The Value In Cramming

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Back in school more often than not, I would be pulling an all-nighter to cram for a test or finish a 20-page history paper. And by finishing a 20-page paper I mean writing the last 19 pages of that paper that was assigned to us 2 months ago. My high school history teacher claimed that he was preparing us for college where 20-page papers would be the norm. I don’t know what college he went to but I didn’t write one 20-page paper in my illustrious 5 year college career (yes, it took me 5 years to get my Bachelor’s because cramming isn’t as effective in college as it is in high school history which I was not informed of). Actually, I do know what college he went to. It was Yale. I think the History guys at Yale have a different curriculum than the I Don’t Know What I Want to Major In guys at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. At any rate, what my high school cramming experiences prepared me for was pulling all-nighters at work but instead of writing 20-page papers I’m editing 20-second videos. A lot of them. Sometimes longer than 20 seconds. Gasp! And believe me it does take all night. Let me you tell the why and how.. and what, as in what's this all about anyway?

Man that was a long intro. So we kicked off the summer by flying to LA to film an event for Coty and Marc Jacobs Fragrances. For the launch of their new fragrance Daisy Love they took over a portion of the amusement park at the Santa Monica Pier where they hosted a number of influencers including Maddie Ziegler (Dance Moms, Sia’s The Greatest MV - watch this, it’s fantastic!), Tiffany Young (K-Pop’s Girls Generation), and Storm Reid (A Wrinkle in Time). We spent 3 days shooting. The first day consisted of general location b-roll, scene setters, and atmosphere. The second day was the heaviest as we spent the morning shooting more location b-roll, and our first talent Larsen Thompson who was the first influencer to takeover Marc Jacobs Fragrances social media. 

After a short break, the rest of the influencers began to arrive at the park and that's when things got pretty hectic. We had about 2 dozen talent on hand and the park was open to the public. It wasn't long before paparazzi began to infiltrate and of course there were fans and curious park-goers gathering while the influencers posed for photo ops and visited the activations. If you've ever visited an amusement park and lost a kid you can imagine what it might be like to try and capture good, usable footage of a bunch of talent who are freely roaming the park whilst navigating scores of park visitors. We also had a very lengthy and specific shotlist as we were providing content for client and talent. It was definitely a very difficult situation to manage especially considering the talent would only be at the park for.. an hour and a half! That's like 2 rides on the ferris wheel! Or maybe more but the point is, if I'm at the top of the ferris wheel with so and so, I'm missing a ton of shots with everyone else who's not on the ferris wheel. And I definitely need a ferris wheel shot or maybe even a couple.

Our crew was not very large either - we had 2 shooters, a drone operator and a producer who of course had to pick up a camera as well. Heck, even our editor came by to help shoot a little bit. Even with a smaller crew we still had tons of footage because after the park there was a brand dinner we also needed to cover. Not to mention the transfer between the park and the dinner because.. cool cars!

By the time dinner was done it was late evening and after shooting out in the sun all day, you feel pretty drained. But part two of day two was just starting. The other editor and I started cranking out a bunch of social media videos which can be challenging when you have multiple cameras and hours of footage from each and you're looking for very specific shots of specific people doing specific things. Additionally, the edits did require some effects work as we were asked to create some pretty stylized pieces by the client. But our company isn't called PRESSURE for nothing.

Here's where all that cramming comes into play. When you cram you are forced to digest a lot of information in the quickest, most efficient way possible. Time's a ticking and once that timer goes off if you haven't gotten that 20-page paper done or you fell asleep face down in your Physiology textbook 5 minutes into studying about osmosis because you had this grand notion that a lower concentration of Physiology knowledge in your noggin' and a higher concentration in the textbook means that the knowledge will just flow through that broad, flat semi-permeable membrane otherwise known as your forehead, then you're in danger of a huge F-bomb going off. That is, you're gonna get an F.. on your paper.. or test. And so when it comes to filming in high pressure situations we've learned to be very judicious, very focused and efficient. We know what we need, we know how to get it and as important, we know what we don't need or can do without. Same thing in the edit. When you are under time constraints you learn to be decisive. When faced with an obstacle or uncertainty you creatively find a way to make things work. And you engage that part of your brain that allows you to be laser focused.. oooh, a flower!

Day 3 was not as intense as day 2 and that was quite a relief. We filmed the marketing street team at work and consumers engaging at the brand activations on the pier. We did not have any time-sensitive deliverables for that day which is good because after a day like the one before your brain needs a break. Ideally, an ice cream break.

So being irresponsible in high school was like doing high-intensity interval training and it prepared me for what was to come in the work world. And with that I encourage all young people out there to be irresponsible because it will pay off later in life. It just won't pay off immediately and you might also incur some bad grades which will lead to a bad GPA which will diminish your prospects of getting into a good college but trust me, it'll pay off eventually. You probably don't want to go to college anyway. Some of them make you write 20-page papers from what I've heard.