Going Remote (capstone)

For those who might be taking Writing 420 remotely (in no particular order):

  • don’t be afraid to use office hours with T! especially to get more one-on-one face time going remotely
  • be open and honest about where you are in the project, and if you feel like you need to say something or are worried about your progress, speak up earlier than later; you’ve only to gain!
  • keeping to a schedule is hard being remote; make plans and actually follow them. if you end up breaking the schedule, make new plans and follow those. if you end up breaking that, maybe you should talk to T, lol. don’t fall behind the best you can.
  • creativity & passion > grades
  • engage in class as much as you can; those 3 hours every week are only awesome if you’re an active player in them
  • likewise, make time to read people’s projects / works ahead of time and be ready to provide feedback; think about the level of respect & time commitment you expect others to have for your project
  • eat food, drink non-alcoholic beverages, have a dog on your lap; as long as you can focus and feel happy in-class, that’s positively infectious to everyone’s mood
  • where-ever you are, show your work / project to peers / friends / family as much as you can during times like this. get some feedback and have some fun with it
  • respect that mentors / consultants may not want to help you given the difficulty of remote interactions, but do not give up on the project itself
  • similarly, be ready for setbacks due to remoteness. if you have a project that might be hard to do because of remoteness, don’t abandon it (maybe now’s not the best time; maybe after class), but just be ready.

Can’t think of much more. Hope this helps.

Alex

On Screenwriting (Capstone project)

Hello

https://alexpan71.wixsite.com/onscreenwriting
Password (all lowercase): miw

This has been quite the journey, both within this community and throughout my four years (and one more remaining) in undergrad.

I think my piece, site, and content speak for itself (as the image above shows), and I am not one to spoil. So, I have nothing else to say except…

Thank you. To anyone and everyone else, but amongst them all the Minor-in-Writing community for reintroducing me to writing as a passion, a life-long process, a medium of expression, an art, a craft… everything, truly!

And thank you, T and everyone in our Winter 2020 Capstone cohort, for quite the wonderful semester even despite the remote odds!

so thank you — thank you very much! 🙂

Alex

and also made this last night. might as well self promote lol

A Reflection of Day 1: Project Pitches

My last words for the MIW gateway course. Something that never happened lol.

I always find it fascinating how fast time flies. I was in the gateway course what feels like an incomprehensible amount of time ago but really was only two years ago (I think?). Thus, I find that these reflections document our change and growth over the course of the years… our life both in and outside of writing. An archive of our experiences, so to speak. But Before I begin this reflection, I wanted to mention the first thing that I immediately noticed upon revisiting this blog: my last post from the gateway course. I intended to continue this capstone course with writing my novel/novella that I started in the gateway course, though none of the pitches I made today even considered this at all. Again, it just fascinates me how much I’ve changed in both my writing interests and style. Anyway, regarding the pitches…

Overall, my peers commented that they enjoyed my ideas and the diversity in my pitches both in topic and medium. My peers suggested that I encourage challenging myself more however, as most of my mediums were in theatrical playwriting of which I am already fairly comfortable/familiar writing.

The Waitress, The musical which inspired me to want to write a musical too.

My first pitch proposed the idea of a “silent musical” (minimal dialogue, except possibly during the occasional songs which would have lyrics). I am not sure if this is a relatively unexplored genre of theatre/plays, so I thought this would be fascinating to dive into. I was hoping to explore the ideas of love/romance and how gender & hypermasculinity influence people’s relationships. A big part of this is that I wanted to explore not only this unfamiliar/challenging idea of a silent musical (composing music to tell a story and minimising dialogue) but also writing something like an ensemble cast for both characters to allow equal stage time.

An example of a popular notation software, Sibelius, that I would use to compose the music to complement my writing.

I received fairly positive feedback for this idea. My peers wanted me to challenge myself if I were to continue writing plays, as I have mostly written plays in my creative writing background. However, they were receptive toward the idea of challenging myself with composing music/lyrics as well as silent storytelling. My peers could see that I was passionate about exploring both of my hobbies in music and writing, combining them into an interesting medium of storytelling through the silent musical.

A performance of Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller (a UM alum!)… Miller’s methodology of storytelling is my inspiration and model for playwriting.

My second idea was to write a traditional full-length play for the theatre. The topic of the writing would entail exploring mental health and mental differences (often referred to as “mentally challenged”) and how people’s different perceptions of the world because of this can influence their meanings and evaluations of life. My curiosity in this lies in my weaker background on the topic, so I wanted to simultaneously write and research & learn about mental health.

The feedback I received about this was that although the topic was interesting, the medium was not exploring a new form of writing for myself. Because of my background in playwriting, this would not challenge me in my writing abilities so much as the other pitches. Nonetheless, because the topic is still valid, I might wish to explore applying this topic in other less familiar mediums to still utilise the main story components whilst also exploring another form of writing.

An example of how a product white paper looks like… which also happens to describe how it should look like itself.

The third idea I proposed was the idea of writing several product papers for a B2B security solutions/tech software startup for which I head sales/customer experience. I thought this would be a very creative writing experience, since the product paper is inevitably highly multi-modal and explores the usage of space & structure in formatting the paper’s design. Because I would also have to cater it to my audience’s needs (the customer), I would also be able to explore writing several product papers to produce multiple different yet similar kinds of work that I have not done before.

The feedback I received was mixed about this one. Agreeing with my peers’ sentiments, I also found it to be far too professional for my tastes of creative writing — it felt more like a job/task as opposed to exploring creative writing. Although this would be a highly challenging and multi-modal piece, I do not think it is what I seek to learn from the class’s goals & learning environment.

The fourth and final idea I had was to explore screenwriting. I proposed rewriting one of my plays as a film and seeing how that goes. This pitch arises from my interest in entering the film/media entertainment industry and how I want to see how my previous experience in playwriting will effectively transfer over to screenwriting. Because I have no experience in this, I thought this would be a nice incentive/initiative to begin.

My peers found this to be the best pitch despite the fact that I would be rewriting a play (and thus not ideating new content necessarily). Because I have never explored screenwriting before, yet it is still within some scope of comfortableness due to the similarity of playwriting to screenwriting, this connects well to introducing the screenplay genre to myself.

All in all, the pitching experience was highly beneficial. Not only did I receive feedback for each pitch, but I learned what made each pitch strong and weak in terms of exploring my writing learning experience. Overall, to align with challenging and thus learning as much as I can through this course, I think I will follow through with the fourth idea of screenwriting. I also explored this further by possibly taking a screenwriting course simultaneously (intro to screenwriting), though I think I find myself more effectively learning through rigorously challenging myself in this environment.

I took a pretty dissected and objective analysis of my peers to help myself parse through the pitching session so this might not have been the most fun read. But, anyway… because of the interesting topic of mental health I also discussed earlier, which I know very little about, I might combine both this unfamiliarity with the topic of mental health and unfamiliarity with screenwriting to create a feature film about mental health and the mind.

I have some ideas boiling & ready to explore, so I’m looking forward to the semester!!

Cheers,

Alex

A Semester in a Website

Hello Writing Community!

It has been an interesting semester to say the least. The Gateway grants its students a great deal of autonomy and flexibility; I believe I have utilized both of these to my advantage, developing relationships with classmates as academic peers and friends alike. People can use this class as a platform to express themselves, as a means of getting a certain grade or credit for school, or a tool to learn about a given subject they are interested in. As a sophomore in college, it is an important time to start reflecting on what I want to pursue as a career. While I may or may not want to go into real estate/urban development, a strong theme in my work for the semester, I do acknowledge that whatever I do will require writing. I can confidently say I am a more versatile and tactful writer than I was January 8th.

To those reading this… please write anything. A thought, a song, a movie, a book, a short story, an inquiry. While time can be escaped through listening to music, and time can be released through breathing, time can truly be felt through writing. With that, I leave you with my ePortfolio for the semester (And final project) ! I hope you enjoy

Also, in general, remember that worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair; it gives you something to do but gets you nowhere.

https://amaxg1.wixsite.com/andreweportfolio 

https://andrewgreen55.exposure.co/the-corner-of-woodward-and-grand-river?source=share-andrewgreen55

Here is a little preview…

Advice for incoming Gateway Students

Hey,

Whether you’re studying biology, gender studies, or business, congrats on making the choice to supplement your major with the Sweetland Writing Minor. This class has been unlike any other that I’ve taken, so be prepared for a little change.

The Gateway course encourages its students to independently grow their writing and creative skills in a relationship-driven environment. I encourage you, the new guy, to capitalize on this; you will be given projects deemed “experiments” where the sky is the limit. I would suggest taking the chance to think about something you’ve always wanted to learn about, and honing in on it for any/all of the experiments. The unique light you must present your subject and argument in will further enhance your research, communication, and writing skills that no surface level english class has done to date.

Beyond the work itself, your teacher is the captain of your ship – trust him/her and make sure to build a friendly companionship with them. The semester flies by but never forget to write what you want to write for your audience because no one writes like you do.

Best,

Andrew Green

GraceFace

Hello!  My name is Grace Kent and I am a sophomore studying Public Policy and minoring in writing and digital studies.  I’m from Ann Arbor, Michigan but went to MSU for my first year before transferring to UofM. As an individual, I would consider myself an adventure-seeker.  I love going on spontaneous road trips and exploring places I’ve never visited before. I am a homebody and am very close with my family, but I also love meeting new people and branching out.  I am introverted yet I wear my heart on my sleeve.  As a writer, I am very much the same way. I write to my emotions and I let them flow through my pencil (unless I’m doing academic writing—then it is much different). Ultimately, I write because I want to remember and I want to convey important messages that I might not be able to vocalize eloquently.  

The origin piece I am going to choose is a letter I wrote during Obama’s 2009 inauguration speech when I was about 8 years old.  My parents made me write this letter expressing my feelings about such a historic moment in U.S. history.  When I was 8-9 years old, I did not know hardly anything about politics—mostly, I mirrored the emotion my parents felt regarding the election. I knew from the presidential portraits that surrounded my classroom walls that we had never even had an African American president before—so, for me mind, Barack Obama being elected as present was one of the coolest things I had ever experienced. My parents kept the letters my sister and I wrote stored away in a file cabinet.  The letter is informal, child-like, and funny—but conveys a candid sense of happiness and emotion regarding his inauguration.  

Here are some of the ideas for my experiments!

  1.  A short film/montage of a child writing the same letter that I once wrote in 2008.  The camera will be overhead filming the pen moving across the paper.  Then the shot will cut to a montage of b-roll footage on the 2008-9 inauguration with Obama, his family, the music, etc.  Overlaid on top of that will be audio of me (or the kid) reading from the letter while the footage plays on the screen.  It will cut back-and-forth between the writing shot and the footage of Obama’s inauguration/presidency.  
  2. A giant collage of pictures/mood board (representing the ideas of our current political climate:  Trump tweets, women’s march, BLM, climate change, etc.) and words and phrases used in my 2008 letter, but cut out and enlarged like a giant collage.  
  3. A back-and-forth video of a kid reading my letter from 2008 and me reading a new letter I would write from 2019.  It would be sort of a sentence-by sentence montage cutting back and forth between my sentiment then and now.  Pictures and videos will play in the video of both political climates while the audio plays on top.  

I am excited about getting to experiment with all of the Shapiro tech/design tools!

What do you wonder about the experiments or life itself? I wonder how kids perceive people in high-power position and what influences their mindset.