The Importance of Being Earnest

Linked below you shall find the entirety hit Chinese soap opera 最特别的爱 (The Most Special Love). Linked in the description of that video are the individual episodes, the first two of which are subtitled. Maybe by the time you’re reading this the last episode will be subtitled too. Maybe not.

Just kidding it’s a web series I made for class. But you should watch it anyway, whether or not you speak Mandarin. Heaven knows I don’t.

What’s important to note is that this was nothing close to what was required for class. The standard for this project was a slideshow with a voice-over, maybe a filmed conversation if you were feeling fancy, and usually, it was clear in those projects that people were reading off of a script.

But when the first term of my sophomore year of university rolled around, and I cracked open that Fresh Textbook for my Chinese 104 class, I saw that “Relationships & Breakups” was one of the units we’d be covering. I joked to my classmate that we should make a soap opera in Chinese for our final project. She said she was all in.

From then on, my course was set, no turning back.

There would be no reading of lines from a script while photos of my summer vacation slid across the screen- no, we were going to do this and we were going to do it right.

Go big, or go home.

Script memorization, makeup, lights, microphones, and a two camera setup, and that was just the first episode. By the second episode we completely re-arranged my living room to vaguely resemble a hospital room, and by the third we had a cast of over half a dozen people, plus several crew members.

There was no reason for this. In fact, it was a lot of work, on top of an already over-full schedule. Not to mention the fact that it pissed off my classmates by raising the bar. (But my professor loved it, so who cares.)

But I had an idea. An idea that I thought was, if not particularly good, at least funny. I wanted to do it. And we have precious few opportunities to do the things we want to do in this life; it seemed wrong to pass it up.

So I did it. I put my all into it. I blocked out my weekends, stayed up late syncing audio, stood outside in nearly a hundred degree heat in a black shirt, long pants, and two sports bras because it was the only way I could make myself look convincingly masculine.

Why? Because anything worth doing is worth doing right. If I was going to do this, however stupid it may be, I wasn’t going to half-ass it. I said soap opera, and I meant it. So what if it didn’t help my grade? So what if it took ages? So what if it was utterly ridiculous? I did that. I set my mind to something and I did it, and I made it fun. That feat alone is something to be proud of.

If you’re going to do something, don’t just do it for the grade or because someone asked you. If you don’t care about it you may as well not even bother. But even if it’s something that’s basically pointless, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it your best shot. At least then you might learn something, and won’t be asking “what if I’d tried harder, what if I’d done better” etc.

I took a boring project and made it into something that I could be passionate about so that I could do it in earnest and with pride instead of out of obligation. I try to do this with everything in my life, but honestly nothing is as special as “The Most Special Love”.

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