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It shouldn’t surprise you that Ryan Koo didn’t go to film school. He is, after all, the founder of the wildly popular website No Film School, an indispensable resource used (and loved) by independent filmmakers around the world — us included. No Film School is a direct extension of Ryan’s scrappy, independent mentality. This is a guy who does things his own way. Like when he moved to New York to start a job as a graphic designer at MTV, despite having zero design experience. Or when he ran a Kickstarter campaign for a film that ended up being years away from being produced.

Question: Are you the type of person who carefully checks the temperature of a swimming pool before slowly, over the course of an hour or so, working your way into the water? Or are you someone who dives into the deep end headfirst like a lunatic? If you’re the second type, then you might have a bright future in film.

In his or her own way, almost every person in the world is a travel filmmaker. When people find themselves in new places, they get out their camcorders and hit Record. These videos, of course, are historically some of the most boring videos ever made. That’s why when a professional travel filmmaker like Brandon Li turns his eye on a place, the result is so striking. There is an art to making a great travel film, and we hoped Brandon could teach us what it is.

T. S. Eliot once said, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” It’s as true in life as it is in creativity. Like in any great story, we only find out who we really are when we’re put to the test. The catch is, as filmmakers we often have to put ourselves to the test. Nobody else is going to do it for us.

Anyone who edits interviews knows how much gets cut. Most of our Musicbed interviews start at around 10,000 words and end up around 2,000. We throw a lot away — usually just because a question or an answer doesn’t fit with the overarching theme.

Mia Brubakken (a.k.a. MIIA) is 18 years old. She’s been a working musician for four years. She has a skyrocketing new single called ‘Dynasty’. She’s making frequent trips to Hollywood to build on an already monumental career in Norway. And she’s 18 years old. It just goes to show you that — all other things being equal — when you have it, you have it. Give MIIA’s music even the most cursory listen, and there is no question she’s bringing something new and exciting to the table. She’s already a celebrity in her own country, and her fame won’t stay confined there much longer. Even Billboard is calling her a “Pop star in the making.” And it doesn’t hurt that her latest single has gotten nearly 2 Million Spotify streams in less than three months.

Years before Abby Fuller became Chef’s Table’s first female director, her first job out of film school was making the series True Life for MTV. That’s where she mastered the most basic building blocks of storytelling: beginnings, middles, and endings. For being so fundamental, it’s surprising how often they’re forgotten. We’ve all watched films that are nothing but a series of beginnings with no real story or progression. And we wonder why we lose interest. We wonder what’s missing. Well, the middle. And also, the end.