This unit in Freestyle was one of my personal favorites and allowed me to reflect upon my achievements and elements in my life that I am passionate about and/or very proud of. Our assignment in Film was to create a video essay, essentially about ourselves, that consists of ideas or concepts that encompass our identity. In English, we were tasked with writing a 650 word personal essay about a challenge we faced that correlates with our core values. In our Digital Media class, we combined the two concepts and recorded both our personal essay, and a personal rant, which was also paired with a video for visuals. The ultimate goal of each class was to answer this question: “Who am I?” With these projects completed, I found that I valued my individuality with each one. I thought my projects were very reflective of myself and everything I value in my life, and I feel these projects showcase my passions in different forms of art.
The process of writing my personal essay was a lot longer than I thought it was originally going to be. I originally wanted to write about an extreme challenge in my life that taught me a lot of lessons about self-care and those around me. I ended up switching my topic to two subjects that I am very passionate about, music and film. My essay is essentially about how my Grandparents helped me foster my love for both, amidst another challenge in my life that I felt was more relatable to. I think I answered the question of, “Who am I?” by asking myself first, “What/Who do you love?”, because I wanted to use this essay as an opportunity focus on my progression as a lover of film and music, which have become a necessity to my everyday life.
While there are a number of topics that truly engage me as a curious and artistic person, I find that I have an undeniable connection to music and film. Over the years of turning into an adolescent, I’ve picked up a lot of qualities that I’ve witnessed from other people in my life. Although I do owe a lot of credit to my older siblings for teaching me all of their knowledge on appreciating timeless actors and musicians, the importance of these arts was instilled by my Grandparents from a very young age through their own love for music and film.
I remember the faint smell of my Grandma Debbie’s house, which was usually the aromatic herbs from a classic Italian family dinner that would fill up every room, or around the holidays, baskets of freshly baked molasses cookies that greeted every neighbors’ door in the cold-a-sack. My grandma and I bonded over baking and cooking, gardening, and reading, but especially the piano in the corner of the living room. It was very old, and though some of the keys didn’t make a tune, that never stopped her from teaching me every song she knew how to play. When my mother, sister, and I began to live with her and my grandpa after my parents became separated, although I was in deep confusion and sadness from the loss of my family as a unit, my grandma pushed for me to keep playing the piano whenever I felt that way, and she even bought me lessons to foster my love for the instrument even more.
At the dinner table, there was always a healthy debate between my Grandpa and Sister. It could be about politics or the weather outside, but whatever it was, it always sounded so important and they both made such good arguments that there was never a clear winner; it left my Mom, Grandma, and I in dizzying excitement. My Grandpa was always so passionate about everything he believed in, and he especially loved his movies. My favorite dinner table conversations were when my sister was completely psychoanalyzing a film and my grandpa would cut in to name drop the ‘incredible’ actress that portrayed the role perfectly. It was so comforting to witness them have such captivating conversations that I knew I wasn’t knowledgeable enough to participate in yet. Listening to them helped me retain so much of this information, and also construct my own ways of thinking.
My grandfather’s life has decelerated seriously over the last year. A serious fall and head injury led to a major slowdown in his mental capabilities and while the situation has also caused my family to come together in a way we have not before, there is no denying the sadness I feel when interacting with him and knowing that it will never quite be the way it was. I am thankful however for the moments when we can talk about movies and songs we love and he seems to recollect, for however briefly. His ability to retain these facts after such a long life and debilitating injury remind me why I love these artistic mediums so much: they matter to people so much so that sometimes they give people a life outside of their own.
The perspective piece project was a very simple task given to us, which was to record a rant about anything we wanted and make a video with images to further display our thoughts. I thought I could answer the question, “Who am I?” again with things I love, like cloudy weather. I compiled a lot of images on After Effects that showed great depth of the contrast between sunny, warm weather, and cold and rainy. My audio wasn’t scripted beforehand because I wanted this perspective of mine to sound more authentic and I recorded in ProTools and added reverb to make the audio sound less flat.
Perspective Piece Video
This is a screenshot during the process of making the After Effects Perspective Video Project. During this time, I was creating keyframes for each of my photos to get the effect of them fading in and out.
For Film, I created a personal essay video that I felt encompassed my identity. My video is about driving and how it helps relieve stress and allows me to clear my mind. I filmed this with my close friends to show a core value of community, I imputed elements showing seat belts to symbolize safety and comfort, as well as highlighting the liberating feeling with various shots in different vehicles.
I filmed these shots using a 50mm lens, I wanted them all to be clear as the cars were going to be driving at a fast pace. I first took my shots and assembled them all in order in Adobe Premiere Pro. I then just edited using transitions, music, and text to add context to this piece, as well as my audio.