Every year I do this. And I recommend it, too: picking a hundred or so of your favorite little clips from experiences throughout the year and setting them to music is this wonderful, eye-opening, perspective-granting, gratitude-inspiring exercise that (admittedly) takes forever.
Despite the time-consuming nature of choosing and editing all the clips — maybe 20 or 30 hours, all told, spaced out over the last 12 months (I highly recommend flagging/highlighting promising videos as you upload them throughout the year) — the make-it-into-a-movie part goes fast. It’s actually kind of fun in this strange, reckless way, to just grab little one- or two-second moments from what your brain knows were full, complex experiences with characters and context and everything. *Then* you see, kind of amazingly, how so much of the *rest* of that experience is reflected in just 30 or 40 frames. People’s expressions, gestures, little details of the scene suddenly glow out brilliantly, unmissably, and somehow seem to capture all the minutes, hours, afternoons and personalities that originally surrounded them.
For instance — and a rambling musing like that really deserves a for-instance — seeing my wife and daughter dancing at 4:27 I can make out, in that blurry little snippet, the familiar warm light of mid-day in that house we were renting, and the cabinet with all my wife’s spices and potions from the cooking she’s fallen more in love with this year, and the perfect hair-flip she apparently mastered as well, and my little girl’s pink leggings and just slightly hesitant motions as she doesn’t fully understand why Mom is dancing, but she certainly doesn’t want to miss joining in, either.
At 3:57, seeing myself crash a go-kart into my bosses’ boss, and his white-knuckled, enjoyably and genuinely surprised expression brings back a full recollection of who he is, how he operates, and the admirable, unsurprising decision he made to organize an outing to the fun park in honor of a co-worker’s birthday.
Plus little things that only I know about, even though they could never be expected to be noticed other folks, still make *me* happy, just as they’ll do for you if you take my advice and make your own. My friend Susan smiling in the rear-view mirror at 2:16 probably only lasts three frames, comprising probably less actual digital data than an old cell-phone pic, but reminds me immediately of her all-knowing, accommodating nature, and preference not to be featured prominently in videos, and how it felt to ride out to lunch in her car with our long-haired friend one sunny day.
Man, it’s all fun. I recommend you pick a song you really, really love, too.
I went with the Flaming Lips’ cover of “Borderline,” featuring Stardeath and White Dwarfs, and couldn’t be more grateful. If you ask me, it was perfect.