How Can I Help? Composer/Producer Simon Taufique on Coffee With Creatives

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Simon Taufique loved music, but didn’t have the full training or the opportunity to pursue the craft — until a convergence of circumstances led him to just take the leap. He eventually began to specialize in composing for film.

Before long, Simon’s additional predilections — for working collaboratively, helping others to achieve a shared vision, and for leveraging strategy to the benefit of any one project — drove him to begin taking on producing responsibilities. As part of his philosophy of asking “How Can I Help?” he now produces films so that he can help collaborators pursue their combined vision, including his own contributions to the score.

Simon’s biggest project to date, Imperium, finds him working with A-list talent like Daniel Radcliffe and Toni Collette. We had a great conversation on this episode of Coffee With Creatives.

Topics covered include:

  • How Simon was inspired by friend M. Night Shyamalan to be creative by any means necessary
  • How his start in tech allowed him to make enough money to escape the 9-5 and focus more squarely on creative pursuits
  • How and why September 11th became a personal turning point for Simon creatively
  • The indie ethos — focusing on positioning and strategy, and figuring out a way to get it done
  • How and why careerist decision-making can be a wrong-headed approach in the long term
  • Owning the creativity, but letting go of the results
  • Making challenges and boundaries work for you
  • The benefits and importance of decisiveness
  • The obvious and less-obvious advantages of working with A-list talent
  • Relieving professional and career pressure by creating constantly

That’s a ton of good and useful stuff. Imperium is available on most digital video platforms, and you can follow Simon on Twitter here.

 

Finally, I have two announcements to make, which are also covered in this episode of the podcast.

The first is that Coffee With Creatives now has over 5,000 listeners! Hooray, us! In celebration, I am giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

For a chance to win the gift card, send an email to me through this site and include a screenshot of either: 1) An iTunes review of the podcast, written by you, or 2) A social media post, written by you, in which you link to this or another favorite episode. A winner will be chosen randomly from all those who write in. Or maybe I’ll decide to award the review or share that most strikes my fancy. Only time will tell.

Also, I will be participating in a Live Director’s Commentary for my film, The Videoblogs, on October 9th. The event is virtual, and is being presented by the nsavides podcast (and its host, Nick Savides). Producer Jenna Edwards is also participating, and there are over $500+ in prizes being offered to participants. So, get on it!

As reminders, you can also subscribe to Coffee with Creatives on iTunes and/or support the podcast on Patreon.

 

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Tragedy, Remembrance and Wonder

This is part eleven of a thirty day trial, during which I am going to write and publish a post every day. No refunds. Comments welcome and encouraged!

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So much of life shrinks, recedes, in the face of tragedy. Everything reduces down, to the essential.

I don’t know what’s essential, right now, on this day of remembrance.

Is it the sadness? Or is it the pain, that we must feel, no matter how uncomfortable — in order to continue, as best we can, to strive to create a better world?

A world where worse results, like patterns of sublimation, then perversion and tragic re-direction, are replaced by acceptance and compassion, so that we experience deeper healing instead of more violence?

Can we effect such change? Have we? Has enough time passed — will enough time ever have passed?

Fifteen years ago today, America changed. We were attacked, and horribly scarred. In the years since, we have reacted to this trauma with a mix of fury and grace. That’s not a judgment, just an observation.

But I wonder, often, about the link between this pain — and the additional pains that have followed.

I wonder why, in the wake of tragedy, many of those in power seemed more interested in seizing upon a moment of fear, to gain more power, than in estimating the full impact of what had happened to the country, and responding in kind to the true needs of the people.

I wonder why, in the years following, many more of our more powerful and influential citizens, pushed harder and harder to secure safety and control for themselves only, at the expense of their fellow citizens.

I wonder why so many of us, who enjoy considerably less power, spend more time squabbling, often in the service or to the benefit of those who have disproportionately seized so much of the aforementioned capital and control, than we do in real conversation with each other. I wonder why we don’t instead pursue more healing, more solutions.

At the same time that I wonder all these things, I find myself unable to blame anyone.

We were attacked. It’s normal for the pain and the sadness to linger. It’s understandable, that the resultant anger and confusion has led to more pain, more sadness — that the cycle has been perpetuated by re-traumatization and self-abuse.

We have been traumatized. Victimized. The rational, even years later, often justifiably appears inadequate to the task of easing our pain.

But time has continued to pass. It is part of the beauty of humanity, that we survive. We cope.  We press on, despite the repercussions of evil acts, and the various forms of fallout from such acts.

I know that my view of this date has changed, over the past fifteen years. The tears and the rage have given way to quiet, respectful remembrance.

The scars from this day will likely continue to show for a very long time. It’s right, that they should.

Those of us who watched it happen, who were old enough at the time to absorb the sudden flash of pain, to feel the rise of fury and confusedness, we won’t ever forget what is signified by today’s date.

We’ll always remember how life was shrunk down that day, and set against such a looming dark background of tragedy and death. We’ll always remember the fallen. And the servants who rushed to our aid, and rescuing whoever and as much as they could. It is right to remember all this.

I wonder if we might also begin to remember what it was like before. Perhaps, for us, despite the healing and growth of the past fifteen years — life will never completely be the same.

But tomorrow is always ahead of us, isn’t it?

I wonder, if we continue to keep up the remembrance, and at the same time pursue greater healing, if younger generations might so be allowed to forget at least some of the significance of this day in history.

I don’t know if that’s even what I want, whether it would be “right” or “just”. But I do wonder about it.

Day 01: Struggles and Wonders and Dying in  Chair

Day 02: Fear, Panic, Identity and Anti-Focus

Day 03: Purple Sky of Towering Clouds Over a Far-off City

Day 04: Circle Up and Laugh

Day 05: On The Future of Labor

Day 06: Appreciating Difficulty, Harnessing its Momentum

Day 07: The Word for World is Earth

Day 08: It’s About The Dreaming, Not The Dream

Day 09: Moments of Presence: CWC Interview (Writer Laura Goode)

Day 10: Simmering Little Wrath of The Annoyed Man