I do way too much during the holiday season, I admit it. The problem is, I LOVE doing things and much in the way I’m living my life, I’m trying to squeeze as much out of the time available as possible.
That’s how I ended up doing a music video this year when as recently as a month ago, I had absolutely no intentions of doing one.
One of my annual holiday traditions is creating a Christmas CD. Some great songs, some silliness, a few inspiring tidbits–whatever it takes to launch people into the Christmas spirit. For 11 years now, these CD’s have featured everything from Larry Nelson’s reading of “A cup of Christmas Tea” to one of the fun radio parody commercials I did on the radio years ago, “Baby Cost-a-lot” to this year’s “Live coverage of the 1st Christmas with Keith Jackson.” Something old, something new…
Recently, I met a young lady named Alana Baxter. She had taken voice training lessons from my buddy, Scott Burns, and it was during that time Scott learned about her singing ability. When I heard she was coming in to do some recording one week, I thought, “What song could we also have her record while she was in?”
Wedged into this time of year is another big project–the annual company video, a collection of skits and bits that we show at the Destination Marketing Awards Dinner. One of the things I do is a photo montage of the past year’s events and so, to go along with that, I wrote lyrics for, “Have yourself a Destination Christmas.”
But, heck…while she was in our studio with those headphones on, I might as well try to get her to sing a little something for my Christmas CD. So, I began to think about possibilities–Christmas….Christmas Eve…Christmas Night….uh….wait. What’s that Katy Perry song that I liked….oh yeah, “Last Friday Night.” We could make it “O Holy Night”. Naw…..wait–“It’s Silent Night”. A little more like the original title. Yeah.
Then, seriously, the lyrics flowed. My Lutheran upbringing and being such a huge fan of Christmas helped me fill in the blanks, rhyme the words and next thing you know, I had the lyrics for the song. I checked with Alana and she was game, although she was not familiar with the song. So, I sent her a copy to make her aware of how it was sung and the melody and when she came into the studio that day, it just clicked.
So, under the careful recording ear of Scott Burns, I got the pieces, took them home and mixed down a song. It really clicked. But songs these days need videos. It’s a very visual world. However, we had seven things on the calendar that first weekend in December and Alana’s scheduled was pretty tight. So, we agreed to see if there was any possibility the following weekend to shoot some video.
A week later, we checked back in with each other and sure enough, her Saturday morning was open. So was mine. During the week, I went to a couple of festive places around the area, Molbak’s and Wight’s, two nurseries that also decked out during the holiday season, and shot video of everything Christmas I could find, especially nativity scenes. We had also gone to my brother-in-law Kris’ annual party at a house where they always have up over a dozen Christmas trees. Another party which was German-themed and featured a Christmas tree with lit candles on it, filmed there. Went to a Luciafest service and video’d a girl wearing a candle headpiece. Where ever there was Christmas to be found–outdoor displays, my company Christmas party–I had the camera.
The Saturday morning we gathered at Swanson’s, Alana had the song on her phone and would cue it up to a section, hit play and lip-sync away. In less than an hour, we roamed all over the nursery, which not only had the beautiful plants and decorations, but also reindeer, a donkey and an actual camel. Alana was even brave enough to lip-sync while petting the camel. I was sweating bullets with her being that close and her fingers looking like carrots, but it was an incredible piece of footage.
So now, I had all the pieces. The only trick was finding the time to edit. With all the holiday happenings, work on steroids the weeks before Christmas and all of the other holiday pressures, it was just a matter of going for it. Early rises on Saturday and Sunday, mixing the video down, noticing glitches, repeating pictures, etc and mixing it again. We even had people over last Sunday and I spent the bulk of the time downstairs editing while they made lefse upstairs.
All that being said, I’m incredibly proud of how the video has turned out. With Alana’s voice delivering and her cuteness playing so well on camera, I hope you’ll take a couple of minutes out of your crazy holiday schedule to just sit and watch the fun and the festiveness of this little piece. You’ll see me briefly as the town crier up at Country Village in Bothell, hanging with Santa at Molbak’s, some of the holiday lights we’ve enjoyed over the years….
I hope this song gives you a kick in the Christmas pants and let these days before the holiday get as festive as possible. Getting this thing done, especially this year, was nothing short of a miracle.
Special thanks to Alana Baxter, Scott Burns and my wife Victoria for supporting the madness.