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By Ross Lesslie

For the documentary project at Freestyle Academy of Communication Arts and Technology


I made this book for a documentary project at Freestyle Academy of Communication Arts and Technologies. Our assignment was to make a website, photo documentary, and audio documentary and to write a research paper with a partner about something that relates to our lives in our area today. My partner, Carly, focused on creativity in young children, where as I focused on creativity in teens and young adults. We took pictures and interviewed people, to create this documentary about creativity. Enjoy


If you give a bored pre-school student a piece of paper and a pencil, you will probably end up with perhaps not a beautiful picture, but a creative drawing, or maybe the child’s favorite cartoon. If you give a teenager a piece of paper and a pencil, most teens wouldn’t draw anything. If they did it would be more likely to be scribble than an actual drawing. A few teens however, would sit down and draw and intricate drawing of something in the room, or maybe even something in their head. Why is it then, that the majority of teens can no longer be entertained by drawing a picture? Is there an advantage to being able to draw a picture? Do these teens do better or worse in school? Have better or worse social lives? Are they in any way mentally different? To find the answers to some of these questions, we decided interview a few high school students who really stood out from the crowds in that they are creative, imaginative, and can entertain themselves with whatever you give them.

The first person I interviewed was Monica. Monica is the kind of person you look twice at when she walks past you. The combination of the weird yet not distasteful clothes, the content smile set upon her attractive face, accented with jewelry makes her stand out in a crowd. She’s the kind of person you can see selling her artwork in the streets of a major city without thinking “hippie” or “weirdo.” When you have a conversation with Monica, it is immediately apparent that you are talking to an extremely bright young woman. She has a deep level of thinking and often interprets things beyond their apparent meaning. Monica has a 4.0 high school GPA, and will be going to UCLA art school as an undergraduate student next year.

Monica likes to have friends over at her house after school, and enjoys making up art projects or hanging out with her parents and younger sister. She dreams to be an artist and always has done. When she grows up, she wants to become a graphic designer because she thinks that way she can get her ideas out, be creative and artistic and make money. When I asked Monica to sing a song for me, she asked me to sing a beat for her so she could make up a little rap about how she was feeling. The picture she drew was a little sketch of me with little details that reflected on things that had happened to us recently, and our environment (Monica owns a tarantula that creeps me out). Even although Monica loved the bliss ignorance of being young, her life is great and she enjoys it more now.

Below: Monica looking up from making a tie-dye t-shirt

Right: Monica’s self portrait

Left: Monica letting me into her room.

“I don’t like people teaching me things, I want to learn by myself.”

Above: Picture Monica drew a couple of years ago.

Left: Picture monica made for her negative space assignment.

“I always knew I wanted to be an artist. Now I want a career in graphic design, that way I can get my idea’s out there and make money.”

Monica posing next to her car with fridge magents on the hood.

Above: One of Monica’s most recent projects for her studio art class.

My second interviewee was Will, who wouldn’t look out of place at a Led Zeppelin concert. Hair down to his shoulders and a green bandana around his head reflect fairly accurately on his personality: Will is into classic rock and plays the guitar in his free time, keeping things mellow and just hanging out with friends. He also enjoys debates and letting other people hear his opinions. He is very focused and strives to accomplish his goals. Will has straight A’s and is bored with normal High School.

When Will grows up he wants to go into the music business – preferably production, and he wants to have a happy family. The song he sang for me was “Alive” by Pearl Jam. He didn’t draw a picture for me, but he did tell me a story about how he dislocated his shoulder last week. Will doesn’t remember preschool too well, but he’s happy enough now that he wouldn’t go back.

Right: Will playing a song he wrote

Left: Tuning

Right: Will telling me about the instruments he plays

The third person I interviewed was Christie. Christie is extremely outgoing, loves to laugh, loves to meet new faces and gets along well almost everyone. Christie is extremely ambitious, and doesn’t stop trying until she has achieved her ambitions. Christie enjoys spending time with her friends, driving her car, and making things out of clay. She has a 4.0 GPA and is going to UCLA Medical School next year.

Below: Christie pulling a face

Christie enjoys doodling, singing country songs, and lying on her bed studying biology. She sang her favorite country song and drew me a picture of two elephants who were holding trunks. Her story was about something funny her friend had said the night before. When she was in preschool, Christie dreamed of being a gymnast, because she loved jumping around on the trampoline and dreamed of having people applauding her at the Olympics. Now she wants to go to medical school to become a nurse. She would really like to be a part of “Medicins sans Frontiers,” so she can go to third world countries and help people in need. Next page: Christie smiling for the cam-

Left: Christie glazing her most recent pot.

Right: Chrisite throwing a new pot.

Above: Christie with one of her finished projects

What’s the solution? Everybody we have asked say they enjoyed preschool because they enjoyed the freedom. It seems pretty clear that the best way to get the creative and imaginative side out of people is to spend less time in the classroom, more time discovering the real world. More art, less report cards. Unfortunately, this doesn’t really help people who are good at math and learn from teaching, but doesn’t that kind of education already dominate the system? Children don’t need more time in preschool, but more field trips, maybe art on Fridays, not just in elementary school, but beyond elementary school to continue the creative thinking.

Ross Leslie  

T EENS AND OF THE IN By Ross Lesslie For the documentary project at Freestyle Academy of Communication Arts and Technology Introduction: Le...