Arts Challenge

To help choose what I wanted to persue for my Arts Challenge I create four lists to see my strengths, weaknesses, skills I have and skills I wanted to develop.

My Strengths:

  • Creative Writing i.e. novels, short stories.
  • Photography - portraits, landscapes.
  • Singing
  • Drama
  • Good Communication

Skills I Already Have:

  • Using a camera.
  • Using photo editing software on a computer.
  • Writing stories - short stories especially, but also longer, more complex stories.
  • Using a range of tone while singing.
  • Keeping in character during drama performances/activities.
  • Good Communication.

My Weaknesses:


  • Dance
  • Creative Writing aspects - plays, action scenes.
  • Finishing the creative writing projects I start.
  • Coming up with ideas quickly - it can often take quite a while for an idea to come to me, especially if I'm not out and about.

Skills I Want To Develop:

  • Finish the creative writing projects that I start.
  • Play writing/Script writing.
  • Using the correct script writing formats.
  • Photography aspects - using themes for styles and photos, lighting effects.
  • Using more complex steps to edit photos on the computer.

From looking over these lists the main points that come across that I would benefit from doing in my Arts Challenge is writing a play and producing an album of photos that have been edited to go along with a theme. To help myself decide on which Arts Challenge to pursue with I have written out to Project overviews for both Challenges so that I can compare them. These can be seen below. I have written them both as if I am going to pursue this challenge so that I can better see the pros and cons I would get out of completing them.

Photography Challenge

What is the main concept of my Arts Challenge?
            I have decided to do a photography challenge to develop my skills, but arrange it around a theme and then after taking the photos, editing them to fit in with the theme using Adobe Photoshop CS3 and other editing software.

Complete description of my Arts Challenge:
            I have decided to take a series of photographs surrounding the theme of the progression of life, from birth to death and everything that comes in between, however I will often use abstract objects to represent a section of life. 
            After taking the photos I will upload them onto the computer and edit them using a photo editing software, Adobe Photoshop CS3 and others which can produce different effects using: colours, light flares and effects, saturation, filters, layers and more. I will aim to use this to highlight certain points of the photograph, as well as feelings that the photo represents and in the photos I will use it to help the photos show the stage of life it is illustrating.
            At the end of my Arts Challenge I aim to have an album of photos depicting life from beginning to end, demonstrating the emotions and feelings that could be felt at each stage, the turmoil’s and problems we may face as well as the joys and successes.

Why I have chosen this challenge:
            I have chosen this challenge as while I also wanted to develop my playwriting skills, photography is something I feel strongly about and find very enjoyable. Furthermore, it is very different to things I do usually (unlike creative writing) and so would be more of a challenge to me, and a complete album of artistic photographs is something that I have never done before and so would it would be a great success for me to complete this challenge. Photographs have the ability to tell so many things in such small ways and this intrigues me and so this is why I want to experiment with this capability.

My Action Plan:
            While the photographs can be quick and easy to take, editing them can take quite a while to get the photograph looking just right; one photo could take over an hour to edit. Therefore I am expecting to spend approximately an hour per week on this challenge, taking photos, choosing the ones I want to use and editing them.  I anticipate that I will take around 12 hours on this challenge. For the photos I am currently considering taking I expect to finish around or just after New Year.
            I plan to take the photographs in order to keep in mind what stage in life I am currently at, however photo opportunities can crop up at any time so quite a few photographs may have been taken later in the challenge even though they are near the start of the album and vice versa.
            I do foresee that the timings I have currently suggested will change due to commitments meaning some weeks I may not be able to work on my challenge, and I may have overestimated the time I need to spend on the project. 

Recording my Progress:
            To record my progress and the time spent on my Arts Challenge I am planning on keeping a diary to record when I took each photograph and when I worked on editing the photographs and what techniques I used. In this I can also record when things went wrong or didn’t go to plan and when I wasn’t able to work on my challenge and how I think it is progressing. This diary will show how I worked on my challenge, how it progressed and the steps I took to complete it.

Stepping Stones:
            I will use stepping stones to check my progress to make sure I am on my way to completing my challenge. These stepping stones will be when I have completed each section of life: 

 I expect that these categories and stepping stones may change as I work through my challenge and come up with new ideas; however the basic principles will still be there, as the move from birth through to death. As I’ve previously said I may take photos after I have thought I have completed a section, but this will not affect this as I can just quickly slip these photos into the right section.

            The things that I am going to need for this challenge are: 
    A good pixel camera  
    Photo editing software  
    Places – school, buildings, shopping areas, towns etc  
    People of different ages  
    Inanimate and living objects to illustrate different stages of life.

Play Writing Challenge

What is the main concept of my Arts Challenge?
            I have decided to write a complete play script which would be suitable to be acted by people of my own age group.

Complete description of my Arts Challenge:
            For my Arts Challenge I would first draw up different ideas for the play (approx. 3-4) and write down my ideas for the storyline. I would then get feedback on what people think would work best on stage and decide on the play I would write.            Following this, using a template for Microsoft Word offered by the BBC (ScriptSmart) I would write the play, using the correct format which the template helps me to do. I would aim to do a 1 or 2 act play with a relatively small number of scenes in total (between 5-10) so that the play didn’t draw out and I am able to work on writing shorter pieces of writing, rather than keep drawing them out.
            Once I had thought I had completed the play I would leave it for a week before reading it over again to see if it all made sense and changing any errors. I would then deem the play finished unless there were any serious errors I needed to amend and I would give it out to others to find out their feedback.

Why I have chosen this challenge:
            I have chosen this challenge as while it wasn’t the only type of challenge that could have been drawn from my list of skills I wanted to improve, creative writing is something I enjoy doing and I feel confident enough to be able to pull it off easily and at a good standard, while it still being something different than what I already do. Also I haven’t written a proper play in quite a few years so it would be a challenge to break away from the normal things I write to write something that would be suitable to be performed on stage. It would also help me in school work as well as my Silver Arts Award and so more than once thing could be improved by proceeding with this challenge.

My Action Plan:
Ideas don’t always come to me straightaway and so I will be constantly on the lookout for ideas I can gain for events, surroundings and elsewhere. And I suspect coming up with the ideas and noting down a quick overlook at what would happen, as well as the number of characters, scenes and sets needed would take about a week and during that time probably about 1-2 hours.
            Once I had decided on the play I was going to write I anticipate spending about 2 hours a week writing where possible, as I find that once I’ve started writing it is best to persist with writing for a while to get the best out of the creative juices, therefore some weeks I may spend less or more time on the challenge, however the average each week will be about 2 hours. Some weeks, due to other commitments, I may not be able to spend any time on the challenge and I expect this to happen at some point.
            Working without any breaks in the 2 hours/week plan I expect the play to take me a total of 10-12 hours to write if I keep it as short as I would like it to be, meaning it will most likely take me 5-6 weeks to write this, however I may find that I write it quicker and it takes me less time, but this is the ball point figure. After this like stated, I will leave the play for a week and then go back to it to re-read it and re-write any parts that I feel need to be changed.
            If no problems arise and my ball point figures are correct this challenge should be completed in no more than 14 weeks, although problems may arise and it may take me longer

Recording my Progress:
            To record my progress and the time spent on my Arts Challenge I am planning on keeping a diary to record when I come up with my ideas for the play, when I receive people’s advice on which play to write and when I write each bit, how long I spend on it and what bits I’ve written. The diary will also record what I change in the play and when problems arise. Once completed the diary will show how my challenge has progressed and how exactly I reached the end point.

Stepping Stones:
      I will use stepping stones to check my progress to make sure I am on my way to completing my challenge. These stepping stones will be when I have completed different sections of the challenge: 
    When I have a list of different play ideas. 
    When I’ve decided on the play I am going to write. 
    At the end of each scene. 
    When the curtain falls at the end of the play. 
    After the week, when I have re-read the play and made any changes.

            The things that I am going to need for this challenge are: 
    A template on Microsoft Word to help me format the play correctly (BBC ScriptSmart) 
    People to give me advice on which play to write

After all of this I want to pursue with the Photography Challenge. This is because it is something completely new to me as usually the only time I take photographs are when I am out with family and friends and I do not do anything with these - I don't try to reach a desire effect. I also feel that I would gain new skills out of this because I've never done it, as if I did the play writing challenge I would just build on and improve skills I already have, and at this stage I would rather acquire new skills so that I am more varied in the arts and hone them later on then just concentrate on one art form as this may not be the best form for me. 

I also think I would enjoy this challenge more as it is something completely different and it can be done in a shorter space of time and shorter periods of time whereas when I write creatively I find that I need to spend a long time on it to acquire the best results and in such a demanding and important year at school this would not be achievable. As I do nothing like this at school, the photography challenge would appeal to me more to do in my spare time as it's not what I am constantly doing and therefore I feel that I can keep on top of it better.