The 30th birthday is a milestone that deserves a special celebration with as many people as possible. Yet what if your flat is too small to organise a big surprise party, you have not enough money to hold the party in a pub or restaurant, and most of the guests would be unable to attend anyway? You may always engage them in the making of a joint present: a birthday video clip!
A similar idea is to chip in to buy expensive gifts that a single person could not afford and that are only given on special occasions (a jubilee, an anniversary, a hen or stag night). Yet I decided to encourage family and friends to make a video clip together – a present that didn’t cost us a penny, related to one of my Husband’s hobbys: football, and is one of his dearest keepsakes from his loved ones.
How did I come up with the idea of a birthday video clip?
I was inspired by my college friend, who had asked us a few years earlier to record birthday wishes for her boyfriend. Each person could showcase own creativity and decide not only on the wording, but also on the place of recording and the entire scenario. Owing to that, the boyfriend received a collage of recordings from all over the country and not only from the guests who were present at his party.
The making of our birthday video clip
First, I picked a song: ‘Waka Waka’ by Shakira, which is one of my Husband’s favourites and evokes associations foth football. Then I wrote an email to over 40 people from among our families and friends and asked them to record their dance. I told them that it wasn’t necessary to imitate Shakira, as long as they were inspired by her clip. The funnier the dance moves, the better. I also browsed through our video archives to find recordings that could be used in the project.
Results: what did our birthday video clip eventually consist of
After a few months (and countless reminders), I received video recordings in various styles and from various locations from 15 people. Some of them shot at home, others outside. Most people were in Poland, but one couple sent a recording from their honeymoon in… the Dominican Republic! Three people tried to imitate Shakira; three couples danced freestyle, and one couple re-enacted the non-dancing scenes from the original video clip and shot at … a football pitch! Apart from that, the final version of the birthday video clip featured two infants, two cats and one man dressed as a woman (in a black mini dress, a red top and a blond wig) – chapeau bas for his courage and sense of humour!
Actually, it was a good thing that I hadn’t received recordings from more people because I wouldn’t have been able to fit them in! After all the hard work people put in the project, I wanted them to appear in the clip for more than just a few seconds. Moreover, to avoid the same mistake I did in the music video for the newly-weds, I added some videos of me and my Husband, too.
The video clip was presented at the birthday party. Our present was a success: my Husband laughed out loud and was moved to tears, interchangeably. Furthermore, the clip was in fact made mostly by people who couldn’t attend the party, which gave us an excellent excuse to visit them later and show them the effect of their work!
Do you think a birthday video clip is a good present? Would you like to see your friends dancing and making fun of themselves especially for you? If the answers are: yes, try making a birthday video clip for someone and to engage as many people as possible! And don’t forget to let me know in the comments whether it was successful!
– Once again I used Windows Movie Maker to make the birthday video clip. This program is easy to use, but has its limitations. I asked my friends whether they knew any better free software that would allow me to coordinate clips on parallel tracks, but no one was able to help me. Now I would probably ask this question on Quora – a question and answer forum I have recently discovered.
– I had the idea for this present much in advance, which proved to be unnecessary. Even though I wanted to give others the option to shoot in the summer, when it was still possible to have some fun outdoors, most people sent me their recordings just before the deadline, i.e. in winter. Thus, I suspect the entire project can be completed in no more than several weeks.
– It is better not to limit or scare people off by requesting them to actually ‘dance’. Many people think they can’t dance, and they wouldn’t even try. The truth is that it is not a perfect performance that counts. Want a proof? There is a passage in the lyrics of ‘Waka Waka’ that goes: ‘You’re a good soldier choosing your battles (…)’ I thought it perfectly suited a recording I received from a friend who was just running through a forest. It had nothing to do with the music, but he submitted the recording especially for the birthday video clip, so I rewarded his good intentions.