in 1secondeveryday, videos

Another Year in the Life of David Chen

Last year, I wrote a whole series of essays about my attempts to chronicle my life one second at a time. You can watch last year’s video here.

I have finally completed this year’s video, which starts the day after my birthday in 2013. Round 2 of the 1SecondEveryday challenge was considerably more difficult this time around. Here are some thoughts on doing this project again this year:

Time is a flat circle – It’s true: the more things change, the more they stay the same. When you compare the two videos, there are a lot of similarities. A lot of riding the Microsoft Connector bus. A lot of sunsets and scenes from my apartment. A lot of shows at the Seattle Theatre Group (plus Sasquatch!). I’ve started to get into a routine here in Seattle, which is simultaneously comforting and terrifying – it means this place now fully feels like home, but I now fear becoming complacent.

Food – Again, I depended on food for a lot of the seconds. It’s very difficult not to. It’s also hard not to depend upon all the things one sees every day in one’s routine.

I lost the will to go on – About 2/3rds of the way into the year, I definitely lost the will to keep doing the project. It became exhausting to pull out the camera(s) and take some video whenever something interesting was happening. As a result, I didn’t think strategically about stories I could tell using this format. For instance, I could’ve done a whole sequence on the Kickstarter film I’m doing with Stephen Tobolowsky. Huge missed opportunity! Towards the end, as that Kickstarter project started to gain steam, I definitely got a little bit of my mojo back.


In the end, it was still incredibly rewarding – Not only do I now have a visual chronicle of my year, but the seconds help me remember a bunch of stuff that I would’ve otherwise forgotten. Plus, the process of revisiting all the seconds, choosing which one was my favorite etc. was as emotional as it was last year.

Moving to a one Month Release Cycle? I’m thinking of releasing these 30-seconds at a time every month from now on, then perhaps doing a 1-year video every calendar year. The amount of work required for one of these videos just feels like it’d bear more returns spread out over time.

  • This was great! Haha random Phil Kollar spotting 😀

  • This is pretty interesting. There really is only so much you can express in a second and I found myself frustrated on a few shots because I wanted to have a longer taste. However, I do see a very clear person being expressed through the pictures. I liked that you seemed to be countering the fact you needed to change every second with using a shot of similar subjects several times in a row.

  • Mesmerizing! You are able to tell a story by only using one-second shots…brilliant. It reminded me of Five Obstructions by how you set parameters for yourself. And like the Lars Von Trier film, the obstruction is what made this interesting.