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As the last weeks of the semester wind down and finals approach, big assignment deadlines are coming up in all classes, work is piling up, and stress is most definitely high. In ENGL 105i specifically, our final unit project deadline is nearing, and this week we worked on preparing ourselves to achieve that deadline by learning more about the various creative aspects video essays and developing a plan for our own projects. In class on Tuesday, we discussed a worksheet that we had done before class that contained an exercise on interpreting lyrics of song in comparison to listening to the song and watching the music video of the song. Our different interpretations of the same song based on its presentation through text, audio, and video allowed us to grasp the value of adding different sensory elements to our own presentations of our essays. In other words, this worksheet helped contextualize the purpose and intent of our video essays and helped us visualize the expectations of the project and how to move forward in the creative process.

Given this understanding, on Thursday we came to class prepared with a storyboard of our Unit Project 3, which contained an outline or brain map of the music, video clips, and other creative elements we wanted to add to each section of our video essay as it corresponds to the text we are conveying in that section. In class, we workshopped our storyboards in our individual breakout rooms, which allowed us to gain feedback from our peers to improve or guide the flow of our video from a different perspective. Personally, I really found this workshop to be helpful, as I was still a bit stuck on how to structure the clips in my video and therefore, seeing my partner’s feedback as well as reading their storyboard helped clarify things for me. Additionally, in my group we decided to pair up with the same partners we used for the literary essay workshop, which was especially helpful because it gave me and my partner context to give better feedback on our outlines. I also personally found the discussion in class on Tuesday about the worksheet to be incredibly helpful in aiding this workshop and my vision of my own project.

In terms of my own project, I am making my video essay about the short story “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and how the story reflects the real-world conflict between science and natural creation at the time. Like I mentioned previously, I was a bit stuck on how to transition from my essay into the video essay, in terms of incorporating video clips and music that flows well and doesn’t feel choppy or awkwardly placed. However, after this week with doing the workshop, seeing more examples, and discussing with my group, I definitely feel like I have a better vision of how I want to structure my video. I look forward to seeing my video and the videos of others in my group starting to actually come together next week.

Outside of class, I personally have really big STEM class finals coming up, so this class actually feels like a break from that. Specifically, I feel like this video essay project has allowed me to engage creatively with a project as a separation from the typical reading and writing assignments in other classes.

In the world in general, I’m glad to see vaccinations continue in the United States. My entire family is now fully vaccinated after getting their second doses this past week. However, a current event that I related to personally was the worsening condition of COVID-19 in India, where my extended family lives. Hearing news like this reinforces how relevant this class is to my life and the real world, as we are analyzing literary interpretations of ways real people act and interact in society. For example, the short story I am analyzing reflects how people opposed scientific discoveries at the time because of how it conflicted with their preconceived beliefs about creation. Similarly, people in India got complacent with vaccinations because they believed in their higher immunity and that vaccinating was not necessary. This parallel was really interesting to me, and I look forward to learning more as I continue working on this Unit Project 3.

Most importantly, it is safe to say that we are all looking forward to closing off this semester strong, having a needed summer break, and hopefully staying safe to eventually have more in-person interactions next semester.


Featured Image Source:

Google Images, Creative Commons license.

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