With the concerts over now, I’m having time to reflect on the weekend. My personal trip only allowed me to attend Dallas, but I was involved in a large part of the planning for the projects – between the keychain donations & banner/colored paper design. A lot of this was a joint effort between a few core members of our staff. There were so many projects that I was proud to see be completed. And I wanted to talk about the project experience from my side so Shawols can know what our experience was like.
In Dallas, I was the one who set up the heart on the floor with a team of volunteers when the doors opened at 6pm & 6:30pm. I’m sorry we don’t have more photos but I wasn’t in a good seat for that (dead center of the heart) T_T I wish I had tried harder during the setup test to get everyone to participate and then take a photo, but I thought the boys would have a final ment after “An Encore (재연)” where we could have more photo opportunities. Everyone who attended the concerst knows that after “An Encore (재연)”, the curtains immediately dropped with no extra comments. Hopefully more & better photos will surface, but if they don’t – I can tell you it definitely was set up well. During the test, about 75% of the people seated held up the banners for us (I don’t think everyone was seated yet and not everyone heard our volunteers’ instructions) and what I saw looked so good that I teared up. I had to hold myself back from crying because I worried for so long that it wouldn’t work – I really only have my volunteers to thank for this project! The heart in Dallas had to be designed onsite when the doors opened because the venue would not give us a seating chart nor let us in early to set up. We did our best! I’m not sure if SHINee saw the heart due to the stage lighting during “An Encore (재연)” but I could see Minho squinting trying to make it out. >< So I know he saw part of it! Honestly speaking, for both LA & Dallas, you really can’t see these projects well unless you’re on/near the stage which is why we’re having trouble finding fan photos/videos right now.
For the banner slogans, we really looked at the suggestions everyone gave and tried to pick out our favorites. From there, we added a little extra to make them more meaningful. We had over 70 suggestions~! ^^ It’s a shame that “So Amazing” was removed from the setlist – we were certain that one would be safe from cuts but we were wrong and the banners had already been printed by the time SHINee performed in Toronto so we couldn’t make changes to the instructions. I was told at the venue by another fan that Toronto’s banner was also meant to be held during “So Amazing”. So after we knew it had been cut, the best moment to put the banner project at that point was during the final ballad – which is what Toronto did as well. Thinking back, we knew SubK would not be able to tell us what songs were on the setlist, but if there’s a next time, we’ll do our best to get them more involved to make this project perfect next time~!
For LA, we had a perfect storm of circumstances – “1 of 1” came 2 songs before the final comments/photo op and we were able to find a seating chart online of the Shrine Auditorium for planning. So we got really lucky that our double banner project fit into the show (even though the timing of the final “Thank you/Birthday” banner was cut off due to no comments after the final song). We were also lucky that the hour (or less) between the theater opening & the show starting was enough to set up with our volunteers in LA. I’m so grateful that turned out as well as it did. Once again, I only have volunteers & new admins to thank for making this project come alive.
For the birthday project, we really wanted to get Shawols to sign a scrapbook to send to Jonghyun but SM considered that an “individual member gift” and would not accept the project proposal. I know we asked everyone if they wanted to do a birthday project both nights, but we decided against it because we wanted the members to feel more equally loved. However, because of “So Amazing” being cut and us having to use the final song for the main banner we couldn’t have fit a double banner anyhow for Dallas. So even though some might be upset by our initial decision, we honestly couldn’t have fit it that night.
During the designing phase of the banners I reached out to a friend of mine who helped translate and double check the meaning of the Korean – because we changed Onew’s original lyrics for “So Amazing” to be from the fans’ perspective. As we talked about how to shorten the banner I was worried a lot about how casual I should make the text. Polite phrasing would mean less banner space (smaller font)… and informal I worried might be weird. I’m not Korean and my knowledge of the language is basic at best. But I was assured that plenty of Korean banners were informal and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted SHINee to think of us as they would Korean Shawols – like there was no space between us and we were no different from the fans they already knew. I wanted to convey that closeness so they could feel at home with us even when they were in a completely different country with a language barrier. “For you, our (Shawols’) hands become a green ocean – So Amazing~!” & “Forever My 1 of 1”
I really nitpicked over these word choices and made sure I understood the meaning of every word before making a final decision. So it meant a lot to me when the boys thanked us for learning Korean for them. I really did start learning Korean for them. And when I wrote the flower card, half of it was in Korean & half was in English. If they read it, I’m sure they could tell that it wasn’t normal Korean handwriting XD I tried really hard! “To SHINee, our 5 men who shine more beautifully than flowers…” For the Dallas card exterior, I included our keychain in a cut out window because I wanted them to have a piece of our project. That keychain alone raised over half of the funds we needed for these projects (banner, colored paper & flowers). It was by pure accident that I made the card too big and had to make a custom envelope. When I saw the colored paper sitting around (for our colored paper heart project), I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought to use it! So it ended up being the envelope. And that in turn inspired our other project admin to use it for the LA flower card envelope. ^^ A happy but meaningful accident.
The flowers were approved very last minute so we didn’t get to spend as much time as I would have liked picking out the perfect arrangement. For Dallas, I wanted specifically 5 roses of one color with blue flowers (hydrangeas) and for LA I wanted more flowers that were native to North America (like sunflowers). Next time we’ll try to make them even more grand! ^^
Even though I didn’t go to LA, my goal with these extra projects was always to show the closeness and love that US Shawols feel for SHINee. And I’m really glad that we were able to achieve that. ^^ I think it’s all so endearing how hard we tried (SHINee & Shawols) to reach out to each other. I wouldn’t trade that for the world! I hope that we’ll only continue to grow to love each other more. Maybe next time we’ll be closer to perfection! ^^ Thank you always for your support SHINee World! We will always strive to do better & be better! I hope you loved the projects as much as we did~! ^^
~SHINee USA Main Admin