Octicorn in the Portland Mercury

“Former Wieden+Kennedy ad man and current freelance filmmaker Justin Lowe can’t seem to stop scrawling a four-legged octopus with a nervous expression and a party hat(?) unicorn horn. Now he’s even co-created a kids’ book, Hello, My Name is Octicorn, about the high-strung hybrid’s struggle to fit into the world.”

From this week’s Portland Mercury. Full article here.

“Hello, My Name Is Octicorn” was written by Kevin Diller and crowd funded on Kickstarter.

Photo by Randall Garcia.

What We Can All Learn from Grover

The last two times I have logged on to LinkedIn, I’ve seen business insight articles like What We Can All Learn From Matthew McConaughey and The Ryan Gosling Story That Will Change The Way You Talk About Your Business popping up in the news feed.

It has made me question if I should still log into LinkedIn, or if I should just try my hand at writing one of these types of articles myself. So here goes nothing:

What We Can All Learn from Grover

By Justin Lowe, skeptical LinkedIn user
Edited by Susan Nelson


You might think you know Grover, but the real Grover started back on the Ed Sullivan Show in the late 60s. The original Grover may have been a prototype with a raspier voice and different colored fur, but I mention him to make a point—you don’t become Grover overnight.

Grover is a puppet over 40 years in the making—and he’s still evolving.

But the world is not as simple as it was in the early 70s when Grover started becoming his true self. We live in a world where Starbucks can produce a decent copy of coffee in less than a minute, a plane can take us to another country in a matter of hours, and at any moment you can look at your smart phone to read the latest thoughts from Alec Baldwin.




Now while enduring a dull day at the office, we can pull out our smart phone and see Instagram shots of a friend enjoying a fantasy vacation. We might simply like the photo and be happy for our friends. But it also might make us wish we were there. It might make us want the reward without putting the work in.

It can’t be a good thing that after a long day’s work we can come home to our work-in-progress houses and watch a television show in which a dilapidated house is completely remodeled over the course of a 30-minute episode.

You see, Grover wasn’t built in a day. Grover became Grover by employing two tools that are some of the most powerful in our tool box. Need a hint? They both start with the letter P.

No, not puppet (ha ha ha). I’m talking about patience and persistence.

We have to remember that we are prototypes. Our jobs are prototypes. Even our houses are prototypes. Right now they might have raspy voices and brown colored fur, but eventually, if we keep at it, they’ll become amazing blue Grovers with fuzzy pink noses.

Which is why I bring up another word that starts with the letter P. Perfect.

We want our jobs, houses, bodies, lives to be perfect. But Grover is not perfect. Remember when Grover had to take a series of customer service jobs to make ends meet? Me neither. But I went to Grover’s wikipedia page and it’s all there:

And of course, see Sesame Street predict the state of Regal Cinemas here:

Not only did Grover work at jobs he may not have been proud of, but he wasn’t even very good at them. Did that stop Grover from becoming the Grover we know today? I don’t think so. Becoming a better version of yourself “takes as long as it takes.”

But wait, what about Super Grover? Does that mean I have to wait even longer to become the semi secret super hero version of myself?


You don’t become Super Grover by “waiting.”

Until you learn patience, you will not progress (another P!). There is no progress without patience. Case in point – it’s 2014 and we still don’t have flying cars.

Patience means having the capacity to accept or tolerate delay. It means enjoying the road trip instead of asking, “Are we there yet?”

Now let’s do a quick math equation:
Patience + Persistence = Progress.

Think of life as a marathon rather than a sprint. You have to save a little energy for the last lap. Don’t race time, thinking it will lead to progress. The truly enlightened make time their friend instead of their enemy.

One way to be persistent is to just do a little bit at a time. I used to set out to clean my entire house in one afternoon, but after several hours, I would find my house looking worse than when I started. This happened because I bit off more than I could chew. But then I learned to take on one room at a time. Say you set out to clean the bathroom, rather than the whole house, and then you take on another room after you finish the bathroom. If you go room by room like that, you’ll end up cleaning the whole house without getting overwhelmed.

But I want everything to be perfect!

Then you might as well crawl into your grave now. Perfect is what we see in magazines, in movies, and on TV screens. Perfect isn’t reality. It’s a fantasy.

Throw out the word perfect.

Embrace patience and persistence and replace perfect with progress.

Now you’re on your way.

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Window Shopping

Window Shopping

The created-in-Portland octicorn now has his first window display at the St John’s Booksellers.

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“Hello, My Name Is Octicorn” on the shelf at Powell’s City of Books!

Fun to see Octicorn on the shelf at Powell’s earlier today.

Even better to notice that it’s a Staff Pick:


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Post-Oscars thoughts on the films of 2013

As if, the movies themselves got tired of all the superhero crap and reboots, 2013 was the year movies went insane. Gravity took us up to space and then let all hell break loose, James Franco rocked a grill and corn rows and lead a posse of teenage Disney stars in neon bikinis, carrying weapons, through a mad fever dream of a movie (though I use that term loosely), Matthew McConaughey raised his game and morphed into Christian Bale ala The Machinist, and Martin Scorsese showed he has more energy then most students coming out of film school right now.

There were quiet films too. Subtle. I found Enough Said moving, a nice way to send off Mr. Gandolfini. Nebraska, was slow as molasses, but stuck with me after the credits rolled. Good job Bruce Dern!

David O Russell continues to earn the spot of my favorite director with American Hustle, which follows The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook.

And then there were powerful and important films like 12 Years A Slave and Fruitvale Station that brought tears to my eyes. What a great year for movies.

Only complaint- why not have one of these great films come out every month, so we don’t have to wait until December 25th, 2014 to see 10 more great ones?    (Although I’ve already seen one of 2014′s best, and it surprisingly involves Legos.)

Answer:  THE OSCARS.

But Hollywood should take note. More and more people are staying home to watch movies, or TV shows – and some of these shows are much better then what Hollywood is producing.

Give us new experiences- like Gravity. Don’t go make Gravity 2. Give a great filmmaker 10 million dollars, and watch him/her turn it into 100 million for you.

Unfortunately, that’s not enough money for the studios who now want to spend 200 million to make a billion.

Anyways, I’m glad to see the Scorsese’s and the David O’Russell’s, and the Nicole Holofcener’s and brand new voices giving us something to watch other then reboots of movies based on comic books.


the year in review

In 2013, I left my job as a full-time video editor for Wieden+Kennedy and Joint, directed my first television campaign in Bend, shot a video for the Portland Timbers, and launched a children’s book that celebrates originality (read the Paste Magazine review and pre-order a copy of the 2nd printing here).

But I’m going to be honest. I didn’t exercise enough.

Happy New Year!

Behind the Scenes

With the Bend BroadBand What We Share TV campaign I directed for TBD now airing on television in Central Oregon, I thought it might be fun to share the Behind the Scenes of how they were made. A whole lot of talented people from Bend we’re involved in the production, and making these spots was quite challenging. It was a five day shoot, involving 16 locations, non-actors (including children and adults), a small helicopter, a bubble artist and 20 gallons of soap.

I’m sure I’m leaving something out but it’s probably in the video! Enjoy.

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All of the bubbles in this commercial are real

One of the commercials I directed for TBD (Branding Agency in Bend) this fall.

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I’ve returned from Bend, Oregon where I directed a series of innovative TV commercials for TBD Advertising shot in 4k.

I look forward to sharing the work here when it is completed.



Check out this new Portland, Oregon band, Hawks Do Not Share. Listen here.

“I can only see good things to come from this young band. The writing is above average, they never overdo it and are meticulous when it comes to creating aesthetically inventive waves of sound.” – Matt Jensen, The Equal Ground

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