(Editor’s Note: This is a two-part guest blog from our good friends Dave Clayton and Alan Hess. We’ll hear from Dave this week, and Alan next week!)
Hello and thanks for checking in to Scott’s blog today. I am very fortunate enough to have been a guest blogger here before. Each time I was able to share my story, and each time it was nice to actually write down what I had achieved, not just to say, “Hey, look at me,” but to share how we can all take good things from opportunities afforded to us.
Since my beginning as an “evangelist” way back in 2009, I worked hard and was fortunate to become an instructor for KelbyOne, both online and at Photoshop World. I became a regular writer for Photoshop User Magazine (the very magazine that convinced me to join NAPP/KelbyOne in the first place. I then went on to write a book for Scott, “How Do I Do That In InDesign,” with Rocky Nook and all those things enabled me to teach at Adobe Max for the first time in 2020. The reason I mention these events is because becoming part of this wonderful community of photographers, designers and creatives encouraged me to start a podcast back in 2018. You can see my guest post about it.
I think we can all say that 2020 threw us all a massive and unexpected curve ball. But it meant that the events went away, we were all staying at home and trying to adapt to this strange new time. But having the He Shoots, He Draws podcast was one thing that actually bloomed during this time.
Around April 2020, Glyn Dewis (fellow KelbyOne/Photoshop World instructor and cofounder of HSHD) had to step away from podcast duties to focus on his other ventures such as the 3945 Portraits Project and also try to move home just as the pandemic took hold. Our good friend Alan Hess, also the first ever guest we had on the show, kindly and very quickly stepped in to help support the show as the “He Shoots…” part of the double act. I couldn’t have wished for a better cohost like him to fill Glyn’s shoes.
Being at home a lot can start to weigh heavy on you. Working and living from home with little to no escape can drive you stir crazy, but having the podcast really helped. Alan and myself would chat frequently over Zoom, the new communication tool of 2020… (Skype, what happened to you dude?!) Alan was already familiar with the format of the show (I will pretend that the show is professionally planned and scripted of course….it isn’t). Between us, we already knew most of the previous guests, and Alan was able to introduce some great photography guests to the show that I wouldn’t have thought of.
Finding guests was easier, whereas previously it was harder to pin someone down pre-pandemic, everyone had nowhere to go and it meant we were able to book some really fun guests over the year. These included familiar names to those that have followed KelbyOne over the years such as:
With 153 episodes under our belt as you read this, we just achieved the milestone of 250,000 downloads worldwide….and that’s in over 125 different countries!!
One thing I know I can take away from this past year, it’s that 2020 not only leveled everyone out, it also enabled us to adapt and find new ways to improve our own skillsets. We spent more time communicating, sharing stories, helping each other and finding work for each other. Online events began to thrive, people got recommended and started their own path in teaching. Many new podcasts started to show in the photography and design space, people were happy to share knowledge and assist one another with experience and connections.
Listening to our guests made me realise how close we all are in the same boat. It humbles us, it makes us realise what is important to us and who is important to us. Some of our guests endured covid or lost loved ones because of it. It’s a defining time in our lives and I hope it’s made most of us better people. It’s reminded us that no matter how high up we are in our respective careers, we all matter when it comes down to it, and everyone has the time to help others.
I know my relationship with Alan has always been close, but doing the podcast with him and chatting for another two hours after recording an episode was therapeutic in itself. We laugh, joke, talk politics, discuss new gear, gossip etc. He really gave me some sanity back and I want to personally thank him for stepping in and just doing what good mates do, support you even when their own world is turned upside down, and in the middle of writing a huge book for Rocky Nook!
Alan lost 99% of his own work. He shoots gigs as a house photographer for the Pechanga Arena in San Diego, as well as other live events. So for Alan it was a massive loss and a big change for him. Had he been working as much as he was pre-pandemic, he may not have been able to join the podcast, but for now, I am grateful to have him onboard.
As we now enter a period of positivity and a little hope of getting our lives back, I do hope that everyone comes back stronger, a little more patient and caring, finding time for others, especially like podcasts. We want to share your story and amplify you. We learn so much from our guests and each one has given us a little something extra along the way that’s made us better interviewers, better creatives and better people.
I can’t wait for events to come back, to be teaching to people again, to be at Photoshop World, Adobe Max, Creative South, Crop Conference and more. And when we do, make more time and effort to communicate with your peers. We all have stories to share, whether they are podcasts or not. Make your own little conversation your own personal podcast!
Stay safe, get vaccinated ,and hopefully I will see you soon at an event somewhere in the world!
And thanks for listening to the podcast – if you haven’t yet, please give it a try :)
PRIZE: Listen to the podcast episode with Scott Kelby. In it we both discuss our favourite TV show of 2020 and Scott mentions that I (Dave) am the UK version of this character. First person to email me what that show/character is, to firstname.lastname@example.org will win some goodies :)
You can see more from Dave at ItsDaveClayton.com, keep up with him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, and check out his great courses on KelbyOne. Come back next week to hear from Alan Hess, and check out all of the episodes of He Shoots, He Draws in the mean time!