My song of choice for this challenge is entitled "Emoji of a Wave" and it is written by John Mayer. Off of his 2017 album "In Search of Everything", Emoji of a Wave is personal to me because I could definitely relate to this album that had full on breakup feels. I was along for the ride of the rollercoaster of emotions, having recently come out of a painful breakup myself. This song came into my life at a time that was serendipitous to my circumstances, and served as the cathartic outlet that changed my life that summer.
I am a dancer and choreographer as well. Usually I will tap into the therapy of dance to feel my way through whatever emotions arise. Even choreographing a four minute song could feasibly be done in a highly focused and efficient day if not a dope flow-state weekend. Alas, something in me wanted to try a different and more challenging expression of art. Who knew this would inadvertently turn into a different and more challenging healing of my heart?
I always loved drawing and animation, especially as a kid. That's where I got the idea of animating a video to his song instead of my traditional choreographer mindset. The post relationship lesson I was subconsciously self-attaching to this task was...well I didn't quite know it at the time, but I was driven to figure it out. There's always a lesson out of loss. All I knew was that even if I couldn't figure out relationships, I could figure this out.
I started playing the song over and over. Letting the lyrics sink in while I marinated on the melody. I had no way of knowing at the time that I had signed up for a summer long labor of love. I was performing a gig out of state and away from home. I had a lot of downtime with very little distraction. This definitely helped with a quieter environment and mind to see this project through to the end of summer deadline I gave myself.
I found a system that worked for me and developed sharper discipline as a byproduct. What's not to love about that? I visualized the storyboard before bed. I ran the numbers in the morning when my mind was sharper and fresher. I gave myself objectives for each break, each day, and each week for 10 weeks.
There was a meticulous process to this. To give you an idea of the difference in time and energy investment with animating vs. choreographing, think of this:
I was using an app working with 8fps. That means eight frames per second, and eighty frames for just ten seconds. I would probably be able to choreograph ten seconds of movement in less time than it took you to read this paragraph about frame rates. And that's just ten seconds. This song is essentially four minutes long. At 8fps that's 8x60x4=1,920 frames
Nearly two thousand frames that would end up taking me all summer. I knew what I had to do to see it through. I took this major task and broke it down into bite-sized daily chunks. It was more manageable and less overwhelming. I hadn't quite learned how to do that well in previous relationships. I would burst forth with the grandest of gestures, yet fail in the smaller day to day tasks.
This song changed my life because the creativity it sparked within me allowed me to dive into a brand new process and try a different approach. I had to put myself out there like that. I was exposing a vulnerability for all to see, and I was okay with that. If all this animation project did for me was get me through the summer with a positive outlet thateplaced potentially destructive habits, I'm okay with that.
If you've read this far and have not yet clicked the link, now is an opportunity for you to get a peak into my mind as you see the creative fruits of my disciplined labor. I'm excited and eager to see other interpretations of this song dealing with love newly lost. Thank you for your readership and have a nice day 🙏✌💙