Belle, the canine assistant to Chris Layhe, video editor, film color grading specialist, DP and videographer and CLAi, the San Francisco video production company.

Belle's Rules to Live By

Belle, the crazy Briard puppy, does not receive any financial benefit from passing on her wisdom...

Rule #1.  Everything is better with a nice cup of tea.

Rule #2.  9 to 5 is a state of mind (just not one we’ve ever known).

Rule #3.  Look both ways before you cross the road, but never stop moving forwards.

Rule #4.  Being way out there doesn’t mean you’re lost.

Rule #5.  Everybody needs a good video (and a good video producer), but not everybody needs a video.

Rule #6.  Creative without a reason really isn’t that creative.

Rule #7.  “Formula One” is a race – never a solution.

Rule #8.  All that time you spent on the details will never be appreciated, but that’s okay.

Rule #9.  If daddy buys you an 8k camera, it does not make you a DP or a video producer.

Rule #10.  We can tell you about our projects, but the NDA says we may have to kill you!

Rule #11.  Almost everything is better with a nice cup of tea!

SCALP

CLAi's Rules to Do Business By

Belle is, allegedly, one smart Briard, but at CLAi we like to think that we can still teach a young puppy a trick or two and conduct our business the same way that we try to live our lives:

#1.  Help People

CLAi was built around making lasting differences in ourselves, our work and our communities. Teamwork, partnership, giving back and making a difference are more than just buzzwords to us, they are an integral part of our business culture. Be a helpful and positive resource to our clients, vendors, co-workers and neighbors.

#2.  Live The Story 

No one should ever feel like they have to act like someone they aren’t. In fact, our differences are what bring strength and uniqueness to our organization. Share your points of view with confidence and live your story authentically. The more you know yourself, the more patience and acceptance you have for other people’s points of view. Remain humble and build trust by recognizing and honoring those differences.

#3.  Connect

Genuine, trusting relationships require attentive listening and honest communication. Seek to understand different points of view and be willing to participate in new conversations. Ask for feedback and be open to what you hear. Form broad and diverse networks to empower your work with global perspective and depth; qualities that will be hard to come by if you remain tucked inside safely defined borders.

When creating, empathy is a powerful way to inspire your audience. Ask, listen and observe to know what matters. This will help inform the ideas, images and sounds that move them.

#4.  Play

We will all be happier and more successful when we discover a sense of fun and improvisation in our work. Loosen up and rekindle your kidlike curiosity; play and experiment with new ways of doing things. Try to be a “yes &….” thinker rather than a “yes, but…” one.

Make things you love for the joy of creating. Seek out chances for a little adventure… Remaining flexible, nimble and open-minded allows us to quickly adjust or change our behavior with a positive attitude.

#5.  Take Ownership

You may not be a business owner, but you can own your business. CLAi’s success is a result of each of us asking the question, “how might we….?” then acting on it. Have an investment mindset. Hold yourself and others accountable for what is promised. Discover and create opportunities that will move the company forward and simultaneously strengthen the core.

#6.  Imagine

We aspire to do bold and surprising work. To strive for something better than great, something greater than the best. Sounds lofty, right? It is.

Going big takes courage. Put yourself in unfamiliar settings. Constantly seek new ways to grow and be challenged. Going big means you will screw up at some point too. Just get back up, learn from the mistake and apply it. That’s how we make progress and get better. Celebrate success as a team and be there for one another when we take a fall.

7#.  Give Back

Nobody finds success and happiness in what they do in a vacuum – we all had many individuals, institutions and companies that changed what we do and how we do it, that altered the course we follow and taught us to find joy in it.  (For myself I owe a huge debt to Mr Wilson, my english teacher in Form 3B at the King’s School, Macclesfield who spent hours with me outside of the classroom opening the door to literature and reading, allowing me to move beyond the daily terrors of the North West into other worlds – to name just one person)  Give back to others in any way you can, and pass on a belief in the goodness of our fellow humans.

 

These are great words to live and do business by, and I’d love to say that they are all my own – but a friend sent me them some time ago and they encapsulated so much of what I and CLAi believe that I have adopted and adapted them over time. So a big thank you to whoever wrote them originally… I think that we would get along really well!