Before it Disappears.. Our 2014


There’s one more thing left to do before I put a wrap to my latest Our 2014 collaboration. I have  one last post on the process to compose and that’s been a challenge in itself.  This is my third draft and I’m hoping to sit right here, at our kitchen table, while it’s still dark outside to get it done.  So here I go!

First, thanks to all my collaborators who were willing to take time out of their busy pre-holiday season to search through their photos for this year, to select 1-2-3-4-5-… for images that captured the year and then label them for me. What a wonderful variety of heartfelt stories to showcase!!! I hope I did justice to each voice.

At first contributions came in slowly,  I waited a few weeks before I started putting out reminders.  My email bin started filling steadily, but the biggest flood came in the last week, when vacation began, post-Christmas was the final burst and by then I was already organizing, listing the group and I had more than I thought, some many that I wondered if one song would cover everyone respectfully .  Just in case, I found a second song from James Taylor.  Another all-time favorite, Walkin’ my Baby Back Home, a nice companion to Stand By Me and another tune that was non-traditional.

I opened my Final Cut software and started reconnecting with my old friend.  I’m always rusty to start and I took a break to visit my local Apple store for a one-on-one with my FC guru.  I was interested in new generators, holiday titling, new masks- He suggested a 3rd party plug in that looked good and I bought a few of their packages.  Not sure it was worth it because as I moved around FC effects etc.  I found new options offered by Apple and used some of them even more.

It was time consuming getting used to the program again.  It took me time to get a flow going and I sat with my computer for probably 4 days working with the images, the captions, the music, effects, editing.  Tuvia was a good excuse to walk away for showers, food, exercise, movie breaks.  Without the breaks, I might have made big messes for myself.  Even when I thought about working beyond 1am, I stopped myself, knowing it would be counterproductive.  Editing is still a slow process, fun, really.  In fact I miss that process now.  Tuvia doesn’t.  When your in that process you’re always distracted, thinking about what you’ve done and what you have left.

I love being inside a piece, don’t you?

Finally, 48 hours ago I had a new video piece ready to drop on the world.  It had passed the Tuvia test:for the 6 minutes, the two songs, the 43 stories of 2014,  his eyes didn’t move away from the screen; he didn’t look down at his watch.  And when it was over, even though I know he didn’t read all the captions, he turned to me with a smile and said” Excellent!! Really excellent!”  Next to me, he had lived through the creative process just living with me, a distracted me and even though he probably resented my time away from him, he watched the final product, open to it.

Excellent.  I needed that excellent.

Thirty minutes later, when it was published first,  unlisted on You Tube, I sent the link to Tara  Smith for her thoughts.  Minutes later,”Loved it!  Moving!  I watched it once, all the way through and then I went back to it and digested each story.”

Each story, yes! I was breathing calmly. I needed that too.

After my process of living with this piece for the last month I was letting it go. I composed a short email to my wonderful group of contributors and I put it aside, waiting, if I could for midnight, 2015.  Romantic!  For Sharing 2013 I had tried waiting for midnight but I couldn’t but maybe this year.

By 4:30, I knew I couldn’t wait. I had to put it out there.

Click…Public status of YouTube and off the email went with a swoosh!  Seconds later it was up on Facebook and Twitter and by 4:30 I had  immidiate responses from Nancy Letts., Robert  , Joseph McCaleb etc.

Kim Douillard and Margaret Simon. who used their comfort with and support for this digital project, getting it out to their communities by retweeting and sharing the piece on FB and Twitter.  Wow!

25 views, 40… 70… 80

Publishing, audience… we have come so far from the days of the mimeograph machine.

So yes, it will be good to break myself away from a steady diet of strong coffee and get to wash my pjs that I’ve been living in for the last week, but I will miss this piece and look forward to a 2015 wrap up.

Thanks again, everyone.

Sharing 2013 and Why Bother?

A few weeks ago, I started working on a digital piece for the new year. I’ve created pieces to ring in the new year before and even though I have lots of other things to work on, I left them all. It’s been a rich year for me, a year that’s ending better than I thought it might and I started pulling photos from my Aperture/IPhoto libraries. I had a perfect tune to use, that Ive been dying to work with. I even started dropping photos onto a fresh FINAL CUT Timeline but probably during an early morning shower I reconsidered, remembering how much I loved creating a community piece,” This is What Love Looks Like.

Turnaround time:

I put out a call on Facebook, through email, Twitter and the iAnthology. Kevin jumped to help and immediately retweeted my call and the photos started arriving in my email box and on Facebook. Without realizing how many contributors I already had, I put out a second call and even more wonderful images arrived. Many came from friends who had joined in on other projects, friends I’ve been working with over time and happily some new friends as well. Some sent me one image, some two, some more. I started to organize everything in folders and began keeping a separate list of names… wow, 50 in no time.

Of course I had to procrastinate. I didn’t open Final Cut until I gave myself a deadline: New Year’s Eve- day… Okay. As often as I’ve used Final Cut for projects with every break, I approach the click to a project gingerly. Good thing I always had my song to get me going- “Auld Lang Syne”, a gorgeous version used in the “Sex & the City” movie sung by an Irish singer, Maire Campbell.

I began to play with the pictures and realized I needed context for each page of this piece. A title, a caption, even a short piece of inspired writing… I put out the call and quickly, most everyone responded. I spent time getting to know each image and given the speed of movement, I often had to edit the text. Brian, I hope you were okay with my revisions to your fabulous response.

I had almost 5 minutes, the length of the song and I worked to showcase each contributor,giving as much time as I could to their images and words. I moved things around, added effects, revised effects, added transitions and durations, to make the movement from page to page, smooth..working with the music… and then I had to add some of my special 2013 moments without making it feel like it was all about me. I hope it doesn’t feel that way.

I love the process. I love being in a piece even if I frustrated. In the middle of this one, Apple put out an small update and how stupid, I couldn’t wait. Things were moved around and I had to take away time to figure out what I needed that I wasn’t seeing. I kept moving without a need to ask for Apple tech support. I’m always happy when I can figure things out for myself, even though I do need to thank Maresk for his suggestions- I started playing with generators- that blue background.

And with a long last night of work, the next morning, after Tuvia took a look, and gave his thumbs up I was ready to wait until New Year’s Eve to post it. But after an afternoon at the movies, I was home and creating a version on You Tube and posting.

It’s been great to watch the number of hits grow at the You Tube channel and the wonderful comments fill my Facebook page and email account.

I loved this piece. I still love the music and I still love watching the piece when the moment hits me.

At this moment, Final Cut and I are one. Seems like a perfect time to keep working on the next piece. right?