Tuesday, November 29, 2016

No Christmas Reel

Once upon a time, there was a time when the return from Thanksgiving weekend signaled not Cyber Monday, but the start of The Christmas Reel. For the last ten years or so of One Life to Live at ABC, this increasingly expanded version of a blooper reel took on a life of its own, as it began to incorporate specially shot stories and carefully planned tributes. It required both the massive undertaking of finding the funny moments from the whole year, and the prepping and shooting of cast and crew to tell a story about said year. While we shot many show episodes during the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it was hard (particularly for us ADs, who spearheaded the reel) not to focus mostly on the reel. Shown at one of the holiday parties, it was a calling card of sorts for the people who worked on it. And we all wanted a piece of that calling card.

These days, returning from Thanksgiving is just, well, returning from Thanksgiving. We no longer exist in that rarified environment where we could shut out the rest of the world in favor of the world we were creating. The passion and drive and mirth that went into the Christmas Reel now just float along--or are put into Cyber Monday or Giving Tuesday.

Who would have thought, on days when The Christmas Reel overwhelmed us, that it would become something we missed? Who would have thought that I could wish that some of this holiday energy were being channeled into the craziness we would create for co-workers to stand on set and watch over lunch? 

But we get attached to traditions, and to the emotions they make us feel and the actions they make us take. There were years when I was far removed from the Christmas Reel, and years when it was the most personal piece I worked on there. There were years when I just ate lunch at the lunch, and years when I held my breath to find out whether coworkers would understand and enjoy what I'd helped put together.

This year, the return from Thanksgiving is just that--a return from some time away (for which I am thankful) right back to what I left. There is no Christmas Reel--it is up to me to find my passion and drive and mirth. There is no Christmas Reel--it is up to me to show off if I want, to be creative if I choose.

There is no Christmas Reel. Which doesn't mean there won't be a holiday. It simply means I'll have to work a little harder to find it.

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