Storyboards and Copyright

I had a slightly different idea for the opening of our video, but upon further reflection I realized that my teammate’s idea was better (easier to film). At the moment, there’s nothing that needs to be added; perhaps that’ll change once we actually start filming. The process of storyboarding was relatively simple—draw a panel, describe what’s going on, and repeat. It’s tedious but necessary. As I’ve stated in the previous post, my ultimate goal for this project is to produce a well-made video that meets everyone’s standards. Ideally, it won’t be mind-numbingly boring either. Maybe we should make the dialogue so cheesy that it’s funny. As for copyright, Lessig states that the problem is “that the laws governing quoting in these new forms of expression are radically different from the norms that govern quoting from text. In this new form of expression that has swept through online communities that use digital technology, permission is expected first… If you want to publish a [copy], you need permission from the copyright owner” (160). Unfortunately, sometimes it’s impossible to receive this permission; usually, it’s music that creates the most problems. If you want to use a song with copyright, you’re only allowed to use a very small portion of it before you risk having your video flagged or taken down entirely. Luckily for content-creators, there’s music that’s free for all use. I’ve used it in my midterm project and, if need be, am prepared to use it again for the final. It’s as simple as Googling “free music.”

Kinda-Great Expectations

I don’t exactly have expectations for my group’s “creative direction,” given the final project’s prompt. Perhaps I’m just being narrow-minded, or maybe my brain is officially fried due to months of academics-based abuse, but I’m not sure how we’re supposed to take a tool from Career Services and turn it into an “entertaining” video. Don’t get me wrong, I have total faith that my group and I will create a well-done video that caters to both the professor’s and Career Service’s demands, but don’t expect The Godfather 4 over here—hey, I’m just keeping it real. Hopefully, we can inject some humor into our skit (watching me attempt acting should be hilarious enough, if not utterly horrifying—either way, you’re entertained). Maybe, as we discuss how to use the “Focus 2” tool to choose the major that’s right for you, we can include some Michael Bay-esque explosions. That’d be totally rad. As far as I understood, the storyboard doesn’t include dialogue; therefore, the humor won’t be in it. We’ll also have to check our budget for those explosions. In all seriousness, I’m planning on having my storyboard be relatively bare-bones; given the amount of time we have to create this storyboard and to do the actual project, I think it’d be in my group’s best interest to keep the video short, simple, and informative. My storyboard will reflect this.

Hyde and Friends: Talking about Groups

At first, I considered doing an Italian food blog, being that I love food and am Italian. However, I quickly scrapped the idea once I realized that I’d have to make a video pertaining to the blog; I wasn’t prepared to eat on camera, nor did I feel confident enough to cook on camera (my knife skills are still clumsy at best). Therefore, I decided on the next best topic: art. My original blog was meant for all artists of every variety: sculpting, painting, etc. I’ve dabbled in almost every artistic branch (save for glass-blowing and knitting), so I thought it’d be interesting to create a blog where artists of every sort could come together on one page and communicate, passing along their trade secrets. That idea was also scrapped, because when it came time to describe my target audience in the essay portion, I realized I had basically written “it caters to everybody.” Seeing my grade drop before my eyes, I immediately changed the blog to something more specific: drawing/sketching. After all, that’s what I’m best at (compared to the other branches). As I mentioned in the essay, I wanted my blog to be just as artistic as its content; hence, the green and orange. I found paintbrushes to be the most aesthetically-pleasing for my header picture (although, in hindsight, I probably should’ve used a row of markers or colored pencils, given that it’s a drawing blog). But hey, paintbrushes are artistic, so they still fit.

When I hear “group project,” I have to suppress the urge to loudly groan. I’m already not much of a “people person,” and when I’m forced to work with others in an academic setting, that gets even worse. I’m usually the nerd in the group who gets stuck doing all of the work, with none of the coldness needed to chew someone up in a peer review—that’s entirely my fault, I know, but it is what it is. Even if they deserve it, I can’t bring myself to put someone on the chopping block. Hyde and friends write, “Sharing of content alone does not directly lead to collaboration” (53). I’m not sure I agree. They continue to explain that “The content is the social object, and the author is directly attributed with it. The work is a singularity, even if it is shared with the world via these platforms, and even if it has a free-culture license on it. This body of work stands alone, and alone, this work is not collaborative” (53). In my experience, the singular work of one person, added to a shared space (such as a document on Google Drive) becomes collaborative; multiple singular parts coming together become a group product. It takes the “stand alone” work of many people in a group to create one final project. The definition of “collaborative work” should not be limited to something that is—from the ground up—worked on by several people at once.

Top 5 Midterm Blogs

After seeing everyone’s blogs (and spending quite some time on my own), I can see that everyone put a lot of effort into their blogs and videos. It was difficult for me to pick just 5 that I enjoyed. Without further ado, here are my top 5 picks:

5: The Hidden Wild  by Jordan Gentile

I can’t say I’m a believer when it comes to card readings. The first image that pops into my head when I hear “tarot cards” is that of an old crone in a Bohemian-styled tent, waving her wrinkled hands over a crystal ball and charging an obscene amount of money just to spout some generic fortune that could relate to literally anybody. That being said, I have to admire Jordan’s enthusiasm; her blog posts are lengthy, detailed, and honestly quite interesting—yes, even for a non-believer. It’s a refreshingly-different blog topic, a tarot-loving person’s dream. My suggestions would be to include more color in the theme, add a header picture that relates more to the topic, and up the volume on the tutorial’s music. It’s certainly worth checking out.

4: Beauty by Gerri by Geraldine Martin

I’m not a “girly-girl” by any means. That’s not me trying to be edgy, it’s simply the truth. The most girly thing about me is my love of dresses—but it ends there. Geraldine’s blog is on my Top 5 because even I, as someone who doesn’t wear make-up, would follow it. It’s simple, clean, and looks like an official website for a legitimate make-up brand. The colors—black, white, and pastel pink—complement each other nicely, the font is professional and legible, and the site is easy to navigate. The only suggestion I’d make is to increase the size of the font.

3: The College Road Trip by Deanna van Woerkom

As I begin the second decade of my life, I have a strong urge to see the world. Perhaps this stems from the knowledge that my youth is slipping away gradually, and that once I enter the workforce and start a family, I’ll probably be stuck in a suburban town somewhere, driving a Honda and getting excited by 30% off coupons for Old Navy… *ahem* Anyway. Because I have plans to travel, I can appreciate a blog that caters to someone like me, “the broke college student.”  I like Deanna’s color scheme (sea foam green and gray), easy-to-read font, and simple layout. Her detailed post and well-done video show an admirable amount of effort and care. Her confident attitude in the video shows how knowledgeable she is about the topic; I’m definitely going to follow her tips the next time I plan a trip and I suggest you do, too.

2: College Dorm Baking by Lauren Colonna

Unfortunately for my waistline, I have a tremendous sweet tooth. However, the quality of the dining hall desserts is “meh” at best and “is this edible?” at worst. Therefore, when I saw Lauren’s blog, I immediately thought, “oh, this is totally going on my Top 5.” The theme she chose—using several shades of pastel pink—is adorable. Somehow, the blog itself looks like a dessert. I find everything about her blog aesthetically pleasing, from the color choices, to her header, to the font. Her tutorial was easy to follow (again, unfortunately for my waistline)—I liked the song even though I know it’s going to be stuck in my head for hours. The only thing I would fix is the video’s alignment; the black bars are disruptive and the footage feels a bit too zoomed out. For you dorm-dwelling sugar fiends, I highly recommend this blog.

1: forREEL by Mallory Nathan

As a lover of film, I was immediately drawn to forREEL (and who doesn’t love some good ol’ wordplay?). I too dislike pretentious movie reviews and go out of my way to find reviews that keep it “reel.” In fact, this blog reminds me of two movie critics I frequently watch on YouTube—ralphthemoviemaker and YourMovieSucksDOTorg. The blog’s color scheme is minimalistic: black, white, and a touch of gold in the tags and header. All the color it needs is in the header picture, in my humble opinion. The gold font is reminiscent of Hollywood (the gold of an Oscar), while in this context I’d liken the black and white to the end credits of a movie or a vintage film. My favorite aspect of the blog is the sassy tone of the posts (or at least the first one); I always appreciate some humor in commentary. I wouldn’t change a thing about this blog, which is why it’s number 1 on my Top 5. Mallory, I sincerely hope you continue to update your blog.

Portfolios and Video Games

For anyone who has been consistently reading my blog posts, you know that at this point, I’d say, “I’ve totally mastered this new thing!” Well, dear reader, I’m won’t lie to you—video editing was harder than I thought it would be. Good thing I did it a day in advance, ‘cause that took up waaay more time than expected. Hey, look at me, not procrastinating. Aren’t you proud?

I once went on a date with a film student who told me that even the shortest clips—commercials, trailers, etc.—can take days or weeks to edit; well, after working on 2 minutes of footage for almost 3 hours, I totally believe that. Cutting out bits where mistakes were made, adjusting the audio, positioning the captions—it was quite the tedious process. In the end, I’m relatively satisfied with my work, and now I’m apprehensively sending my digital child down the river, hoping the basket doesn’t sink in a plethora of hate comments. For those of you wondering, I used Kekai Kotaki and Nicole Green’s portfolios and Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 9, No. 2 for my video.

Now let’s talk about video games; of course it’s possible for them to have meaning. Phff, do I really have to explain the religious symbolism in Super Mario? Seriously though, video games are very effective ways of conveying messages, because they’re fun to play, attention-grabbing, and—when made using certain dialogue, music, and visuals—can deliver a powerful emotional punch. One game I think of in particular is That Dragon, Cancer, a video game made by parents Ryan and Amy Green, whose son, Joel, was dying of cancer. In it, the player experiences the torment of doing everything possible to save someone, only to lose him/her in the end, playing through Joel’s four short years of life. The helplessness felt by the player conveys how parents in this situation feel—the struggle to keep playing, to see the situation through, even though you know that the odds of getting a happy ending are slim to none. For the Greens, making this game was a way of coping with their grief and immortalizing their beloved child. For us, it’s a visceral, surreal, and in-depth look at the hearts of two sorrow-filled parents.