Was sitting here thinking about how the “Her” poster made me think of Michael Cera and his relationship with Ann in Arrested Development… Her?… couldn’t help myself, had to photoshop something up!
A lot of side projects I’ve worked on have become my main projects, become side projects again, and eventually stood on their own.Going from end to end so many times has helped me become aware of ideas as they come and how to ideate on them immediately.
At any given time, I usually have somewhere between 6 and 8 projects going on concurrently. I don’t know why that is my magic number of things to be doing at once, but it is. 3 projects tend to be active while the other 3 to 5 are still in ideation.
Many of the projects on the back burner will likely end up on the cutting room floor, and I try not to be too hard on myself as these flit in and out of my interest (as impossible as that is sometimes).
While I am a filmmaker by trade, I try not to let that dictate the way an idea comes to fruition. Whether it’s a film, app, organization, game, song, or something else, I try to make sure the idea has room enough to breathe. It’s more important to gauge my excitement for a project than to kill a concept because it doesn’t fit into my wheelhouse. If my will is behind it, and it’s something I care about, I’ll find a way to do it.
I once was inspired by a man chatting about sustainability in NYC. He started talking about white roofs and how they could make a major difference in the city’s landscape—they could even curb climate change. Lightbulb: why couldn’t I be the person to do that? It led me to coat a rooftop white with a group of activists, and that eventually led to founding a nonprofit (aptly named White Roof Project). The organization has now coated hundreds of rooftops, been integrated in 5 countries, and helped 20+ cities in the U.S. activate projects of their own. Had I not given myself the space to ideate on something that inspired me, it would not exist today.
This is all to say that as long as I’ve kept the doors open to anything, an idea will surface to the top with enough momentum to become something tangible. Because ideas are great, but completed projects are much, much better.
While everyone wants to be stricken with an idea, sometimes it’s not possible and it’s just about banging things out until something hits. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to find ideas. In fact, some of my best ones were forced and some of my worst ones were lightning bolts (and vice versa). It’s kind of like finding a significant other via a dating app or it happening organically in real life. Sure, one generally has a more storybook kind of beginning, but at the end of the day it doesn’t invalidate love. Same goes with an idea: the lightbulb type of ideas are sexier to have, but it doesn’t mean they’re all that great.
Hindsight is the greatest tool a creator has in their tool chest to ascertain whether they came up with the next best thing or something sh*tty.
Regardless, psychologically we do a lot of mental trash talking when ideating, at least I do. And its taken me time and discipline to keep the wolves at bay. Accepting ideas as they are, when they come, however raw or underdeveloped they are, is step one (imho). It does me no good to second guess or ask for criticism initially. I also don’t erase, I just keep going. Instead of editing the core concept as I go along, I tend to duplicate the text and then change course if I think a new path is presenting itself. That way I keep the original and then have the fork as well. Later on, when I’m fresh, I can look back and see what was the better choice. At the time it’s really a crapshoot, it’s better just to keep all the ideas percolating, as it’s much easier to make a decision hours or days later when I’m over that initial burst of inspiration.
I get ideas by putting myself in the way of things that give me ideas.
Watching television or movies (unless with purpose) tends not to give me many ideas. Don’t get me wrong, I do watch a lot of movies and TV, but it usually isn’t the greatest faucet for my imagination.
Things that work for me: exercising outside is one of the best. I’m usually just going along, picking up bits of scenery or assessing interactions I’ve been having with people. Sometimes it’s a short dialogue that sticks out in my mind, or how someone reacted, or a conversation that led to a bigger thought. Lots of times I find myself on the tail end of some stream of consciousness, and an idea comes from what’s already floating around in my head.
Another great place to get struck by something is a museum, art museums are the best, although natural history or science can also do it for me. Basically any place where my mind can get lost and be contemplative, rather than being in a place where I’m watching and perceiving something passively. Whether I’m staring at a painting, sculpture, or looking through a microscope; it’s the freedom to discover correlations and values in the moment that gives me new ideas.
Something I don’t do enough but find to be a source of ideas is the opera, symphony or jazz. The show itself is usually easy enough to follow without my full attention, and I end up in a trancelike state where I’m feeling the music more than anything else. The music conjures new thoughts and more often than I like to admit I start asking big questions about the universe as a whole.
I think there are a lot of reasons these activities work for me, but I recognize they are not some catchall. Everyone’s mind is different and unlocking these ideas is really a matter of putting yourself in places where you feel inspired.
I make an effort to write down every single idea that enters my head, regardless of whether it’s good or bad.
Whether I have pen and paper handy or just my phone, I jot down my thoughts before they have time to change. It’s important to write things down as is first. I like to clearly define where I started and then iterate as the thought evolves naturally. Eventually I migrate all my writing and drawings to Google Docs, but there are plenty of apps to choose from. I keep everything synced with my laptop, and my laptop backed up on another hard drive—so I always have a few failsafes. Somehow that comforts me and my fear that the only thing I have of value are these ideas. Even when I’m fully immersed in a project, if the muse hits me with a new idea, I allow myself some time to get it on paper.
The reason I mention journaling is that it’s an easy way to get myself to write stream of consciousness about my day. That small amount of time to reflect also gives me a chance to get the creative juices flowing, even if it’s only at a prose level, it keeps me frosty. Besides… over the years I’ve collected a grave yard of journals that all go about 10 or 15 pages in before they’re jettisoned. What’s worked best for me the last 4 years is OhLife.com. I like this app because everyday it sends me an email asking what happened in my day, and I feel compelled to write back—as if they’re some pen pal I like to answer frequently. The app takes care of adding that entry to my journal, and once there’s a backlog of entries it started spitting back what I wrote from years back into that email that comes in each day. More than once, some journal entry that I wrote long ago sparks a new idea on the day I read it again.
Both are really helpful for me, and push my brain in different directions. I like fiction in the evening because it allows me to cool down and step toward the dream state more easily. If I read non-fiction at night, I usually start thinking about work and get re-energized (hard enough to get away from it, best not to ask for it). I max out at reading just two books at a time. Whenever I’ve added another to the pile I stop reading long form content, and end up defaulting to reading news articles for months, until I remember… only read two books at once.
If things are more challenging to get to, there’s enough time to guilt myself into staying focused.
My brain thinks it can multitask, but it really can’t. At one point, years ago, I timed myself for a few months (with RescueTime) to see how effective I was in a given day with everything turned on. I like to believe I’m pretty productive… It turned out that in a twelve hour day, alone at home, I was averaging somewhere between 4 and 5 hours completely immersed. Otherwise I was online, sometimes researching, but mostly reading news, posting things, and going on Facebook or Twitter. It was really discouraging to see the stats. So I picked up a few of the anti-social apps (now using SelfControl)to keep myself honest for hours at a time on my laptop. Well, as you might suspect, I became reliant on my phone and iPad for updates almost immediately. I had to kill notifications on all my mobile devices, make sure my home screen was devoid of social apps, and for good measure I uninstalled Facebook on my phone. Those small steps gave me back at least 45 minutes of daily distraction.
Lots of people seem to think this is a misuse of time when it comes to productivity and ideation. I am a part of those communities so that when I do have a project to talk about, there will be people on the ground floor. Realistically, it depends on what you’re trying to do and who you want to do it for. Is the project for mass consumption, a group of folks, are you a thought leader? What’s the end look like and work your way back to what you need: an audience, a small group, the masses, etc. Also, having a social media maven who champions your creation can be way more beneficial than sinking time into creating a strong following. At the end of the day, I’m okay at social media, and I usually defer to smarter folks on a project by project basis. On a personal level, I spend too much time looking at the numbers game (still working on fixing this).
It’s not easy keeping a schedule and it’s easy enough to be disheartened when I don’t get much done in a given week or month.
I save this for last because it’s something I’m always struggling with, and I know a lot of people who find different ways to be effective while holding down a job.
Some people are big believers in having a junk job while they work on their next great project that will bring the fame and fortune. As for me, I really like to have a job I care about. I think it helps give the day and hours I spend time at the office meaning. If I enjoy what I’m doing I feel better and more motivated when I get out of the job. My quality of life overall is better too because I don’t come home complaining about having to do something I don’t find value in. While I understand the concept of doing something mindless and saving that energy for later, I don’t buy into it. If my mind is inactive I think it would atrophy. Problem solving and having high level conversations, regardless of the industry, keeps me on point. There there’s those folks who have a menial job, and say it makes them hungry for more.
There is not one person I’ve ever met in my life, whether they’re entry level or a CEO, who doesn’t want more for them self. It’s human nature.
Apart from getting a job that suits my needs I’ve found a few guidelines that help me stay productive and open to ideas. It starts with planning, is held together by discipline and is given breath through perseverance.
I keep a pen and paper to-do list (recently adopted the BulletJournal system) and have for many years. Every time I’ve strayed to digital to-do lists I’ve lost track of my personal projects. They end up getting sectioned off into a projects folder and the days roll by without me worrying about them. Continually re-writing what needs to be done really helps me remember what I want to accomplish, and keeps me on the hook for things that might fall by the wayside otherwise. I also break things down into easier to-dos. For instance, if I’m working on a film idea, I don’t just bullet “write script”. I set down the list (on a separate sheet) of 40 to 50 things I will need to get a rough draft out the door such as to-dos like character descriptions, beat sheet, catalyst, etc. The more finite the goal, the more likely I’ll be able to complete it. I’ll keep the sheet handy, but add specific to-dos on my daily to-dos.
There’s so much to say here. A lot of it is common sense or in other great books. Every morning wake up and meditate for at least 10 minutes. Some people do their ‘morning pages’ around this time and write to get the creative juices going, it doesn’t work for me. But it’s probably worth reading “The Artist’s Way” to get some good tips on process and inspiration. Keep a schedule that’s bundled with other things you will inevitably do, like writing and then brushing your teeth, that way it’s easier to integrate and keep to it. Sometimes a schedule can become so erratic it’s more important to chart how to get everything done on a daily basis. When I know a hectic week is coming I tend to look at things at least a day or week ahead of time. That way I don’t lose control of the train in the moment. Most importantly, I try to set specific dates for when and why I want to get something done. When I can, I try to find real world reasons that push meeting certain deadlines (i.e. festivals, labs, conferences, hackathons). If the stakes aren’t high enough, it probably won’t get done in good time.
I heard a great story once of someone who hated the NRA, giving his buddy a check for $1500 to send as a donation to the organization if he didn’t meet a deadline. That’s high stakes! And he got the job done because of it.
When I’ve inevitably fallen of the horse, I don’t get too down about the whole thing. The best way I’ve learned to do better once I’ve made a mistake, had a lapse of judgement, or lacked self-discipline, is by staking out how I arrived there. I look for precursors to the issue to elucidate the problem before I am suddenly there again without being aware of it. If there are any folks involved other than myself I take the time to forgive everyone (internally not externally). After that, I try to create mental signposts so that when I’m at a decision point later on (the place where I dropped the ball) I can realign with my overarching goal before going down the same path. The most important books for surviving the mental battles with myself were the Tao Te Ching, Crucial Conversations, and The Diamond Cutter.
The better I’ve become at being patient, forgiving myself and keeping an eye on the prize, the better I’ve become at staying regimented.
If we had infinite time in the day, week, month, and year, we’d be able to entertain all our ideas. Ideas are free and fun to develop. That said, I don’t have all the time in the world to make all of those a reality. Between work, wife, other projects, outings, meals, and all the fun things that get in the way, it’s lucky I get anything done. So, the next most important piece is making the right choice when green-lighting a project. Depending on the size and scope of it I may be invested anywhere between six months to three years in something. Since I was young my strategy has evolved and many values have changed. I’m not sure whether that’s a product of wisdom or not. What’s a good use of time at 21 isn’t at 31. Regardless, I think there are guidelines for choosing a project that are universal. That post is coming up next…
PHOTO CREDIT: puzzle pieces / BY Intvgene
The airplane crossed blue skies. It seemed like It would last forever. Sun and blue, simultaneously. Hank and three others sat in the back of the plane, waiting for the moment they’d be called out to make the drop. The radio was static, the crew was anxious, and all that mattered was a voice crackling over the line. To let it all begin, to send up the the sign that would release it all. Below bombs exploded on the ground, all over the countryside. They’d leave ships whole, careen through the sky gracefully, made to drop. Then soon after, they’d meet the ground and become their purpose, destruction. In the sky it seemed like the fragile floats were impenetrable. Artillery from the ground spit up shots into the air, falling on no plane, round after round. Marksmen at this distance would be lucky to get within meters of any ship.
Down below Gin, a small gunner, manned the anti aircraft gun. His eyes squinted behind the crosshairs of the massive weapon. His target were tiny little black flies in the sky, darting in and out of puffy cumulus clouds. The gun shook as he loosed another barrage of bullets into the waiting sky.
Zoom, zoom, zip, swoosh, swoop—the bullets missed. Hank grinned as they reached their destination, soon now, very soon. Then suddenly, zoom, clang! The right side propeller was suddenly out, and the craft was tipping the other way, losing altitude. Hank and the others were ready to leave the ship early. The ship’s captain burst through the metal door, eyes wide. Hank immediately turned to the supplies fixed on the wall, unhooked a backpack, and tossed it to him. The voice crackled over the intercom, but it was hurried, loud, and didn’t seem to be giving orders they way it should have been. The propeller burst into flames.
One of the men closest to the outside door unlatched the lock, slid it across, pulled the lever, and the door whipped open—the wind was deafening. Hank pushed himself up to the front, dropped goggles over his eyes, and took two steps forward carefully toward the open door’s edge. He let it sink in for a moment, seeing the sky pass quickly under his feet was a bit surreal. Hank leaned forward, put each arm on either side of the door, grabbing metal bars that jutted out on either side of it. No time to think, he pulled back quickly, and then flung himself out the door with all his might. The wind pushed up against his cheeks, eyes, and lips. The earth got closer and closer with each passing second. The others followed Hank’s lead, and soon a little line of black dots were all dotting the space between the plane and ground below.
Hank was the first to pull the ripcord: fwoop! The parachute opened up and slowed his fall considerably. Below the bombs continued blowing up buildings, equipment and people; bullets whisked around him, still shooting up into the sky. A body dropped like a rock to his right, a soldier, his friend. His backpack was unopened, if he wasn’t already dead, he would be in moments. Hank was helpless to stop it, but before he could think long on this heart wrenching reality, a flurry of bullets broke open a hole in his parachute. He was coming in fast, too fast, the world was close, two hundred feet away, one hundred, fifty, twenty, ten, two, lights out.
Elon called out loud into the sunset for me to come back home. Supper was likely waiting for me on the kitchen table, and it was past time for me to eat—I’d been out most the afternoon catching butterflies. My net was a mighty weapon in my hands; I wielded it with the expertise of years adventuring in these meadows. Somehow the act never got old, and I wondered if it ever could.
Will there be a time when the flutter of a butterfly, trapped in my crystal jar doesn’t somehow suit me? What is it about being in the middle of the field, feeling the wind blow, a thousand of these beautiful tiny beasts beating their wings joyously, and me at the center, bobbing up and down in synchronicity?
If I could wager what picturesque looked like, I assume it would be me—thoughtless, carefree, freedom. At least, in the meadow I was. Elsewhere the world picked up its own hues, sad and happy feelings, good fortune and painful memories mixed about. But here, in this 10 acre field, nothing could touch me.
The sunset fell into evening, I forgot dinner was waiting, and the fireflies lit up—taking the butterflies place. A new game began with them; I put down my net, launched after one, only to find it had changed course in mid-flight and ended up somewhere else. The game was more difficult in some ways because their patterns were more erratic, but they were also slower, and less likely to fly away again once they’d settled. Eventually I caught one, opened the crystal jar of butterflies, and let them go to make way for my new prize. A dozen monarchs fluttered into the night, their bodies silhouetted by the darkening blue sky.
As I watched them go I noticed a group of the fireflies amassing on the far corner of the field, and ran toward them. If I got there quickly enough I’d fill up the jar in no time; so I raced, got closer, and closer still. As I neared, I slowed down, realizing the fireflies weren’t paying me any attention. Hundreds of them, parading from one blade of long grass to another, were circling a large mushroom. The shroom, I had never seen before, which seemed odd. But there it stood perched atop a stump, golden and red, stem bulbous and brown. Even in the faint fireflies’ light, the mushroom’s colors read brightly, as if a glow emanated from within.
One firefly dared to land on the shrooms’ top, and chance finding what fate had in store. I stared, as did all the other fireflies, waiting to see if anything would happen. Moments passed, all was still, and then the firefly began to burn a bit brighter. Then brighter still. Then incandescent, as if it were as bright as a light bulb. With each passing second, it would go off and come back twice as bright as the time before. It popped off the mushroom, as if it had enough, and floated out back into the meadow—now the brightest of all lightning bugs. The little thing began to rise, higher and higher, pulsing on and off as it rose. Then suddenly, pop! It burst, at its brightest and the night consumed the light.
I looked back at the strange little mushroom. When I first looked at it, the whole thing must have been about one quarter the size of the entire stump. However, when I looked again, it was nearly the entire circumference of it—the shroom had grown nearly 12 inches in minutes. How had it grown so much?
The fireflies around it, the hundreds, the masses circling, all closed in on the shroom, and found their way into the gills underneath; the shroom’s top pulsed red and yellow. They piled in tightly, magnetized to something within, and with every passing second the shroom grew, and grew, and grew. Bigger every minute; two feet, three feet, five feet! And like that, it had outgrown me in a matter of minutes. A small pang of jealousy washed over me; I wish I could grow that quickly! The feeling passed quickly and was replaced by curiosity.
What would happen if I touched the mushroom? Would I burn brightly? Would I grow the mushroom to a gigantic size? What would happen?
I stepped forward, the mushroom’s canopy was now well above my head. I reached my hand out and hesitated.
What if there was no going back after I’d touched the mushroom? What if there’s no way to reverse its effect, what if I die?
These thoughts attacked my subconscious, but curiosity was more powerful than all of them combined; so my fingers met the surface, soft yet firm, warm to the touch. My body warmed to it, and I sensed this was fate—the mushroom would awaken me. I felt calm, at peace, the meadow fell away, my conscious mind teetered, it was hard to stay awake. My eyes, the lids of them, could no longer hold themselves up. Instead of touching the mushroom, I leaned on it for support, but the weight in my limbs only got heavier, and I felt sleepier still. Then everything went dark.
Suddenly everything was bright. My entire being was inside the body of the mushroom; it was alive and conscious. It wanted to play and be friends, but I had no hands to play with anymore, and I had no feet to run with, and I had no breath to push out of my lungs with. My soul poured through the mushroom’s membrane, felt its way through the gills, into the fireflies themselves. I could be inside hundreds of them at once, their minds all synchronized to mine. We launched away from the mushroom together, flying as a mass, spreading light. I saw the outline of my body, now nearly completely enveloped by the mushroom’s bulbous stem. The ever growing mushroom, its size now that of a large tree in the forest, glowed brightly. Up above there were thousands of us fireflies, too far to call them back. Maybe they had gotten stuck up there, because they weren’t moving.
I’ll get them, and bring them back.
We fireflies heaved ourselves up, higher and higher. With every push our bulbs grew brighter and lit up the entire meadow. Then, suddenly, before we even reached the others up there in the night, pop!
The raven sat on a power line, its bulging black eyes in stark contrast to the hot summer sun. The ground was sweltering, the sound of a car in the distance humming and growing loudly as it closed in on the lone bird in the deserted desert. All the bugs, hidden, waiting, beating the heat. Any oasis? Not for miles. The raven wavered, thirsty. Was there something, somewhere to drink?
The car’s motor, now audible, beats spilling from the windows onto static air, loud hip-hop—icee nestled in the cup holder, melting. The raven’s round black eyes saw nothing of the icy treat. If his beak could grimace, it would have; instead the raven daydreamed.
If my eyes were lasers I’d blast the world to bits, I’d smash things with my mind, I’d bath in the blood of a thousand worms, I’d eaten in delight. My caw would ring loudest in the valley, and all other birds would listen. I, the mightiest of the mightiest ravens in the world, deserves no less.
Another car began to hum in the distance, but this time the bird was more aware of a dissonant sound. The car was zig-zagging a bit on the road, as if it could not control itself.
Perhaps the car is injured, and that’s why it doesn’t want to move in the correct, direct ways it usually does.
The car’s tires bumped up and down along the hot asphalt surface, deflated and making an ever louder clanking sound as metal hit pavement, over and over and over. The driver was nonplussed in his car, frustrated. He gripped the steering wheel with just a bit more force than necessary. Inside the car was a wall of sound emanating from the engine, through the air vents, and directly into the car. A sputtering, over exhausted engine, had seen better days. The raven saw the car slow directly underneath him, he pooped on it, flew away and daydreamed.
It sheds a sweet saccarin tear,
to its own mortality.
Purple white petals rotting,
pollen fallen on dead wood.
To procreate here,
between heaven and hell
would be folly for any flower.
Marcus and I working our butts off trying to get production off the ground
Beats and notecards for the script
On the set Day 34
Cell phone scene 6
White Cyc with Daedae
The night of the tower, the most difficult shoot day — The next morning I got married
In the trap with Niquana and Juice
Painting the trap
Tagging the trap
“Don’t dis-empower me!” – P.G.
Shooting the first and only true trick shot of the film
Addie’s House with Jonathan
Addie’s House Exterior
Getting the musical score prepped
Inside the booth
Seth getting it done
The girls belting it out for Welcome to ACS
Addie takes a break to learn guitar
DaeDae + Ebonee
Seth writing some music on the fly
Niquana and I brainstorming early in the morning
Rob is sorry
Gilbert looking a little bizarrely
Elizabeth accepting apologies
Rad is sorry
Eva’s Drawing of Bits, Paul, and I
Nini and DaeDae
Nini needs a coffee – it’s 5pm and she’s crashing
Gabby playing around
At the park with T and Crew for a master class on acting
Master Class on Acting Part II
Bits and Claribelle sharing a scene
Taylor looking out from our Honeymoon spot Rosa Muerta
Rosa Muerta heart visible
Cactus near our honeymoon home
Taylor and I at the airport
Us Engaged at the MoMA
In love at the MoMA
Taylor’s hand just after she said ‘yes!’
Taylor and I at New Year 2011
I had a dream last Friday that has had me thinking. It was one of those incredibly visceral dreams that feels so very real it was nearly impossible to discern whether I was asleep when I awoke. So riddle me this:
I was in a field of sand walking with somebody at my side. In front of me was a kid running towards a grassy hill in the distance. He was beckoning me to come with him. The guy by my side looks over at as we walk and says, “Watch ~ as soon as he gets to the grass he’s going to disappear”. The kid runs all the way to the grass and sure enough disappears.
The guy looks at me with vacant eyes and asks, “Are we dead?”.
I look at where the boy ran; there are no footprints in the sand. I look down at my own feet and see footprints trailing behind me.
So I tell him, “I’m making footprints in the sand”.
He says to me, “That’s only because you noticed”.
Then I woke up.
My lady friend woke up beside me with a start this morning. This is the dream she had.
You and I were spies. Someone found out about us, and we scared for our lives. They came to our home, and nearly caught us, but we escaped out the back. We ran as fast as we could, and ended up in front of a house with a little red car. I went behind the house to distract the owners while you stole the car. You couldn’t stay, and I climbed over the fence to get away.
Days later we were at a crowded place, and we spotted one another. We were so excited to see each other, but couldn’t act that way because we were still being watched. So when no one was looking we held hands just for a moment.
I was excited to be quoted in a press release from Adobe celebrating 20 years of service to its community.
The quote is as follows:
“I don’t know what I would do without Photoshop and the flexibility it allows me to have in creating motion graphics for my projects. Congratulations on 20 years of impeccable service to us, the artists, who thrive using the software.”
~ Juan Carlos Pineiro Escoriaza, Pure West Films
I was alongside a few other incredible companies I admire and was honored to be included with.
“Congratulations on two decades of empowering creators to create. To this day, Photoshop is as relevant and essential to our success as any tool in our arsenal.”
~ Rich Lent, chief executive officer, AgencyNet
“At Big Spaceship, we’ve spent countless hours, weeks, months and years working inside of Photoshop; now almost a decade. What amazes me is that even the most seasoned pros are still learning, every day. It’s boundless. And that empowers us to innovate. Though I lived in one, I can no longer imagine a world without Photoshop. Its impact has literally changed the way we see the world.”
~ Michael Lebowitz, founder & chief executive officer, Big Spaceship
Today my broke friend wakes up and is walking to the subway when dollar bills start to float by him. Someone is running down the street grabbing the dollar bills. He notices that other people are in pursuit of the floating cash as well, and yet makes no attempt to get it. Finally it sets in that nobody is claiming the money, and that his broke ass should make a run for it. He sees a dollar bill lying farther away from the people who have continued to run down the street and takes it. He thinks, “Well I might as well use this dollar bill on a lottery ticket since it’s free.” He walks into the deli, and picks up a $1 scratch off. He takes a penny and scratches away to reveal it is not a winner. He thinks to himself, “Yup. I spend it on the dream of making more and then it fails.”