Filmmaking Is Helping Me Rediscover The Things I Took For Granted
The mystique and magic of film is real. I recently entered a video challenge and made a video close to home, which made me realise that I should be grateful for the beautifully simple things in life, like the susurrus of leaves.
At times we are all guilty of taking things for granted. Everyday things become the routine song of life so it’s hard to sing the praises of something when you experience it regularly. I am highly guilty of this.
I am easily swayed by the thrilling and exciting highs that I have experienced through travel: the mirage of beautiful places, unexpected adventures and exotic people with different perspectives — they draw me in, just like Medusa drew in sailors with a beautifully unique song (before turning them to stone as is told in greek mythology).
This became quite extreme for me. So much so that I started to disregard my home and any aspect of my life away from travel
The thing is that the beautifully simple aspects of life are often said to be the secrets to happiness.
One step to my re-discovery of these simplicities involved taking some time off social media.
However, filming and editing this video (below) has altered my perspective, and I now feel prouder and more grateful for the simpler things in life:
The Initial Concept
I remember when I first watched Iz Harris’ video, setting out the challenge to her viewers to make a video about ‘Fall’. Initially I was going to make something that incorporated travel — I had a little idea for a story but quickly realized it would be too complicated to tell in the 1 minute time limit.
Instead, I opted to make a video formed of completely new video clips from my autumnal environment. I had been eagerly consuming Peter Mckinnon and Iz Harris filmmaking tutorials so I figured it would be a good idea to test my new camera skills out.
I was stuck for inspiration so I picked up a book called ‘The Little Book of Hygge’. I’m a sucker for candles, hot drinks and blankets, which is a little hyggeligt (as I have ascertained from reading that book). And it’s pretty epic to learn things about the culture of another country, which in this case is Denmark — a place I’ve never visited but hope to one day.
I remember the exact part that sparked my idea:
“The only sounds you could hear were the stew boiling, the sparks from the fireplace and someone having a sip of their mulled wine… ‘Could this be anymore hygge?’”
Sound! The sounds of fall are pretty distinct.
I remembered a word that I learnt a long time ago, “Susurrus”. It was word of the day when I logged into a dictionary site several years ago (I think I must have been looking for some help with my homework back when I was at secondary school).
In my opinion, this word perfectly captures the sound of the rustling of fallen leaves as you walk through them. It’s onomatopoeic and distinct. And that’s what I led with when making the video.
Admittedly, I would probably improve the video that I produced by placing more emphasis on the sounds of fall, but it is still the best work that I have ever made, so far. And it’s proof that I have finally understood how to shoot slow-mo on a DSLR (an arduous process in itself).
More than that, though, making it proved to be a very cathartic experience.
Beyond The Video
Making this video truly made me realize the beauty of home and the beauty of the simple things. The things that I do occasionally miss when I’m travelling… but forget about by the time the nostalgia of being home has worn off.
There’s something about filmmaking (at least on this project) that brought me right into the heart of Autumn and the opportunity for adventure right here at home in the UK.
I had to carefully think about my shots and focus on what I was seeing and how to present it.
My desire to make this film got me outside to a local wood that I haven’t visited in probably 2–3 years. I was exhaling the dragon breath and I was feeling the steely, cold embracing my exposed hands and face. I was hearing the susurrus of leaves in the gentle winds.
My senses were heightened.
Watching the shots back had me feeling a sense of anticipation about how my idea looked… and then eventual euphoria when I figured that we’d “got the shot”.
You see my Dad, who is a great photographer, was helping me out in his unfamiliar territory of videomaking on a DSLR. He followed my on-the-go tuition very well, and it was a great way to connect and spend some time together.
As is the case with most personally creative things that I share, I was nervous about doing so.
There’s nothing more humbling than having friends and others viewing and appreciating your work.
One of my friends who lives in the sunny climes of Australia said something that further made me realize my gratefulness for where I live. She said that she had never seen the colours of Fall.
To me that’s astounding — I’ve seen it almost every year of my life. The one exception being last year when I was working in Malaysia.
To me Autumn/Fall colours are just ‘normal’. But to someone who hasn’t watched the leaves on the trees change from green to an autumnal rainbow of red, yellow and orange, it is magical. To children, the fallen leaves turn forests into a new, exciting kind of play area.
Looking around me again, I am re-appreciating the beauty of this season.
I have no doubt that I will forever have to slap myself back into the reality of my life and to truly appreciate what I have. Nowadays, many people talk about gratefulness and the act of being grateful but I actually think re-assessing what you’re grateful for can humble you and steady you when life gets a bit hectic.
It brings you back to the present in a marvellous way.
“Your outer journey may contain a million steps; your inner journey only has one: the step you are taking right now.” ~ Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now)
I have plenty to be grateful for; a loving family home life, incredibly supportive friends and a series of amazing opportunities over the past few years... time to be a little more appreciative and grateful for where I am in the present right now.
Thanks for reading todays little blog post. I enjoyed writing it! If you haven’t already watched my video then check it out here, and I’ll see you next Monday for an extra special blog post (I have an editorial calendar, you see, so I know exactly what I’ll be writing about!)