Why must all good things end?

After a year, Mr. Ziebarth’s AP 3 English class is finally over. To be honest, I’m really going to miss this class. I love coming to second period everyday, because I never know what is going to happen, what Mr. Ziebarth is going to introduce to the class.

I can honestly say that I have learned quite a bit this year. From DIY projects, to blogs, to the BRAWL, the activities and assignments I have completed in AP English have all been a learning experience that I will carry with me throughout the rest of my high school career, and into college as well.

To wrap up this year, let’s recap what I’ve learned in Ziebarth’s class, shall we?

1. Team work does not always mean easy work. 

You may think that more people on a project makes a project easier. If you think that, you are wrong. My DIY project was a group project consisting of five people, and that was not easy at all. It wasn’t that my group members didn’t do work or anything, but throughout the course of the year, I learned that the  fact that there were so many of us just made it hard to coordinate and communication sometimes became an issue. Sometimes, smaller groups can be much more efficient.

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2. Time management can be difficult, but it is extremely important. 

This was also something I learned from my DIY project. Because my project consisted of several different parts (filming interviews, editing, promotion, etc.), it all turned out much more time consuming that originally expected. Therefore, we had to budget our time very wisely when it came to going out to film interviews and such. It wasn’t easy, but in the end, I think I have learned a skill that is going to be very helpful in the future.

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3. Social media can be distracting at times, but it is also very useful. 

This year, Ziebarth has incorporated a variety of social media into his class, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. He is the only teacher I know that uses all them, because other teachers believe that they can become distracting. I personally think it was a great idea to utilize these tools. I hate Twitter, and I had never used Instagrammed before this year. However, after using them in Z’s class, I’ve come to appreciate the usefulness of these forms of social media.

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4. English is open to interpretation. 

“It’s not about the author’s intention, it’s about the effect.”

That’s what Ziebarth always said when we read novels, or when we read anything at all, for that matter. After a year in his class, I’ve learned that it isn’t about what the author was trying to do, but about what the writing does for the reader. I think that’s why I love English class so much. There really isn’t a wrong answer, because every novel, every essay affects everyone a little bit differently, and that’s ok.

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There are so many other things I have learned in this English class, but I think those are the main four. Mr. Ziebarth, thank you for being a great English teacher and teaching me these lessons that I will continue to use in the future. It’s been a wonderful year.

– Karen

 

 

DIY: This is the end

That’s it. We’re here. After such a long time of working on this project, we’ve finally reached the end of the school year. It’s time to take a good look back at all we’ve done in creating our DIY documentary.

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We could not finish the actual documentary, which was ultimately the final product we were aiming for. There just was not enough time to edit all the footage that we got. I think part of the problem was the fact that we had five people in the group, and we insisted on doing everything together, so we couldn’t really find much time for that.

In addition, we did not do much publicizing for our project, even though we had initially attempted to do so. We started an Instagram account, and although I personally tried to post on it when I could, only six total photos were posted. We didn’t follow anyone on our account, and we did not have  followers. Our slack on the Instagram was probably due to the fact that none of us really used this type of social media, so we didn’t know what to do with it.

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However, despite the fact that parts of our project did not turn out as intended, I would say that the project was not a complete failure, because we did get stuff done. We spent many hours filming, and probably approached about 100 different people for interviews. Although we did not finish editing the documentary, we did manage to make a shorter trailer for it, just to have  a product to show. The trailer isn’t perfect, but my group members seem to be very content with it, because it does show that we’ve done work all year.

Furthermore, this entire project in itself was a huge learning experience. I’ve learned more about filming and editing, which will help me a lot in my video production class. I’ve also developed my interview techniques, and became more comfortable approaching strangers for interviews, skills that are valuable to me because I will be editor-in-chief of my school paper next year. I have also learned a lot about working with other people, as well as time management from this group project. I discovered that time is something that can be easily lost if you do not work efficiently, by dividing the jobs and sharing responsibilities.

At the end of it all, I am very glad I tried to do this, to make this documentary. In all honesty, since the beginning, I have had doubts about whether or not we’d be able to get it finished. Even though my doubts have more or less been confirmed, though, I do not regret taking on this project. I’ve worked with and met some great people throughout this process, and it was worth all the stress and the time spent.

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– Karen

DIY: We’ve come a long way

With the deadline for this DIY project creeping up on us, my group and I are trying to pull together what we have. Recently, we’ve mostly been just editing because there is no time to get any more footage. For the past couple Fridays, we’ve been spending time working on editing on Adobe Premiere Pro.

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My teacher is planning on having an event in which students get the opportunity to talk about their projects. My partners and I want to be able to participate and give a presentation about our project, and the process of working on it. However, we do not think that we will have enough time to finish the entire documentary that was supposed to be our project in time for this event. Therefore, we have decided to create a little trailer for our documentary, to use in our presentation.

The trailer so far is about two minutes, and it is basically shows what our documentary will be. A while ago, Brandon and I went to Jessie’s house in an attempt to record some of Brandon’s piano-playing for the background music of our trailer. However, that did not work out because there were other sounds in the recording besides the piano, so we decided not to use that music. Despite the fact that we cannot use our own music for the trailer, though, my group members are still quite happy with the way the trailer is coming along.

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In all honesty, both the trailer and the documentary itself is not turning out the way I had planned it. There are so many things in them that I was specifically taught to avoid in BBN, my video production class. There is annoying background music and noises in the interviews. Some of the camera work is out of focus and shaky. We do not have any B-roll. However, the rest of the people my project group are quite content with what we have and continuously tell me that our project will turn out fine. I am grateful for their optimistic attitudes, because I am learning to look past these flaws and see that we really have come a long way. Even if our project does not turn out perfectly perfect, it will be amazing, simply because we have worked so hard on it.

– Karen

 

 

DIY: Almost at the end

With only two weeks before this project is due, my group and I have been working hard on our documentary. We completed two more filming days at Downtown Disney before concluding our period of filming. I was really proud of Brandon, because he conducted an interview on the last day of filming. Even though it was his first and his only interview of the project, I’m happy he got the chance to do it and gain a new experience.

In total, we must have approached about 100 people and asked to interview them. The interviewing process has taken up so much time, and so much effort. We received numerous rejections, but after several months of filming, we finally accumulated 20-30 good interviews. Now it is time to edit.

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For the past two weeks or so, I’ve been spending time before school, during lunch, and after school editing the interviews. It’s taking a long time because there is a lot of footage to sort through. I also need to try and correct the audio because while we were filming, there was often a lot of background noises and music, which somewhat drowned out the interviews. It is long, tedious work, but I’m moving along.

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Last week, Jessie and I also finished writing the voice-over that we plan to use at the beginning of the video. On Friday, I recorded Brandon reading the voice-over. This weekend, we are planning to record Brandon playing piano to use as the background music for our video. We’re running out of time, and my group is a bit frantic at this point, trying to finish up as best we can. However, I’m proud that our project is actually making progress and starting to form, even if it is a bit chaotic at the moment.

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– Karen

DIY: Setting Goals

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After our successful filming day at Downtown Disney, my group and I realize that although we were making progress, it was not very fast progress and our project is due in March. To help us have a clearer picture of how and when we will get our project completed, we have planned out our next filming day as well as set goals for the number of interviews we are going to get.

My group is planning to split into two teams and go on two different days to get as many interviews as possible. Kim and I are to go on the 26th while Jessie, Jar-Yee and Brandon will go on the 27th. For both teams, the goal is to have 20 good, usable interviews for our film by the end of the filming day so that we would have a total of 40 interviews. Both groups will be going back to Downtown Disney, because that is where there seems to be a large number as well as diversity of people to interview. The last time we were there, the people had also seemed more willing to be interviewed than people in the park.

I do have some worries about our method of splitting up. Several things could go wrong. For example, if the camera people on both teams do not film alike, the video will be unprofessional when it is cut together. Also, if we don’t ask the same questions, all our answers won’t match up and it might end up looking very awkward. However, we plan on talking out all the details beforehand to make sure that one little mistake does not ruin our entire project.

I have a good feeling about these upcoming filming days; hopefully everything will go as we have planned.

 

– Karen

 

DIY: Society has its problems

On December 26th, two other members from my project group and I grabbed a camera and a mic and went to Downtown Disney to film more interviews. The last time we had a filming day, it was at Mile Square Park and we ended up getting more rejections than interviews. Because of this, we decided to go to Downtown Disney where people were probably going to be more happy and agreeable.

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We stayed at Downtown Disney for four hours, and it turned out to be a really successful filming day. We got a total of 11 interviews, all of which contained different answers. We had to adjust our question a bit though, because at first we asked “What is a problem with society that you are facing in your life?” However, this question were deemed too personal by most of the people we asked, so we changed it to “What is a problem you see with society today?”, and people seemed more willing to answer us after that. Some of the answers we got included child obesity, public sanitation, and children’s lack of respect for elders. One of the girls we interviewed even had a personal story about how her friend had to deal with peer pressure.

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I think this filming day was a lot of fun, great progress for our project, as well as a learning experience for each of us as individuals. All three of us learned to improvise and adjust to the difficult situation of people refusing to answer our question, I was able to gain more filming experience which I will be able to use outside of this project in my video production class, and my partners were able to improve their social skills by interviewing. Not only that, it was a good day to spend at Downtown Disney!

– Karen

 

 

DIY: The Battles We Face

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For our DIY project, my group and I are planning to make a documentary on the struggles that regular people face in life by interviewing people in public places. The point of this documentary is to spread the message that everybody has their own problems and battles to fight. In addition, we will also be making a second video about the process of making our documentary, the problems we came across, our thoughts on the finished product, etc.

Progress:

We had planned to have some filming finished before the end of Thanksgiving break, but as of right now, we have not filmed anything yet due to scheduling conflicts. However, we have finished the preparations that are needed before we can actually film, such as creating a consent form for people we are interviewing, planning out locations to film at, and making a flyer to inform people we want to interview about our project. We  have also started to publicize our project’s Instagram and WordPress. Because we are a group of five, my project partners have been taking care of the things listed above. My role was to make sure we have equipment to use to film and everyone knows how to use the equipment. Over the break, I was able to check out cameras and mics from the school to bring home and have taught my group members how to to use them, as well as basic filming rules such as the Rule of Thirds.

My group and I are planning to begin filming this upcoming weekend. We have learned that because our group is relatively large, scheduling may be difficult. However, we are going to adjust our individual calendars so that we can complete the project, and hopefully do a good job.

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My DIY group and I are determined to succeed in our project and have a good final product.

– Karen