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Ring Out, Wild Bells!

Now that the splendid season of suit-wearing has come to a close for most of us, it's time to look forward to what this new year will hold. I can't speak for everyone on this matter, but it seems that (for me) there has been a theme for each of the past 5 seasons I've been a part of.

My first season was defined by volunteering my time and awful boots. My second season by better boots, and first time being hired as well as utilizing terms and conditions. My third year was my last in a stock suit, and the beginning of me learning how to look my best. My fourth year was the year of my custom suits and photos. This past season, my fifth year, was topped with virtual visits and the wearing of yak sets almost 100% of the time.

But what will this year hold? It's an interesting question to be sure, and one that can be answered as I set my own goals for the upcoming season. These goals will need to be worked on throughout the year to ensure that I can indeed be prepared for when December arrives. Much like the year leading up to my 4th season, I was sewing and making my suits all before summer vacation as there was SO much that needed to be done and there's no time like the present to get started!

I'm currently finding it a bit difficult to set similar goals to two years ago because I now have the Jr. Claus Workshop to worry over and care for. It's not a bad thing, just another load of work that I must take care of before doing much else (though I do have plans to make another suit and perhaps a set of boots this year). And though I know many of you would love me to capture on video all my extracurricular Santa-oriented activities and include them here, that would only slow down the process oh so much more and I'm already stretched thin as a one man crew can be.

Though I am determined to not let that distract from the episodes to be released in July. I have already begun the scripting process and things are coming together. I have yet to reach out to others I know to officially lock anything down, but I am excited for a few things that are currently planned.

On August 7-8, 2021, I have the opportunity of lecturing during the "Advanced Santa Studies” course hosted by Doug Eberhart of ProSantaShop. You can find information and register for this course here.

During this event, I will not only be teaching on the importance of video calls and how to get the BEST quality you can, but also offering a SPECIAL video service to those in attendance. Not only will this be AMAZING, but will also be customized to each individual Santa representative (think of the amazing special effects and camera trickery utilized in Santa's Christmas Special) all ready and delivered by Thanksgiving 2021!

In preparation for that (as well as perhaps attending the Lone Star Santa reunion at the end of April), I have much to do to ensure everything is ship-shape and ready for action. I've never attended a Santa School, let alone lectured at one, but I'm not gun shy about it as I've been substitute teaching these past few months, know a wee bit about Santa Claus and what I'm going to be lecturing on, as well as have a passion for what I do. Looks like the stars are very much aligning for me this year (knock on wood)!

Something I just thought of to also mention here, I'll be replacing my computer completely within the next few months as I need to do some heavier filmmaking things, so my ole' desktop computer (which works GREAT for livestreams and video calls and custom built for video editing) will be on the market for a new owner.

As well as updating and building a new desktop, I've also invested into a new lens recently. Nothing super duper as I already had a 24mm on a cropped frame, but this 24mm lens can create a much shallower depth of field as it can go to 1.4 in regards to f-stop in contrast to 2.8 to my other lens. This also enables me to tone down my lights as with a wider aperture, more light can reach the sensor. You can see how lovely and blurred out the tree and lights in the background are in the photo of this post. Needless to say, I'm VERY excited about using this for much of the Jr. Claus Workshop videos and future livestreams and other projects.

This upcoming season is going to have many more episodes on TBS styling (especially beards in MUCH more detail than explained before) as well as some props and other skills I believe are useful to have as a Santa Claus representative. Some may be considered unconventional (such as the episode planned on cracking a whip), but altogether fun and different.

I hope you are well and resting for the upcoming months, as they're bound to get busy for you, not just me. Stay safe out there.

Yours as always,

Santa Stuart

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