Encouragement and maybe a little push - for both me, and the kids


For those who know me, know that I love to share and teach what I know. I’m not a greedy dude. I feel like the knowledge we acquire and learn throughout our lives are meant to be shared – especially with those who are striving for the same goals or are on a similar path.

This is why I started my YouTube channel. It is a place where I can just post content that I can stand behind, and hopefully inspire people to start or continue on with their own journey.

I’ve been releasing tutorials and content on my channel for a couple years now. The process has always been – plan, script, shoot, edit and post. I think I got a pretty good grasp of this whole YouTube thing. I love the fact that I am able to create videos for a living. It is honestly still mind-blowing to me.

But every now and then, I like to take on new projects or challenges that is aligned with what I am doing – just to keep things fresh and exciting.

I was ecstatic when I was asked by the team at Buffer to come out to Saskatchewan to be part of the Indigenous Creator Initiative partnered with the Road To Freedom team – alongside Corrado Coia, who is one of the founders of Buffer Festival. They wanted me to lend a hand, teaching Indigenous youth with some hands-on training – educating them on filmmaking techniques, editing, plus guide them on how they can create content using a smartphone.

I thought it was an amazing idea! Filmmaking + teaching. I can honestly just share what I already know and not have to worry about anything. That was my mindset at the time.

Teaching this stuff is kind of my thing! But… public speaking isn’t.

Creating tutorials on YouTube let me hide behind the screen. I could edit the video as much as I want when I made mistakes, and not have to worry about it. Speaking live in front of people is kind of different.

I have always been afraid to talk in front of a big group. I officiated a friends wedding once, in front of a couple hundred people – but that is about it. I don’t like being the centre of attention in front of a large audience. It just makes me feel really nervous and anxious.

But I knew this was something I HAD to take on. Not because I was afraid to do it, but I felt like it might be the next step I needed to take – to push my career to another level. Fear has always been there to stop me from doing things and I knew this was another situation where I had to just overcome it.

..and I am so glad I did it.

Road to Freedom is run by some amazing people – Kyle, Jesse and Nicole Nobess. They all did an amazing job keeping the kids interested and engaged. They have worked with hundreds of youths in different reserves helping build confidence through filmmaking, photography, and many other avenues.

They really made me feel at home.

Buffer Festival and Road to Freedom’s Indigenous Creator Initiative are 3-day events, full of different activities. The first day was kind of the “ice breaker” type of day, as we did many activities to get to know everyone in attendance. The kids, along with myself, were all still a bit reserved during the first day but the things that Kyle and the team had lined up got everyone out of their shells. From Script reading to weird intro dances – I think we did it all that day just to get us loose!

The 2nd day, we handed out phones to the kids – thanks to the people at Samsung Canada – and we gave them the creative freedom to put together a video in groups they were assigned to. It was amazing to see how creative they got with their videos. A lot of the things they were doing, I actually currently use and apply to my videos as well. It was really cool seeing their vision and creativity come to life.

Seeing them plan out their videos kind of reminded me of how I used to be as well.

I felt that when I was younger, I had a ton of ideas that I wanted to bring to life but was always afraid. Failure, embarrassment, fear – some of the reasons why it never happened for me. I planned out videos and wrote scripts but never pulled through with it.

I felt like the kids were the same way and just needed some type of encouragement and maybe a little push to help them break that barrier.

I’m pretty confident to say that we helped with that a bit.

The 3rd day was similar to the 2nd day, but this time around we had a challenge for them – to find a product and make some type of commercial using the smartphones we provided. They also had to edit it all on their phones as well. Again, they came up with some pretty impressive videos.

It truly showed that these kids had the skills and talent to create – but just needed a platform such as Road To Freedom to break through.

Sharing how EASY it was to bring their ideas to life through video was one of the main things I wanted to teach during the trip. I didn’t want to overwhelm them with useless information but just teach them the basic knowledge they need to get going.

I’ve always been told that I needed high end cameras and gear to create meaningful content – and I hated how I let that affect me. It took me years just to break out of that mindset.

I wanted the kids to know that the only thing that will get in the way is their creativity.

The highlight of that 3 day event was when Corrado asked the kids on day 1, who was confident and knew how to put together a video? Only one person, out of almost 40 people, put their hand up. Everyone seemed iffy and scared about the whole process, as I can tell by their body language and reaction.

At the end of Day 3, Corrado asked the same question again – and this time, every single one of them raised their hands, all looking confident and happy – knowing that it isn’t that hard to create these films if they put some effort into it.

It was an amazing sight to see and definitely put a smile on my face.

Knowing that I was one of the guys who helped them push through their shyness and mind blocks from being creative, really made me feel good.

Not only did the Road To Freedom Tour give me the opportunity to educate First Nation Youths, but it also made me realize that there are other things that I can do, alongside making my content on YouTube.

Fear is one thing that stops me, and probably a lot of others out there, from doing things that I want to do. Being part of this tour has helped me overcome my fear of public speaking and encouraged me to tackle on other challenges that I have always been afraid to take on.

It honestly has opened a lot of doors for me being able to change my mindset. So my advice to everyone reading this… Don’t let fear get in the way.

“Bliss is on the other side of fear.” – Will Smith