When a friend invited me to participate in his Halloween video, I jumped right in. I liked the idea of shooting downtown Chicago and acting for the first time since college. Here’s what the experience was like.
“People will be looking at us weird. You OK with that?” Tony asked when we were discussing the project. “I danced in the streets of Krakow while my niece was taking pictures. I think I can handle this,” I replied, amused. I had seen his costume. I knew we’d attract attention. But that was part of the appeal.
Patrick, Strangely Beautiful is about a man who is “different than other people,” which often leaves him feeling misunderstood and lonely. One day he meets a woman who seems curious about him without being judgmental. Could her interest in him be genuine? Could Patrick be accepted, even loved, for who he is?
Tony had specific ideas for presenting the story. He wanted to create a dream-like sequence using relatively little dialog, but strong visuals that would convey Patrick’s otherness. He had selected Chicago’s Millennium Park for the shoot, given the unique sculptures that can be found there (such as the reflective Cloud Gate and Jun Kaneko’s colorful ceramic figures). And he would wear a green mask and head piece – his Halloween costume that inspired the short film.
My role in the project was dual: photography and co-starring.
Millennium Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions downtown, so we were not surprised to catch the attention of passers-by. Many watched, some noticed us once they walked into the frame, and a few took pictures. There were several that wanted to know what we were doing and what the mask was about. Once we mentioned Halloween, they got it.
We used basic equipment: an iPhone, tripod, and microphone. Our focus was not so much on the clarity of the picture, as it was on finding the right backdrop and angles. It was fun to look at a familiar place from a new perspective and notice different elements: tunnels, latest art installations, the color and positioning of benches.
The other part I enjoyed was trying to say the lines the way Tony had thought of them in his head. It reminded me of working on a play with my college drama teacher. A nice flashback.
Here’s the finished video, edited by Tony and with his original musical score.
What do you think? How do you interpret the ending? Leave a comment below!
About the Author (Author Profile)Pola Henderson is a travel writer and city explorer. Besides Jetting Around, her writing credits include CNN, Yahoo, Expedia, MasterCard, among others. She also runs JA Media, a boutique agency specializing in content writing and event production. Happily multicultural, Pola grew up in Krakow, lived in Chicago for 13 years, and is currently based in her soul city Paris.
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