Capstone #5

For my capstone project, I had to have a site visit. Since my project was movie making, I went to The Museum Of The Moving Image in Queens, New York. In this museum, there were many interesting things. There were different types of videos that I could listen to. For example, vlog videos, tutorial videos, and more. Additionally, there were many storyboards for different shows and movies. To add on, there were also different costumes, make up that has been used, props that were used, etc. Lastly, there was an exhibit showing how the cameras evolved over time. I really liked everything. There was a part where we could make our own stop motion movies. I knew how to do this because of one of our projects this year. We had to make a stop motion movie on immigration at school. One of my favorite exhibits was the Jim Henson exhibit where I got to design my own muppet, and saw some really cool illustrations and storyboards from the show, “The Muppets.” Overall, I learned and did some really cool things.

Capstone #4

Sub Question #1- How has the quality of the movie changed over time?
The quality of the movie changed over time in many ways. For example technology has advanced within the film industry over the last century, giving movies an opportunity to tell better and more realistic stories. In the past, cameras were large and bulky; now they are not. Additionally, every detail about film sets had to be built by hand by the film industry. Currently, there are hundreds of jobs in the film industry. Today, movies are recorded and filmed in much better quality than the past. Overall, the quality of the movie advanced and changed over time since the 1900s.

Sub Question #2 – What are some amazing successes in movie making and what are some terrible failures?
There are many many things that can make a movie succeed and many many things that can make a movie fail. A movie can succeed by good ratings and good reviews. This is because, after the viewer sees good ratings and good reviews, the viewer gets encouraged to go watch the movie. A movie can also succeed if a main character is an actor or actress that is really famous and that has received many awards in acting. In addition, there’s a better chance more people will watch a movie that has a lot of  reviews and ratings from other people. The viewer will then know many people have watched that movie.

A movie can fail if the makers set an unrealistic budget, if the makers think about making a movie without thought or common sense, or forgetting that one of the most important parts of the movie is the story. For example, the makers of the movie want the viewers to take something away from the movie. The movie “Jupiter Ascending” that was made in 2005 lost $80 million. This was because the makers of this movie stated they forgot to make an interesting movie along the way. Another movie in 1999 lost $98-$183 million. This was because the budget was all out of control. Overall, there are many reasons why movies can succeed or movies can fail.

Sub Question #3- What elements of movie making have changed over time most dramatically?
There are lots of elements of movie making that have changed dramatically over time. For example, one major change is black and white to color. The first two well known color movies that have came out were, “The Wizard Of Oz” and “Gone With The Wind.” Another major change in movie making are the prices of the movie. In 1915 the movie, “The Birth Of A Nation” cost $100,000. At this time, this was a large amount of money. In 2007, a movie cost $341 million. That’s a big price difference! Another dramatic change are the cameras. In the past, cameras needed to be reloaded. Now days, we use digital single-lense reflex cameras. In the past, cameras were large and bulky. Now they are lightweight and more easy to carry. A long time ago, every detail about film sets had to be built by hand. Now, we use green screens and blue screens. Another change is animation. The quality has improved, changed, and advanced so much over time. Don’t you think 3D is really cool? It probably took a lot of advanced technology. Additionally, jobs have changed. Today, there are so many film industry jobs out there. It’s amazing! Lastly, a while ago, there was no visual way to see what has just been recorded. The director had to just give the actors and actresses feedback. Fortunately, today, we can see what have just filmed and figure out a way to improve. Overall, there has been so many dramatic changes over time in movie making, and there are many more to come.

Sub Question #4- What was the very first movie that was made? What were its qualities?
The very first movie that was made was called, “The Horse In Motion.” This movie was released in 1878. The movie involved many cameras. Since this movie was made a long time ago, it obviously was made with motion pictures. Motion pictures are basically when you take a picture of something or someone, then that something or someone slightly moves. You have to take a lot of pictures, then put them together. Twelve pictures equal one second in terms of motion pictures. At this time, the makers of this movie used motion pictures because back then they didn’t have any advanced technology like we do today. The movie was really short (fifteen seconds long.) That means the makers of this movie had to take one hundred eighty pictures. The movie was black and white. Overall, if you compare this first movie that was made to the latest movie that was made, you would definitely see some major differences.

Sub Question #5- What advancements and technology has been used over time to improve the quality of movies?
Over time, advancements and technology have been used to improve the quality of movies. Camera technology has improved and new ways have been discovered to make the the quality of movies better. In 1927, a major motion picture was released. The fact that it was a major motion picture shows that technology for movies has improved. Before, there were silent films. Now, there are films with synchronous sound. Thanks to all of this technology that gives movies an opportunity to improve. New ways of capturing movies have been improved as well, with the changes of cameras. Another improvement we have now is titles on the screen. This improvement gives you a better understanding of the narration.

Sub Question #6- How does the cast impact the success or failure of a movie?
Sometimes in movies the cast gets along, and sometimes in movies the cast doesn’t. This impacts the movie, weather it will fail or be successful. If the cast gets along, it will most likely be easier to make the movie. If the cast doesn’t get along, it will most likely be harder to make the movie. Sometimes, when the cast doesn’t get along, the viewers might want to watch the movie just to see how the cast got along on screen. This is a way the movie can earn money. Overall, the cast can make a movie fail or be successful.

Sub Question #7- How does the budget of a movie impact its success or failure?
Makers of a movie need millions of dollars to create and sell movies. Some studios in Hollywood can spend millions of dollars to make a single unique movie. As you might have been told, before every movie the makers must set a budget. Sometimes, the makers set totally unrealistic budgets or budgets that are out of control, which can lead a movie to fail and lose money. Overall, if you make movies, you really have to think about the budget.

Main Inquiry Question- How has movie making evolved over time and what elements contribute to a movie’s success or failure?
Movie making evolved over time in many ways. For example the quality has changed over time, being able to tell more realistic stories, a story that after watching, the viewer will then take something away from the movie. Perhaps learn a lesson or realize something to make the viewer think differently. The cameras have definitely changed and have gotten much better. In the past, cameras used to be large and bulky, and now they are much easier to carry around. Additionally backgrounds and backdrops have changed. For example, they used to be built by hand by the film industry; now we are able to use green and blue screens. Green and blue screens are much simpler and easier to use. They are much less stressful than making every detail of the backgrounds and backdrops by hand. Let’s talk about color. Movies went from black and white to color. One of the first two well known movies that came out in color are, “The Wizard Of Oz” and “Gone With The Wind.” Another way movie making changed is the price. In 1915 a movie cost $100,000. At that time that was a large amount. Recently a movie came out that was $341 million. If you compare the two, that’s a big price difference. Additionally, animation changed a lot. If you compare the animated version of “Snow White” to “The Secret Life Of Pets,” you will see a major difference in terms of quality. Even though, “The Secret Life Of Pets,” is animated, it looks so realistic, and so clear.

Many things can make a movie succeed. A movie can succeed by good rating and good reviews. This encourages the viewer to watch the movie. To add on, another thing that encourages the viewer to watch the movie is how many ratings or reviews there are, so the viewer knows how many people watched the movie. For example if the viewer sees 3,000,000 ratings and reviews they know over 3,000,000 people watched that movie because not everybody rates or reviews the movie. Additionally, another reason why a movie can succeed is if the main character is a famous actor that has received many awards. The viewer may then think, “oh so and so is in this movie, they’re a really good actor, I think I should watch the movie.” Another reason why movies can succeed is if the cast gets along really well. Overall, there are many reasons that can cause a movie to succeed.

Many things can make a movie fail. A movie can fail if the movie makers set an unrealistic or out of control budget. Sometimes, when the makers set an unrealistic budget or the budget is out of control, this can cause the movie to lose money. For example, a movie, that was released in 1999 lost $98-$183 million just because the budget was out of control. Another reason of how movies can fail is if the makers forget one of the most important parts of the movie is the story or if the makers think about making a movie without thought or common sense. Another reason why movies can fail is if the cast doesn’t get along. Although, a movie can fail this way or be hard to make, it may not fail because the viewers might watch the movie to see the drama and see how the characters  get along on screen. Overall, there are many reasons that can cause a movie to fail.

Capstone Blog Post #3

As Capstone continues, we had to have an interview. I just did my interview yesterday. For my interview, I decided to interview my uncle. His name is Zef Balbona. I decided to interview my uncle because he has experience acting and has seen movie making evolve over time.

At first, I was slightly nervous about my interview. This was because I wasn’t sure if interviewing an actor would quite work. Another reason of why I was nervous is because if he wasn’t able to answer my second question, he couldn’t answer the rest of the questions. Then, my interview would have flopped and it would have probably be too late to find another interview because we have to have our interview done by the end of this week.

On the other hand, I texted my uncle the questions, and asked him if they were answerable for him. Luckily, they were. I’m happy I asked him in advance because if the questions weren’t answerable, again my interview would have flopped and it would be really hard to find another one in time.

My interview went great! I learned some many new things that haven’t come up in books. I had all of my questions answered very well and in detail. I also asked additional questions that just popped up in my head that I thought would help.

Zef really helped me with my interview questions. He especially helped me with my second question about acting changing over time. He told me about this teacher in Russia that taught a lot of lessons of acting and these lessons still are getting passed on today. This happened about 100 years ago. Since then, he states he hasn’t seen acting change much since then.

Overall, I thought my interview went really well and I definitely learned some new information!

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe #2

In the book, “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis, there are four siblings living with a professor. One of the four siblings isn’t like the other four. His name is Edmund. I think Edmund gets his power in a negative way.


One reason why I think Edmund gets his power in a bad way is because Edmund got power by lying to the other siblings about Narnia being fake. In my opinion, I think this is a bad way to get power because usually you would want power for a good reason. Also, lying leads to bigger consequences.  


Another reason why I think Edmund gets his power in a negative way is because at one point in the book, his siblings realize Edmund was missing while they were at the beaver’s house. Edmund made everyone worry about him and stop what they were doing. I think this is a really negative and disrespectful way to get power.


Overall, Edmund doesn’t quite realize all this. Additionally, Edmund’s personality isn’t that nice in general.

The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe

In the book, “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis, four siblings are playing hide and seek and this sibling, Lucy hid in a wardrobe. This wardrobe ended up to be magic. Lucy traveled through the wardrobe and ended up in this place called Narnia. In Narnia there is this character named the White Witch. I think the White Witch has the power.


I think the Witch has the power because she can basically control Narnia. She has the power to control if it’s winter or not. Everyone is kind of scared of her.


In addition, another reason why I think the White Witch has the power is because she threatened to do bad things to a faun if he found the daughter of Eve and didn’t kidnap her. Basically the white witch wants the faun to kidnap the daughter of Eve (the girl).


The only thing that can stop the White Witch from controlling Narnia is if four people fill four stones. As a matter of fact, the fuan found the daughter of Eve, but didn’t kidnap her.

Capstone #2

Blog Post #2

By Gabi Smajlaj


Recently, we have just began the next two steps of Capstone. This has been kind of challenging, let me tell you more about it. The next steps of Capstone was to come up with a main inquiry question and sub questions. At first, our teacher gave us a poster board where we could come up with as many possible inquiry questions for our topic. I had so many questions, I thought it was going to be so hard to choose from. Once we came up with all of those questions, our teacher told us to select three questions from our poster and write them down. Then, I had to select one question from those three questions. Right away, I eliminated one of my questions because I realized it was an opinion question. Now, I was left with two. I really had to think about which question I wanted to research. I kept in mind that this question can’t be a question you can just look up online. Neither one of my questions were, anyway. After, a while I decided on my question. My question is: how has movie-making evolved over time and what elements contribute to a movie’s success or failure?


The next step was to come up with sub questions. Sub questions are questions that help you through the way of your main inquiry question. To help me, I used my poster board to look back at my other questions that could be helpful.  Currently, Ii’m still in the middle of coming up with my sub questions.


Capstone #1

As a fifth grader, this year we each get to make a capstone project. This project can be on anything you are passionate about, enjoy doing, etc. At first, when I heard of capstone, I had no idea of what I would do it on. But actually, the time has come and I have came up with about fifteen ideas. Then, I thought it would take me so long to decide on my topic! Finally, I have decided I wanted to do my capstone project on movie making. I decided to do this topic for many reasons. The first reason I decided to do this topic is because when I went to Los Angles I went to Warner Brothers Studios (where movies are created) and I thought it was so cool. I even got to go on set! Another reason why I chose this topic is because I love to act. It is one of my passions. Lastly, my uncle is an actor and the things he does are so cool. He was neighbors with one of the actors of one of my favorite shows, and I got to meet him! Overall, I’m so relieved that I finally chose a topic.

Social Issues

I think social issues are very important in life. The social issues that matter most to me are bullying, disabilities and losing your parent (s). Bullying matters a lot to me because many kids get their feelings hurt, and can be depressed. That’s not fair! Kids should be happy. Bullying also matters because people are purposely targeting other people, it’s not like they don’t realize it. As well as bullying, losing your parent (s) and having a disability can make you very upset as well. For instance, losing your parent (s) can just be very sad. Though, having a disability is not your fault, and if you have a disability you might be upset because you can’t do some of the things others can do. I think that we should stop bullying because disabilities or losing a parent you can’t really prevent. All of this social issues are a problem today. I know this because I’ve seen bullying happen, losing your parent (s) is something you can’t prevent, and it still goes around, lastly, disabilities people are just born with. Overall, I think that we should definitely try to prevent bullying better.

A BIRD In The GYM!!!

It was a casual, rainy Thursday morning, 9:05 a.m. Somehow a bird managed to find its way into the Heathcote gym. At the time kindergartners were in the gym going wild. What will we do next? How will we get the bird out? This is chaos, here in the Heathcote gym! Teachers don’t know what to do! Kindergarteners are screaming, crying, running around going crazy. How will we get this bird out? What will we have to do?