Direction Over Comparison

A personal story about growing up with dyslexia.

A personal story about growing up with dyslexia.

Directed, Motion Graphics, Edited & Narrated by Jordan Spencer
Co-Written by Jordan Spencer & Jade Spencer
Audio Engineering by Owen Morris
Visual Supervision by Jordan Hollowday
Music by Unforseen

Project Overview

I made this piece as part of my self-initiated design project pt.1 for University. I made my brief about exploring emotional weight through design as well, to create an art direction that works across both print and movie image formats. 

My film is about my personal experience growing up with dyslexia. Since the age of 3 I’ve always found it quite daunting knowing that I’m going to have to work 10x as hard at pretty much anything I do due to my learning difficulty, known as acute auditory and memory delay. Over the past few years especially, I’ve been feeling very anxious about where I’m going to be in the future and dealing with quit long periods of self-doubt. My approach with film-making is to take something that personally matters to you and build a film about that. 

Back in November I went home for a bit to see family. During that time my sister, Jade and I wrote the narration script one afternoon. We separated the script out into three parts, my childhood, teens and early adulthood. This was done to make things easier for me when recording the narration. I wanted the script to be as personal and as honest as I possibly could, but at the same time open enough for people to connect with the subject matter in different ways. 

When the script was done, I started sharing it with others to hear their thoughts. Not only was it incredibly well received, but people responded differently and had different things to take away from it. I feel the script covers multiple subject matters, such as self-doubt, personal insecurities and how to move forward in life. Some of the people I shared the script with didn’t have any learning difficulties yet they still connected on some of those themes covered. 

The art direction of the project started off with me playing around with the idea of making brain-wave and location/searching styled motion graphics. This idea came about due to my processing difficulty, being tied to how my brain is wired. The art direction was also based on the themes of making progress towards your goals which ties back into the script. I wanted the motion graphics to look like a wire frame/foundation structure, I felt that would be a way of visually representing progress and how we all must start from the bottom to reach further towards our goals. I wanted to make sure all the visuals were varied and more importantly compliment the narration and music well. 

Once all the visuals were done, it was just a matter of finding the best structure and placement for them to go alongside the narration and music.

Original Narration Script::

Childhood – 

I guess the first problem I had to overcome in my life was the realisation that I had a learning difficulty. My parents first noticed something was wrong when I wasn’t speaking as well as other toddlers. From then on I had lots of different assessments which showed that I have acute auditory and memory delay. It’s similar in some ways to dyslexia, which is pretty common in a lot of people. Basically, my brain is wired differently - it can take me longer to process and understand things. But this also means I can see things from a different perspective to others. It also means I had different talents to kids who were very academic. I loved to draw my favourite cartoon characters; I could replicate them perfectly on paper. I think that was the first time I realised that creativity was my way of expressing my own talents in the face of adversity. 

Teens – 

I found Secondary School difficult for the majority of the time because you’re forced to pursue so many academic subjects, which were completely out of my comfort zone. With my difficulties I felt restricted and challenged in most of my lessons, they didn’t encourage my natural creativity, and only made me more aware of my difficulties understanding rigid concepts. The nature of those types of subjects just enforced to me that there was either a right or wrong answer, and more often than not I was wrong. Even after trying so hard I didn’t do well in most of my GCSE’s, I felt like the world would be against me if I wanted to go to University or get a job. These letters on paper felt like scars that I would carry with me through my life. 

Early adulthood – 

Being able to focus more on graphic design at College made me happier that I could spend time doing what I liked. But it made me feel more self-aware. This is a competitive industry, you need to put a lot of hours in to have a portfolio that you can be proud of and that will get you ahead. My years at college and the projects I completed felt like stepping stones towards the place I wanted to be in. But as I got older I began to develop a negative mindset by comparing myself to my peers. In some ways it was worse than at school, when it wasn’t an even playing field because of my learning difficulties. Graphic Design is what I’m good at I’m passionate about, so when I began to lose confidence in my ability by comparing myself to others it felt disheartening. However, when I started my degree it felt like a fresh start. I developed a better mindset regarding my capabilities and ambitions. I realised that we’re all at different stages even when we’re working in the same field. We all have different struggles, and sometimes we lose focus on what’s most important to us. As painful as it can be at times, I’ve realised how far I’ve come by overcoming my difficulties. It’s okay to not know what’s around the next corner, In life you need to adapt to whatever comes your way. Having positive influences, that could be people, or inspiring art, keeps me going through tough times. I’ve learned to not compare myself to others, because I’m an individual, I need to put myself first and focus on my own direction – even if I don’t know where it will lead me. And I’m okay with that.

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