Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I loved seeing your mother grow up through the pictures. Your mother seems absolutely delightful. I really enjoyed hearing her comments on being a scholar and being a mother. I think you really conveyed how important it is to continually progress, and it’s important for women to find a balance between scholarship and taking care of their responsibilities as a mother. It was lovely to hear her sing. I loved the variety of pictures; they were very interesting, thank you!

Very professional. ☺ I loved the artwork you accompanied your interview with! This was delightful. You really conveyed their personalities. I liked being able to see the animation and hear their music, it was a beautiful insight into who they were and how they convey that through their art and music. I really enjoyed the questions you asked, they were very thought provoking, especially when the artist discussed how much darker he believed his work would be without the Gospel. Thank you for doing such a wonderful job!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Feedback on Mormon Artist Presentations

Lizz-I thought your presentation was absolutely wonderful! The way you presented this sculpturer's ideas about God and art really inspired me. One thing that he said that really caught me was when he mentioned that the art brought him closer to God. I thought that was something that I can think about when doing film. I hope that my art also can bring me closer to my Heavenly Father and that I can inspire his children to want to do great things because of the work that I present. I think that I want this to be my goal when doing projects. I felt that this presentation did that for me. The pictures were very well chosen and thought of it seems, and the work he has done is very inspiring.  Good work overall!

Nick- I know Adam from my latin ballroom class! He's an awesome dude. I did not know he would be the kind of guy to play the cello. I think you captured a deeper side of him and that was good, he felt relateable in terms of he being close to our age and in almost the same situation of him being a student here at BYU. The pictures were great, I felt you put a lot of thought in how you capture him and his art and many other facets of him as an individual. That was great to see. I really liked what he said about when he played the instrument he felt like he was part of history. That made me think... I hope to feel that with my art and how I want to capture it. I also want to feel like I`m part of history, but maybe in a different light. I want to feel part of an individual's history,,,,how they can be inspired by the work I present to them and how that touches or changes their lives for the better. That is what I hope to do as a Mormon artist too. Very nice presentation.

Criticism....or constructive criticism?

In the reading I could relate to the author's view  about giving feedback on a piece. I usually don't like (and I don't think most people like) their work to be put on the spot for either criticism or praise. I say this because this is the case at least from what I have seen in my life and other's perspectives. I don't like the criticism because I would think that my work would be good, but then someone notices flaws. This hurts because I think I don't have what it take. But yet, in recent years, I have been able to see that criticism can be good and too much praise can be bad. The criticism that I have been able to receive on my work has often times helped me with overcoming the flaws that the work my have and fixing them so they can be more to what most people would understand or help with the story or the work presented. In the past I have seen praise as a form of not helping me further enhance my work. People would think something is perfect and would not voice their dislikes about it. I felt at times that they just didn't seem like the kind of person that would be able to frank about something like that because they are afraid that they would hurt my feelings about it. That can be true, but I actually prefer the honest constructive criticism over the not so honest praise. When I was doing the readings it made me think of this because I wouldn't feel like I would have to hold a grudge or stop talking to this person because they give constant negative feedback if they do it is for a good reason. I don't know why I feel like praise is not the total truth. I guess because we are all our own worst critic and we see the flaws or at least we think we see them than anyone else. When I personally give feedback I am not cruel with it either. I don't just point out all the flaws and I say them in the way that I would like to hear them without bashing on it to the point where it discourages the other person from even taking it. I think that too much praise can also be bad. I got to be honest, but at the same time be looking at the positive aspects of the work presented.


Mont- I found your presentation of their work to be quite professional. It was interesting that you chose to interview two people, and I think you did an awesome job of combining both artists into one interview. You made it so that they sort of worked off each other.

Melissa- I thought your use of music added a documentary-esque feel. I know Jordan a little bit and you were true to his character. In my opinion the music itself could have been quieter so as not to distract from the interview. Besides that I felt that a lot of thought went into your presentation. Overall, I think it was very well made, and I can tell that a lot of effort went into it.

Somebody's throwing acorns

I used to have a harder time letting other people read my drafts. Part of me would cringe at the thought of my peers critiquing my work. Because of that, this reading really struck truth with me. I understand her anxiety, and slight anger. But what she said in the end is true, everyone needs to find someone who can tell you what you need, and let you down gently when your story is deformed.

I think what I need to work on the most is taking critiques positively. I tend to take a critique and turn myself on myself. It’s like they say “everyone is their own worst critic.” It’s like part of my mind was made to make snarky comments directed at myself like, “you idiot, I knew you should have…” or “Wow Annie, you really screwed up this time.” These things just pop up and consume my thoughts during most critiques. Thankfully, since beginning college, I have begun to learn that you are never going to get your draft perfect the first time. I think that Chloe’s project really taught me that it’s ok for your ideas and stories to be redesigned and rewritten, and that sometimes you need a lot of help from your peers and mentors.

I guess this article has really pointed out to me that it’s important not to give up on myself each time I fail. Being a writer doesn’t mean that I’ll be writing perfection each time. It’s like what this author said, “writing is about filling up,” and “you can’t fill up when you’re holding your breath.” Sure, I sometimes still feel like I’m throwing my baby to the wolves, but I think that as time goes on, I’ll become more trusting in my friends and peers that critique my work.

mormon artist reviews

Lizz- i really liked your presentation. you asked some good questions that prompted answers that made me think about things in a different way. i thought it was really interesting how your artist talked about the turmoil he deals with and how the church's standards helped him through that.

he said his sculptures brought him closer to God, which i think is a really important goal for any kind of creative work, i will need to ponder that some more.

Mariana - I actually had an animation class with Garrett but we never really talked too much about our art to each other, so it was cool to hear his opinions on it. his concerns and opinions about being a Mormon artist made a lot of sense to me because they were things i had also noticed while pursuing a visual arts major. he talked about limitations that one finds at BYU, like clothed models in the illustration department. other art schools would find that pretty absurd but he talked about how those "limitations" influenced him for good.

a work in progress

I felt like the author was able to express so many things on this topic that were my thoughts exactly, in a simple way that I had actually never been able to put in words. Granted, I haven’t written a whole lot of literature, but I get those feelings about apprehension about anything I create, like films, or artwork, or music. You don’t want to show it until you are 100% satisfied yourself, but in reality you are selling yourself short by doing that. Reaching out for help is an important way to reach your potential.

I also thought this lady was hilarious, her sarcastic thoughts sounded very familiar to me as I read the words in my mind. It’s something I should change; it probably comes from a lack of confidence in my work that would be less of a problem if I took the opportunity to have more of my stuff be peer- reviewed. As to my goals for doing this, I think most of the people I’ve met in this major are very approachable, so I don’t see asking people really being a problem in the future. I think everyone in the major wants experience in all different aspects in order to become well- rounded, and it’s a good sign of trust if someone asks you to view their material.

I think I just don’t take enough opportunities to really write stories. I have a notebook full of little ideas and gags that I would love to incorporate into some kind of piece, but I haven’t taken the time to write many narratives. That will be my goal, to take all these idea fragments and put them into real stories that will interest viewers.

Feedback in general

Being a creator of something makes us inherently sensitive. When a person has put considerable time and effort into their creation their is normally a lot of passion involved. It can be really hard to take correction or even suggestions. The author of the passage we read did a great job of expressing her discomfort when someone needlessly critiqued her work. There is great value that comes from finding someone who is able to give appropriate feedback. It is really important to find someone at the same level as yourself as well. Make sure that the person has your best interest as well because you do not want to uncover your hard work to someone that will not value it for what you feel that it is worth. Obviously correction is needed while we create our work because we are so far from perfect, and having someone give you a fresh perspective of what your work means to them, gives you the input you need to better your work.

This is hard for me because film making is something I have never really done before. For most of the assignments in this class I feel like a fish out of water. I have been deeply grateful for the feedback and direction I have received from everyone.

I remember a time where I was struggling over some correction I had received when I was on my mission. One of the elders counseled me that when I received correction I should think about it later when I was not so heated, and that I should give the correction merit and way it out in my mind. If it was something I should change then I should adapt, if it was something frivolous or even something I did not need to change then drop it and let it go.
-Jeremy Ashworth

Mormon Artist Reviews

Jeremy: I loved the pictures of you interviewing. That was rather Brechtian of you, and quite satisfying for me. Your subject had some beautiful things to say about her art as it relates to the gospel. I loved how she said that every stroke and every line is influenced by the spirit. And that we hold up a title of liberty for the art world. I got such a strong sense of her devotion to the gospel and to her art and how the two things weave into each other.

Nick: Some of the photographs you used were really cool. I loved your subject's quote "It's classical music. It's history. And I feel like I'm a part of history when I play it." I think that, likewise, we are parts of history as we claim our place in the Church. I am studying Isaiah with Ann Madsen right now, and when we read some of Isaiah's prophecies, it is awe inspiring to consider that I, as a Latter-day Saint, am a fulfillment of some of them.

Feedback, follies and Freakin awesome presentations

I absolutely loved what this reading talked about. It did wonders not only for my understanding of the whole feedback process but also helped me realize that a lot of the things I feel and experience when I’m looking for feedback are not unique! I thought I was kind of alone in my own little pretentious world as I shared my creations with others only to see them get broken down in a way that made me question them as well as myself. It sufficeth me to say that this reading assisted me in realizing that that’s a normal reaction and while it may be slightly pretentious, it at least isn’t as freakish and uncommon as I’d originally expected. As I read this, I felt like I gained a few valuable and useful insights as to how I could take criticism during my creative process in an effort to make my work much better and more agreeable to everybody who views it. A large part of it involves swallowing my pride, just as the article so clearly articulated. Once I’ve found a few people who can read, appreciate and constructively criticize my work, I feel like I can get the ball rolling on getting a great story. The problem is that I don’t feel like I have a network like that at this junction. So one of my goals is to get such a network. One of my mission companions is a very gifted writer and I’ve resolved to contact him within the next three days about exchanging work and giving one another feedback and constructive criticisms. That way, we’ll be motivated to help one another since we can’t expect good feedback if we aren’t willing to give good feedback. My mom is also a pretty good option I think, she’s an editor for a newspaper in Cincinnati and has never really held back on criticisms (in a loving way.) Plus, she loves me and I believe she wants to see me succeed. Once I get feedback from these people, the real challenge comes. I have to swallow my pride and implement the input they give me. I think one of the better goals I can set up for myself is that of actually using the criticism given to me. I could easily see myself brushing it off or reasoning that my critics just don’t understand what I was going for but what they think and have to say is in reality probably extremely legitimate and something to be taken seriously.

Richard- Dude, I freaking love being the person who critiques your work. You have a style that I really appreciate and I think that was reflected in your interview. Not only was it very professional and very well done but it was also fun, edgy and had a very definite Richard flare. Your pictures were great and helped us see the artist in a candid light and thriving in his element.

Lizz- First off, your orange boots are awesome. Also, beautiful slideshow, you showcased the sculptures beautifully and the pieces you decided to show are great examples of the artist’s thoughts about being a Mormon artist.

Something Clever

The older I get, the more introverted I seem to become. When I was a small child, I wanted the whole world and I wasn’t afraid of it, but as I grew older I found reasons to be afraid. And I decided I want the whole world, but from a safe distance. It has taken courage for me to be a part of a community because of the way it requires of me to give of myself, which inherently means a certain amount of vulnerability. I tried the hermit thing, but the conclusion I finally came to is that my experiences don’t mean anything unless they’re shared. I am not here just for the sake of my own learning, but so that I can help others to learn and vice versa. After reaching this idea, I have made an effort to be very honest about myself and my experiences.

Now what does this have to do with airplanes criticism and feedback? I think that the reading did a good job of expressing how frightening it can be to allow people to look at your work, and not only that but allow them to look at it specifically with a critical eye. This kind of vulnerability terrifies me. Yet what I am finding as I am receiving feedback from my peers, is that most of them aren’t out to prove something. They really want to help me be my best self. And as I learn how to do that—as I increase my abilities and produce better work, my power to influence and help people will also increase.

So, as I seek feedback I hope that I can allow it to help shape me into a better artist. I seek clarity from it, and solutions to problems. And I hope that the influence of feedback will allow me to reach more people with my projects.

Feedback on the Podcast

Nick Dixon- I really appreciated the podcast that you were able to put together. I am glad that you were able to help us understand the depth of your roommate who is studying broadcast journalism. He seemed to me a man of many talents, especially his cello playing, and how this leads him to a sense of being refined. I am happy that he was able to vocalize something that I have always felt. The idea of how music is a conduit for the spirit, and that one can worship through playing an instrument.
Mont Toronto- The two brothers who dealt with composing music an animation were great examples of Mormon Artists. You did a tremendous job of capturing their lives as well as going into what it means to be a Latter-day Saint artist. The editing together of the clips with your interview of both of them was well done.
-Jeremy Ashworth

Feedback for Podcasts

Elisabeth Weagal:
There was a great variety of photos, which kept the presentation visually interesting. I loved the connection of the spiritual dimension of artistry through motherhood. It was a bold move to select your mother as the topic of your podcast--many would consider turning to someone so close as being a cop-out in finding a subject, but your decision was clearly anything but that. It was compelling and your mother is surprisingly accomplished. It truly was a great exposition of secular accomplishments and how they are complimented with being a faithful mother and Mormon. One question: what does she do now? Is she still studying? Does she teach? Does she apply any of the artistic talents she had developed over the years in a professional setting? An update would have been a nice closing touch.

You also had a great selection of photos; they were timed to be appropriate for what was being spoken about in the interview. The music gave the interview momentum and thrust. It was a timely topic with a visible artist. And most of all, there was some great timing in the editing of the interview; just as I wondered when the gospel was going to be brought up, the interview began discussing it. I was pretty impressed.

Feedback and Frustrations

I have received a lot of feedback for my writing over the years; feedback for essays, papers, short stories, screenplays, stage plays, and newspaper columns. With each round of revisions, I have stared at the feedback, particularly the more critical parts, and wondered why the reader hated me. Why did they think that I failed in this part, or the other? Am I wasting my time? Sometimes I walk away feeling completely uninspired and dejected. I resent taking any suggestions or making any changes because I feel like the reviewer was out to get me. Or that the reviewer didn’t know what they wanted out of the piece, or didn’t consider what I was trying to say, and threw the baby out with the bathwater.

But the feedback that I almost always consider, and often implement, is that given appropriately. It is the feedback that builds up and edifies, not tears down and insults. I am far more receptive to “this part is good, but this was lacking; here’s a suggestion for fixing it” than to “this doesn’t work.” When someone is thoughtful enough to add suggestions or positive reinforcement, it builds trust and I feel like their point of view is far more credible because they thought about what I was creating.

In terms of a goal for implementing feedback I receive, it is to be careful about the feedback that I implement. I often blow off compliments and focus on the criticism. That’s just how I work because if I focus on the positive feedback, it will go to my head and I’ll be no good to anyone. But I also tend to be a people pleaser, so I have to be careful that I only make changes that will strengthen what I want the piece to be, not what everyone else wants my piece to be. And when I revise, I make sure to keep it my own voice and style; I am revising my work to create a more refined incarnation of my work.

Giving, Receiving and a whole lot of...Charity!

This was a terrifically interesting and important reading and really hit home for me. It was rather ironic because for the last year or two I’ve watched a close friend go through these same stages of grief over her writing. She had her moments when she thought that she had no friends because her friends objected to parts of her writing. There were long periods of self-doubt and frustration, but in the end it was decided that she should finish her first draft before asking for feedback.
It’s been a real blessing for me to have seen her go through that process because now I can skip steps A-F of worry, frustration and doubt, and get straight to a nearly-finished, ready to be critiqued, get-your-stone-face-on draft.
While my approach to receiving criticism is very much a “buck up and bite the bullet” approach, that may not always be the best approach. It is certainly important to remember to give criticism with charity. In D&C 121: 41-43, referring to the Priesthood, but also applicable to correcting in general it says: “No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; 42) By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy and without guile— 43) Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;”. While this would be an ideal way for everyone to correct, it is not easy to do, nor is it always done. It is therefore important to remember to also receive criticism or critique with charity.
It is my goal to always keep the individual in mind when giving and receiving critique and feedback, not only on creative projects, but also in life in general. We’re all just people trying to be better, and mistakes aren’t the end of the world.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Criticism... ugh!

It is so hard to take criticism. It is! I am very sensitive, and I hate feeling like a failure. It is human nature to think only about the moment at least for a little while. When someone tells us that our work is lacking something, we automatically forget about other good things we have made, or the good things in our project. Later, we are reminded, but until it so painful. On the other hand, I have learned that it is for the better. Even that criticism that is not for good can help you. It lets you know who really cares about your work, and what good criticism is. I felt that Annie was describing my feelings when she said that she first hates her critics (even if it is her love ones), but then she is grateful for them. I really liked the part where she talks about time. It is so true that we don't have time to waste thinking that we are not good enough. We have to have courage in everything we do.
My goals for eliciting and utilizing feedback on creatives projects are the following:
Always thank the person that is giving me criticism. He or she cares enough to do it, even if they don’t like it.
Actually record or try to remember what he or she said to review later. Maybe writing it.
Understand who this person is and how my work may have affected him or her. Someone may hate a great movie about smoking because she lost her father to lung cancer.
Review the criticism. Actually taking the time to look at it and think about it.
Analyze what area of my work is being cover by the criticism. Perhaps that person loved the cinematography but hated the story line.
Analyze how my intensions and the criticism differ. Taking time to see if the criticism disapproves what I intended for my work to be. If I wanted to convey a message but I didn’t put a lot of time in the music, then I can understand why they complain about it.

Compliment for Annie...

Annie, my favorite part of your was how young that girl was. Is she your friend? I can see you guys being friends. She didn't exactly say that she was decided to be a good example, but the way you conducted the interview gave me that impression. I liked that you touched on the bad examples that ex-members give. I didn't think about asking that. The cool thing was that she knew about it, and she wanted to do something to change it. I liked how she gave an example on how she had to stand up for what she believed in London with the immodest costumes. Questions, what projects does she have in the future to help the Church? Good job!

Monday, March 14, 2011

A gospel heritage

When an artist works they put a piece of themselves into the artwork. Naturally, something as defining as religion would gather into the art. When I read the scripts, and thought about how gospel principals were applied, it intrigued me at how implicitly our gospel heritage blends into what we create.

I thought Chloe’s script was beautiful. At first, I thought that Grace represented the insecure side of people, and that her hair represented the raw selfish emotions inside each of us. It wasn’t until I began writing this post until I realized that Grace represents someone who has sinned. She is embarrassed by her hair and how crazy it is. She tries to get rid of it, multiple times, but is succumbed by the magnitude and strength of her hair. The only way that she can be rid of this serious problem is through the help of another. In the script the other is, as we all know, the bird. In the gospel, Christ, our bishop, and/or our families are the people who can help us overcome our sins. I thought that the use of Grace’s hair and how it is something attached to her that should be inanimate, was a marvelous way to show how our sins, when built up overtime, begin to overwhelm and control us. I’m sure the technical work on physically animating the hair was extensive, and I hope to see the final product.

I loved A. Todd’s story. It was interesting to read a script in which the entire thing was narrated. Similar to Chloe’s script, A. Todd’s story shows the main character reacting to events that they seemingly cannot control. Mr. Bellpond, I felt, is meant to show how we can’t hide ourselves away from our problems. Because of the length of time spent avoiding his issues, Mr. Bellpond became physically hurt by the process of trying to confront his problems. It is important for people to work to do their best to overcome the trials in our lives, and to pray to the Lord for help and guidance, this is what Bellpond did not do, and as such, he had to struggle through his problems alone.

Both scripts contain implicit gospel messages. I'm starting to understand that all good stories have a relation to the gospel.

Internal struggles and our shortcomings

I was amazed at how beautifully gospel principles were portrayed within these stories. I think I’ll begin my post with Chloe’s script. I thought it was really interesting how well we saw the struggle that Grace had to endure reflected the struggles we each have in our lives. Honestly, most of the struggles I experience are self inflicted in a way or are only there because of something I’ve done. In other words, I can be my own worst enemy, which is reflected in this script pretty magnificently. I thought it was cool that Grace ascended once she overcame her fallacies. I couldn’t tell if the hair represented a certain vice in specific or if it was a kind of all encompassing symbol of the trials we each have but it seemed like the hair was an excellent way to tell this story of internal struggle, which is also a theme in other holy works, whether that be the Bible, The Book of Mormon, the Quran, or many other things people believe to be inspired. This idea of overcoming oneself is obviously extremely important and a pursuit of just about anybody who is interested in transcendence or becoming better than they are at present. This theme was also present in A. Todd’s script, Mr. Bellpond. While he has to overcome his natural tendency to close himself off from the rest of the world, he also experiences something that we all experience in our religious journeys: faith. Mr. Bellpond was promised by somebody that he could neither see, nor hear, nor meet that he could be rewarded significantly with what he desired most if he would just strain himself and do his best. I loved how Mr. Bellpond really did give it his all and that this mysterious stranger who was the catalyst to this entire story told him that he wasn’t good enough. But in spite of the fact that his efforts fell short of the standard placed before him, he was still rewarded with what he most earnestly desired. I thought that was a pretty insightful play on what we all experience. We all experience trials and hardships but are still expected (by a being we can’t necessarily see or communicate with in a traditional sense) to bounce back and become great. As we do this, we’re reminded of our shortcomings and even get a little beat up in the process. As we do this, we also realize that our best simply isn’t good enough. But just because we’ve done our best, our friend makes up the difference for us and allows us to achieve what we desire most.

Gospel Parallels in Secular Fiction

In A. Todd Smith’s script, I saw parallels between Mr. Bellpond and Christ. Mr. Bellpond had a task he had to complete, one that would challenge his soul in the process. Likewise, the Savior had to complete the Atonement, no matter how hard it would be. As Mr. Bellpond works on the outline, he is faced with greater and greater physical obstacles, much like the Savior who had to feel the pain of every sin that had been, and would be, committed by each of us.

Yet deep inside, Mr. Bellpond found the strength to go on. He wanted desperately to be reunited, in some fashion, with his beloved Yuridia. The Savior’s desire to be reunited with us in heaven, and His love for us, gave him the power to endure the pain of the Atonement, with its spiritual and physical agony.

There is a dark moment when Mr. Bellpond has suffered through the score and waits, feeling all is lost. A similar moment must have come for the Savior as He awaited his trials and sentencing before the public. But Mr. Bellpond finds hope in a new beginning when he stands at the dock with the boat pass. The Savior gave us hope when He rose again to a new beginning as well.

In Chole Huber’s script I saw the hair as a symbol of sin. The verbs used in conjunction with the hair, like, “ooze,” “jerks,” and “slithers” give it a definitely negative and hostile identity, and its actions validate the suggestion. Like hair, sin unattended can become unmanageable. The similarities continue, though. The hair begins to take on a life of its own, much like habitual sin or addiction can dominate a person’s ability to make decisions. The power of the hair quickly grows to be completely uncontrollable, though Grace attempts to coexist. She soon learns that no one can serve two masters. She must either cut her hair or give in to its will, the agenda of which is uncertain, but most likely malicious. Lewis and Marian stand as helpless friends who, in the end, must stand by and watch as the hair almost destroys Grace, and then accede to her silent request to let her take care of things on her own as she is lifted into the air one last time.

Isolation and the Gospel Plan

A Todd—In recent months, I have thought a lot about the idea of seclusion and its relationship to the gospel. I am pretty socially awkward and I really enjoy my alone time. In fact, my social awkwardness often makes me feel so uncomfortable around people I do not know very well that I have often considered how cathartic it would be to move to the middle of the desert where I could live by myself and read and write and bake. But there is a fundamental problem with this: to isolate myself from people at large is to isolate myself from the structure of the gospel. I do not think that God intends for us to be alone. We have weekly church meetings, and weekly church activities, and home teachers, and visiting teachers so that we can be plugged into a community. This is how the saints are perfected. This how individuals are brought to Christ. I thought about this idea a lot as I read A Todd’s script. I appreciated that Mr. Bellpond never says a word—who would he talk to? The use of the narrator alienates us from him. He is given his humanity back again when hope for his wife draws him out of the house. That is when he begins to live again.

Chloe—As Latter-day Saints, we are constantly returning to the idea of agency, which is a central part of the gospel plan. We revere it. And we should. Yet, I think we sometimes get a little over zealous to the point that we convince ourselves that if there is negativity in our life it is a direct result of our abusing agency and making bad choices. I think we have probably all had this thought about someone at some point. But there are some things that cannot be controlled. This is a frightening concept, it is no wonder that we try to obscure it. Illness, disability, disorder, disaster . . . many trials befall us that we cannot control. In the case of Chloe’s script, Grace’s hair is working against her and actually threatening her agency. Like in A Todd’s script, the protagonist does not talk at all. She is isolated, and because of that there is a strong question throughout as to whether, without help, she will be able to stay in control.

Loneliness and Killer Hair

In the first screenplay that I read I was impressed with the theme of the fall. I am referring to Adam and Eve’s separation from God after they partook of the fruit and their consequent dismissal. Bellpond is a man who anxiously awaits his wife’s return. He is has agoraphobia and that keeps him inside his home. The time he spent with his wife is idealized in his mind as the best time in his life. His loneliness is deeply saddening. In a way the time he spent with his wife before they were apart was like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The other gospel principle that comes out is the danger of pride. He thought what he was doing was right and he did not read the letter from his wife inviting him to break out of his shell. The artistic techniques I noticed to bring the themes out were match cuts between what the narrator was describing and what was being visually shown.
The other screenplay is about the worst hair experience one could contemplate. Agency is a gospel principle that this screenplay investigates. Anthropomorphizing the hair is a unique way of restricting Grace’s ability to deal with daily life. This was the main artistic technique that was used to accomplish this investigation. On top of all of the social stress of being a college student this girl’s hair gains a mind of its own and also gains a great amount of control over this Grace. Another aspect that the gospel teaches is to have self-mastery or complete control of oneself. At first I thought that her hair misbehaving was the consequence of something bad she had done, a form of punishment in the vane of being a servant to sin once a sin has taken place. I could find nothing to support this, so to me this was a parable of sorts in losing control. This happens sometimes were we are given situations were we are powerless to prevent, such as sickness, or an injury. I love how she is able to overcome this dilemma through almost divine means of the bird helping out.
-Jeremy Ashworth

chloe and A todd

these screenplays are both pretty different and im excited to see them when they are completed! to me, the spiritual aspect is more apparent in A Todd's capstone. I really like the idea of faith that comes across in his. Mr. Bellpond is working and putting everything into his music, in hopes that it will somehow reunite him with his wife. Something that I think is interesting: I had read this script before, but I didn’t really make the connection between his story and the concept of faith until Amy asked us to focus on that. When I originally read it I connected with the fact that he was working hard, despite the absolute assurance that anything would come of it. “maybe he’s being cheated, who knows?” were my thoughts. It means a lot more to me when I look at it with more ‘gospel eyes.’

The spirituality in Chloe’s script was a little less obvious to me. The feeling I left it with was a worth of souls type of thing. Grace (also a spiritual name) may have been different from the rest of her classmates, but her problems were something that they couldn’t have connected with. it’s therefore not for us or them to judge. It’s the same way with us and I thought that was a pretty powerful message.

I keep thinking more and more about how I can learn to include spiritual themes in my work. Most of the film stuff I have done so far has been intentionally campy and kind of immature. While it was really fun, that’s only one side of me and I see that it’s really important to include more serious things, whether implicitly or not.

That brings me to another point: how to know when to come straight out and be blatant about gospel topics. It’s obviously nothing to hide, and I really appreciate how we’re being taught to make it a part of our work.

Gospel Principles in Scripts...

To me, reading Chloe's and A.Todd's scripts was very much a fascinating experience. I am currently writing my first script myself and I have been thinking a lot about what themes to include in it. I see that one apparent one that I will use will be the principle of faith, because it is one I really hold dear. I am sure that Chloe and A.Todd probably considered this as well, what kind of principle is apparent or important in my life? Do I want to incorporate this in a film project that I do? With Chloe's I found the theme of love, acceptance, and appreciation. The hair had a life of its own and was responding at the end in a way that the main character could not control it any longer and then suddenly brought her to her suppose downfall. In the end that is what I think brought her peace. I felt that the girl was dealing with what she was given in this life which was her hair, it was a blessing at times, but then it was a curse. She dealt through the tough times with having that kind of life, but somehow in the end her suffering came to an end and because of that she was rewarded with a sense of peace. The other characters let go of her as she went up to the sky, this for me signaled their love for her and acceptance of what is to come for her, which is no more suffering of a life with cursed hair. Here I see the principle of faith too. They had faith that she would no longer suffer and that she would be happier. In A. Todd's I saw the principle of faith also, but in a different way. Here is a man, the main character, who had lost someone that was that special person in his heart. He had no reason to feel joy anymore because of that loss. Yet, throughout the many occurrences, experiences, and flashbacks he comes to terms that moving on would be the best thing to do.  Here I see that trusting in the Lord bring you back on your feet and gets you moving to where you need to go. Faith and trust are involved with this script. I feel that as filmmakers we have a responsibility to convey what we hold dear in our lives to some level or degree in one way or another. I think that is what makes us better filmmakers, but at the same time maybe even unique or have our own style in film-making. One can be explicit or implicit about this, for me it is both, usually. I know now though with this screenwriting process that I have taken upon myself that I want to somehow incorporate the values I hold dear and put it in the characters or the environment. I do not want to be explicit about it in this particular film, but implicitly, yes.

Investigating Gospel Principles.

Chloe’s and Todd’s script investigate religion by their plots and characters, but before I start writing anything, there is something to take in account. I think that there are great things, in reference to art, stories, movies and such out there. All of these with intended, or not, transcendence or/and religious ideals. However, I believe that the implications of these depend upon the audience. I think that if a person is not willing to find it, he or she will not. I have been taught to think and see things as a Christian. I feel that in that regard, it is somewhat easier for me to recognize it and even look for those elements. For example, I felt that Chloe’s story had to do with the effects of sin. I felt that her hair was a burden that she kept trying to let go. It kept her from having relationships and progressing. She was talented and a good person, but her hair didn’t allow her to progress. In Todd’s script, there is a this talented man who has lost happiness as he lost his wife. His mistake was to get caught up in his unhappiness and not do anything about. I thought about repentance with his story. I thought about the idea of remorse, letting go, and looking for the best, like he did by going to the islands to look for his wife. Both Chloe and Todd investigate gospel principles by the development of their characters. Both Grace and Mr. Bellpond are challenged. I am not sure what the resolution for Grace was, but I can see that Mr. Bellpond embarks in to the fog to find the one he yearns for. He leaves the old man behind and starts looking after his happiness. Going back to my first point. I wonder what someone without an LDS perspective would find in these stories.

The language that Chloe and Todd used, I think, is the artistic technique they use to investigate a gospel principles. They present their subjects in a manner that makes it familiar for us. I felt that Grace could be one of the girls in my class. And, Todd’s was very visual. I felt that between the narration and the descriptions of the actions I was able to see the movie. I am pretty sure that they will use other elements in the film itself.


These screenplays were very interesting to read, delightful, imaginative and thought provoking. I helped out for a bit on Chloe’s project and it was nice to understand what the overall story was after having only seen bits and pieces. It was also rewarding to see the way in which the script was realized on screen. Chloe did a lovely job as a director and that cast and crew were very friendly and patient with my lack of ability and understanding. I suppose that their attitude conveyed some of the ideas that Chloe’s script was portraying. In her script, I saw themes of charity, acceptance of everyone’s little—or big—quirks. Chloe’s script showed something that is difficult to portray and not always realized, the idea that within every blessing is a curse. Now, that sounds really harsh, but it’s true, it adheres to the law of opposition. From personal experience, I’ve learned, while stubbornness is fantastic, especially when dealing with difficult situations, it can also prevent one from being willing to overcome bad habits, it can lead to pride just as much as it can lead to conquering difficult circumstances. It is both a vice and a virtue. Chloe portrayed this through her artful, beautiful depiction of the hair—while it was simultaneously eerie and frightening.
I found A. Todd’s script delightful. For me, the script explained the temptation to sulk and allow oneself to stay depressed or down in the dumps. I know I’ve felt that way; I’ve moaned and groaned and wished I could just have some time to mope, but the truth is that we have to move on. There is so much life to be had, joys to be experienced, people to love, etc. that we should not indulge in negativity. If we do indulge, who knows what we may be missing? It could be that an opportunity has been waiting—like Mr. Bellpond’s wife may have been—for years! I believe this investigation of the temptation to wallow in self-pity, is conveyed by the montages, the flashbacks and the slow decay of Mr. Bellpond’s health, as he mourns his wife; the injuries Mr. Bellpond sustains in trying to finish his masterpiece serves as a reminder that, to quote Dr. Seuss, “Un-slumping yourself is not easily done”; but it is worth it!