Peer Review by Bianca Singelstad (United States)

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By: pencils.and.paper.roses



      Film has been important to me for almost as long as I can remember. From a very young age, I can remember watching movies and TV shows with my parents regularly. Sometimes I would pretend that the characters were my friends. As I got older, I grew out of my imaginary friends, but not the movies. My interests shifted from Dora the Explorer and Elmo’s World to Marvel Studios. I began to recognize certain actors and remember movies I’d seen them in, which was absolutely mind-blowing to a middle school girl.
      In 9th grade, I created a spoof of a nature documentary entitled Joely is The Beast, starring my younger sister. I have to admit that it was awful: our only available camera was my low-quality computer webcam, our only set was the living room, and I was not the best at editing. But it was my first time creating a film, good, bad or otherwise, and I enjoyed it immensely.  One school year after Joely is The Beast was created, that interest resurfaced.
      My school offered a one-semester course in Animation. I had endless ideas and had always wanted to try it, so I took it. It was fun and resulted in several characters and videos, but I wasn’t much good at the actual animating. Though that was the case, I really enjoyed the making of the films, the script writing, even the pre-production/planning stage. It instilled in me a deep respect for the filmmaking industry and an even deeper interest in becoming a part of it. And so my search for a way to do that began.
       I made picture-videos curated from screenshots and photos of my family. I created stop-motion films of cookies being eaten. At one point, I even tried to make a real movie with my sister (my one and only actor), though it never came to fruition. Finally, after a lot of swing-and-a-misses, I got a real idea. But I had no way to put it into action. No funding, no crew, and absolutely no experience.
       I continued my attempts, but got nothing out of it. Eventually I began looking for a program or class that could help me, and I found the Columbia College Summer Program. It sounds like exactly what I’m looking for. As a participant, I can gain experience, inspiration, and maybe even create something while I’m there. And after it ends, I’ll use what I learned to create something beyond what I’ve ever imagined.


Be the change you wish to see in the world.
     - Matatma Gandhi

        Film can be defined as a way of sharing an idea bigger than oneself. Many filmmakers have embraced this way of thinking – Steven Spielberg with Schindler’s List, *Insert Name Here* and *Title*. With my films, that’s what I want to do.
While I’m not aiming for Spielberg-level recognition, I hope that something I’ve made will one day be seen. I hope to forge relationships with like-minded people, people that share my interests. And someday, I hope that something I make will affect a person that watches it.
       Recently, I watched the movie BlackkKlansman, which won several awards at the 2019 Oscars. As I watched I was struck by what was (and still is) happening as well as the director’s boldness at addressing such a topic. When I went to bed that night after watching it, I thought “Holy cow. I want to make something that affects someone as much as this did me.” It changed my perspective on what I wanted to make from my main interests, action or mystery, to a different genre, *I’m not sure what it’d be called*.
       But as just one person in a family of 6, there isn’t much opportunity for this to happen. Most of our budget goes toward groceries, house payments, and bills, with only a small amount left over. The Colombia High School Summer Program would be my greatest resource.
       With it, I would be able to gain experience and inspiration. I could make connection with fellow filmmakers and possibly work together with someone later on. After it ends, I would use what I learned to share an idea bigger than myself, hopefully one that could affect the hearts and mind of people everywhere.

Message to Readers

So yesterday I discovered a film program happening over the sumer. I REALLY want to get in, but I have to get accepted and get the scholarship for it first. These are the essays I had to write for it and they are ridiculously important to me. So if you could review this piece I would be forever grateful!! Thanks so much! :)

Peer Review

Your passion is beyond incredible. I really hope you get into this camp, as it seems that this is something you have been looking forward to and working towards.

Read through my annotations. Parts where you are sharing a story, focus on giving a little bit more than the bare bones, share some pictures, even if they are simple.

Reviewer Comments

Really try to be descriptive and give a great picture for your readers. It will catch their attention and they will want to continue reading your piece. Also, be very aware of word choice and try to pick stronger words, not just 'good' and 'bad'.
Please don't be afraid by my long explanations or annotations, you really wanted this piece to be reviewed and I want to help you get into this camp as much as I can.