narrative 1


For this narrative unit, we based our work off of this central question: How well can you visually tell a structured story?
We began by reading several short stories and by exploring prose fiction, which is a short piece of fictional writing.  We practiced communicating character and story arc through descriptive storytelling, storyboards, and films.  We were also able to deepen our technical skills by learning how to use the modern professional equipment and applications that are offered here at Freestyle, including Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Dreamweaver, Adobe Premiere Pro, Avid Pro Tools, and Adobe Audition.
The Visual Narrative Project really helped me practice all the skills that we have learned throughout the year.  We also did a lot more group work (the narrative film was done with a partner and we had a lot of peer review help for the short story in English) which I liked a lot because it exposed me to others’ ideas on things to add or how to improve my work which I felt wasn’t as prominent in the last unit.  It allowed me to grow and learn more from my peers, which I felt was really important because it allowed me to improve as a storyteller and digital artist.  I learned how to convey my ideas in a way that was more colorful and engaging, especially after being introduced to the Wacom tablet and Illustrator!


The assignment in English was to write a fictional short story that revolved around a main character who encounters a conflict and has to figure out how to solve it.  We read a lot of short stories in class to see some examples that would teach us how to show rather than tell.  Through the writing, I demonstrated strong characterization, detailed description of the setting and action, and an effective use of figurative language. 
The inspiration for my story was a friend of mine who moved away around two years ago.  Her family was constantly moving because of her father’s work and she had lived in countries like India, Italy, Japan, and France.  I was really sad when she told me that she would have to move again in the summer, and all the way to Sweden!  All of her stories of her constantly fluctuating lifestyle and experiences of having to adapt to all of the new places that she moved to inspired me to base my short story on a character that lived the same kind of life.Although I myself did not have personal experience, I was able to FaceTime and gather more information from my friend which helped a lot to develop my main character. 
For the audio version of my story, I first recorded the story on the audio recorders that we received in Digital Media.  Then, I imported the file into Adobe Audition which we also learned how to use in DM.  Lastly, I read through the story again and found sound effects and music that I felt fit with the flow of the story. 
I valued being able to fully express my creative writing style.  Mr. Greco didn’t constrain our creativity much and the rubric for this assignment was reasonable, which made it a lot easier to write since I didn’t have to worry so much about writing solely to make the requirements.  It was also really interesting and fun using Audition to put the short story audio together. 
home: a short story by isabel luk

click here to read along with the short story audio

a screenshot of how I put together the short story audio on Adobe Audition


The theme that I was going for when I was making these banners was simplistic and hand-drawn.  I also used pastel colors and light shades of grey which I thought went well together.  The four banner images on this page were created with Illustrator.
Introduction banner: I drew two simple turtles and hearts, indicating that they are in love.  This banner represents my junior narrative film, which was one of the major projects for this unit.
Story banner: For this banner, I decided to draw the main character of my short story, Hailey.  In the drawing, she has planets circling around her head because of the lack of a sense of belonging that she feels throughout the story.  I wanted to portray how she was feeling: lost and dazed.
Illustrations banner: Earlier in the unit when we were first learning how to use Illustrator, Mr. Flo taught us about brush strokes so I wanted to play around with that skill and see if I could make paint brush looking strokes.
Film Media banner: To represent film, I drew a camera and a clapboard.  Since I didn’t quite know how to assemble those objects on the banner, I decided to duplicate them many times and make them repeat in a pattern.
personal illustration

For my personal illustration project, I thought about the ekphrastic poems that we wrote in English for the conceptual unit and decided that I would create my illustration about an artist that I’ve been fond of.

I wouldn’t normally call myself an art enthusiast, but this artist’s work has definitely stood out to me and is truly interesting to me.  After visiting the Louisiana Museum in Denmark this past summer, where I was able to see one of this artist’s most famous installation artworks, I was immediately inspired.  This artwork was unlike any that I had ever experienced, and I felt mesmerized by the seemingly endless dots of light that were reflected around me.

The artist that I’m referring to is Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese contemporary artist who dedicated her whole life to art in the form of paintings, films, sculptures, and her most famous installations.


This personal illustration is based from the installation, Gleaming Lights of the Souls, which was Kusama’s exhibit at the Louisiana Museum in Denmark when I visited.  I felt that solely drawing a portrait of her wouldn’t be enough so I decided to include a photo that I took of the installation to show the exact piece of artwork that I experienced and was inspired by.  Through this illustration, I wanted to connect who Kusama is as a person and the work that she creates, which features polka dot motifs and revolves around the theme of infinity.

film media

In film for this narrative unit, we were challenged to create a film (with no dialogue) that effectively told a story.  We began by brainstorming ideas and then pitched them to the class to gain feedback and to share our stories so we would have an idea of what our classmates were working on, because we would later partner up and choose one of the stories to bring to life for our junior narrative film assignment.  I would like to thank my friends for being supportive and flexible for the filming of this project, as well as a shoutout to Soren and Priyah for driving us everywhere to film and edit.  Last shoutout goes to Ari for sharing his talent through the making of most of the soundtrack of the film.  
griffith scene

After a lecture on D. W. Griffith and the modern cinematic techniques that he pioneered during his career, we were tasked with making a film with Griffith’s pattern, which begins with an establishing shot and cuts closer and closer in on the main subject.  I enjoyed this assignment because it taught us how to set up a scene, which is a basic concept that would be used in all of our future films.

suspense scene

Alfred Hitchcock, a 20th century film director, was our model for learning about suspense in a film, which was what he was most known for.  This scene was a lot harder to make since we had learned a lot more techniques, such as privileged position and fast paced cuts.  We struggled a lot more with this scene; in the end, the only suspenseful thing in our film was the music.

Chase Scene

Our final scene assignment was to create a believable chase scene with concepts such as the 180-degree rule and continuity.  This was my favorite scene to film and we got extra time to complete it which allowed me to spend more time filming and editing.  We were expected to include all of the skills that we had learned previously (from the other assignments and lessons) into this scene.  I filmed my scene at the Grand Hyatt in San Francisco.

junior narrative film
Our film is about a turtle race between two turtles, Turtlelini and Shelly.  Ted, Turtlelini’s owner, witnesses Shelly’s owner, Henry, mistreating her and calls him out for it.  This turns into him challenging Henry to a turtle race, with the catch being that the loser will not be allowed to compete in turtle races ever again.
Our process for this film was a lot different than that of our classmates, since the turtles that we were originally going to do the film with ended up not being able to.  The turtle story was Owen’s original pitch so we considered changing our narrative film to my story but we later ended up sticking with his story since it was already winter break and we only had around a month and a half left.  We debated purchasing turtles from a local pet store but resorted to animation.  I’m really glad we chose to animate the turtles since we were able to learn a lot about After Effects and animation in general.  Mr. Taylor taught us how to take photos of turtles and edit so that they would look more realistic and lively.  It was a lot of extra work on top of filming and editing but I think it was a good choice given our situation.  To make our film more unique, we also got Ari to help us come up with an original soundtrack which we recorded in the Freestyle Studio.
I valued learning a lot about animation despite being a film student, since this project demanded for us to become skilled with using applications such as After Effects and Photoshop along with Premiere Pro, which is what we normally edit on.  It was also a great experience figuring out how to film all of the clips with the turtles that weren’t actually there, since they would be animated in post-production.

   This comedy film centers around a boy and his duty-bound feeling to stop his evil rival. The protagonist, Ted, has formed a tight bond with his pet turtle, Turtlelini, who not only is his best friend but also is his best racer for the turtle races that they compete in. One morning, they wake up as they normally do, together at exactly 6:34. Ted’s room is filled with newspaper articles and awards that he and Turtlelini have won in the past. They eat the same breakfast of Fruity Pebbles and then sit in front of the TV to catch up on some news. Suddenly, a news report flashes onto the screen of someone named Henry, a horrible boy who mistreats his turtles and when they don’t win first place in the turtle races, he even kicks them out of his house. His current turtle, Turtle 8, looks sad and miserable on the screen. The news anchors shake their heads, explaining how tragic this is. But Ted feels a newfound sense of responsibility and exchanges looks with Turtlelini. They know what they have to do. Ted cracks his knuckles and close-ups of his and Turtlelini’s faces ensue, showing their grit and determination to make things right. A montage depicts their training for their grand idea. At a local park, Ted sees Henry and challenges him to an epic race-off that will change the course of their lives forever since their turtle racing careers will be on the line. The winner gets to take the other trainer’s turtle and the loser will have to forfeit their career, never able to turtle race again. Henry agrees. Posters advertising the event are strewn about the streets. Ted and Henry get their turtles ready, stretching before the big race. A crowd of spectators have gathered around the track. The turtles stare each other down. Turtlelini and Turtle 8 are neck and neck but in the end, Turtlelini finishes the race first. Henry, defeated, throws down his turtle racing trainer cap and stomps off, leaving Turtle 8 behind. Days later, Ted is seen watching a movie. To his right is Turtlelini, right where he always is. But to his left, instead of an empty space, there is Turtle 8 who has been taken in by Ted. Finally, a pan of the wall shows the same newspaper articles and awards, but there is also a picture of the three of them in the center.

behind the scenes editing of the narrative film