Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Annual Post

Once per annum around this time, I turn a year older. I can't seem to stop it. It just keeps coming. This year is no different. It brought with it no epiphanic fanfare or any type of life-changing realizations (unless you count that, fun as it was, I'm never taking the whole family to Tepanyaki Steak House again--too danged expensive!) In fact, it kind of sneaked up on me. It didn't hit me that I was having a birthday until just a couple of days before it happened. This may be due to the fact that my side business has taken off this year and I've been holed up in my cave for weeks concentrating on projects and deadlines and other people's lives.

Most of the projects I get on the side are retrospectives. This year I did three videos for the University. Two of them were for year-end events: The Athletics Department's Senior Banquet and Hall of Fame, and the College of Ed's Convocation. I spent days focusing on the lives of the Hall of Fame Inductees and the graduating seniors, examining their stories and getting them ready to be presented to others. The other video was for the the poli-sci dept. The department was honoring a local celebrity, a well-known pollster--and professor at the U--with a scholarship named after him. The video included appearances by an austere group of leaders and politicians, including US Secretary of Health and Human Services, Mike Leavitt.

I have done these kinds of retrospectives for years and one thing I've noticed is that they usually present a larger-than-life version of the person they describe. All of the interviews are with friends and family and the spectrum of their responses to the subject ranges from respectful admiration to downright gushy brown-nosing. Occasionally there will be a critical comment (and I'm not talking about the "Dean Martin's Roast" type of comment that's usually kept in for comedy) which is squelched immediately. In other projects I've even had to edit a few of those out of the raw video just in case it ever fell into the wrong hands. Sometimes I get to meet the subjects of these videos and get to know how much the video differs from reality. That used to shock me but now I realize that it comes with the territory.

This year was the first time I've been immersed in other people's personal history for so long, though. And it's made me lose track of my own life. Made me put things on hold. I can't tell you how much I looked forward to working out again. I couldn't do it because I was working around the clock and I was too exhausted to do it. But I'm back at it and it feels great!

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