(All photos by the amazing Ashley Garrels!)
Back at the start 2012 at the age of 17, I decided to start making a video each month as I was always filming little snippets of video footage and it would just sit on my camera or whoever’s laptop I was using back then. I had had a few forays into making little videos; of a few months worth of snippets or a special trip away but had never really committed myself to editing a piece shot over a certain amount of time. When January of 2012 rolled around, I decided to commit, to make a video every month of that year, to help document the little joys of the everyday and get better at video editing and using my little point and shoot camera I had at the time.
That is how my little video series was born. Since then, I have filmed snippets of my life on my iPhone or my camera every single month and then edited it all together into a little montage for future me to look back on. I now have a backlog of over 50 videos that act as a visual diary of my life (it’s so useful when people say, when was the last time I saw you….and I check the videos and can tell them the month and year!), it has made me appreciate so much more about the world (cheesy!).
At the time I began making them, I was in my final year of sixth form, ready to take on A-levels and then, who knows? I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life (still figuring it out now) and wanted a project of sorts to work towards, I guess. I don’t think that too much thought went into it. I just thought it would be fun to documents little insights into my life and put it all together with a song I liked and then put it on youtube for the people who were in it (family & friends). These core values are still what keeps me making the videos. I love having some tangible to look back, to see what I was up to, the places I went and the little things that made me smile as well as the people I was hanging out with.
I had got a bit into video editing when I was making singing videos on my youtube channel (that’s a whole other story though!) – just intros and outros but it made me want to do more with editing cause I loved it and it was fun. So, setting myself this challenge really helped me improve these skills, get more comfortable with edit software and with filming day-to-day. The internet today is so saturated with blogs, vlogs, news stations and gifs that it feels hard to make something different, so I have kept my project simple and low pressure, after all, I’m really only making it for my family, friends and myself, if I’m late editing, no worries, if its short, no worries, the only condition is that there is a video. They aren’t professional standard or anything, and I try not to get too worried about aesthetics, but I do love finding new ways to capture elements of my daily life.
It also has served as such a good document of my time living abroad (In Italy in 2012-13 & America in 2015) as well as the end of school, my entire university experience, the whole time I have been with my favourite boy, adventures with friends, travels abroad and snippets of daily life as I had aimed it to be.
I am now 22 and this is the 5th year I have made these videos with no chance of stopping now. It’s so integral to who I am now, which is kinda crazy and also cool, that this thing I didn’t think much of has turned into a part of my life.
I am also now a freelance filmmaker, video editor and cinematographer and get paid to make professional films after studying Media Arts at Plymouth University for three years. I finished my course a couple of months ago and am now on the lookout for jobs. So, really this series has made me figure out what my passion is and helped me hone the skills I need to succeed.
I hardly ever go anywhere without my camera, it’s always in my bag, and I love the joy that being creative brings me; as well as finding new and interesting way to push myself and document the every day. I want to remember the simple things that brought me happiness.
Some of my favourite videos from over the years:
January 2012 – First video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl9nr68UD0E
This video makes me laugh now, but has lots of lovely moments captured and I also used to include pictures! It’s cool to have as a document of my last few months at Sixth form too!
April 2013 – Life in Italy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ly-tzmgL2U
This includes lots of Italy memories with a few travels around the country to Venice and Padova.
March 2014 – 1st year at uni: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HR6H8nqeLRo
Lots of happy first year memories, a kayaking trip and surprising a friend in Oxford. It was also just as S & started seeing each other, so it’s nice to remember the butterflies.
September 2014 – My first month of 2nd year at uni: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONrtuIsH0uA
This involves a trip to Dartmoor, moving in with some fun friends, and our annual trip to Suffolk! It was also just after S had moved to America so I remember it being a time of adjustment but lots of good memories.
April 2015 – Montana life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfnBAIdeJvQ
Last year, I lived in Montana for 8 months and I feel that this video is a peek into what life was like there, it includes, hiking, a camping trip, a surprise party for S and lots of snow, fun with friends and university. I miss it so much.
October 2015 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46SDdwy7eCY
One of the first months back in Plymouth after my time away! Lots of beautiful coastal walks and rediscovering Plymouth.
April 2016 – A recent one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nuEZ7v6_BU
This sums up what it is like to live in Plymouth and go adventuring around Cornwall when we can! April was a busy month of work and filmmaking so sometimes these videos take a backseat.
basically, all I’m saying is if you are passionate about something, practice it and get better at it and maybe it will become something more or maybe it’ll just make you happier cause it’s something you enjoy. I love having it as document and on days where I’m feeling sad, they will always cheer me up!
“I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”
― L.M. Montgomery,