15 Seconds

There were a lot of things that I took away from last weekend’s WMC Fest. One thing that really struck a chord with me was the importance of doing your own personal projects. I’ve always been pretty active about doing my own thing, sometimes as an excuse to try new skills, sometimes just because I have what I think is a pretty cool idea. I’ve kept the boys in crazy hockey logos, made a 5′ wide mural, did this word art project, and am working on a Firefly poster series. It’s something that I never put a lot of thought into, but have always done. And I’ve gotten a ton of work based on doing these side projects. Hell, I even had a bride book me to shoot her wedding based on photos of my husband’s mustache.

I talked to a few people at the Fest about this 15-Second Film that I did. Some years ago, American Express and Tribeca Film Festival teamed up to do this 15-Second Film competition. The website is long gone, but I did find this write-up on it. I found out about the contest the day before the due date, and I almost didn’t do it. But I thought it would be fun, and who cares if I didn’t get anything out of it. I watched a few of the entries, and a lot of them were just 15 seconds of a sunset, or their kid, or whatever. I thought that was pretty boring, and lazy, so I thought I’d do a narrative. In 15 seconds. Because I’m a chronic overachiever, is why, okay? John suggested that I have army men attack the vacuum, and then I stayed up all night making this:

Is it my crowning achievement as a filmmaker? Not really. But I had a blast doing it, and, as it turns out, I was a finalist in the competition. I won an iPod, and Martin Scorsese looked at something that I made (I imagine him nodding with approval). I got hired at an agency because of this video. Trying to tell a story in 15 seconds is a challenge, and one I’m glad that I attempted. Later, in graduate school, we had to do a 45-second film. And I said, “45 seconds? Piece of cake.”

Side projects, kids.

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