How My Crazy Friend Dealt With Insane Adversity (Plus My TEDx Video).
This is a continuation from my recent post “How a 10 minute mistake cost me a TEDx speech, a trip to India, and my Sanity”. Make sure to read that post before you read this one.
“Mr. Arkin, what you are asking is not possible.”
“Please, please, PLEASE! Just try.”
“Okay. But I am telling you now – It’s impossible.”
The optimist versus the pessimist… Not a good situation when the pessimist has all the power.
What Do I Do?
About 2 months ago I was invited to give a TEDx speech in Bangalore, India.
I discovered 2 things: 1) I need a Visa to get to India. 2) It takes 8 days to get a Visa to India.
Not a problem… Unless you have no visa and leave to India in 4 days.
In an attempt to keep it PG let’s use the word “darn”. (Read the whole story here).
What do you do when the greatest professional opportunity of your life is slipping through your fingers?
I Need To Give a Speech. But I Can’t Be Present.
Here’s a question that will boggle the mind:
How do I give a speech in a country that I cannot legally enter?
I was never very good at puzzles.
“Do you have to be in India to give the speech?”
What was my dad talking about? If I didn’t go to India I couldn’t give the speech.
“What do you mean?”
“What about that Video dude you’re friends with? You could make a video and send it to the TED team in India?
Crazy Dude, Does Crazy Things
“So those are the details man. What do you think? You think you can film the speech, edit it, and upload it, by Friday.”
“Yeah man. We can do it.”
“Alright. I’ll be at your place tomorrow.”
I check my email 5 minutes later.
“Let’s test our ability to respond to circumstance!” – Kenji [Click to tweet]
Gosh! That’s inspiring!
Wednesday 6pm – The Meeting
I arrive at Kenji’s place at 6pm.
We sat down at the table.
“How are we going to do this?”
We ran through a few ideas. Nothing seemed to click.
Kenji was quiet.
He looked at me and smiled.
“You worry about the speech. I’ll get the video. Just do what I tell you to do.”
Follow directions… I can do that.
He made a few quick calls hung up and smiled -
“Grab your bag. We’re heading to my work. We’ll film there.”
… Just follow directions.
Wednesday 8pm The Filming
“Alright, you’re gonna give the speech over and over again. Imagine your giving it to the audience. Act like I’m not here”
A 17 minute speech takes 2 1/2 hours when you give it 8 times.
We were done. I said that wrong. I was done…
“You sure y0u got this? Is there anything I can do to help?”
“You did your part. You gave the speech. Now I’ll do my thing.”
It was out of my hands. The Ball was in Kenji’s court.
I walked to the train station and headed home.
It’s 11pm Wednesday night and Kenji is leaving town at 5am Friday morning.
Subtracting his full time job (Thursday from 8 am to 5 pm) this gives him 18 hours to get it done… Assuming he doesn’t sleep and can magically teleport to work and back.
As I sat on the train staring out the window I pulled out my phone for some sign of reassurance.
I looked over his email.
“Let’s test our ability to respond to circumstance!”
I hope this is a test we could pass…
The next day and half are a blur.
It’s a race against time.
Kenji’s dream is to make videos for a living. Here’s his chance.
You can’t half a$$ your dream… If you want it to be real. [Click to tweet]
The remainder of Wednesday night is spent uploading and cutting the film.
2 1/2 hours of video… into 17 minutes. Days blur into one when you don’t go to sleep.
Though he’s physically at work his mind is on the video
“I can cut that.”
“I’ll add this.”
“That’s no good. How can I pull in their emotions?”
The workday ends, the brainstorming is over.
It’s time to edit.
He drops by the convenience store on the way home.
Grabs a coffee and dinner.
“Won’t have time to get this later.”
Gets home. Sits down.
The next 8 hours would “test his ability to respond to circumstance”.
Thursday 7pm – The Test
“How to Multi Cam.”
He typed it in the search engine.
Kenji used 2 cameras to film the speech.
Problem: He didn’t know how to edit video that used 2 cameras.
How do you keep the flow of things perfectly in sync? How do you align the audio? How often should the angle change?
You ever watch a TV show and the sound doesn’t align with the actors lips… It sucks.
If the sound is a quarter of a second off – it will suck. We don’t want the video to suck.
There is literally no room for error.
The Problem Is The Critical Area
Let me repeat this: The entire video is based on a concept that Kenji doesn’t know how to do.
He has less than 8 hours to learn a new skill, use the skill, and finish the video.
As I write this I see his words one more time:
“Let’s test our ability to respond to circumstance!”
Words mean nothing with no action. They mean everything when backed by action. [Click to tweet]
The remainder of the evening would be spent with 2 computer screens opened up.
His laptop was open to a YouTube Tutorial of “How to Multi Cam.”
As he learned it, he implemented it on his desktop.
Learn and do. Learn and do. Learn and do.
The Phone Call- Friday 3 am.
I’m woken up by the phone on my pillow.
“Yo man, it’s done.”
“Yup! Yup! Let me know what you think about it when it’s uploaded.”
“Glad to help. I got to get going… I’m gonna get some laundry done before I head out.”
It’s 3 am… And dude is gonna do some laundry.
I guess you gotta be a little crazy, if you’re gonna do crazy things…
Below is the video of the TEDx speech that Kenji and I put together.
I wasn’t able to make it to India, so they showed this instead.
Thank you Kenji. Words can do no justice for my appreciation.
Below are some pictures from the event.
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