Day Two of STN

I um… I’m trying my best to remember everything that’s happened in the last 24 hours. It’s very difficult.


I got up two hours before my contest, which was highly unnecessary. Went down to get some breakfast; bought two chicken biscuits because I don’t know, I’m just stupid. I could barely finish half of one because I felt sick to my stomach.

After, I went up to get my camera and laptop, drop off the chicken biscuits, and after some waiting, went down to the meeting place for the team. After gathering everyone together, we went down to get our prompt, only to find that in the few minutes between 8:50AM and when we went down there, a long line had formed.

The sick feeling in my stomach intensified.

At 9AM, the line started moving, and a few seconds later, we had in our hand the plastic baggie that contained our prompt and the flash drive on which we were supposed to turn in our project six hours later at the latest. I, since I had the baggie, turned it over as we rode the escalator up the Marquis Level to the Atrium Level, and in big block letters so as not to be missed, read the theme that had been given to us: “The Late Bloomer.”

Maybe it’s because I’m exhausted, but all I can think of when I think back on seeing the theme is confusion. But that’s probably just from my exhaustion, and not so much a part of a memory.

Music Video had begun a half-hour before us, so that was also going on at the same time.

After going up to the loft on the Atrium Level, I got started on the script and forming a story while the boys went up to get the equipment – we were a group of nine, three of which – myself included – were girls.

After about 40 minutes of pre-production, we headed out of the hotel and hit the streets. Power-walking four blocks, we got to the park. It was blistering, and we could all feel the heat and the pressure of the ticking clock, but we got to work.

I’m just going to gloss over the production stage quickly, but we dropped a battery into the water, my camera almost followed after, I had to end up being pulled as an actor, and we were incredibly tight for time as the editing room opened at 12:30PM. I also didn’t know if I was editing or not as I didn’t know if I’d be up to the task.

Soon enough, it came to be 12:30PM, and before I could even think about it, I collected John, my partner, and ushered him and the new iMac into the editing room where we couldn’t leave unless it would be to turn in our entry. We couldn’t even leave to go to the bathroom, and if we had our phones on us, we’d be disqualified on suspicion of cheating.

We got to our table, set up the Mac, and I sat down to edit. My hands were shaking, and I was having trouble breathing, and I had to tell myself to calm down several times, but I finally imported everything from the two SDs and got to work.

The way that John and I work is that I handle piecing everything together, matching whatever footage with whatever audio, and then once that’s been done, John comes in and fixes the audio levels since I hate audio and I’m better at the mainframe (video), and vice versa for him.

We finished everything – color-correcting, adjusting the audio, trimming whatever clips we had to one last time – and clicked to export with seven minutes on the clock, when it told us that we couldn’t export the project as it couldn’t reference some of the footage. I freaked out for the millionth time. Not anything big, but a curse or two slipped out.

So we found out which clip was the culprit and transcoded it again. And yet again, it couldn’t import. So we went through and transcoded every single clip we had used. And yet again, it couldn’t import. So I, very angry at this point, finally force-quit and transcoded the one clip that wasn’t letting us export. That must have done something because it finally exported, and then we copied it onto the given flash drive, put it into the given baggie, and I sent John off to deliver it to the entry box while I packed up.

When I had begun, I could hear all 40-something of our students screaming and chanting our school name while John handed in the entry. While I was inside. Packing. Listening to the raucous congratulations being given to John.

I was pretty fucking salty. And I still am.

John came back, and we finished packing up. By the time I had come out, everyone had just kind of dispersed. My friends who knew that I had also been editing, hugged me. Tired, exhausted, and numb, I waved them off and went to my room, where I was then invited to dinner with John and Akanksha, which I was fine with. I just didn’t want to eat in a large group because that takes forever.

At around 4:50PM, we went down to a restaurant down in the lobby. We were originally supposed to eat with a group of 8 others, but we decided to just go ahead. We ended up eating as a party of 18.


After dinner, we had to go an awards ceremony (not the one for the competitions at the convention; those hadn’t finished yet), and then we had to stay after for STN Live, hosted by Andrew Jenks who’s some god at this convention – everyone idolizes him – but not only was I exhausted, my sense of humor strongly disagreed with his. It was a very, very poorly run production, and it was not a good first impression at all. Nor did I really feel like I’d have liked his personality should I have met him under more “normal” circumstances.

After, we had to have a communal debriefing and got to our rooms half an hour after curfew. Some of my other roommates didn’t get back until 12:30AM because they had been preparing for their contests tomorrow.

Forgot to add a few things, but while we were waiting to be let in (VIP access), a bunch of our kids formed circles, took our customized kazoos, and sang a bunch of songs together. During the dinner, Kellen put salt into Sam’s water while Sam went to the bathroom, and then Kellen suggested saying cheers in the name of team spirit. Akanksha also goofed around on Snapchat and warped Sam’s already frog-looking face. We went up to the 47th floor of the hotel before dinner and flew paper airplanes down from the top.


I don’t have a copy of our entry into the contest yet, but I’m going to get it later today sometime between the training sessions that I have to go to, so I’ll upload that at some point later in the day. I personally think it turned out pretty well and we have a decent shot at 2nd, or even 1st place, but um… I don’t know. We’ll see on Sunday.


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