How To Simultaneously Create a Great Birthday Gift and Conquer Mild Social Anxiety at a Party


- smart phone 
- alcohol
- more alcohol
- video editing app 
- maybe a little more alcohol?


1) While your friend is otherwise occupied, introduce yourself around to his or her guests and quietly explain that you're creating a video as a surprise present. Say you'd be grateful if they'd contribute a few minutes of their time, to record either a best wishes message, share a funny story, relay a favorite memory, or just tell the thing they love most about the birthday guy/girl. Tell them you'll give them some time to think about what they'd like to say, and you'll check back in a little while.

2) If the party is being held in someone's home, find the host and explain what you're up to. Ask if there's a quiet room or hallway that you can use.

3) Make sure everyone you plan on recording is getting good and drunk. 

4) Optional: record footage of the party and the guest of honor with his/her friends, to mix into the video.

5) When the party starts to get loud and raucous, it's time to start collecting messages. Slyly spirit guests - solo or in small groups - off to the quietest, most out of the way spot you can. 

6) See that big red button? Hit it. Repeat as necessary. 

7) Edit your masterpiece. iMovie is perfect for this sort of thing. You can easily import vids, trim and filter them, add titles, transitions and music, etc. 

8) Put the finished movie on a thumb drive for your friend, along with a separate folder containing the unedited clips in case they'd like those, too.

9) Enjoy your friend's delight and pat yourself on the back for putting aside your fears and mingling (sort of, anyway) at a party. 


It's Krista's birthday and these are her friends, so it's not my place to share the finished movie. But I'm really pleased with how it came out so I can't resist posting some screenshots. It's the second time I've done this for someone (though this time I got much fancier with it) and while the editing afterward can take some time, trust me it's worth it for the reaction. Krista texted tonight after finding it on her door, and her response made my day: I'd call you but I'm still choking. IDK what to say. I watched it again and cried more. I love it so much. I'll cherish that forever, seriously. 

Notes: I used the option to embed one video on top of another (again, in iMovie, right on my phone) and slowed the speed down on those smaller vids to 1/2. This gave a really cool contrast between the two windows, and the slower motion made the party scenes look extra pretty. I ended with a clip of Krista blowing out her candles and making a speech. Happy to explain anything in more specific steps to anyone who needs it - just email me!