Monday, February 28, 2011

Gospel Centered

I am far from being perfect, I know that. But I have found that when I have humbled myself to the Lord’s will, and allowed myself to be but a vessel for him, that I am able to be more creative and have stronger ideas. Living the gospel makes me a better creator, in that I feel the promptings of the Holy Ghost and recognize the Lord’s hand in my work. As I was reading the interview with Jeff Parkin and Jared Cardon, I found it interesting to note that Jeff recognized the blessings that came to their project, “There was a lot of opposition, and then at the same time there were just all these blessings that would come. When we needed stuff it would just show up there—permission for the music, this space.” I’m not Jeff Parkin, but to me, this is evidence that Jeff is living a gospel centered life and is receiving divine help and inspiration in his work.

When I first realized that my future needed to lead to a career in the film industry, I felt conflicted. Many of my peers were going into the medical, engineering, and teaching fields. In class I was told countless times that the film industry does nothing to help others, and that my career choice would help no one and only lead me to the poor house. Even after hearing this, I knew that this career area was where I needed to be, but I still struggled with the idea that I was not helping humanity. Elder M. Russell Ballard’s talk "The Lord's Purpose for the Artist in the Gospel Plan" has helped me to see the importance of art and artists. In this talk Ballard said, “God's purpose for the artist is to inspire. To give us visions of ourselves that we might not otherwise see. To make us better than we would have been.” I know that making movies isn’t going to cure cancer or teach children arithmetic, but it can plant seeds of inspiration in the minds of people. As long as I stay gospel centered in my work, I know that I can work for the Lord and provide a way for people to find Christ.

Gospel-Oriented Artisans

To me, learning by faith and reason means to accept both rational thought and spiritual revelation as valid means of education. As faithful members of the Church, we can augment our temporal education with spiritual insights. I have found that the insights lead me to discoveries that extend the scope of my academic education.

As I strive to live the Gospel, and as I have watched others do so as well, I have seen exquisite works of art produced, no doubt under the inspiration of the Spirit. I have found that when I have created something of quality, it can usually be attributed to an idea that I probably would not have come up with on my own. Dare I suggest it be divinely inspired?

I really liked Elder Ballard’s quote from Blaikie: “A scoffing Raphael or an irreverent Michelangelo is not conceivable.” I could not imagine either of these impressive artisans producing works like “David” or the art of the Sistine Chapels if they were raucous, uncouth, and not striving to honor God with their craft. As aspiring Christian artists, we should also seek to honor God with our craft, and we will probably find our efforts blessed accordingly.

“I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say. But when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” This verse from the Doctrine and Covenants seemed to be an underlying message in the interviews with Jeff Parkin and Jared Cardon. They are proof that righteousness, a desire to create positive, engaging media, and hard work merit recognition by Mormons and non-Mormons alike. But the creators know that they didn’t do it entirely on their own.

I took particular interest when Jeff Parkin said, “there were just a lot of really miraculous things that happened in the making of the show. There was a lot of opposition, and then at the same time there were just all these blessings that would come.” Humility is an important trait for an artist, especially for one who desires heavenly assistance in creating the most inspiring and evocative media they can. It takes a circumspect artist to acknowledge divine in the midst of recognition and adulation, and such humble, grateful artists will find themselves in the spotlight for the right reasons, for God will honor their work.

"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but the inward significance." I am so glad that the Gospel of Christ has room enough for artistic expression. My favorite scripture is the thirteenth Article of Faith. I love how it invites us to look for things that are virtuous and praiseworthy. I would say that learning really comes by faith. Faith that what you are being taught is of value and trust that the teacher has experience that will help you as you establish your life. I normally feel edified after I have learned most things. I rejoice and the teacher is pleased with my apparent understanding. My problem is that pretty much anything interests me, and I love to learn so drawing the line between what I need to learn and want to learn can be hard. Learning by reason means we take what the world has gained from empiricism and value what the world tells us we should learn.
It is sad to me to see various times in Christianity where art was not appreciated or used to express deep religious meanings. I am thinking of the blank Protestant churches that sprouted up all over Europe and refused to adorn their chapels with artwork in a reactionary movement against the Roman Catholic faith. I know that living the Gospel allows us to have the Spirit with us. I also know that through having the Spirit with you leads to great power in being able to express through art our appreciation of God, as well as our devotion to Him. This also allows us to be in tune with ourselves and we can better express what we are meaning to express.
Shifting gears the Jer3miah webisode is a great example of Latter-day Saint artists coming together to test out transmedia. I love the clever way that the Internet was used as a medium for showing this program. I am also grateful for the talent of Jeff Parkins in writing this, as well as the talented cast. Jeremiah is depicted as a upright Saint, yet even in his uprightness he questions his identity and purpose. The reading examines these choices because we can see that Latter-day Saint artists that are true to their faith can create wonderful and beautiful works of art.

Faith versus Reason

As a missionary in Sweden, I encountered a lot of alternate styles of thinking and believing. In addition, the frankness of the people who we encountered gave us an interesting insight as to what people believe we believe. For example, a lot of people we met were pretty surprised that we actually had personalities and weren’t just blind followers. I gained my testimony of the gospel through a slightly unconventional process (through anti-mormon literature, which eventually led me to read the Book of Mormon) and so when people heard about that, they were generally surprised that it wasn’t just me following in my parents’ footsteps. So in that respect, a lot of people were wrong about us. We aren’t just idiots who take the general authorities’ word and blindly follow them, we actually think things out in conjunction with taking things with faith. However, the idea that we’re blind followers isn’t completely unsubstantiated sometimes. I know I have been guilty of this and have taken certain principles for truth without really bothering to get a testimony of it myself. Some principles just make sense to me, which is why I’ve been guilty of forgetting to get a spiritual base. It’s tricky because we have to balance reason with faith. The gospel really does make sense, I’ve discovered. But no matter how much sense it makes, the human side of us sometimes prevails if we don’t have a spiritual knowledge of a certain principle. As members of the church who have personally had to develop a spiritual and logical testimony of these principles, we have an amazing opportunity to present things in a way that will make both spiritual AND logical sense to our audiences. Without being too didactic, we can tell stories in a way that makes sense to the audiences and resonates with them in a spiritual way as well. I think that the Jer3miah series did a pretty excellent job of this. Without being too preachy, we were able to see an intriguing series that helped spread certain beliefs that a lot of non-members would even agree with. I was a big fan of how unsure Jeremiah sometimes was as he represented each and every one of us. For example, in the last episode when Ammon delivers the big reveal that Jeremiah is a descendant of a legendary character in the Book of Mormon or when Jeremiah is prompted to kill the bad guy in the cave, we see a sort of struggle to understand which is followed by a spiritual confirmation and eventual acceptance. It was interesting to see that Jeremiah’s character was actually a reflection of several non-member audiences that saw the film, which is exactly what some of the articles we read talked about. Many audiences probably went/ probably will go through the same process as we make these films where they may be confused but then receive a spiritual and then logical resonation.

A Review

Melissa/Marianna- I thought that it was very clever how you guys used the drive to salt lake as a allegory to Lehi's dream. I found the choice of signs and background music to be cute and funny, but at the same time easy to understand the contrast you were going for. My favorite part was when Melissa ate the apple at the end while looking at the temple, it is such a beautiful place. By showing the fruit, it really correlated the idea of the temple being an important destination, that we should strive to reach the temple and be temple worthy.

Jeremy/Nick- Props to you guys for using pop culture as an allegory to Lehi's dream. I think what was most profound to me was when you guys said that LDS filmmakers aren't the only people who can receive inspiration. It was wonderful to be reminded that we are all children of God, and that being LDS does not necessarily mean that our work is closer to God than other works. Overall, your presentation was very eye opening.

look at this stuff, isn't it neat?

Jeremiah instantly made me think of a Joseph Smith type character. His parents were a little more skeptical than i picture Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack. The influence of the Joseph Smith story is very apparent in Jer3miah. I think that theme of having an important task is a very meaningful one, especially when the purpose isn't entirely understood. That's when the importance comes in of listening and following those promptings that you get. I like that they incorporate that point into the series; they could be more subtle about it in my opinion, but i really can't judge, you do what you gotta do and I think it's awesome that BYU has put out something like this.

This series fits in well with the church’s attempt to use more practical means of sharing the gospel. Full-time missionaries are necessary, but i feel normal members can achieve so much more success by just doing the right things and being who they are. I think it’s important, especially when reaching out to non members, to not be too preachy. Jer3miah does this well, and I think this is also being done well with the Mormon messages.

Also as I was watching and reading about Jer3miah, one of the TMA department’s goals became a lot clearer to me, that they are training us to contribute to the film culture in a way that also positively represents our beliefs. I’ve already seen a lot of talent in our class so its cool to know that I can be a part of that too.

Allegory Review


I am a quilter, so this weaving together of separate pieces to make a whole, cohesive piece was very appealing to me. I loved how you taught the allegory through pop culture. It reminded me a lot of some of Baz Luhrman's work. He uses a lot of pop culture/contemporary ideas to give his audience a taste of contemporary life in a period piece (I am thinking specifically of Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge). It was nice way of showing the universality of the gospel and, specifically, the plan of salvation.

Coalescence of the Sacred and Secular

We are limited by our humanity. We can only touch the beginnings of what eternity really is because anything beyond its beginnings are too vast for us to comprehend. As a result of this limited scope, we sometimes further limit ourselves by over-simplifying. One such example is our division of the sacred and secular. We love to be able to put church in one box and math, science, film, and literature in another. But is God not in math? Is he not in science and art and literature? If He is not then it is not because these things are secular, but because Satan is in them instead of God. Ergo, as we live and study in this world, it is naïve to try to separate God out of it. You cannot take the Creator out of His creation.

In a like manner, God should be in the best art. As I study the Gospel and draw closer to God, I learn to be like Him. I begin to assume the traits of the supreme Creator. And in so doing, my personal ability to create increases.

As I watched The Book of Jer3miah, I appreciated the way that God was not denied his place in “secular” things. Why shouldn’t a Latter-day Saint be the lead in a 24-esque series? If this is really the true Church of Jesus Christ, then it is not for the select, it is for all the children of God. I like that it is not ashamed of the gospel. I think we sometimes get so caught up in a certain brand of Mormon culture that we hide away, forgetting that that is not what is at the root of our faith.

The Glory of God

Learning by faith and reason…it would seem that one would necessarily contradict the other. In my opinion, faith trumps reason when reason is skewered on mankind’s understanding; but this does not mean that the two cannot work together. When thinking of reason and faith, Oliver Cowdery comes to mind. In Docterine and Covenants section 9: 6-9, Oliver learns that he “must study it out in your (Oliver’s) mind; then you must ask me if it be right” (emphasis added). According to Heavenly Father, both reason and faith are necessary. Particularly when coming before the Lord with a question, it appears that it is necessary to reason it out first, and then exercise faith, with the assurance that we’ve done all we can, leaving the rest up to our Father in Heaven.
From what I’ve learned so far from readings and being on set, a lot of faith is required to get a project done. There are so many opportunities to fail that you almost have no choice but to hope and trust in God, or in something bigger than yourself, to get you through the project. So, apart from faith, living the Gospel allows you to live with more light. If, as it says in Doctrine and Covenants 93: “the glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth”, how can we expect to spread any of these without the Gospel? The Gospel can only enhance the film and allow it to communicate through the Spirit, who is the best teacher. If God is the ultimate Creator, and we, as His children, are His work and His glory—which is also light and truth—our heritage is to work in creation, spreading God’s glory.
I was so impressed, enthralled and inspired by Jer3miah. It was incredible, first off, to view Mormon film that wasn’t practicing blatant didacticism, and was still able to convey the Spirit and allowed me to learn, from the Spirit, principles that I needed then. It was also wonderfully entertaining, clever, fun and intriguing. I don’t know if I can articulate how much I enjoyed it, but it certainly gave me hope for what Elder Ballard expressed in his talk. Elder Ballard’s desire for expanding our influence as LDS film makers, becoming experts in the field, and testifying of Christ in our work, in my opinion, was fully realized in Jer3miah.

Compliments Compliments!

Well done everyone! I was so delighted by how strongly I felt the Spirit during each of your presentations, it was amazing to learn new things about the allegory and each of you!
Nick and Jeremy~ you took me down memory lane with your piece. The decision to use clips from movies to express the allegory was a wonderful choice because, for me, it did a couple of things: 1. The myriad of clips allows the allegory to be accessible to all sorts of people from all walks of life, while at the same time maintaining a personal and intimate connection between the allegory and the individual viewer. 2. Using clips that are easily recognizable, not only allows the view to connect to the film, but also causes the viewer to examine their own life in terms of the allegory. Beautifully done!
Melissa and Mariana~you took us on a road trip and made some very potent points with material that didn't seem difficult to stretch to fit the allegory. The shots of Lady GaGa and the window of hair stuffs and Justin Bieber were not difficult to interpret. I loved seeing the allegory play out in a place that i've visited a few times, this decision allowed me to connect to the piece very quickly.
Richard and Annie~I said this in class, but I loved what your Allegory pointed out to me, that i'd neve noticed before. The importance of family, and keeping your priorities straight, even when helping people was communicated beautifully. I loved your visual decisions too. I'm a fan of the shoes, it was a very nice reveal.
Mont~I loved your script! What a wonderful way to involve the class! Not only was your allegory a great interpretation, but it was such a unique experience, and must have been interesting for you, to hear your script come to life. I thought your script was relevant, specific to our mini-society on campus and clear on the moral of the story. Well done!
Elisabeth~I love children's stories. I was enchanted by your book. It was such an unusual and beautiful story and and interesting choice. I loved the quality of the illustrations and the tenderness that was felt both in the story itself and in the illustrations. I loved your presentation and found your story very touching. And it was lovely to hear the background to the story, about your Grandmother's hat! How neat!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Art of the Gospel.

I have the strong opinion that learning by faith and reason go hand in hand. The prophets have said that from the best books, music and even movies we should look for words of wisdom. There is so many good things out there that we cannot be exclusive to the scriptures. There is no wisdom that compares to the scriptures. There is not doubt about that. On the other side, the Savior spoke in parables to make it easier for the people to understand. A movie can have the same effect. Our reason and logic allows to discern. Our faith allow us to act and believe. True wisdom come about when both are combined.
I was told once that there are two ways to appreciate a painting. You can look at it from few feet away. You can appreciate the colors and the composition. Also, you can look at it from very close, so close that you can see the composition of the paint. You can see the chemicals and even molecules that allow the creation of such a piece of art. That is why the reason I feel living the Gospel makes me a better creator. The Gospel helps me to see the painting from far way, and at the same time understand how it was created, from the composition of the paint to the combination of colors. The things I create have a deep meaning from the things that I learned from the Gospel. I love the blessing that Elder Ballard gave upon the artists. There is an amazing power that comes from the Gospel that only contributes to make art better.
Babylon or Zion? That is a hard question. I think that for our lives and to get to the Celestial Kingdom, we have to always choose Zion. Now, do we have to chose between representing Babylon or Zion as artist? It depends of our intentions. If I just want to get people attention, I may create something as Black Swan. If I want to create something didactic, I may choose to represent both. If I want to show people what they can achieve, I may decide to solely represent Zion. Personally, we have to choose between Zion and Babylon everyday, specially as artists because there is a unique beauty in both of them. Then, the Gospel comes along to remind us what we know to be true and where we have to stand at all times. Jer3miah is a good example of this.

The Allegories

Wow after viewing your allegories I was again deeply impressed with the raw talent that exists in the film program. Richard and Annie your film was a bold interpretation of Lehi's dream. I loved the shot that captured people as they moved across space and bumped into one another. I also really enjoyed how you people remove their blindfolds to really experience joy. Your film was deeply metaphorical. Liz and Sarah your board game was a cleaver way of representing Lehi's vision. Both of you did great in thinking non-conventionally to come up with the rules of your board game as well as the board game itself. Mariana and Melissa your film of traveling to Salt Lake was visually captivating. It was fun to see what you chose to represent the various parts of Lehi's dream. I will never think of the railway station in Salt Lake City in the same way. Mont your script deserves to be filmed. I loved how you used getting to class as a way of representing the tree and its fruit. Elisabeth your children's short story/film was a joy to behold. I really like how you chose something from your family history and incorporated it to Lehi's Dream.

allegories, compliments, allegoriments!

all the projects were seriously awesome, so im going to talk about a few of them.

Nick and Jeremy; you guys picked some awesome clips to parallel the events of the dream, and i really liked the music choice! it was way fun to watch. and i really wanna watch 'the fountain' now, that was my favorite part of your film. the whole thing pretty much summarized the way i see the allegory as well.

Mariana and Melissa; I also really liked your video, especially the way you made the allegory more into a journey. It was cool seeing the different parts of salt lake and the way they fit in to the dream. I thought it was pretty spiritual without being too preachy.

Lizz and Sarah: I thought it was really creative to do a board game, something that hadn’t really occurred to me. That actually does seem like something you could legitimately market around here. With what I saw in your presentation it made me think about more possible features that could be the game, causing me to keep pondering the different aspects of the allegory on my own.

GG everyone!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Everybody, I just want you to know how awesome you all are and how great your allegories turned out. Here are some of my thoughts concerning what you guys all made:

Mont: Great script and terrific job making a clear and easy-to-understand story that illustrated all the concepts in the tree of life vision in a modern medium. This project showed that screenplays were important to you and you made them an effective medium for conveying the important story you wanted to tell. Well done!

Marianna and Melissa- I seriously loved your guys' video. Goosebumps appeared on my arms at the part where you were eating the fruit in front of the temple. Like seriously, i thought the way you presented your allegory was one of the most honest and truthful methods we saw. We really got to see what was important to you girls as you showed this journey to the SLC temple. Excellent job and way to put so much thought into your work.

Richard and Annie- Speaking of putting thought into your work, it is obvious that you are both deep thinkers and you guys epitomize the fact that we don't have any idiots in the class. Just about everything in your allegory was not only important and clearly conveyed but was also done with a certain style that only you two could pull off. I really respect how you two carry yourselves in general, which bled over to this allegory really nicely. Bold filmmaking guys, I LOVED what you guys did with Lehi's dream.

LiZZ and Sarah- Your idea of the game was charming, fun and a very fresh approach to something that we've hashed over again and again. One thing I've noticed about this allegory project is that the manner in which the artists chose to tell about Lehi's Dream actually says a lot about the artists themselves. To me, your project said that you two are fun, progressive, fresh and, for lack of a better word, adorable. Way to make an excellent allegory!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

On Allegories...

Greetings, everyone!
I would like to compliment you all on a wonderful period of allegory presentations. The two groups I will be commenting/questioning are Nick and Jeremy and Lizz and Sarah.

Nick, Jeremy:
I enjoyed the soundtrack, it helped everything maintain the reverence and awe that Lehi's dream deserves. I also loved your idea of using icons of contemporary culture to represent the allegory. What comes to mind is the clip you used from The Ten Commandments with the masses of people traveling. Why did you choose to have some of the icons be more literal representations than others? Why did you choose to represent the mists of darkness with the tidal wave from Poseidon?

Lizz, Sarah:
A very creative selection for your media. I don't normally think of board games as forms of media, but it makes complete sense once I take time to consider the possibility. Why was the board designed the way it was? It seemed to represent life jumping back and forth between a "good" track and an "evil" track. There was very little there that dealt with the gray areas we often find ourself in? How could you change the game to improve that point? I also like the idea of the game cards. Life often feels random, though everything eventually resolves itself to help us stay on our journey. Perhaps the heaven side's cards could be a bit more weighted in terms of what their net results were.

Again, eveyone, great work!

- Mont

Monday, February 21, 2011


Guys, to be honest, I cannot decide on one single project. All of you did awesome. I like Jeremy and Nick's project because you guys talked about how other people also know the things that we know as members of the Church. And, you guys found it in other peoples creations. Annie and Richard, your project was very thought provoking. I think that it is true that even if you are not familiar with the allegory of the tree of life you can still get a really good idea of what it is from your movie. Liz and Sarah, I love your idea! The board game is funny and didactic. And, not everyone gets to go to Heaven! I liked it because it is something that anyone can play and learn from. Liz, I really liked the children's story because it is simple. It is such a complex lesson in such a straightforward way. After all, we are supposed to be more childlike. Mont, you did awesome by engaging the audience with your script. I liked it because you guide us though the process, but you still left room for our own imagination and interpretation.
I learned so much from all you guys. Keep up the good work.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

It's Compliments Week!

Hey first of all, I want to say great work everyone! It was really awesome to see all the wonderful things everyone came up with. I really enjoyed being there for both sections.  Second, I want to comment on Richard's and Annie's presentation of the was very symbolic of the Tree of Life. How did you guys come up with the idea? I really liked how you guys changed the mood of things through changing the color of the film and adding some grainy-ness quality to it. I found that that helped with the dramatic sense of the film. I think that the people being blindfolded was a cool idea that symbolizes someone not knowing where they're going, or being blinded by the world, as you said with it also being the midst of darkness. Then at the end there is always someone who is not blindfolded that can help those that are get to where they should go, but only if they let it be. When you guys put some of the people in the shots still blindfolded this is what interpretation I got and added more to the movie. The color of things also changed from a gloomy atmosphere to a more bright and I guess you could say “back to normal” color, without the greenish-blue-ish effect of before. I can also interpret the colors as having to do with the greed of people. It was mostly green, and green signals greed. I do not know if this was intentional, but that’s how I interpreted. I could agree with someone else's comment when they said that at the end  the people that where not blindfolded anymore and where holding hands into the horizon, that is kind of represented a family. You have the guy and the girl of the same height and the other people being a lot shorter, this created that impression on me. Nice work overall guys! That was pretty cool.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Isn't it Iconic...

I never thought of bathroom logos as icons. But as I thought back to my dinner earlier this evening (I'm in California and had dinner in Downtown Disney) I remember as I made my way to the restrooms, labeled "Banos" with the accent mark, wondering to myself 'what will the actual men and women doors say?' and being highly disappointed with the standard "men" and "women" with the corresponding pictures. I thought that since they wanted to have a spanish theme and use the language to explain where the bathrooms were, they would also have the spanish words for "men" and "women" on the doors. But maybe they wanted to go with the more recognizable symbols plastered all over american bathrooms.
Now that I think about it, if the bathrooms had been labeled in a language I didn't understand, I would still be able to find them by the symbol on the door because it is a recognizable icon to me.
Being a superhero nerd, of course I would think of "Superman" as an icon. He represents hope and justice. He's the man of steel for crying out loud. But even though I am a nerd, before the reading I had no idea about the material used for the uniforms for the tv series and the movie. I just thought they used spandex for them all and left it at that. I loved learning the little details about different "icons" this week.
Speaking of details, it was interesting to read about "American Gothic". I always assumed the people in the painting were husband and wife, not sister and dentist. I liked learning all the littles facts about things like the button hole, how it used to be a rake instead of the pitchfork, etc.
Favorite reading was the comic strip "Life in Hell". It was hilarious but offensive at the same time. But it made me think of how "The Simpsons" are an icon to me. The fact that they're still making episodes years and years and seasons later says something to me about how creative the writers of the show are. And on that note, I think I may just watch an episode now.

The power of the logo...the power of the icon....

The power of the logo is pretty much that...powerful. We know so many of them, logos, icons, famous figures that symbolize something or represent a product, an idea, a group of people, etc. I cannot even recall how many of these have been present in my life. Yet, they have somehow made an impact in my daily living. Take for instance the famous American icon of McDonald's. Before it was a favorite among my family members and I. Ever since watching the documentary Super-Size Me my views towards it changed. Yes, I still go to it. But only very few times have I gone. That movie, for those that are not familiar with it, tells the journey of a brave young filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, in wanting to only eat McDonald's for 30 days for 3 times a day, with the sole purpose of proving that the food there is actually unhealthy if eaten in frequency. Here in this movie I saw a lot of examples of how icons/logos can have a great impact in people's lives. There is a scene where young children are shown pictures of different people, all of them famous in different areas (even Jesus is being shown), some of these are not even recognized with all the children, but all of them recognize the familiar red-haired clown, Ronald McDonald and how he is associated with making them happy by providing them with highly fatty meals and extremely entertaining PlayPlaces. Aside from the negativeness of the icon, there is also a positive light about it. An icon can create positive emotions in a person...take for example people that are highly admired in today's world. Gandhi is an icon of love and peace that people still look up to with great admiration and an exemplary example of being self-less and kind. The church even has the icon of the temple and how that represents everything we hold dear in our religion as being a house of sacredness and that it is a place where we are close to God. Whenever I look at a picture of any temple I feel warmth and motivated to be a better person each day. Various icons that represent different emotions and ideals can have that good effect in our lives. That is one thing we can try to incorporate in our filmmaking experience. Creating images, representing images, that can inspire people to do something...hopefully something that is good and beautiful. Ideas in the reading that I found interesting were those found in Inside Every Superhero lurks a Nerd, Super, and Wonder. They all share a similar point that superheroes can definitely have an impact in ideology of a given person while growing up. Kids look up to superheroes like Superman and Spider-man because they are common everyday people who have super powers and do good in their communities. They can relate to them because most of them are probably "nerds" or being the ones made fun at at school. Just like when I found in Pocahontas a heroine to look up to in my times of need, I imagine these kids seeing in these superheroes the same thing. To feel some of that power as their own. That is the power of the icon and the logo.

Has Anyone Seen My Cape?

I drive some of my closest friends crazy because I constantly say that I don’t have a personality. I am the queen of assimilation. I am a chameleon. My ability to adapt to my surroundings is so acute that I usually don’t even realize I’m doing it. To an alarming extent, I pick up the traits of the people I am most frequently around. As an artist, this has been the foundation for a battle for my artistic identity. When I sing, I imitate the singer I have been listening to most recently. Imitation is often talked of as a positive thing in a learning environment, however for me, I have found it to be a source of confusion as I have sought to find my literal voice. When I write, I write like the people I have been reading. When I create film ideas, I see images that bear the mark of the directors I have been watching.

I loved the ideas about superhero dress in both “Super” and “Wonder.” In the latter, phrases such as “the authentic self,” “celebrate freakishness,” and “branding of the flesh,” stuck out to me. I am intrigued by the idea that these characters are the most honest when they are in the least acceptable attire. When I am assimilating, I am Clark Kent. So who is my superman? What is the purest form of my identity? I’m not sure I know. I know God, and I know my relationship to God. And I suppose if I am going to use a word like “purest,” that is the root to which I must turn. But what is the trunk? What are the branches? I think I am discovering this every day. I hope I never completely know the answer. A substantial portion of my relationship with art is using it as a mechanism for answering this question. So even though I have a subconscious tendency to imitate, I also am on a journey of self discovery that—piece by piece—uncovers my superhero logo.

Enduring symbols

As I was flipping through this chapter, deciding what to write on, I saw the Mercedez-Benz ad. In psychology I learned how the mind connects different meanings, emotions, and events to symbols. While looking at the picture I was reminded of the meanings behind each symbol. Take the drawing of the atom, on seeing it, it is a reminder to me of my old high school. We were the Midland High Chemics and ours was the atomic symbol. So upon seeing it, I instantly connected it to my childhood and recollections of my high school days. Then there are also symbols that American culture connects too, like the statue of liberty, the American flag, or the bald eagle. I find it interesting how different cultures can perceive symbols in different ways. The victory sign has a very different meaning when used in the United States of America than it does in Australia, or the United Kingdom, it is interesting how the different cultures can make the same symbol have a different meaning.

I guess that it is similar with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with the cross. Most Christian denominations use the cross to represents the tragedy of our Savior Jesus Christ’s death. But that same symbol takes on a very different meaning in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To us, it is a reminder of the atonement, of the sins and wickedness, but also of the renewal of life and repentance. LDS church leaders have commented on how the symbol of the cross does not define our church, Gordon B. Hinckley said that the symbol of church is the lives of its members.

I guess that in the end, I came to the conclusion that a symbol can be anything from a logo, painting, flag, or even a person, the point is not what the object is, but what the object invites us to feel.