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If You Were My Teacher, You'd Have to Grade These

Every once in a while a teacher will assign a project that is fun, not because of its high educational value, but because I know that it will be easy enough for me to make something funny and impressive and dodge as many of the requirements for content as possible. Twice in my high school career, I was allowed to make video projects with my friends. Neither of them stay 100% on topic, but with enough technical wizardry, any teacher will go... "Dang, that took a long time!..."


10th Grade Assignment
(English) Create a project that relates to Cold Sassy Tree

For this assignment, my friends Robert White and Ehab Buhaisi (Sand Wizard) coupled with me to create a video. We wrote a script of about five pages, including maybe three references to the book. The premise of this video was that we were on a news show called "News of the Towns of the World" and our spotlight town was Cold Sassy, GA. We created bizarre interviewers, including...


I'm wearing a wig with a bald spot backwards to make this hair, we flip it around on camera angle changes.

... to interview characters from the novel about things that kind of related to the story, but with our usage of blue screen effects...


Ehab looks so young as a weather man...

... and having Robert play two characters from the novel at the same time...


If you look really closely, you'll see the couch split where I joined the two Roberts together.

... it was difficult for a teacher to NOT give us a high grade. Unfortunately, due to the fact that there was a BB gun and a bottle of vodka shown in the video, we got slightly reprimanded, and our teacher realized that we had craftily dodged dealing with the book's story much in the end.

At one point in the video, you may notice that I start talking, then start whistling when I realize something wrong has happened (which crossfades)... We had neglected an ENTIRE page of the script and somehow made it fit together. Okay, maybe it doesn't fit together. There are a lot of random things in the video. And I don't mean random as in how everyone claims "Man, I'm so random sometimes."

News of the Towns of the World


 

There are also commercials, which are the Dick Peterson video and the trailers for Tapeworm (fetish) that we made before the movie was finished. Everyone in class loved the commercials but really didn't understand the rest.

Grade - 96%


12th Grade Assignment #1
(Economics) Create a product, design advertisements and an infomercial for it...

This project was intended to be solo, and my friend Ehab Buhaisi and I had our own separate products in mind. I jokingly made the remark, while off in my own world, "It'd be hilarious if you made a fast food chain called Burgerhaisi... Ehaburger... hahaha... Buhaisiburger..." I'm pretty sure that initially he thought I was acting like a loser as usual, but then some folks around us started laughing and tossing some forgettable ideas around for us. Our teacher caught wind of the idea and said, "You two can do that if you want, just come talk to me."

Shocked, we followed his lead, and we were allowed to work together provided that we show more effort than a solo project would entail. We also got the permission to skip the needed print advertisements and include ALL of the information necessary in our video.

Similar to the Cold Sassy Tree project, I play a corny, annoying host who leads the viewer through craftily cheesy dialogue to each separate showcase. It's the school format! To ensure a good grade, we have multitudes of Arab-directed jokes for our American-proud teacher, including my character riding a magic carpet...


The carpet was never there. Joe filmed this while sacrificing his life out of my car window.

I also spent hours Photoshopping food items for a menu, and using some bluescreen effects, superimposed Joe-Bob into a fake Buhaisiburger restaurant...


Some of the worst effects ever get the best response. That logo wasn't on his shirt, and you can tell.

Ehab was more than willing to make fun of his own heritage, and using our bluescreen, he made sure to offend all Arabs...


Doesn't look anything like Ehab under there!

The whole project in the end took about three days to complete, but it was fun. You should enjoy it.

Buhaisiburger


 

For months after this video was shown in class, we received multitudes of random, "Shit man, that was hilarious!" from teachers and students alike. We probably gave our teacher another few years on his teaching contract. He'll ride this project like I rode the magic carpet.

Grade - 100%


12th Grade Assignment #2
(Science) Create a new lab safety video for the school...

Ehab had enjoyed making Buhaisiburger so much, he was inspired to direct his own video. He and Robert (the same one from News of the Towns of the World) were lab assistants to the school chemistry teacher, and they were required to do some sort of science project for their final grade. I guess grading papers and "proctoring" the test wasn't enough... geez (I seemed to take that personally, didn't I? I usually hung out with them in the same class period, so I helped them with their work). For this project, Ehab decided to make a new lab safety video.

Surely, you've seen one of them? Lab safety videos are among the worst videos ever made. The one Travelers Rest High School had been utilizing for years followed two detectives in an all-out stupid-fest as they interview kids in the WRONG school about lab safety... If you don't know what I'm talking about, that's probably best for you. Ehab believed he could improve on that trusty standard...

He wrote the strange, ridiculously corny script, and the teacher approved it. He was obviously going to need my help; I had the camera and editing equipment... but I'm awesome, so I had no problem helping out.

Casting was pretty easy. Ehab's trusty pals: Joe, Stephen, and myself were in it by default. For a deranged science teacher, we enlisted good old Rick Veasey, our academic team coach. And, for the remaining two roles, we would use Robert and Molly. Molly was another lab assistant for a different teacher, and she (like Robert) wanted to ride our coattails to an A. We let them...

The Ghost of Stu [TRHS Lab Safety Video]


 

Filming was pretty easy. I don't think Ehab enjoyed being in a directorial position that much. Joe and I were glad to help because it got us out of our excruciatingly dull AP Biology class for a few days. Stephen was glad to help for a similar reason. Robert and Molly, on the other hand, flirted the whole time. It was very awkward. You can see it in the video. They are especially rampant in the scene where Molly explains the gas burners. For some reason, she stumbles over her line and makes it make less sense. Gas doesn't go into the air! It's fine in a gas chamber, dumbass!

Editing this strange video was quite fun. We made Mr. Veazey scarier, looping his laughing and "smell it" lines. It was definitely a fitting end to our high school careers...

And the word on the street is that they actually use this lab safety video instead of the old one. Score 1 for us!

(Last piece of info: At the end, when Stephen is dancing, all Ehab said was, "Wave to the camera Stephen." hahahaha)

Grade - 100%


College Assignment #1
(Spanish) Create a video entirely in Spanish...

For the final project in my college Spanish class (SPAN 122 for those who care), we were assigned an open-ended group project. It had to be completely in Spanish and include a variety of different grammatical tenses.

I grouped up with some decent dudes, and we worked diligently. We wrote the script in a weekend and filmed it the next...

El Coche Perdido [The Lost Car]


 

We made Kevin the main character because of his impeccable Spanish accent, hahaha. I had two very small parts because I had so much post-production to do. I wrote original music for it as well.

It took nearly no time... and it's not really great. But, hey - maybe you'll like it?

Grade - 99%


College Assignment #2
(Speech) Give a How-To speech with visual examples...

I took speech as a Maymester course at Greenville Tech, not exactly the most advanced school ever. Fortunately though, the class was only two weeks long! For our first speeches, we had to instruct the class how to do something we knew how to do. I thought long and hard on it, and realized that there was NO way anyone but me knew how to make a horror movie! My experience making Milligan Tribute Band lent me much-needed credibility.

We had to have visual aids too. That was where my quick video skills became very useful. In about 5 minutes, I crafted a one-minute horror climax scene with my friends. Ehab played the Evil Butcher, and Joe played the frightened, gun-toting badass...

Horror Example


 

I had the speech structured in stages: Preparation, Production, Post-Production. Hence, there is a "III. Post-Production" at the top. It's a neat little video considering how much planning and thought went into it.

Grade - 95% (I didn't dress formally! Drats!)