Someone is Always Watching

Life rarely goes exactly the way you want it to. Problems will arise, obstacles will be faced, challenges will be overcome. Whether you like it or not, barriers will appear, and life moves on whether you overcome them or not. That is the theme of the first project of my final year of high school. We started off the year learning about dystopia’s in literature, and my final project would be put on hold at the worst possible time. 

The driving question of this first project was “how does dystopian literature act as social commentary?” Our project was to eventually create a 5 minute video connecting the themes of a dystopian novel we read to our current society. With the world in such an interesting period politically as well as socially, I don’t think this project could have happened at a better time for us. The 4 novel’s we had to choose from were 1984, The Handmaid’s Tale, Fahrenheit 451, and Brave New World. Every single one of these books can be connected to a current trend or issue in our society, so I felt like I was truly able to choose a book I wanted to read rather than consider the difficulty of finding a trend later on. I ended up choosing 1984 by George Orwell, a classic that is repeatedly quoted in today’s society, and one I do not regret selecting. 

The first real assignment of this project came in the form of a socratic seminar about the film V for Vendetta, which we watched to kickstart the project. It was quite an interesting movie. It relied heavily on symbolism and hidden meanings, but I would recommend it. My performance at the seminar was something that I think I can be quite proud of. I had done research beforehand, I asked questions and contributed ideas, and I stayed engaged the entire time. The growth that I have managed to achieve since that first socratic seminar last year in the Manhattan Project Project is something that I am quite proud of, and hope to build on even more throughout the year. 

After we read the book we had chosen, we started off on our research of themes we can connect to in our real world. Unfortunately, my nagging problem of procrastination caught up with me, which would come later to bite be in the arse. I did not manage my class time particularly well during the research and planning portion of the project. I got it done of course, but I do not think I went incredibly deep in my research. I had contacted someone for an interview, but I contacted them late and did not receive a response. It also meant that if any other issue were to come up during the filming or planning, I would be massively behind (foreshadowing). 

Four days before our video was due, I was hit in the head at a basketball practice and suffered a concussion, which meant I was off devices and sitting in a dark room for 6 days. By the time I came back, everyone else’s videos were handed in, and I hadn’t even started filming. Lucky for me, my new teacher Ms. Madsen is someone with a kind heart and gave me an extension. But right as I was finished my script and all the planning, I came down with a nasty case of whatever is going around right now. So for another 5 days, I was at home with a fever of 39ºC and no voice, meaning I couldn’t record. Once my voice came back, I managed to record and edit my video, but I can’t help but wonder how much trouble could have been avoided if I managed my time properly at the start of the project.  

As for the content of the video, the theme that I connected from 1984 to today is that surveillance is becoming a normal in today’s society. The one difference is that it is being conducted by private companies and businesses to make money rather than the government. The circumstances of this project were less than ideal, but I still think I managed to make a video that I can be proud of. Obviously it is not my best work, but I still think there is something to be said about the adversity I showed in the making of this video. If I were able to go back in time, I would use my time effectively because this whole mess might have been able to be avoided entirely. So it was a unique way to kick off the year, and one that I hope does not become repeat itself. 

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