People, Let Me Tell You About My Best Friend!

The “Special Person Montage” is a perfect way to pay tribute to the best guy I have ever known! Unlike most, he is always there for me, regardless! I can definitely see myself waking up to his cute face every day for the rest of my life. I think this may be true love! The prompt states:

For this assignment you are to decide on who is special to you. It could be a relative, sibling, parent, friend, mentor, celebrity, or anyone. Then you are to make a video of images or video clips of them showing all the different things that they do that makes them special to you. Add music, animation, transition, anything to make the video. In your write-up be sure to explain why the person is special to you.

This assignment is worth 5 points.

The hardest thing about my lifestyle is the loneliness! Of course, I am close to my mom, Edie, and Sylvia, but I do not have a special man in my life. I am blessed, however, to have a guy best friend, who is almost like family. He has been there from the very beginning, from when I used to hide under my bed from thunderstorms (hence his name, Storm) until now, when I come home from long days at work and just want to relax. You may wonder why I got to name my best buddy…it is because he is my cat! No matter what time of night or what disguise I’m wearing when I return home, he always recognizes me and shows me unconditional love! I thoroughly enjoyed making this video, since it allows me to share how special Storm is with the world! Please try not to be alarmed while viewing, as I went through many hair phases back in the day, before deciding on my natural red color. I also added some current photos and videos that are just the cutest things you will ever see. I dare you not to smile! :) I created this video through iMovie by adding photos of Storm and me, as well as, some videos of our playtime. The beginning of the video is played to the background music of “Best Friend” by Harry Nilsson, because Storm is my best friend, of course! The rest of it contains a “playful” tune, because Storm is just the definition of playful. Oh, how I love him!

Jewel out.

Movies That Made Me!

My life has been changed over the years by several movies. All of them contain powerful women, just like me. I was not always this way, however. Growing up, my mom was treated like dirt by my dad. Unfortunately, she wasn’t strong enough to get out of the relationship at the beginning. I vowed that I would never be like that, and these movie scenes encourage that. Luckily, my mom gained enough strength to divorce him. As long as I follow the advice in these movies, I will never end up in a situation like that. I pounced at the opportunity to complete the “Movie Scenes that Changed our Lives” assignment. It states:

For this assignment, select scenes from 3-5 movies. These scenes should represent scenes that changed your life or made some sort of dramatic, traumatic, lasting, or emotional impact on you. When you have selected those scenes, create a video that shows the scenes and includes audio/video of you describing what it is about the scene that made a significant impact on you, what you are fond of about the scenes, what scares you, what you remember thinking when you were a child, etc. Feel free to be liberal in your interpretation of the instructions. Keep in mind, however, that the primary point is to recall 3-5 movie scenes that have made a lasting impact on you (whatever the reason for that impact may be.) When you are finished, upload the video to your blog, and, If you are inspired, expand on the reasons why you connect with the specific scenes in your video.

This assignment is worth 5 points.

The movies that I have watched throughout my years and the scenes that have changed my life are from Space Jam, Legally Blonde, Enough, Erin Brockovich, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Each of these scenes have strong female lead roles that take a stand and get what they want. I played around with iMovie, once again, and inserted pictures of the movie covers and the scenes themselves. I got the scenes from YouTube and used the 4K Video Downloader to download them and the MPEG Streamclip to cut out any parts that were unnecessary.  While the movie cover for each scene was playing, I recorded a voice-over that includes my explanations.  Nothing is better than a woman who can take charge and dictate their fate. Trust me, it is a great feeling! In this video, I explain exactly why these clips changed my life for the better!

Jewel out.

Oh, The Place I’d Go!

Even if I had all the money in the world, my dream travel destination would not change. And, it is not a common vacation spot either, trust me! However, it has sentimental attachment for me, which is exactly why I would want to visit Cambridge, Massachusetts. During my senior year of high school, I was accepted into Harvard University. Yes, Harvard! However, my mom decided to divorce my dad, because he objectified her for their entire marriage, and there was no longer enough money for me to attend! (don’t get me wrong… I am very happy about the divorce, for my mom’s sake) You see, my dad made my mom sign a prenuptial agreement, and after the divorce, he decided not to pay for Harvard. My mom has always supported my dream of going to Harvard, but my dad never believed  I needed to go to college. He used to say, “Julia, you are so pretty that you will find a rich man to keep you!” The lingering feelings of disappointment led me straight to the “Where Do You Want To Go?” assignment. It states:

Where is somewhere that you have always dreamed of going? I really like travelling, and I often think about where I would go if I had all the money in the world. Do a video montage of images and/or video of the places that you would like to go, and add music that is native to the that area or just something fun.

This assignment is worth 3 points.

I took to Google to search for images of Cambridge, including the skyline, downtown area, Harvard University (of course), and other parts of the beautiful city. Then, I visited YouTube to find a couple Harvard videos. I also added a picture of my Aunt Faye’s house (more like mansion), because I have been meaning to visit her in Cambridge for a long time. Using iMovie, I imported them, and then went on a search for background music. Since Cambridge doesn’t really have a native song, and the Harvard fight song is not very catchy, I searched for musical artists from Massachusetts and came across Bobby Brown.  I chose the song, “Every Little Step” for my video. I love it so much! You better believe that it went right up on my workout playlist! As much as I loved making this video, it makes me a little sad at the same time, because I don’t have enough money to go to Cambridge quite yet. But, who knows? After I take on a few more clients, it may be a dream realized. Check out my fake vacation video in the meantime:

Jewel out.


Guess What?!

This assignment was just to die for! As soon as I spotted the “Name that Book!” prompt, I knew that starting my own book club would come in handy one of these days, and today was that day! It states:

For this assignment, use the app Vine to visually create a book title. Find objects, landmarks, or think of some other creative way to verbally or physically represent a book title. Then record them in quick succession using the app. Then upload the video and have your classmates guess the book title!

This assignment is worth 3 points.

This past week in the “Jewel” Book Club we began a novel about law: my absolute favorite subject! Boy, if I could have gone to Harvard, I would be the best lawyer out there these days. However, what’s the saying? Should’ve, could’ve, would’ve? I guess that’s all I can say because I don’t see it ever happening now, since both of my jobs are so demanding. Anyways, enough about me and on to the book title. I found the perfect three pictures to represent this novel. They include a car (I’m not telling which type), a suited man, and a gavel. I wasn’t sure how to use the whole Vine app since I just set it up. (By the way, follow me! My Vine is Jewel James! :) ) And because I have gotten so familiar with iMovie on my laptop this week, I decided to import the pictures into that, each of them being 2 seconds. And what is a Vine without background music?! (Or so I hear, since I really don’t know!) I found the perfect intense music to go along with this intense novel. Have I given you enough hints yet? Check out the Vine below, and then I’ll give you the answer…maybe!

Any guesses?

Well, since I am such a kind and generous person, I will give you the answer. It’s the “Lincoln Lawyer”, sillies! I had so much fun making this Vine and cannot wait to show it to all my girls next Wednesday when we meet for book club again.

Jewel out.

“Don’t Be Such A Show-Off”….Too Late!

I took a different approach to the interactive character assignment this week. Rather than assuming the role of Julia James, I decided it was time to show off some of the work I have created, with her in mind. This provided a perfect opportunity to work with Brianne Comden, as we collaborated to make a joint video that showcases some of our favorite noir character creations. The assignment, “Show Off” states:

So you’ve come to the end of the season of DS106 (yes the season, because DS106 is #4life) and you want to showcase your work! Go through all of the work you did for DS106 and showcase it as you see fit with audio and video.  Ideally this will combine your audio, visual, design, and video.  Show us what you’re most proud of and display it in an awesome way!

This assignment is worth 4 points.

Brianne’s character, Margaret Pinault, was established as Julia’s grandmother in our radio show, so the past week we collaborated on a Google History Map Assignment. She also created a pop quiz about our two characters. It was great to be able to include our own personal works and works that feature both characters for this assignment. It was also refreshing to look back at all of the work that I have done while developing Julia’s character, because her backstory has just grown so much since the beginning of the semester. Completing this video will showcase her growth, as well as her grandmother’s, which is the ultimate goal.

I created this assignment using iMovie. I imported pictures (some screenshots) and sound clips from our favorite assignments into a scrapbook theme. In my opinion, this theme gives it a feel of fondly looking back on the assignments, as one would look back at a scrapbook of memories. For the background music, I played a jazz song, representing “noir”. I hope you like it! :)

“Notorious” B.I.G. (Movie)

A major part of this week’s assignment was to create a video essay for a movie that was included on a list that the professors provided. Considering that I have always wanted to watch an Alfred Hitchcock film, I chose “Notorious”. Preceding the viewing, we were required to read Roger Ebert’s “How to Read a Movie” and watch three videos that include cinematic techniques. The three videos that I chose were “Examples of Editing Techniques”, “Camera Angles and Techniques”, and “Hitchcock Loves Bikinis”. I thought the latter would be useful because of my choice to watch Hitchcock’s film. However, it did not provide me with a lot of help for the video essay that I constructed. This assignment is a variation off of the Video Essay assignment in the Assignment Bank. It states:

For this assignment you need to select several scenes from your favorite film (or one of your favorites), and edit them together and comment on some of the filmic elements of the scenes? Why do you like these scenes? What strikes you about them? What makes them good cinema? Is there a subtext at work in this film? In short, construct an essayistic commentary on the scenes as a narrator explaining to your audience what you find important about the scene, and why. What’s more, what do the details you have pinpointed say about the film more generally.

However, for this variation, we were only required to select one scene. I chose my scene carefully, to make sure that I could apply a large portion of Ebert’s article to the visual quality of it. After viewing the entire film and making note of a few scenes that caught my eye, I made the final decision to analyze the scene of Alicia Huberman and Devlin conversing on the morning of her hangover, about a job that he wants her to do for the police, spying on Nazis. I chose this scene because its camera angles mimic a lot of the points that Ebert makes in his article about dominance. Plus, it has a very unique 180 degree turn of the camera that really intrigues me. The video proceeds with interesting camera angles and jump cuts (mentioned in the “Examples of Editing Techniques” video) from Alicia to Devlin.

I created this video essay in iMovie, after downloading “Notorious”, in its entirety, from YouTube (using 4K Video Downloader) and trimming out my chosen scene (using MPEG Streamclip). I input voice-overs for my commentary. It was rewarding to “read” the film, because I felt like a true film critic. Rather than just watching the film for fun, I took an educational approach and found crucial elements that make this scene work the way it is intended. Check out what I mean, below:

A Walk Down Memory Lane!

Although I graduated from high school just last year, it seems like a long time ago! My years at Stafford High School were pretty great, despite the many, many hours that I spent on homework and studying for AP and Honors classes. Four years of varsity basketball, combined with awesome friends, provided an outlet for the stress of schoolwork. Thank goodness! You may catch a small glimpse of what my high school years were like, if you watch the video that I created as part of my Assignment Bank choices this week. One of the video assignments, titled “High School Memories”, encourages the creation of a video to remember those years. The prompt states:

It’s time to relive your high school memories. Create a video that will take you back to your days of high school and those times that you may have forgotten. We all have them, so why not document them and share them with the world. Add videos, pictures, and audio that will relate to your story. Have fun reminiscing your high school days. Never forget those memories and times.

This assignment is worth 4.5 points.

My creative juices started to flow the moment I began browsing through the multitude of pictures on my old laptop, which I used during high school. (Who’s got time to transfer photos these days?!) I want to make a video that highlights my academic and athletic achievements and shows my biggest obstacle, but also includes my friends and social side. The process began with choosing my favorite photos of basketball games, homecoming court, proms, senior activities, my senior photos, graduation,  and special times with friends, as well as, a photo collage that included my Grandma, Granddad, and myself. You might ask, ” How does that collage fit into a high school memories theme?”  The answer…It represents the biggest challenge that I had to face during those years. You see, my Grandma, who I love very much and was extremely close to, passed away suddenly, after returning home from one of my senior year basketball games.  :( Needless to say, it was devastating, depressing, and the hardest thing that I have ever had to deal with in my life, much less during high school. She was a special lady, and I will always remember the love and support that she showered me with every day she was alive! This video will be a way to share her with the world!

In addition to photos, videos are also a required element. I came across three videos, which are great memories of high school that I want to share. One is of me running up the same steps as Sylvester Stallone did as “Rocky”, which I accomplished while traveling with my summer AAU basketball team. Another is of my best friend and teammate and myself dunking on a short basketball goal, after a summer’s day workout at a park. Additionally, the third is of a game-winning three-pointer that I netted (sort of a buzzer-beater, but not really, because the other team had one more short possession), which helped our team advance to the Regional Tournament.

The final required component of the compilation video is to add audio. This took a little time to decide upon. I wanted to include a song with lyrics that would go with my photos and videos, but also have a special meaning to me. I reached out to Google for help finding inspirational songs, but while searching it dawned on me that the song my principal sung at our graduation ceremony would be perfect. So… “I Lived”, by OneRepublic, is the background music.

As the material chosen is all on my old Hewlett Packard laptop, I figured that it would be easier to create the video on it as well. It was back to Windows Live Movie Maker, which is fitting since it was the program I used for high school video assignments! I began by titling my video under the Home tab, using the “Title” option. Then, I added the photos and videos, one-by-one, in random order, which took a considerable amount of time, as I failed to copy my favorites into a separate folder. (Note to self for next time!) This was done by using the “Add videos and photos” option under the Home tab. Then, I added the music using the “Add music” option under the Home tab and decided I would make the video as long as the song. There were a few photos that I wanted to add text to, which I accomplished by using the “Caption” option under the Home tab. Then, while under the Animations tab, I applied individual transitions for each photo and video, to add some visual appeal. The final and painstakingly long process was to move the photos and videos, by clicking on them and dragging them, to a place in the song that best fit the lyrics. I also had to adjust their duration time to coordinate as well. After I had the video just the way I wanted it, I published it as a movie and uploaded it to YouTube. I hope you enjoy my walk down memory lane as much as I did! What a great assignment! :)