Welcome to Michael’s Blog!

Welcome to Michael's blog. Michael Andrew, (aka Michael The Maven) is a freelance producer, photography instructor, tech innovator, and when needed, disaster aid specialist.

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08.19.17         instagram  

Fun morning with the bam fam touring maui by...

Fun morning with the bam fam touring maui by helicopter - this is my brother Justin and my Dad whom you never see because I'm so reclusive. We had so much fun. Say Dad...that's a nice camera strap! Soon those will go on sale to the public- I shot 90% with Gh5 + 12-35 2.8 v2, Dad was shooting XT2 with 16-55. #bluehawaiian #bluehawaiianhelicopters #maui #mauinokaoi #mavenstrap #xt2 #gh5

08.18.17         the maven nation - efficiency podcast  

Filming Yourself - Episode #023

Good morning everyone. Michael the Maven here. Today, I’m going to talk about one of the most underutilized tools of self-improvement and that is filming yourself doing whatever you want to improve in. This is some kind of mind bugging to me because we live in a day or age that everybody has a Smartphone or camera of some type but we don’t really use it as much as a tool to improve whatever it is we’re doing. I like to exercise a lot and something that I wanted to improve on was running. I worked with the running coach here in Maui; something that he likes to do is he will film his student running and he breaks down everything from the impact of where the foot hits the ground to how they carry their head and arms; things of that nature. It greatly improves the running form of an individual.  

Back in the days of playing football, every game we would sit down as a team and watch game film, on the following Monday and the coaches will point out what we did right and wrong. The reason why this is so important because when we look out ourselves, we tend to prefer to wear rose colored glasses. We like to see ourselves in a flattering light and that is not always a good thing. When I was getting started with my YouTube channel, for example, I was very nervous about being in front of the camera. This is something wired into my biology; I didn’t like to be in front of the camera. Sometimes I still don’t like being in front of the camera but the way I read it that out was I just practice. I set up a camera and I record and practice over and over and over again until I can get my demeanor to a point that I felt I was presentable. I care a lot less now but I wasn’t able to overcome that hurdle until I found myself talking as if I was teaching a lesson.

CrossFit is something I love. I talk about it a lot. There are many different lifts in CrossFit that require very specific technique in terms of form, here you’re placing your arms and your legs and hips and locomotion is. Some of these exercises I was doing incorrectly. "Hey, I've been working out for a long time and I’m just really strong and I just pick this weight up and look it up over my head." That’s how the mentally I was thinking but the truth of the matter is when you have good form you are able to lift much more weight. There are some exercises in CrossFit that are almost impossible to do without perfect form. Like a muscle up; I still can’t do muscle up. I will one day but that is something very tricky to figure out the technique. What happened was during the CrossFit, the owner of the gym, he would film this little videos of us working out and post them on Instagram and I started seeing myself working out and I said that form was incorrect. This whole time I’m thinking that I am doing it right, that I’m doing great and when I see the video, Oh my goodness, this is not good. I need to fix that.

When you film yourself doing something that you want to improve in, you are providing a very objective look, demonstration of what you may be doing wrong. It is proof. It overcomes the rose-colored glasses and our disposition and desire to see ourselves in a positive light. You have to be brutal with yourself if you want to improve. You have to refine those flaws out of your system and your soul if you want to become the best at whatever it is you’re doing. You have to embrace the fact that you might be wrong. There is a way to improve and in order to do that in a very passionate, hardcore, effective, efficient way is to demonstrate to yourself when you are wrong and accept that you are wrong and just live with it. It’s okay to be wrong. No one is a hundred percent correct and that’s something that I talked about the book. Just assume you’re wrong half the time and if you can do that you will improve.

That one tool, filming yourself, doing something that you are trying to improve on whatever it is or some of the method of recording your performance; it is going to have a very positive effect on your ability to excel at whatever it is you’re trying to do. Film yourself physically doing certain activities, exercising, whatever it is. Some people take pictures of themselves if they want to lose weight and they track the progress and things of that nature. Definitely look for ways to prove to yourself that you might be wrong and there are ways to improve.

That is your tip for the day. Thank you for listening to Maven Nation and I’ll see you guys next time.

08.17.17         gadgetry  

Which Microphone I Use for Podcasting

Some of you have been asking about the equipment that I use for my podcasting. I personally use the https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1116977-REG/zoom_zh4nsp_h4nsp_handy_recorder.html/BI/2765/KBID/3688 recorder, the crazy thing about it is that its design hasn't changed much since 2006 when I originally bought mine. Its been an absolute workhorse. I use it for all of my voice overs, podcasts...almost everything except when I am recording with a wireless microphone into the camera when I use the e100. There is a better H5 now, and even more advanced H6 but Ill continue using my H4 until it finally dies. It's just that good. If you need a good DAT (digital audio recorder) its hard to beat the value:

Zoom H4n Audio Recorder On BHPhoto.com

08.16.17         the maven nation - efficiency podcast  

EON - Episode #022

Good morning everyone. Michael the Maven here. Today, I want to talk about the EON mindset. What does EON stand for? Stands for "everything or nothing". It comes from the creators of the James Bond films Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli; they became the producers. When they were organizing and getting their film productions team started, this is in 1961. It is a great documentary that occasionally pops up on Netflix called Everything or Nothing the James Bond story. It’s super fantastic because it sheds light into the mentality of these two prolific filmmakers. They basically said “If we are going to do this, we are going to burn the ships so to speak and we are going to put everything in it. If you’re not willing to do that it would be better to not do it at all”. I watched that documentary and I said “Wow!” that is a beautiful mindset to embrace. If you are not passionate enough about something to throw literary everything, all of your resources, all of your time, talents, energy, money; everything into something...it isn’t even worth pursuing. That kind of a mindset that rubbed off on me.

When shooting our independent films, that was the mentality that I had. I spoke of it, I said this is everything or nothing. I would give this project everything that I have in order to bring it to fruition. Something that stuck with me since is that if I do not feel that way about a project then I don’t do it. With time what I’ve learned was I spent more and more resources; rejecting opportunities than I do considering them or taking them and with the more success an individual has, what happens is other people want to pick your brain; you start getting all these opportunities put on your plate and you’re not going to be able to chase all of them. The more success that you have the more picky you have to be about how you’re going to spend your time, supply and demand. If you didn’t have success, there is no way of your interest you take any project that came into your life if you had one.

Once you start succeeding and doing well and getting attraction, you get more and more offers. Something that helped me personally with this mindset is knowing that we are going to die; we are mortal creatures here on earth and at some point we are going to die. If you ask yourself a question; how would you live your life differently if you knew you’re going to die in a couple of days? I talked about this in a book. What would change? You probably quit your job if you have one. If you know you’re going to die in a week, you would totally quit your job. You wouldn’t spend time working on your taxes. You wouldn’t do all this little menial tasks that we feel like we have to do. In the reality of things, they’re really not that urgent. I like to go through life thinking, "Hey, I’m going to die next week, and I’m going to die in two or three days." Maybe that’s a little bit morbid and pessimistic but it changes how I approach my day. If I’m going to die in a couple of days, I’m going to get things done like right now!

It is a tremendous filtering tool to get rid of all the little stuff and the things that really don’t matter and just focus on really, really big things. The more I do it; it feels like the more productive I am; the more quality interactions I have with loved ones; the more careful I am with my time. I still take the time to relax. If that’s my dominant thought, it could happen. I could go to the store and have a car accident, I don’t know. I could get sick, who knows!

My stepmom Susan, she was at the church event, she’s going to the parking lot; she said she had a headache and the next thing we knew she was gone. I mean that quick. Literary within a minute; hey, I have a headache, call my husband and then she was gone. That was it. That’s how fast it could happen. I think we as human have a tendency to think; we’re going to live pretty much forever. Especially when we were young, we think we’re indestructible. It’s not the case, there are no promises given in terms of how long we’re going to be here on earth. If that’s the case, you might be gone in a couple days or couple weeks. How would you change your life? How would you live differently? What projects would you invest your time into?

That all ties in with the EON mentality; if you are going to do something do it all the way; give everything you have to the project otherwise it is not a project worth doing. In any event, I am Michael the Maven. This is the Maven Nation, thank you guys for listening and I will see you next time.

08.15.17         netflix  

The Founder

As a senior in high school, I received a scholarship from the Ray Kroc foundation, I think it was $300. I learned that he was responsible for the growth of McDonalds. When I heard there was a biographical film about him, I thought it might be a good film to check out because of the scholarship. I put it off and finally saw it on Netflix a couple nights ago.

WOW...what a phenomenal film! 5 stars all the way. The previews are quite deceptive, but The Founder is an absolute AMAZING film that covers soooo many fascinating aspects that I am drawn to, efficiency, entrepreneurism, partnerships (and the dangers of), tradecraft, patents and contracts, how fame and success corrupts, strategy, business warfare, the list goes on and on. It should be a case study for anyone interested in starting their own business.

Highly recommended, especially if you already have a Netflix subscription!

08.14.17         the maven nation - efficiency podcast  

3-Day-Fast - Episode #021

Link from this Episode: 3 Day Fast May Reset Immune System

Good morning everyone! Today we will be talking about top things that I learned recently from a 3-day fast. I just finished it last night and  I found some insightful things I thought I would share with you. It sounds kind of crazy but let me give you a little bit of my background. I was raised in a Mormon church. Every first Sunday of the month, traditionally in the Mormon church you do not eat food or drink water for a full day. This is something I was kind of raised into. Most religions have some kind of fast. Something I have continued to do since college was I just extended it to every weekend. So Saturday night, I'll have my final meal, I would go to bed, wake up and have my regular Sunday routine and then I would eat dinner again on a Sunday night. This is typically how it works 24 hours. I've been doing this for a while I've been doing it weekly and there was an article published in 2014 that basically says when you don't eat food for 3 days, your immune system resets itself. Your white blood cells for whatever reasons are killed off and new ones are created which is really fascinating.

Now, something I will talk about at some point is the fact that I use a machine called a Beemer Matt which is an electromagnetic field that increases the circulation of your capillaries. I've been using it for a couple of months now. A good friend of mine Paul Romero introduced it to me. He's an ultra marathon runner and he runs 200 miles races and wins. He is older than me. I think he is 46 or 47, incredible athlete! But if you could reset your immune system and increase the circulation of your capillaries to 10 or 15 percent, this would be a great healing mechanism. I have a bunch of aches and pains that I'm trying to get over. There is that aspect of it, the part that I wanted to see is what would happen when I fasted for 3 days in terms of resetting my immune system. There is also the psychological part of it. In the Efficiency Playbook, we talked about prestressing your mind or body in a training type situation. You overload yourself, stress yourself out in some way and when you have these moments of truth and battle, you take that weight off and you are able to perform at a higher level than your competition because you were trained for it.

There are many aspects of it and the way I did it was being careful. If you have not fasted before, if you do not have experience, definitely consult a nutritionist or doctor before you try to do this. Some people hurt themselves fasting and there are even reports of people dying from fasting because they’re not being mindful of their electrolytes. So what happened was, I decided that I do a regular fast on the first day. No food or water for 24 hours. And then starting on the second day, I would drink water with electrolytes. When I say electrolytes, I'm talking about things like salt. I just pour some salt in the water. I have a potassium pill, a magnesium pill and some of the regular vitamins that I normally take. I just told myself, I'll drink as much water as I feel I need. I'll just make sure there is some salt in it and I'm getting my electrolytes.

The second day was a little bit easier in terms of the hunger pains. It just got easier as time went on and it felt really good! Surprisingly! As time went on, it got easier and easier. But the thing that I learned, the thing that was most important was that when my mind is engaged with something I enjoyed doing. If I was busy thinking about something or reading something or working on something, I didn't notice that I was hungry. It wasn't a problem at all. With this comes a very sharp clarity of mind. For whatever reason, it feels like you could think more clearly. As this continues to go on, it got more and more so. By the third day, I felt like I was thinking very very clearly! I did have a couple of dizzy spells that kind of felt like. "Oh, am I gonna faint?" Two of those but I didn't faint. It was no problem and my productivity in terms of what I do went through the roof! I felt like I got another 3-4 hour of production time because I wasn't eating and making these transitions between preparing food, eating the food, cleaning the food up. It was basically " Yeah, I am hungry and I am going to work through this." It really wasn't that hard. I actually wanted to continue to go on but one thing that I learned is that if our minds are hungry, our stomachs go to sleep. And it sort of feels like we eat when we are bored and we are not engaged in something. If you are doing something that you really love, you are going to forget how hungry you are! I personally may over eat sometimes because I'm bored. Not because I'm hungry, it's because I'm not engaged doing the things that I truly love!  It's sort of like the ultimate diet is just do things you love or you're crazy about, things that you can't get your mind away from. I think I spent 4 hours on Sunday just reading because I was really into a certain book.

If you struggle with weight loss, hopefully, I have one of the nutritionists that I consult with. He is a Photographer. He is the owner of Ketology.co. He is very knowledgeable as a nutritionist in terms of all the things that you need to do if you decide to do the ketosis type diet. It worked for me. I’ve lost about 25-30 pounds in 2-3 months of doing it.

Going back to the fast stuff, it was a very enjoyable experience. I look forward to doing it again. I probably go a little bit longer next time, maybe 4 or 5 days because of the mental clarity and everything that comes with it... the productivity, the weight loss. There's a lot of studies out there that kind of indicate that fasting is a good and healthy thing to try if you are physically able or healthy enough to do it. I would definitely recommend at least the one day fast to anybody who has not tried it and for those of you that have,  give the 3 days fast, basically called the water fast if you are drinking water with electrolytes, consideration because it changed the way how I feel about food, concentration, and dieting. I was sad to end it. I wanted to go another couple of days. In any event, that is what I learned from my 3-day fast. Basically, when our minds are engaged, our hunger goes away. Thank you guys for listening! I'll see you next time.

08.14.17         instagram  

Never gets old - tonight's after glow #maui...

Never gets old - tonight's after glow #maui #mauinokaoi #luckywelivehawaii hawaii #Sunset

08.13.17         netflix  


I've decided to make a new category for my blog "Netflix", simply because I feel as though the company, as well as Amazon Prime, has dealt a catastrophic blow to the traditional movie industry. Were it not for comic book films, and a handful of very talented directors (think Chris Nolan, Martin Scorsese and the like) the movie industry (as in going to the movie theater) would already be in it's death throes. Disney will start its own channel when it's contract with Netflix expires, look at what HBO and others are doing: they are creating their own movie studios, producing their own films, and delivering directly to the customers in their homes. I still LOVE going to an actual movie theater, and I think they will be around for at least a few more years, but everything seems to be going direct streaming now.

Netflix is leading the charge with creating their own content, and one documentary that I saw this week was called Icarus. It was an absolutely explosive documentary about the Russian doping program for the Olympics. Truly mind-boggling crazy. Highly recommended if you're up for documentary.

The thing that I love about documentaries is that they are fairly inexpensive to create & they have the best shot in actually turning a profit for an independent filmmaker. Check it out if you get a chance!

08.12.17         movie reviews  

The Dark Tower

I know this is a week late, but it simply wasn't in a theater close to me until this weekend.

Long story short, Ive been looking forward to this film for such a long time, and while it is ok...it isn't what it could have been. Its been many, many years since I read the first book in the series as a teenager. The film is a very, very shallow coverage of what could have been, instead of an EPIC tale on the level of Lord of the Rings, we have this short and shallow overview.

Many interesting easter eggs (think other Stephen King movies) they are literally everywhere, suggesting all of Stephen Kings films occur in the same universe.

It's best as a rental.

08.11.17         the maven nation - efficiency podcast  

Self Doubt – Episode #020

Good morning everyone. Michael the Maven here from the Maven Nation. Today, we’re going to talk about self-doubt. I don’t know if Lavell was the original person who came up with this quote but it was something he always said to us that you doubt yourself more than anyone else. You, this is something internal and let me tell you a little about doing microbiology research.  A big part of it is using something called gel electrophoresis which is essential, we make a type of jello that we create this little holes in the jello and we put DNA, different sizes of DNA and this is on one side, it’s kind of like a flat slab of this clear gel. I’m sure you guys have seen it on different types of forensic television episode where they put his DNA on one side of this flat slab of gel and put a lid on and turn on the electricity and this electricity is the current that pushes the DNA from one side of the gel to the other. This is a tool that I probably used tens of thousands of times in my grad work. I mean, it was something we did several times a day, no problem. There is something that I notice about that had a huge impact on me and that was when you take something and you put it through a workload which in this case would be resistance; the gel. The gel is resisting the movement and then you put it under stress which should be the electricity flowing through this gel and it’s pushing this DNA through this resistance. When you give something a workload or a type of resistance and then you start to stress it out, a very interesting characteristic, something that you can reproduce time and again is that the smaller and the lighter; those particles, those DNAs; the farther they travel.

Think about that is that you have resistance to your dreams. You have stress. You have doubts. This is the resistance and then when you try to go out and attain these goals and you’re working, your stress out. The lighter you are the farther you will go. If you look at all the things in your life that are creating this resistance and we come back to this quote by Lavell Edwards, you create more self-doubt than anyone else, what I’m trying to say is you need to be able to identify your self-doubt and figure out a way to get rid of it.

Let me give you a couple examples, I’m always looking for new products to create, maybe an app, it may be a physical product, it maybe a DVD. With each and every single product that I had ever made for some reason or another in the back of my mind, I think, man I hope somebody doesn’t hurt themselves and ends up suing me for this. I made some contract maker apps. We had hundreds of thousands of downloads and guess what? It never happened. Nobody ever had a situation where it hurt them enough that decided that they would come after and sue me. I think that is something in the back of the minds of everybody who goes into business. I’m going to get sued for this; I don’t know maybe it’s just me. That is something that I am creating. It could happen, I guess.  The idea is that I am creating more resistance in my own mind than what reality is.

You look at what some manufacturers create; a nail gun. There are companies out there who make money off nail guns. This is something that’s super dangerous that people actually do hurt themselves. Look at a car, the dangers of a car and there are a lot of products out there that are just inherently really dangerous yet these companies stay in business and they are successful. The point is that if you liken your life into electrophoresis; there is a certain amount of resistance that you have to go through daily, weekly, monthly and we could change the concentration of this jello, if it was a more light concentration, the DNA could travel through it much faster, if it was a denser concentration it was a lot harder, a lot slower for that DNA to go in there. The thing that really had an impact on my mind; all things being equal if all the DNA fragments are the same they will go through equal distances through the same resistance, through the same stress. If those DNA fragments are bigger or they have a greater amount that they are carrying, they get slowed down. Coming back to this whole idea that I’m trying to nail home is self-doubt.

Another example that I can give you is when I post videos on YouTube, there’s always somebody that will come and criticized me. They’ll come and they’ll talk about how something was done wrong or I’m stupid, the channels, idiotic; things of that nature. Every day it seems like I get something but what is happening is these naysayers, it’s the only thing they can do to slow me down. As long as I’m not breaking the law, I’m not hurting anybody; the only thing they can do is talk. Between my own self-doubt and the naysayers of others, I know that if I can eliminate that off my shoulders and I’m not carrying that weight like a piece of DNA or I’m not going through that extra resistance like gel, I become lighter and I’m going to travel faster and farther. I know it’s kind of a mixture of thoughts and ideas about self-doubt but the idea is that you were going to doubt yourself more than anyone else. Learn to recognize it and to reject it and just to move forward and you will go much farther if that’s something you’re always thinking about.

In any event, thank you guys so much for listening. Have a great day today and I will see you next time.

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