Oh How The Turn Tables…

Welcome back to the blog.

We are coming to the end of the year. Only one more week of high school for me. I’m going to miss school and these posts.


Today we are going back to me in grade 9 when I chose my 5 most influential people I would have at my “table.” The goal of this assignment back then was to look at the qualities you need to have in order to be a good leader. Then I thought deeply about who I thought my own personal leaders were, and wrote about why each person was a leader to me. I also included a diagram that shows all these people at my table with me. View my table from grade 9 or click the photo to go to my post on the project:

This was around 3 years ago, however, and the purpose of this post today is to see if anything has changed since then. It’s a role model update. We are doing this because of the new unit we are starting in PLP called Fight the Power, which is where we learn how to take the extremely valuable knowledge we have gained in the past 13 years of schooling to change the world for the better. And so I am going to show the people who have built me up and continue to inspire me to be better and fight the power.

I have come up with my own personal mission statement that I strive to accomplish in my lifetime. Each of the people I will talk about next will have an impact on me in a way that helps me achieve my mission statement whether it’s a big way or not. Here it is:

I will constantly chase something new, create media that makes me happy, and spend time with people I love and who build me up. My life will be my life and I will not be satisfied with anything that doesn’t fulfill me as a person. 

My New and Improved Table:

And now, the people who inspire me to achieve that statement:

First off, my parents are still at my table 3 years later. They are my life coaches. They push me to be better and bench me when I
underperform. I’ve learned the value of respect from them and how to treat others the way you want to be treated, which is something I strive to do everyday. My parents taught me how to have a sense of humour, something I am so grateful for. One of my all time favourite things in the world is when I can make someone laugh and without them I wouldn’t be the funniest person I know. But they also support me in everything I do which is the best thing parents can do. I have gone through many hobbies and phases and they have been through them all. Usually they end up being expensive, like a new bike or camera, and they either help me plan my spending or tell me to keep dreaming. I am so thankful for my parents for making me the way that I am, and also allowing me to grow on my own. Both of them inspire me everyday, with my dads relentless work ethic and goofy sense of humour and my moms patience and caring nature. So that is why my parents have a seat at my table, and I’m proud to see them there.

Next up is a man named Nigel Danson. He is a successful landscape photographer based I the UK who I recently discovered through his YouTube channel. What really caught my attention right off the bat was his ability to clearly articulate aspects of photography I struggle with. I had never come across anyone that could explain the strategies that he was explaining in all the YouTube tutorials I had seen. And what brought me coming back to him was his absolutely amazing photos of stunning landscapes across the world. They are honestly the best photos I’ve ever seen and he has so many that blow me away. But I’m also extremely inspired by his story. He started taking photos at the age of 11 and worked mostly in the darkroom of his parents attic. Then he was the founder of a very successful software company until 2016 when he nearly died in a terrible car crash. His heart stopped multiple times but he luckily survived. He now lives with chronic back pain that is amplified when sitting. So he quit his office job and pursued photography full time. He takes his own photos, runs a website where he prints his photos and sells them, a successful YouTube channel explaining his incredible skills, and does workshops and masterclass. He has taken photography, the thing that makes him most inspired and happy, and made a very successful career from it. This is something I dream of doing in the future and Nigel Danson is someone I draw inspiration from, not only because of his incredible photos but also his ability to create a successful photography career.

Third, Willem Verbeek. He is a young photographer who primarily shoots 35 mm film photography. I also discovered him a few months ago through his YouTube channel. On his channel he showcases his work and also take the viewer with him when he walks around town taking photos. He also explains how to use old film cameras and techniques to help people who are relatively new to film photography like me. He is at my table because he has a very calm and collected nature about him bt he is extremely creative. He is always happy to be taking photos and seems even more happy to be sharing those images with others. His photography style is also something that inspires me as its quite different than what I usually like. But there’s something about the way he composes his images and the exceptional use of colour and light that works so well. I am inspired by him because of his insanely creative eye for photography and how he can turn seemingly mundane scenes into amazing frames. His drive to keep creating is evident in his photo books and zines that he creates and sells online. He is a very skilled photographer who I draw creative inspiration from constantly. He makes me more passionate for photography every time I see his images.

Next up is Remy Metallier, a professional mountain biker located in Squamish BC. He is my favourite rider hands down, as his style and speed is unmatched. He is inspiring to me because he has also made a career out of a sport he loves. I follow him on social media, and he is constantly staying physically active all the time. What I really like about him is how he constantly pushes the boundaries of mountain biking as a sport, and also his own personal boundaries. He is riding down crazy features every week and pushing his skills to the next level on the daily. The one thing about him that really sticks with me is his fear management. Mountain biking can be quite scary, and rightfully so. But he attacks trails with a calm nature and strategically rides them with poise and control even when he’s scared. Fear and risk management is a huge part of biking, and I personally believe that being able to recognize fear and still overcome it is an extremely valuable skill to have. I want to be able to be as mentally strong and confident in myself and my skills in all aspects of my life just like how Remy is in his biking. His riding makes me want to better myself mentally and physically to be the best version of myself I can so that I’m not settling for anything less.

This video features him riding trails in the Whistler bike park. He makes everything in this video look easy but I assure you, its literally the opposite. Multiple times he jumped way higher and farther than you were supposed to go which takes immeasurable amounts of skill and confidence.

And finally, my Grandad. He is one of the wisest people I know, and is someone who I aspire to be like when I’m older. As a kid I thought he was the smartest person I’d ever met, and I still agree to this day. He is constantly learning new things, listening to podcasts and watching documentaries on just about anything. I get to see him every few months as we live in two different provinces, but when I do see him I enjoy it every time. The most inspiring thing to me is how much he loves every single person in our family. He has over 15 grandkids and equally adores each and every one. He is so happy with his family and I hope to be in that same place when I am his age. His love for people reaches past his family too, as he is gracious and kind to every single person he meets. I hope that I can learn that skill too, and have a network of people around me who support me and I can support them. My grandad is the person and family man I want to be when I get older, and he earns a seat at my table any day. He is a reminder to me to be happy and take every minute of life for granted, so treat people with respect and kindness, as one small act can change someone’s whole day. Without my Grandad I would not have the same appreciation for the people in my life that I do today, and I hope he can show me how to strengthen that appreciation for much much longer.

To summarize, I look up to people with a creative vision that strive to be the best person they can be. They do what makes them happy and surround themselves with people who make them happiest. I believe all these people I’ve described here today align with my personal mission statement in some way. If I can stick to my personal mission statement and follow what makes me happy, I will be living the dream. These people in this post remind and inspire me to keep going even when it gets tough. I am happy to have them in my life or to know of them and their accomplishments so that I can be a better person myself.


that’s all


see you

Learning from Zombies

Hello and welcome back to the blog.


Today we are discussing a whole project we completed whilst in Covid-19 quarantine and through online classes. We took this chance to study a topic that had relevance to our every day life which has drastically changed. We wanted to look into the connections between literary dystopias and real life amidst Covid-19. Our driving question for this project is:

How do literary dystopias help us understand what is happening now? 

To answer this question we started off by defining the word Utopia. We found out that a utopia is an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect. Then, after discussing it more as a class, we were split into groups and Adam, Spencer and myself were tasked with creating a keynote presentation that described to the class what our perfect world would look like. we were told to have fun with it but also get across a few core ideas. I wish I could tell you the chain of events and ideas that lead to this keynote presentation, but sadly I have no idea how we came up with this. Our perfect world is called Berenstein and is run by a family of immortal bears.

Our utopia is a perfect place where everyone is equal and happy. The rules aren’t much different than our lives in Canada right now but we thought that our ideal utopia should be similar but with a few improvements. Overall it was a fun mini project that got the gears turning regarding fictional utopias and dystopias. I found that it helped me personally get a better idea of the structure of fictional worlds work, which was very helpful for the next part of the unit.

The next phase of the project was a novel study. We had a choice of 4 books to read, all about different fictional dystopias. The books were 1984, Station Eleven, Handmaids Tail and World War Z. I chose to read World War Z by Max Brooks, along with Izzy, Spencer and Robbie. Since we all chose the same book, we would be conducting group discussions every week about the novel and also completing the final project together which comes later. I thoroughly enjoyed this book actually, it was written in a different style compared to a typical narrative story. The main character was a nameless interviewer who travelled around the world after the zombie war that almost killed off the human race. He interviews countless people about their experiences during the war and recounts the entirety of the war through these short interviews. Anyone who had a story was interviewed, from suburban moms in the middle of the US to special agents in the mountains of Europe.

I personally found this book super interesting and very well written. Each interview was engaging and brought the story forward more every time. I was sceptical about the formatting of the book at first but after reading only a few chapters I was loving it. what I learned from this book is that literary dystopias have a lot of connections to real life. Even though this is a fictional book about zombies almost taking over the world, it connects to the Covid-19 crisis in many ways. My group and I dug up these connections while we were reading the book and solidified our ideas after reading. I thought what we came up with was really strong, and was excited to showcase it in our final product.

Which brings me to our video. Our video describes the connections between literary dystopias and real life by explaining our own answer to the driving question. After reading our novel we decided on this statement to answer the driving question:

Literary dystopias, while fictional, can give us insight into the ways human beings react emotionally to a worldwide pandemic.

We noticed that in the book World War Z that people all reacted differently when confronted with a dangerous situation, or just the thought of one. Lots of people who heard about the zombie virus spreading , when it was early on, took it seriously and began stocking supplies and getting somewhere safer. Lots of people also did the opposite however. These people did nothing to prepare themselves, and when it was almost too late they began panicking and thinking irrationally and erratic. It caused chaos and so many deaths. We noticed that this is happening in our world right now, but in a less scary way. It even reaches up to the government level, where the countries who took precautions early on are doing fine amidst this virus while countries who didn’t are struggling pretty bad. We used this to help us come up with our answer, that fictional dystopias still contain nonfiction elements, such as basic human behaviour. Lots of people behaved irrationally because of panic induced by a dangerous situation. This is happening today, and a slightly humorous example is the whole toilet paper shortage situation. People are panic buying a product that doesn’t protect them from the virus at all, but because of fear people are buying whatever they can, especially if everyone else is buying it.

In our video we wanted to show how people around the world are doing. People all have different experiences and opinions based on their location, age and occupation. So we set out to try to capture those different opinions through mock interviews. We decided on the style of interview because that is how it was done in our novel. We chose four “characters” that would best represent the broad views people have on Covid-19 in North America. Spencer was a doctor in Italy, I was an oil rig worker in Alberta, Robbie was a farmer from the US and also a protest sympasizer while Izzy was the interviewer. But enough talk, watch it for yourself.

Overall I found this project quite fun, ad also very interesting. I thought it was pretty cool how we could study a novel that’s not from a few hundred years ago but one about zombies and still create a project around it. It was super interesting and also somewhat creepy seeing how much the novel connects with life today during the Covid-19 virus. I learned about how fiction could impact our understandings of real life, which is something I’ve never give much thought. But after all, fiction comes from the real world so it would have to carry similarities in order for it to be any good. Im glad we did this project and it impacted me as a learner in that now I know how to better make connections between literature of any kind to relevant current events.


that’s all,


see you


Before we get on a plane to Vietnam for nearly 3 weeks, we have to learn some stuff first. That way we go into the trip with a good base of knowledge so that we kind of know what’s happening in the far away country across the world. The first big topic we’re tackling is the Political Spectrum and the main Political Ideologies.

Going into this unit, I had very limited knowledge of the political spectrum and all the different ideologies. I have never had an interest in politics, but I realized that it’s important to know about each ideology so I am aware of what’s happening in the world, even if I’m not interested in politics.
To start off this unit, we went through a quick but content heavy boot camp of sorts. It was in the form of a lecture, which took multiple classes to get through completely. During the lecture, we were taking detailed and specific notes. Mine are below:

These notes were meant to help us remember all the different values and help us see the differences between the many ideologies. These notes really helped me see how each one is different from all the others, with some similarities here and there. Writing these notes helped me organize all the information and visualize it a bit better so I could remember it better.
After we did these notes, we were quizzed everyday by our teachers to ensure we were retaining the information. Each day we had a 10 question quiz, and the questions were always the same. The quizzes differed in their format, one day the whole quiz was given verbally, one day was digital, and one day multiple choice on paper, etc.  These quizzes showed me that I barely knew anything  about politics, and I should do a little bit of research on my own time. We pretty much did the quizzes until every student got 10/10, or at least really close to it. I remember getting like 3/10 on the first quiz but by the end I’m pretty sure I got 10/10. It felt good to see my progress as I learned more and more.

The next phase of the project was to look at the political spectrum. I had heard of it before, that there’s a right side and a left side. But I never knew how it all worked or what it really meant. It is actually both simple and complicated at the same time.

One thing I learned about it is that it has a vertical scale too. The more towards the bottom you are, the more Libertarian your values are. This means you value freedom of choice, voluntary association and individual judgement with a skepticism of authority and state power. If you’re more authoritarian, you favour enforcing strict obedience to authority, especially that of the government, at the expense of personal freedom. The left side is pure communism, and the right side pure facism, with ideologies like conservatism and Liberalism.
To find out where we fall on the political spectrum, we took a test on the political compass website. Below is my personal place on the political spectrum:

I would say that I agree with this. As you can see, I fell to the left, and slightly down. Being closer to the bottom means I’m more Libertarian than Authoritarian, which means I value political freedom, freedom of choice, and individual judgement and understanding. Being on the left side means that I support social equality and disagree with the idea of social class separation. Both of these statements about my position make sense to me, especially after learning more about the political spectrum.

Today, Starting Fires Is Going To Save Lives

To start off the new year, we did a 3 week history project taught by Ms. Maxwell. We were focusing in 20th century history, after the Second World War. Our projects would get inspiration from a song. An old classic, but I had never heard of it before.

The song is We Didn’t Start The Fire by Billy Joel, released in 1989 when Billy Joel was 40 years old. The song is different than most songs, as it is a list of events that happened in Joel’s lifetime that he thought were significant. The song was quite popular at the time, but it was criticized for not actually being a very good song since it just listed events. But nevertheless, it was popular and stood the test of time, since we were studying it in our English 12 class in 2020. This song would be the inspiration of our projects we would be working on for the next 3 weeks. We were tasked with choosing one event that interested us mentioned in the song, and then create a visual artifact explaining what the event was, and why it is considered significant in history.
The driving question was:

“What makes an event significant?”

Over the course of three short weeks, we studied the idea of significance and the factors that make a historical event important or influential. We started off this project by choosing an event we were interested in from the song by Billy Joel. There were 106 different events mentioned in his song, and around 17 students so the chances of getting the event we wanted were pretty good, as everyone had to have different events. And I believe that we all got our first choice, except Spencer who had to be happy with his second choice.

The topic I chose was the 1969 Moon Landing. The reason I chose this was because I’ve always had an interest in space, and I didn’t really know much about the first moon landing so I wanted to find out more. Another reason was because in the song by Billy Joel, he references the moon landing through the lyric: “Moonshot” which I thought was interesting. I didn’t know what that really meant, so I looked into it. At first I thought it was talking about the photos taken on the moon, but the word moonshot also means an idea that seems impossible to achieve. I couldn’t find any concrete connection between the song lyric “Moonshot” and what Billy Joel was actually talking about, but the aspect of photography instantly intrigued me. And little did I know, it would become the basis of my entire project.

After receiving our topics, we wrote a two page summary of the event that we were studying. I researched everything I could about the first moon landing in history, and explained why it was, and is, so significant. I researched the timeline of the moon landing, and also the impacts it had on the United States, and the globe. In my research, I found out that a bunch of random items we use today in our daily life were made partly because of the moon landing. Some of them were kind of interesting.

After this two page paper, we made a 5-10 page formal research document that contained all the information we would need to complete our project. We were required to have at least 5 different sources, and all our research should answer our own personal driving question and thesis, which had to prove why our event was significant. So for me, I was researching the moon landing. I was relating how photography can influence an events’ significance, while also explaining how the moon landing was significant. My own driving question was what you see in that image above. It was the question I was trying to answer with my artifact I would make for the main part of project. My thesis was for the written document portion of the project, and incorporated four other images throughout history to help prove my point. The photos I curated to help prove my point are extremely interesting photos in my opinion. They are, “A Man on the Moon” by Neil Armstrong, “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper” by Unknown, “Saigon Execution” by Eddie Adams, and “Falling Man” by Richard Drew.

And finally, once that was all done, we could start our projects. At first, I planned on making a video, but after some more thought and some critique from Ms. Maxwell, I realized that it would be difficult to make my video interesting as I was mostly presenting photos and then describing their context and importance. So, instead of that, I looked into making a photo essay. The traditional style for a photo essay is something like this:

A series of images that usually happened during a short period of time. I didn’t foresee this working for the images I wanted to showcase since mine were from different points in history. Other classmates of mine were planning on creating a keynote presentation. I thought I would do the same, but I wanted to make it more interesting. I looked into alternative options for a typical PowerPoint or keynote presentation, and came across a website called Swipe. This site is an online slideshow creator, but the awesome feature that was the reason I chose to use Swipe, was that it was interactive. Anyone who I gave the link to could have my presentation up on their screen as I was going through it. I thought this was perfect because I was presenting a lot of images, and I wanted all my classmates to get a good look at them. So now, I had all my research, my images, and my medium to present everything I know. All I had to do was do it.




My presentation went really well in my opinion. We all had 5 minutes to present our artifacts to the class, in whatever format that was. My artifact was my photo essay and my interactive presentation. I’m quite happy with the format I chose, I feel it really helped emphasize the meaning and importance of each photo I chose.

Overall I really enjoyed this project. I found my topic interesting, even more so when I chose to focus more on the photography side of the event. On the learning side, I think that I learned a lot. I hadn’t really ever thought about what makes an event in history more or less significant than others. It was really interesting to me to see how different historical events became influential and important. This project opened my eyes to the events that have shaped our recent history, and urged me to think about what makes up a significant event. I also found my own research soooo incredibly interesting. For example, I had no idea that a photo was partially responsible for ending a war. The Saigon execution photo by Eddie Adams is living proof that a photo has great power to inspire change. I was also blown away by the Falling Man image and how it’s simple nature is almost terrifying. But probably the most interesting thing I learned was with the moon landing photos. The photo that became the most iconic is the one that looks the least patriotic or heroic, and in my research it said that that was the reason it became iconic. It took me a while to wrap my head around that idea, but after a while it made perfect sense.
Anyways, I am very happy with the learning I underwent for this project, and I’m looking forward to more like this in the future.


See you



MPOL 2020

Welcome back to my final Mid-year Presentation of Learning. I will be reflecting on my learning and work habits of my grade 12 year so far, and then explaining the areas I expect to improve by the end of the year. So I hope you can relax and enjoy it, but still listen closely.

The Good

This year has definitely been different than all the others. Our projects are different in that they are longer and more in depth, forcing us to learn a multitude of topics through different mediums and media from the past and the present. We have done three major projects this year in total, and there are parts of each one where I was definitely successful. I’d like to talk about all the things this year that I think I did well, and the things I’m proud of.

To start it off, I’ll talk about our first product of the year. My Taming of the Shrew essay. Right from the start, this project didn’t sound too fun.  Reading and studying old Shakespeare, and then writing an essay on it? Not really my preference. But as time went on, I was actually learning lots, as the play had so many levels to be analyzed and researched. Going to see the play live was also a huge help in my understanding of a complex text.

By the end of the unit, I learned more than I thought I would. We studied the play and it’s meaningful themes and commentaries, and also learned a lot about roles of women throughout history. In my final essay, I explained this while also arguing for why the play is considered a classic piece of literature.

I feel like this project was a good start to the year, as it was my wake up call that school was starting again. It required thoughtful reading, text analysis, and individual thinking which I hadn’t done in the previous two months. The essay came at a rather bad time however, I was amidst the long recovery process of a mild concussion. I toughed it out however and managed to complete a very strong essay, with a little help from Mom. This project was not my personal preference or favourite by any means, but it was something I needed to kickstart my grade 12 year. I pushed through the difficulties of being concussed and learned what I needed to in order to create a strong final product, the essay.

Classic Shakespeare

Onto the good things from the next project, the Horror unit. I want to focus on our own class movie part of this unit, since there were many smaller assignments beforehand. This project is considered among our class to be a failure, which I guess I agree with. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t succeed as a learner.
Personally I think my greatest success in this project was my work ethic on set. I believe that I was always helpful, patient and cooperative with my classmates, even when everyone was tired and stressed out. I showed strength and perseverance, as being the camera operator was a big responsibility. Everyone was relying on my judgement for the camera angles and quality of each shot. I was expected to come prepared to each shoot with all my gear ready to go and charged up.

What I am most proud of with this project is the knowledge I acquired. Going into film school next year (hopefully), I was quite excited to start this project. I found that I learned a lot about Horror as a genre of film and why the typical tropes of horror are so effective. I also learned for myself how difficult any film production is, communication and organization wise. The technical side of being the camera operator was also eye-opening for me, I got to see firsthand how different lenses portray different emotions, and how lighting and framing are crucial to each scene.
Overall this project was a fail, but we’ll get to that in a minute. But for now, I did succeed in my work ethic and I learned a lot more about horror and film itself by embarking on this project.

Lastly, I will talk about our most recent project, my presentation and artifact on the moon landing. I feel that I researched and executed this project really well all around. My research was strong and added to my point, my presentation was engaging and interactive, and my topic was something I was interested in.

I have improved my presentation skills drastically over the course of my PLP career, as I was totally comfortable with presenting this project. If I was to do this same thing in grade 8, I would have been nervous for days before the presentation. But I have grown as a person to be more confident and comfortable with myself and my classmates. My biggest success with this project was my presentation, as I clearly articulated my driving question, research and conclusion to the class in an interesting way.


The Bad

And now the other side of the coin. What I have struggled with this year. Personally, I think I have one general large problem that is impacting each and every assignment I get in PLP and the rest of my classes at school. And that is my attitude. I have caught a bad attitude bug you could say, and the bug makes me allergic to anything school related. I’ve been struggling with this since the end of grade 11, and then it was worsened when I got a concussion and fell behind in all my classes.
My attitude has given me really bad habits, and my procrastination has been at an all time high this year. Somehow I am very aware of this and yet it won’t go away. How this has been affecting my schoolwork is evident. Most of my assignments this year have been late, by a few hours or by a full week. I feel like all my work has been a mediocre quality, something I would not be happy with in previous years. I know my potential but I can’t find the will to bring it to life.

That is my main downfall this year, and I’m not happy it’s happening as this is an important year. Procrastination and laziness has impacted each of my projects this year. For example, my taming of the shrew work was mostly all late, and not very good at all, save for my essay. In the horror unit, I started out as a producer. But because of my lack of enthusiasm in school, I wasn’t able to uphold the responsibility that the producer role implied. I failed my classmates because I wasn’t engaged in my schoolwork, and I know I could’ve done a lot better if my mindset was in the right place. After this, which was kind of a slap in the face, even though I knew it was coming, I think I got my crap together a bit more. I took control of the camera operator role, which was more fitting based on the mental state I was in at the time.

Now, we’ve finished one more project in the new year with Ms. Maxwell, and I believe that I have stepped up my work quality with this one. It’s a baby step, but it’s something. I struggled less with keeping up with due dates and assignments, but I still think I could do better. Part of the reason I think I did better on this project was because it was a topic I was interested in. So I will work hard to maintain this level of work ethic even if the next project doesn’t interest me.

And Where I Can Do Better

For the remainder of this year, my final year of PLP, I want to focus on getting myself back on track. Because I don’t feel like I’m doing work that represents me as a person or as a learner. I feel like I have a lot of areas for improvement, and getting my attitude and mindset back in the right place will resolve a lot of those areas. Right now, my learning and skill level have plateaued, and I need to work to get it back where it should be, so that I can grow and mature as a learner even more. And so I will end this presentation with a question. “Academically, what do you think I can achieve this year that I may not see at this time?”


Thank you for coming to my mPOL and listening to me and my learning.


see you

A Horrifying Failure

Welcome back.


Today we will be discussing one of the most interesting projects we’ve ever done in PLP. And by interesting I mean a total roller coaster of emotions and motivation. You will see what I mean as you read through this post, which is going to take you through what we accomplished in our unit focused on Horror.

As with every unit in PLP, we were given a driving question at the beginning. This unit would get us to think about society and how we portray issues and ideals through filmmaking, specifically horror movies. The driving question was:

“Why is horror such an effective way to reflect and comment on our society?”

We would be thinking about this question throughout the unit, and relating everything we do back to this question. And the first thing we did was read one of the most famous horror stories of all time, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

This book was not at all what I was expecting. It was way more deep and meaningful than I thought it would be, which I suppose is why it’s so well known. The story itself was really amazing, but personally it was a little slow paced for my tastes. Frankenstein was intended to get our minds spinning about who the real monster is in the story. Is it the creature? Doctor Frankenstein? Society as a whole? Before reading the book, if I had to pick, I would obviously pick the creature. That is because of the creatures appearance: big, ugly, and just plain old monstrous. But that is exactly what the book points out. As society, we are too quick to judge based off of appearance, causing us to be the real monsters. The creature in the story was seen as an outcast, a criminal, and a monster just because of the way he looked, yet he only acted in curiosity at first. But by the end, he was fed up and enraged so much that he sought out revenge on the people who ruined his chance at life. The book exploits our negative tendencies to judges someone, which is something that happens way too often even in today’s society.

My biggest takeaway from this book is that, in fact, horror can be used as an effective way to reflect on our society. I hadn’t put much thought into it before, but this book opened my eyes to the possibilities of horror storytelling. And I would see these possibilities later on in the unit.

Now that we have studied some horror in written form, we moved onto horror filmmaking, which would lead us right into our final product. At this point, we have studied Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and looked into who or what the real monster was. So now, to take that further, we watched 3 films that would make us wrestle with that topic further. I wrote a post on each one we watched, so you can check the posts out for further details. The three movies we watched in class were Halloween (1978), Gods and Monsters, and Get Out. Each movie quite different from the last, which made for some interesting research and inquiries. Read my posts for more info.

What I learned from these films was that horror has the potential to bring out our true nature, the nature that’s usually hidden deep inside of us. We discussed in class something I found quite interesting, which is the fact that horror is a popular genre because it shows us things we’re not supposed to see. People getting stabbed, choked, cut up by chainsaw, and just brutally murdered in general are things we know we shouldn’t watch, yet we can’t take our eyes off the screen. Horror is a chance for people to watch gruesome scenes without it happening to them. The horror genre entertains and gives the viewers an escape from their usually mundane reality. Horror is not a genre I’m interested in at all, I’d rather stick to not seeing death by chainsaws if I can help it.

We took a 3 day field school to Seattle to have a closer look at the effects of horror by visiting the MoPOP. It’s a popular museum of pop culture located in Seattle, and it has an exceptional horror exhibit, amongst other things. While we were in the exhibit, we were closely studying the short documentary style videos they had playing. The videos talked about each of the most famous horror movies and why they are so popular. We took lots of notes, because we were brainstorming for our own horror movie. Except, since we weren’t a full scale movie crew, our movie would only be about 25 minutes. And so, that’s what our final product of the horror unit would be.

Our Task

Write, script, storyboard, film, edit, and produce our own 25 minute horror film as an entire class. The story must have a comment on today’s society that is well thought out, and can be understood from a viewers perspective through the scenes we film.

That was the main idea of the film. How it would actually come to life is a long process. In Seattle, we decided on roles. The director and producer would be chosen by the teachers after an interview process. Then they would help the teachers to put the rest of the class in roles based on their skillset. Me and Alex ended up being Co-Producers, and Adam the director. Over the course of that field school, we came up with the story treatment as a class, and also put everyone into a role that a normal movie crew would have.

A group of friends have snuck into the school to pull some grad pranks. There’s four of them:Kirk, horror aficionado and known theatre geek, gleefully planning pranks that reference his favourite movies;Marcus, a techie with stage fright, working to make said pranks operate smoothly (and attempting to quell his fears); Barbara, a band geek suffering under high expectations from her parents and acting out for the first time in her life; and Lynda, an anxious loner that others are trying to befriend. Meanwhile, another group of friends is there on the same night also to pull grad prank. This group is a little different. It consists of amiable jock Chet, cheerleader Stacey, and their friends Cory and Bud, both known for partying. While there, the two groups realize that each other have snuck into the school, and start messing with each other, jump scaring each other and terrorizing each other with fake knives/blood/etc that they brought for their pranks. Midway through, Marcus wanders off from his friends and doesn’t come back. Eventually, they go to look for him and find him dead. They assume that the other group has gone too far, and killed him. Meanwhile, Stacy and Bud have also wandered off from their friends and turned up dead in the janitor’s closet, presumably having been making out. Their friends, unaware of Marcus’s death, also assume that the other group has gone too far. The two groups find each other, and are arguing. Lynda, anxious and on the verge of panicking, goes out for some air. Some time passes, and everyone else decides to go look around to see if she has left. They find her dead in the school, and realize that she must have been killed by someone not a part of either group, since they were all in the same room. Terrified, they go back into the room and lock the door. They decide that they aren’t safe and they need to move. The group looks for a way out of the school, and realize they are locked in. Kirk feels confident that he isn’t going to be killed, as his horror movie knowledge will keep him safe, until he makes a fatal mistake. He goes off by himself to find a way out and figures out who the killer is. With his new knowledge, he has to be killed and is murdered before he can warn the others. The remaining group members head toward sounds of screams, and find Kirk’s body. With little to no hope remaining, they head to the wood shop to try and find a tool to use to break out. In the wood shop, the teens find a tool they can use to break a lock, and all they have left to do is head to the door. They start to hear noises and the lights start to flicker. They know the killer is coming. Chet grabs a saw to try and defend himself as they see the shadow of the killer. He tells Barb and Cory to run and he will stay back and protect them. They start to leave, but Cory pauses. He admits his love for Chet, but knows he has no other choice and has to leave. Cory and Barb run away with tears streaming down Cory’s face as Chet is brutally murdered. The remaining two teens escape the school and head to safety, not knowing who the killer is. They are now good friends, who’s stereotypes have been broken down, leaving two natural humans. The janitor is revealed as the killer as he mops up the blood with a wink.


Producer – Spencer

Director – Willa

Screenwriter – Claire


Line Producer – Ethan

Production Manager – (Sam)

First Assistant Director – Isobel

Second assistant Director – Alex

Craft Services – assigned as needed


Script Editor – Izzy

Script Co-ordinator – Mimi


Location Manager – Isobel

Location Assistant – Claire


Director of Photography – Sam

Camera Operator – Sam


Production Sound Mixer – Robbie

Boom Operator – (Alex)


Key Grip – Calum


Production Designer – Sofia

Art Director – Chiara

Props Master – Mimi


Make-up Artist – Parker


Costumer Designer – Hannah

Costume Assistant – Sofia


Post-production Supervisor – Alex

Editor – Ryan

Assistant Editor – Adam

Visual Effects Supervisor – Robbie

Music Supervisor – Isobel

Over the course of the next few weeks, we would be going through lots and lots of planning, prep and eventually, actual filming. I think I speak for my whole class when I say it was a bumpy road all the way to the finish line. To set the scene: we had about one month to create this movie, once we were finished with all our other work. We started off by getting the script team to write a first draft of the script, while the others were making lists of potential props and getting inventory on camera gear and lights. Once the first draft of the script was done, we all critiques it as a class, with the help of the teachers. And we all had a lot of critique. So, the script writers went back to work with our critique in mind. This went on a few more times, which I believe was the reason our film never actually finished. Whoops, I already spoiled the surprise, we ended up running out of time, and not finishing all our filming. Our deadline for filming was the day before Christmas break, and that itself was an extended date. But nevertheless, it just wasn’t enough time.

There were a few reasons why we lost time, reasons I won’t get into because in the bigger picture, they really aren’t important. What is important, however, is what we learned. Because even though we failed, we still learned a lot. I still learned a lot. One of the biggest learning points for me came from a personal failure during the movie process. As I said before, I was a co-producer, but not for the whole time. Near the end, me, Alex and Adam all stepped down from our positions because we weren’t doing our jobs to the standards expected from our peers and our teachers. This I agreed with. I had not been a producer for the entire time I was supposed to be a producer. This taught me that if I wanted a role with high responsibility and power, that I would have to be responsible. And at that time, I wasn’t doing that. It could be argued that it was because I was concussed at the time, but that’s not important. LEARNING is importanter.

Since I was no longer producer, I stepped down and accepted the role Director of Photography. This role ended up being way more fitting for me personally, and I’m glad that I got the opportunity. Even in the midst of failure, I adapted to my situation and learned from it. DOP was way more tuned to my skills, and I wanted to learn as much as I can about filming while I had the chance. This is because I am planning on pursuing film school as my post secondary education, so I was more inclined to do my best in this position as I was in the role as a producer. So, I made the best of the situation and worked as hard as I could.

The gear I was using

I did actually learn so much from this, camera wise and bigger picture wise. I learned more technical knowledge about using my camera for filming movies, like how different lenses portray different moods, and how important camera placement is. I also tried my best to tackle the difficult nature of showing a story in written words through the lens of a camera lens, which was harder than I had pictured. Bigger picture wise, we failed, but we all learned so much. I personally learned the value and importance of communication and organization. Ironically, I learned that through a lack of communication and organization. Some days, we were all prepared, and other days everything went wrong that could have gone wrong.

But overall, it was a fun project. A stressful and taxing project, but a fun one. If I were to do it again, I’d get more time, and focus on doing all the work possible before we even pick up a camera. I have been talking a lot, so now is the time where you can watch the result of all our blood, sweat and tears. We made a trailer with the footage we filmed, since we just didn’t have enough to complete our movie.

And that is that. Thank you for reading all this, I feel like it was an amazing learning experience. I don’t think I would have said that during the project, but I am wiser now because of this, so I know better.

thats all,

See you

Are You The Monster?

Here we go again everyone. The last but not least movie reflection post of our Monster in the Mirror unit.  If you haven’t see my other two posts, I reflected on the horror in the films Halloween by John Carpenter, and Jordan Peele’s Get OutBoth are horror movies, but from very different times. And I wrote about what the actual horror each film was trying to get across, and if it commented on today’s society. And today, I’m going to wrap up all the films we’ve watched in this unit.

Halloween Is Kinda Scary

I Wish I Could Get Out

Since watching Get out, we have seen Frankenstein, the original film by James Whale, and God’s and Monsters directed by Bill Condon. In this post I’m going to be combining the content of the most recent two films to answer one question that our whole unit is based off of:

“Who Is The Monster?”

Frankenstein and God’s and Monsters are both very different movies, but they are definitely connected. I’m going to be using these movies to explain what the real monster in Frankenstein is. The average person would believe that Frankenstein is the true monster in the story, and the average person probably thinks that Frankenstein is the name for the monster. But the average person is wrong on both accounts. The real monster of the story is anything but the creature created by the mad scientist Frankenstein.
The real monster is society. More specifically, how society treats someone or something who is different. And I’m going to prove that point, so just you wait.

First off, this statement is true because the creature is not an evil being. He is treated like a disgrace right off the bat, as his own creator flees from his house after seeing the creature wake. Just because the creature is ugly, he is treated as an outcast. He must learn how to function in society from the outskirts, looking in on everyone while hiding himself away in the forest. He has done nothing wrong, or given any reason for people to hate him, and yet, as soon as he tries to connect with humanity, he is immediately judged as a menace. He does not seek to harm or destroy anything, but as the story unfolds the creature kills and takes his revenge. This is supposed to reinforce the false idea that the creature is the monster, because he never would have committed those crimes if he was actually accepted by society.

Looking at the whole story this way shows us that the creature was never meant to be a monster, even though today he is an extremely popular Halloween costume. Another character who you could misinterpret the monster for is Dr. Frankenstein himself. Why did he do what he did? Shouldn’t he be blamed as the monster? But this is also not correct, as Frankenstein is subject to society’s judgements too. He is written off as crazy because he pursues something that’s never been done before. And he knows of their opinions, but he doesn’t care, telling us that “If I can just do one of those things, I won’t care if they call me crazy!” (Frankenstein 1931). Society sees him sitting up in his tower for days on end and decides that he must be crazy, rather than taking interest in his research or treating him like a person. The town is quick to judge and this is our society’s problem. This is the monster, and the story of Frankenstein, both the book by Mary Shelley and the original film prove it to us.

To further delve into this topic, we will look at it from a whole new perspective. Through another film, but this one is different. This film is about the life of James Whale, well after he directed the Frankenstein movies. He is an elderly man, living in a humble home with nothing but a caretaker and a paintbrush. Throughout the movie, we see he is just a bored old man, and eventually get insight on his thoughts about his famous movie. And he basically flat out proves my point about the real monster being society. He says in the film, when someone brings up the monster in his movie, he replies with, “The only monsters are here” while gesturing to his head. He obviously knows the meaning of his own movie, and some of the meaning is lost on the average person. Because the real monster is not the creature. It’s not Doctor Frankenstein. It’s us.

In our class right now, we’re making a mini horror film. We needed to tell a horror story that reflected and commented on an issue in our society today. I think that the Frankenstein book and movie have a very strong comment on today’s society, and it’s shown very well in the story. How we are afraid and act out towards those that are different, even though we create the people who we consider monsters in our society. By judging people by how they look and treating people like outcasts we end up just like doctor Frankenstein, where we only realize what we’ve done when it’s towering in front of us. As a society and as individuals we need to realize our negative tendency to judge others and really try to change how we treat people so we don’t end up creating worse monsters than us.


And with that, I think I have proven my point.

see you

I Wish I Could Get Out

Hey all y’all, welcome back.

Recently in PLP we watched another movie. Movies instead of schoolwork sounds pretty great. And I guess it is definitely better than regular work. But it is because we are going to be making our own movie and we want to actually make a good one. A horror movie to be exact, as this whole unit revolves around horror. We know that these movies we are watching fall into the horror genre, but while watching them we are supposed to be analyzing what exactly makes them horrifying. And so, today, I’m going to be explaining what the horror of Get Out by Jordan Peele really is.

This movie is different from the one we watched last time. John Carpenter’s Halloween is from another age of horror movies. Get Out is definitely more modern and comments on our society in many different ways. Jordan Peele, also a comedy actor and director, takes us through this story to scare us, and also provoke thoughts about the African American race in North America. It was exceptionally well done, leaving viewers formulating theories upon theories debating the events in the movie and their significance.

What I believe to be the horror in this movie are the many crazy turns away from typical societal behaviour. In this movie, there are multiple points in the story where Jordan Peele has you confused as to what is about to happen next. You never really know what the characters are thinking or what their true motives are until near the end of the movie. The main plot of the movie is the main character, Chris, and his girlfriend, Rose, go on a weekend trip to Rose’s parents house in the woods in the middle of nowhere. The idea of this should be totally okay, but Jordan Peele makes us think that something is really off, which we will later find out is true. But we are first teased at the idea of something horrific, then awkwardly reassured that everything is okay. But in the back of our minds we know that something is wrong. This right here is the real horror of this film, in my opinion. For example, while Chris and Rose are at the family home, it turns out that the weekend is a large family gathering. And Chris is the only African American person there, other than one strange fellow.

But as Chris is walking around talking to the older family members, he gets some odd looks, and even stranger comments. People try ask him what sports he plays, how fast he can run, and comment on his bicep size. This type of behaviour is exactly what Peele wants to show us. Somehow, it’s so incredibly strange but we can’t really put our finger on why. We then are whisked away from the situation and onto the next one. These encounters are meant to make us really uncomfortable, and for a few brief seconds, believe the worst is about to happen. But then, in this examples case, Rose comes in and says they will go for a walk, and we are left thinking maybe everything will be alright.

This movie is definitely a different type of horror movie. Only a handful of jump scares, and only mild violence and gore, and yet it’s still a horror movie. I believe it’s because of the intense feelings of terror that Jordan Peele makes us experience. He gives us a fright, and also makes us realize the negative stereotypes of African Americans in our everyday lives. There was some debate on the genre of this movie, as it had to be in a genre to receive awards. Some people don’t think it’s a horror movie, and more of a comedy. But Jordan Peele disagrees, and commented on it. I found what he said quite interesting. “Call it what you want, but the movie is an expression of my truth, my experience, the experiences of a lot of black people and minorities. Anyone who feels like the other. Any conversation that limits what it can be is putting it in a box.” (Jordan Peele, on an interview with indiewire.com). He really didn’t feel like calling his film a comedy to be appropriate, as there was nothing to be laughing at. I do agree with him, and think the controversy comes from minimal typical horror tropes, and the nature of the dilemmas in the film. This movie is really a masterpiece, and I think it combines multiple genres to create something better. It is a really great movie that I could go on and on about, as it has so many metaphors and double meanings that only make it better.

To summarize this analysis, this movie is a new type of horror. It has a stronger societal commentary than the typical horror film. The true horror comes from the divergence of societal expectations for a plot that terrifies us to our core. We as the viewers are constantly put on the edge of our seats through extremely strange encounters with characters, and we question their mental state and motivation constantly. Peele also gives our imagination lots of space to grow out of control, filling our minds with the worst possible scenarios, which causes us to constantly be in fear. All of this, and more, combines to make a truly terrifying experience.

And to finish off the post, a brief connection to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. These two stories are quite different, literally one year from being 2 centuries apart. And yet, they both impact our lives. Both stories are commenting on how we judge and treat an individual who we consider to be an outsider. Mary Shelly mainly comments on judging someone by their outward appearance instead of what is inside, which I’m sure everyone has heard of. Get Out comments on how life really is for African Americans. We take on the perspective of Chris, and we’re forced to see white society as a terror as it truly is. In Frankenstein, the creature is not the protagonist or the main character, and yet we feel it’s pain and struggle throughout the whole story. Chris is our main character, and we go through everything he does on the edge of our seat. Overall, the two stories do have both strong and subtle similarities, even 200 years after each other.

thats all,


see you

Halloween Is Kinda Scary

Well folks, another spooky season has come to an end. It’s already November, and soon people will be cracking out the Christmas decorations and putting up their trees. But not us in PLP. Because we are working through a unit based on the element of human fear. The focus of this unit is horror, and how horror comments and reflects on our society. We are studying the history of horror by watching horror films, and then as a class, we will create our own horror movie from scratch.
To start off this unit, we first began reading a famous text, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. This book is known to be one of the first science fiction novels ever, which would eventually lead to horror fiction. Frankenstein is a big deal to say the least, as the horror that the story wrestles with are still relevant to today. But I will get to that later, for now I have another topic to discuss. Our final project will be our class movie, and we have a lot to learn before we even pick up a camera.

We are watching and analyzing a series of horror films in class to break down the strategies and tropes of horror. The first film we watched in class was John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978). This film is known to be one of the first of many slasher films that would come in the decades following this movie. This film has been haunting people’s dreams for almost half a century, and there are good reasons for that. In this post I will analyze why this movie is important, and what the horror of Halloween really is.

So, what does make Halloween so horrifying? John Carpenter as the director made many crucial decisions that all came together to make a masterpiece, but what are they? First off, the way the camera tells the story. In this film, there are a lot of long, slow shots following the main characters. This is used extremely well, as it builds tension little by little until the climax near the end of the movie. These prolonged shots are used to make us feel uneasy, as we get used to what’s in the frame, and then have lots of time to think about what could jump out at us at any time. The director is playing with our imagination, even though nothing bad is happening to the main characters, we are always on the edge of our seats expecting the worst.

Another example of the camera bringing out the horror is in one of the first scenes. It is shot in the first person, and it’s quite a long shot as well. This shot is filmed in the first person, and we don’t know who’s eyes we are looking through as the viewer. Having no context to this shot and not seeing the face of the character withholds a lot of information from the viewer. This in itself is scary, not knowing the identity of the character, or as the shot goes on, the mental state of the character. We are stuck in what turns out to be Michael Myers body as he walks mysteriously around and in his house. Having the camera see what Michael sees strikes fear into the hearts of the viewers, and forces us to do whatever actions he does. The camera is literally the gateway from the audience to the town of Haddonfield, so using this tool well was essential, and it’s something John Carpenter did extremely well.

The next factor that made Halloween truly terrifying is the character Michael Myers. You would think that’s pretty obvious, but I want to focus on why he is as terrifying as he is. The main reason he horrifies everyone is that he has no motivation. He is just a  psychopath on a killing spree, and there’s nothing more frightening than someone who just kills for no reason. In the movie, we only see one scene from Michael’s childhood, and it doesn’t do much to explain why he does what he does. Because in that scene, even though he is only a child, he still resorts to killing meaninglessly. We want to associate Michael’s actions with some sort of trauma because it would help us as the viewers to understand him. But we never get that understanding. Michael is a human that just isn’t human. The director chooses to withhold the Michael’s motivation from us to make this masked murderer even more terrifying than he already is. Add the fact that he is seemingly immortal and impossible to kill, and you have yourself the perfect horror antagonist.

I think my biggest takeaway from studying this movie is that the antagonist of the movie is extremely important. The essence of the character must be well thought out, and portrayed in our own movie perfectly. We can use the camera and different filmmaking techniques to bring out the horror of our antagonist, but the character itself must be terrifying to us as humans. Michael Myers is an amazing example,  because we literally don’t know why he kills. His character scares us as much as his actions. Maybe even more. But I learned from this, for our movie we can’t have an antagonist who just looks scary. They need to either have no motive, or a motive that makes no sense at all to a sane person. I also learned a few more camera techniques to really increase the tension and dread in our viewers. Having long, drawn out shots let the audience squirm and begin imagining the worst situations possible when nothing bad is actually happening. I am looking forward to creating our movie, and I’m learning more and more every movie we watch.


that’s all

Classic Shakespeare

Well. What do you know. Who woulda thunk. It’s another blog post. And guess what? It’s about my man Shakespeare.

To kick off this year, our grade 12 year, we began our learning journeys by studying a play written over one hundred eighty thousand days ago. Yes, I’m taking about William Shakespeares play The Taming Of The Shrew. But we didn’t start with this, we began way back in the dreamlike time of summer.

Our first Milestone was to read an entire book. From start to finish, over the summer, but we were given a choice between like 5 books in total. I made the decision to read Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. It was written twenty one thousand, ninety nine days ago, making it pretty old. And yet people still read it? But this is something we had to analyze. We were all reading books that were considered to be classic of some nature, which was meant to get us thinking about the unit we would be diving right into at the beginning of grade 12. I found catch 22 really slow and hard to read, with it being so complicated. But that’s only my opinion and I’m not an English expert in any way shape or form. Reading this book did teach me that literature can be studied way deeper than I thought, especially since this was such a high quality book. I realized how much literature matters to our culture and society as it can make us question our rules and beliefs during our time. This is actually something Catch 22 did when it was written, as it brought up controversies about the war. After all, I gained knowledge that would help me for the next part of this unit. But we did have to write a paragraph on it. It was to explain how we think our book is a classic piece of literature. Below is my paragraph:

In North American culture, it’s likely that one will hear the phrase “Catch 22” used. This is “a phrase to be called upon when there seems no way out of the traps life can set for you and when humour really is the best response” (Neary). The way multiple generations have used this phrase to describe their own dilemmas is quite possibly the best argument to why Joseph Heller’s novel is a classic. John, the main character, is a relatable guy whose desire to survive and leave the war is thwarted by Air Force regulation “Catch 22”. The only way to be discharged from military actions was to be crazy, but if you asked to be discharged on account of insanity then you were proved sane and had to continue on with your duty. When this novel was published in November 1961, Americans at the time were going through anti-war movements to end the Vietnam war. Their ancestors had just come through both world wars. The 1960’s generation were tired of taking orders at face value. The idea that war is a paradoxical absurdity established by insane bureaucrats is a major theme throughout Catch-22. Written in a time where previous war novels were all about heroism, Catch 22 “turned heroism on its head”(Neary). It’s about an everyday man who goes to war with only one intent, to leave with his life. Removing heroism creates an instant human connection with the main character John Yossarian and broadens the range of readers of different backgrounds and levels of experience. A classic novel makes connections to current events in its time, and resonates with the audience for more than one generation. The themes and ideals of this perfectly crafted novel reflect this absolutely.

This paragraph was written once we had started our school year. As I said earlier, it kind of was a mini assignment to get our brains thinking about the next phase of the project. And guess what, it was on Shakespeare. Well, actually on his play, Taming of the Shrew. During this entire unit, we were also thinking and studying the roles of women throughout time from back when Shakespeare was still kickin, to the 1960’s. This was one piece of our entire unit.

But the next step was a big one, we were to write an essay explaining why we think the play Taming of the Shrew is a classic.

This was after we went to see a version of it at Bard on the Beach, where it was set in the Wild West as opposed to its original setting in Elizabethan time. I found this quite interesting, it was really cool to see the play rather than just reading it, which I found helped my understanding of the play a lot. The speech of each character was hard to comprehend, but I tried to just understand the jest of what they were saying, and that helped me. After the play, we began researching our essays. I had trouble coming up with my idea, it took a lot more research than I thought to spark an idea for me, but once I gathered all the research I needed, I was ready to write. I actually learned a lot researching this essay, I was confused with the play at first but after researching it, I understood a lot more about the  themes and character motives and all that fun stuff. I learned about how those ideas make the play so deep and meaningful, and how it can still resonate with people in 2019. This was what my essay was about in a nutshell, how the characters and problems that they wrestle with are still relevant to today. But I’ll let you read my actual essay, not just me talking about it.

For a piece of literature to be defined as a classic, it must be judged by many critics to be worthy of that title. For this to happen, it must be relevant over a long period of time, thus appealing to a broad spectrum of audiences. What the Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare does so well is connect with its audience through a significant emotional transformation. Several characters in the play go through changes, some physical and comedic, while others are meaningful as they grapple with love and identity. But nevertheless, the appeal of emotional transformation is evident in the suitors false identities, Kate’s escape of entrapment, and the strong influence of Petruchio. 

The physical transformations of Lucentio, Hortensio, and Tranio serve both a comedic and thematic purpose. Encountering their fake transformations at the beginning of the play sets the audience up with the theme of appearance and reality. Lucentio and Tranio trade positions, and together with Hortensio, they set out to attract the same woman, who seems to be the perfect virtuous woman. Shakespeare adds physical comedy into the pursuit of Bianca.  Disguised as a music tutor, Hortensio desperately tries to get Bianca to listen to his music as seen when he interrupts Lucentio’s poetry reading and says “Madam, my instrument is in tune” (3:1:36).  Not being an actual musician, Hortensio cannot truly compete and Lucentio, disguised as a poetry tutor, taunts him by saying “spit in the hole, man, and tune again” (3:1:39). They may change clothes and namesake, but they haven’t changed who the are. They are still the same people underneath their disguises as tutors and instructors, and seek the hand of Bianca, a woman who looks to be the perfect catch, through slyness and trickery. Tranio also changes his clothes to become a “master”. This is funny to the audience who knows who he really is and enjoy seeing a “servant” compete on a higher social level.  However, the fact remains that the change in clothes is only that, a physical transformation. The audiences in the Elizabethan era, as well as modern audiences, find identity switching entertaining. Shakespeare included comedic strategy in the play to directly contrast the real transformation of Kate. Lucentio, Hortensio and Tranio remain the same characters at the end, while Kate does not.  

Kate’s feelings of entrapment and longing for change speak to audiences universally and gets them emotionally involved in her transformation. In the beginning of the play, Kate is frustrated by her lack of respect from her own townspeople, her father's harsh treatment, and her snobby sister.  Audiences understand the pain of being left out and see how it has her torn up inside. Kate is made fun of by the people around her for her brash behaviour. She is talked down often, and publicly, as Tranio remarks “that wench is stark mad or wonderful froward” as Kate approaches them (Act 1:1 69). Her father favours Bianca, and does so in front of Kate. Kate’s own father, Baptista, leaves her out unchaperoned in the street while he goes inside to talk with Bianca, something that was disgraceful in the time. As he goes into his home he instructs Kate to stay outside,  “Katherina, you may stay, for I have more to commune with Bianca” (Act 1:1 101-102). Her sister is the one Baptista really wants to make happy, as he only wants Kate to wed for Bianca's benefit. Bianca is a character the audience starts to despise. Her appearance is a perfect feminine idea of a woman during the time, but in reality she's extremely spoiled and manipulative. Her beauty is her weapon, and she uses it well, using her looks and tears to get her way. An example of her manipulative ways can be found in act three, scene one. She cuts off Lucentio and Hortensio’s bickering and tells them she’s in charge. “I’ll not be tied to hours nor ’pointed times, but learn my lessons as I please myself” (Act 3:1 19-20). She then proceeds to sit with Lucentio, pushing Hortensio away, as she is more fond of Lucentio. In a comedic way Lucentio, Hortensio and Tranio appear to be someone else instead of themselves, and in more serious and emotional way, Bianca’s appearance does not match who she really is.  It is made clear to the audience that Kate is unhappy, and she shows it through her behaviour.  Kate’s situation appeals to anyone who has a heart, as people begin to start rooting for her to become happy. Shakespeare writes in a way where the audience identifies with Kate and wants her to change because they see the reasons behind her behaviour. Her need to escape entrapment and to find change appeals to a vast and diverse audience who recognizes that society can be oppressive, regardless of the time period, and in this case, the lack of women’s basic rights and freedom.

The catalyst for Kate’s transformation is the complex character of Petruchio.  First, Kate must be wed, and so when Petruchio comes along wanting Kate’s hand, Baptista doesn’t hesitate. Petruchio is warned beforehand about her shrewish behaviour, how she is tempered, rude and bossy. But that is no problem for Petruchio, as he says “I come to wive it wealthily in Padua; If wealthily, then happily in Padua” (Act 1:2 70-71). His only intentions are to wife someone who is rich, and wealth is enough for him. Even Grumio knows that a shrew is not a problem for Petruchio,  as he says “for he fears none” (Act 1:2 204). Petruchio will not be scared off by Kate’s behaviour. At first, modern audiences would be disgusted by Petruchio but as Act 1 goes on, they realize that Petruchio is the perfect catalyst for Kate’s transformation. Act two scene one shows how Kate and Petruchio are perfectly matched. They have a long conversation where Petrucio matches her wit and cleverness with quick thinking and smooth talking. 

“PETRUCHIO. Come, come, you wasp!

KATE. If I be waspish, best beware my sting. 

PETRUCHIO. My remedy is then to pluck it out.” 

(Act 2:1 211-213). 

As an audience, the chemistry between them becomes clear, but at this time Kate is still closed off towards everyone else. This is meant to make the audience wait in anticipation to see what will unfold. When Petruchio arrives to his wedding in his ragged, torn up clothes, he shocks everyone. He does this to show Kate that she's marrying him for his true character, and the same goes for him. Petruchio goes on to act out against Kate and his suitors, which reflects Kate’s own bad behaviour. She shows compassion towards the suitors which Petrucio sees. Petruchio finally brings out what the audience has been wanting to see from the start. The transformation of Kate. The appeal of finding out what happens to Kate with Petruchio is what draws the audience in, and is what has been drawing people of all experiences in since the day this play was first performed.

The Taming of the Shrew is a play that has been around for a long time, and for good reason. Audiences of different times are drawn in again and again, because of the deep and meaningful connections the characters make to our human nature, something that has remained the same for centuries. We are attracted to the emotions and feelings the characters wrestle with throughout the play, as we have all felt them ourselves. With the father daughter tensions of Kate and Baptista, to the feelings of entrapment Kate feels within her society, there's something that resonates with everyone.  Anyone with a heart can relate to any one of the many characters and feel a connection. This play appeals to so many different people, of any gender, race, or time period that it remains a classic piece of literature. It creates connections through the characters and problems they face, where even though people may not face the same problems, we connect to their emotional transformations in the play. 

And now, for the final product of this entire unit. We were split into groups of three and tasked with creating an animation, which we haven’t really done before. Each group had a different time period assigned to them and my group got the Victorian era. We would set our version of Taming of the Shrew in that time period, and make an animation of the play. We would only do act 1 however, and other groups would do the other 4 acts. Doing this would show that we understand the perspective of people in the Victorian era as we would change the themes and language to match their values and beliefs. But what we found is that we didn’t have to change much, language wise because of how close together the time periods are.

Our first draft wasn’t too great. We only took out a few lines from our act, which made our video a painstaking 17 minutes of extremely bad animation. Here it is:

But after viewing other quite similar animations from our classmates, we all realized what we had to do to improve. For my group, we created characters that we’d all use, we recorded our voices for individual characters rather than whole sections, and we focused on getting different camera angles. We also shortened the script. A lot. So we reduced the time of our whole animation by a lot which made it a lot more bearable.

Final Product:

Reflection Time

I can easily say that this unit has not been my favourite, but I can say I did learn, which is typical in school. But this unit was really eye-opening for me in terms of literature. Researching for hours for stuff to write about for my essay really showed me how much literature can be interpreted. There were many opinions on Taming of the Shrew, and all with good arguments. It makes you think what Shakespeare really meant when he was writing the play, or if he wanted it to be wide open for anyone to interpret. I think it was the latter, as there’s no way to know for sure. But even if I didn’t enjoy reading or listening to Shakespeare, this unit taught me how to break down language and really understand it. I got better at analyzing text with historical perspective, which I’ve been trying to get better at, and I’m happy we brushed up on our animation skills to start off this year. Overall: Solid project. Learned much.

Thats all,


See you