Writers Gym ECS | Words and Pictures
Noah Ne. ‘22: On Friday the class took some time off their projects to learn how to improve in their writing from some experienced authors. Dr. Jen Gutierrez, a former CSS teacher and currently a teacher at the University of New Mexico, was one of the two published poets who came to speak to the ECS. Dr. Gutierrez led the class in multiple writing exercises. The students were very engaged for the four hours that Dr. Gutierrez was with them. She not only was able to get the class excited about writing, but she also helped them all improve their projects. Dr. Gutierrez gave the class suggestions on how to find inspiration along with tips on how to get the words flowing and how to construct a story. In the afternoon, Becka Jackson, a recent CSS alum who is now a senior at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, and an accomplished poet, led the class via FaceTime through a number of writing and revision exercises which we can now apply to our own projects.
Spencer B. ‘20: On Monday, we had the pleasure of listening to Mr. Ben Thompson, a professional screenwriter with a history in journalism. He taught us a multitude of ways to analyze and ultimately understand how a short film builds its characters and message. A specific example of this was when we broke apart a 2011 Super Bowl ad for Volkswagen. As a class, we broke apart to explore elements of the ad: who/what was doing something? why they were doing it? and how did their actions affect the message of the ad overall? For example, in the ad, a boy attempting to use “The Force” (from Star Wars) on a series of objects continuously fails, only to succeed when “The Force” was directed to his father’s car. At first glance the ad was just a fun little skit; however, when we looked closer, we saw that the ad subconsciously builds the thought that a Volkswagen leads to success!
We also all become movie producers today! After learning about and receiving help in drafting our short-films and our characters’ motivations, we started work on our very own production! The products of our toil varied greatly, from a string of pictures to a collection of videos with singing. Not only did the end results vary but so did the messages and stories. We had births, deaths, explosions of tissues and people stuck in time loops! Clearly, our ECS has a creative group of individuals all striving to have fun with the tools and exercises given to them!
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