Q&A

The power of one second: Q&A with Cesar Kuriyama

Posted by: Ben Lillie

Video animator Cesar Kuriyama was selected a one of 17 finalists for the TED Full Spectrum auditions.

Cesar has been selecting one second of video from every day of his life, and editing them together into a montage that both records his life, and forces him to revaluate how he approaches each day. (Watch: his audition video.)

Last night, at the audition, he showed a first glimpse of the video, and put out the call for others to join him with their own One Second Everyday project.

He made such a strong impression that several members of the TED staff announced their intention to do exactly that. We caught up with him after the auditions to talk about his Full Spectrum experience, and to talk about how to make our own One Second Everyday videos.

How did it feel being up there?

It was a little nerve-wracking. I’m not used to speaking to very smart, creative, inspired people. I went off script from what I wanted to do initially, but I think I got the message across.

Did the night feel like you thought it would?

No. It was mentioned on stage that it was a little less formal than I’m used to watching from the conference on the website, and it helped a lot. The little comedy between the speakers helped to bring the tone to the level of, “All right, we’re all here to have fun, and to listen to these really interesting talks.” The pressure was off.

Have you talked about One Second Everyday on stage before?

No, I hadn’t even told anyone about it until TED announced the audition on the website. Once I got the e-mail I thought: Wow, this project has legs! I hadn’t told anyone. I wanted to keep it a surprise because, I don’t know, maybe I’d forget to keep recording my one second every day. I didn’t want to release the project until I had a year in the bank. But once this came along, I had to tell it.

Is it online somewhere?

Yeah, the audition tape is on my website. A lot of people will send me e-mails or messages telling me that they like the idea, and congratulating me on it. I haven’t heard anybody say it was a bad idea yet. Ever since TED announced that I would be one of the speakers, I’ve heard nothing but positive things, which only compels me to make this happen, whether I go to TED in 2012 or not. I’m going to build this website. I’m going to encourage people to do what I’m doing right now, which is record one second every day.

You said you’re going to make an app as well?

Yeah, basically an app for mobile phones, and a website that will allow people to share their compilations of one seconds. I’m going every year, but some people might want to go every three months or half-year, so I’m going to give them that option.

I’m curious to see what people do with that one second. I have certain rules for myself, like ‘first-person perspective’. Some people might just decide to do something like what people do with One Photo a Day. Something interesting, not necessarily personal but something that connects with them.

How do you do it now? And how could someone do it without a special app?

I record one second each day. About 90% is on my iPhone, sometime’s I’m on a professional shoot, and then I’ll use that. I keep a folder for everything I shoot every day. Then every two months, I’ll take all of them, and I’ll pick the one I feel best justifies it and cut it. I have a template where I can cut it into one second intervals, then I take the second and plop it onto the rest. That makes it really easy to do: just pick the one moment, and usually you already know, because it’s something special to you.

So someone could easily do this with an iPhone and iMovie or something similar?

Absolutely.