Allow Me to Re-introduce My E-Portfolio

Alrighty everyone it’s finally finished. Introducing the Nick Silk 2019 E-Portfolio:

I will say, it was no walk in the park. After numerous trial and errors, and even upending my entire template, I finally created a site that I believe to accurately represent my semester’s work in a fashionable and trim manner. While it was at times craze-inducing, it was also an amazing experience, one that gave me confidence not only as a writer but as a scholar moving forward. This e-portfolio taught me many interdisciplinary tools and skills which I look forward to utilizing in my next academic pursuits. It made me reflect upon my own educational and life experiences, and allowed me to have some introspective realizations.

I hope this e-portfolio captivates you, enthralls you, entertains you, and informs you. More than anything though, I hope it makes you feel something – that’s always been my indicator of a good film, show, book, or piece of writing. I hope you enjoy!

Signing off (for now),


Adventure Awaits

My biggest piece of advice is to use and create things you have a passion for. You’re going to be working with your origin piece, your experiments, and your e-portfolio for a long time, so you’re going to want to use something you don’t mind re-reading, re-imagining, and revising on the daily. Don’t pick something because it’s easy, or because you got a good grade for it, or because you think it’s what other people would like to see. Pick something that you really care about, and that you’ll keep caring about. You’ll thank me later.

Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. In fact, I encourage it. Exploring into genres you already have an expertise in isn’t really exploration, it’s just going to make for a boring, ordinary process. Try new things, wacky things, that you’d never have the opportunity to do in other classes. I’ve been specializing in Political Science and Public Policy my whole time at Michigan, yet I created a video poem, a baby book photo essay, and an obituary for my experiments, and I was so glad I did. I got to access a new, creative part of me, and I got to experiment and challenge my intellectual capabilities without feeling the typical pressure. This is an environment built for interdisciplinary adventure. Be an adventurer!

Video Poempalooza

For my final project I will be realizing my first experiment, a video poem based on the first poem of my creative writing poem portfolio (which is serving as my origin piece) that examines the differing perspectives of a newborn baby and the world around it.

It is entitled “Life Becomes A Girl” and I plan for it to have about a 3 minute duration, with a progression of a newborn girl being born in the hospital to being taken home and adjusting to the world around her. This one is less centric to the overall theme of my experiments, which is a tribute to my grandmother’s life, as it does not convey any of her specific life experiences or facts as do the other two experiments. Yet this is the experiment I felt most passionate for. While it was easily the most difficult to create and will be the most difficult to adapt, I found myself enjoying the process of this experiment the most, and also the greatest satisfaction when completing the sample.

The concerns that I outlined in my sketch and sample are still relevant, and I’m still worried about them, but I trust in my abilities. Namely, I think it will be difficult to find high-definition, readily-available footage of the scenes I want to show, as I don’t really have any old VHS or DVD footage of my own or siblings’ lives at hand. I also believe I’ll have to somewhat re-learn the shortcuts of editing and sound mixing and such that I held a small grasp of whilst conducting the sample.

The good thing is that the scenes are all mapped out from my sketch. All I really have to do is find the right footage for them, and once I find them, it just becomes a matter of editing. This takes time, but I’m very willing to sacrifice time for quality. I also have to record the rest of the narration for the video poem, but that should not prove to be too arduous.

The layout or design of this project is pretty direct, considering it’s just a video. The challenge is balancing the colors and the transitions so that there’s a sense of fluidity and continuity with the footage. It also has to balance with the background music and narration, which influences the duration of the clips and cuts that are made.

No lie, this final project is daunting. It took me a long time to do the sample, and that ended up around just over a minute. Now I have to create two more minutes of it, with footage I believed would be harder to find. So we’ll see how it goes. Overall though, I’m content with my choice, and I’m happy knowing I decided to undergo a passionate challenge rather than something of boring ease.

Writing 220: Endgame

It’s certainly been interesting. I think I had this perfect roadmap sketched out in my head, but that map has been much harder to realize than previously anticipated. I have chosen experiments that involve more of a multimedia approach whether with footage or photography, things I neither have expertise in nor resources to acquire. So it’s been a little difficult. The one thing I like is that my experiments have this overarching theme that’s been progressing throughout. This final experiment feels like the conclusion to a well-rounded story rather than a post-credits tack-on of another genre.

It’s been a cathartic journey, with wrenches thrown in and myself trying to decorate those wrenches into something acceptable. I’m still trying to figure out the end goal though. I know why I would care and enjoy these products, but why should anyone else? In doing a personal project, I’ve really got to think and make it coherent as to why my personal life should matter for anyone else. It’s different not pandering to just one professor where I’m simply writing a paper or creating a presentation based on readings and assignments. This has a real audience.

For this final experiment, I’m writing an obituary that essentially doubles as a profile for the life of this girl, mother, character I’ve been portraying. I don’t know if I’m necessarily excited to write, because I know it will be tough to get into that headspace, but I think it’ll turn out genuine and I’ll be better for it. There’s much to do before I can get to that point (I have to conduct a lot of research on this genre’s conventions), but I’m ready to see what the end result will be. Or rather, what the endgame will be.

I’ve decorated cakes for NFL players and Jennifer Garner

I feel like introductions in college always begin with some lame ass ice breaker so I’ll start out by just giving you all that information now. My name is Nick Silk, I am a sophomore originally from Los Angeles, and I applied to the Ford School of Public Policy for my major, and if I don’t get in I’ll probably just do Political Science. Some ~fascinating~ things about me are that I’ve decorated cakes for NFL players and Jennifer Garner, I’ve broken the same collarbone three times, and I’ve been using the same pencil since freshman year of high school. I’m excited to be in this gateway course. I’m a pretty casual writer, but I would say the things I most enjoy to write are on opposite sides of the spectrum; I’m either all for writing a dense, analytic research paper or report, or I enjoy writing very conversational free-writing. For my source material, I’m working with a poem portfolio I wrote in a creative writing course last year entitled “Life, A Boy” that inspects the progression of a boy’s life through different, important stages and the varying emotions that come with them. Some of it’s based on my own life, some of it’s based on people I know, and some of it’s totally fiction. There’s a lot of direction that I could take with this broad theme of life and death, and I’m encouraged by all the genres that could be explored with it. It’s this potential that really attracted me to this particular source material, and while I don’t know if it’s possible, I hope to internally and externally find some answers to how we perceive life and death. While my experiment ideas are not set in stone, I was thinking of fashioning a baby book, creating a video essay, and writing an obituary/guestbook. All genres I have minimal experience with, but I think they’ll be interesting to delve into. I don’t know what else to tell you at this time, but I’m sure we’ll get to know each other more along the way. Here’s the Instagram page of the cake decorating studio I worked at: