Our Narrative Unit at Freestyle allowed us to demonstrate our creativity by creating our own world within a story with unique characters. We started out writing the narrative in our English class and then had several related projects in our other classes. In our Digital Media class we created an audio recording with stimulating background music. In our design class we worked on an illustration that metaphorically demonstrated our character.
The purpose of this website I created in Digital Media is to guide you through our various projects on a unique interface.
This is a screenshot of my page in Dreamweaver, the Adobe application I used to code this website.
In our English class we took time to formulate our character. There was an emphasis on the brainstorming process because without a well developed character and setting, it is difficult to write a good story. I had an idea of what kind of character I wanted from the start of this brainstorming. To find specific attributes though, I had to pull traits from the different people I knew. Below you will find a story about a lonely man named Bill Plum.
Even when spring came around, the atmosphere in the mountains was unforgivingly brisk. However, not even the freezing cold could stop Bill Plum from attempting to garden. This year, his patience did not allow him to buy seeds. Instead he bought baby tomato plants from one of his the neighbors in this particularly desolate region.
He decided that three plants was enough responsibility for him. He named the plants Jeff, Niel, and Don, after some of his fallen comrades from Vietnam. Plum had once heard from somewhere that plants thrive when you play music for them. Unfortunately for the plants, he enjoyed the comforting silence he lived in, so there was no music that could be played. Plum could feel Niel’s presence quietly begging for a tune, but he was no man to give into his inner compassion.
With a stern face, Plum sat in his chair, basking in the quiet calm as he stared down his precious plants. He especially enjoyed the view from where he sat. Not a single home could be seen in the vastness of all the trees. He let out a sigh of contentment.
However, the tranquility was broken with the sound of an intruder. A squirrel on a frantic search for food came down out of a nearby tree. Plum did not hate the creature until it curiously creeped up to Don, his favorite of the plants. Feeling uneasy, he swiftly ran on his frail feet into his house. He came out holding a gun. The squirrel made eye contact with Plum as it put its paw on one of the small, green tomatoes. A red hatred took over Plum’s face - a hatred that had not shown itself for many years. He aimed his gun with pellets and aimed at the enemy soldier.
While his finger pressed against the trigger as hard as it could without firing the gun, he spotted something in the corner of his eyes. It was a box made of birch hiding in the yellow grass that covered his yard. His merciless eyebrows relaxed. He set down the gun and went to examine the box. Wiping off years of weathering, he opened it to find something vaguely familiar. All of his mother’s old records. On top of them there was a note that read, “Don’t let the war change you Billy.” He put the gun back into his house, and brought out a record player. Letting the squirrel take a tomato, he played his plants some Frankie Lane, letting out a rare smile.
In Design, we made an illustration based on the narrative we wrote. This illustration had to be of an animal that, in some way, metaphorically represented the character from our narrative. We also had to create a background based off a scene in our story.
Before creating our illustration, we had to draw up possible creatures. This helped us brainstorm different ways to express our character's traits. I went through a substanstial amount of sketches before landing on my beloved cat-shark.
To get the proportions and perspective of our character right, we had to take pictures of someone posing in their position. I took pictures of one of my sisters. They're rather bad, but they did help in the process of my illustration.
The flash fiction story my illustration is based on revolves a veteran named Bill Plum. He is a lonely, sentimental, slightly delusional, and occasionally violent old man. At one point he mistook a squirrel in his backyard as an enemy soldier. At the end of the story he regains his sanity by rediscovering his love of music instilled in him by his mom at a young age. As the story described, he lived in a calm and desolate place. Most of the plot took place in his backyard.
To create my illustration, I had to start out by brainstorming my character’s different traits. I jotted them down and then sketched out how I would portray these unique characteristics through different physical traits that various animals have. It was hard to do these sketches, though, due to the monotony of trying to achieve accurate linear perspective on paper. When we started our final draft of our illustration on the application Adobe Illustrator, it was easier to execute linear perspective. My final hybrid animal had sharp teeth, a cat’s tail, and was wearing a farmer’s hat. These were just some of the physical portrayals that my character had. They represented his violence, wisdom, and solitude. His location (in his own backyard) was fairly literal, but necessary in my opinion because of how crucial it was to my story.
Our teachers at Freestyle not only had us record our flash fiction story, but also add background music and effects to enhance it's emotional appeal. I made three pieces of music for my story. Below there is a link provided so you can listen to it.
Here I have the individual music pieces from my Flash Fiction audio recording.
A random excercise our class had was to make a piece of corpse EDM music. Each of us Digital Media students only made 8 bars of music at this same tempo. This all of our music put together in one collaborated piece.