WELCOME!  Here's a collection of some of my favorite posts.  Hope these insights & inspirations help you help others!

Look to the Sky - Screening in Theaters Around the U.S.

"Brett Culp's documentary Look to the Sky proved even more inspirational than I anticipated. The film featured stories of hope from young people... and received a well-deserved standing ovation at Tampa Theatre this past weekend."
- The Tampa Bay Times

So inspired by these showings of our new film Look to the Sky!  Proceeds from each screening benefit charitable efforts.

Learn more at: www.RisingHero.org

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How to Start Something New

I started a video production company when I was 20-years-old. My Dad taught me how to do it.

When new entrepreneurs ask for my opinion about starting something new, here’s what I typically say. There are other ways, but this is what has worked for me:

  1. Do some great work. Even if you don’t get paid for it, you need a portfolio of work as proof that you can deliver. You cannot get any serious jobs without this.
     
  2. Create a great website. Make sure it features the very best of your work. Print some business cards that match the design of your website.
     
  3. Attend every business networking event in your city you can find. Meet lots of people. Tell them what you do & why you are special at doing it. It can be scary, but just be nice to people & remember that they don’t really know what they are doing either. Most important: Get their business cards. Give them yours, but their card is really what you want.
     
  4. The next day, send everyone you met an email that re-introduces yourself. Remind them of what you do. Then, ask: "How can I help you?" Try to move the dialogue to a phone call or a face-to-face meeting. The goal isn't to ask for their business, it's to build relationship with lots of people as quickly as possible. The help you are offering isn't necessarily available from you for free, but you are bringing a spirit of community participation rather than saying 'gimme' to a bunch of people who don't know & trust you.
     
  5. As you build relationship, ask for their input. "Who in this community needs what I do?" "Where would you look for projects?" "Who should I call? Would you be willing to introduce me?" Now, you will receive leads that are built on respect & reputation, & they will be relatively easy to close, if they are ready to move ahead with a project. No hard selling.

This approach creates more than a 'one-off', transactional business built on advertising. You are building long-term relationships.

Some of the effort is wasted, no question. Some people won't be able to help you. But this is how you can create the foundation of a career.

This is how I built my business. I believe if you commit yourself to seriously investing into this for 1 year, and you continue the process, you will probably be buried with work.

World Premiere of my new film, "Look to the Sky"

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The premiere of Look to the Sky was phenomenal!  A packed theater, an engaged audience, and several of the young people from the film joined me on-stage afterward.

Proceeds benefited Starting Right, Now, an organization that assists teens who are homeless.

The first reviews of the film are beautiful:

"Look to the Sky is an inspiring and deeply thought-provoking work."
"Just when you think there is no hope for goodness in this world along comes a documentary that proves that there is. And it is an amazing thing."
"Look to the Sky was every bit as inspiring and challenging as their first film, Legends of the Knight... It made me cry, it made me laugh, it made me want to go out in my community and make it better."
"This film is a remarkable creation of heroic stories that defines hope in a powerful way."
"I was once again blown away by the positivity that Brett Culp puts into his films."

YOU can request a screening of 'Look to the Sky' in your community benefiting the charity of your choice.

Learn more at:  www.RisingHero.org 

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Stop Attempting to be the General Manager of the Universe

On today's flight, the passenger next to me got really upset with a woman who didn't end her phone call after the cabin door was closed. The frustration escalated as the passenger's demands for her to end the call were completely ignored. The passenger loudly repeated the rules about turning phones to airplane mode, with no effect. And this cellular rule-breaker was slowly driving her insane.

After a few minutes of this, a flight attendant casually wandered by and asked the woman to stop her call. She immediately hung up. And we flew to Los Angeles.

This experience reminded me to stop attempting to be the general manager of the universe.

Some of my greatest emotional struggles have been with problems that were not within my power to fix. I've wasted lots of energy on those challenges, and I don't want to keep doing that.

The next 10 days are going to be a whirlwind for me. So many wonderful things are happening right now, and I am committed to contributing my whole heart to these moments. But, I also want to trust that a power bigger than me is going before me, guiding the journey, and taking care of the stuff I can't handle alone. That thought removes the emotional weight of trying to fix everything, leaving me free to be joyful, relaxed, and confident.

So, I'm happy that women kept talking on her phone, even though it was kinda annoying. She reminded me to do my work in the world, and then let go of the rest.

Here's how you become a filmmaker. Or pretty much anything else.

People often ask me how to become a filmmaker. I tell them: Just start making films. 

Grab a smartphone & begin. Don't worry if the films are good. Your first films will be bad no matter how much thinking & planning you do. So just begin right now. Make the mistakes, learn the lessons, & make more films. 

As you go along, you find your voice. And, one day, you make something that's pretty good. And it leads you to the next thing, which is even better. 

That's how you become a filmmaker. In fact, it's pretty much how you become anything.

There are no perfect people

I enjoy sharing and celebrating the successes with you. However, I often make messes.

There's a voice in my head that tells me I'm supposed to be perfect. But I'm not.

There are perfect meals, perfect shoes, and perfect sunsets. There are NO PERFECT PEOPLE. Not even on Facebook.

Perfection isn't how life works. Life is filled with u-turns, rough edges, and re-starts. That's normal. There is no straight line to success.

So, please stop being so hard on yourself, and just keep going. The rest of us need to see the beautiful stuff that's inside you.

Transform you Career into a Gift

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I am a filmmaker. But I'm convinced that filmmaking skills & knowledge are only about 20% of my work. 

The other 80% is building relationships, finding the best in people, offering encouragement, listening, hugging, believing in what's possible, being nice, inviting people to be heroes in their communities, staying vulnerable, focusing on the values that matter to me, & dreaming of new ways to help others.

I spend very little time thinking about whether I should buy a new camera, and more time reading books & learning how to be better at the 80% stuff.

I think this way of seeing my career has allowed me to be a person who does MORE than make films. I hope it has allowed me to make an IMPACT. And that's the legacy I want to build. 

The fine details of your craft are important. Devote yourself to being the best you can. But don't neglect the other essential skills that transform your work into a gift that makes a lasting, positive impact.

You are Not a Statistic

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With 2:38 left in the 4th quarter, I knew the New England Patriots would win Super Bowl 51. I'm not a big football fan, but something inside me knew it. Maybe you knew it too.

But the computer at ESPN didn’t know it yet. Based purely on the numbers, the Atlanta Falcons were still overwhelmingly poised for victory, with a 95.3% chance of winning. But I was so confident the computer was wrong with 2:38 left that I took this screenshot & started writing this post.

Statistics are important. They provide vital data for making many decisions. But they are often bad predictors of the human spirit. They easily miscalculate determination, heart, & willpower.

Perhaps you’ve heard statistics about your life from a parent, friend, teacher, or boss. Maybe those percentages are controlling your story.

Here’s the good news… YOU are NOT a statistic. There’s stuff in you that my son’s fancy scientific calculator can never accurately analyze. There is a truth about you that cannot be input into the formula ESPN’s computer uses to predict winners & losers.

So, keep fighting. Because YOU are MORE.

The Middle is the Hardest Part

Three years ago, I was driving through a snow storm to get to the Boston premiere of Legends of the Knight.

The process of making & sharing these films is tough. Each film is 3 years of frustration, insecurity, & confusion. It's not glamorous. It often feels lonely & exhausting.

Our next film Look to the Sky is almost finished. This week I showed my wife Tricia the rough cut of the entire film. When the closing credits started, we cried together for a while, and she said, "It's beautiful. Probably your best work. It was worth it."

In every epic journey, the middle is the hardest part. The beginning & end are filled with excitement, passion, & hope. But the middle is brutal. It's mostly just you & the struggle. It's the part that very few people know about.

But the middle is where the magic happens. It's where you discover the beautiful stuff inside of you, & your unique kind of genius emerges. It's the hard place where you find yourself.

The dark moments in the middle of the journey are the inspiration you need to uncover the light.

Some days this feels impossible. That's normal. But these are the days where you will do your most beautiful work. These are the spaces where you need to dig deep & ask for help to keep moving.

And then, one day, you find that your struggles in the middle have transformed your heart. You have become something better than you were at the beginning. And you have created something that blesses the world. And you say to yourself, "It was worth it."

If you are struggling today, you are probably in the middle of the adventure. It's hard, & it hurts. Keep going, surround yourself with support, & decide every morning to choose hope.

It will be worth it.

Beauty in Unexpected Places

After yesterday's speaking engagement, someone I'd never met rushed straight over to tell me a story.

Two years ago, he & his wife were deciding if they were ready to be foster parents. They happen to watch my film Legends of the Knight on Netflix, and it inspired them to take the leap. They ultimately adopted the kids they welcomed into their home.

I never imagined the film impacting a family this way. It was a reminder that when you choose to express hope & kindness it spreads beauty into unexpected places.

Dear friends, keep shining!

Building Connection in the Midst of Division

Last night, I sat in a living room with 10 people of diverse viewpoints sharing their hearts.  They talked openly about their struggles and fears.  My wife Tricia & I were invited to facilitate the discussion, but we cried right along with them. 

I wish you could have been there.  My heart was filled with hope watching these people build connection with each other from love, even when they knew they didn’t agree on everything.

Healthy relationships and communities are built on speaking and listening well.  I believe the events of the past week are an opportunity for all of us to do this together.  Right now, some of our deepest beliefs and anxieties are coming to the surface. 

Whatever your opinions are, whomever you voted for, you have a choice to make today… Will you use this moment to stoke the fires of endless debate and separation?  Or will you create environments that help EVERYONE speak their hearts, feel known, and recognize that they are absolutely loved and valued?

Here’s a thought that might help:

In counseling sessions, therapists recommend speaking from your experience.  For example, your instinct might be to say “You don’t respect me.”  And maybe that’s true.  Perhaps the person you are speaking to doesn’t respect you.  But the bigger goal is beyond simply speaking the truth.  You want to create understanding, because relationships are built on connection, not information. 

You could choose to shift your words to “I FEEL like you don’t respect me” or “When you did this I SAW it as disrespect”.  Rather than condemning, you are sharing your experience and inviting me to listen and join you in it.  This opens the door for empathy. 

I love your heart, and your voice matters.  The good news is that being yourself doesn’t require attacking or shaming others.  It doesn’t have to be “you” against “them”.  You can invite people to understand your story and expand their own story in the process.  This is the essence of real community. 

Dear friend, thank you for being so beautiful.  I am honored to be on your side.  

Update on our next film, Look to the Sky!

For the next 3 months, my primary focus will be finishing our upcoming documentary film, Look to the Sky.

We are planning to begin charity screenings for this uplifting film Spring 2017, & we would love for you to join us on this adventure!

The film is about HOPE... what it is, how we lose it, and how we get it back. It will tell the stories of young people whose lives have shared a vision of hope that I think all of us need to experience. And 'Look to the Sky' is also about Superman. 

Just like our previous film, you will be able to host a screening in your community to benefit a charitable organization.

Stay tuned... It's going to be SO fun!

#SupermanIsReal