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Project explained parts of speech

Clinton Terry's project entered in the media festival originally was an assignment in seventh grade for Jennifer Coleman's language arts class. The project had to be something that explained parts of speech.

So, Clinton decided to explain idioms in a comical way by taking them literally. He started his project out as a PowerPoint. After that, he decided to add narration and sound effects and plug it into Windows MovieMaker. Apparently, defining parts of speech and terminology stuck with Clinton, because he disagrees with the category of his winning entry.

"It's animated, but it doesn't move very fast, so I don't call it animated," he said. "And it's not really a movie, but a PowerPoint with narration."

It took Clinton one week to create the PowerPoint, using Microsoft paint slides for the illustrations, and another week to put it into MovieMaker.

In the process, Clinton also learned leadership and organizational skills because he had to work around the schedules of a high school friend, Blake Hyatt, who was the narrator, and members of the Binary Swordfish band, who did the sound effects.

"But it was a lot of hard work. The hardest part was timing the narration with the slide, then editing the slide to fit the narration, then editing the narration to fit the slide," Clinton said, adding that the experience was mostly trial and error.

The plot of the slow-animation, PowerPoint centers around a cartoon character telling a story using phrases.

The character illustrating the story doesn't understand the phrases and tries to draw them out literally.

For example, when the story-teller says "it's raining cats and dogs," the illustrator draws cats and dogs falling from the sky.

Clinton's favorite idiom in the movie -- he breaks into a grin as he explains it -- was "fly the coop."

"It had a stick man jumping off of a coop and it was kind of crazy," he said.

Now an eighth grader at Thomson-McDuffie Junior High School, Clinton said his first thought when he heard he won the festival award was "wow."

"I was shocked that people would like to actually see that kind of stuff," he said.

His parents were impressed, though. Clinton said both parents -- Charles and Joanette Terry -- teach at Thomson High School and provided him with a foundation of good learning skills at an early age.

"It's tough having them both as high school teachers, though," he said. "One false move and they're over here (junior high school) in less than a second."

Web posted on Thursday, October 01, 2009

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