Sometimes we wait for ‘inspiration’ or ‘motivation’ to strike before we begin a new project, whether it be music, photography, cleaning, etc. This waiting period, however, can last, days, weeks, months, and even years! There have been times when I felt the motivation about to surface, only to be crushed by the thought of how much work it would take to create my vision. Oh, hard work always gets in the way.
Several weeks ago, I received an e-mail from a group promoting a cover song video contest. I skimmed it, thought it was dumb, and deleted it. Last week, I received a reminder e-mail about the approaching deadline for the contest. I read through it again, only this time I found the idea more appealing. Record an acoustic version of a pop song from the contest list. Create a video. Since it had been weeks since the initial e-mail, I looked at some of the entries on YouTube. A lot of people were simply taking videos of their live performance. Of course, my mind took off from there.
I began to wonder if this could be a good project for me. Capturing a live video performance on my phone just didn’t feel right. I wanted to use this contest as a way to work on my music production skills and videography. With less than a week to get it done, it seemed like a tall order. Once again, the inkling of motivation was about to get smothered by anxiety over the hard work. Of course, it would be somewhat understandable with such a short time frame to work with.
I decided that this contest would mean nothing to me if I didn’t learn anything new from it. So, that meant diving in and getting it done the way I wanted to. Each time I felt anxiety creeping in, I simply reminded myself to stay on task. I did not have time or energy to waste. Angie was kind enough to lend her voice on the backing vocal tracks. It was nice to share a musical experience with my wife again!
The weekend was rough. I did my best to maintain a presence with my family as a husband and father, though Angie ended up with a lot of babysitting! A moment of panic occurred when Angie looked back at my computer screen and asked what was going on. “My computer may have just died,” was my response. I was able to reboot with a minimal loss of data. By the time I finished the music production, I had one day left for the video shoot. Talk about worst-case scenarios! I have very little experience working with video, and zero experience with creating a music video. Still I refused to quit, stayed focused, and pumped it out.
Having a deadline helped me to complete this music video. Without it, who knows how much longer I would have gone without getting anything started? Or, I may have started a project that lasted so long that I lost focus or inspiration. I look back on completing my EP last year. I had a deadline in mind, and it helped me to finish those recordings. On the contrary, we have video footage of our Christmas 2015 trip that I have yet to put together. No deadline. Maybe it’s time for one!
Participating in this contest was a great learning experience, and I realized that there was more to it than just the creating of the song and video. Apart from the production process, I felt the accomplishment of simply putting myself out there. Sure, my video is just one of probably thousands of submissions. I think we often judge people’s content while forgetting that they were the ones who put time and effort into creating material. I try to remind myself of that from time to time, and instead of being critical, I approach their material in admiration of their courage. At the end of the day, they are the ones sharing themselves with the world. Good for them. I can choose to sit around and judge them or spend my time being creative, too!
See our interpretation of The Weeknd’s hit song, ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ below.
P.S. Our band name is Neat Noy, which is a play on the Thai phrase, “nit noy”, meaning ‘a little bit’.