Happy New Year, Or Why I'm Terrified of Selfies Part 2 / by Nicolas Cusworth

Apologies for the lapse in writing. It's been a busy month and change for both myself and Sam. As Sam has been traveling all over the eastern half of the US on assignment for National Geographic, I've been hunkered down in a multitude of projects for UNIQLO. 

When I last wrote about my UNIQLO exploits, I was giving an in-depth explanation on the creation of incredibly-detailed human miniatures created from 3D printers. Since then, I've had an incredibly intense weekend of shooting, a couple of intense weeks of editing, and an intense face-to-face confrontation with my own miniaturized self.

My weekend of delirium began Friday, November 14 with an overnight shoot at the UNIQLO 5th Ave store to capture the process of setting up all of the in-store holiday displays, as well as their big "mini-me" display. In fact, my entire first night there was spent on a single timelapse. You know why timelapses are great? Because they make the most boring, mundane tasks look effing fascinating.

That's approximately 8 or so hours of work compressed into 20 seconds. What this fails to illustrate though are the sheer number of times one or more of those damned things tipped over, forcing someone to have to move entire cabinets out from the glass wall, reset the figures, and push them back into place without knocking over more figures. This must have happened, no joke, well over a dozen times over the course of the evening.

As the night turned into morning, the display was finally fully set up, and I should have been going home at that point, but I had another shoot for a completely separate UNIQLO project set up for noon at Lincoln Center. I was faced with a no-win decision. I could either grab all my stuff, get a cab home, nap for maybe an hour, and then turn right back around to Manhattan, or I could just give into the madness, stay there and push through it. I was feeling pretty okay at that point so I decided to stick it out in the store (technically the Starbucks lounge area) for a few hours. The absence of sleep quickly caught up with me though, and the struggle became very, very real. Have you ever been stuck inside a retail store for hours on end with no sleep for 24 hours with holiday music playing endlessly? I don't recommend it. 3/10 experience would not try again.

Anyway, so the Lincoln Center shoot happened surprisingly without a hitch. As soon as I was mobile and working again I found my...third wind. As you'll see below, the video focuses on UNIQLO's dual partnership with the New York Philharmonic and the NYC Dept. of Homeless Services. Lots of children, lots of music. Overall a very pleasant afternoon even if the caffeine that was providing my life-force was struggling to keep up at times.

So that was my Friday and Saturday. Sunday night into Monday was another overnight doubleheader as I managed to film a rather complicated concert with a mobile live-feed/projector setup for the audience (more on that sometime soon) and then jetted back up to the 5th Ave UNIQLO store for another night of store display timelapses. Finally, to cap things on that whole project, Tuesday night was the launch party where all participants got to meet their miniaturized selves and offer their souls in exchange for artisanal vegetarian sushi. Pretty fair trade actually. The sushi was super good.  

The Selfless Selfie video required so many shoots and just an incredible amount of footage, but in the end UNIQLO decided to compress it all into a brisk 1:15 video. I unfortunately could not edit this as I was dealing with the NY Phil video simultaneously, but the things I shot look good at least! Just wish the video gave a better sense of what was actually, you know, happening through this entire process.

I figured this would be the end of my UNIQLO work for the year, but a couple of weeks ago I was contacted with an urgent request to rescue an edit for a video of them collaborating with Fresh Direct. The videographer they hired to shoot did a bang-up job on the filming end, but editing...well, I'll just say this. There's a reason why most people specialize in either video production or post-production but not both. The project was in desperate need of some order and structure, which may as well be my middle names. I've worked a few "crash" edits in the past few years, but this was the first one I've done as a freelancer, and I'm happy to say that it all turned out for the best. Enjoy this little story about how UNIQLO's HEATTECH clothing makes all the difference for the drivers and runners who deliver food to Fresh Direct customers across NYC.

FINALLY, and most importantly, don't think I forgot about why these posts have been titled thusly in the first place. As previously referenced in the last post, I volunteered to have myself scanned by DOOB/UNIQLO for the Selfless Selfie promotion, and I waited patiently 6 or so weeks before I came face-to-face with the surreal reality that is Mini-Nick.

Action Nick: Comes with karate chop arms to smash incessantly into keyboards. Sardonic humor and workaholic tendencies not included.

Action Nick: Comes with karate chop arms to smash incessantly into keyboards. Sardonic humor and workaholic tendencies not included.

Since retrieving Mini-Nick from UNIQLO's clutches, he's become a bit of an internet celebrity and the life of every party I've brought him to (What, you don't carry your 6-inch perfectly-replicated miniature self around with you for all occasions?). I actually gave it to my parents as a joke gift for Christmas, only to have them insist that I take him back (they claim it's because they think I should have it, but the look of sheer terror on their faces upon seeing it tells a different story). My feelings on it are about as conflicted as can be, as I am still not 100% certain that it won't jump down from its perch one night and attempt to make itself the one and only Nick. For now though we have an understanding, and I will continue to use its power for good.

So, given the time of year and all, I'd be remiss if I didn't make some mention about 2014. Really there isn't all too much to say at this point though. The past few months have been, in essence, a transitional warmup for us. Arpeggia Media has barely begun, and we haven't even really stretched our creative muscles yet, let alone flex them. Expect a lot of good things to come from 2015. We'll have original content to accompany all the other work we do. Everything will be bigger and better. If you've read or supported us already though, you have our thanks and our promise to make it worth your while. Enjoy your respective New Years, and remember: at least you don't have a miniature replica of yourself staring down at you when you sleep every night.

-NC