For my Language Arts class I was assigned the task of creating a digital representation for the junior literature novel we had read and created a unit plan for. The digital representation pertained to the theme that most resonated with each individual.
The theme that resonated with me the most throughout the novel, Crenshaw, was identity. Identity is a terribly hard concept to define, as it is the fact of being who or what a person is. A main reason this concept is especially challenging is because individuals can be defined in so many different ways. Identity, although not an obvious theme in the novel, stuck out to me. Jackson, the main character, struggles to find his identity in different areas in his life. Particularly, his place in the family, his position as a friend, and his role both with and without his imaginary friend, Crenshaw. Through this assignment, I attempted to tackle this multifaceted word and channel exactly what is means to me through the use of (many) images, music, and words. My process included a total of 879 photos, 3 songs, and countless hours of editing. The tools I recruited to complete this story included a MacBook, an iPad, an iPhone, a sketchbook, and markers. The program I used to put it all together was WeVideo, which enabled me to easily edit timing of photos, trim audio, and add transitions.
The three songs I chose spoke to me in varying ways. My first song choice was inspired by my tradition of selecting a “word of the year” every January. This year I settled on the word “express,” because of my typically quiet and reserved self. I often refer to my thoughts like weeds that grow out of control and spiral downwards. Once I am in this thought spiral I find it extremely challenging getting out of it. I have great hope that over this new year I can continue to thrive and escape the insecurities that grip my mind through expression as I have an amazing support system who desire to step into these spirals and help pull me out. “Brave,” by Sara Bareilles communicates the importance of speaking out and feeling confident in voicing thoughts and opinions. The second song, “Free To Be Me” by Francesca Battistelli relates to my identity in Christ. For the longest time, I felt as though I was trying to fill a void inside with destructive behaviours and it was not until God came into my life that this void was filled. Just as Battistelli states, on God’s shoulders now I can see that I am free to be me. Finally, the third song, “Female” by Keith Urban, depicts my identity as a member of that gender in society. Although not all the words in the chorus correspond to my identity, together they build a complex portrait of a strong woman.
I made the decision to construct my video in a stop-motion animation style because of the imperfect and fast-paced style of the technique. Even this style of filming allows for a metaphorical version of my identity to come out. I am someone who likes to keep going and growing in all aspects of my life. It is also reminiscent of my high school self because I would often make them as a hobby. I am partial to the way that stop-motion animation makes the static come to life. Overall, this assignment was particularly enjoyable to me and allowed me to both reflect on and confront who I am.