About a month or so ago, I had an idea pop into my head to ask random strangers some simple questions about Christmas on film. I chose film as a medium because I felt like I wanted to remember their vibe as a person, a specific tone of voice, an expression, or a laugh. I was semi-inspired by a ESL class I work in, where the students had to interview locals about different issues and present it in class.
Life rolled on and other priorities swung into motion, but I still kept the idea in the back of my head. I have this thing where when I get an idea, I have to do it, otherwise it annoys and bothers the heck out of me. When I was younger it was pretty bad because I had a billion projects thought of, maybe started, but few carried out from start to finish. I eventually learned, and am still learning that sometimes, you just gotta pick and choose. Take one simple idea and make it grand, or learn something in the process of doing so. If the what-ifs are too great in your mind, find a way to eliminate or overcome it.
In this case, driven by a desire to make myself highly uncomfortable, improve my videography skills, get answers to my questions, and meet some hopefully cool people–I had to do this project.
It was getting pretty darn close to Christmas, and knowing how long video projects, not to mention wandering around finding strangers to interview can take, I knew that I had to get on it. I got home from class one day, had an extra hour freed up since I didn’t have to go in to work until later, and so in the spur of the moment, I just up and got on the bus to the beach to seek out some peeps to interview.
For the first half hour, I strolled back and forth on the beach, trying not to make eye contact with anyone so I wouldn’t have to ask them. There are not many situations that cause nervousness or awkwardness in me, but for some reason I felt ansty pantsy like a hot potater.
But as life goes, you either drop or hop, so I hopped up and got over my fears and finally walked to the sidewalk where people actually were. The first person I saw was in the middle of taking a picture, but he looked up just as I stared straight at him. With a kind smile he said, “Hi, how are you doing?” ….”I’m good, how are you?”….pause pause…then before I could stop the sound waves from reaching his ear, out came,”I’m filming a video about Christmas…blah blah…would you be willing to be a part of it?” “Sure!”
And just like that I was chipperly setting up my tripod, chatting to him about his daughter and life. YAY!
Then my tripod broke. ヽ༼⊙_⊙༽ﾉ
And the wind was dramatically loud. I had no external mic. ʕ ಡ ﹏ ಡ ʔ
Shaky hands plus horrible sound…hmm….??
And it turns out he was a news anchorman and taught broadcasting, so I was highkey embarassed, but then I quickly got over it. I consoled myself-“Ima just interview him anyways! “Perfection” can be for another time.”
And so, with my first interview I was propelled and encouraged, blessed by a meaningful conversation, and excited for what was to come. What followed after in other interactions that day were crazy and awesome and not completely caught on camera, but if you have a burning desire to know, come ask me, otherwise I’ll just leave it at that.
In the weeks after, finals came along, and well, that didn’t stop me! But I only managed to get one interview in because whaddya know, college students get pretty zoned in during finals. I went around the UCSD campus, and people man, seriously kudos to my peers for being so studious, but also sadsies ‘cus that meant I couldn’t really approach people. I finally went to the nearby cliffs and found one straggler, but not many others around….
Then winter break happened and I was gone from home for a week helping out at a camp or on a family vacation. By then, I was a little tired of having this unfinished project lingering in the back of my mind. I mean real tired, like I almost wanted to just ditch the whole idea.
But with some final gusto, I went to the local park the very day I got back from vacation.
absolutely no one. ˛૧(˵¯͒▱¯͒˵)
Okay well there were a few people, but I totally envisioned a different audience…instead, I was met with lotso kids, people walking their dogs and ain’t nobody gonna stop them, and families who couldn’t speak English, being of either Hispanic or Chinese descent, and well, No puedo hablar español and 我的中文還OK.
So I wandered around the park and streets, feelin’ chilly and not amused. I went to 99cents store and bought my parents a mistletoe to save some time…
Then, I stumbled upon Country Gifts, a cute little gift shop that I visit at times, and just stood staring into the side window at all the pretty lights and gorgeous Christmas decorations. I was fixated on it all, when I was suddenly quite startled by a voice behind that said, “Just go in!”
And well thanks to that passerby, I considered doing so for ya know another 15 minutes. And then further driven by my sister arriving to pick me up soon, the cold, and the fact that it was my last chance to do an interview, I went inside. Shopped around and picked up some ornaments. Made up my mind to interview the owner. Waited for her to hang up the phone, then for people to leave, decided it was taking too long and after like idk an hour, purchased my things and left when my sister arrived to pick me up. Cry, end of story. ｡ﾟ･（>﹏<）･ﾟ｡
Anyways, then lo and behold, my sister wanted to buy something, and taking that as a sign, I went in– “Hi nice seeing you again!” and without hesitation, set up an interview and voila!, how good it felt to finally come away with the final clips to the video. Never mind another technical difficulty, with my external mic failing me ミ●﹏☉ミ …I was ecstatic.
then the video software I used, choked up and froze and crashed and mashed up my hopes and dreams (jk but it did give me a headache) up to the very minute I finished writing this blog. BUT I FINISHED & FOR THAT I AM GRATEFUL!!! :’)
And so, over the course of the weeks I gained some valuable insights, got answers to my questions, and really did meet some cool people.
Christmas is such a big deal for the majority of Americans, that I think it makes sense to sit down and think about why it’s such a big deal to you. Leave a comment of your answers to the same questions I asked these strangers:
- Why do you celebrate Christmas?
- How do you celebrate Christmas?
- What is your favorite thing about Christmas season?
- What is one Christmas memory that you cherish?
- What is your favorite Christmas song?
- Can you sing it for us?
Merry, Merry Christmas everyone! Enjoy this video, watching these kind, thoughtful, and hilarious individuals respond to the questions. Have a blessed time celebrating! (❛ัॢᵕ❛ั ॢ)✩*ೃ.⋆
Peace & Potaters,
P.S. THE ORNAMENTS ARE SO CUTE I HAD TO HAVE A LIL’ PHOTOSHOOT!!