Most people spend their weekends relaxing and catching up on sleep that they missed during the stressful weekdays they’ve survived. They watch television, read, and generally relax. Instead of any of those activities, this weekend I did the exact opposite.
Over this past weekend, I broke my own record for longest time awake. My old time of 18 hours was child’s play compared to my new best of 36. The delirium and psychosis of sleep deprivation is quite an interesting experience but not necessarily one I would recommend anytime soon.
To explain myself a little further, I didn’t just do this for the fun of it, as enjoyable as it was. I instead worked with a team of other BFA’s within SMU’s Meadows School to participate in a 24-Hour Video Race held in Dallas. This is an event held every year in which teams of people go to a local theater and receive a topic, theme, character, prop, and other requirements to make a short film out of. The contestants then have a full 24 hours to write, shoot, and edit a film under five minutes in length to later screen at the same theater.
I worked with a fantastic team consisting of myself, Dani Kubitz, Rachel Cocke, Annalee Walton, and Spencer Reppond. Everyone worked well together and used their talents to piece together a small project we’re all very proud of. Shockingly, we weren’t at each other’s throats by the end of it, although we were quite delirious and somewhat starved. It was a great experience and something I would do again in a heartbeat.
What I will say is that this competition is not for the light-hearted. There were very high highs but there were also extremely low lows. Spending four hours at Café Brazil to come up with a story only to walk away in vain is not the greatest feeling in the world. And the ten pounds of pancakes don’t help as much as you might think.
Not only was the creative process more difficult than any of us had anticipated, but the use of technology essentially took around five years off our lives. Whether it was the beeping within the microphone that just couldn’t be stopped or the editing software telling us it “quit unexpectedly,” there were quite a few moments of utter despair and unrelenting frustration.
All that being said, I’ve never felt such a sense of accomplishment as I did once we had finished. Maybe it was the fact that I hadn’t closed my eyes other than to blink in over a day, but I was gleaming with joy at the conclusion of our project. I honestly don’t even remember watching it before turning it in, even though I’m sure we did, but I do remember being extremely proud of myself, my teammates, and our short film.
As our idea came to fruition, I watched the smiles of relief on everyone’s faces as we handed in our final copy and only had one thought: “Thank god I can sleep now.”