educated by tv: “That Sucks.” (Lesson from Parks & Rec)


TV Episode: Parks and Recreation S6E11: “Farmer’s Market
GIFs from,

Once my brother booked a flight across the country to visit a friend. Later, he found out that his friend “suddenly” had to leave town the same week my brother was visiting… but the plane tickets were paid for.

As my brother shared this to my family, I immediately went into solution mode.

Bro, you got two choices: pay the cancellation fee, OR go anyways and enjoy the vacation without your friend. 

My brother hated my response… you’re not helping. please stop talking.

I was confused. Why??? I’m just trying to help.

I didn’t realize that I was being a terrible little brother. I was minimizing my brother’s dilemma. Not only that, I was making it so that his frustrations weren’t worth it. I was saying move on... in the most pompous, arrogant way.

My brother is a grown man in his late 20s, and I was just a college kid. Of course he knew all the solutions I was spitting out. He’s not dumb. In fact, he’s travelled 10x more than me. However, he was lamenting a bad situation that he had just encountered.

My best answer as a little brother and best friend should have been: “Bro, that really sucks.”

(in the end, my brother’s friend was actually there during his visit, so things worked out)

We can see this in Parks and Recreation too. In S6E12, Ann & Chris are having a baby, and Ann is going through all the pregnancy yucky-yucks.

As Ann complains about the difficulties of pregnancy, Chris shoves flaxseed milk, advice from, breast pumps, and other things in her face, and says “Everything is amazing. Today is perfect, and I love you.”



Chris responds to everything Ann is complaining about by providing his own solutions to them. Worse, he says that everything is amazing and today is perfect – totally disregarding her feelings. He makes it about him, not her.

Thankfully, Ron, Tom & Donna come in for the rescue:

Ron Swanson: You’ve fallen into a classic trap, Christopher: trying to fix a woman’s problems instead of just listening to what they are!
Tom Haverford: Hey man, if Ann needs Tylenol, she can get it herself. What she needs from you is to just look her in the eyes, nod your head, and say those two magic words.
Donna Meagle: That sucks.
Chris Traeger: That sucks?
Tom Haverford: I’ve spent my entire life reading instructional books about relationships in order to trick women into liking me. When Ann tells you what’s bothering her, don’t try to fix it. Just say, “Damn, that sucks.”

Long story short, they’re right. Ann loves that Chris always wants to help, but that’s not what she needed in this situation.


So next time someone close to you approaches you and shares about a tough situation, what’s your response? You may want to help fix everything for him or her, but maybe they just want you to listen and say to simple words: “that sucks”.

Event Promo Video: Christian Education Day

April, 2018
Software used: Final Cut Pro X

My good friend Alex recently took on the task of promoting an event at our church. Our goal was simply to overuse the phrase “Christian Education Day” and exaggerate it with humor. We did this by parodying a bunch of TV shows, including “Wheel of Fortune,” “Man vs. Wild,” and others. Again, lots of green screen work!

Hope you enjoy!

Note: used free After Effects Template by for text message animations.



Senior Grad (Inspired by Key and Peele) (+ TUTORIAL!)

May, 2017
Software used: Final Cut Pro X.

The video for day 2 is a fun project I worked on for college fellowships graduating class. It’s inspired by Key and Peele’s East/West Bowl video, from Comedy Central. I had a lot of fun making this, so I decided to write a quick tutorial from my experience below:


  1. Add a background loop:
    • you can use this link, or just find one on YouTube somewhere.
  2. Set up a green screen AND
    • take a video of subject saying “[First Name] [Nickname] [Last Name], [Area of Study].”
      • *** I highly suggest using a tripod when shooting this video. Any camera shake can make the green screen video footage look very off ***
      • ***Also, avoid my mistake and iron/steam the green screen, it makes life much easier during editing***
      • My two cents: film better, save time editing later.
    • take a still photo of a goofy pose
  3. So the green screen “chroma key” is where it’s important because video editing programs can take care of pretty much the rest. I’ll let pros do the teaching, here are two helpful links:
    1. Adobe Premiere Pro: (source: Larry Jordan)
    2. Final Cut Pro X (which I use): (source: Macworld)
  4. At this point, once you figure out how to get rid of the green background correctly, it’s just basic stitching together.
    • A. Base layer: background video
    • B. Still photo layer: add some opacity (transparency) and place on one side
    • C. Video layer: place on other side
    • D. Text: add a sports “lower third” text
  5. Result:
    Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 6.53.10 PM.png

    • ***As you can see, the green screen editing wasn’t PERFECT on this one, mostly because of uneven lighting during camera and the wrinkled green screen. However, thankfully, the video goes so quickly it’s not too noticeable. PLUS, this was just a non-professional video for my fellowship graduating class!***

Anyway, that’s a quick run-though of my process when making this video last year. It was really fun, and I’m very proud of the result. But most importantly, I was able to use the this opportunity to spend with each individual shown in the video while filming. Plus, I’ll always be able to look back at this video and bask in the nostalgia.

Creating video with friends is always a fun thing to do, especially when my mindset has been to enjoy spending time with them. That was the same for my bloom of portrait photography during my time at Rutgers.

Feel free to ask my any questions regarding how I did this. Thanks for reading!

***featuring my CCF graduating class of 2017; special shoutout to Jon in the tutorial and Alex in the thumbnail, and Jas in the intro sports commentator scene. ***

Avengers Infinity War Parody – Parent’s Appreciation

May, 2018
Software used: After Effects, Audacity, Final Cut Pro X, 

I’ve had the privilege of being a youth group counselor for the last 4 years- since sophomore year of college. Every year, we’ve had a Parents Appreciation Night, and it’s so fun being creative with these middle school students. This year, with the help and permission from these students and their parents, I put this fake trailer together. Time was short, and we only had like two short filming sessions (about 30 min each).

A huge thank you to Film Learnin on YouTube for free After Effects & Cinema 4D templates and tutorials. Please check out

Matthew Lau Video Collection

Software/Equipment: Sony A7II Video, After Effects, Final Cut Pro X, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Green Screen

I’ve created quite a few videos during my free time the past few years, often as a volunteer for my church. I film/create them on my own time, but it’s created a portfolio I’m proud of, and has given me a lot of experience working with After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Final Cut Pro X. Below are videos I am the most proud of in addition to links to blog posts that tell a little more about each video’s story.

1: VBS Nine-Nine (inspired by Brooklyn Nine-Nine) <– Link to Blog Post
August, 2018 – Premiere Pro, After Effects

2: VBS Montana (inspired by Hannah Montana) <– Link to Blog Post
August, 2018 – Premiere Pro, After Effects

3: Avengers Infinity War Parody – Parent’s Appreciation <— Link to Blog Post
May, 2018 – After Effects, Final Cut Pro X

4: SR. Grad (inspired by Key and Peele) + TUTORIAL! <— Link to Blog Post
April, 2017 – Final Cut Pro X

5: Event Promo Video: Christian Education Day <— Link to Blog Post
April, 2018 – Final Cut Pro X

6: Church Promo Video #2 <– BLOG POST Coming soon!

Please enjoy 🙂

News 12 New Jersey

Some of the most exciting moments of my career so far has taken place while working as a graphic artist for the local news network: News 12 New Jersey. I was assigned to create on-air graphics & animated maps for live newscasts during various on-call shifts, either 4:00am – 1:00pm, or 2:00pm – 11:00pm. Working for a live television news channel meant always being prepared to do things last-minute. A director or producer could request something at any time.

Please check out a small sample of my work, made for and broadcast on live TV, below. 

Fullscreen Monitors

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Bullet Points

I was requested by a producer to create a package of graphics that showed the official FBI document (scanned) in the background. I took inspiration from how John Oliver’s graphic team shows quotes over his shoulder during his comedy show, “Last Week Tonight” on HBO.

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inspiration from “Last Week Tonight” on HBO

VBS Logo Design


Every year, our church has a large Vacation Bible School event that has over 200 kids in attendance. This year, we are making our own theme and material, so I designed this logo and banner below.

VBS18 Website Banner (rccc org) new font.png

Easter egg: the large cross in the logo is an homage to the steeple at our church (pictured below).

This logo above is designed with our church’s steeple, pictured here, in mind.

Event Poster (Cup Noodle Font Recreation)


This is a poster I made for a youth camping trip at my church. The kids have a tradition of eating lots of ramen cup noodles at this annual trip, so I decided to make this graphic for this year’s event promotion.

Doing some research on Nissin’s Cup Noodle’s font, I found that it is a version of Windsor. So, taking Windsor and the few letters in “Cup Noodle” that are in “JH Camping”, I recreated the look to the best of my ability.

FitKit Packaging

by Matthew Lau

During this past winter I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer Doughmain Financial Literacy Foundation, a non profit that creates curriculums and programs to give high schoolers financial education. Their curriculum, called the “FitKit”, consisted of 16+ spiral-bound notebooks and I was tasked with the job of designing a package for it. Below is my design: a roll end box with locking cover as well as a magazine holder inside.

FitKit Box LayoutFitKit Magazine Holder