“How well can you visually tell a structured story?”
Starting with an exploration of prose fiction and graphic novels, we practiced communicating character and story arc through descriptive storytelling, narrative digital art, storyboards, and films. We broadened our technical communication skills by learning a variety of modern professional equipment and applications such as Wacom Digital Drawing Pads, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, Avid Pro Tools, HTML/CSS, and Google Apps.
The Visual Narrative projects allowed me to tell the stories that I wanted. In Film class, I expressed the more “out of this world” side of me. In Digital Media, I learned the fundamentals of Photoshop and Illustrator to enhance my vision for my photos and projects. Finally, in English, I got to tell a story of a teenage treasure hunter and share my opinions and voice on how current world issues related to George Orwell’s novel “1984.”
In English, our first assessment was our short story. We learned how to develop characters and create plot maps for our story arc. My story is titled The Silver bone and follows the character Billy Bridge a teen treasure hunter located in Portland Maine who is on his biggest case yet. Finding the long-lost treasure of his grandfather Amis Arnolds. I was inspired by Portland Maine itself. I have always found fascination in Maine and thought it would be cool to write a story set there.
The process of recording the audio and making the album art was really fun. I used Pro Tools to edit my audio recording together with sound effects. For the Album art I used Illustrator and created a cover that I am really proud of.
The Silver Bone
Sweat gathered on his palms. Billy Bridge, age sixteen, standing six-foot three-inches, loomed over his desk. He took the edge of his oversized Champion hoodie and wiped his hands dry, “Dang,” he thought “this is gonna be hard.” Billy Bridge is no ordinary 16 years old. In fact, he is a treasure hunter who has found plenty of lost treasures around the world and graduated high school at 14. Billy is tackling his biggest challenge yet. He’s seeking the long-lost treasure of his great grandfather Amis Arnolds, the extraordinary inventor who came to Maine in the 1800s. Pulling up a chair, Billy starts writing a list of tasks he must do in order to find the treasure. After an hour of coming up blank, Billy slumped into his chair with his head in his hands. He had no idea where to begin. Suddenly he remembered an old book he saw a few years ago during a field trip to his town’s public library. He quickly put on his coat and shoes and grabbed his bike from the garage. It was a cold grey morning. The wind from the Atlantic made it difficult for Billy to maneuver his way through his town of Portland Maine. When he finally got to the library, he made his way to the directory. Skimming his finger along the different sections, Billy came across the history department. “I’ll give this a try,” he thought. As he arrived in the history section he began looking for anything about Amis Arnolds. After what seemed like ages, a book caught Billy’s eye. It was old with tattered edges and torn pages. Its title read “Amis Arnold Maines Greatest Inventor.” He removed the book and took it to a table to investigate. He gently turned the crumbling pages. He knew that there had to be some sort of clue that could lead him to his great grandfather’s treasure. The pages were splattered with pictures of Amis’s inventions. He continued reading. As he neared the end of page eighty- five, something startling caught his attention. He swiftly reread the page and his amber eyes widened in shock. It turns out Amis Arnolds was elected mayor of Portland in 1876. Loved by the townspeople, a statute of Amis and his beloved German Shepherd, Archie, was built in the city square. Amis was the one who oversaw the construction and completion. To the amusement of the town, when the statue was unveiled there was Archie with a silver bone in his mouth. Recalling the many stories that his father had told him about his grandfather, Billy remembered that Amis added the bone at the last minute. This seemed curious to him. As an inventor, Amis planned everything meticulously and hated last-minute changes. Why would he spontaneously put a bone in Archie’s mouth when there was none on the original plans? Why was it so important to him? Billy had to know. He looked out the window and saw the sun low in the sky illuminating the back of Amis and Archie’s monument. He had to hurry. Crossing the square, he approached the statue. Looking around to see if anyone was watching, Billy climbed onto the base until he reached Archie’s head. Everything looked as it always had. What could possibly be there that he hadn’t seen one hundred times. He ran his hand along the bone and noticed a seam on the right side. Billy tapped on the tip and it began to shift. He unscrewed the rest of the bone and discovered a compartment filled with parchments. He paused in stunned disbelief. He had found the treasure. Gingerly he removed the contents of the bone and unfolded it. These were the lost blueprints of his grandfather’s lost invention. With the final chapters of Amis’ story in his hands, Billy Bridge knew that he unearthed his greatest treasure.
“The Silver Bone ” is a flash fiction about how sometimes the things we seek the most are right in front of us. I chose to write this story from 3rd personal perspective because I thought it would be interesting to have my protagonist searching for something that was right in front of him every day. The protagonist, Billy Bridges, wants to find the long-lost treasure of his great grandfather Amis Arnolds. The setting is his hometown Portland Maine. This is important to the protagonist’s development because it’s a place so familiar that he feels that there wouldn’t be any mysteries there. The conflict becomes more complicated when Billy gets stuck trying to find his grandfather’s treasure. At the climax, Billy discovers the treasure which is blueprints of the long-lost inventions of Amis. By describing the way Billy examined the statue of Archie, I wanted to create a subtext of a “lightbulb moment” where something is suddenly illuminated revealing something new in the familiar. Ultimately, I chose to resolve the conflict by allowing Billy to find what he was searching for. This would give him a new perspective. I wanted him to see that he doesn’t know everything he thinks he knows. Even with the most familiar things, there are still secrets to be unveiled.
During peer review, my readers enjoyed my writing style and the overall story but suggested that I make Billy a more unique character. I adjusted his personality to make him more intellectual in order to improve the believability of Billy’s abilities. I was particularly inspired by Franklin W. Dixon who wrote the Hardy Boys because I have always enjoyed the book series. I tried to emulate the stylistic element of an old-time detective story because I have always been intrigued with the idea of solving a mystery.
From writing to recording and editing the story I valued that we got creative freedom to choose all the creatives surrounding it. Next, we wrote an essay connecting current world issues related to George Orwell’s novel “1984.” My topic is government surveillance and how it affects its citizens.
In this unit, we’ve done many projects with Adobe Illustrator. We first learned how to produce hand-drawn photos. Then, with practice, we were assigned the Illustration Project Choice. This lets us create an original drawing that would eventually become a physical object. The options were either Moroccan Candle Shade, Personal Illustration, Embroidered Patches, Clothing, Stickers, Laser engraved glassware, Laser engraved night lights
For This project, I decided to make a sticker pack. Within the last few years, I really became more appreciative of the outdoors and nature. In this group of stickers, each one depicts a different aspect of nature and the way you feel when you are there. From the trees towering above the forest floor to the beach with the waves crashing on the sandy shore. Like I said before I really like the outdoors and I take a lot of inspiration from it in my work.
Illustrator Project Artist Statement
For my Choice Illustrator Project, I decided to create a group of stickers that has a theme of nature. I was inspired by nature and what you feel when you’re experiencing it. I think my main struggle was learning Adobe Illustrator and actually producing the design of the stickers. If I were to change anything, I probably would add more detail in some spots. I would go about doing this by possibly adding trees or other objects you can find in nature. Out of my three stickers, I am most proud of the Forest sticker that has a bunch of trees flowing down a hill. In the future, I can use the ideas I learned to help and teach others about the steps of Adobe applications. This project changed the way I see others’ art and creations by understating that there’s always a deeper message to someone’s art.
The Parody Project allowed us to take an existing song and add our own creative spin on it by changing the words.
My parody song is titled All I Do is Swim and is based on the song All I Do is Win. When I first started the process of choosing my song and writing my lyrics I instantly got stuck and had a challenge coming up with a song that I could base my parody on. I just started messing around with lyrics in my head and somewhere I came up with the line “All I do is swim” and thought that it kind of sounded like “All I do is win.” Another challenge I had to overcome was Pro Tools itself. Since it’s new to me, it was kind of confusing but I kept practicing and now I understand the basics of it and I’m excited to expand my skills even more with future projects. I grew a lot during this project. I developed my skills in audio editing using Pro Tools. If I were to do this project again I would try to remove the vocals even more than I did. In my song, you can still hear some of the vocals no matter how hard I tried to get rid of them. I’m very proud of the parody song I produced. Overall I’m really happy with myself and the product that I made. This project made me realize that in some ways the other songs represent the creator’s personality. We shared our songs in breakout rooms on zoom and we shared how we came up with the parody and I learned that many of the songs were connected to the artist.
All I do is swim swim swim no matter what
Got goggles on my head I’m aint never giving up
Whenever I step out on that pool deck
All the pool floaties float up.
And then they go down they go down
When I jump in jump in jump in
Cause all I do is swim swim no matter what
And if your gonna join me you better pull up
Slather up, cover-up
Don’t want my skin to blister up
When I’m swimming at the pool my hands go up
But then they go down they go down
To reapply my sunscreen so I don’t go brown
Cause all I do is swim swim swim no matter what
Got goggles on my head I’m aint never giving up
Whenever I step out on that pool deck
All the pool floaties float up
In my elective class, we studied the art of composing and completing a narrative film. We learned different film techniques including Griffiths Pattern which sets up the scene.
Then we showed our more suspenseful side of my group with the Suspense Scene.
Finally, our Chase Scene combined everything thing we learned.
Our main project for this unit produced a narrative film. First, we pitched our ideas to the class for feedback. Then we partnered up and formed our storyboard. After the break, we started filming our dailies and in mid-February, we put together our rough cut. Then we went back and cleaned it up, added music, and sound effects. Here are our Synopsis and final film.
Act one opens on a pair of siblings sitting in a living room while it rains outside. They both look bored. The protagonist is sitting in an armchair on their phone while his younger brother is slumped on the couch. The brother gets up and pesters his older sibling but gets ignored. The protagonist pushes his brother away and acts like he doesn’t care about him. He returns to his phone. Their mother comes in and gestures that they should go into the attic and explore. Reluctantly they travel to the attic and begin searching through boxes. They find an old chess set and decide to start playing a game.
Act two starts when the chess match begins. The sibling goes first and moves his pawn two spaces. Then the protagonist moves one of his pawns. The game continues like this for a little while. It’s now the protagonist’s turn again. He moves a piece and knocks one of his brothers’ pieces. We hear weird music. We cut to a shot of the family dog who is playing with one of its toys. We cut back to the chess piece getting knocked off the board then back to the toy but the dog is nowhere to be seen. It’s now the brother’s turn. He moves and takes a pawn. Nothing happens. The protagonist then moves his knight and takes out another piece. This time we see a shot of a picture of his sister and him. She slowly fades leaving only him. This pattern continues The brother plays his move then the protagonist plays his. Every time he knocks the opponent, a family member disappears. First, it was the dog, then the sister. The third time we cut to a shot of his mom in the kitchen. We cut back to the piece falling then back to the kitchen but the mom is gone. The next time he takes a piece we cut to his dad fixing his bike. Once again we cut to a piece falling then back to the bike but his dad is no longer there.
Act three begins with the final move. The protagonist moves his queen and checks his brother’s king. We hear the music and we see the king fall. We cut to a shot of his looking at the board but when he looks up his brother is gone. He gets up and is very confused. He walks down the stairs and searches around his house looking for his family members. He comes across the picture of him and his sister but he’s alone in it. He starts panicking and realizes that he took his life for granted. He goes to the front door and looks around. The cameras move out revealing that he is alone. Cut to black.
I think the main challenge was filming and editing during the pandemic. I valued that we got ample time to create something both of us were proud of. I would like to thank Jamie M, Ben R, Mr T, and Mathew W.