Fame High Analysis Essay

Fame High Analysis Essay

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Directed, photographed and co-edited by Scott Hamilton Kennedy, "Fame High" covers a year in the life of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), one of the top performing arts schools in the country. We are first presented to four students through a single school year, where the documentarian offers a satisfying balance of student and parent interviews with “fly-on-the-wall” looks at classes that barely resemble those in conventional schools. His subjects are remarkably driven, whether that drive comes from parents -- such as freshman pianist Zak, who seems almost forced into performing by his father and sees jazz stardom as a means of escaping borderline poverty, or in spite of them -- like Grace, whose Korean-American parents say they will only keep supporting her ballet dreams if she's accepted to Juilliard after high school. Through his use of direct examples, parallelism, and pathos, the documentary demonstrates the value of arts in education as well as the life-changing importance LACHSA and other performing arts schools provide to racially and economically diverse students.
The documentary begins by presenting to the audience four students from different backgrounds who demonstrate impressive gifts and can easily be seen prospering in the years to come. Though the year holds no major disasters for them, little challenges they face show how easily a budding career might struggle. An example was when Ruby received a professional theater gig only to hate how it forces her to spend time away from friends while being a perfunctory understudy. Other subjects dealt with include failure, offering minor but compelling drama, but the most favored storyline in the documentary is Grace's longing for a romantic lif...

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...uring one school year at the LACHSA, one of the most respected and competitive schools in the nation. Kennedy follows a group of novice freshman and experienced seniors struggling to find their voice with the help of, and sometimes in spite of, their passionate and narrow-minded families. Each of the four students sacrifices countless hours to become artistically worthy, but is the sacrifice worth the dream? Through his use of “first-hand looks,” parallelism and pathos, Kennedy is able to help the audience realize that an arts education in a regular school system is important and that the arts can greatly enhance people's lives. Just like the Broadway actor, Jay Johnson, once said, "I'll never understand why funding for the arts is the first thing to get cut. Music is math. Theatre in English. Tech is science. Dance is physical education. The arts are everything."

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