Milestones and Hurdles

Given the limitations of the project, I think my group has done an excellent job in creating a video that caters to everyone’s wants, entertains, and conveys a message. It’s been a collaborative effort so far, one in which someone presents an idea and everyone else comments on and tweaks it. I think our video idea turned out well because we believe in the tool we’re essentially “selling.” Focus 2 is genuinely useful—something I wish I’d had when I was picking a major back in high school. If you believe in the product, you can sell it with confidence. The first milestone we’ve accomplished is coming up with a solid idea; in my opinion, that’s always the hardest part. Once you have an idea of what you want to do or say, the rest comes naturally. The second milestone is that we’ve started filming. Everyone’s been so busy lately, especially now that it’s finals season—it’s been a challenge to find a time where everyone can meet. Still, we’ve got something on film; that’s most of the project done already. The first hurdle we still have to cross over is the editing; luckily, we have someone who has significant editing experience, so that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Second is the essay. 15-20 pages sounds extremely daunting, but once we’ve split up the work, it should be fine. The most important digital tool that we’ve been using in class is probably iMovie/Movie Maker. Because we’ve all learned how to edit videos and have at least a bit of experience now, any one of us could take on the role of editor for this project. Also, we’ve used the Creative Commons Search Engine to find the video’s background music. The feedback we received on the storyboard was, for the most part, positive; the only suggestion was that—instead of using a Screencast—we could film someone using Focus 2 on their laptop from over their shoulder. I think this would be more visually interesting than having a full screen of a Screencast, especially with that obnoxious watermark in the corner.

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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.