If I had known then what I know now, I don’t know if I would have done what I did.
It started with an idea. I knew the idea was ambitious. But I had no clue that it was over-the-top ridiculous ambitious. I just didn’t know.
Back in January, we started making plans for the 10th anniversary of our church. As a former newspaper reporter, my mind started cranking out ideas of how cool it would be to tell the stories of the people in our church. We would select maybe a dozen people. We would choose some who had been around since the very beginning. We would pick some who had come in the middle and others who had only been coming to the church for a year or two.
We would tell their stories through video, our web site and in a print piece we would hand out the night of the celebration. We have so many people in our church body with amazing stories. They have been through health issues, lost jobs, and even death, but through it all, God has been with them.
I approached it from the standpoint of a writer. I would interview the people. And then someone else would swoop in, take the video and voila! It would be magically transformed into a beautiful video. Boom! Just like that.
Looking back, I think the two guys who helped me with this project might have been trying to tell me that it was going to be a lot harder than I thought. I must have had my fingers in my ears, though, because all I can remember is seeing them smile and laugh as we ate at Chili’s, discussing the project.
We spent several days interviewing all of the people. Their stories were amazing. We laughed. We cried. We were in awe of the testimonies of what God had done in their lives. Through amazing hardships and circumstances, they were able to praise His name.
Then it was time to take all of that raw footage and magically transform it into something spectacular. Seven hours of raw footage.
And that was when a tragedy happened in the life of one of the guys helping me. He had to completely step out of the project. Life was busy and crazy for my other magical video editor. So, I started trying to figure out what to do.
I imported video. It took my computer 13 hours just to import 30 minutes of HD video. I got into the habit of starting an import every night before I went to bed. I edited the stories. And cut. And edited. And cut. But still I had more than an hour’s worth of video, and I was told that 3-minute clips would be ideal.
My video editing friend would give me tips. “Put it all in a timeline.” I would try to do what he said. I simply wasn’t used to telling a story this way. It was such a different way of thinking for me.
I was used to writing where you have the luxury of writing down the background of a story and then interjecting quotes to bring it to life. I was learning that with video, you have to sort through every word that someone says and try to piece together enough sentences to tell the story through the person speaking.
I put together a rough draft. “Too confusing!” “Too long!”
I was really starting to panic. I began devoting my life to video editing. I spent every minute of my free time sitting in the same spot in front of my computer. I stopped doing laundry. My husband would walk by my zombie-like form glued to iMovie. He would buy groceries, make dinner and take the kids to the park. My kids would hang their backpacks on my arm, forgetting I was a real person.
It was crazy. But one thing kept me going. Every time I watched those videos, I was in awe. I was amazed by the stories. I was deeply touched by the way these people who had gone through some of the most difficult situations I could imagine were able to glorify God and praise His name. Their stories had to be told.
No matter how many times I watched the videos, I would cry. I had spent so much time editing the video that I had their words memorized. And I would still cry. I came to the realization that even if I was the only person who ever watched those videos, it was still worth it because my life was different from hearing their stories. I felt incredibly blessed that I was the one who got to hear every word before it was edited.
I resigned myself to the fact it might not be the most beautiful or the most high-tech production. But their stories had to be told. I wanted other people to experience just a little of what I was experiencing.
My friend would bring his computer over, and we would sit side by side editing video. Our worship leader gave me tons of ideas for background tracks. I didn’t even THINK of adding background tracks! I learned about wording transitions and ducking the volume and openings and closings.
As the day grew closer, I started getting very nervous about other people seeing these videos. What if I didn’t tell the stories well enough? What if I hurt someone by leaving something out? Or putting something in? What if I made someone mad? Or hurt their feelings?
In the last few weeks, the video seemed to start transforming itself. It was coming together in a way I never would have imagined. Ten different people were telling their stories. And yet, they all seemed to be telling one continuous story. One person would end and someone else would pick up on the very same thought.
I realized that in my weakness, God had taken control. Where I had no ability or knowledge, He knew what to do. It was His story to tell, not mine.
In the end, I’m just thankful I got to play a part in it. I’m glad I didn’t know how hard it would be because I might not have had enough guts to even start on such a time-consuming project. I’m thankful for all that I learned and hopeful that it made a difference in someone else’s life.
If you want to see where I’ve been and what I’ve been working on the past 11 weeks, here it is: