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I'm Inspired by Candace Faber

Have you ever read over somebody’s bio or résumé and been completely intimidated, only to meet them in person and say to yourself, “Wow, they’re really cool?” I’m sure that happens to Candace Faber all the time. I won’t go into her accomplishments here. For that, I recommend you check out her LinkedIn profile. I met Candace only a few months ago, just after she returned from serving as a foreign diplomacy officer in Afghanistan. What captivates me most about Candace is how comfortable she is in her own skin. Additionally, our conversations always leave me with substantial food for thought. It is my honest pleasure to introduce (or reintroduce) you to Candace Faber. I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I have.

Who Inspires You?

Artists, adventurers, activists, researchers, entrepreneurs—basically, everyone who dares to create something new! I seek out their stories. They serve as excellent counterpoints to the bigger narratives in our society, which often treat the world as a static place in which all games are zero-sum. I am inspired by people who create space for change, who explore new frontiers, and who, in economic terms, “grow the pie.” 

What is the most interesting question you’ve ever been asked and how did you respond?

A friend dared to ask me, “What would you do if you were not afraid?” That question is really deep. I could not answer him until I dug into myself and identified what I was afraid of and why, a largely involuntary process that took a year and a near-fatal car accident to get through. Now, I can finally answer: “This is what I would do.” I still have my fears; I’m just choosing every day to overcome them. 

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I write short stories. 

If you removed all constraints how would you spend your time?

Exactly as I am now.

How did you get to where you are today?

Many, many leaps of faith. For example, when I was offered a fellowship from the Department of State, I was just 19. I could not even picture what a diplomatic career would be like. It was terrifying. The same thing happened when I decided to go to Afghanistan. These steps into the dark led to incredible experiences and friendships with inspirational people all over the world. I felt equally uncertain about the future when I launched my business this spring, but I hope to look back once again and feel that it was worth the risk.

What are you doing to be the person you want to be?

Immersing myself in new knowledge—I have a lot to learn from those who’ve been down this road before. Living in the city where I want to build my life—I believe in Seattle and am committed to being part of its future. Surrounding myself with people who inspire me—because none of us can do this alone. 

What can you do today to improve someone else’s life?

The question is the answer. It requires a shift in attention away from our own needs and toward others.

We really never know when we’re going to have the opportunity to make a difference. Sometimes it’s easy. The other day when a man on Bell Street asked me for food, I happened to have a fresh bag of chips and salsa from Mama’s Mexican Kitchen right there in my lap. Often it’s harder, requiring us to sacrifice something—time, energy, resources—that we would rather keep for ourselves. 

In many cases, our individual interventions are small, and we may not even realize that we have made an impact. When I worked in policy, I had to come to terms with the fact that I could never take credit for the big changes I helped to advance. But the cumulative effect of all our positive interventions is profound. 

What is the toughest decision you ever had to make, and what did you learn from it?

After ten years with the U.S. Department of State, I decided to resign from my career as a diplomat. This choice was heart-wrenching. The Foreign Service is more than a job; it is a tight-knit community of people with unique experiences. It has been hard to let go.

This transition has taught me that change is painful. I have had to rely on others in ways that made me deeply uncomfortable. I have been humbled; I have had to sacrifice wealth and status, knowing that I may never get it back. But I have changed my definition of success. Whatever comes of this latest step into the dark, I know that I am living an authentic life. 

What do you think is the most fascinating subject/concept in the world?

I am amazed by the power of stories to shape the way we behave. 

What makes you smile?

Any expression of wonder, delight, or understanding. That means I melt a little around children and puppies--who doesn’t--but what’s really satisfying is when adults like me are changed by a fresh idea. Anything that helps us overcome cynicism is worth a big open-mouthed smile. 

What projects are you currently working on?

I am collecting interviews with inspirational women, which I hope to publish as a book. I am also building my company, Whoa!, a brand strategy and creative communications agency. Basically, I strive to create powerful positive narratives that lead to action.

What question did I not ask you that you wish I had and how would you answer?

What idea has had the biggest impact on my life? Two years ago, my friend Suzanne gave me a book by Martha Beck that articulated the idea of an “everybody committee.” When we say, “Everybody thinks I shouldn’t try this,” or, “Everybody thinks I’m not capable,” who is this everybody? Usually, the only person on that list is our self. Beck challenges us to populate the word “everybody” with people who know us, love us, and have our backs. Now, when I experience a crisis of confidence, I just think about my everybody committee. Their faith gives me courage.

How can we support you?

By letting me know how I can support you! 

How can we contact you?

Reach out through the contact form at whoaseattle.com or on Twitter @kingushia.

 

Links From The Post:

Social Change Videos—The Fun Theory

Who says that social change has to be depressing? Some of the best ways to influence behavior are ways that make the change engaging and fun. That’s why I turn to videos such as these when I’m thinking of creative ways to pursue my mission. What are the behaviors that need to change? What small things can we do to enable and motivate people to do something? Volkswagen headed up a challenge  called “The Fun Theory” asking for people to submit fun ideas for behavior change. Here are some of my favorites.

How I Made My Personal Branding Video

When I released this personal brand video explaining a little about who I am, what I’m about, and what I do several people positively reacted to it (also, several people didn't). I didn’t really expect much to happen when I put it out there, but within moments I received several messages and emails asking how I did it. So, for those of you who are interested in how I did it, this blog post is for you. The techniques I used were fairly simple and in this post, I’m going to provide the step-by-step method I used to create this video. You don't have to do exactly what I did. I'm just showing you how to get the exact same results. Feel free to modify any of these steps as you wish.

Finished Video

How-To Video

The Tools

First, here is a list of the tools I used. Not all of them are necessary, but they're the ones I used. For the pieces where I'm aware of alternatives that will accomplish the same thing, I put these in parentheses.

  1. Apple Keynote (Version 5.1.1) for Mac (Apple Keynote for iPad will accomplish a similar effect)
  2. Final Cut Pro X for Mac (iMovie for both Mac and iPad will accomplish the same thing)
  3. Typeface: Gotham Light and Gotham Medium Italic (Gotham is a premium font set—for a free typeface that will pretty similar, try Gill Sans and Gill Sans Bold). Also Gotham is a very, very thin typeface. When exporting it can look slightly grainy, so a heavier one may actually produce better results.
  4. Color: RGB Profile: 231, 88, 2
  5. Pen and Paper or some application where you can be free with your thoughts and document what comes to mind: I like distraction free text editors. My favorite is iA Writer, followed by WriteRoom, and for large documents I use Scrivener). If you're using an iPad, I use both Notability and Note Taker HD, although I do find Notability much more accessible. Notepad on Windows and TextEdit for Mac will also get the job done. For me, however, there's simply no replacement for pen and paper.
  6. Audacity: Audacity is a power audio editor. And it's free. For this presentation I didn't need to use it, but I often find it much faster for basic fades, cuts, and conversions than GarageBand, Logic, Adobe Sound Booth, etc.

Step 1: Develop The Content

Before I opened any program, I seriously thought about both the community and the message. I always want to be extremely clear about what I want to communicate and with whom I need to communicate that message. I'm not a fan of one-way communication. That's why I ended the video with, "Everyone has a story. What's yours?" After I thought about that, I put the pen to paper and created an outline of how to develop the story. Once the outline was complete, I began drafting sentences. I chose to use a very approachable style because that's who I am, implemented a few pieces of humor, and employed heavy use of ellipses (…). *Hint: rather than typing three periods, the way to create a true ellipses on a Mac is "Option and Semicolon" and "ALT 0133" on Windows. That will keep them together and only use one character (very useful when laying out text or using Twitter). Once I had everything more or less written on paper, I moved on to the next step…

Step 2: Prepare the Presentation

I used Apple's Keynote for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the presentation size is already optimized for high definition and high resolution displays and a 16:9 aspect ratio. This is a good thing when the final presentation is destined for YouTube, Vimeo, Blip.tv, or will be used with newer projectors or wide screen televisions and monitors. However, this may pose a problem if you plan on presenting using older 4:3 aspect ratios, such as older projectors and CRT monitors. If you don't change output settings, it's easy to have a good portion of your presentation extend beyond the projector screen, wall, or display. For those situations PowerPoint may be a better option for you. Also, if you don't have a Mac or have access to one, PowerPoint may be one of your only options. However, two good open source (i.e., free) alternatives are Google Docs Presentation and Impress, which is part of the Open Office Suite. Once you open Keynote, you are asked to choose a theme. I chose "Showroom" because the background is just simple enough to not be boring and provides just enough silver and contrast without being too much. Now, the steps…

  1. Open Apple Keynote
  2. Choose a theme
  3. Save the document
  4. Delete the existing text boxes
  5. Click Text Box at the top to place a new text box in the center
  6. Click Inspector, Colors, and Text at the top to open their respective windows
  7. Highlight the sample text and use your inspectors to choose the font, size, and color you want (For me, the font is Gotham Light for the regular text and Gotham Medium Italic where I want emphasis, the color is orange—231, 88, 2 RGB specifically, and the size is 72, because I exported the video at 1920 by 1080 resolution and didn't want the text to be too small.
  8. Once you have your text the way you want it, duplicate the slide until you have the number of slides you need
  9. Type the content
  10. Spell Check
  11. Run the presentation and manually advance to check for flow. Also start thinking about which slides need to remain longer (both because of the time necessary to read them, and for emphasis on key messages and style).
  12. Spell Check
  13. If you are going to add music, keep in mind that you will either need to edit the audio so that it fades out towards the end or ends with the presentation (you can either change the audio or the presentation so that they match)
  14. Go back and add emphasis where you want them by either changing color, size, font, weight, or a combination
  15. Take a break and enjoy a nice glass of coffee, tea, water, or whatever you drink. Look outside and notice something new…or old…just notice something

Open keynote and select your theme

Highlight the text boxes and delete them.

Create a new text box by clicking the "Text Box" button at the top.

Open the Inspector, Font, and Color toolbars, and set your parameters.

Duplicate the slides and insert your text.

Step 3: Add Transitions

Believe it or not, you're finished with the difficult stuff. Now it's time to put make this presentation come to life. By adding the transitions and establishing the timing you can watch as you have effectively created a video.

  1. In the sidebar on the left, select all of your slides
  2. In the Inspector window, select the second icon from the left which is the Slide Inspector
  3. Click the drop down under Effects and choose the transition you like. I chose Anagram under Text Effects
  4. Select the duration of the effect and the delay for when it should take place. I chose 2 seconds for the duration and a 1 second delay for most of the slides.
  5. Go back and highlight the individual slides that need shorter or longer durations and/or delays and adjust them accordingly

Step 4: Add Audio

Here I'll show you how to add an audio track and/or voiceover. I didn't create a voiceover for this presentation, but I might go back and create one to increase the ability for it to reach more people.

Follow these steps to add audio:

  1. In the Inspector window, click the first icon on the left which is the Document Inspector
  2. Then click Audio
  3. Either drag the track you want to use into the box or click the iTunes button
  4. Adjust the volume as necessary (usually better to keep almost at max)

Follow these steps to add a voiceover (hint - it is best if you can use an external microphone):

  1. In the Inspector window, click the first icon on the left Document
  2. Then click Audio
  3. Click record
  4. Record your audio as the presentation progresses
  5. Press the escape key to save the recording

Step 5: Play the Presentation and Fine Tune

Here's where you begin to see the fruits of your labor. Click the play button in the upper left of the screen to play back the presentation from the beginning. Check to make sure the music makes sense and ends when it should. If you have another person nearby, see if they'll watch the presentation and provide any feedback. Make sure you ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I have enough time to read everything?
  • Does the presentation get boring because of content and/or timing?
  • Are there any misspellings?
  • How does the music, voiceover, etc. fit?
  • Is there a better way to say something that I'm saying?
  • Have I covered everything I want to say?
  • Is the audience/community left with wanting a little more?
  • Will this presentation truly serve its purpose?

After everything checks out, make any final adjustments. At this point, you are almost finished.

Step 6: Export The Movie

Once you are satisfied with the product, the timing, etc. it's time to export the presentation as a QuickTime movie. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Save all changes
  2. Click file in the menu bar, then export
  3. For Playback Uses select Manual Advance. This will make sure the video exports the video based on the timing and transitions you set earlier.
  4. For Format I always select Full Quality, Large because I can always convert it down later. You can't convert it up.
  5. Make sure both checkboxes for audio are checked, then click Next.
  6. Now, select the location you want to save the files and, name your file, and click Export.
  7. Keynote will now render your presentation and save two files as QuickTime Movies. One will be the actual video, and the other will be the soundtrack.

Export your video

Check your settings and make sure you export both audio and video.

Step 7: Combine the Audio and Video

Take your two videos and open up your favorite movie editor. I use Final Cut Pro, but it's definitely not necessary for what we are about to do. In whatever program you use, simply import the two clips, lay them on top of each other, and then adjust them to make sure they fit properly. I'll show you how I did it in Final Cut Pro. The steps are going to be fairly identical in iMovie.

  1. Create new project
  2. Import the video and the soundtrack into the new project
  3. Place both the video and the soundtrack in the timeline (I actually slid the music over to the right a little to drop it into the video when "Michael B. Maine" was introduced.
  4. Preview video
  5. Click Share, and Export Media to export the final movie

Mix the audio and the video together, make final adjustments and export movie.

Step 8: Upload to Your Favorite Video Hosting Service

Once I was finished with the final movie, I uploaded it to YouTube, Vimeo, and Blip.tv. If you want to compare the differences in how each service processes the final product you can see each of them at the links below.

  • "Who Is Michael B. Maine" on YouTube
  • "Who Is Michael B. Maine" on Vimeo
  • "Who Is Michael B. Maine" on Blip.tv
 

Thank you!

Thanks for hanging in there. I hope you found this useful. Let me know what you thought about this tutorial. Whether good or bad, I want to know your thoughts. How can I make this better. Also, if you would like to sign up for more tips, how-to's, invitations, and news, fill out the form below to be added to my newsletter.

You Must Watch This Video: Happiness Revealed

If there is one thing you do this week, please take ten minutes to watch the following video. It is very powerful, very inspiring, very beautiful. After you watch it, I ask you take a few minutes to reflect on what you see. If you find it appropriate, leave your comments below.