There are so many sides to a person. We're still trying to understand ourselves.
Clay Family Eastern Glades, Memorial Park Houston August 2020
Shot by JR Productions
Editing and Concept by Kemi OG
Song: No Fit Vex by Burna Boy
About the Project:
Mirrors is a short dance visual that takes one individual and splits them into two people. It touches on how we can relate to ourselves and watch ourselves go through life. In a way, we know ourselves, and in a way, we are still on a journey to discovering who we are.
A Deeper Look:
In the 365,294th day of our time in COVID Quarantine, Life for me... has been very busy. From working full time, teaching classes, working on projects, and trying to train to become a better dancer? Not to mention maintaining relationships with the people you care about... there are moments when I am extremely overwhelmed to the point of breaking, and there are moments were I sit proud of what I'm doing and extremely grateful that each commitment (even my day job) is something I want to do, and something that fulfills me or helps me make an impact.
This does not take away the reality that most days I crash at 2 am with half my to-do list done.
In this whirlwind of work and growth, I'm still inspired to create by new music, new pieces of art, or just a conversation. The source this time? One of my favorite artists dropped a new album while I was starving for new music. The whole album was necessary for different moods, but when I listened to "No Fit Vex" for the first time, I immediately had an emotional connection to the song and a vision of what I wanted to create. In the song, Burna talks about not judging others, but when I kept listening to it, it felt like a message I was trying to relay to myself: to take it easy, take it slow, and that I'm doing the best I can.
The theme of relating to oneself is a big one, especially now we are in a season where mental health is finally getting addressed in African environments (Thank you Luvvie Ajayi and Yvonne Orji for helping me get there in my life!) One of my first pieces - 2 Sides of A Shadow talked about how we beat ourselves down and justify it in the name of self-improvement. Mirrors, on the other hand, is a bit more neutral and speaks to this idea of watching yourself go through life with a level of understanding and respect. It is a state I find myself more and more in quarantine, almost as though I was watching another person. In many ways, I've been pleasantly surprised by my own decisions and how far I've come in terms of what I can handle and how I react to certain situations. And from the other perspective? I look at myself that is surprised and marvel at how far I've come from my 2 Sides of A Shadow days. I'm learning to be more understanding and gentle with myself (Does that makes sense? See, this is why Mirrors exists to explain these things visually)
When Kemi gets inspired, two things can happen: She either tries to do infinity in a second, or she plans out a huge project that could take months or years to create. Since the second was already taken, you know how she handled this one: A whole project shot and edited on a Sunday. At least that was the plan.
Don't judge me abeg.
Focus on your own.
In terms of actually putting this thing together?
Visually, I've been fascinated with clones for a while and this project was going to be my first attempt at finally trying it in film. We are talking a huge growth curve: After Effects? Masking? Color grading? The number of hours I spent on Youtube even learning how to do the smallest of things! But I guess this is how we learn right?
I understood the concept vaguely on how to create it, but I think the main mistake I made was thinking one could keep a camera perfectly still in a shaking moving body. Ho la la la. Stabilizing the footage in post-production made things a bit easier, but there were some things we ended up having to shoot again. Lessons learned: ALWAYS prepare for the worst in terms of your capabilities and shoot way more than you need. Also, make sure to plan your shots ahead of time. Without my excited scribbles, this would have taken a whole lot more time and a whole lot more stress. And you know in this new era of Kemi being nice to herself, additional nonsensity is banned. Lastly, I'm am proud to say that after this project I am not as afraid of After Effects as I was when I first started this editing journey (PRAISE GOD!)
Cloning? Love it. and would love to do it again. so yall watch out! The concept of relating to myself is not going away any time soon.
Behind the Scenes:
So all in all, I hope you enjoy Mirrors and it inspires you to reflect on how you see yourself. Are you proud of what you're doing? Are you giving yourself a break once in a while? Do you practice self-love just in the way you speak to yourself? Or is it just a blank acknowledgment that this is who you are?
Watch Mirrors Here: