxious about the idea of spending so much time by myself. Again, the first lock down was challenging, to say the least, psychologically and emotionally. So I took the time to write out a little bit of my strategy, some thoughts on how to tackle that, how to approach it. Here I wrote discipline. I wanted to focus on my sleep and on taking breaks. I wrote about getting out so we could still take short walks. I wrote, "Take advantage of that hour out if there is one," and this was really important for me, for my own mental health. Then in terms of mindset, I wrote out a few things that I wanted to keep in mind. So I wrote, "This is a chance to get a lot of work done and bring all of my planning and vision to life." I wrote, "This is short term, not forever." I wrote, "Things are the way they are, there is no use wishing things were different." This was really helpful, actually, for me, in terms of framing my mindset for this stage of my life, for this particular period. Having this journal, having this framework already set for me, that's just the mindset that I enter when I think about my mental clarity journal, it made it easier. It made it a lot easier. As a final example here, I also have a bullet journal. This can be a great way to track habits and sleep. I've done a few videos on my channel on YouTube talking about how I bullet journal. But what I've found is that within a bullet journal, it can be fantastic to do like emotional updates on how you're doing on a particular week, check-ins biweekly or monthly basis. This is a fantastic tool because my framework here with my bullet journal is that this is me tracking myself. It's tracking my habits, is tracking how I'm taking care of myself, but it's also tracking how I'm doing emotionally. That is what this bullet journal has allowed me to do, and has allowed me to journal about my emotional well-being and where I'm at with different things a lot more easily because it's within a framework. You don't have to do all of these things, you don't even have to do any of them, but I would suggest trying something out for yourself. It could be a creativity or inspiration journal. Again, dream journal, language journal, what have you? But, I think the best way to get started is to not try and do it all, not try to just start with a blank page, but to give yourself a creative restriction, a creative framework to work within. If you're still struggling on what to do and how to move forward, then I'm going to tell you what to do with the help of a wonderful Hemingway quote. It goes, all you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the true sentence that you know. So here's an exercise for you. If you do, by any chance, have journals from the past, I would invite you to dig them up and use them as the inspiration for a prompt I'm going to give you which is to read through some of the entries that you have, and to mirror your new journal entries, if you will, off of what you wrote back then. Intentionally create parallels between those old entries and where you're at now. So if you were talking about a particular project that you were working on at that time, what parallels can you write about that exist today, and compare and contrast, or maybe you were writing about a particular show that you were watching. Maybe you could do the same for this today for where you're at right now. Now, if you don't have old journals or journal entries that you can pull from, that's totally okay. I'm going to flip the script a little bit and basically say to start the process now. Create a journal entry addressed to a future version of yourself; a year or two years or five years from now about what you're doing, what you're thinking, what you're working through and as particularly, if you can, within the framework of whatever journal theme that you pick for yourself. If you're looking for a digital alternative to this, I think there's probably a lot of apps and/or software that you can use to write out your thoughts. You could probably use something along the lines of word or pages and in that case, I would make sure to save and date each of your entries, which is important for all journaling by the way. Make sure to date your entries and be as meticulous as you can be with your documenting process. I'm not a big fan of doing this digitally, to be honest with you. It's too easy to edit and delete afterwards, but if you choose to do that, at the very least, keep that in mind, to avoid editing and deleting after the fact. That is not what this is about, that's not the point of this exercise. 8. Method 3: Film Photography Made Easy: All right, so now we're going to talk about photography, more specifically, film photography for the most part. Although I will offer a digital photography method that is modeled after film photography. The reason why I want to talk about this is because this is one of my favorite ways of documenting my life, capturing moments in my life. The something really special about film is a limited resource that you're working with. I work with these 35-millimeter rolls of film, which give me 36 shots and it's not extremely expensive, but it's also not cheap. I think I did the calculation here where I am and it's going to vary depending on the film that you use, where you're at, all kinds of things. But it cost me about 50 cents per photo. That really makes me think about every single photo that I'm taking. The sorts of limitations on what I can capture, make every photo so much more valuable and important, and meaningful and that scarcity is really incredible. I'm going to walk through all of the necessary information that you need to know to get going with this. But I will say that there are ways to do this very, very cheaply and very, very simply. You don't have to know how to shoot photography. All of the technical things like aperture and shutter speed and whatnot. They're good to know, but you don't have to know them at all. If you're interested in that, there's a lot of technical tutorials, like I said before available out there, but that's not what this is. I'll be honest, for the longest time, I was intimidated by the idea of film photography, film in general, because it seemed complicated, difficult, challenging in general. But the beautiful thing that I've discovered now that I've entered that world is that you can actually do quite a bit to choose the level of complexity that you take on. I think there's something really beautiful about capturing your life instills. I've become a real advocate of photography and film photography in general. Within the rules of film that I've captured are some of my most cherished photos truly. I started with this camera. It is a Canon AE-1, but we're going to put this aside for a second because it is a manual camera. It helps me with exposure. There's an auto-exposure feature which is great exposure as in how light the photo is, the cameras helping me figure that out that's great. But you have to know how to shoot photos to be able to take photos with this. I'm going to put this aside because there's even easier than this. When I recommend, if you've never shot photos before in a manual way, if you don't know how to manage the settings, then I recommend something known as a point and shoot. This is a point and shoot. The name point and shoot comes from the fact that you just point and you just shoot. It's really, really simple. I have a couple of examples here. These are a couple of cameras that I bought recently through eBay. But you can 100% find excellent options in an old vintage camera store or in a garage sale for extremely cheap. In fact, you don't have to spend more than a few dollars, honestly, in an environment like that to get something more than usable. Now, the beautiful thing about point-and-shoots is that they do a lot of the decision-making for you. I don't have any control whatsoever with this camera. This is a Nikon L35AF. I don't have any control over shutter speed, over aperture, over all the technical stuff basically. All I can control is the composition. Composition is essentially how the layout looks within a photo, how I position myself, and what I frame within the photo that's a composition. This camera is making a lot of decisions for me so that the lighting looks right in the photo and that allows me to just really presently focus on capturing something that I see that I think is beautiful or interesting or what have you and moving on with my life after that, being there, being present, and then continuing on with my day, you can't go much simpler than that. Anybody can shoot with a point and shoot. Like I said, without even knowing how to take photos, as long as you just take a moment and frame what you're looking for and hit the trigger. Believe it or not, film photography can actually be, in many ways more affordable than digital photography. Because you can buy digital cameras for thousands of dollars and you can get something like this for 50 bucks, for $100, or for $5 at a garage sale. I highly, highly encourage you not to get swept up into the hype of certain cameras. A great example is the Contax T2. It's a camera that has been super hyped up by celebrities and famous people seen using it and so the price has just gone wild, just absolutely nuts. It's hundreds if not thousands of dollars to get one. You really do not need that to get started. You can start with an old camera. I would check with your grandparents first if you don't have any film cameras with you already. If not, again, a garage sale or eBay, just start poking around with regards to film, it's actually a lot easier than I thought before diving into that whole world. Basically, all you need to do is find a film shop. It's usually like an old vintage camera shop and they'll sell rolls of film. That's where I buy my film. I'll go to a shop that's not too far away, 15 minutes by foot and then they also develop the film. I'll take the finished roll back to them and they charge a price for it. It's usually a few bucks and then I receive the digitized files a few days or maybe a week or two later and that's it. It's really as simple as that. I can go back and recoup the negatives if I'm interested or there's an option to have them printed and that can be really, really nice and wonderful gift to give people. Here's an example. These are some film photos that I took while I was in Portugal. Developing a relationship with the person that works at your local vintage camera shop or film photography shop is a great way to further develop your knowledge of the world of film, and it really is an entire universe. There's so much you can learn about it. One way to shoot even more affordably with film is with expired film which you can also order on eBay. It's certainly a little bit riskier and it's going to depend on what risks you're willing to take. But it is worth trying it out if you're looking for an even more affordable option, I've taken a bunch of photos that I'm really, really happy with, with expired film. At the end of the day yeah, this is a slow process than digital photography and always will be. That's why I enjoy it so much. I'm forced to slow down and to think and to ponder through every still that I capture. When I capture film photos of family and friends, their meaning increases tremendously. It's not just a simple photo I took with my phone. There's just something special about it. The point of this lesson is just to show you that, well, film photography can become very complex and there's a lot that goes into it. With a simple point and shoot camera, you can get started very, very simply and anybody can use this. There's really not a lot of thinking that goes into this. This allows me to have many of the pleasures of film photography with only a tiny fraction of the effort and energy. The reason that I shoot with film is that there's a level of uncertainty to the entire process. I don't know what I've captured until weeks or sometimes months later. There's so much character and imperfection to film that you just can't get with digital. Of course, scarcity there's just something about that, that makes this photo so special. I think this feeds into the fact that film photography, because of its limitations, forces you to be more present to pay closer attention. Even if it isn't a spectacular photo, in the end, the meaning that that photo holds, for me, at least is so much greater because I was paying attention that moment takes me back to that place. It really is like opening a surprise package every time I receive those digitized files of my film photos for the first time, make sure to stay organized by dating your film rolls when you receive them when they're developed. Whether that's printed out or digitally. Lightroom is a wonderful way to stay organized with everything. There's an amazing tutorial from Joe Allam that breaks down the entire process. Otherwise, this is the same sort of deal as logging. I'm labeling folders by date, year, and month and increasingly, I'm adding the camera that I shot it with and the film that we've shot with. Now the digital alternative, it's not going to be the same. But the digital alternative to film here is to impose limitations on how many photos that you can take in a particular time span. Maybe you go on a little afternoon adventure somewhere to the park. In this case, I would give a limitation of eight photos. You have eight photos that you can capture that afternoon. What are those photos going to be? You pick the number, of course, but stick with it and see what that limitation forces you to do. What is the story that you can tell with those photos? 9. Method 4: Become a Reporter of Your Own Life: I want you to take a moment and imagine now that you are a reporter of your own life. To get an idea of what this could potentially sound like, I feel like you can pull a lot of inspiration from actual reporters from, for example, the New York Times. The Daily is a wonderful podcast that I pulled a lot of inspiration from in developing this practice of being a reporter of my own life. It's a truly unique experience because you're unlikely to remember the exact words that were said or the exact ambiance. It's a true surprise I find to go back and listen to old audio clips of my life. I'm going to start with the digital option here. I started capturing ambient sounds with my phone as if I were a reporter of my own life. It's really simple, I just use the voice notes app. I find that the audio captured with smartphones has become absolutely incredible. Then I make sure once I've recorded the audio to name the file and to specify where it was recorded or what I was recording. These voice notes are incredibly interesting to listen back to, let me play you an example, and I want to play for you the audio that they captured one night when exploring monmouth, it's the 18th on this mall in Paris, and somebody was playing some wonderful music improvising with it and I just felt the desire to capture it, so here it is. You get the idea. This was called monmouth music, and it's already dated by the voice notes app, which is wonderful, so this was September 3rd, 2020. When I listen to that, it takes me right back to the little plaza. It was not even a plaza, it was like a little square and it was a guy playing with his guitar, with a group of buddies and there were a few people walking by, there was a Raspberry nearby where people were drinking beers for the most part because this was in the evening. So great, it's almost like not having the visual element to this, triggers either my imagination or the images that I already have in my mind, in my own memory bank to resurface, I'm almost right back there by listening to this. I feel like this is a really great example of how just pulling out your phone and capturing the audio for a few moments can be really special. One great way to turn this into a regular practice is by giving yourself the task of capturing, let's say, one piece of audio on a daily or a weekly basis, making this a regular thing. Think of this as the soundtrack of your life. Now, the analog way to do this is with a tape recorder, and this is definitely a hassle. It's not as easy as your voice notes app. It is not as high quality either, but it's also an incredible way to add character and importance to whatever audio that you're capturing. Because once again, it's more cumbersome, it takes more time to use this. This was given to me by a friend. I'm rewinding right now and this can be digitized. For it to speak to me we have to speak a common language. You are taking me into this world that I don't know, but the common language is your passion and your excitement about this things, and you sharing your experiences with it is like a door that am opening to step into this world, but I need your help to do that because otherwise I could stumble upon this by myself, but it might be a much more long, like a windy path that I'm on, [inaudible]. That's me trying to verbalize for the very first time a little theory in a conversation I was having with a friend about how we all need guides in life to, in a sense, accelerate the process of entering different domains. When somebody excitedly shares with you something that you're not familiar with, a new genre of music, for example, it is usually underlying language that's being spoken, their passion, excitement for this thing that speaks to you first before you have the ability to develop a taste for that new music. Just listening to it in this taped form gives it such an increased importance. I felt like I was listening to me, but from the distant past, this moment in time that was captured, and that was a conversation that had just a few weeks ago, but this is just so cool, so special to listen back on that. There are techniques to stay organized with this. There's note cards that you can write out timestamps and whatnot, and then, of course, you can digitize this as well, which is wonderful. I am no pro with this, I'm new with this, but I am just experimenting with it and enjoying it quite a bit. The three ways that I go about capturing sound when I'm in reporter mode is capturing the ambient sounds of a particular place, be it a kitchen, a market, an elevator, you name it, capturing pieces of conversation or time with other people, be it at dinner or during a ball game, or speaking out my thoughts in audio form. This can easily be paired with visuals captured when vlogging if you choose to go down that route, which was explained in an earlier lesson. Again, a podcast like the Daily is a great place to get inspiration because I think they do a great job of capturing sounds at different places and then the reporters also go above that and beyond that by narrating what they're seeing, what they're experiencing, what they're smelling. It really takes you on a journey, but it's very different than watching video. Now why wouldn't you just film everything? Well, like I illustrated, I think a little bit earlier on when I was really listening to some of this audio, not having the visual almost conjures the visuals in your own mind or triggers the imagination. On both occasions, I felt like I was taken right back to that place where I was recording that audio, and it's a very special feeling, honestly, one of my favorite ways of intentionally documenting my life. My exercise for you is to try capturing audio of a particular experience of yours as if you were on a New York Times assignment. Make sure to date and label all of your audio files. Ideally, if you're doing this digitally, create a safe folder where everything is backed up and you can further organize all these files in similar folder structure to what I outlined before by year, month and day. As an optional add-on to this exercise, I invite you to try and cut this down and do almost like an actual report of whatever this experience was. Maybe if you have eight total minutes of audio that you captured, cutting it down into a one-minute experience. That can be done with audio editing software, Audacity is wonderful and free. 10. Conclusion: All right, so we have covered four different methods of intentional documentation of which I gave, for the most part, digital and analog alternatives where possible. This is meant once again as a series of suggestions and hopefully to spark ideas to get you going on your own intentional documentation of your own life. Be a reporter or try things out. The more experiments, the better in my opinion. This is really a wonderful practice to develop in general in life, and I invite all of you to share your projects in the project section of this class. I really look forward to seeing what you guys come up with. Truly, this is such a joy filled process for me. Again, so grateful that we have so many tools at our disposal that make all of this so easy, and really it's down to us. It's down to bringing that attention and presence to those moments to make them meaningful. It's an incredible power that you have on influencing your own life and your own experience of it, and I think that's amazing. What matters now is that you start, you get this process going. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today. That's a proverb I stole from somewhere, go for it and see where it takes you. Thank you so much for taking this class. I have another one available on here on skill share, on unleashing your creativity and tools and techniques to get those creative juices flowing, and that's another topic I'm very passionate about. If you haven't seen it, I invite you to check it out. We've covered everything that I think we need to cover in this class, I wish you the best of luck and hopefully, I'll see you soon.