10 January 2007

I had to write an assessment essay for one of my classes...i thought I'd post it:

Like the saying goes: A picture is worth a thousand words. Visual stories can offer a new perspective of imagination (or realism) to anything. Pictures and movies can be used for both positive and negative reasons. As a church, we used visual examples to show of Christ and to bring people into the Gospel. Newspapers and news programs use graphic pictures of hurricane aftermath, chaos, and houses burning down to stimulate our senses. Some do it hoping we as a society will jump up and do something about it while others use it to forward propaganda.
I remember watching CNN during the aftermath of Katrina and was horrified by what had happened to the South. Anderson Cooper would do special segments highlighting people’s individual stories of their own personal disaster and how they were left with nothing. I called my mom, and told her I wanted to head down there for a few weeks with a relief group because I felt some much anguish for those people. It took that visual representation for me to really take a moment and think about the situation. (And of course, I know that what I saw on the news was only a small fraction of what really happened down there.)
Non-fiction hero stories are truly some of my favorites. The story of Martin Luther King, Jr., the story of George Washington, or the story of some of my best friends are among the greatest. All of them offer a different twist, a different concept to a basic idea. I do, however, also enjoy a good epic novel. Yes, there is Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, but topping the charts for me is the epic story of Link in Zelda. It may be a video game, but because it is interactive, I always feel like I am a part of a great story about traveling a magical land in search for a princess. It doesn’t get much better than that.
One of my favorite stories from last year is found in the movie Little Miss Sunshine. The story of this disfunctional family’s struggle to make it through their journey to California for a pre-teen beauty pageant is fantastic. It may be some what of an extreme case compared to what struggles my family has, but what made this story stick out to me was the fact that at times they acted like they hated each other with swearing, teasing, and threatening to basically give up on their family. But as much dysfunction as their family had, they still needed each other. The message to me (if there was one) was that we has human beings may come from some very dysfunctional familes, but at the end of the day we still need each other.
I enjoy telling my friends and even sometimes people I don’t really know all that well stories about my daily life. I like to blog. I like thinking that maybe some random blog browser has stumbled upon my page and was entertained by one of the stories I wrote. I like making people laugh. It makes me think that for those few seconds I can give that person an opportunity to stop thinking about all the crap going on in their lives, and have a good laugh about what’s going on in mine. I like to read blogs. I don’t really need to know the person. I like to take a few seconds away from my own life and have a laugh at a story about someone else’s dysfunctional life.
I do wish I was a better writer. I have great ideas in my head, but sometimes I feel hindered by own writing style. I have learned that I write like I talk, and that sometimes my stories make no sense to anyone buy me. It’s safe to say that I am much better at telling my stories than having people read them. I play off of the responses I’m getting from my audience (usually made up of my friends.) If they are really into the story, I give them more. If not, I’ll try to take the story down a new path or try to talk about something different all together. It’s much like a game for me.
The most recent project I’ve been a part of is a full-feature film Fire Creek. This past summer I was hired as the sound engineer to replace the prior student who was graduating. Production was finished and I took the reigns for the post-production work. I didn’t sleep much that first week of my new job. I was completely overwhelmed with the task at hand and had very little experience in post production work.
One of my strengths, however, is analyzing a situation or scenario and figuring out a solution to complete the task at hand. For this project, we were far from finished. We still needed to record foley, add sound effects, hold ADR recording sessions, and then mix the music in with all the other elements. Every week we chipped away little by little until all of the post production work was finished.
One of my biggest frustrations came from working with one of the producers and the music composer. They both felt that the music needed to be louder through out the show. It was never going to be good enough for them. I had let them push me around for the course of three months, and I finally blew a gasket. I sent a very professional email to both of them including my boss to express my frustrations with being walked on and underappreciated. The producer had very little clue I was feeling the way I did. He encouraged me in the future to speak up and make sure my opinion was made known. Even though I felt like I has sufficiently done that, I am now working on developing those skills.
I hate confrontation and would much rather get the short end of the stick than create contention between people, but I’ve learned that sometimes conflict is a good thing. It doesn’t have to be negative, and in most cases is appreciated in this business.
It is the experience I have had with Fire Creek which has exponentially increased my desire to learn more about media in all forms and how it affects us as people, a society, and a religion.