Remembering what it’s like to learn something new

It’s been a busy weekend.  It’s been an uncomfortable weekend.  I’ve experienced a lot of cognitive dissonance and internal disappointment this weekend, and I’m trying to work through that both here and away from the computer.

Friday evening was the kick-off of the 48-hour film project here in Richmond.  This is the second year that a group of students (a combination of current students and recent graduates) formed a team.  Jon, the school’s theater manager/film teacher does most of the planning and shepherding.  I, as a co-sponsor of the film club, try to provide support, snacks, a presence at “head quarters” when Jon needs to sleep.  I don’t film.  I don’t edit.  I don’t do any of the planning.  And that all bothers me.  I don’t want to just stand around.  That’s a waste of my time.  That’s time I could be at home hanging out with the kid.  I want to be involved.  Here’s the thing though.  I have no experience making movies.  I definitely want the experience.  I want to know more about the process.  I have a few ideas on how to make all of this happen, but there’s that whole time thing.  If it really takes 10,000 hours to get good at something, I am so screwed.

Part of Saturday was spent at the Richmond hackerspace, where I took an intro class on Linux.  I’m not sure why I was there really other than curiosity, a desire to build a relationship with Hack.RVA, and a motivation to learn how things work rather than just consuming.

I have a genuine interest in the maker philosophy and the idea of maker/hackerspaces.  I think it’s essential to know how things work.  I think creating and making are essential components in the care and feeding of our life force.  With that said, do I know anything about electronics?  Nope.  Do I know how to solder?  Not yet.  Could I build my own custom Linux system?  Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!  Can I edit a 7-minute short in Final Cut?  Certainly not.  Do I want to know how to do all of these things?  Most definitely.

Learning something new is hard though.  It’s intimidating.  And since I’m not getting a grade, it’s so tempting to just not do any of it.  There were several times Saturday morning when I thought about just not going to the Linux class.  It was just $25.  Sunk cost, right?

Tanya Sasser posted a very relevant blog post called, “On the Virtues of Not Being an Expert.”  Around 8 p.m. Saturday, Jon, the film crew, and actors rolled into the theater.  Filming wrapped.  It was time to begin editing.  A couple of the kids were unabashed editing noobs.  They had never touched Final Cut, but they were so enthusiastic in their desire to learn.  It was refreshing, and I seek to reclaim that enthusiasm by being totally unapologetic and unashamed by what I don’t know and just getting after it when and where I can.

Milton Glaser speaks beautifully about making and the path of arriving at understanding here:


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