Matt Bray, a Naperville resident and student at College of DuPage, filmed himself donating nearly $400 worth of toys to a Toys for Tots collection at Colonial Café earlier in December for his bucket list YouTube channel, ProjectOneLife.
The idea for his project came more than a year earlier.
In late 2011, Bray was sitting in class at College of DuPage when a swarm of floating ambitions collided into one goal. He and a few friends would take a big trip to New York, making some stops along the way while documenting the entire thing on video.
“It was insanely fun and after that trip, I wanted to keep doing that, I wanted to keep documenting,” Bray said.
The trip, and Bray’s fascination with capturing experiences on film, grew into another idea: a bucket list film series called ProjectOneLife. Since 2012, Bray has notched nearly 30 items off his bucket list, including sky diving, riding in a NASCAR, mastering the floating man illusion and giving to charity.
What’s the story behind the charity video?
In November when we were filming the personal chef video I realized I wanted to give to charity and I thought the best time to do that would be Christmas. The experience was so amazing, we had fun just goofing around and buying the toys and I thought that would be the best part but giving the toys away was hands down better.
I just remember feeling so good when it was done; it honestly just was an amazing feeling and a great day.
How do you decide what to put on your bucket list?
Anytime I think of or see something that makes me say “I want to do that,” I immediately put that on the list, no matter how stupid or hard it is.
What motivates you to continue to pursue items on your bucket list?
Its just so motivating for me to be reading these amazing goals I have and seriously thinking to myself and believing that I can accomplish a lot of those.
I think the greatest idea I have ever come up with is making my bucket list. I feel if you have ever meet someone who doesn't know what they want to do with their life or what kind of career they want, they should write a bucket list and go after it. I believe it is the best way for people to figure out what they enjoy and experience it first hand.
What’s the process like to create your videos?
Most of the time it takes about a day to shoot the videos, but I plan months ahead most of the time to figure out when I’ll do this, how will I be able to do that, how can I do this and make an entertaining video out of it, who will be there, just a lot of different factors.
For example, with my recent charity video I could have just donated some money and crossed it off the list, but when I wrote it on the list I imagined doing something big, so I came up with a good idea and went through with it.
What have you learned since you started making the bucket list videos?
I learned an extreme amount about filming and editing videos, also a lot about cameras and camera equipment. Also a lot of weird talents such as juggling and performing card tricks.
But I also learned a lot about planning and how to communicate with people in different situations. There are just so many things you pick up because of in different experiences.
What bucket list item are you looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to Jan. 25 because I’m going to be entering a ping pong tournament where I’m planning on making an amazing entrance to the tournament and also testing my skills as a ping pong player.