Legacy Artifact

As my second semester of propel comes to an end I can only feel thankful for the opportunity that I received here. I’m a person that’s genuinely hated how the school system works because it doesn’t tailor to my style of learning and this program was a breath of fresh air for my creativity. I came to Propel with the intention of making my work meaningful and educational and I’ve more than got that out of this program.  I’ve made a dramatic improvement in my career as a musician and a film maker. Improvements I couldn’t have made If I was not in this program.

My final project will look like a well-crafted music production tutorial that will showcase my improvement in film making. Highlighting what I have learned and how I improved on my failures. The result will also serve as a starting point for future producers coming into the Propel program. Now, I realize my description of the film might seem vague, but that’s intended. I wish to explain my growth as a creator further on my presentation night on Tuesday January 29th where I can go under the hood and show you what I’ve been doing.

To see a more thorough explanation of my project visit: http://www.propellrsd.com/liam-videography

Two semesters of Propel and I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of my potential as a creator. I’d like to thank everyone that believed in me and helped my move forward. This is Liam Sewell, signing off for the last time.

-Liam Sewell

A Brighter Future

Gantt chart pictureMoving forward in my project has had its challenges for me. I’m painfully behind on filming and I haven’t been putting in the effort that my peers expect from me at this stage in the game. Now, you might be wondering how and why I’m so behind on my project but, let me tell you how I’m going to get on track first.

We implemented something called a gantt chart into our daily schedules. The gantt chart is a timeline of work that needs to be done from week eight of Propel all the way to the end of the semester. For example, my project relates to film. So, I broke down each film into three categories’ pre-production, production and post production. These three categories are all assigned specific start and end dates.

Going back to why I’m behind, I haven’t finished my production on time. I’m currently behind on a week’s worth of work. So, how am I going to combat this issue? My answer is to start taking a bigger focus on my project. I’m trying my hardest to drop other tasks outside of school that eat up so much of my time in and out of school (for example, several bands). Did you catch that oxymoron? What I’m trying to articulate is that I’ve taken on so many tasks that I’ve backed myself into a corner and had to work on them in school, when I should be working on my project. To defend myself however, the projects I have been doing outside of school have been going quite well and I’m proud of the work I’ve done, but that negates the fact.

My next couple of weeks will not look the same, I’ve been saying for a couple of blogs now that I’m just going to have to get work done, but that’s not working for me. I need to set specific goals for myself and really push myself to get them done on time. My goal is to finish at least one or two films and get caught up with my gantt chart these next couple of weeks. I’m not going to try to make them artful or insightful, but at least well shot. Why? Well, that’s the direction I’ve decided to take my project. I just want to learn the information about film making and apply that into future projects.

Lights, Camera, Action!

From a young age I’ve always had one thing going for me, determination. If a task was “too difficult” I would try my hardest to create my best interpretation of it. I hate changing my ideas because certain aspects of it are challenging but, with this semester I’m trying to learn how to compromise. I realize that I can’t make a “perfect” film but, I can record tons of footage and get better with each time I pull out that camera. That’s why I continued with the same goals as I started with, creating a competent film.

Creating the script and concepts for these films has been easy for me. I consider myself to be a creative person (especially if I have complete control over it) so being able to sit down and let my brain go wild has been by far the most entertaining part of this project. Then I got down to filming. That’s where my struggles got real, I’m very productive if I can sit down and just hammer away with a specific end in mind. With filming however, you need to physically go out and record footage.


My biggest struggle this year was getting out of my head and getting to work.   But this is Propel and the show must go on. So, I’ve had to just get over my insecurities and just record footage.

My future in propel will most likely be this struggle of wanting to film and getting crazy anxiety doing it. I want each film to show a natural progression in my film making career. I’m not going to get better however, if I’m not forcing myself to say “Lights, Camera, Action!”.



Filming is Difficult..

Proof of concept week went as stressful as expected. So, why was it so stressful? Well, let me take you down the long spiral that has been my past couple of weeks.

My original idea for my POC was creating a short metronome tutorial explaining how i prepare for a show with the metronome (or something along those lines). That idea did not resonate with me however, I didn’t feel like i could make that interesting. So, i changed that concept into a horror film. I thought that idea was hilarious, because it’s the complete opposite of a mundane tutorial.  So, with my new idea i started working.

I’m not going to lie to you, I was pretty confident with my ability to make a competent film. At first glance it looks easy. Record footage, mix some audio and bingo bango bongo you got a masterclass film!

Well, I quickly learned that it’s a lot harder than it looks (obviously). So, let me list off each difficulty I encountered during my endeavor.

The first and most frustrating problem I ran into was working the stupid camera. It constantly went out of focus and when it was focused you could see peoples shadows in some of the shots. This made me take tons of time to work around the silly issues but, i eventually prevailed and got some pretty good footage out of it.

Secondly, filming at night is very difficult. The lighting is awful, the camera looked overexposed and it looks overall amateur. Luckily for me i was making a horror film so that awful footage oddly fit.

Finally and by far the most frustrating challenge was recording the audio. Camera audio sucks, go figure and none of my microphones sound up to my standard of “good”. So, i just said “screw it” and I took out the audio and made it purely unsettling sounds. I know that sounds like a train wreck waiting to happen but it surprisingly wasn’t. Audio production is my forte and i was able to make a immersive atmosphere for the viewer

My future in Propel is actually pretty exciting for me (yes, i know what happened last time i said that). My next couple of weeks will probably look like what i just described stressful, annoying and rage inducing. I want to learn how to properly record audio and not turning away when i see a new challenge but, isn’t that what propel’s all about?

Trial and Error

Propel, to me has always been about creating something from nothing. It’s all about finding your passion and controlling each aspect of the final outcome, gradually working towards the big picture, the final presentation. Most importantly though, it’s about failing. We as students are given a platform, and with this platform we are able to take our hobbies to the next level. We’re given the time, we should try to experiment and go out of our comfort zones and this year has been no exception for me. I’ve been recording myself playing drums for a week now and I’m going to be honest, it sounds awful but it gives me goals and direction for the upcoming weeks. Before I talk about my future let’s take a couple of steps back and talk about the weeks leading up to this.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the past couple of weeks, I love going through trial and error during purposeful play because there’s no right or wrong because you’re failures lead you to successes. Purposeful play is by far my favourite week though. I think this week has beautifully crafted independence and learning together. Not every week is beautifully crafted though,  the first week always feels very slow. I feel like my head is swollen from the amount of information I need to absorb, which makes it hard to remember what we learned a week after the lesson. After that it’s smooth sailing once everyone’s project starts to take off.

Next week is Propel’s classic proof of concept. It’s a two week period where you have to create a mini-final presentation. Even when I did this last year I was so anxious the whole time and this year will most likely be the same. I want my project to focus on film. So, I’m going to create a a drum cover. This perfectly blends my love for music and film at the same time (plus it gives me a reason to show off). It’s purpose is to show my skill with music and film digitally and physically.

As September comes to a close I can’t help feel giddy, I’m very optimistic and I think this year will be a huge step on my path of life.

Release time

Over the break I plan to release my single “Music Box”. After a long wait I finally got my song back from the mastering engineer and I’m ready to release the song along with many other’s.

I also plan to make a couple of collaborations with my cousin and Kelsen. Creating music will be a huge component of my break as well, I always like producing track’s and making them the best they could be. Over the break I don’t have any actual work to do, so I can develop different ideas and songs.

I will be mixing and mastering Emily’s project. I plan on teaching her how to mix properly so she herself can mix her own music from now on. I want to learn how to record vocals professionally



A few weeks ago the teachers had a discussion with us about our productivity. It was the most “Dad” talk we’ve had all year. In the discussion they told all of us to write three personal tips for our productivity.

Organizing my time, when I first set this goal I was all over the place with time, I would spend thirty minutes on one task and move on. I now schedule dedicated chunks of time to finish the task, this decision has made me more productive and successful with my B tasks.

Trying not to multitask was the easiest goal to accomplish, I just don’t talk to much when I’m in the zone and working. This drastically fixed my productivity by making one task a priority

I always wanted to make sure my project is going right, so I always talk out an issue as soon as they arise with the teachers.


After my project conference I felt like I had a lot of work ahead of me. We had talked about how many tasks were still left for me, while also giving me feedback about how my work has been going. We also changed up my timeline completely, I had underestimated how much time it would take to create each song, luckily Hansen created a rough draft on what my timeline should actually look like, that made it a lot easier to plan out everything I was looking for.

Hansen made my timeline very reasonable and well constructed, it was exactly what I wanted. He gave me tons of time on my production, and less time on my publishing and releasing. The song should be more important then any release you could do (in my opinion). Although I’m very certain I will be able to create more then three songs, the time line will help me focus in and make these three songs really good.

Since the conference I have written a good copy of my timeline, essentially alliterating what Hansen was writing about. I have started to finish my third song and I’m well on my way to mixing.



With new atmosphere comes with benefits, and challenges. Who hasn’t had a time crunch every now and again? I certainly have, I struggle with this “issue” much more then an average person.

T’was the end of September, we had been given the task, so daunting, yet so rewardable that I couldn’t help but fall in love with the task. It was Proof of Concept, we had two weeks to complete a full song, so me and my partner Emily started our creation. We were making a song, the goal was to complete the song by making it at least 2-3 minutes in length. With our heads in the clouds we were too high to realize that our song couldn’t be completed.

Hansen and Patrician had been checking up on us to see how the song was going, we both were extremely happy with the sound of the song but, as they both’d pointed out, the song seemed a bit flat. After that feedback they suggested that we do a cover song, we could choose any of the song, we just had to get it done in time.

After a week and a half of hard work we had finished the cover, that we were fairly happy with. It was time to present.

The day me and Emily presented was clearly stressful for me and her. I had felt those butterflies trying to fly around in my stomach, and when I walked up to present I had choked up and gave a poor presentation from my half. Afterwords, I received a lot of support and it couldn’t have felt better.


Writing and Stresses

I have made great progress towards becoming a better musician. In the span of a couple of weeks me and my partner have created a cover song called “One Call Away” by Charlie puth with our own twist on it. The song was the perfect choice and it was fairly simple to recreate because the artist uses the same four chords throughout the entire song. That gave me a lot of space to add details when I’m not very focused on the complexities of the song, I get to have some fun and create strange atmospheric sounds with this song, but like a fool I didn’t check the amount of bars a verse had, so I have to go back into my software (Ableton) and fix what I messed up on. I really hate how I wasn’t being thorough enough, now that has cost me time on the project that could’ve been avoided if I had just looked at a song form. I’ll be fine though, lesson learned.

The success me and my partner will have this week will depend on when we get the studio, we both figured out our work flow is a lot better in the afternoon, in the mornings we both tend to be less patent and more critical of our work, so our success will be recoding vocals in the afternoon. The struggle we might have is picking which recordings we want in the final product of our cover. Also, it might be a struggle to finish the song and be happy with it overall, I know we’re being very critical of our work, but I want my work to be very good.