About a month ago it occurred to me that I carry a super computer in my pocket. My phone, that is. It’s a smart phone that connects me to the world and offers me every little bit of information from anytime in history, much like a community garden – all knowledge ripe and for the taking. And the phone is powerful. I can pinpoint my friend’s exact real-time location, no matter how far away from me he or she lives. I can record music. I can film movies.
98% of the time I use my phone to check email.
When I want to be fancy, I post a picture to Instagram.
That’s about it.
With fresh eyes, then, (the unlimited potential of my phone revealed to me), a query clobbered my restless mind. What if the ’90s version of myself were to get ahold of an iPhone? What would I have done with it?
Certainly, I wouldn’t have wasted battery power reading stranger’s status updates.
Enter ‘Adobe Premiere Clip’
What if I were to film the most boring moments of my life and then try to make them interesting?
I’m sure there are many movie-making apps available to the mass public. iMovie, for instance, is probably the most popular (I have some familiarity with the desktop version). Adobe Premiere Clip, however, happened to get in front of my face at the right time. This powerful video-producing app allows you to record, edit, add music, adjust tone and color — all from your phone.
I jumped in immediately, deciding to document the experience of getting my hair cut, because how else will I learn?
Waiting to get my hair cut
There’s not too much to discuss here. I was really just testing the controls, having fun, and trying to get over the silliness of my own face (I am the only actor willing to be in my movies, currently).
So there you go: one video down. I filmed it, added music and edited in 5 minutes. Wah-lah — I had made something. The content universe is now just a little richer. Or something.
Flying to Boise
For my next film, or micro-film — which is what I’m starting to call these — I decided to document a recent work trip to Boise. I wanted to film AND complete the editing process before I was off the plane. The challenge made it fun and took the pressure off. No need to spend all day — just film it, cut it and let it go.
The song, “Cutting My Fingers Off,” is one that I was obsessing over at the time (still am). It comes from the band Turnover. Since I wanted to use the full song, I had to think about everything that comes with a longer video, including the flow of scenes. I wanted to use these long, beautiful shots from the window, but I didn’t want to over-indulge. I also had to think about transitions — mixing long scenes with sort shots, editing to the beat of the music, and all that.
I thought it would be fun to capture something super boring, to see if I could make it look interesting with music, angles and a little acting. So I filmed the most boring thing I could think of: updating Excel spreadsheets at my work.
Getting more confident with my skills, I decided to experiment with multi-angle shots. Harder, considering I’m doing all of this with an iPhone and nothing else — no tri-pod, no selfie-stick. I basically balanced my phone where I could, using every inch of my work desk and shelves.
I used a song off the addictively good new Radiohead album, “A Moon Shaped Pool.” At some point I’m sure I’ll get in trouble for using these songs, but for now I’ll just enjoy living in the ignorant bliss of whatever copyright laws I am breaking.
Note: For those worried I’m not getting any *actual* work done at my job, you’ll be pleased to know that I came in early (7:30AM). I filmed, edited, and completed it in 10 minutes — before anyone else got into the office.
Organizing the Spare Room
The Closet de Miscellaneous in my spare room had hit a threshold, and it was time to condense, clean and organize. I looked around and realized — while organizing the closet — that I had made a terrible mess of the room.
I was listening to Denison Witmer’s “Carry the Weight” album on vinyl at the time, and when the song “Life Before Aesthetics” played a lightbulb burst in my brain: cleaning the room would make an awesome concept for a micro-film!
I again experimented with multi-angle shots and had fun using time-lapse. Editing was enjoyable, but the most difficult so far. I had a version of the video done — but then I realized there was no consistency to the mess. The floor jumped from messy to clean and back. I had to reorder the scenes to make sure I was following some sort of natural progression of cleaning. It’s still not perfect, but I refused to spend over an hour on these videos, so there you go.
So there you go
That’s what I’ve been up to lately: making the boring seem interesting through micro-bursts of creativity. It’s been therapeutic for me. Being so busy at work and all. The constant travel, the long days… it makes it hard to come home and spend the mental energy on anything creative. But in the midst of a corporate-heavy work life I have found this outlet and it gives my artistic side something to feel proud of. Even if it’s silly.
Now if you need me I’ll be on my phone, filming my next micro-masterpiece.