Clif Lord

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Clif Lord and I’m a content creator. Principally I am a writer and director of narrative feature films and documentaries. 

What is one habit of yours that helps you be productive?

I make lists. Lists make tasks concrete. You can organize and prioritize with much greater ease if you lay out what it is you need to do.

What is your morning routine and how does it help you get the most out of your day?

I wake up at 6:30, make tea, read the paper and work out for half an hour. I don’t know if it helps me get the most out of my day, but I like it.

In the last few years, what lifestyle, habit or behavior change has had the biggest positive impact on your life?

Many years of doing what I do has made it easier for me to define my goals and the intentions of whatever project it is I’m working on. In this sense, I would say steady practice yields results over time.

When you feel unfocused, what do you do?

I make a list.

What is one piece of software or a web service that you get immense value out of? How do you use it?

In order to be a filmmaker in this age, you need to master at least one professional grade editing software. I currently use Premiere Pro because it dovetails with After Effects and Photoshop.

What is the one book you recommend most often and why?

Lolita, by Nabokov. It’s a brilliant novel by one of the finest writers to ever put pen to paper. Nothing practical to learn here unless you’re a pedophile, but one should always take time to smell the roses (appreciate aesthetic beauty for its own sake).

What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?

The best advice I can give is probably also the hardest to understand from the perspective of youth. There are many things to reach for in this world and you only have so much time. If you can be truly honest with yourself and define what you think your principle need is, that core fundamental that will bring you both joy and meaning, use that as a guide to make all other decisions. The catch is that being young, it’s hard, if not impossible, to know what is truly meaningful to oneself because you lack the experience and life lessons that throw this into relief. It is one of those things only time can teach. But, if you have a deep sense of your core values, this is what I would use to guide all my decisions.

What is your favorite quote, one you aim to live by?

“The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death — however mutable man may be able to make them — our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.” – Stanley Kubrick