How to Read a Movie

Generally, I only read a film when it is in another language, but this week I learned how to read any and all films. In Robert Ebert’s article, How to Read a Movie,  I found it interesting how the placement and movement of characters in a film have such a subtle but effective way of controlling the emotions of the watchers. I also appreciated his acceptance of straying from the rules of film because the film is not something that needs to have strict guidelines.

I watched Kubrick // One-Point Perspective, with is the concept of drawing the attention to one spot. Using this technique, it is very clear what the focus is and the symmetry is very satisfying to the eye. In some of the clips, the focal point seemed to be slightly to the center-right which Ebert described as a very dominant position. Also, if the focal point moves out of the center, it can create a sense of discomfort for watchers

Next, I watched The Shining // Zooms. The multiple screens playing made it confusing and chaotic to follow, which I believe is the point. Also, along with the music, the videos were quite creepy and made me feel trapped and confused.

I also watched Examples of Editing Techniques which helps me as someone who does not know much about film. Now I can understand some techniques and be inspired to create better videos. Camera Angles and Techniques will also help for inspiration on how to film an effective video.

The film I chose to watch was The Night of the Living Dead, which was entertaining and thrilling at the same time! I made sure to think about the techniques I learned about from the article and videos, and for the most part, the movie followed the rules. I added commentary to a scene, reflecting on the techniques used. After choosing the scene I rewatched it and took down notes on the techniques portrayed in the scene, and then I recorded myself over the scene.

How to Survive Week Five

This week I told myself I would get my work done in a timely manner. I started out the week well by gaining my bearings and watching all of the videos and going through the resources for the week. On Wednesday, I got thinking about my character, Tala Madeira and wrote her an in-depth backstory. Wednesday was definitely productive for me because I also listened to the Peoria Plague Radio Show and tweeted along with some of my classmates. On Thursday, I watched the videos by Jad from RadioLab, but then I got caught up in other assignments and responsibilities and did not submit my reflection then.

This fallback in my schedule led me to finish the rest of the work over the weekend. I enjoyed exploring Audacity and getting some tips and tricks before beginning my own audio. After exploring the Frequency 2156 page, I got really into developing and editing my audio for the site. I recorded myself for that assignment just using the microphone on my headphones, but it seems to have worked well. For the two other audio assignments I completed (Humming Away and Call Me, Beep Me), I decided to take advantage of the vocal booth in the HCC. Although it was nice and quiet in there, I think it will be more useful once I figure out how to use all the tech inside it. I will definitely be visiting the Digital Knowledge Center this week for a tutorial!

Overall, I would say it was a pretty fun week, The End-wise.


How are you feeling? Be specific.

This week I have been feeling extremely tired and overwhelmed. I have had so much to get done, and all I wanted to do was take a nap. Slightly afraid a plague of fatigue is sweeping over the school, which will lead to a constant stage of sleep, AKA death. But, hopefully, it is just from a large workload and the fact that we are approaching midterms.

My Storage Container Home

The year is 2025 and I live in post-apocalyptic D.C. in my storage container tiny house. During the years of the apocalypse, my home protected me from viral diseases and extreme, destructive natural disasters. Now that the initial collapse of the old society has died down, I have been adjusting to life after the apocalypse.

I have begun adding outdoor space to my modest home. There is a front patio where I enjoy eating breakfast and watching the sunrise. On the side, I have a garden, where some crops are beginning to sprout. I cannot wait to eat some fresh food; canned food is becoming sickening to even look at.

My tiny storage container home is perfect for me right now. It does not require much maintenance, which is extremely necessary because I need to focus on meeting my basic needs for survival as necessities are scarce these days.

Life in the storage container can be lonely, but it is built for one and it works for me in my situation. It can be pleasant and cozy at times when I lay in my lofted bed and listen to the silence of the world be drowned out by my tiny box house that protects me from all that can cause harm.

A Dirty New World

Finally, the humans are gone. The humans, along with all other “living” beings were obliterated in the apocalypse. Even for me, a mere speck of dirt, the apocalypse was absolutely terrifying. I was thrown around from field to forest to sidewalks to anywhere you can imagine. I am so relieved that horrible experience is over.

Currently, I lay in an abandoned backyard and I have made some great dirt particle friends. Many of them are from the suburbs and they tell me horror stories from before the apocalypse. Miniature humans would dig them up in metal or plastic scoops and relocate them wherever they pleased. Occasionally, dogs would use their paws to throw them in all different directions for seemingly no reason at all.

On the farm, I also had some terrible experiences. Every time I would get settled in and become close friends with my neighboring dirt, the humans would use huge machines to churn us up and even cut some of us into pieces. They overused us and constantly drained our nutrients for their plants which they laid on top of us. However, now they are gone and life is much better.

We get to relax, and for the most part, we stay stationary aside from the occasional wind or rain. We get to keep all of our nutrients because there are no more plants. I never knew how friendly they were, because I never spent so much time with them. Hopefully, living things do not repopulate the planet soon, because I am enjoying this new lifestyle.

Alternate Ending to ‘There Will Come Soft Rains’

*My alternate ending is bolded*

In the living room the voice-clock sang, Tick-tock, seven o’clock, time to get up, time to get up, seven o’clock! as if it were afraid nobody would. The morning house lay empty. The clock ticked on, repeating and repeating its sounds into the emptiness. Seven-nine, breakfast time, seven-nine!
In the kitchen the breakfast stove gave a hissing sigh and ejected from its warm interior eight pieces of perfectly browned toast, eight eggs sunnyside up, sixteen slices of bacon, two coffees, and two cool glasses of milk.
“Today is August 4, 2026,” said a second voice from the kitchen ceiling., “in the city of Allendale, California.” It repeated the date three times for memory’s sake. “Today is Mr. Featherstone’s birthday. Today is the anniversary of Tilita’s marriage. Insurance is payable, as are the water, gas, and light bills.”
Somewhere in the walls, relays clicked, memory tapes glided under electric eyes.

Eight-one, tick-tock, eight-one o’clock, off to school, off to work, run, run, eight-one! But no doors slammed, no carpets took the soft tread of rubber heels. It was raining outside. The weather box on the fron door sang quietly: “Rain, rain, go away; rubbers, raincoats for today…” And the rain tapped on the empty house, echoing.
Outside, the garage chimed and lifted its door to reveal the waiting car. After a long wait the door swung down again.
At eight-thirty the eggs were shriveled and the toast was like stone. An aluminum wedge scraped them down a metal throat which digested and flushed them away to the distant sea. The dirty dishes were dropped into a hot washer and emerged twinkling dry.

Nine-fifteen, sang the clock, time to clean. Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted. The rooms were acrawl with the small cleaning animals, all rubber and metal. They thudded against chairs, whirling their mustached runners, kneading the rug nap, sucking gently at hidden dust. Then, like mysterious invaders, they popped into their burrows. Their pink electric eye faded. The house was clean.
Ten o’clock. The sun came out from behind the rain. The house stood alone in a city of rubble and ashes. This was the one house left standing. At night the ruined city gave of a radioactive glow which could be seen for miles.
Ten-fifteen. The garden sprinklers whirled up in golden founts, filling the soft morning air with scatterings of brightness. The water pelted windowpanes, running down the charred west side where the house had been burned evenly free of its white paint. The entire west face of the house was black, save for five places. Here the silhouette in paint of a man mowing a lawn. Here, as in a photograph, a woman bent to pick flowers. Still farther over, their images burned on wood in one titantic instant, a small boy, hands flung into the air; higher up, the image of thrown ball, and opposite him a girl, hand raised to catch a ball which never came down. The five spots of paint- the man, the woman, the children, the ball – remained. The rest was a thin charcoaled layer. The gentle sprinkler rain filled the garden with falling light.

Until this day, how well the house had kept its peace. How carefully it had inquired, ‘Who goes there? What’s the password?” and, getting no answer from the only foxes and whining cats, it had shut up its windows and drawn shades in an old-maidenly preoccupation with self-protection which bordered on a mechanical paranoia.
It quivered at each sound, the house did. If a sparrow brushed a window, the shade snapped up. The bird, startled, flew off! No, not even a bird must touch the house!
The house was an altar with ten thousand attendants, big, small, servicing, attending, in choirs. But the gods had gone away, and the ritual of the religion continued senselessly, uselessly.

Twelve noon.
A dog whined, shivering, on the front porch.
The front door recognized the dog voice and opened. The dog, once large and fleshy, but now gone to bone and covered with sores, moved in and through the house, tracking mud. Behind it whirred angry mice, angry at having to pick up mud, angry at inconvenience.
For not a leaf fragment blew under the door but what the wall panels flipped open and the copper scrap rats flashed swiftly out. The offending dust, hair, or paper, seized in miniature steel jaws, was raced back to the burrows. There, down tubes which fed into the cellar, it was dropped like evil Baal in a dark corner.

The dog ran upstairs, hysterically yelping to each door, at last realizing, as the house realized, that only silence was here. It sniffed the air and scratched the kitchen door. Behind the door, the stove was making pancakes which filled the house with a rich odor and the scent of maple syrup. The dog frothed at the mouth, lying at the door, sniffing, its eyes turned to fire. It ran wildly in circles, biting at its tail, spun in a frenzy, and died. It lay in the parlor for an hour
Two ‘clock, sang a voice.
Delicately sensing decay at last, the regiments of mice hummed out as softly as blown gray leaves in an electrical wind.
The dog was gone.
In the cellar, the incinerator glowed suddenly and a whirl of sparks leaped up the chimney.
Two thirty-five.
Bridge tables sprouted from patio walls. Playing cards fluttered onto pads in a shower of pips. Martinis manifested on an oaken bench with egg salad sandwiches. Music played.
But the tables were silent and the cards untouched.
At four o’clock the tables folded like great butterflies back through the paneled walls.

The nursery walls glowed.
Animals took shape: yellow giraffes, blue lions, pink antelopes, lilac panthers cavorting in crystal substance. The walls were glass. They looked out upon color and fantasy. Hidden films clocked though the well-oiled sprockets, and the walls lived. The nursery floor was woven to resemble a crisp cereal meadow. Over this ran aluminum roaches and iron crickets, and in the hot still air butterflies of delicate red tissue wavered among the sharp aroma of animal spoors! There was the sound like a great matted yellow hive of bees within a dark bellows, the lazy bumble of a purring lion. And there was the patter of okapi feet and the murmur of a fresh jungle rain, like other hoofs falling upon the summer-starched grass. Now the walls dissolved into distances of parched weed, mile on mile, and warm endless sky. The animals drew away into thorn brakes and water holes.It was the children’s hour.

Five o’clock. The bath filled with clear hot water.
Six, seven, eight o’clock. The dinner dishes manipulated like magic tricks, and in the study a click. In the metal stand opposite the hearth where a fire now blazed up warmly, a cigar popped out, half an inch of soft gray ash on it, smoking, waiting.

Nine o’clock. The beds warmed their hidden circuits, for nights were cool here.
Nine-five.  A voice spoke from the study ceiling: “Mrs. McClellan, which poem would you like this evening?”
The house was silent.
The voice said at last, “Since you express no preference, I shall select a poem at random.” Quiet music rose to back the voice. “Sara Teasdale. As I recall, your favorite…

“There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground, And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night, And wild plum trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire, Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree, If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn Would scarcely know that we were gone.”

The fire burned on the stone hearth and the cigar fell away into a mound of quiet ash on its tray. The empty chairs faced each other between the silent walls, and the music played.

At ten o’clock the house began to die. The technology inside the house began to malfunction and the music came to a stop. For a moment there was complete silence. 

Suddenly, figures emerged from the walls of the home. The silhouette of a man mowing a lawn became a real man, the picture of the woman picking flowers became a real woman, and the picture of the children playing with a ball became a real girl and boy. 

“I knew this would not work forever” stated the woman in defeat.

“But we survived past the destruction, and now we can go on and finally continue our lives” replied the man.

“So we don’t have to live as a house anymore, Papa?” inquired the young boy.

“No, but now we must find another way to survive.” replied the man, ” There is not much left on this desolate planet, so it will be difficult.”

“Will you still share a nightly poem, Mama?” asked the little girl.

“Of course, but we must be on our way,” said the woman, “Which poem would you like to begin our journey?”