Ten seconds of silence
I was on television once. I may be the only person in God's creation who still remembers...
Despite being the not completely proud possessor of a film degree—my lack of capitalisation of said qualification quite deliberate—I have in truth made very little practical use of my Bachelor of Arts major subject.
Talking about them yes, and watching them a guilty yes, but the making of video and film is something to which I have long aspired, so far little attained.
Which is why I jumped at the opportunity a few years back to make a TV commercial for the Sri Chinmoy Centre. A 10 second slot advertising free meditation classes on community TV—as good a starting place as any.
My client and creative director, the class giver himself, delivered the 'brief':
"Maybe use some flute music, and we need a phone number, and 'FREE' as large as possible... No, even larger than that..."
A loose brief can be a good brief, because it gives creativity sufficient room to breath.
He called again: "Can we have that the day after tomorrow? I've booked it already and we need it straight away..."
Creativity can be strangled by time, or its' lack, but desperation and aspiration are quite considerable spurs. My first opportunity to do something dear to my heart, film, on a topic dear to my life, meditation—an opportunity to be firmly seized and fulfilled.
Did I mention this already? That of the practicalities of film I knew almost nothing—perhaps less? I have since gained a little confidence here, completing a few projects commercially, and a few more in the works, but a wing-and-a-prayer were then my only companion. Forty-eight hours to learn the art of motion graphics in Adobe After Effects, not to mention the prerequisite conceptual stage. The capacity of prayer should not be overlooked.
"Can you make 'free' even larger? And are you sure that font is going to be readable?"
I stopped returning phone calls temporarily and got down to some serious work.
We know of inventions' considerable debt to necessity, but lesser known for its' role in our acheivements is spirituality's unseen but always constant guidance. When you attempt even the smallest act of service or self-sacrifice, the manner and the means are given freely.
With grace's good auspice I was a colleague to several of New Zealand's best young designers. They generously offered their nous, both technical and creative.
I didn't take the next phone call, but I imagine it so...
"But 'FREE", it NEEDS to be larger! LARGER!!!"
Now possessing of the means, but what of the meaning? It came soon after, simple and yet beautiful, the perfect solution to the entire project.
What is the one thing you never hear on television? In 10 seconds, what sound could possibly grab your complete attention?
'No-sound' was my concept—the absence of that which television delivers dependably. Flute music abandoned for what I hoped would be profound silence, I told myself that at worst people would look at their televisions to see what had broken!
In the light of experience's hard-earned wisdom, there is much I would change about this video now, but then what else in life would we not? A first-time effort made in challenging circumstances, I am secretly proud of it still.
View it now: 10 seconds of silence.mp4 (734k).