Behind The Blog: Community Series

posted in From The Studio

Behind The Blog: Community Series

I’m participating in Sabrina Smelko’s Behind the Blog Feature. 

What is Behind The Blog? A week-long community feature where 2-3 bloggers share completely honest run downs of their typical day.

1) Be honest: What time do you wake up and what’s a typical breakfast?

I usually wake up around 8:15am. I spend a few days a week at a design studio in Milton called Spin Design Solutions. It’s about a 10-minute walk from our place so I’m pretty lucky in terms of wake up time. If I’m working at my home studio, I might stay in bed for an extra half hour looking at my phone.

I typically try to grab a bagel or toast as I’m running out the door. If I don’t have time, I grab a (chocolate chip) muffin (CAKE FOR BREAKFAST!) at the local coffee shop.

2) Do you have a day job? If so, what do you do? How do you find the balance between blogging and work? What are the pros and cons? – If blogging your full-time gig, please explain how that came to be.

Well I guess I have a unique situation here. As I mentioned above, I work part time at a studio usually working on creative strategy and branding. When I’m not at Spin, I’m working on Wild and Light, shooting film projects and photos.

I find the balance of creating content to be difficult, just because of my busy schedule. My aim is not to be a professional blogger, so it is a little harder to commit the kind of time and strategy necessary to make it successful for myself. I have only had a blog on Wild and Light for a few weeks, so I think my plan will evolve quite a bit as time goes on.

I definitely see the value of adding a blog to my business site though. The increased traffic and ability to speak to your audience is so valuable. I think I’m going to step into the vlog world next year, offering tips about shooting and gear. I really want it to come from an amateur angle and help people who just want to get started and shoot at a fairly high quality on a low budget.

3) Where did you grow up (what city/town, do you have siblings, can you share any stories about your upbringing)? And where do you currently reside?

I’m an only child from the beautiful town of Milton, Ontario. When I was a teenager my house was a foster home, so I did have a bunch of little siblings from all different walks of life.

I spent most of my time in Milton playing in bands, and hanging out with friends. I think I had a pretty typical small town experience, walking around at night with hordes of kids and playing in the fields or Milton’s 16 mile creek.

I left in 2010 to live in Jasper, Alberta for a while, and then returned to finish school at U of T. This year I returned to Milton (which has basically tripled in size since I left), and I think I’ll be here for quite a while.

4) Outline your average, typical day. Be as transparent as possible.

I don’t have too many average, typical days, but I guess there are three general days that I typically have.

The first would be admin/business days. I get up and have the most incredible coffee ever – seriously, our coffee maker changes lives. SO good. SO. Good. Sorry, but it’s true. After coffee and a bagel, I usually prep social media, check and respond to emails, and plan out the day. On admin days, I try to schedule errands like bank stuff, buying gear, or checking my equipment. Lately, I’ve also used my admin days to help Sabrina create some content for Hands and Hustle.

When I’m working from home, I don’t really follow a 9 to 5 schedule. Sometimes I work right up until bed, or I just work in bursts throughout the day. I’m not really a morning person, so the flexibility is an amazing thing.

The second kind of day is a shooting day. I guess I could use a recent project as an example. I completed a commercial photo shoot for a property management company, where I photographed 10 properties around the GTA. This took about 7 hours, and I worked straight through until the shooting was done. I don’t like to break up jobs, and I love to work in large chunks to hit targets. If it’s a larger project I usually group days as interview days, b-roll, photo, and main production days.

The third kind of day is at Spin, where I usually walk in at a fashionably late 9:10am and start my day. I typically work on administrative stuff early on like emails and social media, and then we plan out our days. I’m often the office DJ, so Spin might have the coolest music playing in all of Milton—pulling some tunes from Hands and Hustle.

When I’m not working, I’m messing around with recording gear, drawing in my sketchbook, going to yoga/gym, or just walking around town with Sabrina. We recently got a fire pit for our backyard so we have been having friends over for bonfires and backyard hangouts. Everyone we know is getting married as well, so I think I have been to 75 weddings in the past year – do the math.

5) What’s your dream job/career? How are you working towards that?

I would basically love to be like Rick Rubin, for either music or film. Rick is an unreal producer that has worked on almost every amazing album over the past 20-30 years. He’s just this unreal, one-of-a-kind dude that has incredible taste and an amazing vibe. People hire him to help guide their projects and albums. I would love to be able to work on that level of conceptual creative, and just help influence people and collaborate as they make awesome stuff.

6) What would be your dream dinner-party guest-list? Explain why you chose each person.

Rick Rubin – Explination above.

Kayne – Who wouldn’t want to have Dinner with Kanye. That would be one hell of a conversation.

Malcom Gladwell – I love his books and he spends time in Toronto.

The cast of Breaking Bad – Hands down the best show/cast of all time. They seem like the most amazing people in real life too.

Nabil Elderkin – I’ve looked up to him and his work for a long time. I want to pick his brain.

7) What’s one thing you’d like to start, one thing you’d like to stop, and one thing you’d like to continue.

I’d like to start doing a little more woodworking or carving. I have a knife and chisel set, but I never make the time to do it.

I’d like to stop looking at my phone before bed. I’m guilty of looking at it for far too long, and before I know it, I’m missing out on an hour or two of sleep. I want to swap my phone for a good book.

I’d like to continue learning new stuff. I’m always downloading new programs, buying new gear, and just trying to keep up with innovation related to my field. Sometimes innovation means a whole lot of trial and error, and I always love to dive headfirst. I hope I never lose my passion for trying new things and seeking out challenges. I never want to be that old guy bugging young people for TV remote lessons.

8) What’s your current obsession?

Food. All food. Always food. Specifically sushi. I got into sushi within the last couple of years and I can’t get enough.

9) Link to 5 websites/blog you can’t go a week without?




Vimeo – (does that count? I love watching the videos in my feed and the staff picks)

Below is a list of other bloggers involved in this Behind The Blog series and the posting schedule. Be sure to visit them as well–especially on the corresponding days that they’ll be publishing their answers/posts!

Monday September 29th
Sabrina Smelko (yours truly) |
Brittany |

Tuesday September 30th
Brittany |
Kelly |
Shawn Lovering |

Wednesday October 1st
The Party Girl |
Renee |

Thursday October 2nd
Katie Rose |
Hilary Ramsay |

Friday October 3rd
Jordana |
Vanessa/Decor Happy |



  1. Thanks for giving us a behind the scenes look at your day Shawn! Your photography is beautiful and your video work is amazing (I took a little creep through your vimeo account the other day!). Is it too late to add Kanye to my dinner party list?

    • Thanks Britt! I really appreciate the kind words! I’ll let Kanye know that you would like to have dinner as well.

  2. Pingback:Hands and Hustle | A lifestyle blog and creative studio by award-winning illustrator and designer Sabrina Smelko.

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