Welcome to my Narrative Unit website! Our Narrative Unit is composed of 3 different assignments. First, we created a flash fiction story in English class. A flash fiction story is a fictional short story that is usually less than 1,500 words. Next, we created an audio book in Digital Media using Pro Tools (see Story for details). This included adding sound effects and music that is themed to our story. We also created this website! Finally, we created a single-panel comic strip in Design (see Illustrations for details).
In Design, I really enjoyed learning how to use Adobe Illustrator and learning the importance of a color scheme. This is the first illustration I have ever made using a digital platform. In Digital Media I learned the importance of movie scores and how music helps build important themes.
In English we created a Flash Fiction story. Flash fictions are fictional stories in which its plot takes place in less than a 1000 words. Read mine below or check out the Audio Book page to listen to my audio book.
Henry ran up the stairs and locked himself in his room as soon as he got home from school. His hands scaled his walls, which were filled with college paraphernalia and mascots. He eventually dropped his backpack and fell into his chair, and guided his dull brown eyes over to Handsome Dan.
It was a painstaking and futile task, waiting for a letter to determine your future. Henry swiveled back and forth in his black desk chair, keeping his eyes stuck on the window. He only stopped to occasionally tap his desk and peer down his street for any possible signs of a mail truck. The clock’s hand struck 5 pm. But this time, he stopped for something else. A rectangular frame was propped up on the corner of his desk. Henry leaned in to study the picture. He was around 2 years old and his father had just graduated college. There he was, in his cap and gown, standing in front of the grandiose building, where only the most selective students would ever be able to walk its halls. And maybe, just maybe, after the four hardest years of Henry’s life, he would be able to as well. Henry glanced at the clock again. 5:05. He listened to the tick of the clock and the silence down his street.
He slumped back into his chair, again, unsatisfied. He began to tap on his desk. He better get in, no, Henry thought to himself; he has to get in. He stared into the photo’s gleaming eyes and wide smile. If not for himself, then his father. His father. Henry wandered into a dark corner of his room, where his middle school soccer medals and trophies lie covered in a thick layer of dust. An unemployed acoustic guitar and notebook lie under the medals. His attention falls to the floor, littered with open textbooks, with the daunting letters of “AP” and “SAT Prep” written on their spines. Henry closed his eyes to reminisce over his middle school days, to when his floors were littered with shin guards and dirty jerseys. He could smell the fresh cut grass, the sweat from his teammates, and feel the jolt of adrenaline commanding him to kick a soccer ball at a given instance. He recalled the warm feeling that arose every time the crowd cheered. He remembered the end of season party and the dreadful car ride home, where his father closed doors on more than just the car. And there went his guitar lessons, buried in the grave labeled “Here lies Henry’s choices”. Henry’s choices. What had he chosen for himself since his life was given a singular meaning? He opened a browser. He clicked a bookmark which linked him to Yale University. His eyes wandered across the page and then back onto the picture on his desk. Once again, he inspected his father’s pearly white smile.
Henry catches a slight reflection of his face on his laptop’s screen, and searched to find a comparison between the man in the picture and himself. His eyes did not twinkle with the same sentiment and pride of his father’s. Instead, his dark brown eyes are accompanied by a shadow, his mouth creased, in the form of an upside down smile. His hand gripped the edge of his chair, but then, releases.
A small engine purrs as it rolls down his street, and then, silence. Henry glanced towards the window. A man wearing a blue shirt and khakis slipped an envelope into the bleak, black mailbox. The clock ticks. Henry closed his blinds, and made his way over to the dusty guitar. He sat down, and began to strum.
For our Narrative Unit in Design, we had to create a single panel comic strip, or cartoon of our story's main character. To make the project a bit more interesting, each of us had to create an animal hybrid of our characters' traits. To the right you can see my initial brainstorm of possible characters.
To begin our brainstorm,we first had to make a list of animals and personality traits that correspond with them. For example, I chose a turtle,butterfly, sheep, and catepillar for my initial sketches. This is because catepillars and butterflies represent growth and change, sheep represent someone that is a follower, and turtles represent shyness or lack of "coming out of one's shell". We also brainstormed locations that our comic strip would take place based on events in our story. In the end, I chose to have my character look out the window of his room. After creating the outline of my character and background,each of us had to pick a color scheme.
For this assignment, each of us had to do a short character study to help make our characters look more human. Each of us took pictures of either animals or people to understand the fluidity of motion and how people and animals move. I later applied some of these pictures as concepts for my character illustration.
Using Adobe Illustrator, I created the comic strip on the left. Through this project, I learned the importance of a Gradient as well as the importance of a color scheme. Color schemes not only help create more aesthetically pleasing artwork, they also help create unity and emphasis in a picture. One thing I learned about story telling through illustrations is the importance of symbolism.
This unit, Digital Media created a lot of music. First we created music for our flash fiction. We created three different soundtracks: character theme, climax, and character motif. These different tracks are based on the tone of the story as well as the main character's traits. To create these tracks, we used Pro Tools. I used the Xpand! patch to add instruments such as a guitar, piano, marimba, and more. Below are the three different sound tracks to my story. Later, we created EDM music, which is displayed further down this page.
Main Character Motif
Digital Media students created EDM music through the Adobe app Reason 9, an app much like Pro Tools. EDM stands for electronic dance music. Reason is an audio tool that is mainly used for non-instrumental sounds in music. We used different instruments and effects to create these sounds. For example, I used an arpeggiator on the synth, for which I used the Dr. Octo Rex and the NN-XT Advanced Sampler. Each of us were responsible for 8 bars of the song. My part is located between 15 and 31 seconds. Below is a picture of the Reason Interface.
In Digital Media, students were assigned to create an audio book for our flash fiction story. Using Pro Tools, we added sound effects and music to our recording. To begin brainstorming our music, we watched a documentary on movie scores. We learned that developing music for movies helps create and strengthen themes and character traits. This was the premise for our music. Click the link below to listen to my audio book!