• Taylor-Alexis Gillard

Perfection is a Trap

Greetings! Switching the order of things up a bit this week since it's a new month.


Let's start with the MixTay pick and what some may call the church announcements. I went for a walk this morning before signing into work and the late legendary Queen, Celia Cruz was playing in my ears. 'La Negra Tiene Tumbao', one of her hit songs about the style (swag) of a Black woman, was THEE ultimate confidence booster this morning. Besides, the fusion of salsa, reggae & hip hop couldn't hurt to jumpstart your week. Listen to it here!


We're 10 days out from the big day!!! The Silent Willow will be screened in person at the Cinepolis Chelsea on Thursday November 11th @ 1:15p & followed with an intimate Q&A. Get your tickets here and if you can't make it, TSW will be available for viewing online (in US & US Territories) from 11/10 to 11/18.


When you’re striving for success, it’s easy to fall into a habit of confusing greatness for perfection. You want to make sure you have the perfect shot. The perfect composition. The perfect whatever. In reality, that only hinders the creator and more importantly their process. I have a strong affinity for action films because I love the cinematography and someday I want to do something in that lane. I remember working on my documentary with that expectation and I wanted it to be "perfect" given the topic.

Due to COVID limitations, I had to do most of the shooting on my own or with one other person. I had a ton of audio issues, overexposed footage on some days and then some good ol' dust in the lens of a camera I rented. Just everything you that could go wrong, actually happened and I was just repeatedly running into a brick wall.

I took a break from project altogether and started watching docs that were available on the big media networks like HBO & PBS. I noticed that some of the footage wasn’t steady and maybe some shots could have been held for longer. In that moment, I immediately felt silly for seeking to produce a perfect little nugget of a film. Now that’s not to say that I don’t care about the quality of my work because I absolutely do, but sometimes the imperfection is the star.

I loved my baby but I saw so many things that I wanted to fix way after its premiere but couldn't due to logistics and timing. I think with films, especially indie/student films, we put so much pressure on getting the technical stuff right and really it's more about the story. What are you conveying to your audience? What do you want people to walk away thinking after watching your work? Things like that.

So I say all of this to say, there is an immense power in letting go the notion of perfection. It's a trap! Create something, release it to the world and repeat! Your creativity will thank you for it.


As you may know from my previous post, I've been taking my camera with me everywhere! I don't care if it's just a post-work walk, a girls day out or even a trip to the supermarket. I started using my 50 mm prime lens and I must say that I LOVE it. Having a set focal length forces you to really think about the physics & composition every time to look into the viewfinder. I took pictures around my neighborhood and while I was out in New Jersey this weekend. Here's a few of them:

I recently interviewed my grandmother last week and it looked alright but it was an impromptu sit down interview so there wasn't really much to dissect visually. I plan to shoot with her in St. Kitts so there will be LOTS more for my camera to record.

I think I'll have to try shooting someone who is either doing something simple like making a cup of coffee or a little intense like doing donuts in an empty parking lot *wink* before I have a complete opinion on it. I still want to try shooting with an 85 mm prime lens and I think I might rent that particular lens first before committing. I would like to see the differences in photos AND videos taken with the 50mm and the 85mm. I'm set to go back into the office for work this week in the city so I'm sure I'll find something fun & peculiar to film in Manhattan. As always, stay tuned.

Another fun part of just bringing your camera everywhere is the freedom to experiment. I love and cherish my friends because they are so patient with me when it comes to shooting while out. I'm not holding us up to get the perfect shot but they just let me be with shooting. I started to play around with the focus with the 50mm prime while my friend was driving and this is what I captured:

I feel like this would be a great backdrop to an intimate conversation.

hmm, noted for future moody use.


Okay, finally! The topic I'm really excited about! I decided on the first song that I want to create a short music video for. It's called 'Revenge' by Mariah The Scientist and it samples Justin Timberlake's haunting but classic hit 'Cry Me a River.' I took a sound culture class in grad school where I had to create short soundscape with items in my home. I ended up creating this piece with flax seeds, a metal whisk and a mixing bowl. (I would share but I can't find it on any of my hard drives) I thought it sounded beautiful but I remember receiving feedback that it was haunted. (LOL) I realized that I have an affinity for "haunted" sounds, even though I don’t enjoy being spooked by haunted visuals. This probably stems for my love of Tim Burton's work and I'm okay with this! So why not, explore that side of myself with music videos?

In the song, Mariah the Scientist sings about murdering her lover for revenge and she even mentions giving the eulogy in front of his family as if she wasn't the person who took his life. I know, it sounds crazy but it has a dark fantasy vibe, something I would NEVER act out in real life because, freedom. Anyway, it's been fun so far just sketching out what each scene would be like and selecting the right color palette for the visuals. This has also been a little different for me since I like to just go out, shoot and compile it altogether in the editing room. I'll definitely need a variety of actors, locations and an actual crew, so the more this is fleshed out, the better. I wouldn't want to waste anyone's time or effort and I'm about 60% finished with the storyboard.

More on the deets next week as I go but it's been really fun to live out and sketch these ideas. I can say that I definitely want to pay homage to the JT's 'Cry Me a River' music video so I've been looking for some of the most memorable parts of the video. If you haven't seen it or you forgot about this video, here you go:

What stands out to you, aside from the woman impersonating Britney?

As always, thanks for reading and I'll see ya next Monday!

typed with love,


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