Right now it’s 3:33 A.M. and I’m so tired that my eyes are closed as I type this, but I need to write about how I feel before the opportunity escapes me and I no longer feel it so vividly. And I feel full of life, baby!
Here’s a quick synopsis of my day: Wake up at 7:45 A.M. Briefly, I’m bewildered as to why my alarm is going off that early on a Sunday morning. Then I remember–Good Morning America. Yesterday afternoon, my friend Melissa and I were walking back onto campus from Nassau Street when a girl about our age stopped us. “Would you guys like to answer a couple questions?” She asked. Before we could respond in the negative, she added, “It’s for Good Morning America!” Without even hesitating, Melissa responded, “uh, YEAH!” while punching both hands in the air in surprise and excitement. I had my reservations, but quickly got over them–why not? They interviewed us one at a time (though personally I think we would’ve made a pretty good double act as well) and asked us about the now notorious open letter from Susan A. Patton ’77 urging Princeton women to be on the lookout for a husband. The questions I can remember (I was pretty nervous/sweaty) were: “Did you read the article?” “What did you think?” “How would you describe the dating scene at Princeton? Is it competitive?” “Would you want to get married now?” “Do you have your eye on anyone on campus?” We gave answers running the gamut from criticizing elitism to hollerin’ at Seth MacFarlane, but, I guess the producers of Good Morning didn’t think America was ready for this jelly. I genuinely thought the GMA feature would just be Melissa and my entire interviews…but, in reality, I was on-screen for about six seconds and Melissa’s interview was left, as her mom put it, on the cutting room floor.
I took care of some errands, one of which included the quest for a camcorder and tripod for today’s video shoot. Thanks to some kind people who were willing to go out of their way, I was successful! So at 4:30, I met with my friend Caroline to shoot a video for a new song off of her second folk music album. In came four other familiar faces with a banjo, an upright bass, and two knockout sets of vocal chords. About an hour an a half later, not even, we were done.
Fast forward to 1:30 A.M. I had been sitting in the same chair in front of a computer for the past six hours and had gotten up only twice. I hadn’t drunk water since 7 because I forgot. And I was, no joke, LOVING IT. There’s something cathartic and mesmerizing about film editing that I absolutely love. The steps are simple, but you’re still problem-solving and making creative choices with every cut you make, and you’re making something. It’s almost like cooking or baking, but instead of divvying your finished product up into servings that only a finite number of people can enjoy a finite number of times, there’s no limit to the number of people who can enjoy what you’ve made. I guess that’s what music is too. Wait–does that apply for every art form? HA! Anyways, until tonight, I hadn’t really experienced making a movie other than under somewhat stressful circumstances like group projects. I’ve had help making films I was really proud of, like the one I made of a conversation I had with a Maasai girl and the senior farewell video, but I had never really made something where I did all the filming and editing by myself and had five such talented subjects who knew how to work the camera.
Am I talking about my video as if it’s about to hit Sundance? I don’t know because I’m too tired to tell, but I don’t care. I don’t know if my video is objectively good and I don’t know what standard against which to measure it. That’s not what matters, though. I love this video and it’s because I saw what went into it–from the songwriting, to the logistics of the shoot, to the performance, to the editing, to the compressing of the file. I think, out of the six of us total, only Jake (banjo) knew Noah (bass) before everyone came together to perform a song that was new or recently learned by most of the group. Mark and I had never met before, but our shared enthusiasm about this project had us texting (it’s the digital age, give me a break) and collaborating on the video like old pals in no time. And look at how wonderfully it came together.
Too often I find myself wondering if what I do and what I put out there is “good.” Good for who, though? The professor who reads my paper? The people who look at my outfit? The followers who read my Tweets? I made the “Secrets” video because I wanted to film, because I wanted to support a friend, and because I believed in it. I certainly do hope it’s good in the sense that it portrays Caroline’s song well and her listeners enjoy it. But I already know it was “good” for me in a way that someone who loves baking or cooking might understand. You can give away all the cookies or pot pies or whatever you make and never taste a single one, because you followed the recipe, made it your own, worked hard, enjoyed it, and accomplished what you set out to. If people like them, all the better. If not, doesn’t matter. You know they’re good.
LINK to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=sXtaZ1aMY80