Ross School - Senior Projects 2012
Student: Zheng Wang
Title: “One In A
Billion”—A documentary film on Chinese education
a Chinese student, I can clearly feel how much pressure the kids have as a
student in China. In order to make my topic more specific, I decided to make a
documentary film about China's education system. With this film, I felt the
stressfulness and pressure of a Chinese student have during their daily life. I
think this film can give my audience a better understanding of China's
your presentation PowerPoint if you used one)
Exhibition & Presentation Summary
(Good afternoon everyone, thank you all for coming to my senior project presentation. Before I start my presentation, I would like to share a short story with you. 20 years ago, a group of Chinese educators came to U.S to experience the America's education. When they saw the American kids were joking and talking, and playing around during the school time, they made a prediction: In 20 years, China will take America's international position and become the most powerful country in the world. There was also a group of American educators came to China to experience China's education. When they found out How carefully Chinese students were listening to what their teachers taught and how hard the subjects were, they also made a prediction: In 20 years, China will take America's position and become the powerful country in the world…(well…hand gesture lol). I'm always wondering why neither of their prediction came true, and this question is the seed of my entire project. INSPIRATION: I had my elementary and secondary school education in China, and I'm so familiar with the learning condition. It just brought me so much passion in observing the current problems of Chinese education. I started to pay more and more attention to China's education and took changing China's education as a personal goal of life. (With the concerns toward China's system and its future.) I couldn't help but ask: What is happening to the education in China? That's the question I always want to find out. Why our students have to put so much effort on getting those useless scores and how it might affect the students later in their life? The last inspiration is from the experience of studying in U.S for three years. I can feel the sharp contrast between Chinese and American education. I always tell myself, if I know something, why don't I share it with someone who doesn't know? (My Goals) As I just said, I want to give my audience a better understanding of China's education and society. Especially for Americans and other westerners, I want my American friends to know how their Chinese fellows studies on the other side of the Pacific. My second goal is more personal, because I want to challenge myself to do something that I had not tried yet. I love watching films, but I hadn't really thought about to make a film before I start this project. Facing a totally wild field for me, I decided to challenge my own ability. The last goal is to support my Chinese schoolmates, for the last three years, every time I talk to my Chinese friends; they always try to complain about their heavy schoolwork and how lucky I am for studying in an American high school. I agree with them, but at the same time, I also want to do something…to show that I'm still with them. I told them: For my senior graduation project, I will make a film about China's education, dedicated to you guys. (Process) my documentary followed the typical process of make a movie. From Preproduction, to production, and ended up with post-production. (Pre-production) At first, I thought this might be the easiest part of making a film. However, I have to admit that this part is the as hard as the post-production, which I will talk about in a couple slides. The reason is because it is very tedious while make sure everything is well organized. When I want to set up interviews, I have to call my interviewers, who are mostly my previous schoolmates, and my father's friends, one by one through cell phone. The second thing is to contact schools for collecting footage. This process was not easy as well. I don't quite know about America's filming policy, but in China, if you want to videotape something in the public place like schools, you have to get permission from the head of the school by providing series of document and the reason of filming. Due to the sensible contents my film, I couldn't even tell the school admins that my film was going to show in a foreign country. Fortunately, I didn't get into too much trouble because the two schools I chose were my previous middle school and elementary school. (Production) This process turns out as the most enjoyable parts throughout my entire project. I traveled several cities such as Shanghai, Zhengzhou, Jiaozuo, and Beijing, collecting footage. I also found it interesting to interview different people, including parents, students, and teachers. In order to get the clips I want for my film, I conducted three lists of questions for parents, students, and teachers. Generally, I just enjoyed the moments of traveling and working on my film at the same time. (Post-production) Finally, the post-production, the longest and most tedious work of making my film. The first step I have to do is to select the useful footage. For my interviews I have to categorize my interviewers' answers by different topics. Also, the adjustment of sound levels was a big challenge for me because the recording sounds from different interviewers were different. In order to have a better quality of sounds, I have to adjust the sounds by raise up and low down the voice of different speakers. The last part of the post-production is the narration and subtitle; basically I spent the one third of my school time working on my narrations and subtitles because it really takes huge amount of time to illustrate my demonstration and translate the ideas of what the speakers said. (Challenges) Making a film, biggest challenge, I have to say that I' not really talented on making movies. One of the reasons is that it took me lots of time learning how to use the techniques of Final Cut Pro, the film editing software. For examples, I used to get confused some of the short keys and forget how to change the sound levels in the right way. Also, the second challenge is about writing. I'm sure all of you understand how frustrated it is when you write something in a foreign language. I put lots of effort on correcting my grammar mistakes and sentence organization, when I was recording my narration, I just had a wisdom tooth pulled out, with the huge pain, I have to bare the huge pain and keep my mouth speaks as normal. The third challenge for me is to demonstrate a clear and reasonable storyline. I first arranged film by demonstrate surface to the deep root. Later, I realized if I keep digging my film in this way, I might lose the control of my film, so later on I decided to arrange my storyline by list several main topics and discuss each of them one by one. Therefore, I had to control the film not to approach to neither of those topics. They are equally important. The last challenge for me is the time scheduling. I'm not that type of person who can easily get everything done ahead of time. Instead, one of my habits is to put off my tasks to the last minute. Making a film need to have a clear sense of time management. Two days before the film night, I was still correcting my film's pacing and subtitles. Actually my film still has a better chance to improve to a higher level, but since I didn't wisely manage my time…I did feel regret for that. What I learned I really felt I learned A LOT…after finishing this project. The first thing I learned is that if I want to do something, better do it in advance. Just like I said before…The second thing is the interview skills. At first, I thought interview people is just about asking questions. But now, it seems that interviews are the communication of hearts. There are so many things that could affect the quality of a interview, such as your tone, your facial expression, even your deeper mind. I found out that interviewing is actually very interesting when you totally throw yourself into that kind of position, which is that you are not really asking questions, but to sit down and chat with topics. English writing, I'm a slow writer and it always take me a lot of time to organize my mind before I start writing. After writing the narration for my film, I felt that I had a clearer understanding on how to focus on the topic I want to talk about and transfer from one topic to another. The last thing I earned from doing this project is enormous solid self-confidence. I could never imagine that I would make a documentary film like this, but the fact is that…I did! Now I'm very confident about doing something in a wild field. I want to do it, then I can just do it, nothing can stop me. (Future plan) Maybe it's a bit surprising that I will study neither filmmaking nor education as a major later in the university. Instead I'm really interested in communication studies, under the influence of being a global citizen, the strength of communication and among different cultural groups is essentially required in this century. Meanwhile, even though I'm not going to study education as a major, but I might take it as a minor instead because…no matter what I'm gonna study, to change China's education is my lifelong goal.
Bibliography or Works Consulted
Yanni. "One Man's Dream." Rec. 1 Mar. 1994. Yanni Live At The Acropolis. BMG Entertainment, 1994. MP3.
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