Have you ever dreamt of being famous and appearing in the newspapers or in the TV? It must be exhausting in the long run, but a single public acknowledgement of one’s merits boosts self-esteem like the Academy Award for lifetime achievement. That’s what I had in mind several years ago when I came up with the idea of a simple joint video gift for my fiancé.
The gift was inspired by a friend of mine, who asked us to record best wishes for her boyfriend’s birthday. Each person was to record their wishes separately, in the place and manner of our choice. Before the party, my friend compiled the recordings and played them to her boyfriend.
What I liked most about this gift was the variety of the recordings and the fact that they could also be submitted by people who were absent at the party. Nevertheless, I don’t like copying someone’s ideas 1:1, especially if I want to have this person involved. That is why I asked my friends to record their answers to the question:
What comes to your mind when you think of my fiancé?
Where did the idea for such a joint video gift come from?
In this gift, I tried to imitate TV programs in which famous people talk about their personal experiences with a given celebrity. My fiancé was to be this celebrity: a graduate of a prestigious university, a successful sportsperson and a traveller, all of which was supported by applicable footage from my private photo collection. On the day of his 25th name day, his friends recounted where they met him and what associations he evoked.
I began the recording with an easily recognisable title sequence of a TV news program found on the Internet. During the party, I casually remarked that I have recently watched an interesting news program that I would like to share with others. Then I played my recording from a CD I had secretly inserted into his laptop. After the title sequence, my surprised fiancé watched an introduction I recorded myself using a tripod in front of the university library, dressed in a formal outfit, with a grey folded umbrella acting as a microphone. After a 35-second-long announcement, charts with the names of subsequent talking heads appeared, followed by their recordings.
Difficulties in the making of a simple joint video gift and how you can overcome them
As is usually the case with this type of joint gifts, it may happen that you send an invitation to over 20 people, and receive contributions from less than a half. That is exactly what happened to me. Fortunately, you needn’t worry. A few recordings are enough to create a pretty diversified video. In the video gift for my fiancé, for instance, some people recorded themselves at home, sitting on a couch. One person was strolling through the Old Town. Another girl recorded herself in places that she associated with my fiancé. And two people recorded a mini music video with their associations written on post-its placed in carefully planned spots. Needless to say, the range of associations was also astonishing.
You may also be surprised at people misunderstanding the instructions. For example, most people will record both their associations and best wishes, and some people only the latter. Fortunately, this issue can be easily resolved. This is what I did: first I showed recordings that were most in line with my idea of “famous people talking about their celebrity friend”. Then I played the ones that diverged from this idea, and finally those fragments that contained only wishes.
The video gift, edited e.g. in Windows Movie Maker, doesn’t have to be long. Mine was less than 8 minutes. My fiancé was over the moon, and I had strong motivation to create more video gifts (including video wishes for my daughter’s baptism and a joint music video for my husband’s 30th birthday, which I described in the post: Birthday Video Clip for a Football Fan).
– Recordings of wishes or short speeches are one of the simplest video gifts. If you don’t know what to begin with or would like to try your hand at something more challenging, I recommend reading the post: “How to Crate a Music Video of a Party and Avoid Common Pitfalls“, where I explain how to record a video clip as a gift.
– If you want to make someone feel like a celebrity on his/her special day, you may give him/her a personalised magazine, which will make a perfect birthday, name day or hen party gift.