The 52 Week Challenge is finally over, at times it seemed like like this moment would never come. I started the challenge with my News Years Resolutions in mind, they were
1. To make more films
2. If I was afraid of something…do it.
3. If I haven’t tried something…try it.
4. If I don’t know something…learn it.
The first one I nailed, I made 52 more videos than I would have made without the challenge, 59 if you count the regrades and the Recap.
The other three I tried to do. I used new gear, tried new effects, did some stuff I haven’t done before, and used some new software and plugins.
Overall I’m glad that I did the challenge, and believe me it was a challenge at times. I should have called it the Sunday night challenge, because I made a lot of these on Sunday night, trying to hit my Monday deadline. One thing I learned, was that the deadline forced me to do things, but it also made me dislike the challenge at times. Towards the end of the challenge I became less stringent on the Monday deadline, and more open to the thought that as long as I get a film done each week, the specific date didn’t matter. This was a good and bad thing, it made me not as stressed to rush something out on Monday, but it gave me stress and made me a little lazier by waiting until the end of the week.
I did a few things to keep me motivated and reminded about the challenge. I created a list and wrote down each video as I made it. Writing things down is always good. It can be goals, things to do, or even things you’ve done. You’re more likely to do things when you write them down.
I also put a sheet up with 52 numbers listed on it, I put it in a place where I could see it. As I made a video and a blog I would put an X by the number. There’s something satisfying about marking an X and crossing something off, it just feels good. At times the list looked huge, but it also served as a reminder of how much I accomplished and how far I had to go.
The other benefit of the challenge was all the extra shooting and editing I did. You can learn something from every shoot, and every shoot is that much more experience you have. I learned a few things shooting the challenge.
I used some of the things I did for the challenge in my real job. For example, I used the inverted fireworks effect in Week 15’s “Inversion” for a July 4th Ad. I used some of the time lapses in Week 38’s “New York Light Streak” in a few corporate videos. And I used the Hyperlapse app I used in Week 29’s “East 89 Hyperlapse” in a video for a client. I’m sure there will be more projects in the future where I take ideas or things I learned from this challenge and adapt them.
I also found some new resources. I remember at the start of the challenge, the biggest thing I was worried about was music. Surprisingly to me I found a lot of good music. I was happy that all of the music I used was legal, I didn’t use any copyrighted songs. If you’ve been reading the blogs, I list all the sources I used. There’s a lot of info in the blogs, not just music, but fonts, plugins, software and gear.
The other thing I tried to do in the blogs was to explain my situation for each video. Whether if it was me trying to fit a video while I was on the road, or trying to edit a video while taking the kids to soccer practice.
I listed that stuff so people couldn’t use them as excuses not to do something. I hear people say all the time “I’m too busy” or “I have too much work to do”. I’ve said those things, but I forced myself to make the time. Stop watching TV, if you can’t do that, work during the commercials. No excuses.
I also tried to show how I shot the videos and the gear I used.
I also wrote about the situations I was in, the tricks I used, and the way I made things work with what I had. You can do a lot with your imagination and some gaffers tape.
The things I don’t like about the challenge, is that now I have a lot of videos out there that I feel aren’t that great. Most of these videos were made in a few hours, most between two to five hours, that’s both shot and edited. Some were much longer, but for the most part they were all rushed. So with that in mind I’m OK with them, but if people watching don’t know that, it might not be a good thing. I think I actually spent more time writing the blogs and posting them, than I did making the videos.
One of the other big surerises to me was that at the beginning of the challenge I made a list of over 100 ideas for videos I could make. Of the 100 ideas I wrote down I only did 1 of them, and that was one of my least favorite videos (Week 8’s “Opening Day”). I’m surprised and a little disappointed I didn’t make more mini docs.
Every week was spontaneous, or it was something that was happening in my life. Many times I would be in NYC or Miami for a shoot and I’d have to try and work things in. I found those the most fun, but also the most tiring. I’d shoot them after working a 12 to 16 hour day. It was exhausting, but I’m glad I did it. I have some cool shots now, and if I didn’t, I would have just watched TV or slept in my hotel rooms. As I looked back at all the weeks it was fun to see my whole year unfold.
Some of my favorite weeks were Week 22 “David Wolfe FlyFisherman”, Week 14 “Loneliness”, Week 40’s “Absence” and Week 1 “An Afternoon with Sunny”, because it was the inspiration for the challenge.
My least favorites are Week 8’s “Opening Day”, Week 28’s “Melt”, Week 36’s “Glow”, and Week 24’s “Cascade”.
A few of them make me laugh, like Week 11’s “Perfex” and Week 25’s “Aisle 7”.
The most popular video by far was Week 35’s “Corgi” featuring my dog Roy, with nearly 5,000 views. Small numbers, but it’s the most by far for the challenge.
I also noticed that some of the videos I didn’t think were that good got the most comments.
I ended up shooting in 14 cities/towns in 4 states. I saw some cool things and some cool places. I’m pretty happy with the variety.
I want to thank my wife and kids for dealing with me during the challenge. It was a long year and at times I’d get a little stressed when I needed to make a video. I was happy I got to include them in some of the videos, and I enjoyed watching the videos with them and talking about the process. My wife also helped out on some of the shoots, thanks Amy.
Lastly, thanks to everyone that watched and commented. I appreciate all the support and feedback as I try and build this site. Hopefully somebody enjoyed a few of the videos, and hopefully I inspired somebody to go out and shoot something rather than just talk about it.
Thanks again and Keep Shooting, I know I will.
You can watch the 52 Week Challenge Recap video here.