matt koval

Embrace Being Stuck

by Matt Koval


My advice for writers and filmmakers when they find themselves physically stuck or delayed.

Don’t piss and moan and scream at the United Airlines lady! Don’t join everybody else in acting like your lives are ruined forever.

Try doing what I do:

Turn it into an opportunity to sink into the deepest and richest layers of your creativity.  Whoa, that sounded really corny. Especially in italics.

But it’s true. We get so distracted these days by by so many things that we rarely ever reach our most creative states. Our brainstorming stays at surface level, and just when we start to go deep… one of a thousand distractions (usually technology) yanks us up again.

Embrace your next delay.  Sink happily into the solitude. It just might spawn your best work.

And by the way, once you get this mindset down, you’ll find it royally entertaining to watch everybody else piss and moan! It’s actually kinda fun.

How do you handle delays anyway?  Answer below!

YouTube invited me to be the host of this interactive quiz to help promote their new educational initiative, YouTube EDU.  It was also asked that the videos be distributed on my channel.  Most of the deals I’m offered are from corporate brands who want to sell, sell, and sell some more, so it felt nice to promote something purely positive for a change. Plus, the role allowed me to revisit a long-ago stint as a substitute English teacher.

During lunch on the shoot day, I asked the producers why I had been offered the job only two days before production.  Turns out I was the third person on their list, and I only got the gig because the other two had last-minute scheduling conflicts.  “Oh, wonderful,” I thought.  “Third-string quarterback time.”

But the other two quarterbacks were… eh, I probably shouldn’t mention them specifically — let’s just say one is a series regular on THE OFFICE, and the other is a long-time staple of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.  Hey, suddenly being third-string didn’t sound that bad! Maybe I should take a real acting class.  (Nah)

Here’s an article about YouTube’s initiative from Mashable.

Story vs. Spectacle on YouTube

February 6, 2012

YouTube is hardly the perfect platform for a traditional, narrative filmmaker. Most scripted projects get buried by the daily video blogs and Epic Meal Times of the world. It’s an awesome place for “video snacks” and shows that can be made on an assembly-line every week.  But for those of us who like to create […]

Read the full article →

Making Branded YouTube Videos

July 8, 2011

Producing branded videos on YouTube is tricky business.  Much of your audience is there because they’re sick of television ads and all that is corporately produced.   They like the personal engagement they have with their favorite YouTube star, and consider that person a friend.  But when that friend turns around and sells them something, […]

Read the full article →

YouTube NextUp

April 30, 2011

Imagine a fully grown man sitting on the floor of his dining room, wearing a blonde wig with pig-tails. It’s a hot summer night, and he’s sweating through his costume.  He’s alone and frustrated.  Things aren’t going well.  There’s too much to do and not enough help.  Not any help. He begins to ask himself […]

Read the full article →

“Tenth” Commentary & How to Brainstorm Film Ideas

September 9, 2010

Tenth was made a handful of years ago, but it remains one of the short films I’m most proud of.  I decided to re-release it on YouTube in higher quality, and also take the opportunity to answer some frequently asked questions about how the idea came to mind. Below is a commentary video where I […]

Read the full article →