Student Reflections – Loneliness (3.1)

Three Project Reflections By Elizabeth Dougherty, Meri Faulkner, and Morgan Robinson

A Reflection by Elizabeth Dougherty
During English 103 the class was instructed to create a video portraying a certain poem of our choice. Pairing up with Meri Faulkner and Morgan Robinson we chose the poem “Loneliness” by Katherine Mansfield. By reading this poem it was noticed that there was a definite parallel to the lives of many people, especially college students. Through the eyes of a college student, and being college students ourselves, we could all first hand reflect on the fact that this poem is true of everyone at least once in their life. With this in mind the choice of wardrobe was chosen to display the modern times of loneliness. As the actress in this video, I wore clothes that presented a modern-day girl who was struggling through life as a human being.I found it quite difficult to present this mood and character. Even though there was no speaking in the actual acting portion of the video, generating a set tone for the message was complex and a different experience. I have never been in any kind of acting role, so using my face and voice as the “face” of the video was a new experience. Becoming a depressed and weary girl in the video was somewhat different than my life, as I am cheery and happy most of the time. Not only was I the actress but also my voice was heard reading the poem. This was even more difficult than the acting because I really had to control my feelings in order to create a solemn mood in my tone of voice.Creating this mood of depression and unhappiness was also created through editing. The day that we chose to film happened to be one of the sunniest and warmest days in a while which led to much editing and revising to create the appropriate mood. Meri used her handy work in editing which Morgan and I knew little about. As Meri was the main editor, Morgan used her photography and videotaping skills to capture every image with as much precise detail as possible. This shows how our partnership really came into play. We learned to be highly compatible in our decision making, from choosing the correct poem to how we were going to portray it to the world. We all had our own opinions throughout the whole assignment, which proved to be an advantage because we were all willing to voice our thoughts. Having numerous minds into one project, rather than just one idea, created a unique video that could be interpreted however the viewer would like.

A Reflection by Meri Faulkner
Our video adaptation of the poem “Loneliness” by Katherine Mansfield was originally made as a project for an English 103 class this spring. Our assignment was to take a poem and express our adaptation of it in the form of a short video. “Loneliness” seemed to be the perfect poem for the task at hand because we felt as if every person has been able to experience this feeling at one point or another. When making any type of multimedia project, it is essential to engage the audience in the beginning and it is easy to do so by finding a topic that people can relate to.My group consisted of Elizabeth Dougherty, Morgan Robinson, and myself and we were able to all contribute something vital to the project. Morgan had a fair amount of experience with filming, as did I with editing. Elizabeth did the acting, narrating, and contributed many other great ideas toward the project.We adapted the poem in a way that we thought people would relate to best, and we did that by personifying loneliness itself. We purposefully dressed Elizabeth in plain clothes that people wear on a daily basis and put her in situations that helped to convey the feeling of loneliness. Elizabeth was in most of the shots, but there were a few shots where we deemed it unnecessary to have her in them. Morgan was able to capture some really great shots such as the one with the rocking chair and also the one with the candle. We included shots such as these ones because even though they are relatively simple in concept, they are vital in our video. The shots with Elizabeth help the audience to relate more closely with the idea of loneliness, but the beginning shots of just inanimate objects are there to essentially create the feeling of loneliness in the beginning. Almost all of our footage was shot on Clemson University’s campus with the exception of a few which were filmed in Morgan’s house.As far as editing goes, I slowed down all of the individual shots and put them in black and white. We captured all of the audio in the video ourselves and did not use any music. The absence of music really helped in stressing loneliness and we were able to find a number of sound effects on our actual footage that helped with the argument that we were presenting. Other than the natural sound effects, the only other audio we had in the video was Elizabeth’s narration of the poem. Some of the editing was fairly difficult because when I slowed down a lot of the shots, the audio either did not sound like we wanted it to or did not match up correctly. But ultimately, we were able to use solely the audio that we collected so that we did not have to worry about borrowing audio from any sharing websites. Fortunately, we were able to do all of the editing that we needed in iMovie and did not have to purchase any editing programs such as Final Cut. The editing for this video was simple in concept, but I feel as if that is why it was effective. Using elaborate editing or footage would have taken away from the feeling of loneliness, which would have led to a less effective video.In creating this video, I feel as if we were successful in creating the sentiment of loneliness as well as making it relatable to our audience. We managed to create our argument while using fairly simple ideas, which made it very easy to catch the attention of a broader audience. As a group, we worked together very well because we all had something vital to bring to the project. Going into the project, we never expected this video to become anything more than a freshman English project, but with all of the work that we put into it, I am very proud of it and think that it turned out to be a great video.

A Reflection by Morgan Robinson
For our Multimedia Assignment for English 103, my group consisted of Elizabeth Dougherty, Meri Faulkner, and myself. We named ourselves MEM Productions, Inc. and soon after we chose the poem “Loneliness” by Katherine Mansfield. When we were searching for possible poems to adapt, “Loneliness” caught our attention. We decided that it was a great poem to adapt because it could reach a wide audience. Everyone feels lonely from time to time and can therefore identify with our video if the adaptation was completed properly.As far as the actual shots go, we took our ideas straight from the poem. When Mansfield said, “It is loneliness who comes at night / to sit beside my bed,” we filmed a shot of the rocking chair beside the bed. That shot was challenging because we wanted to hear the rocking chair creaking but all of the bedrooms in my home have carpet. In order to get the shot we wanted, I taped the audio from my dining room with the chair rocking on the wood floor, moved the chair to the carpeted bedroom to film it and Meri did some overlapping with the audio. The sounds matched up surprisingly well after only a few tries of different rocking chair speeds. The same shot became even more difficult when we were trying to make the rocking chair rock steady. I was sitting on the floor with one foot on each side of the chair, trying to make it rock steadily while holding the video camera steady. Thanks to Meri’s editing expertise, that clip could be stabilized using iMovie.Most of the other shots were relatively easy to shoot around our campus. Elizabeth was our actress throughout the entire video. All of the field shots were captured in the Botanical Gardens, while all of the water shots were taken out at Lake Hartwell. We had a lot of fun out at the lake getting way too many shots so that we would have plenty of film with which to work. The day we went to shoot was a bright and cheery day unfortunately for the subject of our poem, so we decided to turn the clips into black and white to help make the shots look like they were filmed when it was overcast to create a more depressing feel. The audio of the singing birds and sunshine in the background had to be removed because they would have had a completely different effect on the video.We learned how to compromise and work together, as well as how to look at a poem more critically. Without having made a video adaptation of the poem, I would have merely read it and not paid much attention to any details or come to any deeper conclusions about the piece. Our final product was definitely better because of the team effort and the different opinions and experiences that each of us contributed. My contribution to this project was mostly capturing image sequences and audio. Elizabeth did all of the acting and the voiceovers. Meri did all of the editing and some of the video work as well. Each of us contributed our unique qualities while being willing to compromise, and I think the video reflects that in its final stage.