#226 Start Filming for My Awesome Foundation Project

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So the time had come to start filming for my Awesome Foundation Project, the one where I give away bike helmets.

As I’ve said many times before, I have been worried about this project. Deeply worried. In a way, I’m more scared about this than my Mortified show. This is going to be a lot more work. And I have the potential to not only let down the 10 board members of the Awesome Foundation but also the people at the viewing party at which my video will be shown. I want the video to be good for the blog too.

I had asked Tim to help me film and he graciously accepted. I was going to meet him in Santa Monica at noon. I decided to go down early.

I wanted to check out the scene. Maybe find a place to shoot some footage of bikers without helmets. I found out that Ocean right by the pier was a great place because there’s a bike lane and tons of bikers. I got a bunch of shots of people riding without helmets. I thought it would be good to get some interviews. There was the one post where I took pictures of strangers so I tried to get into that mindset again.

Still, I balked on interviewing at least five different people. I made way to Third Street Promenade where I got my first interview. I stopped a guy walking his bike without a helmet. I asked him some basic questions like why he wasn’t wearing a helmet and why. Then I asked him would he wore a helmet if he got one for free. He said no.

I interviewed two more people and they both said they wouldn’t wear a helmet, even if it were free. Interviewing those people helped warm me up a bit to deal with complete strangers. Also, I was realizing that giving away the helmets might actually be difficult which I never really considered before.

I met up with Tim and we grabbed lunch before starting. We were getting equipment out of my car and I was very indecisive and nervous. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to bring my bike or how many helmets to carry or how I should dress. I was hoping Tim could tell me but of course it was my project. I was supposed to be running the thing and I was falling apart.

Eventually I decided to bring two helmets and my bike down to the Boardwalk. I thought it would be a good spot to see bikers. I was right. There were tons of bikers out today, most not wearing helmets.

We looked for a place to set up the equipment and found a good area by the restrooms and the bike path. There was room to set up a tripod and set everything else down.

Then I froze.

Really. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I told Tim I needed to sit down and think. I sat there for five minutes, not saying a word. I was terrified and embarrassed and worried. What was I going to do? There was no way I could leave without giving away the two measly helmets I brought with me. But I wanted to so bad. Maybe the interviews were enough. I could always try to give away helmets next weekend right?

This was stupid. I needed all the footage I could get. Finally, I stood up and asked Tim if he thought it was cool if I tried standing by the side of the path and shouting, “Free bike helmets!” It was the simplest way to do it and Tim thought it was a good start.

I already had on my tuxedo jersey. I added a red cape I bought online, gloves and goggles to complete my “superhero” look. I felt stupid but better since we were actually doing something.

Then we got started. Guess what? Giving away free bike helmets IS hard.

It felt like dozens of bikers rode past me without taking a helmet. Some ignored me. Some said no thanks. A few looked at me like I was crazy. Most did seem to like the costume at least.

Eventually, an older woman stopped and said she would love one! I was so happy. Turns out she was a doctor and she said she sees patients come in all the time with injuries that could have been less severe if they had been wearing helmets. When I asked her why she didn’t wear a helmet she said, “Because I’m dumb.” She was great.

It was kind of like getting the first laugh during my Mortified reading. After that moment, I felt relief. I felt like this was all possible and best of all I was actually doing it.

I gave another helmet away to a young woman riding some sort of triwheel contraption. She was really excited about getting the helmet. She said she knew she needed one but just never got around to getting it.

As she rode off, a guy who overheard what was going on asked if he could have one too. I had to go back to my car and get him one. He was extremely grateful to say the least. It seriously seemed to make his day and maybe even his week. He kept shaking my hand over and over, hugging me and saying how grateful he was to get a free helmet. It was pretty neat.

When I got home, I checked out the footage. To be honest, I thought there wouldn’t be much useable footage since it was the first shoot and I hadn’t figured everything out yet. Turns out there was definitely some stuff I think I can use. I am a long way from finished but it’s a good start.

Most of all, I feel so much better that I’ve actually started the project. The ball is rolling. Each time I go out and shoot now it will only get better. Maybe this won’t be a disaster after all.

Dapper Greg setting up a shot.

4 Comments to “#226 Start Filming for My Awesome Foundation Project”

  1. Will F. 16 October 2011 at 10:11 pm #

    Congrats on getting started! I know exactly how you feel, with projects just jumping in and starting and trying to figure out what the fuck you’re supposed to do is always the hardest part for me, and so I end up putting them off and letting it drive me crazy for a long time. The worst is over, and it sounds like you are actually doing some good! I was skeptical that people who didn’t care enough to buy a $20 life-saving device would actually use one given to them, but you have proven me wrong!

    • Greg 16 October 2011 at 10:28 pm #

      You should’ve told me that because I thought it was going to be easy. But I’ve got some new ideas now and hopefully they will work out.

  2. angela 17 October 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    Yay, that sounds awesome! Congrats!

  3. sylvia 19 October 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    congratulations on getting started! I had really been looking forward to reading this post, and it sounds like you’re off to a great start. yay! 🙂