In-Depth Blog Post #4

“Mentoring relationships progress through four predictable phases: preparing, negotiating, enabling, and coming to closure,” (Zachary, 2000).

So far, my meetings have been set in the preparing and negotiating phases. We discussed end goals, and how we wanted them to look. I also got the chance to familiarize myself with my mentor and deem how willing she is to put effort into the project. We shared many details of how and when to meet, and negotiated what we wanted the final product to like like.

My most recent meeting was mostly set in the negotiating phase and slightly in the enabling phase. In this meeting I brought my story idea and shared it with D. She liked it, but suggested that, because I only have 90 seconds and a limited amount of skills, I should make the story simpler. This is one of the boundaries and limits that we set for the final product, to ensure that I will finish it before In-Depth night. We refined the story and made it simpler, but I was unsatisfied with it because we changed the story-line so much from the original. She encouraged me to start working on my storyboard, so that I could jot down my ideas rather than keep it all in my head. I started drawing out the first few scenes, and she made the process more efficient by forcing me to take only four seconds to draw each box.

Here is a picture of the start of my storyboard (this wasn’t meant to be an artistic piece, just a quick sketch to get me brainstorming the story):

ftdrfgjh

The enabling and coming to closure stages will take place through-out the rest of the project. I plan to start enabling stage during the break, by finishing my storyboard and working on my 3D animation courses. Once In-Depth night comes, I will focus more on the coming to closure stage, because I will reflect on my learning and how I changed through-out the project. I will also acknowledge and thank my mentor, and celebrate the success of my project by treating myself.

So far in the project, I think the most successful aspect is both my mentor and I’s willingness/effort. We both put a lot of effort into the project and made a lot of progress despite having a late start to In-Depth. “Facilitating effective learning relationships requires a mentor’s commitment to time and investment of time,” and I’m lucky because D is willing to invest time into the project to teach me in-depth (Zachary, 2000). We haven’t had any mentoring challenges so far, which I’m happy about because I can focus on learning and don’t have any mentoring obstacles preventing me from doing so. An aspect of the project I wish was going better was the development of my final product. Every story idea I come up with, I soon become unsatisfied with. I’m worried that my ideas aren’t good enough for people to like. To bring myself out of this quandary, I will only spend three more days brainstorming ideas, then choose my favorite out of them and stick with it. This way, I don’t dwell too much of what could have been, and instead I can focus on creating a quality product.

During the break, I will work on developing my story and taking animation courses. When I come back, D will teach me how to 3D animate, so I can start animating my final product.

In-Depth has gone well so far, and I’m excited for more 🙂

In-Depth Blog Post #3

A week after our first meeting, I had my second mentor meeting with D. During the week, I talked to the animation teacher about borrowing the drawing tablet and animation software and he told me no. Apparently, lending the animation software is illegal and he can’t lend me the drawing tablet because he doesn’t have any extras. I understand his reasons, but I was slightly frustrated because he didn’t seem remotely interested in helping me or finding another way to assist me.

Because of this, D and I improvised another plan. I think this went well, because we adapted in the face of an obstacle. Since I can’t learn 2D animation, I will change my final product from a 2D animation to a 3D animation. Deon knows more about 2D animation than 3D animation, so we decided that she will teach me the general theoretical and artistic aspects of animation. In the background, I will use my online courses to learn more about the technical aspects of 3D animation. I will combine D’s knowledge with the knowledge I gain from the animation courses to create my final project. After I start working on my final product, D and I might spend some meetings working on smaller, 2D animations in the computer lab.

After recreating our plan for In-Depth, we jumped straight into learning. She taught me some theoretical aspects surrounding animation. Since we spent almost half the meeting talking about our new plan, she briefly taught me about camera angles, color palette, and lines/composition. A tool she used to help me understand during her lesson was a website called FilmGrab. Film grab is a database website that shows one picture from every scene in a movie. For example, Avatar would look like this:

jkh;kj

This website helped because we could see the movie’s color theme, and we could see common angles and composition through-out the movie. After explaining each concept, D would pull up a movie on film grab and test me on it. I had to think hard and test my knowledge, which allowed me to remember these concepts better.

D and I haven’t faced any relationship challenges in our meetings so far. Even from the first meeting, we got along really well. We aren’t cross gender or cross generational, so we can relate to each other and effectively communicate. I found that, because of our similarities, we could have a more casual, informal meeting, rather than a rigid structured one. With my popping mentor, we were cross gender and generational so when communicating online, we tended to be more formal with each other. An advantage with having a grade twelve mentor is that we go to the same school, and can host our meetings there, a safe location which we can both easily access. So far, we’ve met once a week, except the occasional week where D is busy with volunteering or other school related extracurricular. Our meetings usually take place after school, and we meet at the counselling area because it’s quiet and away from distractions.

When D was teaching me about the theoretical aspects of animation, I made sure to listen to her. Rather than constantly writing notes after every point she made, I would listen and then write one or two main notes every five minutes or so. Another communication strategy I used was repeating back what she said. If I was still slightly unsure after she explained something, I would paraphrase what she said so she could confirm whether or not I understood the concept. A strategy that D used to teach me was asking me questions. Even if she didn’t yet teach me the concept, she would ask me questions so I would have to think hard about the answer. For example, she showed me the film grab from Avatar, and asked me what I see in the colors. I made some inferences as to how the colors add to the movie, and afterwards she built off my ideas and explained to me how different colors convey different moods or add to the scene. When she asked me these questions, I had to take risks in my learning because I didn’t know whether my answer would be right or not.

We finished off the meeting by talking about our future goals. By next meeting, I will have a story idea for my final product, so that next meeting we can refine the story, characters, and any other aspects. Because next week’s meeting will be the last meeting before the break, refining the story will help set me up so I can work on animation over the break. I’m excited to continue working on In-Depth for the next few months 🙂

In-Depth Blog Post #2

I switched my In-Depth topic from popping to animation because my popping mentor couldn’t teach me anymore. Switching mentors was a frustrating obstacle but thankfully I managed to quickly find a new mentor. A few weeks ago, I met up with my new animation mentor, D (full name not used, for privacy reasons). She is an ex-TALON who also did animation for In-Depth with one of the teachers at Gleneagle. She seemed very passionate about animation, and learned a lot during when she did In-Depth years ago. She is also very familiar with the In-Depth process and the relationship that comes with having a mentor.

For our first meeting, D was a good mentor because she completed and excelled on the ‘facilitator’ checklist.

1) Created an effective learning environment

Already at the beginning of our meeting, we went to a more quiet spot of the school without distractions and where we could effectively learn. She also established an effective learning environment by being friendly and kind, becoming familiar with me not just as a student but also as a friend.

2) Involved the learner in planning and what they are going to learn.

We began the meeting almost immediately by addressing the goal/vision for the project. What do I want to accomplish in this project? What do I want to get out of it? What will I do to reach my vision? These are some questions we discussed. Some more specific questions we addressed were “What type of animation do you want to do?” and “What do you want your final product to look like?” I decided to start with 2D animation and later in the project I will transfer to 3D animation. As my final project, I will make a 90 second 2D animation story that I will show on the big screen. I like how she asked me what I wanted to get out of the project, so that we could have a clear end goal for me to work towards. This is a facilitation strategy I can use when I become a mentor for someone else.

3) Encouraged the mentee to design their own learning contract/plan.

D helped and encouraged me to come up with a plan of my final product and process of learning. First, she inspired me by showing short animations that students created. She showed me animations with different genres but are around the same length as the length of my final product. One particular one that I liked was called “There’s a Man in the Woods”. I liked it because it conveyed emotion and made us empathetic for the main character, despite the bad thing he does at the end. Even though the video is only a minute or two, the story is engaging and even includes a plot twist. This animation is a good example of what I want to achieve in my work. D also asked me how committed I am. If i’m not committed, I won’t achieve as much as if I put dedicated effort and work into my final product. The quality of my product and learning is reliant on my commitment and effort. I told her I would put in a lot of effort because I want to learn and achieve a lot, while having fun.

4) Support the learners to find their own resources and accomplish their objectives.

If I want to learn 2D animation, I need a drawing tablet and animation software, called Animate. Unfortunately, I would need to pay for both, so D supported me by giving me an alternative solution; I can talk to one of the teachers at the school and ask to borrow both. We also came up with a backup plan. If I can’t do 2D animation, I will jump straight into 3D animation and spend more time in that area. This way, I can still learn and accomplish my end objective, just in a different style of animation.

5) Help the learners to implement and evaluate their own learning (Zachary, 2000)
Will take place over the project.

As D teaches me the different parts of animation, I will implement it into my final product. For example, if she teaches me about storylines and how to make them engaging in an animation, I will keep that in mind when brainstorming my plot for my final product.

We set a goal for next meeting. I will watch an animation video called “The 12 Principles of Animation”, talk to the animation teacher about borrowing a drawing tablet and animation software, and come up with ideas for my final product. I’m really excited for In-Depth and hope that I can accomplish a lot!

In-Depth Update Post

In the last few weeks, I have gotten a mentor to teach me popping. Unfortunately, he is not available right now, so I could not meet up with him. To make up for the lack of a meeting, I did some independent work. My SMART goal for the month was:

By the end of January, I will look at 5 different sources about the history of popping so I can get a better understand of the culture.

I completed my goal because I took notes on five different sources, and now I feel confident that I understand popping more than I did before. Click here to see my notes from the sources.

In-Depth Blog Post #1

For this year’s In-Depth project, I chose popping as my topic. Popping is a style of dance, similar to hip hop, that focuses on popping the muscles quickly and in controlled bursts. This differs from hip hop because the movements in popping are small, rigid and smooth, where in hip hop they are big and flowing. Popping includes moves like dimestopping, gliding, and body waving. Because popping isolates many different muscles and requires controlled precision and timing, it can get quite difficult. In this project, I will focus on building a strong foundation of popping, so if I chose to carry on popping in the future, I will know the basics and can learn any popping move without the assistance of a mentor.

To learn popping, I will talk to a teacher tomorrow at my dance studio to see if he can mentor me. If he agrees, I will meet with him for an hour every two weeks. For the first two months, he will teach me the foundation skills of popping. After two months of training, I will begin learning a routine. This routine will incorporate the popping moves that I will learn in the first two months. Then, I will present this routine at In-Depth night, on the stage in the MPR. By presenting my project as a routine, it provides a visual representation of my learning over the months.

I chose to learn popping because this dancing style is a new, harder dance style that I haven’t tried before. By learning popping, I am expanding my library of dance knowledge and moves. I am practicing my coordination and concentration skills. Additionally, my competitive hip hop group has popping segments in our routine which I have no idea how to do. By learning popping, I can master the sections of routine which are difficult, and I can show my group that I am a hardworking team member who cares about our performances.

CLE 10 Job Interview


Interview Notes for Mr. S

The three main pieces of advice I took away from my interview with Len is:

Choose a job that you’re passionate about!

When asked what advice he would give to someone starting in his field, Len said that you should love what you do. If you are expected to work hard and for long periods of time, you might as well pursue your hobby at the same time!

 

A good team communicates effectively and shares a consensual vision.

Len’s favorite part of his job is working with other people. He believes that a good team shares a singular goal or vision that they all strive towards. He also says that good teams will talk through problems and come to consensual agreements on how to solve those problems.

 

Your life does not have to revolve around one career.

When asked what would he change if he could go back in time, Len said that he would stay longer in school, and explore other topics he was interested in. What I take away from this, is that even though you might strive towards one career or job, it’s okay to also pursue other hobbies at the same time.

Eminent Intro Blog Post

sksksk

“The sun hadn’t gone down yet, and kids were just hanging out, waiting for something to happen. Van pulls up, a bunch of guys come out with a table, crates of records. They unscrew the base of the light pole, take their equipment, attach it to that, get the electricity – Boom! We got a concert right here in the schoolyard and it’s this guy Kool Herc. And he’s just standing with the turntable, and the guys were studying his hands. There are people dancing, but there’s as many people standing, just watching what he’s doing. That was my first introduction to in-the-street, hip hop DJing.”

DJ Kool Herc is the founder of hip hop music and culture. He invented a new style of DJing, which he shared with the world when he held his first hip hop party. This “back to school jam” was held at his house, in August of 1973. His main goal was to earn money so that his sister, Cindy Campbell, could buy back to school clothes. He never expected his music to blow up in popularity after this.

lsk

In the 1970’s, disco music was very popular. To create hip hop music, Herc isolated the short, five second instrumental part of disco records, called breaks. These instrumentals sections lacked voices, and emphasized the beats. He then used a technique he later called the “Merry-go-round” technique, to extend the break of songs from five seconds, to about five minutes. The merry-go-round technique involved two records. He would play the break from one of them, then rewind it back to the start of the break while playing the break from another record right beside it. His music inspirations involved James Brown, Jimmy Castor, and Brooker T. & the MGs.

99Fj.gif

His music turned out to be a massive hit. Herc became something of a local hero; more and more people were coming to his parties. Other DJs began adapting to his music, and a community of hip hop DJs, MCs, break-dancers, and graffiti artists started to form.

Why is this important? The bronx had many gangs fighting each other in violent disputes. The gangs involved most of the Bronx’s population of African-American citizens who had not as much money. There was not much intervention between gangs mainly because the other, more wealthier side of the population did not care. Adults were off partying at disco clubs, and because of the high price to pay to enter, only the rich people went. The rest had nothing to do, so they resorted to violence. But DJ Kool Herc changed everything when he invented hip hop music. This new form of culture provided an alternative to fighting. It gave them different types of hobbies to focus on. Teenagers and other Bronx citizens came to these underground parties to have fun. It gave them something else to live for; they no longer needed fighting to keep themselves entertained. They could learn to DJ, or MC, or break-dance to hip hop music. While uptown DJs catered to an older, more wealthier crowd, DJ Kool Herc held underground hip hop parties.

DJ Kool Herc is also very important because he influenced other people who would eventually join him as founders of hip hop. One of them is Afrika Bambaataa. Bambaataa, inspired by Herc’s work, learned how to DJ. He used this new culture to shift his gang from violence to supporting others. He converted his group from the “Black Spades” gang into a peace keeping organization called the Zulu nation. As a team, they helped to reduce the amount of violence by bringing gangs together and sorting out their conflicts through peaceful means. They kept the younger children away from violence by holding after school programs to follow their hobbies. They also participated by helping out the community with guarding homes from robbers, druggies, and gangs. The second famous figure in hip hop that Herc influenced, was Grandmaster Flash. Grandmaster Flash, learned Herc’s style of music and took a step further. He asked himself, how can I stand out and improve this music? He invented the backspin technique, punch purchasing, and scratching. This greatly improved the style of DJing and increased the possibilities of what you can do with the music. He also created a group called the Furious Five, who traveled around and inspired people with their hip hop music, spreading awareness and becoming famous in the process.

Sadly, because his work was never recorded and other DJs began to become more famous than him over the years, his name started to fade and he became less popular over the years. As a result, he has not received much awareness by the people in our world today. I believe it is crucial for dancers to learn about our roots and history. By learning about this, we can respect the hip hop culture and perhaps improve our dancing skills.

As a hip hop and break-dancer, I want to learn about dancers that DJ Kool Herc influenced, and how he influenced them. So far, I have only looked at DJs. I also will watch some interviews of Herc so that I can get an insight into his personality.