SEA - Adam Young Scores Short Film Contest

     One of the highlights of the year for me was the Adam Young Scores project. At the beginning of each month, Adam Young, the mastermind behind "Owl City," released a conceptual film score based on a historical event. Being both a fan of his music and a major history buff, this was basically the dream. I lavished the scores each month, dazzled by their lush production and storylines.

     While I was in Chile performing my research this summer, Miracle in the Andes was released on the first night of my last experimental run. For those of you who are unfamilar with my Chile adventure, my research involved 24-hour behavioral analyses where once an hour for 24 hours I had to observe the behavior of my snails, and most ran for up to 72-hours at regular but less frequent intervals after the first 24 hours. You can check out the full story if you like here, but basically I was exhausted quite a bit of the time. However, the release of that score could not have come at a more perfect time, and it kept me awake and alive all night. What was far more exciting, however, was that the event took place rather close to where I was located, and of all of the times that he could have released a score involving Chile, it was while I was there. Laying on a wooden bench in the frigid dark under a set of stars different from my own, the ever-present sound of the bubbling air and running water in the lab gurgling away, I spent my very short breaks between observations enraptured in a world that was closer than most people listening to the score would ever be to the actual location. I saw the Andes just a few days after the score came out, and I was beside myself. I was captivated by the fascinating story of survival, and it helped to push me onward with my lack of sleep (5 hours total over a 72 hour period). If they could make it in much worse of a situation, I could certainly survive this, and I did.

     While I was in Chile, I worked on my very first film project. I had wanted to get into filmmaking for ages, I just never had the time nor the place to do it. Chile served as an excellent teacher and model, and whenever I had a rare chance to slip away from my work during those seven weeks, I explored the nearby beaches and photographed and filmed. Upon my return, I created and released my first film, "Oceano," on YouTube. As much footage as I used in it, there was so much that would go unseen since I did not have room for it. They sat in the catacombs of my computer files, never to see the light of day.

Or so I thought.

    I was studying for an Ichthyology (the study of fish) lab exam when I heard about the Adam Young Short Film Contest. I about exploded with glee, forgetting all the dead fish in the jars that I had been eyeing for a few hours. I would have the opportunity to marry two things that were very near and dear to me into one project. Unfortunately, I was slammed with my thesis and courses, so I wouldn't be able to begin until after finals, so I patiently but anxiously waited to put my film together.

    Thankfully I finished my semester off strong and finally got to work on my film. This film means so much to me, both because of the footage and the music. The shots from the film are the product of many weeks of work in the sparse moments where I could take a break from my research long enough to go out. I stood in a lot of uncomfortable positions, got my feet wet on multiple occasions, and braved those beautiful beaches even when reaching them was difficult due to strong waves and high tides. I am so proud of these shots and they are my attempt to bring the beauty I lived to others. The scores have also been very close to me, having carried me through lots of study (both my research and coursework), scary and joyful times, and of course thoughtful drives to and from college.

     My film includes two tracks from The Spirit of St. Louis score. When I first heard "Over Water," I cried. It was one of the most beautiful pieces I had ever heard, and it truly captured that feeling of the ocean. When I first arrived in Chile, somewhat shaken due to complication with my transportation, I went out one evening to explore after I had finished my work. The world was cast in a purple glow as the sea swelled and the mist swirled around me. I pulled out my phone, played "Over Water," and stood in complete awe. That was one of my most cherished moments in Chile. The next song, "Stars Appear," and the flow between the two is just so lovely that I simply couldn't break them apart. They help to tell the story of the sea, engaging in her various sides and exposing much of her personality.

     This film means so much to me and I hope that it perhaps strikes a chord with you, too. If you'd like to hear more about my Chile story, all blogs from June to August relay my adventures (and misadventures). Thank you for supporting this project, my heart and soul.

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