Loft Blog
She Is Not Invisible / Marcus Sedgewick PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 01 September 2014 00:00

alt“One final time I told myself I wasn’t abducting my little brother.”

Laureth’s father, a once famous writer has gotten completely absorbed in the writing and research behind his latest book that focuses on coincidences.  Laureth stumbles on her own coincidence when a bizarre email arrives from someone who has found her father’s writing notebook in New York.  Laureth’s father had been gone doing research for his book, and had been less then communicative, in fact she had no idea he had even gone to New York. Laureth’s mother doesn’t seem to care that they haven’t heard a peep from her father, but Laureth is positive something is not right. 

She takes it upon herself to cross the ocean to not only get her father’s notebook back, but to track him down as well.  Laureth drags her younger brother along out of necessity.  Once they get the notebook back Laureth is sure they’ll quickly find their father, but to her frustration they always seem one step behind.  Turning to her father’s notebook Laureth hopes to find some clues, but they don’t offer much help. In fact the deeper she digs the more perilous her adventure seems to get.  She is Not Invisible is another great YA read by Marcus Sedgewick.


(Renee, the Loft) 

From Teens For Teens: Pretty Little Liars / Sara Shepard and Boy 21 / Matthew Quick PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 29 August 2014 00:00

Pretty Little LiarsPretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

This book was really good. It was suspenseful and hard to put down. This book was a great mystery book. It was a five star book!

(Sabine G., Evanston teen)



Boy 21Boy 21 by Matthew Quick

This book is about a boy named Finley. He is the starting point guard on his high school basketball team until this new kid named Russ shows up and makes the team and takes Finley's spot on the team and Finley's jersey number 21. Can Russ somehow help Finley get out of the town he's always wanted to get out of?

(Curtis P., Evanston teen)


Jepp, Who Defied the Stars / Katherine Marsh PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 25 August 2014 13:34

altJepp was born different, a smaller-sized version of everyone else he saw around him but loved none-the-less. He was ridiculed for his size by some, called a "dwarf" by others but knew in his heart that he was destined for bigger and better things than living as his mother's beloved son. So, when a mysterious Don shows up at his mother's inn and offers him the chance to be a court dwarf, promising him riches and the ability to rub elbows with the nobility, Jepp barely hesitates to take him up on the offer. 


Before he knows it, Jepp is swept up in the dizzying world of court life, finding himself one of five dwarfs in Queen Infanta's prized collection. In exchange for foolish displays of humiliating stunts and dances--all meant to poke fun at the size of the Jepp and his fellow dwarves--Jepp is free to roam the grounds as he wishes and live as a noble. Having lived a modest life in an inn, Jepp snatches the chance to eat fine foods and study with wise tutors, marveling at the grandness of life on the other side. But deep down, Jepp can feel that something isn't quite right. He begins to notice strange behavior and odd words with double meanings and Jepp begins to wonder if he isn't as safe as the illusion implies. 


Flashing back and forth between Jepp's current predicament of being locked away and the events leading up to his imprisonment, Marsh weaves a fantastical tale with characters whose naivety and loyalty is tested at every turn, hoping to rewrite the life written out for them in the stars.


(Ashley, the Loft)


From Teens For Teens: Babymouse for President / Jennifer L. Holm and Born Beautiful / Alfred Fornay PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 22 August 2014 00:00

BaBabymouse for Presidentbymouse for President by Jennifer L. Holm

I loved reading this book. The author did a really good job on making everything seem as if it were a real presidential election. Babymouse wants to be the president of their school because she wants to make some changes. For example, she wants to make the school more fun. However, she has competition and she thinks she won't be able to do it. She has the right words for a president, so why can't she be the school's president? I would recommend this book to anybody who would like to become a president or for the people who also like books that look like comics.

(Ivette C., Evanston teen)

Born Beautiful Born Beautiful: The African American Teenager's Complete Beauty Guide by Alfred Fornay

Born Beautiful gave me so many good tips. Great book!!!

(Mauranne V., Evanston teen)

Coming to a Screen Near You PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 16 August 2014 00:00

This fall's batch of YA movie adaptations range from suspenseful to surreal. Before you see these flicks, make sure to read the amazing books they came from. For more upcoming releases and movies currently in production, see our booklist.

The Giver The Giver by Lois Lowry

Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives. 

This movie was released August 15--now in a theater near you! 




If I Stay

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

While in a coma following an automobile accident that killed her parents and younger brother, seventeen-year-old Mia, a gifted cellist, weighs whether to live with her grief or join her family in death. 

Movie to be released August 22, starring Chloë Grace Moretz as Mia.



The Maze RunnerThe Maze Runner by James Dashner

Sixteen-year-old Thomas wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and realizes he must work with the community in which he finds himself if he is to escape. 

The movie, starring Teen Wolf's Dylan O'Brien, will be released September 19.




Here Be Monsters! Here Be Monsters! by Alan Snow

While gathering food to bring to his grandfather, young Arthur becomes trapped in the city of Ratbridge, where he and some new friends try to stop a plot to shrink the monsters of Arthur's home, the Underworld, for a nefarious purpose.

From the director of Coraline and ParaNorman, movie adaptation The Boxtrolls comes out September 26. 


From Teens For Teens: Waluk / Emilio Ruiz and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone / J.K. Rowling PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 15 August 2014 00:00


Waluk by Emilio Ruiz, illustrated by Ana Miralles


This is an awesome book! You would all love it. It's about a small polar bear who got abandoned by its mother when he was a cub. That polar bear's name is Waluk. Now Waluk has to survive the Artic by himself, that is until he meets an adult polar bear named Manitok. He teaches Waluk how to hunt and especially how to survive humans. Sadly one day he gets kidnapped by humans. Now can Waluk survive on his own? Will he get help? What will happen to him? I recommend this book to anybody who would love to read about the polar bears and how hard it is to survive in their habitat. 

(Ivette C. Evanston teen)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's StoneHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

I have no words that accurately express the love I feel for this book. J.K. Rowling took an already spectacular idea and turned it into an even more fantastic book brought to life by her excellent writing. If you haven't read this, you are wrong.

(Sarah B., Evanston teen)


Filmmaking Workshop Recap #3: Manipulating the Camera PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 12 August 2014 11:28

Howdy Filmmakers! For our third week, we talked about the camera and ways to mess around with lighting, sound, and camera angles/movement to achieve a desired look.


A number of teens had been to film camps before, so we swapped stories (and some horror stories) about film sets and the hazards of film equipment. For instance, on one of the first days of my graduate bootcamp, a fellow student was standing below the lighting grid and was nearly hit with a 200lb light. The light had not been properly rigged titleand when the grid was raised, the light fell. Had she not stepped back, the light would have fallen directly on her head and most likely killed her. Needless to say, my professor was angry and shut down the set for the rest of the day, citing a "safety concern."  Crazy stuff!


We discussed the importance of safety when handling lights as lights are heavy, extremely hot and very dangerous. They should always be handled while wearing gloves and always when they are turned off. Cords should be secured to the ground (with tape) so that tripping hazards can be avoided. When a light is ready to be turned on, the person handling the light will yell, "Striking!" to alert members of the crew to NOT LOOK AT THE LIGHT. 


Unfortunately for indie filmmakers, lights don't come cheap. However, this doesn't mean the lighting for your film has to suffer. There are some quick and easy things you can do to ensure that lighting is good in your film. To achieve good lighting: 


1. Film outside on a cloudy day: overcast light is GREAT light because it's consistent and doesn't change 

2. If you film inside, turn on the lights and avoid florescent bulbs

3. Use Chinese lanterns for close-ups and "soft light"


Another thing we talked about was sound and the fact that it is so important that people often forget it. I did say that right. Sound is often an overlooked aspect on film production mostly because filmmakers think that they can "fix it in post" if sound isn't recorded well day of. This is very difficult to do, so the best thing is simply to get the best sound possible on the day you shoot. There are a couple of ways that you can go about this:


1. When filming, choose a spot that will be quiet such as an indoor space (WHY: an indoor space allows you to control the sounds around you and anything/anyone that could make extraneous noise)

2. Avoid filming outside near extremely noisy areas (train stations, bus stops, etc)

3. Try to film dialogue-heavy scenes in a quiet space 

4. Use a separate microphone (separate from your on-camera microphone) and place it as close to actors as possible)


The last thing we talked about was camera angles and camera movement which go hand-in-hand with shot sizes. Camera angles are used to emphasize different parts of a story in different ways such as enhatitlencing character personalities are making us see pieces of a story in a different way. Shot sizes direct WHO we see while camera angles direct HOW we see them. For instance, a canted angle (like the image to the left from Christopher Nolan's "Inception") is meant to disorient the view and mess with perception. This kind of camera angle is often used in dream sequences. 


Check out this great link to see descriptions of camera angles and movement.  


At the very end of our day, teens split up into groups or worked solo to film a series of clips for a "30 Second Challenge." There were two categories to choose from, each with similar criteria. The goal of the challenge was to film enough footage to be able to edit the following week. 


Stay tuned for another post coming next week about our very last session which is tomorrow! 


Adios for now! 






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