Student Reflection – The Smiling Star: Laybur (1.1)

By Zi Ye

Believe it or not, friends are the most important part of my life. From my high school years in China, friendships have built up the most wonderful part of my memories. That’s why I came up with the idea to retell my story through a movie with all the pictures of my friends. It was a meaningful way for me to say goodbye to my friends in China and welcome my new life in the United States. The movie was created in my first semester at Miami University. It reflected my life, my confusion and my thoughts of home during the first month after entering the university, like all the freshmen. However, I was not only a first year student on campus, but also an international student who came to a new country for the first time. There were lots of colliding thoughts and there was storminess in my mind. I gained a lot, but also lost a lot here. Having lost personal contact with my friends, friendship was the most precious thing I wanted to commemorate.

As a result, the idea of “Smiling Star” came to me. I scanned the pictures of my best friend and me that I had in my computer and old memories just exploded before my eyes. I was very emotional at that moment. When people create a movie, they usually write the story first and then try to find the pictures, or find a section of video that they want for the story they have in mind.  However, I did my story creation in the opposite way – I picked up my photos first and then wrote the story behind the photos, using several sentences for each picture. Most pictures in my video are from my life. That makes my project more vivid; it’s as if the story is happening near my audience and I can let my audience experience the story with me.

The best part I like about my project is the music. Because I play oboe, and music is an important part of my life, back in China and here at Miami, I am really picky about music, and have particular tastes in music. I feel like the most important function of music is to bring about a common experience and feeling between the performer and the audience. I did a lot of clipping and editing of the music for “Smiling Star”, and I was focused on making the emotion of music and words come together. When I recorded my sound, I felt that the tones of my own voice melted into the music and there was an echo between the music and my words.

I do love the story of my friendship with Laybor, and explaining the story through a video makes me cherish the friendship even more. Even though Laybor and I are in different parts of the world, I feel like our friendship will last forever, and over great distances. This is the inspiration behind “Smiling Star”.