TEDx Reflection

I gave my TedEx Talk in January of 2018.

I am republishing my reflection here:

I have never been much of a public speaker. Yet, what can I say? I jump at opportunities that challenge me. However, at first, I never thought that I could give a TedEx talk. I have never given a public speech, never talked in front of an audience (other than MUN), and never lead a discussion, sharing my ideas and thoughts. I was feeling extremely anxious, nervous that I was not good enough to give the talk and pure fear at the thought of giving it. I think the gravity of actually giving the talk had not approached till about a few weeks before the date arrived. The nerves that were suppressed, inflated. All rising, like a perfect theoretical plot, to its climax the minute before I was about to give my speech. I remember going through all the comic tropes of an anxious person: pacing back and fro, pulling out my hair, and then becoming frigidly still. Aside from not being a public speaker, I was also not a performer. Being center stage, with all eyes on me, though being part of school drama or dance productions, never appealed to me. For these reasons, I will never forget the 10 minutes before I gave my speech and the 10 minutes after.

While preparing for TedEx, what kept on being my motivation was the topic of my talk.  Truly, I wanted to share my ideas and was constantly bewildered by the fact that I had such an opportunity.  I remember the weeks leading up to TedEx were a complete haze. TedEx formal discussions and meet-ups began in around November, December. Around these times were the Grade 10 Mocks. Because of this, my time was conflicted. I argued that the Grade 10 Mocks happens now, while I still have the winter holiday to work on my TedEx presentation. So that is what I did. During my December holiday, I worked and reworked on the talk’s thesis and researched. It was a leaden time, where I was struggling to create a speech that I thought met this arbitrary level I had set for myself. When I would do this speech, I would say to myself, it will have to be done to the highest quality I could possibly give. I was in a sort of bind during that holiday and struggled to produce anything I was proud of.

The next important time period before the talk was the weeks leading up to it. It happened so, that I was still making revisions and editing my speech till the last minute. I read books on how to give a Ted Talk and watched countless TedEx talks to see how other people were presenting. Time and time again, it came up on how the speech must be natural, like telling a story. This was definitely aimed at someone who was a more natural public speaker, which I definitely was not. As you can see, I had to overcome many internal struggles to give this talk; it took a lot out of me. Having a conversation with the audience was beyond me at this point, so I tried to just follow the outline of my speech that I had written. Perhaps in the last week, it happened such that I was annoyed at the state that my script was in, and wanted to start afresh. I opened a new document and retyped the whole thing. I had already been practicing so I knew the whole gist of it and some good lines. I retyped it from the heart this time. A more authentic and unrefined version. Those weeks before the talk were a blur. The meetings I had with the advisors proved immeasurably valuable. They really helped to calm my nerves, and assured me that I could do this.

The day of, I was jumping up and down, literally. Before I gave the talk, from sheer fear, after the talk, pure adrenaline. I remember, while giving the talk, looking at the audience and connecting with them. I saw my teacher listening to what I had to say, and at that moment, it materialized, that feeling of being empowered and saying things that people listen to. It was a pivotal moment for me.

Here is my script:

My slides:

 

 

Reflection on Mentor Video

I have always had an interest in film; so much so that I was considering to take Film as an IBDP course instead of Computer Science. My interest in editing started around middle school where due to group projects I volunteered to edit a simple video. Knowing very little about it, I enjoyed the editing process extremely. While people may think it slightly tedious, editing and cutting clips frame by frame, I enjoy it; similar to how people enjoy coloring, cooking or jogging – I guess it is because it takes my mind somewhere else and I get sucked into editing the clips. From then on, whenever an opportunity to edit a film arose, I took it.

I think I can trace back when I was first released into the world of film editing to fifth grade. Our teacher had a film editing activity – practically the whole mentor class joined – that consisted of recording a music video (ours was Single Ladies) and editing it. That was probably the first time I learned how to edit and fool around, not only in regards to film but also photo and the cradle of digital art. In middle school, I had a teacher who was passionate about photography and would usually take us out to shoot some pictures of flowers or what not. It turns out, I did not have an eye for photography.

I thoroughly was invested in fine art though. I loved color and precision when sketching. I thought my forte was in realism and I would practice as a priest prays. Reflecting upon it now, it most definitely seems my close attention to detail and my slight sense of perfectionism stems from that period. At my height, I remember noticing the slightest lines and angles on faces, and the curves of the chin and the brow of the nose, as if I was trying to borrow these outlines or commit them to memory so I could recreate it on faded paper later. My hand would twitch and I would practice on the margins while staring, often drawing glances; I feel I am overly conscious of that now.

It seemed I most liked patterns and curves; I noticed how the wrist sweeps creating the curls on the hair, or how the finger drawls across the page creating smooth and gentle petals. Creating curves is such a deft skill learned only from experience – I could always relate it to dancing.  Whenever I found inspiration, it could be from a peach sky or a picture in a magazine, I loved getting pen to paper and unleashing my tension. Buying watercolor and brushes, I would get even more excited.

While choosing subjects for IGCSE, I chose Graphic Design over Fine Art. I reasoned how much I enjoyed looking at Graphic Design and eventually the practicality won over me. The utility gained from learning a new skill was more impactful to me, and I can honestly say that I do not regret taking Design instead of Fine Art now as it has helped me so much. The looseness of my fingers has slightly stiffened and I never paint anymore. The only curves I create now are with cursors and clicks, using the technology curated by elegant algorithms.

Graduating from iMovie, I moved on to Premiere Pro: the equivalent of moving from using an abacus to a scientific calculator. Lolloping from film editing projects to projects, I never lost my interest in film. I could never continue to edit my own film on my own time as I never had any on hand. Despite craving film to edit, I did not enjoy filming much, similar to my distaste of photography – all which I find ironic. After a dry spell, I fell into the comfortable and familiar routine of cutting and trimming when the opportunity of editing our mentor video fell into my lap. Editing the video brought back all the memories and thoughts of wanting to pursue this as a hobby outside of school.