I got an email yesterday about my short film, "Ramona and her Father," which I entered into a film festival! The guy running the festival emailed me back a very nice email saying mine was, "one of the most professional-looking 90 Second Newberys [he's] received. The script was tight and the acting was convincing, but not only that, it was clearly shot by someone who knows their way around some cinematography, and the editing and music cues are spot on! Terrific job!" It was really exciting to get feedback from an outside source, especially feedback like that!
 
Along with doing a normal project this month, I also created a documentary for an AP US history project! The documentary includes a staged presidential debate from 1828, two news reports, and two fake attack ads for each candidate. My group thought this would be perfect because of the timing with the election just having happened. The documentary is posted on my videos page, check it out!
 
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This month, instead of doing a news story I made a short film adaptation of the children's book "Ramona and her Father," written by Beverly Cleary. The film is for the Newberry Film Festival, but for the show I made a longer five minute version. In the next few weeks I will have to shorten the film into only 90 seconds! I know it's going to be a huge challenge to figure out which parts to cut, because I really like how it ended up. I had a few challenges making this, because I family I wanted to use could not do most of the filming into a few days because the deadline for the project. Luckily everything with the filming went fairly well, and the girl playing Ramona was a great actress! Editing took a really long time, partly because of technological issues and partly because I'd never made a short film before so it took a while to adapt to that kind of editing. On the last day I had to edit, I spent 8 hours working on it! I'm really proud of this particular project because I put a lot of time into it in every aspect, preparing for the filming, filming, and editing. I really like how it turned out and although I've detected a few mistakes in it, I think it's pretty good for my first film. Check out the film on my video page!! I'll post the longer version now and the shorter one when I finish that. I also made another commercial for my school's Powderpuff Game that I'll post too!  

 
This month I did a news story on the 2012 St. Louis Art Fair. I haven't done a real news story like this in a while, because most of last semester I was doing behind the scenes videos which are a little bit different. Also, I wasn't using a tripod for a lot of my filming so I was worried about it being shaky, but the shots turned out fine, although the lighting was awful, and I spent a lot of my editing time on color correcting the shots. I'm really proud of this video because I think it tells a great story about why the artists love to do what they do and the reasons they have behind the art they create. I like the whole sequencing and the ending shot a lot, be sure to check it out on my videos page! Also this month I started an ongoing project where I am interviewing as many people as I can about the subject of happiness. I ask people about what happiness means to them, how they would define it, and a series of other questions revolving around happiness. I love this project because I find the questions and answers so interesting, and I'm really excited to see where it goes!
 
I just finished my first project of the new school year: the Ladue View Intro! Be sure to check it out on my video page! This intro brought forth many lighting challenges, because for most of I was filming an iPhone, and on iPhones the screen requires a different white balance and brightness than the background it was on. Eventually upon filming on a white table the screen looked better, although I still think it's a little dark, but nothing is perfect. Also I had many issues with my computer, it kept freezing and putting graphics in took a really long time, a lot longer than it should. Despite the computer not working and the lighting problems, I really like how the intro turned out and I love seeing something I made at the beginning of every show 
 
     As Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo once said, “A lot of what is going on with kids who get pushed too far and commit suicide is that they are trying to deal with their own non-existence for the people who are supposed to care most for them.” The growing occurrences of teenage suicides never seems to stop. Every week, new articles appear, headlined with the name of the next teenager who life has pushed too far. Each name represents a person, a living human being who had friends, family, and most importantly: a future. With each new article that reluctantly announces another teenage suicide, comes a story beginning with the birth of a beautiful, optimistic new life that abruptly ends. A life tragically cut short by society’s pressures. Due to this recent rise of teen suicides caused by extra stress from parents and bullying, parents need to talk more openly about suicide, and schools and the government should educate all citizens about bullying, pressures, and suicide.
     Although the majority of people know about suicide and its dangers, hearing about the issue head-on feels like opening a box that doesn’t want to open, tucked away in the darkest corner of one’s mind, collecting dust. The belief that talking about suicide will only cause more deaths cowardly sways away from the truth. People need to expose themselves and others to the cold, hard facts: suicide takes third place in the leading causes of death among teenagers. As if this doesn’t frighten one enough, experts estimate that for every suicide death, ten others attempt suicide. Above every single right we obtain; the freedom of speech, of religion, of press, comes our right to live. If someone feels like they don’t have that right anymore, if someone feels afraid to live, then we all need to take a step back and think about what our society has turned into.
     Something needs to happen. People didn’t invent antibiotics or cure polio by sitting around saying how they felt sad that thousands of people died. Instead, they stood up, put their mind to it, and did something, anything that they could to stop the deaths. And to stop the deaths, we first need to find the cure. French sociologist Emile Durk said, “Each victim of suicide gives his act a personal stamp which expresses his temperament, the special conditions in which he is involved, and which, consequently, cannot be explained by the social and general causes of the phenomenon.” Although the fact that thousands of various causes lead up to each suicide holds true, we can at least highlight some of them in an attempt to increase awareness. Suicides comes from a combination of many causes such as pressure from peers and parents, bullying, and thinking that a temporary problem such as a bad grade or breakup will end up as a permanent problem. Feeling ashamed of oneself, having homosexual or bisexual feelings, and believing that one’s parents don’t love them also contributes to suicidal feelings.. A combination of all of these leads to a downward spiral of loneliness, which can easily trigger the question of whether or not life still has value . People such as your parents have the duty to always love you and stick with you, no matter what happens. If someone feels like they no longer have this unconditional support, they start to question everything else too, and will do anything to see if this support will ever come back. Having another mental illness such as depression, along with all of these emotional traumas, greatly increases the risk of suicide. According to University of Ottawa psychologist Darcy Santor, at least ninety-one percent of suicide victims suffered from some form of mental illness at the time of their deaths. Many of these illnesses remain undiagnosed, and teenagers more than any other age group face long lines and lists to get into therapy. Opposing Viewpoint’s “We’re Not Going to Sit in Silence,” says that the beginning and end of school years may increase vulnerability for suicidal teenagers, due to the new pressures introduced. Alcohol and drug abuse also has a huge contribution to suicide. Many teenagers commit suicide under the influence of either alcohol or drugs, and simply don’t have right mindset to make such a big decision. Every teenager fails a test or two, doesn’t get enough sleep, and suffers from some form of meanness and heartbreak, and according to “We’re Not Going to Sit in Silence,” many high school students do think, however fleetingly, about suicide. The combination of all of this plus drugs, illnesses, drinking, excessive bullying, unfulfilled love from parents, and pure shame can’t help but lead to the embrace of death.
     Once we know the causes, we can figure out a solution. Although I believe no one method can rid all suicides, a combination of various programs could greatly reduce the numbers. Awareness and not feeling afraid to talk about suicide hold the most importance in the steps to prevention, because not acknowledging the problem only promotes it. If no one acts against suicide, others will start to think that it’s okay, a theory called contagion (We’re Not Going to Sit in Silence). Fearing suicide does not hurt, but only if that fear motivates one to help, and not shy away. If you know someone who has ever even mentioned suicide, don’t take it as a joke. Teenagers have an extremely hard time mentioning suicide to others, and assuming they have exaggerated could cost a life. Having programs in school could also help suicide prevention. Many believe that this would just lead to students making fun of the program, in addition to singling out students who do have depression, but a reformed program could really help educate. Government needs to get involved with this, because many schools don’t have the money. I find it difficult to understand how enough money exists to conduct hearing tests, which do hold importance, but by no means prevail as a life or death situation, while thousands of kids die by suicide every year. Along with school prevention programs, offering free therapy and free parenting classes about how to deal with depressed/suicidal children would also contribute to prevention. Some people just can’t afford the expenses of therapy, and having the ability to talk to someone privately can really help depressed teenagers. Aside from these ideas, many people believe that loving oneself leads to complete happiness and the cure to depression and suicide, but this may not hold true. Fourteen year old Jamey Rodemeyer posted a video to “It Get’s Better”, an anti-suicide website, and said, “Just love yourself, and you’re set.” His family found him dead days later, another victim of suicide. Loving oneself holds immense importance, but that alone doesn’t have the ability to save a person’s life. Everyone needs love from the others too, and although some may not want to admit it, it keeps us going. Just offering support and staying available for someone going through a rough time, instead of ignoring them, could save a life. Talking about suicide certainly does not offer any ease; for example, when you hear the word “suicide,” what come to mind? Sunshine and flowers? Of course not, just the word “suicide” itself brings about feelings of sadness and death, and no one wants to talk about that, but if we all just opened our minds a little and set our minds to it, we could start the long journey of ridding teenage suicides.
     Shelly Graham, just one mother of many who lost a son to suicide wrote a letter to her dead son. Shelly wrote,"I forgive you that you didn't tell me you were in such pain. Please forgive me for not hearing." In this day and age, mentioning the word “suicide” is without a doubt one of the most difficult things for anyone, parent or teenager, to do, yet it is also one of the most important. Suicide has always prevailed as one of society’s many issues, but now these thoughts of death and not feeling wanted have started to cross teenager’s minds. People with bright families and futures ahead of them, people who haven’t gotten the chance to live life to its fullest. Regardless of our beliefs, we need to feel concern and we need to take action. No one wants to experience seeing someone do harm to themselves, and the same ones that would experience watching it remain the same ones who can make a difference (Dr. Rob Good). No matter who you are, where you come from, and what you do, you as a human have an obligation to stop this tragic story from repeating (Mark Miller). "We're not going to sit in silence," said Shelly Graham. "That's why kids are dying."
WORKS CITED:
Astroth, Kirk "Teens Are Not at Risk" Teens at Risk. Laura K. Egendorf and Jennifer A. Hurley,
Eds. Opposing Viewpoints® Series. Greenhaven Press, 1999. Reprinted from Kirk A.
Astroth, "Beyond Ephebiphobia: Problem Adults or Problem Youths?" Phi Delta Kappan, January 1994.
Cullota, Karen "Trends in Teen Suicide Are a Serious Problem" Mental Illness. Roman Espejo, Ed. Opposing Viewpoints® Series. Greenhaven Press, 2012. Karen Ann Cullota, "High Rates of Suicide in Chicago, Suburbs Raise Red Flags," Chicago Tribune, October 15,2010. Copyright © 2010 Chicago Tribune.
Hosansky, David. "Youth Suicide." 2/13/2004. 125-148. CQ Researcher Online. Web.
Kitchell, Dave. "More Needs to Be Done to Prevent Suicide" Suicide. Jacqueline Langwith, Ed.
Opposing Viewpoints® Series. Greenhaven Press, 2008. Dave Kitchell, "Suicide: Society Must Address Causes," www.Pharos-Tribune.com, June 13, 2007. Copyright ©1999-2006 CNHI, Inc.
"New Scarborough walk-in clinic aims to help teens before problems snowball." Globe & Mail [Toronto, Canada] 28 Oct. 2011: A12. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 20 Nov. 2011.
"'WE'RE NOT GOING TO SIT IN SILENCE'." Globe & Mail [Toronto, Canada] 24 Sept. 2011:F1. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 20 Nov. 2011.

 
I just finished my final project for the year! Exciting, but sad at the same time. For our final we had to pick an assignment previously given to us in any other class, and redo the assignment through a video, carrying across the same information and message. I chose to make a video on a CSI (Controversial Social Issue) essay I wrote previously this year on teenage suicide. I thought this video would be pretty easy, because I had already made a video earlier about LGBT youth, but it ended up being completely different. The voice over was pretty easy because I had already written my essay, so I took parts from that, but it was extremely difficult to condense five pages of writing into a two minute voice over, while conveying the same message. Once I finished the audio, the most difficult part of making the video was deciding what to use for the actual, video part.  There's not much you can show making a video about teenage suicide, so I decided to experiment with a little use of animation/text as video, which is new to me, along with just showing video of what the essay was about: teenagers. I don't know why it took me so long to realize what I needed to show, but in the end (just a few days before the deadline) I saw that since the video is about teenagers, any video of teenagers just living their natural life would fit. Once I figured that out, piecing the video together was pretty easy, and I feel that I ended up with a really powerful piece. I think making a video instead of an essay for this project was extremely helpful, because the visual aids really add something and make the concept more relatable and easier to understand.

Next year I'll be working on a film and I'm going to start writing it this summer- I'm a little nervous but very excited! It's been a fun, stressful, amazing and definitely unforgettable roller coaster of a year, and I've learned so much. See you all next year, have a great summer!
 
I finally finished my Senior Video, after weeks of frustration and fun. It was hard to time out all eight senior's interviews, and when I finally got them all done and edited the footage, the video was 13 minutes long. I spend two whole class periods cutting sound bytes out and trimming the video, and I finally got it down to just under four minutes. After hours adding music and editing sound and color correcting on the night of the deadline, I was finally satisfied with my video. I love the sound bytes I used and I think the video really gets across how the senior's feel about the broadcast program at my school- that they love it. With this video I learned that there will ALWAYS be something more that you can fix or edit, but at some point you just have to stop. I probably spent a total of an hour or maybe even more JUST on color correcting, because no matter how much I edited it the color always seemed a little off. I spent hours working on little details like that but eventually I just told myself I was done, and exported the video. I really like it and I love the message it carries. It should be up on my video page shortly, check it out!
 
Wow, what a busy month! First, me and a few other students in my broadcast class were part of the eNews Student Bureau at the METC (Midwest Education Technology Conference). It was similar to the ACTE, which I mentioned in an earlier post, except there were a different group of educators and new topics. Although VERY stressful at times, it was overall a lot of fun, and a fantastic experience. The broadcast aspect of the whole event was really neat, because we got to work all day long, an opportunity we don't normally get because our class is only 90 minutes every other day, but my favorite part of the conference was working with the other broadcast students. They're all amazing people, and we really bonded throughout the conference, driving out in one car and then spending the whole day together. On Valentine's Day, we even stopped at CVS to get a rose and singing card for our teacher! Anyway, back to the broadcast aspect, while I was at the convention I got a lot of behind the scenes footage and interviews to make another behind the scenes video like I did for the ACTE, except this time I made sure I had every shot I needed! Even though I was more prepared this time, the video was still a pretty big challenge to put together, I'm not really sure why. One downfall of becoming closer with the other broadcast students is that I get distracted in class a lot easier! But in the end I worked really hard and produced a video I'm really proud of, which is what matters. This video is one of my favorites that I've done this year, so be sure to check it out on my videos page!  

Also, a few weeks after the METC, I participated in a contest sponsored by KSDK where my school partnered up with Gateway Tech High School. We partnered up with students from Gateway, and had to create an "I'm Just Sayin'," which is where you give your opinion on a present issue in society. My group wrote about the lack of communication between teenagers and their parents, how that can affect the teenager, and how it can be fixed. Although we didn't win, I really like our script and I think what we wrote about it a very prominent issue, so I might come back to that somehow later. The next week, we all went down and toured the KSDK news station, which was so cool! Again, the whole thing was a great experience and I met some really neat people from Gateway High School! I'll post the link to the winner's video when it's up. I'm also currently making a  short behind the scenes video about the KSDK contest, so I'll post that when it's done.

I can't believe the year's coming to a close! The next Ladue View is the senior's last show, and I'm going to be making the senior video. I think it will be really difficult to make, not technically, but emotionally, just because it's sad that the all of seniors are leaving. It will also be really fun though, so I'm excited to get started on it! Broadcast technology has always been important to me since I started the beginners class last year, but recently the class and the people in the class have become a really big part of my life, and I'm just so thankful for all of the opportunities the class and my teachers have given me. Anyway, make sure to check out my videos page for my new videos, and also follow Ladue View on tumblr at ladueview.tumblr.com!
 
For my project this month, I made the intro for Ladue View with another guy in my class, Golde. The intro is a paper airplane flying through the school and then unfolding to have "Ladue View," on it. We filmed the paper airplane flying on the green screen in our studio, and edited it with the rest of the footage. There were many difficulties including various reshoots of basically everywhere we filmed. In the end the intro turned out really cool, check it out on my videos page!