Category Archives: Past Student Work

The Hyperboreans’ Blessing Part 1/5

Rain pattered down against the windows of my old beaten up Volkswagen Beetle, assaulting the glass with heavy torrents of water reaching the beginning of its cycle. Outside to my right were the fields of Mason Park Cemetery, the now muddy green fields where my father was buried one hour earlier. It was a bittersweet feeling, knowing that he was gone. I can’t honestly say that I loved my father as a son should love his father because if he were here today he could not honestly say that he loved me as a father should love his son.

I sat in the driver’s seat, sulking as a man in mourning should, thinking about the past and with the future a mere hindsight. Now that I think about it, at that moment, the future was all that I had. My father did not reflect myself in appearance in the photo, the people who set up his funeral used his faculty photograph from Gwirion University, where he made a living as the head of the anthropology department. In the picture he was an upright figure with greying hair pulled neatly back into a tight bun. His glasses reflected the flash of the camera giving him a strange look in his blue eyes. As I sunk into my seat a little further a figure knocked on the passenger’s side window. I let the thuds of their hand rapping against the glass fade into the rain as I stared at the photo of Daniel glued hastily to a damp invitation.

Once again, however, the figure to my side knocked on the window with the persistence of a starfish working open a clam. I unlocked the door without giving him a look as he quickly opened the door and slid inside. I could feel his stormy, worrying eyes upon me as I stared into open space. While my father did not care much for me, his brother, Arthur, had taken me into his care for most of his life. He wore his age like a badge which made his resemblance to his brother uncanny. My uncle sat next to me dripping for a moment before he could find any words to say.

“I,” he paused “I cannot begin to imagine what you are feeling right now Simon.” There was another pause, and I flinched as he reached to put a hand on my shoulder. “That’s why you need to talk to me. Closing yourself off like this… It’s not healthy.” I looked up at the scratched ceiling of my car. I knew it wasn’t healthy to isolate myself, but it felt right, it felt good. “I know that these past few years with your father must have been hard…”

“It wasn’t the past few years Arthur, and you of all people should know that Daniel wasn’t my father,” I snapped my head around to look at his face. The look I saw upon it filled me with guilt and I found the floorboard in my gaze. “He was just the man I lived with.”

“He did his best to support you.”

“How?” I felt a small twinge of anger behind my words, though I didn’t entirely know who I was angry at. “He wasn’t supporting me, he was supporting his research.” I looked up past Arthur to see the grave where Daniel was buried. “I was just another expense to be paid.”

“But…”

“The moment he got home from work he went right up to his study without even a passing glance. He did not love me, Arthur, I don’t think he could have loved anyone.” Silence fell on the last word, and all that could be heard was the rain for the longest time.

“He loved your mother,” Arthur said, almost in a whisper.

“Well look where that got her…” I said bitterly, then, realizing what I had said, looked at my uncle. The shock on his face tore me open, and he dove right in.

“Simon, believe it or not, everything that your father did he did for you, for her, with nothing but love in his heart,” he asserted. “He did love you,” Arthur reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a manila envelope. “and he left you everything.”

I sat silent, staring at the document. Why would he do that, I wondered as the sound of the rain began to fade outside. Where else would it have gone, I looked to Arthur.

“I won’t stay here and try to convince you that your father was a good man, but I won’t stand by as you let his memory, or at least, your perception of his memory, drag you down.” He opened the door as he was saying this. “You should stay in town for a little while longer until your inheritance is all sorted out. And if you want to talk about things…” His voice trailed off and a cloud of emotion filled the cabin of my vehicle. He rose out of the Bug, closed the door, crossed the rain-darkened street, and was gone.

~ ~ ~

As I stood at the gate of my father’s house, my house, I watched as the remnants of the showers dripped and plinked from the gutters. The muck-ridden canals were new to the Victorian era construct; they extended the slanting, shingled roof by a quarter foot and some were off-kilter with age. The house, however, stood upright and as dignified as its age. I laid a hand on the latch of the wrought iron gate that rose nearly a foot above my head and twisted it open. Behind me, I heard the fluttering of wings as the portal creaked open and I trudged through and up the short path to my former home’s threshold.

The door was tall, far above the standard height of any other home. According to the historians at the university, the family that had this place built brought it over with them from Germany. Some heirloom. I pushed the key into the top latch, and the click carried a foreboding tone. The whole of the house seemed to take a deep breath as I stepped across its threshold, and with it, I let out a deep breath that pushed dust motes across the foyer. I scanned the layout of the once-familiar room, now darkened and buried under books and scraps of loose paper covered in chicken scratch. Such is my inheritance.

In front of me were four paths: to my left, an arcing passage that led to the remnants of the dining room and kitchen, to my right was the parlor. Ahead was a hallway, long and dark, that lead to the back of the house, and halfway down the corridor was a staircase that went up the through the ceiling and turned to the right. Set into the side of the stairs was a door that led to the cellar. All of these locations while different in their orientations on the compass, all shared one thing: each room in the household was completely cluttered with stacks of books and old tomes, papers with my father’s notes and parchments with ancient texts, stone totems, and trinkets. These things held the house in their weight and made the structure bend under the weight of its own ancient spirit.

I was, at first, in shock at how my father’s obsession, his sickness, had spilled out into the rest of the house. In years before he would keep the house tidy for dinner parties with his fellow academics and scholars, parties where he would reveal his latest theories or discoveries within the realm of ancient anthropology. Behind his smiles and glasses of Bordeaux, he hid his madness. I considered him, in my youth to be a madman, bent on some secret discovery, some device that would grant him his heart’s desire. Somedays I believed that wish was to be rid of me.

I hung my coat on the banister and climbed the stairs to the second story of the house, all the while dodging past literary clutter. The upstairs corridor did not escape Daniel’s maelstrom of studies and artifacts. The materials sat in stacks; some almost reached my height. I followed the hall down towards his study, making sure to step lightly so none of the towers fell like Babel. The door to Daniel’s study was set to the left about halfway down the hall. The air in the old house was heavy and cold, and it cut through me like a knife as I stepped into the darkened room.

Of all the cluttered rooms and halls in the house, my father’s study had to have been the worst. Books and scrolls and loose parchments towered high above me towards the vaulted ceiling of the study. There was no order to the structures, they all stood like silent sentinels in their non-Euclidian forms. Directly across from the door was his desk, now my desk. It was a large mahogany, presidential workspace that spanned the niche where it rested. The surface of the desk, unlike the rest of the household, was clean. Even the dust which had layered itself across the artifacts of my father’s house seemed to steer clear of this space.

Upon the desk was a laptop computer, an old one by today’s standards, but not terribly so. I sat in the small wooden chair before the computer and flipped it open. There was no prompt for a password, only the desktop screen which, like the actual desktop, was clear save for two items; the recycling bin shortcut and a file entitled “For Simno”, I looked past the typo and opened the folder. Inside was a video file, “untitled3.wmv”, I opened it and turned on the computer’s speakers. The screen was dark for a moment as it considered the command, then the video began to play.

I didn’t immediately recognize Daniel as he sat down in the desk chair, the same one I was in. Watching him sitting there was like looking into some magical mirror, showing me the past. I leaned in. He was dirty, his shirt and face looked to be covered in soot. His glasses were cracked and his face was long and tired. For a moment he seemed to be staring at himself, almost in the midst of a revelation of something awful, something that scared him. He looked terrified.

“I don’t know how long I have before he wakes up,” Daniel whispered in a panicked voice. “Oh God, what have I done…” He buried his face in his hands as he said this, then realizing his limited time looked into the camera. “Simon, I want you to know that everything I have done I did for us. For her. I studied everything I could, searching for a way to make us whole again but in the end, I’ve only torn us further apart, and now I fear there can be no repair and no hope for this family.

“I needed your blood. You shared her blood, but there was something older in you, in us, and now…” The sound of a door somewhere in the house being closed rang out and Daniel turned towards the portal behind him. Looking back he muttered something. “Strong of mind, weak of will.” He then looked directly into the camera. “Listen, Simon, he won’t know how to access this so I have no fear of him finding this video but you must know,” he shuddered as a familiar voice called out from somewhere in the house. “Curwen Maynell lives. He has stolen a life so that he can continue his ungodly works among man, and it’s my fault. I’m sorry.” He reached into his coat and pulled out a large bottle of pills as the voice called out again.

I watched silently as my father filled his hand with the pills, then swallowed them, then he repeated the action. Someone had begun to bang on the door. On taxed breaths Daniel looked into the camera once more, his broken glasses fogged over and his scraggly cheeks were moist with tears. “I am so sorry Simon, but without me, he will come for you. You are young and healthy and he is old and broken. Do not trust…” The screen went black and I heard the exhaust fan wind down as a blinking light on the computer notified me that its battery was dead.

I looked into the once magical mirror which reflected my father in his final moments. Now it was dark, and I saw only my reflection. I stared into my own eyes as I asked a thousand silent questions. Then, over my reflections shoulder, I saw something. A dark silhouette against the glare of the machine, one that was not my own. Moving closer. Closing in.

The Unconscious Willingness To Notice People

 

If you read my post about 2017, you’d know how crazy of a year it was, and how many changes came with it. One thing that both terrifies and excites me about new places and situations is the people I meet. I’m a horrible conversation starter. I can end a conversation very quickly, but starting one? What the hell do I say? “Hello, I couldn’t help but notice that you’re wearing plaid right now. What an interesting thing to be wearing in the Pacific Northwest!” I’m the kind of guy that sits around hoping that someone to come talk him. It’s a sucky way to socialize, I know, I’ve been doing it for two decades now. Now, this is not to say that I don’t like talking to people. Quite the contrary,
really. I love talking with people. Some of my best friends are the ones that I can sit down with and have a meaningful conversation with, and those, sad to say it, are few and far apart.

Recently, whilst talking to one of these friends, the topic of relationships and how they’re formed came up. We were talking about how people congregate around like individuals, and how strange it is that we have the immediate ability to tell the difference between someone similar to us and those who don’t fit in. It’s a natural instinct. Humans are creatures with a pack mentality. We have a tendency to gather. Those who keep to themselves don’t last long. So how do we make friends?

I call it The Unconscious Willingness to Notice People, but really it’s more of an unconscious desire. That animalistic urge to find a pack and stick with it drives us to find a pack that we’ll fit in with. Imagine you’re sitting in a classroom. It’s the first day of school, and you know nobody there. There’s a specific person in the room that you keep looking at. You’re not sure why, but there’s something about them. Something interesting. It doesn’t take long for a conversation to start. It doesn’t matter that you’re an introvert and you have never been one to start conversations. The talking was inevitable from the moment that you first laid eyes on them walking into class. As it turns out, you both have a lot of things in common, whether it be your interest in books, movies, TV, Religion, or lack thereof, you are similar.

I think we all have this Unconscious Willingness, a sort of psychic draw to the people that we were meant to meet. Of course, it could be as shallow and vain as “Oh that person looks interesting, maybe I’ll talk to them.”, but I don’t think so. I’ve Noticed too many people that have gone on to become fast friends and even brothers.

Think about the people you know. Think about your friends. How did you meet them? At the end of it all, the sequence of events leading up to the moment that you approach them and have that conversation that leads to friendship all begins with looking up and noticing. So keep an eye out, and listen to that little voice that says “Huh, they’re interesting.”

 

 

 

 

 

This all, of course, is just my observations on the world and the way it works. I’d love to know what you think. How do you make friends? Who have you noticed recently? Go ahead and leave a comment below!

Holy Crap, it’s Orzo!

I will say it here and now. I make a mean orzo! I wasn’t exactly recording the recipe as I was making it, but I’ve got the ingredients.
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Orzo (duh)
1 Portabello Mushroom
2 (handfuls?) of baby spinach
4 tbsp butter
1 clove of garlic
One half onion diced
(this is where the instructions get a little dicey)
1/2-1 cups tomato paste
1/2-1 coconut milk
Montreal steak seasoning (my goto spice mix)
Salt and pepper
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1. Brown the orzo in a pot with 2 tbsp butter
2. Once browned add water and boil for 9 minutes
2. In a deep pan melt the remaining butter and stir in the onions, mushrooms (cut to preference) and garlic (minced).
3. Cook until the ingredients are reduced then add the tomato paste, coconut milk, seasonings, and cooked orzo.
4. Let it simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, then serve.

My Traveling Dream

Overview

This project has truly been a blast to work on. It features my dream to travel to three distinct countries. I would love to travel to a lot more countries, but for this project, three felt like a good number. The challenge was to use my imagination and the locations/resources around me to create what I “think” visiting each country would be like. I chose to focus on only what came to my mind from years of watching travel channels or seeing gorgeous images. For Ireland, it was the beautiful green hills, ruins, and pubs (hence the video in the credits). For Canada, it’s vast acres of. And for Italy, I am initially drawn to the vineyards, but I couldn’t “see” the product as easily as I thought of the romantic dinner. I also sought to play with soft focus for that dreamlike state and capture the raw beauty of the locations I went to for my footage (except my dining room).

Pre-Production

Before I started shooting, I knew I needed a more concrete visual aid to help me move through this project. I began by expanding the rough sketches I had sent to Teresa for part 1. I then sketched every frame in detail and combined sketches that began to flow into more of the story. I wrote notes and FOV. Then I hoped for good weather.

I did have to change my plans for the Italian dinner. I “saw” this series being shot outside during night fall. I thought the lights would have more contrast. Due to weather, I decided to have the dining room would suffice. Though the initial couple for this series was not available, but my parents (always willing to help) volunteered. I made them spaghetti. And all was well. This is also my first-time filming in a much dimmer lighting environment.

Post-Production

When I got all my chosen video in Premiere, I really did not know where to start. I came up with a ratio of 45:35:20. I knew that the movie would be 3 minutes, so I figured out how long each ‘country would take. I hit every mark.

I used the Snow Ball microphone for the first time. That was interesting. When I started recording, I couldn’t figure out why my playback sounded so far away. I realized that my laptop microphone was picking up my voice. But everything worked out. The audio was not too bad.  Playing with the audio levels in Premiere was fun. I have never done that before. The song choice had to be the best part of the post-production. That result was a happy mistake.

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This project has taught me a lot. I found pan-zoom to be much harder. If I could, I would remove these now that I know they’re a no-no. But I am new to film and audio, so I feel pretty good overall with my project.

It was a pleasure working with everyone!

 

By: Maurissa Keller


P6: Final, “The Room Mate”

My experience with the final project was awesome. The pre-production was fun to make, storyboarding is something that is really enjoyable for me. I made a three page storyboard with about 12 pictures on front and back. These images planned out the whole movie with all the scenes and angles. The filming process was also fun and satisfying. My talent for the most part was easy to work with. The only problem I had was I had to redo certain parts. The only other problem was my talent’s language. They have really bad potty mouths so we had to redo some scenes to make them more appropriate. The editing process went smoothly. I put all of the clips together and messed with all the audio and trimmed the film to the way I liked it. The music was off of freesound.org. The music I thought was fitting. There was only two tracks used one for the scary stuff that happened in the film and a song used for the credits. Overall the experience was super fun. During this class I learned that post-production work in film is something that I would like to move forward with. Thank you for listening and enjoy my final project!


The Real 3 Sisters Review

Well I’m glad the turn in date finally got here because I have been working on this for weeks and it still felt like crunch time at the end. I sat and edited audio until 11 am which I told myself was my deadline and had to export. I had a lot of fun shooting this with my daughters. The staff at Mama Mayra’s Kitchen were so nice and friendly and helpful. There was a slight language gap but they worked with us and we got it done without disturbing the other customers. I filmed all of the girls shots in one afternoon. They were all starving when we finally got in because it took over an hour to get everything setup and the outside shots done before it was to dark or started to rain. I had to go back 2 other times in in order to get all the shots I wanted after I started editing and putting it together. I did another filming at home to get the interviews because I didn’t want to try and do it in the restaurant. I recorded the audio in the mic directly on to my computer and did the filming on my camera but when I started trying to match the 2 in all the different cuts I realized that the way I was doing couldn’t be the way. So, I ended up just using the audio from the camera and made it work. I can’t wait to learn how to put it all together.


Final Project | 2 Min Short | Every Second Counts

For this project I wanted to really push myself with video in a more cinematic approach. I wanted to do something dark, maybe a little spooky, but resources and time are limited, so I went with a more simple approach. The premise of the video is a car thief steals a car using a slim jim and key jiggler in under 90 seconds. I wanted to make it look as professional and realistic as possible with the cameras that LCC has to offer. I really wanted to focus on continuity between shots, along with camera angles that relay how intense the situation is.  I recorded the video in 1080P at 30FPS, so the quality is pretty solid, however the cameras do not perform that well in low light! I then recorded foley audio samples and processed them using ableton, and added them where necessary.  Every sound heard in the video was recorded, no camera audio was used. All in all, the shoot took roughly an hour, but most of my time spent was in editing and foley recording. Going back I would only change a few minor things, mainly just lighting issues within the car. Thankfully, I had the Ronin Stabilizer camera to shoot this over the weekend, so that was a huge advantage in the smoothness of the camera movement! Big shoutout to my friends for helping me, and starring in my movie for bag of cheetos and a beer! Would’ve added a few other shots had security not kicked us out for filming, but luckily we had most of it done so I just had to edit it a little differently! Was all edited in Adobe Premiere Pro, Shot on a Canon T6i with a 24mm Prime Lens and the Ronin MX2 stabilizer. All in all I am very happy with it, I hope you enjoy!


THE TREE, A Short Film

 

This is the final project for my Introduction to Media Arts class, but hopefully with effort, not the last post I make for my blog. This project was a challenge, the kind that pushed me and I had some success with this project because of lessons I learned from my first project, and there were also some mishaps and new lessons to learn from this time around too. Overall I was able to convey a fun little story that I enjoyed making and I hope, makes sense.

I’m sitting down in class and the teacher, Teresa Hughes, puts a three page guideline for making a film on the desk. Add that to the list, I think. I had several projects in various stages going on for all of my classes, and since I’m in the Media Arts program, there’s no big test at the end of the semester or mid-terms but sizable creative projects. While juggling these projects I was dealing with a problem, What am I going to work on first? After a week or two of thinking about it and that not working, I set a timer to come up with as many ideas as possible for this project, then a timer to write on each idea to find the most workable story. With the best ideas I set a timer to flesh out each of the couple of good ideas I had. Out of that short process I had a story to work with.

Pre Production was demanding, I hadn’t written a story in several years because I didn’t think I’d know how to. I used one of the Production work days in class to come up with a storyboard, using ideas and feedback gained from another class to make my storyboarding process more fruitful. The class was called “Concepts of Visual Literacy”. What I did differently in storyboarding here versus my first film was give the characters more facetime and setup, action and reaction shots, where we see the character look at someone or something, look through their eyes to what they do or are looking at and then see their face again to see what we are supposed to feel. With the subject of my film containing a sense of urgency, it was very important to capture the feeling of each character and look into their emotional experience.

Since I put off writing the story so long, I also had to work very quickly to find talented actors and fortunately I was able to work with family friends young Emily and Andrew and a couple of adult classmates Melia and Malakhai, everyone did excellently beyond my expectations! Thank you.

Behind the scenes were lots of laughs and funny moments because most of us were new to either being in front or behind the camera. Other important pre production aspects to keep my mind on was keeping the people who helped me happy to work with me. I bought food, tried my best to keep them warm and give as clear directions as possible as well as have as clear of an idea of who their characters were supposed to be and the story as possible so my actors were not performing blindly. Nevertheless, some of the best moments were from unexpected improvisation in the way they decided to convey the emotion or reaction I was looking for.

There is so much more I want to say about finding the location and losing wallets and finding unexpected surprises we found on the set at the river, or how I forgot my SD card at home and had to borrow one from the young actors’ dad. Thank you. But here is a little bit on my post production process:

From feedback on my first film from a panel of film critics I learned that sound is very important, if not more important than what you see on the camera. Stitching the shots together was a fairly straightforward and quick process compared to finding royalty-free sound effects and music, and then cutting these sounds together to make sense with what was happening on the screen. I’m grateful to the artists and nameless faces out there that created these clips for people doing creative work to use in their product. I’m no pro but the audio in this film is a step up from what I’ve done before. I learned a lot about basic audio from Mel Stark, my “Time-based Tools” professor and audio engineer and Teresa.

I’m looking forward to experiment with another film project soon, it won’t be my first time.


An Introduction to the Wonderful World of Allethuis

A Post of Fantastic Proportions!

This is the introduction to a world I have been enrapt with for the better part of a decade. It is the first thing you’ll see when you visit my blog, The Wonderful World of Allethuis, an informational webpage where I post reading materials about the countries in Allethuis and their inhabitants. I also plan on uploading lore, documentation on the fauna and flora of the different regions, and character bios of important figures in the worlds histories.

The Origins of The World

In 1987 my father began with a pink spiral-bound  notebook and a palette of colored pens. He drew a world map, borders, and geological features, then he went to work on the individual countries. The pages crinkled and bent as he filled them with demographics, histories, political statistics. One notebook turned into two, two turned into three. The world of Allethuis took shape, and once the world was born the stories took shape. In 14,000 words my father planted a seed, but tragedy struck. Life picked up, school took precedence, he married his highschool sweetheart and had a child, he started a career, and the world of Allethuis found its place on the shelf, where the dust was its only audience.

The Seed Takes Root

I fell in love when I flipped aimlessly through the pages of that first pink volume. A whole beautiful world lay the open and waiting for me to explore it. I dove into that world headfirst. I loved reading about the gold elves of Egyptus and the gnomes of Noricum, their histories and how the geography shaped their societies. I spent months visualizing the savage civil war in Gallaecia and their struggle to remain independent from Gollia even as their own people rebel.

My obsession with my father’s world only grew as the days passed into years, especially with the discovery of the manuscript. Not only had he created a world, he had begun writing a book. The original title was The Chronicles of Avalon. The thirty page manuscript contained the exposition of a high fantasy adventure waiting to unfold, but it was left unfinished, its pages yellowing in a filing cabinet with his other works. I always wondered at where the story could have gone; who lives, who dies, who is the villain, who is the hero.

This year (2017) I decided to undertake a huge task; to record the world of Avalon, now Allethuis, and spread it to the world. I want to introduce the public to the ruthlessness of the Pirate Isles. Climb the mountains of Rhaetia. Display the otherworldly forests of Egyptus. There’s a whole world hiding in my father’s notes, and I want to share it with you.


IMA-Williams, Jesse – P6 Final Project

This short movie clip is about a toy horse named Whitey who wakes up and begins his day by eating a bowl of cereal. It may not sound like much but Whitey isn’t human and he must overcome obstacles in order to enjoy his breakfast.

I really enjoyed making this little film because it allows me to connect it with something that has a lot of meaning to me. Whitey’s full name is Whitey the Wonderhorse and he represents my grandfather’s truck. My grandfather gave Whitey to my brother and I for our first vehicle to drive and we did so for the first year of having a license. The truck is small and painted white but don’t be fooled because it is just as old as I am. For 20 years Whitey has gotten my family and I out of crazy situations and helped us go from point A to point B countless of times. Whitey is more than just a truck and a toy, he is part of my memories through high school and can be seen almost as a heirloom of some sorts. Currently Whitey is back home in California and isn’t really used for big trips and mainly just driving around locally. Never would I have though a vehicle would be such a large part of my life. Thanks Grandpa Gus!