In-Depth SMART Goal #1

Today is the first day of spring break! I decided to set a SMART goal for myself to achieve by the end of the two weeks. My mentor, Nathan, sent me a list of terms we briefly covered during our meetings, and my goal is to learn more about each item and how I can use it to improve my future films. Once I learn them all, I will practice implementing them into my films. In a couple of days I will be going to Cuba and I think it would be fun to try and film something there 🙂

My Smart Goal: By April 1st, I will learn all the filming terms mentioned in the list below.


What Makes and Breaks a Good Relationship?

          Are you in a situation where one of your relationships isn’t working out and you just don’t know why? William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream answers your question. In this story, four Athenians escape into a forest in pursuit of love. When love becomes intertwined with magic, the lovers face complicated situations which they later mistake for dreams. By comparing Hermia’s relationship with her boyfriend, Lysander, and her father, Egeus, we see that empathy and good communication makes a strong relationship. Without it, your relationship can lead to misunderstandings and arguments that act as hard obstacles to overcome. 

          Lysander and Hermia show us that empathy plays a big role in relationships. If you understand your partner’s feelings and values, communication becomes much easier. Lysander believes love is “brief as the lightning in the collied night” (1.1.147). Hermia holds a different view, believing that love grows slowly and patiently from a small spark. When Lysander wants to have “one turf [to] serve as pillow for [them] both”, Hermia kindly asks him to sleep elsewhere (2.2.47). Although Lysander does not want that, he shows empathy and understanding towards her values by following her wishes. Because they both understand each other, they communicate much better and reach solutions without argument. 

          Unlike Hermia’s relationship with Lysander, her relationship with Egeus demonstrates how a lack of empathy and communication leads to damaged relationships. Egeus and Hermia’s wants conflict, which causes a relationship barrier between them. Egeus wants his daughter to marry Demetrius, whereas Hermia wants her father to give her permission to marry Lysander. They both disagree with each other, so Hermia asks “[her] father [to look] with [her] eyes,” and see things from her point of view (1.1.58). Egeus refuses to empathize and consider how Hermia feels, and selfishly forces his decision on her. As a result, Hermia runs away with Lysander. This shows that you should consider how your actions affect those around you, because sometimes, you do not realize the effects until it is too late. 

          William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream teaches us a lot about relationships. One of the most important lessons is to work with, not against, your partner. This includes honest communication when an obstacle arises, and understanding your partner’s values and reasons. Comparing Hermia’s relationship with her father and her boyfriend provides evidence for this. This knowledge is useful because it allows you to step back and analyze obstacles in your relationships. You can now think about why the problem arose, and how to responsibly solve it. Based off A Midsummer Night’s Dream, you should always put yourself in your partner’s shoes and analyze their view of the situation. You should also have a heart to heart conversation with them, to see if you can clear things up in a responsible and adult manner. 


In-Depth Blog Post 4

Since my last blog post, my mentor and I met four times, which is twice a week. I appreciate that my mentor willingly puts time and effort into teaching me. I learn so much, and I enjoy the fast pace.

In our first meeting since my last blog post, I shot a short filming exercise with the help of Angelina and her mentor. It did not turn out as good as I expected, which means that I have a lot of room to improve. In our second meeting, I edited the film while my mentor monitored and gave me advice. Here is a screenshot of the editing software that I use:

Editing software.png

I incorporated “how to listen” and “asking questions” from Edward De Bono’s Beautiful Minds book into my last two meetings by paying close attention, and “[seeking] to get the maximum value from what is being said” (76). During these meetings, Nathan taught me basic photography, shot types, color, lighting, and other technical aspects of filming. It was a lot of information to take in, because he covered an entire filming course in less than two hours. I needed to listen carefully in order to absorb as much information as I could, and ask questions to strengthen my knowledge and understanding. For example, I asked Nathan, “should I always follow the filming rules you taught me”? He then told me, “you don’t have to, but you must know the rules before you break them”.

After learning about composition, I planned my next filming exercise. I created a bird’s eye view of camera positions and motion, and Nathan gave me advice and feedback. While designing the layout, I noticed that the biggest factor to consider was the 180 degree rule. I “[got] a new point of view which had not occurred to [me] before”, and I “[realized] there [were] alternate perceptions that [were] new” (76). Most people do not notice the 180 degree rule, but it is actually quite important in filming and composition. I thought carefully about the 180 degree rule while I brainstormed, so that I could position my cameras accurately.

Image result for 180 degree rule180 degree rule

Because this was my first time planning out camera layout, I asked Nathan many questions. I mostly asked “fishing questions” because I found them the most useful, but I also asked multiple choice questions too. For example, I could not decide what shot to start my scene with, so I asked Nathan whether I should use an establishing or close up shot. I believed an establishing shot suited the scene well, but he suggested I start with a close up shot. I “[asked] for the values in use and also the underlying basis of what [was] being proposed” (88). Nathan gave me his reasoning so I could understand where he came from, and it proved to be useful. He also told me, “There is no wrong way to film, as long as you have a reason for your choices.”

My next few weeks of In-Depth are busy. Tomorrow, I am helping out Angelina and Ethan with their film, by acting as the main character. On Thursday, I am filming the exercise that I planned and brainstormed with my mentor. Additionally, during Spring break, Jewel is filming her movie and I offered to help as a filming assistant so that I can get more experience behind the camera. I am honestly so happy with In-Depth. It’s awesome to work on a project where I can really explore my passion!



In Depth Blog Post 3

For the past two weeks, I prepared a screenplay for a one minute film exercise. I focused on the chapters “how to be interesting” and “how to respond” from De Beno’s Beautiful Minds book.

For “how to be interesting”, I focused on #6 To find and make connections that link matters together and generates interest. Before I started writing my screenplay, Nathan recommended that “[I] should create a list of things [I] want and don’t want to see in [my] films”. This way, every time I write a screenplay I can look over the list and remind myself what my filming goals are. It will become a pattern that will make filming less complicated and more straightforward. During our last meeting, we compared our lists, making connections and looking for common items. It interests me to see how we differed in our view of what makes a film good.

I incorporated # 10: modify an idea to make it more acceptable to yourself and to make it stronger or more practical, into my meeting by asking my mentor for feedback on my screenplay. I did this because I wanted to focus on improving my story writing skills. I took out all faults or weaknesses that my mentor pointed out so it would be prepared for Tuesday.

Nathan’s main feedback was to “show, not tell” my story. He said that I should “make my dialogue more natural,” and “make it sound like a real person would say it.” For example, at one point my character says, “I know you love music a lot, but I feel like you should take a break. You’re a great friend and all, but you listen to music ALL the time and it’s kind of rude to have your earphones in while talking to someone. Can you take a break from music? For me?” It appears to be normal dialogue, but most of the time, people speak less formally and with extra filler words. This is why he recommended I keep my dialogue to a minimum, and show character personality and thoughts through actions instead. This advice helped me, because I feel I will be more confident when I film on Tuesday.

Click here if you would like to see my list of things I want and don’t want to see in my films. I plan to shoot my one minute film on Tuesday, with the help of my mentor and two additional actors. After I finish shooting, I will post my screenplay and my film.

In-Depth Blog Post 2

On February 7th, I met with my mentor, Nathan, for the first time. Angelina, Ethan, and their mentor, Elyjah, came as well. Rather than having two separate meetings, we held a joined group meeting. We introduced ourselves, talked about filming in general and what we want to get out of this project, and we created a plan for the next few months. I ended up changing my original plan, to one that my mentor suggested. In the first two months, I will focus on learning and developing my filming skills, by working on filming exercises. In the last two months, I will regroup with Ethan and Angelina, and, with our new knowledge and skills, we will create a final film product. Even though we will work together, each person will also have individual jobs to complete.

In my original plan, I wanted to keep track of my progress by posting an extra blog post each month. This blog post would state my SMART goals for that month, and how I improved on them. Now that I changed my plan, my SMART goals do not apply anymore. Once I get advice from my mentor on my plan for the next few months, I will create new SMART goals.

I disagreed with my mentor about the importance of a story line in filming. During the meeting, Angelina and I voiced our concerns about how we believe coming up with a good story line is one of the hardest parts of filming, but Elyjah and Nathan had a different opinion. They believed the story line is not as important as other aspects of film making. Our difference in opinions is most likely based on experience. Once I complete this project, my opinion may change or stay the same.

Because we held different opinions on this matter, we sought to find points of agreement. For example, we found circumstances where each opinion was correct. We came to the agreement that, for beginners, the technical aspects of filming outweigh coming up with a good story line, because you have not acquired the knowledge and skill to shoot quality films yet. On the other hand, for professionals, coming up with a good story line could be harder, because they are already comfortable with filming, and they already possess the required skills.

During our meeting, I noticed that Nathan and Elyjah used strategies from the Beautiful Minds book to disagree with each other. For example, Nathan thinks filming is a very wide topic, and that we should only focus on one aspect of it for in-depth. Elyjah disagrees, because he believes you can cover filming as a whole, even though it is a much broader topic. Both of my mentors used strategies from the Beautiful Minds book, because they made sure to disagree kindly and politely, and they did not disagree just for the sake of disagreeing. I believe that their opinions differ because both have different experiences and focuses that change how they perceive things.

Overall, the first meeting with my mentor went really well, and I am really excited to learn about filming. To start, I watched a couple of videos and I took notes on them. If you wish to see my notes, view them here.




Midnight Summer’s Dream – Letter to Theseus

My beloved king,

I would like to inform you that I decided to allow Lysander to marry my daughter, Hermia. You may wonder why I made this decision.

Lysander did not use magic to win Hermia’s heart; he genuinely loves her. Yes, at first I believed he bewitch’d the bosom of my child, but now, I see past my assumption. The gifts, the songs, and the attention he gave her, were merely methods to display his love and affection. How could Hermia resist falling for such a fine gentleman?

Now, Demetrius on the other hand. I thought he was the one for my daughter, but I have changed my mind. He is an unreliable and untrustworthy man. Before I choose him as the husband for Hermia, he was in love with Helena. Then, when I asked him to wed my daughter, he abruptly lost interest in Helena and “fell in love” with Hermia. I beg your pardon, but this seems rather orchestrated, don’t you think? This makes me believe he only fancies my daughter for her money. By allowing Lysander to marry my daughter instead of Demetrius, I am assuring that they will live a happy and genuine marriage, with no ulterior motives.

I spoke with Lysander and Hermia, and we agreed to have the wedding in two days. Yes, it is quite soon for them to get married, but I feel as if I owe this to the two eager lovers, for being a hindrance to their happiness. Unfortunately, I must miss their wedding. I made a promise to a few companions to go on a hunting party with them. We will be gone for around two weeks. I deeply apologize for this.

I bid your Grace farewell, and I wish you and Hippolyta have a glamorous wedding.

Your dutiful and obedient subject,

ZIP Final Blog Post

  1. What is your inquiry question? What initially drew you to this question? Did your question stay the same, or did it change overtime? Why?


When I started thinking of a topic for ZIP, I noticed that most of my favorite stories interacted with the reader. For example, some of my favorite stories included choose your own adventure books, video games, and board games. This led me to the question, how can a story effectively be developed into an interactive experience? I came up with this question so that I could create my own interactive storytelling experience. I decided to make a board game, which would serve as my interactive experience, because I own a lot of board games and I thought it would be cool to create my own game. But over the given project time, I changed my question to Why are stories more interesting when they are interactive experiences? I chose to adjust my question because I wanted my question to match my research. How can a story effectively be developed into an interactive experience? has a broad variety of answers and is a question that might not require as much thought and research. I could choose to list steps to turn a story into an interactive experience if I wanted to. I believe that my current inquiry question provides more depth, and is worded better than the first one.



  1. What skills have you expanded on / learned during the inquiry process? How are these skills applicable to your success as a student?


During this project, I achieved my main, skill-related goal: to practice taking the feedback I gained from Mr. Morris and my research and implementing it into my stories. I also expanded my planning skills, because when I created the board game, I had to plan before creating it. This applies to my success as a student because in the future, I will have to plan many things, and planning something like a complex board game will allow me to practice for that. Other skills that I expanded on during ZIP were second person and descriptive writing.



  1. What did you learn about / what is your answer to this inquiry question? Remember to be specific and provide direct evidence from your research.


I believe stories interest people more when they can interact with the reader. By giving the reader choices, this allows them to guide the story in the way they believe is correct.  This is particularly effective because “people want the control. They want the freedom” to make correct decisions (Kevin Specey, 2013). It makes them feel helpful and powerful. As the reader chooses the path of the character, the story becomes more relatable and personal. You feel connected to the characters, because every decision reflects your beliefs and values. The more the characters execute your choices, the more you feel like you are the character. This also makes you “feel much more responsibility for what happens,” for both positive and negative outcomes of your choices (Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Michael Mateas, 2017). For example, the reader could feel proud for choosing to spend the character’s money on sponsoring a child in need, or the reader could feel devastated because they couldn’t save a character from their death. In both cases, this sparks emotion and interest in the reader. Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” By telling a good story, you bring out emotions in people and they remember the story more clearly. In conclusion, I learned that, by allowing the reader to have the freedom to make, it makes the story more interesting, meaningful, and connectable.



  1. In what ways does your final learning artifact demonstrate your learning / answer to your inquiry question? How does it connect to your chosen curricular competencies? Consider listing your competencies and including images, links, or excerpts from your work to demonstrate this.


I chose to create a board game as my final learning artifact. It demonstrates my learning related to my inquiry question, because it is an interactive experience that has many choices you can make, to get to multiple endings. For example, the game has events where characters make choices to survive. You can either rebuild your ship, be rescued, or die. Depending on your actions, you will reach one of the endings. You are responsible for the character and their actions.


Think critically, creatively, and reflectively to explore ideas within, between, and beyond texts

I thought critically, creatively, and reflectively to create my board game, which was my “idea beyond the text”. I thought creatively about a story idea that would go well with a board game. Next, I thought critically about the board game mechanics and rules. Finally, I reflected on my board game to look for any flaws.


Assess and refine texts to improve their clarity, effectiveness, and impact according to purpose, audience, and message

I originally wanted to create a rule book as my evidence for completing the competency, but I underestimated the amount of time I had to make the board game and I ran out of time. This competency still can be applied to my project, because I edited my story to improve its clarity, effectiveness, and impact, which matches what the competency states.


Exchange ideas and viewpoints to build shared understanding and extend thinking

I exchanged ideas and viewpoints by asking others for feedback. By analyzing that feedback and implement it in my board game, I extended my thinking and built a better understanding for the future. If I had published my board game, this feedback would have helped to make my board game clear and understandable.



  1. What resources did you find useful during your inquiry and why were they useful? (Cite at least four resources you consulted, with links, and write a brief 25-50 response as to was important to your learning).


When beginning my primary research, the source I found the most helpful was Elizabeth Sim’s 7 Simple Ways to Make a Good Story Great (See the first link down below). I learned a lot about writing that will help me a lot in the future. For example, I learned about strategies to engage your audience, editors, and agents. An experienced writer wrote the article, so I believe it can be trusted.


I found three useful resources, which help me learn about my inquiry question. (They are listed down below). These articles talk about interactive storytelling, which resembles my inquiry question, but focuses on digitally stories. Even though the topic slightly differs, they still talk about the same values that answered my inquiry question.



  1. What new questions do you have about your inquiry? What motivates you or excites you about these questions?


When I research, I learned about interactive storytelling. Interactive storytelling is quite like my inquiry question, because it focuses on telling stories through interactive experiences. The only difference is that interactive storytelling focuses on digital stories. Example of interactive storytelling include Firewatch and Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. After looking at a few articles about interactive storytelling, I came up with the question, how does interactive storytelling differ from linear storytelling, and which one is more effective?

In my original plan, I wanted to write a rule-book for my board game, but I underestimated the amount of time and I decided not to write one due to lack of time. Another question I have, and could do for a future Zip project, is How do you write an effective and clear rule-book that is clear and understandable by all audiences?