Weird Science :: Written Posts

How to handle creative plateaus

You’ve been rocking out your prop for weeks or even months. You’ve picked up so many tricks that amaze both you and your friends. You’ve worked hard and have seen so many results from that effort.

But then it all comes to a grinding halt.

Suddenly practice feels like a slog--hard work with little benefit seen. You either can’t find any new tricks you want to learn or those you do seem maddeningly out of reach. Your passion and energy are starting to ebb...it can be only one thing. You’ve hit the dreaded plateau!

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When am I ready to spin fire?

You’ve seen those rock stars out on the burn field, dancing with fire like they were born to it. You’ve gotten ahold of your own tool and you’ve had your first lesson--now the important question: when are you ready to spin fire?

For so many of us, the fire is the hook that draws us in. It is a primal element that makes us stand up and go: Wow, I want to do that! Many of us, when we first light up, want to look like the people who inspired us--spinning effortlessly and beautifully to an adoring crowd.

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Keeping your practice on track with Proxy Goals

“If you want to become a great writer, write every day.”

The origins of this quote are so deeply shrouded in the past for me that I can’t remember where I first heard it. A cursory search suggests that Stephen King may be the source of it, but there’s no way for me to be sure that’s where I first heard it.

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Ghost Trails Part 1: Luminancer

Ghost trails are a great tool for visualizing many of the tricks we play with as flow artists, regardless of the prop. Over the past few years, I've become acquainted with 5 different approaches for creating these trails using video post-production and I'm starting a video series exploring all these options. The first one is the Luminancer app for iOS--a useful app for creating LED or fire trails but one that comes with some pretty severe limitations. See my full video on the topic below:

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MLK Day Flow 2016

My annual tradition returns! Free flowing in Washington, DC's beautiful Dupont Circle park with the fountain behind me as I play around with one-handed flow, dance/poi fusion, and frankly just trying to stay warm! It was 10 degrees out as I spun and the camera kept dying because the batteries wouldn't work in the cold.

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Top 10 Favorite Poi Spinners of 2015 Voting Rundown

When the Top 10 list launched in 2012, it was intended to be a way to celebrate the work of poi spinners all over the world, a method for acknowledging those who'd made an impact in the community. Since then I've come to think of it just as much as a historical document or time capsule of what the poi spinning community was like each year.

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LA Double Style: Collaboration with Casey Houle

Last weekend I was lucky enough to have my path cross a gentleman whose work in the double staff world has been super inspiring to me in the past year. Casey Houle (JaFfi Tech on YouTube) and I ran around LA for a day trading ideas and filming what came out of it. Fun to work with a like mind--check out what we came up with :)

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Profiles in Poi: Zan Moore

Zan Moore is one of the most talented and prolific spinners leading into the social media era of the Flow Arts. He has been a performer, teacher, festival organizer, and driver of ideas and information. In this interview, he shares the stories of his career milestones, how his outlook has changed over the years, and why the flow arts needs dedicated hobbyists.

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Vulcan Tech Gospel (VTG) Explained

Vulcan Tech Gospel is one of the most popular frameworks for understanding prop movement and transitions between tricks. It was created by residents of the Vulcan Lofts in Oakland, CA and has gone on to inspire countless studies, works of art, and even a smart phone app! In an effort to demystify this approach to studying prop movement, I put together this video that includes some awesome computer simulations and visual aids. Please note: this video only just scratches the surface of what's possible!

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Why Teachers will never get a fair wage at Fire Festivals

The flow arts community has seen an explosion in popularity in within the past 5 years and perhaps no metric is more telling of this expansion than the proliferation of festivals devoted to spinning and fire arts. As recently as 5 years ago, there were only 4 options to attend in the United States and this year there were nearly 50. As this aspect of our culture has continued to proliferate, however, it has generated with it a great deal of controversy as to what type of compensation those who contribute to it are entitled to.

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Poi Tutorial: Cateye vs Pendulum

Today's tutorial is on one of the less-performed antibrids, but still a personal favorite of mine: pendulum vs cateye. It's a helpful one to know because it includes transition points to go back and forth between isolation vs cateye, pendulum vs triquetra, and CAP vs pendulum--next week I'll cover the theory behind some of the transitions I use with these moves! 

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Profiles in Poi: Chris Kelly

Profiles in Poi begins its 3rd season with Chris Kelly! Hailing from Eugene, OR, Chris made an explosive debut on the scene a couple years ago by being on the vanguard of the 3 poi and poi juggling movement. Here, he discusses how he entered the flow arts, the genesis of his company and Team Techris, and where he sees the future of the flow arts headed.

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Benchmarks for Poi Content Creators on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram

For the past three years, I've been collecting statistics every six months on the most popular poi channels I'm aware of to gauge interest and overall industry health. Last year, I expanded this survey to include Facebook likes and this year it's expanded to include Instagram followers as well. Overall, the industry picture is good with overall subscribers and views up since the same time last year.

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DrexFactor June Newsletter

Hi friends!

So clearly it's been two months now since I sent my last newsletter out--my apologies, my travels kept me much busier than I had hoped but I will try and be better about staying in touch from here on out! Here's what's new in my world:

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The Truth about Making Money on YouTube

This morning, I’ve seen a whole lot of my friends linking to this article about the amount of money that YouTube stars make. The general consensus has been that many of them are in the wrong line of work and that riches and stardom are simply a clever YouTube channel away.

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DrexFactor is on Patreon!

http://www.patreon.com/drexfactorpoi

Six months ago I started up a little experiment, trying to crowdfund resources from the community to assist me in making my many video projects. Between tech blogs, tutorials, double staff tech blogs and tutorials, Profiles in Poi, The Month in Flow, Slow Mo Monday, and Stop Drop and Spins, I spend a whole lot of my time creating these video projects for the wider world.

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"Frost" - Poi/Dance fusion by Drex

Something a little different...I've had a pretty rough winter and wanted to put it into movement. This is a piece I choreographed back in January.

Sadly, YouTube has become an absolute shit-show if you're using any kind of music at all in your videos, so the original audio for this song was blocked on it. Fortunately, I can put whatever audio I want behind video on my own site, so enjoy! :)

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How we chose this year's FLAME Instructors

For two years now, FLAME Festival has offered a unique experience inside the flow/fire festival world in that we allow our attendees to help us determine our lineup. Last year was our first time trying out this experiment and we learned a lot from doing it--a lot of what worked and a lot of what didn’t work. This year, in an effort to improve upon the system we created last year we set out to take many of those lessons learned and apply them to voting and teacher selection to do our best to assemble the best festival the Southeastern United States has ever seen.

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Tech Poi T-Shirts now available in the DrexFactor store!

These have been a long-time coming! Three years ago, my friend Memory suggested I put some of the poi patterns I'd been creating in my simulators on a t-shirt. At one point, I nearly put one design out but found the printing quality wasn't up to my standards. Then, last month I put out four images that I quite enjoyed on both my Facebook and my Instagram, asking my followers to vote on their favorites.

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Just added! Download all extended Profiles in Poi Interviews from 2014

In the past couple months I've been posting extended versions of my Profiles in Poi interviews through the DrexFactor store. These have included longer versions of the interviews as well as the uncut b-roll of each artist spinning that I edit in to each interview. Today I've added the extras for Justin Warren and Christina Koller, so that each and every interview I did in 2014 is available for download.

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DrexFactor February Newsletter - Learn the basics of poi!

I hope those of you who live in the Northern states have been keeping warm this winter--the cold weather definitely puts a cramp in practicing and rehearsing. With Spring hopefully around the corner, thoughts will be turning toward fire festivals and good times with friends. Here are some highlights of this month as we look to the next!

Poi Spinning Basics on Curious.com

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Drex's Tech Poi Blog at 400!

Two weeks ago marked a very auspicious anniversary for me--I filmed and published my 400th tech blog! When I published my very first tech blog on September 8, 2008, I could scarcely have imagined that six years and some change later that it would have grown into the institution that it has. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that despite offering a host of other content and trying to experiment with the form that my tech blog was and still is the cornerstone of my offerings to the poi world.

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DrexFactor January Newsletter - Find your nearest Flow Festival!

It’s a brand new year and I’m trying to keep better in touch with my customers as well as people in the broader flow community, so I’m launching this monthly newsletter to keep you in the loop on the things I’m working on as well as opportunities to connect with the wider flow arts world. This month I’ve got an exciting new resource, an inspiring interview, and information on which festivals you can find me at.

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Breaking Down the Top 10 of 2014

This year 11 people made the top 10 favorites video due to a tie. I've been asked to put together a comprehensive breakdown of how the votes came out this year as well as comparing them to the votes from last year. So first and foremost, let's see who made the list this year:

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The Partner Poi Companion

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