New Narratives: Reflection

The journey I had this semester was not an easy one. However, I enjoyed every minute of it.

We kicked the year off with our very first research assignment into the Hero’s Journey. I didn’t realise exactly how useful this assignment would be until much later on. It continues to amaze me how I can look at movies, films, books, comics, even my own work, and see elements of the Hero’s Journey in everything. Whilst not the most fun of assignments, it was certainly one of the most useful in preparation for what was to come.

Our next assignment was to create a schematic for the movie ‘Birdy’. That movie will stay with me forever. It was interesting to have to break down the movie into the Hero’s Journey and then figure out what each of the characters were doing at specific plot points, what their role in that plot point was and how they related to the events happening. Did they cause this event? Or were they just an onlooker? Whilst a stressful experience I believe that it will come in handy in the future.

In correlation with the schematic, we had to make an artefact which either represented the movie or had significance to the story. Whilst figuring out the schematic was hard, this was more difficult. This required extensive research into the minds of the characters, the events that were happening around them, their reactions to said events and the symbolism in the movie. It’s so interesting to be able to dig under the skin of a movie and see how much implicit meaning there is in a story. How minute details can change your perspective of what is going on. We created a birdcage that was held together by bloodied bandages and housed a baseball, whilst feathers and a broken mirror was scattered on the surrounding terrain. The bird the cage was meant to hold was free. This symbolised how society caged Al. They caused him to rely on his looks and masculinity which was stripped from him during the war. He then tried to hold himself together by refusing to remove the bandages. However, Birdy was free. He had never been caged by society’s perspectives and through his traumatic experience he became truly free. This assignment held a lot more weight to it than it let on.  It trained us to pay close attention to not only what’s happening to our character, but also what’s happening around them. I hope that this will lead to a better understanding of narrative and storytelling in future projects.

Our final assignment was our fifteen second animation. This was exhausting. It had such a steep earning curve and we had so little time. I thoroughly enjoyed it, however itmade me realise a number of flaws about myself. I have a tendency to hide my ideas and this way of shutting down when I feel that a team doesn’t need me. However, I went through a lot with this team. As much as I had their back through this assignment, they had mine. I truly learnt the importance of communication and team work in this challenge. You can’t just divide out certain sections, slap them together and expect them to work. You have to be communicating through everything you do. My team and I did not have an easy time of it. However I learnt so much from each of them in terms of Maya and work ethic, and I hoped they learnt something from me too.

In conclusion, I have grown a lot this semester. The work load has been stressful but I’ve learnt that I have the strength to not lose myself to stress. I’ve gone from barely being able to model a coffee cup, to being able to rig and animate a simple model. It’s been interesting watching myself grow and become more comfortable with my position within the teams and by extension within the class. I have learned so much this semester, and knowing that there’s so much more to discover only pushes me to be even better than I have been the past year.