Tag Archives: Movies

Intro to Video Production allows students to explore and create films

By Aakash Baliga

Staff Writer

We all love good movies, and Video Production takes you into the exciting world of how to produce your own small movie! Intro to Video Production is an introductory course taught by Vincent Nelson at Summit Tahoma, where students can learn and explore the basics of producing and analyzing films. Many of the projects in this class involve putting students in groups where they can have roles, take turns filming and produce a video around their given topic. Throughout their projects, students learn how to use cameras, edit footage and write shot-lists.

When asked about how students can use their skills from Video Production, Mr. Nelson said: “Honestly, the skills can be used in anything. In advertising, marketing, and just if you have to do a presentation, you can use it especially if you know how to edit.”

Tahoma freshman Matthew Monroy is a student in the morning class of Intro to Video Production, and he enjoys the class very much. Monroy expressed his enjoyment for the class by saying what he learned during the year: “Collaborating with others, editing, like trying to maintain control of people … really like life lessons. ”

The class is about learning, but students also get to have fun while they learn. Tahoma freshman Iona Robinson explained her favorite part of the class, and why she enjoyed it: “When we went to go see ‘Captain Marvel’ as a field trip, it was really fun because we also got to analyze the movie, and it gave us like a lot to think about.”

All in all, Video Production is a class that pushes students’ creativity and willingness to learn, letting students have fun and choose their own storylines. It also teaches students the valuable skill of being able to shoot high-quality video films, which can benefit them in careers that involve photography, or promotional films for many fields such as advertising, marketing and more.

See below for a video about the Video Production course:

Video Production allows students to pursue a passion

By Brian Bodestyne and  Darren Macario

Staff Writers

The Video Production course at Summit Shasta allows students to get a better understanding of how to construct a video.

By going over certain tasks to enhance their knowledge of film, students get the opportunity to complete projects such as music videos, documentaries, mockumentaries and fight scenes.

The Video Production course also gives students the ability to express their own ideas in their films. Shasta freshman Samuel Zhang said, “I feel like Video Production is a safe place to express people’s creativity through making videos and movies about different topics.”

Following this idea, Zhang concluded that the environment he works in promotes creativity, allowing every film in Video Production to be unique. He also said the class culture helps people work together respectfully.

Vincent Nelson, the teacher for the Video Production course at Summit Shasta, specifically teaches students in this course how to use cameras, how to edit videos and how to use necessary equipment such as microphones.

Mr. Nelson believes that in this course students get the experience of working as a team to produce a quality outcome. He said, “I think Video Production is important for a few reasons: it teaches you how to work with a team, which you’ll need no matter what the job is.”

Mr. Nelson concluded that teamwork is very important because it promotes good friendships and helps bring creativity to people in the workplace.

See below for a video about the Video Production course:


Why is the #MeToo movement so important?

By Kai Lock and Ethan Sheppy

Staff Writers

It seems now that #MeToo has been the topic of conversation for many months now, especially in the entertainment industry.  It has been showcased in several award shows, influencing things like speeches and wardrobe. High-profile men in the industry continue to face fallout from the movement toward accountability and transparency. 

More and more actors have been coming out and speaking their truth as well as promoting inspirational speeches from those who have shared their stories. One of these cases was when Oprah Winfrey preached at the Golden Globes, stating that speaking your truth is one of the most powerful tools you have.

#MeToo was created by Tarana Burke in 1997; 20 years later it has risen into an immensely powerful movement all over the nation, creating conversations and evoking uncomfortable subjects that need to be uncovered and fully assessed.

According to a New York Times article, “The Woman Who Created #MeToo Long Before Hashtagsby Sandra E. Garcia, when Tarana Burke initially created the Me Too movement, her intention was to create a nonprofit organization to help those who have been affected by sexual harassment and assault.

The entertainment industry has been solely responsible for the attention that #MeToo has gotten within these past few months, starting with Alyssa Milano, who is believed to have brought attention to the movement.

The attention arose with a single tweet which stated, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” She provided an explanation for the tweet, “Suggested by a friend: ‘If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me Too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

On Jan. 7, the distinguished Golden Globes took place in the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Known for its prestigious awards and celebrated celebrities, the Golden Globes was quick to promote #MeToo in many aspects.

Those in attendance dressed in all black to show their respect and support for the movement. The wardrobe was not the only thing to showcase the support, having inspirational speeches from actors also take part in advocating #MeToo.

Oprah Winfrey’s powerful speech moved the audience. She brought up topics such as #MeToo, racism and hope for a new future. Her speech easily became one of the most iconic moments of the night.

Actors standing behind the movement are not only hoping to provide relief for those in the entertainment industry, but also for those whose stories might not get told. Using their power in social media and fame in the industry, they are hoping to inspire young girls and spread an important message to all teenage and adult women.

We talked to two people outside of the film industry to help answer if those promoting #MeToo are helping them understand it better and to explore how it’s personally affecting their life. They both provided insight into their perspective as women outside of the entertainment industry.


Gretchen Oorthuys, resource specialist and sophomore mentor

Gretchen Oorthuys, a resource specialist at Summit Prep, helped us understand her stance on #MeToo.

“I think it started a lot of conversations with different people in my life, not just about their personal experiences, but about how awareness of power imbalances between the genders impacts their daily lives.”

Eliza Insley, a sophomore at Summit Prep, elaborated on the #MeToo movement and what her perspective on the subject is.

” I think the Me Too movement has affected me personally because I know people who have experienced sexual violence, sexual harassment and sexual assault, and watching them experience the shame and the guilt and the pain that goes along with not feeling like they can express and share what happened to them was rough. I think this movement that is gaining so much support for the victims of this abuse is really powerful because it’s life changing how these people have kept it in so long and now they feel like they’re in a safe enough environment to share this. ”

Hearing such shocking stories these past few months has resulted in a new growing awareness of the problem. What people would like to know now is the solution, a positive ending to these dreadful stories.

A few developing ideas are now being discussed with the hopes of preventing more women from experiencing trauma. According to an article by The Washington Post, Women share their #MeToo experiences on Metro — and offer solutions,” an idea from women who have been harassed or assaulted on the Metro was to share stories to the public via social media.

Margaret Wroblewski created a project called #IWasOnTheMetroWhen, sharing unsettling stories of women who have been harassed or assaulted on the Metro. She was hoping these stories could provide relief and awareness to those either affected or not affected by this movement.

Her intention is to promote self-empowerment and encourage women to seek assistance from passengers on the bus or to speak up for others in such situations. Beyond Wroblewski’s project, there have been many others who have also followed the tactic of using social media to speak their truth.

#MeToo has been a wake up call to the nation, educating those who are oblivious to this unvoiced problem. Though all the stories have upset many people, it brought something deeper amongst all men and women who have been a part of #MeToo.

Finally speaking the truth has been described as a relief and a weight lifted off the shoulders of those assaulted. It brought them peace and unity. Oprah Winfrey’s speech at the Golden Globes summarized our future perfectly. A new day is certainly on the horizon.

See below for a video on the #MeToo movement:

Heartfelt body-swapping movie embodies much more

By Sophia Nguyen

Staff Writer


Makoto Shinkai, director and producer PHOTO CREDIT: Yoshifumi Shimizu

Many have praised Makoto Shinkai, director of “Kimi No Na Wa,” as the successor to Hayao Miyazaki, acclaimed director of “Spirited Away” and “Howl’s Moving Castle.” “Kimi No Na Wa” (better known as “Your Name” to international fans) has garnered much attention for surpassing “Spirited Away” as the highest grossing anime film of all time.

The film opens with a pair of teenagers: Mitsuha, an upbeat country girl, and Taki, a fast-paced city boy. The light-hearted gender swapping, highlighted by the characters’ comical natures, illustrates fleeting youth. The story soon shifts into a poignant blend of fate and chance as Taki and Mitsuha flourish.

Shinkai perfectly captures the essence of youth with cartoon-like characters and nostalgic landscapes. The movie is centered around the dilemmas adolescents face with identity and gender. As Mitsuha and Taki switch bodies, they become more empathetic with each other as their standards of femininity and masculinity change.

Shinkai’s perspective on human connection and relationships can be seen through the unpredictable plot. Though human emotions can be fickle, the otherworldly art further emphasizes the realistic characters. The cartoon-like lines separating the viewer and the characters begin to fade as Shinkai’s messages go beyond the screen.

Themes of connection and distance are commonly found in Shinkai’s works. His earlier films used passionate storylines to touch on ideas of loneliness. Whereas his previous works lacked cathartic release for the characters, “Your Name” provides a comedic effect to contrast with the serious issues Taki and Mitsuha deal with. The comical nature of “Your Name” can be compared to films from Studio Ghibli and shows the development of Shinkai’s producing.

Shinkai started off working in a small studio and creating short films. His skill was impressive to viewers considering he produced the majority of previous films on his own. Then he and Masashi Ando created “Your Name,” which not only became the highest grossing income anime film in Japan, but also won three Japanese Academy Prizes and was considered for an Oscar.

Since “Your Name” has surpassed “Spirited Away” in gross income, many believe “Your Name” could be the best anime film of all time. However, Shinkai himself has resisted the idea; According to Agence France-Presse, Shinkai claims “Your Name” is not on the same level as Miyazaki’s works. Shinkai is often compared with Miyazaki due to the similarities between “Your Name” and earlier films from Studio Ghibli. 

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The official poster for “Your Name” exhibits Taki (left) and Mitsuha (right). PHOTO CREDIT: Toho

Miyazaki and Shinkai have unique production methods and stories, but both elicit powerful emotions from the audience. Toshio Suzuki, co-founder of Studio Ghibli, was asked about “Your Name” during an interview with Travelers Today. Suzuki said, “The high fall sky that seems like it could be breathed in was especially impressive.”

Although Ghibli films are treasures deeply rooted in my childhood, it is not too far-fetched to claim Shinkai might surpass Miyazaki. The humor and views in “Your Name” are well-suited to present-day society. The film uses supernatural components but retains the same familiar, awkward sincerity commonplace in today’s teenagers.

The director of animation for “Your Name” and former animator of Studio Ghibli, Masashi Ando, evokes the same wistful emotions reminiscent of “Spirited Away” and “Princess Mononoke.” Conversely, the dreamlike but almost hyper-realistic scenery of “Your Name” will transport you to an unknown world. By the end of the story, the story feels as tangible and genuine as everyday life.

The elaborate detail in the scenery, from the pastel skies to the dazzling lights, were based on real locations. The landscapes seem more lifelike in a style unique from Studio Ghibli. Many picturesque scenes rendered in the movie seem just as real to the viewer as the characters do.

In addition, the soundtrack strengthens the emotions of teenage naiveté with an upbeat feel that leaves you on the edge of your seat. The music by the Radwimps, a relatively popular Rock group in Japan, was tailor-made for the movie and “Your Name” would not be the same without unforgettable soundtracks like “Sparkle” and “Zen zen zense.”


The Radwimps, a popular Japanese rock band, scored “Your Name.” PHOTO CREDIT: Radwimps

The score plays a role in bridging Taki’s and Mitsuha’s worlds. The music allows the audience to experience various emotions and connects the lives of two characters who seem fundamentally different. The Radwimps have used music to link the characters in their troubles and their steadfast relationship.

As we witness Taki and Mitsuha swapping lives, they experience the protagonists’ growth. Taki and Mitsuha are entirely different people but connect with others just the same, even when they have never met each other. 

On the contrary, the parallel plot structure might be too complex for some viewers. As the story moves in between the perspectives of the characters, the details are slowly filled in by each side. The split narrative might cause some confusion for the audience, but it provides juxtaposition for other elements of the story.

International audiences are enthralled by this endearing story of two stubborn teenagers who connect the past and the present. As the protagonists meet, they are destined to connect through the red string of fate, a common and ancient element in Japanese culture.

Despite the themes of fate, the ending and the characters’ fates are still vague. Perhaps intentionally, the future of Taki and Mitsuha is left open-ended. It is up to the viewer’s imagination to fill in the holes, which might be as unsatisfying as watching only half of the movie.  

The public’s curiosity about Taki’s and Mitsuha’s future stems from the intense chemistry between them, the main ingredient that captivates people worldwide. Moviegoers will cry, laugh and persist alongside the characters as they become part of the story. “Your Name” has escalated to unbelievable extents.

Globally, “Your Name” has become immensely popular with the public, regardless of the language barrier. The English dubbed version has been released for foreign countries, but the original with subtitles is preferred by people and preserves Shinkai’s original intention.

In the end, I urge everyone to watch this tear-jerking film. Young or old, people everywhere will relate to this mystical yet authentic story that transcends language, which is why I chose to review “Your Name.” Mitsuha’s wise grandmother, Hitoha, summed it up best when she said, “Treasure the experience. Dreams fade away after you wake up.”

Featured photo (at the top of this post): This is an image from the trailer to “Your Name.” PHOTO CREDIT: Toho

An Advanced Drama student shares her experience in the class

By Kaitlyn Kelley 

Staff Writer 

“One thing I really like is there is no censorship in that class. He lets us talk about

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Tahoma junior Kaitlyn Tran

anything in that class that would be uncomfortable in regular school,” Tahoma junior Kaitlyn Tran said about the Advanced Drama Expeditions.  

Tran has been in the Advanced Drama class since freshman year, and she was interested in acting as early as middle school. “Ever since I started acting, I’ve loved it so much and I join whenever I can,” Tran said. 

I like that I get to play a new person because that character is something I’ve never been,” Tran said, adding that “it’s fun to see how that character interprets things.” 

Tran explained that when she came to Summit Tahoma and learned about the Expeditions courses she learned that drama was offered and signed up for the intro class, “But I guess they put me in advanced – although that was really scary, I was like, okay I’ll deal with it, and I’ve been doing it since freshman year, so three years now.”  

Ron Johnson, the Advanced Drama teacher who started the Drama program at Summit, inspires many young people to follow their passion in acting, including Tran.

Mr. Jay (on the right) leads his Drama students through a vocal warmup.

Mr. Jay would also have classes outside of school, and I would go to those too,” Tran said. “I join whenever I can.” 

The Tahoma Advanced Drama class puts on an original play at the end of every school year; Tran explained that the first two rounds is like the audition process, so Mr. Jay sees how well the students do at interpreting characters and then casts students into the characters from the final play.

Tran said that in the first round of Expeditions, “We chose one [a monologue] and memorize it and use our skills to figure out how we interpret the character and perform that in front of the whole class.” 

Tran has been in two Summit Tahoma plays so far. In freshman year she played the main role in a play about Japanese interment camps, and in sophomore year she had two parts in a play about breakups. She is unsure about her role this year as they are still working on the play.

Tran also shared some of the things she struggles with in acting: “because I’ve learned so


Drama students warm up with an acting game.

much and there’s so many new students, it’s kind of hard to challenge myself because I’m always teaching other people, ” Tran said. “But I’m trying to challenge myself more that’s the challenge.”

She shared that when she first started acting her main challenge was expressing herself: “Back then it was hard for me to open up, and I was really scared to do it, but now I’m fine.”

Acting, even with its ups and downs, is something Tran said she wants to do in the future: “Yes, very much so. There are times where I’m like: Do I really want to do this? This is so hard; this is so challenging and could be a really unstable career, but it’s something I can’t imagine myself not doing.”  

Tran added, “I hope to get more opportunities outside of school and make myself more independent.

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Students listen to Mr. Jay as he talks about the importance of warmups.

She explained that being independent is very important in acting because you really have to put yourself out there and audition for roles. 

Tran sees acting as an important part of her future. She went on to say, “I just want to be able to go to college and audition [on] the side.” 

When talking about who inspires her in acting, Tran said, “Mr. Jay and Ms. Estrella are my acting mentors.” She went on to talk about people in Hollywood, “A person that really inspires me in Hollywood is Constance Wu,” Tran said.


Asian-American actress Constance Wu PHOTO CREDIT: Popsugar)

Constance Wu is an Asian-American actress who stars in ABC’s “Fresh Off the Boat” and many other shows. “Hearing her story and her talk about Asian-Americans and social media really inspires me,” Tran said. 

When asked about why acting is so popular and influential, Tran said, “It’s really influential because it’s so relatable.” 

Tran said she believes movies that talk about issues that have to do with the LGBTQ community or with race can make it so “others want to learn more. So that’s why they are on TV.”



Expeditions classes work together to make a community

By Gabriel Benyamin, Noel Cintron and Vaibhav Gopal 

Staff Writers 

Video Production is an Expeditions class that works on filming and acting. Vince Nelson teaches the students how to use cameras, how to work the lights and how to act. Students also learn how to record on camera.

Video Production class involves directors to run the skit, filmmakers to film what is going on in the skit and the editor to edit different scenes of the skit. Also, in Video Production Mr. Nelson invites visitors to come and talk about their experience acting and the art of filming.

In the class, Tahoma junior David Provazek wants to learn “what kind of things go into the production and how this profession looks like.” In addition, Provazek added that they “get to watch shows and create a film to be a actor.”

As the rest of the students were watching a movie in Video Production class, three student directors were taking notes on what the movie is about. The scripts were given by the teacher.

Mr. Nelson allows students to pick what job really fits them, such as the boom operator who makes sure that the microphone is not in the frame when filming starts.

The director is in charge of everything such as guiding the filmmakers, actors and the student directors. He is the one who makes sure that they have the right actors for the film. He is also in charge of making the scripts for the performers.

The sound mixer is the one who makes sure the audio is very good quality. The script supervisor is in charge of making sure the actors know what they are saying and making sure that they memorize their lines.

The cameraman has a good job in filming. He is in charge of recording, angling the camera and making sure the lighting is good. Then there’s the editor. The editor is in charge of fixing all of the takes and making all of the scenes good for when the films are shown to our parents and teachers.

The Assistant Director, also known as the AD, is in charge of making sure the camera, sound and lights are rolling. Finally, the art director is in charge of making all the clothes for the actors so when they perform they have the right clothes on.

Students had audition in order to be selected to become actors. The director is the main person who brings the whole team together. This round, students from the drama class were also given a chance to audition.

Mr. Nelson said that he is really creative in film, and he wants to express his art. According to Mr. Nelson, community means helping others learn the craft and coming together as a whole community. His goal for his class this year is to enlighten his students about the art of film and to allow his students to use modern equipment, while teaching them through his experience.

Mr. Nelson’s strategies to help his students succeed during the next three rounds of Expeditions are to allow the students to teach themselves when he gives them instructions.

Provazek said he chose the class because he “thought it might be interesting.” He added that he wants to learn what goes into production and “how this profession looks like.” Provazek thinks that “he does not have much experience” in video production so he does not want to be an editor or a cameraman.

Tahoma sophomore Ricardo Robles said he enjoys the class. “I like cameras, taking pictures and making videos,” he explained. Robles added, “Making videos because I like taking videos of actors.”

Tahoma senior Alan Hill said, “I enjoyed the class because I saw an opportunity to develop my leadership skills by becoming a TA.” He said he likes “helping others learn the craft and coming together as a community.”

Before students go on stage, a lot of practice and memorization is involved, and the actors take it very seriously. Mr. Nelson explained that he wants to make students  “improve their knowledge of editing, directing, acting and lighting because it is important to know all of those things in film” before presenting them to the class.

During everyday Expeditions classes, Mr. Nelson makes the students practice presenting in front of the class with the cameras.

In conclusion, the Video Production class involves a lot of work inside and outside of class in terms of actors memorizing their roles. Students frequently get to watch movies to learn techniques they can apply to their own films.

Here are some additional photos of the Video Production class in action:


Classes work together to make a community