Saturday, November 29, 2014

Accepting Someone Else's Insanity

I decided to make my video about someone else's personal essay.  I think it's easier to talk about someone else's video.  Hopefully you all enjoy it.  I'm excited to see how this all turn out.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Deciding How to Improve Our Videos

In class today we viewed 21 "first draft" one-minute videos that will be revised and posted as part of our final project (Take a look! They are embedded just below. Two others, not in the playlist, can be viewed via their blog posts for Viri and  for Hailey). We took notes on production and content issues. Then, we discussed how we might improve these. I reminded our class that our goal is to create videos that can be an end in themselves (assuming many people will view the videos but not go on to view the essays they speak about), and so we need to focus on ethos. What do I mean by this?


The Closet Nintendoer Who Defines My Life

I thought I would have a really hard time making my video last longer than 30 seconds and then I realized that it was really hard to cut it to 60 seconds.  I found it kind of hard to promote my personal essay and the Book of Mormon.  I felt like I needed more time to set up the story, than to promote someone to read it.  Did anyone else have the same problem?  I'm also not sure if the sound works, or how to upload it.  So.... here it goes!

video



My LDS Conversion


I wanted to invite people to learn more about my conversion to the LDS church. It is fascinating how your life can change by knowing the true gospel! I highly recommend you to read my personal essay and practice your Spanish skills!




video

My personal essay

I'm not sure what I think about this project. I feel like I was self promoting by talking about my own experiences but don't know that I could give due justice to interpreting someone else's narrative. I decided for now to introduce my own essay but don't know if it was the best route. Let me know what you think.

About a Brave Little Stripling Warrior

I chose to introduce another student's writing, while also including the Book of Mormon.  In my video, I speak about Mary Ellsworth's essay, Not the Biological Mother, where she talks about working with a kindergarten class, and comares one of the students to the Stripling Warriors from the Book of Mormon. 

I actually found it extremely difficult to express what I would really like to say about how great this essay truly is.  Maybe I just lack the ability to express myself on camera.  Or maybe it was just hard to do with the time limitations.  



I do not know if I would enjoy introducing my own essay.  I would feel like I was self-promoting.  I did like being able to go back and read through more personal essays and getting to know the authors a little bit better.

And really, go read Mary's essay.  It was fantastic.

Vertical Video Syndrome

Just say no to vertical videos


Accepting insanity

This snippet is a taste to my connection to Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

After trying many times to be accepted into renowned Orchestras in the state, and with every try I made, I was always cut. Maybe you've had a similar experience, unable to attain that goal at first--but try after try, you eventually succeed, and that is what is even sweeter.



Here is an excerpt to my essay, and don't be silly, I didn't put it up here for nothing, so read the full thing here:

"I brushed my hands across the soft glossy chestnut wood. Little did I know that years down the road I would invest hours every day with this instrument. It would be a refuge, and a friend, and tool for good, and for learning.


I began logging in more hours with my violin than I did with friends or social events. Now, six years later, being a violinist isn’t what everyone else was doing and that dream of the flaxen hair girl was quickly dimming." READ MORE HERE





Thanks Albert Einstein for teaching me to be insane.

Lets all be insane.

A Promised Land in the West: Video Introduction

Well in class I have been an advocate for creating a video featuring someone else's essay. In attempting to do so, I came to the conclusion that I would probably do a poor job representing someone else's beautiful work. So here is my own introduction to my own essay. A Promised Land in the West.

http://youtu.be/jXliR3Uo40g

Not the Biological Mother Trailer

My thoughts on this assignment change every day. I sometimes kind of hate this assignment and my essay, but other days I love it! My essay makes me grateful for the life I had and the parents who raise me so it is a very humbling experience for me.

I hope that my essay will reach others ears to allow them to see that not every life in American is perfect. Some people struggle to put food on the table and also struggle with addictions. I want people to know that we are blessed to be in this nation, but we need to help the poor who are also in this nation. A lot of the time (at least I think so) we look to help other countries and do not realize the things that are happening inside of our own. So go donate a can of food to the food drive bins (I know you have all seen those around campus and can spare a dollar) and brighten someones day just by offering a smile and a hug!

Elephant in the Front Yard Teaser Trailer

Here is the teaser trailer for Ryan Parker's essay. I chose to follow pretty close to the format Dr. Burton used in his video. Hopefully I didnt give too much away so you will want to read Ryan's awesome essay.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Personal Essay Preview

I chose to do my own preview of my essay with incorporating the Book of Mormon. This assignment was difficult for me because I don't like to video tape myself. I liked that I was able to do a quick recap almost but I didn't wasn't to tell all about my story. This assignment to video myself was a struggle. It took a bit of reruns but I was finally satisfied with this one.

The link to the preview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPxYIklI4oM&feature=youtu.be

I hope you enjoy!

A Mother's Critique

I chose to share my personal essay with the smartest person I know: my mom.  She was traveling internationally and so it was surprisingly difficult to get a hold of her until today.  But as we read over my essay together, I was reminded of how cool she is.  She is an English major and her favorite pastime is reading novels.  Therefore, I imagined that she could give fairly helpful feedback.  I was correct.

Most of the feedback I received was literary.  She analyzed a lot of aspects of my paper, like tense, transitions, and wording.  She helped to recognize a lot of areas where I was too vague, for example, by saying, “we sat,” instead of explaining who was sitting.  “Do not overestimate your audience and assume that they can always follow what you are thinking.” As she pointed this out, I realized that it is something that I do a lot in my writing.  

At one point during our conversation, I even felt slightly frustrated because there were so many things that were apparent to her that I needed to improve.

However, she also was very happy to see me writing about my brother. “You’re a good writer, I like what you’ve done.  I’m quite impressed actually.”  She told me this when I finished reading it to her.  She suggested that I also show it to my brother because he was the subject of my personal essay.  It makes me wonder what his reaction to it will be.  But I believe that I will wait until the final draft before showing it to him.


All in all, this sharing experience opened my eyes to a more clear style of writing, and helped me to bond with my mother.  We remained talking for over an hour after she finished giving me feedback on my essay. 

Checkmate Essay Teaser

I did a video about Darren Torrie's essay titled "Checkmate." I decided to incorporate the Book of Mormon to allow the comparison to be made between the essay and the story of the Sons of Mosiah.

Here it is.

Checkmate's Video Trailer

I chose to do my Teaser Trailer for Darren Torrie's "Checkmate" without incorporating the Book of Mormon.

I chose to focus on the friendship described, and how awesome the essay was on bringing memories to the surface about my own friendships. After about the 100th video, I finally was able to stop laughing at myself, and have my roommate record it, so I couldn't see my face. That's why I started laughing at the first. It took a lot of time to finally get to the point where I could publish a video, but I hope I conveyed the importance of Darren's essay.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEK4iSihs-I&list=UUMJl7Lsv_cFlOgTggKr5NYQ

Just in case that one doesn't work, here is another link:

http://youtu.be/JEK4iSihs-I

Finding Peace Through Music

I chose to talk about the story from the Book of Mormon that I incorporated into my personal essay.  I tried to avoid mentioning the church or God specifically, however.  I just tried to talk about the story and how it was similar to my particular experience.  I hope I was able to talk about my experience without coming off as being too preachy.

Here's the link to my video:  http://youtu.be/H7CdwZRYRcY

Personal Essay Video


I created a video describing my own personal essay and I did incorporate an aspect of the Book of Mormon. I found this assignment difficult as I dislike filming myself. Also, I am not sure if this generates interest about my essay or just summarizes in a less meaningful way my essay's message. Anyway, here is the link: http://youtu.be/iMPunTTKSFk .


Saturday, November 22, 2014

In the Details

I was hesitant to share my personal essay with my girlfriend, Jessica, knowing that she was much more familiar with the actual story of the essay than most of the people who read it would. She's met Elder Clark and the Moore family and the mission president (all names having been changed for the story) and she's heard about as much as I could share with her about the experience.

Despite all that, she still found the essay educational about me and my experience with the event.

She felt that the little details of the essay, the way each character spoke, and the visualizations of the front yard and the wheat field really took her there and helped her understand even more about how I handled the situation. She could feel my sadness just through the way it was described.

She noted that I didn't go into detail about the event but understood why since she knows that the event is a sensitive and personal and probably doesn't belong on an internet blog in any more detail than I've given. She also wondered about the Book of Mormon reference and how it might need to be connected more to the rest of the essay instead of just a singular reference.

I probably could've found someone to read this who was more removed from the event and those who were affected by it, but I felt that having someone who did know about it would help me know if I was doing it justice or leaving out too much detail. Despite Jessica's likely biased opinion, I feel that I've done a good enough job of accomplishing that. 

Thoughts on Football, Duty, and Battle

With this first attempt at the Personal Essay Video, I decided to experiment with the venue or background of the recording to see if it would add or detract from the purpose of the video. I was hoping that a unique setting would add interest to the purpose of the video, but I am undecided as to whether or not it did that.
Here's the vid:

And here's a link to my personal essay blog post:
Musical Transcendence
Leave a comment about a time that you felt like you were going to war!

Personal Essay Video Experiment (Take 1)

This was surprisingly really hard for me. I do not like making videos, or even taking pictures. Ha, so I obviously will need to practice and maybe script something for the final video (whichever way we decide to do it)...because I lost all of my thoughts and jumbled my words. But, I did it. So, here ya go--the video I made about Elijah's essay "Lost and Found" 


Friday, November 21, 2014

Video Teaser Post



           I filmed this brief little video talking a little bit about my essay and talk a bit about what I learned. I had to take a lot of takes because I had a general way of what I wanted to say, but kept messing up. My video probably could be a lot better, but I was just focusing on what I was saying than what the video looked like.

Amateur Video- LA Lost & Found initial takes



So I just recorded this quick take of the run down on my personal essay up to this point- you can pull it up here.

First off I was amazed at how fast the time went in making a minute video, but I think that will make these kind of promos much more accessible for people that may come across them.  From making this video and from the ones I've seen posted so far I definitely felt it surpassed my expectations as being able to draw people in to the essay.  Just kind of hinting at the subject matter and previewing it in a personal way, really helped me to connect to it on a higher level even for people whose essay I had already read or seen parts of.  As it all comes together and we add production or even just plan out more of what we will say or to what kind of people we will be primarily addressing I feel that we can make this project much more appealing and attract viewers who could learn from and connect with our experiences.

Family Themes in the Book of Mormon

I decided to make my video about Tori's essay, partly because I felt weird trying to promote my own essay, and partly because I really did appreciate the scene she conveyed. I hope that I did it justice!

When I did the first take, I was really just trying to figure out if I would be in the frame and how it would look, but I hadn't thought too hard about what I would say. After I watched it though, I kinda liked it. I did do another take, but it felt more scripted, so I went with the first video I recorded.



Visual Introduction

Perhaps a video recording will allow me to better express and share with you the idea behind my personal essay. My video is as original as it can be. This is the only recording I did to share about my personal essay.

Honestly I found no real struggle to share what my essay was about and how that related to the book of mormon. That may be because my content of a mission is and always has been so connected to experiences in the book of mormon. 

I felt that with only one minute available to share about my personal essay I had to prioritize what exactly I wanted to share. One minute does allow you to just ramble on and on. I had to make sure to get right to the point. 

To view my video click on the blue link. 

Taking Back the Narrative

Link to video
This video follows option two (introduce your essay without the Book of Mormon element).

The first five attempts I did felt forced and choppy. I was frustrated that the emotion my essay evokes when I read it at a normal pace didn't come across when I was rushing through it for the time frame. To combat this, I decided to just wing it and see what came out. The video felt significantly more real because instead of trying to inflect emotion into words while reading from a script, the feelings came out naturally when I was candid. This helped me decide what to focus on and led to the second "winging it" attempt, which I shared the link to underneath the screenshot.

I believed I could make things go back to how they were with the guy I was dating if I could figure out what I did wrong and fix it. This thought process is common in physically and/or emotionally abusive relationships. While I had very mild problems compared to the countless men and women who face much more serious abuse, my eyes were opened to the pain that comes when someone mistreats you and blames their behavior on you.

My favorite part of the video is the idea of taking back my narrative. I let this relationship define me for too long, and writing about it and working on these videos gives me closure. I don't hear his voice in my head anymore. Maybe that's because all of the pain associated with our relationship isn't throbbing inside me; now it's channeled into an essay that I hope will help someone recognize if they are in a similar situation and realize they can and should get out.

In terms of the assignment, I'm not convinced this option is the best way to do it, but I also didn't think it's a bad way either. I do think making a place for the Book of Mormon would be ideal if we could do it in a natural way that doesn't come off as preachy, though I struggled trying to figure out how to do that myself.

I'm excited to watch the other videos and see how we can learn from each other to create a project that will allow us to share our stories in a literary, meaningful way.




Thursday, November 20, 2014

Video Experiment

I decided that I would create a video about my own essay, since I understand it and the emotion behind it best. I also decided to not include the element of The Book of Mormon in the video. Here's what I felt about it:

First, I felt really awkward talking about my essay. I think that it would be better to introduce someone else's essay. I felt that I was being redundant because what I was saying is already in my essay. I also felt uncomfortable advertising my own writing.

Second, I was planning on including the element of The Book of Mormon, but I had a hard time fitting it in well enough that I felt comfortable posting it.

Overall, I think that talking about other's essays will be more comfortable and natural since you can't delve very deep in such a short time. As for the inclusion of The Book of Mormon, maybe it would be more doable in talking about other's essays because you wouldn't be explaining as much, leaving more time for that.

Here's the link to my video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyHgfRNZvH4&feature=youtu.be

Assignment: Prototyping a video trailer

I'm asking my students to experiment with a hybrid format for their final project in my Literature of the Latter-day Saints class. They are all writing brief personal essays (drafts of which have appeared on this blog), which in some way or another engage the Book of Mormon (though consciously not in a preachy kind of way). Each student will also be creating one-minute videos whose purpose (as I explained to them in class on Wednesday 11/18/14) is to serve as a kind of trailer or teaser, hopefully leading viewers to view other such videos in the set, and ultimately to click on a link in any given video's description taking them to the complete essay the video mentions (which will be published on a separate blog).

Why the hybrid? We are trying to get the best of both the online world and the literary world of creative nonfiction. Many people are willing to view short videos, and those videos can be a conduit to take viewers to additional content, including those personal essays that are unlikely to be sought out on their own, or consumed much if they were posted by themselves. In short, we are making video trailers that introduce the people behind the essays, and that give viewers a chance to become readers of the more formal written content. 

What's the problem? We aren't sure what type of video will accomplish this goal. I made the following video as a prototype, which we viewed as a class yesterday. This allowed us to discuss some variations on the type of video we will try to make (discussed below in the assignment details). Note that this video is set to start at :32 where I begin talking about Savannah's essay. Rewind the video to the beginning to hear the 30-second intro I give to the Book of Mormon project as a whole.


Logic-ing It Out

I've always had a hard time sharing what I write. From poems to simple essays my writings were mine and mine alone. As I got older I would slowly share what I wrote with select people, mainly my essays. Sooner rather than later I got over people reading my school assignments, but I still had my poems and my own little stories I wrote to myself. These were mine. I kept them safe in a notebook locked away from the world, for my eyes only. Again as I got older I chose to share these poems with a select few, and only a select few. This still hasn't changed. I had mamma bear instincts when it came to my writings and I protect them at any cost. For some reason I gained this same sort of instincts when it comes to my personal essay. It felt strange and scary to share it with anyone who meant something to me (No offense guys). So when I asked my boyfriend to look over my paper I was more than scared, I was terrified. He looked over my draft in it's simplest form as I reminded him that it was rough and I still had a lot of work to do. When he finished reading he started picking it apart and I couldn't help but feel defensive of my work. This was my story, why should anyone else tell me how to write it. But I tried to stay calm. I asked him to try and elaborate on what he meant, maybe I was misunderstanding.He poked at the grammical errors and the sentence fragments. I saw what he was talking about but  I still didn't seem to be getting where he was coming from, that was not the idea of the poem I had in my head. So he decided to show me. He took one paragraph and made it his own. Asking me questions about my own life and what about that event made it special. 5 minutes later he had recreated what I had written and I was startled to realize he had taken the majority of the emotion out of it. He had taken my emotion and made it logical and it made me so upset. I went home that night with the full intention of ignoring all the feedback he had given me, it was just a draft after all. Once I got home I read what he wrote once again, more out of obligation than anything. As upsetting as it was that he tried to logic out my paper I began to see his point. And as much as I didn't like what he had done, there was value in it. It was worth a second look.

Dude, Where's the Conflict?

As I read my essay aloud to my roommate, and before I heard his feedback, I made some inner observations of my own.
First, I really liked the beginning of my essay
AND
Second, I really didn't like the end

So I could kind of sense what I needed to work on and what I could build off of.  Thankfully, my roommate gave me some much needed feedback and direction into what I could add.  After asking a few questions, he told me that he thought the essay had a perfect for setup for where it needed to go but that it was missing something crucial- it needed conflict!

Although the beginning of the essay in a sense expresses the conflict of unexperienced newcomer facing a new environment, there is little in the later scenes to depict tension or struggle.  My roommate suggested that this could be way to enhance the essay.   While I'm not entirely sure how I will explore this dimension in my essay, it definitely made me think about the depth that could be added to the experience as I detail both the difficulty and struggle Manuel had to feel and overcome as he learned the Gospel as well as the inner struggle that I felt as we tried to help him to accept the message.  I look forward to examining my essay from these angles and adding to my writing in this way.  Although I was hesitant to want to share my essay initially, I walked away very benefited from the experience and open to sharing and receiving feedback from more people in the future.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Escuchando el Consejo de mi Esposo


“Vuestra alma será bendecida al aprender a escuchar, y luego al escuchar para aprender de los cónyuges …todo lo cual aumentará vuestra capacidad para escuchar el consejo de Dios” Elder Russell M. Nelson, Abril 1991. “Escuchad para Aprender”

Con esta frase en mente, decidi compartir mi ensayo personal con uno de los hombres que posee mi entera confianza, a quien admiro profundamente no solo por sus logros sino por el afanoso deseo que el pone para ayudarme a ser major persona.
Después de haber compartido mi ensayo original con mi esposo, me percate que hay ciertas modificaciones que hacer. Uno de los primeros consejos que el me dio fue agregar detalles que ayudarian a dirigir al lector hacia una descripción mas especifica que yo, siendo el orador, doy por hecho algo que mi audiencia desconoce.


Con esto me die cuenta que doy pocos detalles, especificamente en como fue que los misioneros dieron respuesta a mis preguntas cuando decidi unirme a la iglesia. Incluso describir un poco mas acerca del proceso que los Santos de los Ultimos Dias seguimos cuando nos bautizamos seria muy conveniente para aquellos que desconocen del tema.

Asimismo, mi esposo sugirió que pudiera hacer que mi voz se escuche, para enfatizar que es un ensayo personal. En otras palabras poder agregar un dialogo en que mi voz se haga presente en la historia y que el lector pueda llegar a conocer mas el propósito de la lectura.

Finalmente, obtener retroalimentación de una tercer persona ajena a la clase me ayudo a tener un panorama mas amplio y en obtener ideas de como mejorar mi escritura. De la misma manera, el poder escuchar el consejo de mi esposo siempre me ayudado a poder tener un mayor conocimiento, pero mayor aun, a escuchar par aprender.

Your Essay Sucks

I had the opportunity to talk with my best friend growing up about my personal essay.  He's not a member of the church, so I figured he would be a good candidate for getting genuine, valuable feedback on my essay.  He told me that he really wanted to talk to me on the phone rather than email me or text me his response to my essay.  I had let him know ahead of time the reason I wrote the personal essay (that I hoped to be able to share my faith well through my personal essay), so he had an idea of what to look for.


He let me know that he thought the essay sucked!  He said he wanted to speak with me on the phone because he didn't want to be offensive due to how impersonal a text or an email can be.  He let me know that he felt like I was just putting in a plug for the Book of Mormon that didn't tie in very well to my personal essay, something that I had been thinking all along.  I'm going to focus on tying in the Book of Mormon better into my personal essay.  He mentioned making the Book of Mormon section more personal by including how it helped me or something like that, rather than just simply relating a story that happened to be somewhat similar to my personal experience.  I felt like that was a very valuable insight that I'll try to incorporate into my revisions of my essay.

Aside from going over the my personal essay, we had a very good conversation and caught up a little bit on our lives.  Even though he's not a member of the church, he knows quite a bit about the church because of me and my family.  He is very willing to let me know how he thinks about things regarding the church, which is very valuable to me because it helps me see the church from an outsider's perspective.  This outsider's perspective helps me know how to share the gospel better with nonmembers.

All things considered, this conversation was very valuable because it a) has helped me to know how to get my personal essay to a point where a nonmember would be more likely to read it or pay any attention to it and b) has helped me have an opportunity to catch up with my friend and share my beliefs without being preachy or being awkwardly direct about my beliefs.