I had no idea what I’d be recording once I reached the Hollywood sign because I’ve never been there before. But as soon as I climbed up there, I immediately knew what to record and what to say and this was the only take I did.
The hike up from the ground entrance into the park to the top of the hill behind the Hollywood sign takes 2 – 2.5 hours. And then there’s the hike back. I brought no water with me to this adventure because I hate carrying things. But it was a blessing in disguise because there are no restrooms along the way or at the sign, just plenty of people around to watch each other suffer in paradise.
Going on hikes is one of my regular activities, but this particular hike was a gift I gave myself for Christmas. I recorded this video in December 2021 the day after Christmas and published it online soon after in January 2022. This hike had to be memorable, so besides remembering the hiking, I made this video, and now I’m blogging about it. I could’ve made it extra memorable by skipping all this and live-tweeting it instead, but I wanted to take the scenic route.
This video took a lot of preparation. I didn’t keep track of how long I’ve been preparing and planning it out because I planned most of it in my head, without writing it or sketching it out.
Then once I was ready, I shot it within about 7 hours and edited it within about 8 hours. I did this all within 24 hours. The complete video ended up coming together almost identical to what I had pictured in my head. What a miracle!
These are the parts of preparation that I have no idea how long they took me. First, I wrote some lines and scenes of what I wanted this video to be. I had millions of ideas flowing in my head of what direction it could go but I only wrote down what I had decided on. This was about half a page long. Some say I’m an overthinker, I say I’m an overpreparer. Creativity blooms within limitation and overpreparation.
Then I found the music that had the vibe I was trying to express, a 90’s Christmas movie – it’s called “Christmas Village” by Aaron Kenny. Although the vibe is a 90’s Christmas movie (check out my sweet choker necklace), what I was really making is a 90’s holiday movie.
All the preparation paid off because I noticed the point where I had nothing else to prepare and had to like, wow, actually do the “just do it” part.
Time to throw and shoot stuff
12.18.2021 @ 5 pm: The props (lights, easel, painting on my easel, syringe, art materials, sketchbooks that pile up in the shape of a Christmas tree, skull) are just part of my usual year-round decor and my work in my art studio. I paint a lot of skeletons and lights, what did you expect from me? After I collected together the props, I practiced camera angles and how I would fit each shot to the beat of the music. That music was in my head the entire time because I listened to it over and over about a hundred times before shooting the video. This helped me steer the video in the direction that I wanted and, generally, I just love listening to movie scores. Trust me, my Spotify Wrapped top artist for 2021 is Hans Zimmer.
I shot everything on my iPhone, keeping each shot short so it’s quicker to edit later. Editing feels like chaos to me but recording short videos helps me make better sense of it.
12.19.2021 @ 12 am: Everything I shot is on my phone. Everything I threw is all over the place. It looks like my Christmas-shaped sketchbook pile exploded. But I’m too tired to clean up and just go to bed. By the way, I only threw that skull once. It’s kind of heavy, made out of some type of plaster, and I was afraid I’d break it so I made sure to make that one throw count.
Time to edit the chaos
12.19.2021 between 10 am – 5 pm: I had recorded a lot of footage because I wanted to make sure I have too much than not enough. Still, I was sad to have to cut out some parts because I wanted to keep the video short and to the beat of the music. I wasn’t about to find a whole different song that was longer, that was THE song! I constructed and edited it all in iMovie on my Mac.
There are better video editing programs but my goal is to keep the focus on the story and the videos I record as is, and not get caught up with too many possibilities, like visual effects. I’m an actor, not a video editor, and iMovie is a nice, minimal program I like to use to make simple video/audio layering and edits. It does have several features to try, like green screen. iMovie is good for beginners.
Now that I completed this video, I was probably already planning and preparing for what’s next.