Archive for the 'Allison Coad' Category

Life Through the Lens

           AJ Harris experiences life as if it were a movie. As he goes about his daily routine, he notices the conditions that make for a perfect scene. He imagines the students headed to class, some tired from late night and some dressed for a class presentation, reviewing note cards as they walk in hopes of a decent grade as a simple song plays in the background that conveys the monotony of daily life.  Life unfolds as if it were film for him, one scene at a time, one song at a time.

          The soundtrack to his life’s movie? With a sly smile he said, “Now that’s a whole ‘nother story.”

         It isn’t music itself that stimulates Harris; it is what the music represents. It is a beautiful collection of independent, unrelated instruments. He doesn’t have a favorite band or artist but claims that John Anthony Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the “funky rhythm” of Stevie Wonder would be on his life’s playlist.

         Harris walks to the beat of his own drummer and is passionate about only two things in life: the guitar and film. When asked what three things he couldn’t live without, after serious contemplation, he responded: the guitar, a video camera, and a surfboard. 

        “When I play the guitar, I get lost in the music. It makes me relax, and puts me at ease,” Harris said. 

          Harris’s humble approach to life often leaves him out of the spotlight. But when he walks into a room, it is difficult not to notice him. Perhaps it’s his six foot stature or his 215 lb. frame. Or maybe it is the way he carries himself: a subtle confidence that demands attention that he so often shies away from. His appearances clearly indicate he was genetically bred to be a sports star, but after talking to him it is obvious he has yet to lose his childhood innocence.

           In fact, on Christmas day he still does the same thing he did when he was five years old. AJ and his brother Chris wait eagerly on the top of the stairs while his parents turn on the tree lights, rearrange presents and prepare untitled5the video camera. When everything is ready they scurry down the stairs to a room full of presents. With AJ being 20-years-old and his brother 19-years-old, the sound they make when they run down the stairs to greet their Christmas surprise is, as AJ so humorously puts it, “comparable to that of a landslide.”

           Though Harris has a gentile nature and an easygoing approach, he does enjoy a challenge. He pushes himself as a running back on Elon’s varsity football team and as a student hoping to one day become a movie director. He makes what many consider to be hard work, enticing and exciting.  Everything to him seems to be a learning experience. In addition to his Zen-like approach to life, he has the attitude that nothing in life comes free and is a firm believer in hard work.

            Like his dad always told him, “Practice doesn’t make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.”  While striving for perfection, he understands that life doesn’t always turn out the way you want.

            His grandfather, the late Al Angelo, died in April from pancreatic cancer. Harris said he would like to be remembered, “Just like my grandfather is remembered: Someone who is willing to put others before himself, who is selfless beyond belief, and who was easily the best person I’ve ever known.”

          Harris claims the key ingredient to life is “understanding yourself, because once you understand yourself, you can better understand everyone else.” He is deeply sensitive to the needs of others and selfless beyond belief. After interviewing several of Harris’s friends individually, they unanimously decided Harris was the go-to guy. He is the one to turn to if you were in trouble, need to talk, needed a ride, or simply needed anything at all.  Taylor Harlan described Harris as, “non-judgmental. He makes you feel comfortable and at ease.”

         Harris never gets too high, but never gets too low either. He likes to keep a level head while never taking life to seriously.

         Harris has mastered the beginning of his life as a movie and continues to walk through life without a script in hopes of finding the perfect and ending. 

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Remarkable Writing: Past Shock

This article entitled Past Shock was written by David Denby several months ago regarding the ever famous “Dark Knight” movie and the haunting performance by Heath Ledger. Denby wrote with a sense of humor and the piece was heavy with sarcasm. This article is so fast paced that, at times, it was difficult to keep up. It went from one thought to the next without coming up for a breath of air, but I think that is one of the reasons why it was so enjoyable. It kept me reading; I didn’t have time to take a break in fear of getting lost. Also, this article was refreshingly honest. Denby didn’t try to sugarcoat the truth, he simply said it. I wouldn’t consider this piece on of the best that was ever written, I just thought the writing style was different and attention-grabbing.

He makes analogies and comparisons that are extremely vivid and descriptive. At one point he said Christian Bale as Batman has a “dogged but uninteresting performance, upstaged by the great Ledger, who shambles and slides into a room, bending his knees and twisting his neck and suddenly surging into someone’s face like a deep-sea creature coming up for air.” I’m sure you can see why it was difficult to stop reading.

Pitching the Script – Variety Article

Step one, write the script. Step two, pitch it.

Variety writer Andrew Stewart in an article entitled ‘Pitch Me’ Panel Pushes the Script said, “It all starts with a good script.” In order to begin the production process, one must first write a script that producers and directors want to buy. But then the hardest part lies within pitching the script to directors and producers. Similar to an interview, producers don’t want to hear a rehearsed speech void of emotion and passion. They are interested in hearing the story in a way that makes you seem at ease, therefore putting them at ease. They want to see that you’re confident but not over confident. It’s a hard balance to find, but once you do, great things are bound to happen.

Effective Advertising

Today in class we discussed the importance of effective advertising. We went though magazines and newspapers to see which ads captured our attention, successfully promoted the product, and were audience appropriate. I found this website called Very Funny Ads, where funny advertising videos are shown. This site is indeed funny, but sometimes the funniness of the ad can take away from what the actual message or product is. The audience members will remember the humor, but often forget what was being advertised.

Celebrities Encourage Younger Voters

I have noticed in recent months how celebrities have been encouraging the younger generations to go out and vote. I think this is wonderful, and everyone who has an opportunity to vote should. If you want a say in your future, then vote. On MTV, many of the commercials involve popular rock band Fall Out Boy encouraging people to vote and take an active role in your future. Most of the video’s aren’t pushing voters in a certain direction, but if you really pay attention you can see certain biases. 

There is a video is called 5 Friends and encourages people to vote by ironically telling them not to vote. Leonardo DiCaprio put together this video and I think it is very effective in its message. There is another video is very similar to 5 Friends but it is called 5 More Friends, check it out if you have the time!

McCain vs. Obama – Does Temperament Matter?

There was a recent article in Time magazine entitled The Temperament Factor: Who’s Best Suited to the Job?in which writer Nancy Gibbs dissected the personalities and temperaments of the presidential candidates. Gibbs makes insightful analogies and remains unbiased when comparing McCain and Obama.  Obama remains level headed while McCain is often referred to as a hothead. McCain is willing to take risks and throw a hail mary while Obama has yet to take a major gamble. Who do you think is best fit for the job?

Broadcast Analysis: John McCain Ready For Office?

With the election only a week away, it is difficult to avoid the political scene. This video was on found on Newsweek and analyzes the personality of John McCain and whether he will be fit for office.  John McCain is being characterized as the fighter because of his aggressive nature and unwillingness to back down.

This broadcast video began with an overview of what the story was going to be about. There appeared a quote from the New York Times on the screen. The anchor proceeded to read the quote while it was on the screen. Then he went to an interview with Newsweek correspondent Jonathan Darman. While these two men were discussing John McCain, there were video streams of John McCain at speeches and rallies.  


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