09 January, 2006

Welcome to Our Madhouse

Our house has been crazy this weekend. Not that it is not always wild and crazy, but this weekend has been exceptional... and that is putting it mildly. I feel like I have been on that Madhouse ride pictured above.
My son was given an assignment for his English class to write at least an 8 page movie script, create story boards for it, and then shoot this movie, which was required to be between 5 and 15 minutes long. Would someone please tell me what this has to do with an English class? The script I can see, but the script is only worth like 30% of the grade, which means he is being graded on his ability to shoot a movie. Last time I checked, that has nothing to do with what should be taught in an English class. They have film making classes available at the high school for goodness sake. I think someone needs to tell this teacher that he is in the wrong department!

Daniel and two other boys worked on this assignment for the past 2 weeks and then were prepared to shoot it this weekend. That is... until we could not find anyone with a digital camcorder so that the thing could be edited after it was shot.
So Libby decided to go buy one Friday night, and the kids worked all day shooting this movie. During the day, while all this shooting was going on, Libby was having a Longaberger Basket party, with people in and out of the house all afternoon, so it really was getting crazy. Then Ashley decided she wanted one of her best friends to come over for the day and spend the night, so we had two 12 year old girls in the house, which if you have never experienced, well, let's just say it is fun.

That evening when the boys had finally finished shooting and were getting ready to begin editing the movie, we discovered that the salesman had been wrong, and we could not do this with this model camera. So it was a flying trip back to the store to exchange this one for one that could do this. Suddenly it dawns on me that I only have a CD burner on my computer, so I called Libby and tell her to pick up a DVD burner while she was out. Oh, and we also had to purchase a movie making software program; another $80. If you are paying attention, this high school ENGLISH class is now into our pockets to the tune of well over $600.

By this time Libby and the boys got back to the house, it was like 9:30 Saturday night, and I hurriedly pulled my computer apart, took out the CD burner and installed the DVD Burner. Once this was done it took over an hour to install all the software. So we are ready to begin editing. The first step is to put all the footage shot onto the computer. Unknown to me, my son and his friends decided to shoot like an extra hour of footage of them goofing off while we were trying to get this stuff done, which meant a much longer time to download the movie to the computer, because the entire film had to go on, since they shot this goofing off stuff right in the middle of the day, and footage that we needed. To get all this loaded onto the computer took us up to after 1:00 AM Sunday morning.
Call it a night folks... we'll finish it after church tomorrow... no, my bad... make that later today.

Sunday afternoon rolls around and the kids are finally ready to begin editing. They worked all afternoon, and still were not very far into this task, so we left Daniel and his friends at home while we went to church. Three hours later, we come home... and they are still editing. Tensions are building in everyone by this time. Libby is needing the computer to get some things ready for school, but the editing must be done, because this project is due first period on Monday morning.

So the work goes on, and Suddenly the computer starts acting up, and a message keeps popping up that there is a corrupt file on it. Try as we might we could not get rid of it nor fix it. So we trudged on...
By this time the other two boys had to go home, so Daniel, Libby and I kept working. When we finally finished the editing of the scenes, it was time to add the music.
We discovered that the MIDI files of music would not work... AGGGHHHH!!!!!!

To make a long story short... we finally burnt the DVD tonight. It was completed just after 1:00 AM . Then the story boards had to be done and the script revised to show all the camera angles for each scene. (Again... would someone PLEASE tell me why an ENGLISH class is required to do this project?)
Daniel was so stressed out and tired that he was now physically sick.
This stupid project has taken it's toll on him, as he has sat in front of the computer editing for about 13 hours just today. Then he tells me that he must now write a 250 word paragraph explaining everything he did to complete this project.

I usually stay out of things like this... but I beieve I am going to the school tomorrow to talk with this teacher and the principle, and I am thinking very seriously of going to the school district office and handing them the bill for all this stuff we had to buy for the kids to do this project. They were told that if they did not have the equipment, then borrow it, rent it or buy it, because it had to be done. Do you know how hard it is to find someone with all this equipment? Most people just don't have a need for all this.

Can you tell by now that I am a little bit ticked?

Oh well... life goes on.

By the way...
The movie turned out just great. The kids did an awesome job.
I laughed my head off at it. It is a spoof of Mission Impossible.
I wish I could show it to you. Maybe when I have time I will find out how to load it on to the Net.

The corrupt file on my computer? I found it a few minutes ago.
ESPN.com and dropped a cookie into my system that created a file that was corrupt and unreadable. I finally got rid of it, and while I was at it, I deleted the ESPN motion feature which shows videos on ESPN because this is where the cookie came from.

Everyone is now in bed and asleep... except for me.
It is 2:36 AM Monday morning... and I am so keyed up from all this that I probably will not get much sleep tonight. I think I will now keep Daniel home from school as he was literally sick from all this. If this teacher does not give these boys an A on this project based on the sheer effort of the thing, let alone the fact that it is an good movie, he is going have a very angry dad to contend with!


Anonymous said...

This sounds like an interesting school that your kids go to... first the Philosophy paper and now this craziness.... I’m amazed y’all still have hair! I don’t think that I’d be too keen on having to purchase the extra equipment just for a school thing either.. for one project. I’d be having a little chit chat with the school myself. The least they could have done was come up with an alternative project for those without this expensive equipment.

Darrell said...

Believe it or not, this project was for the same class. So the kids were working on the Philosophy of Life paper at the same time they were trying to do this project.

As for the school... you don't want me to go there. This is the absolute worst school system I have ever seen. This same teacher has openly told his students that no matter what grade they earn, he will give them the grade that he "feels" they deserve. And he has told them that he doesn't feel like very many people deserve A's.

michigan preacher said...

I can't stand when teachers do that. My wife had a prof in college that did something similar-she would not give out any A's, no matter what. Makes it impossible to achieve a 4.0, if one is otherwise a 4.0 student. My daughter is only in first grade, and I've already had to deal with teachers that are odd in their class management. How about telling a six year old that they can't use the bathroom when she asked? Yep it happened, and she had an accident. There was more in that school, but that was the final straw. We pulled her out, and that was just in the first week!

Libby said...

I'll be honest. There are some projects which are really worth while but I sometimes don't assign because I realize that not every student has access to the same resources, i.e. computers, internet, CAMCORDERS, even parental help or guidance. Some may think I'm not as good a teacher but personally I think most I my students leave my courses with a better understanding as well as a higher self esteem. I will allow students to do some of these projects as extra credit or if I can afford the class time, allow them to do them during class. Some people just don't think about what an assignment entails before they rattle off that great sounding project leaving the kid or parent to deal with it.