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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Why Acting Like A County Singing Envelope Was One of the Best Creative Experiences of My Life

Our Fancy 1st Place Trophy for the 2005  24-Hour Video Race
Back in 2005 I took part in The 24-Hour Video Race sponsored by The Video Association of Dallas. My part, specifically, ended up being to dress in a foam rubber envelope suit and sing a really silly country song in a mailbox, and who hasn't wanted to do that before? We won first place that year and the experience remains one of the most fun, creatively satisfying 24 hour periods of my life. (I now understand why - which I'll share later.) As the VAD celebrates the 10th year of the race, they've chosen the top ten best videos from past races, and ours, "Lick It & Stick It" ranked #4.

The experience was exhilerating, crazy, fun, challenging, creatively fulfilling and our team was comprised of some of my favorite friends and family in the world! Plus, we got all the free Red Bull we could drink, which wasn't essential, but a nice bonus given the circumstances.

And, here were the circumstances – we had just 24 hours to concept, write, shoot and edit a video using the following criteria:

Theme:  First Class
Prop:  Quick Newspaper
Location:  Mailbox
Line of Dialogue: I thought that was fixed a long time ago.

Given this criteria at midnight, we then began our endeavor by sitting around the kitchen table drinking Red Bull (and, admittedly a beer or three) and brainstorming. I wish I had the video footage of that! Given the fact that we're an opinionated lot with strong personalities (and wills!) it's a testament to our love for each other that we not only won, but didn't kill each other before doing so. Within a few hours we had developed our concept which actually slammed the other major product sponsor that year – Quick Newspaper.

Then began the real work of shooting the footage and in our case, creating a human-sized envelope costume, green-screen special effects, as well as writing and recording a song. The editing process began the following evening and went right up to the point we had just enough time to drive to the drop-off location and turn in our video about 10 minutes before the midnight deadline. I get a little jazzed just thinking about it all even now!

All these years later, I finally understand why the 24-Hour Video Race is the ideal creative contest! Looking at it through the lens of being a certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach®, I saw the light.

First, you have a short, specific time-frame in which to accomplish your creative task - 24 hours - that's it, not a second more. We creative types are first-class procrastinators, over-thinkers, and let's-try-it-this-way-too-ers – so giving us a 24 hour deadline is genius!

Secondly, we're given a place to begin. By having the location, prop, line of dialogue and theme, we had a jumping off point and didn't have to create out of thin air. It was just enough structure to get us started.

Thirdly, we had the support of working in a group. (And a really funny, intelligent, talented group at that!)

And finally, we all gave ourselves permission to have fun! That was the ultimate goal, not to win, but to have fun creating something that others would have fun watching too. You be the judge - how'd we do?

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