Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Final Blog Post

Vox Pop Link:

  • What was the assignment?
    We were assigned to create a feature article on a topic involving "Valentines Day." I chose to focus on bad gift ideas and good gift ideas to help persuade people on what to not do on valentines day, and what to do instead.
  • Why did you choose this piece over the others we have done?
    I chose this piece because I really liked my end result. I thought I added a decent amount of humor that was relevant to the topic and I liked the way it flowed.
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the piece?
    Strength was the structure of the feature focusing on the different topics while giving an introductions and conclusion. I liked how this flowed. Some weakness I felt was the length. I think I may have written a little too much because I remember I was supposed to keep it relatively short. 

    Without further ado, here is my Valentines Day Feature:

Love is in the air which only means one thing; it’s Valentines Day. A day where people spread love and kindness to their loved ones. This day could be full of stress and anxiety because if you have a significant other, you may not know what to do. If you’re single, try again next year. Couples around the world are scrambling to their local Rite Aid to buy on sale box of chocolates the night before. Some couples are all set, as they just bought a $15,000 diamond ring because their girlfriend is just so damn special. So what makes a good gift for Valentines Day? It really depends on the relationship you have with your significant other. If you’re married, you may do something sweet like a home cooked meal, and delicious desserts. If you’re in high school with a girlfriend, maybe you should just get some chocolates and a nice card, but if you’re in middle school just give her your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles card.

Good gifts. What is a good gift? Is it a diamond ring? Technically yes, but some of you are on a shoestring budget so you won’t be able to afford that. Doing something simple isn’t lame or generic. It shows off the fact that you care and it’s the thought that counts. You can never go wrong with a heart shaped box of chocolates for guys or girls. I interviewed teenager Jonathan Mervine who’s been in a relationship with the same girl for over three years. “It really depends on what the girl likes obviously. You don’t need to go all out like it’s a birthday, or anniversary. Save your money and do something special for those days and not Valentines Day. Love isn’t an object, it’s the thought that counts. You don’t even need to get a girl anything, just give her your appreciation and show that you care about her. Trust me, that is the best gift idea for Valentines Day.” Jonathan made some great points about love not being an object. You don’t need to spend money to make people happy.

Bad gifts. What makes a bad gift? Some people would say this could be considered a good gift, but it truly isn’t. Anything with a price tag over $50 is a bad idea for a gift. I asked Brooke Heathco about bad gifts, and she said “What makes a bad gift is simple. Nothing at all. If you just write off this day as a normal day, that’s a bad idea. At least show some thought even if it’s a cheesy singing card. People don’t need to buy expensive jewelry as a Valentines Day present because it’s not as important as other dates, but to just not do anything at all, now that’s a bad idea.” Brooke made some interesting points. If you just ignore your significant other to stay at home and play Grand Theft Auto V, that’s a bad gift idea.

There you have it folks, these are helpful tips when it comes to Valentines Day. You don’t need to get a gift at all, as long as you show kindness and nice gestures you’ll be golden. If the other person doesn’t like the idea of getting absolutely nothing but appreciation, then you may not be in the right relationship. Enjoy your Valentines Day and let the love sweep you off your feet and skip with glee. Stay Safe.

    • What was the assignment?
      To write an editorial that we had a strong opinion on. I chose to compare and contrast a topic I knew I could write for hours on, movies.
    • Why did you choose this piece over the others we have done?
      Because I finally got the freedom to write about a topic I've wanted to write about for a long time. The past 3 years of high school I was forced to write essays I couldn't care less about and it was just a structure to follow and I couldn't interject myself into them. This class has allowed me to do that, especially 2nd semester and I felt as though this piece really got me to that point.
    • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the piece?
      I thought I did a good job comparing and contrasting the difference between mainstream films and independent. I thought I gave good insights to someone who may not know the difference. Weakness includes a very poor conclusion in my opinion. I went on for what seemed like a long time and then just ended it. But anyways...

      Without further ado, here is my Editorial "Mainstream Vs. Independent."

      Mainstream Vs. Independent
      Some people may not even know what this title means or what I’m about to write, but this is about the two different categories of film. Mainstream films and independent films. Mainstream films are the type of movies you typically go see. Those big blockbuster action films with Michael Bay’s name stamped all over the posters and trailers. Movies such as Transformers with non stop explosions with absolute no plots and overpaid actors. Independent films are what a select few see. They don’t get wide releases, which mean they are harder to track down a theater that has it. Mainly small, art house theaters carry such films so you can’t blame the audiences with sticking to the explosions. What I’m here to write about is the difference between them.
      Independent films are made with a little budget. Maybe five millions tops. Now this includes food, salaries, equipment, location permits, and post production work. Everything adds up quickly with filmmaking so they have to be conservative. What’s great about smaller films, is they have passion involved. The director and screenwriters usually have full control over their final product, whereas mainstream films the studios get a say in the final product taking away the true vision and passion the director once had. For example, one of the best movies that came out last year was The Spectacular Now. A story about young love with an aspiring message of living in the now. Not the present or future, the now. This film has such a strong message and incredible heart throughout. According to IMDB (Internet Movie Data base) the budget of this movie was $2 million, which in the industry they call a “snickers bar and a shoelace” budget. It proves that you don’t need a bug budget to make a great film.
      Now mainstream films can be great as well. Recent films in my opinion include “Captain Phillips” and “Saving Mr. Banks.” Movies that had a big budget, but was in the correct hands and came out to be very good. Going back to last year again, one of the worst movies was “The Lone Ranger.” Which had a budget of $250 million. Now I can’t imagine how much money $250 million is, but I know it’s a lot. But knowing that this money went to make this awful film. If you watch the film, you can’t help but wonder, “was $200 million just the paycheck for Johnny Depp?” It doesn’t make any sense once you seen the final product.
      I’m not saying that all mainstream films are terrible. Like I’ve stated, I’ve enjoyed many that have come out. It’s the fact that they cost so much, but with little payoff then what you’d get with a smaller made film. When a film has such a big budget, it’s mainly a paycheck for the actors and studios rather than invest it to make a film great. Independent movies have smaller budgets that are put towards the film itself to make it high quality and great. It’s not the money that makes a movie incredible, it’s the vision the filmmakers have.


      Using blogger was a very fun way to go about writing assignments. Having people comment and share so quickly was a lot of fun to do. Having the iPads for the device kind of ruined some of the experience as it would randomly not let you type more and just log out. Also typing on the iPads was just the worst, especially for very long assignments. Overall, I really liked using blogger to post all of our work, and I hope it stays active because I can see myself going back here in a few years and reading some of our posts.

      Here it is. The grand finale. We have completed Journalism 1 & 2 and now our final assignment was to create a movie review of our senior year. I loved this assignment because I personally do video movie reviews, so it was fun to pretend like my life was a film and I had to review it. So here it goes. Senior Year, Movie Review.

      “Drake Unchained” Movie Review
      Rated: PG-13

      It’s senior year. The last year of High School for 18 year old Spencer Drake, our protagonist. The last 3 years flew by for him and this was his time to shine. The plot follows Spencer going into his senior year following his activities in classrooms, sports, and social events leading up to his graduation. We see the ups and downs of senior year for Spencer, and all the obstacles life throws at him. “Drake Unchained” is directed by Christopher Nolan from the “Dark Knight” trilogy and written by Aaron Sorkin from “Social Network.” The film stars Spencer Drake, Jonathan Mervine, Joe Nixon, Brooke Heathco, and Ben MacMillan. Going into this film I had high hopes. A camera crew was going to follow a senior named Spencer Drake and chronicle his life during the biggest year of his life, senior year. I figured it was going to be like “Project X” or “American Pie” but wow was I wrong.  I was very disappointed. Spencer’s life is very boring. He goes to school everyday, but hardly stays in school. The kid has so many study halls he ends up just going home and snuggling with his dogs halfway through the day. Spencer’s senior life was no “High School Musical 3: Senior Year” filled with upbeat dance and song performances and cliche moments. Then again, this movie was no “Carrie”, never bullied and didn’t go crazy in the end. Some of the highlights in the film included some great skiing scenes while attending his state meet for alpine skiing. Very action packed and fun to watch. I also really enjoyed the scenes involving Journalism class. Seemed like a very engaging and entertaining class. The film really dragged during the fall season unfortunately. He wasn’t involved with sports, and just went to the gym most days which was repetitive and annoying to watch. Director Christopher Nolan uses rich cinematography and makes Maine looks like it’s own character. The fall leaves, winter snow, and spring green grass pop on screen and really draws in the audience. Spencer’s supporting friends really gave this movie some great comedic moments. Constantly ripping on each other while still maintaining good friends. Although I found Spencer’s life to be boring, director Christopher Nolan makes this film go by incredibly fast. The guy never did anything real exciting so it must have been easy to do so, but it worked well because I was out of the theater quickly. Overall, “Drake Unchained” was a disappointment as a film. It may have been awesome for the character Spencer pretty much taking an off year and doing well in his classes, but it didn’t need to be adapted into a movie. The film has solid directing, writing, and cinematography but it doesn’t justify the excitement on screen.

      Grade: C


  1. Spencer I really enjoyed your valentines day article because it was very funny and engaging. I especially liked your line "but if you’re in middle school just give her your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles card. " Your senior movie review was as strong as when I read it the first time and had a very good voice to it.

  2. I really enjoyed reading your senior review! You included a lot of great details and the comparisons to other films was right on. I especially liked the part about snuggling with the dogs between classes- I could watch dog snuggles on film all day long! This was one of your stronger pieces this year. Nice work!