Nothing is Original: Narrative/Non-Narrative

The idea that all stories have already been created is an idea that has existed for as long as before the bible was first published. The existance of genres and genre conventions placing expectations and therefore limitations upon films within such genres only forces them to be more confined and ‘cliched’ less they cause an uproar. It’s the way the these ideas are used and placed, and the variation of ideas that can give fresh and new life to seemingly tired and old stories such as vampires and zombies, “a constantly overused plot devise” my mum tells me. But with films like, “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” (Amirpour, 2014), an Iranian vampire western, and “Life After Beth” (Baena, 2014), in which a girl becomes a zombie and her boyfriend tries to deal with her new flesh-eating tendencies. These fresh ideas, to me, prove that there is no such thing as no originality, even if the same basic trajectory exists.


This same basic trajectory, which can be found in most films, is known as ‘the hero’s journey’. The hero’s journey, which can also be called the monomyth, follows 12 basic stages and has 7 basic archetypes which are said to be found in most, if not all stories. This idea was created by the American scholar, Joseph Campbell.

The 12 basic stages of the monomyth are:

  12. RETURN WITH THE ELIXIR  – (Unknown)

Of course, not all stories use all the stages, it depends upon the character of the hero, and whether or not their journey is a difficult task and goes against their character, if they need to go through so much indecision and inner turmoil before they start their journey.

One part of the monomyth follows the idea that each great story includes the same 7 archetypal characters:

  1. Hero
  2. Herald
  3. Mentor
  4. Threshold Guardians
  5. Trickster
  6. Shape-Shifter
  7. Shadow

This video sums up both the character archetypes and the most fundamnetal stages of the hero’s journey:

There is also a lesser known heroine’s journey by Maureen Murdock. It’s stages are slightly similar, but also have a shocking difference – the emphasis on gender. The stages are:

heroine's journey


This journey can be found in some way, shape, or form in films such as “Mulan” (Bancroft and Cook, 1998) and “Brave” (Andrews and chapman, 2012). It is interesting to me how films with female leads seem to have the need for a different model of story telling. However, I don’t think that is quite true anymore. While there will always be stories out there that follow this model, there are also stories breaking this mold and following a stranger more twisted version of the monomyth. Films such as “The Hunger Games” (Ross, 2012) and “Divergent” (Burger, 2014), which are both post-apocolyptic films featuring hardened female leads, and both stories follow the monomyth, not the heroine’s journey. But in saying this, I think it is more the case that both these films are set in a post-apocalyptic future and not the present, so they feel they can show characters who are more hardened due to their situation, regardless of gender, essentially getting rid of classic gender stereotypes because times are too tough to do otherwise.

– Unknown. “Hero’s Journey.” Available at’s_journey.htm


Today’s lectorial was all about narrative. Dan Binns told us how everything is story/story is everything, especially to humanity, who seek to create stories and meaning from everything around them.

Narrative is any retelling of any sequence of events and heavily involves the principle of causality; a logical progression from one event to another (cause and effect). Causality allows for character development which takes time within the narrative and presents the audience with a number of situations with which the character can respond, but only within a limited range of responses according to the characters traits. A character won’t do something you want them to just for the sake of a happy ending or plot, they are in fact their own little person with internal conflicts and choices, and if for some reason they did choose to do something ‘out of character’, you as an audience member wouldn’t be very happy. That is why good writing creates clashes between traits so a character must choose between them and the audience is left in suspense. Plot is the chronological sequence of events in a narrative and involves a key character carrying out action, the action, and recipient’s of the plot’s action. And of course the resolution, which does not have to have a recipient in order to receive the response (Binns, 2015).

Now that the basics are over with, Dan told us the first rule of storytelling: nothing is original. Just as it is in adaptation and genre films, it is how the filmmaker creates the world with a different and unique perspective, allowing them to subvert expectations and put a new and different twist on conventions, that truly makes narrative films interesting and unique.

Dan also explored the concept of non-narrative. These are visual explorations within the medium itself that see if it is possible to do away with the narrative entirely. Most things, if not everything has a narrative. Even if the story is not explicit, we as humans rely upon our understanding of story telling principles to understand their lack of story (Binns, 2015).

Non-narrative films possess no obvious causality, no character development, no clear diegetic plot-line, no clear linear events tying scenes together, graphic matches to make art not story, lack of cohesion, lack of conclusion/sense of closure, no character motivation, and the use of people as props not characters (Binns, 2015).

whereas narrative films contain people (or anthropomorphic creatures) as central characters in order to create a connection with the audience, how they arrived at the situation/backstory (context), thematic connections (patterns of representation), often different places creating a journey, parallel events, and a title which gives the film causality and the character motivation (Binns, 2015).

– Binns, Daniel. Lectorial Week 8. Apr. 28th 2015.

Institutions Group Project: Week 1

Today we were sorted into our groups for our big final project, through the use of a deck of cards. I have to admit ‘pick a card! Any card!’ is much more fun than, ‘1, 2, 3… ok, 1’s over there.’ So now the project has officially begun and we’re working on the topic of media institutions, and the first thing we all thought of was traditional media institutions such as journalism and news media and how the landscape for such mediums has changed since such social mediums such as blogs and vlogs came into being. This gave us the idea for the entire premise of our project: traditional media vs. modern media.

Exploring the idea of traditional media institutions, one key figure immediately came to mind; Rupert Murdoch has a huge monopoly over the print media industry in Australia, England and some parts of the U.S. This case study of sorts led us to the question of ownership, political and economic agendas, and ethics, especially in traditional media, and how this contrasts to modern media institutions.

for the next part of the project, each member has to compile an annotated bibliography of five articles and we decided what areas each member will research. Alana will research social media institutions, I will research traditional media institutions, and Jess will research comparisons between the two forms, as well as a general overview that links all the aspects we brainstormed together. From this we will brainstorm further ideas and concepts to develop our overall project, which will be a multimedia platform, a.k.a, a website involving articles, videos, and any other pieces we can come up with.

Texts: The Emergence of Mass Culture and Pop Culture Texts

Pop art, a “new art movement of the 60’s” (teh_manis, 2013) in a way signified the beginning of mass culture, as it was the form in which many artists chose to criticise the new mass mediums in which the cultures and societies around them had become so consumed. It is the presence of criticism that truly alerts us to the presence of a movement, in this case mass culture and consumerism.

The works of Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol are two great examples of individuals who took their art and used it in a way to critique this mass movement. Lichtenstein’s work was “heavily influenced by both popular advertising and the comic book style.” (teh_manis, 2013) His most famous works are his collection of comic strips, which are “close but not exact copies of panels from other comic books.” (teh_manis, 2013) as exemplified through David Barsalou’s work on “deconstructing” Roy Lichtenstein’s art, as Barsalou puts the pieces together, placing the works from the original comic books that Lichtenstein copied next to Lichtenstein’s own works (Barsalou, 2015).  “Instead of using the primary colors of red, yellow and blue; he uses the primary colors of a printer which are yellow, magenta and cyan. He uses think lines, bolder colors than the original, and ben-day dots just like a printer would create on paper.” All of these factors emphasise the idea of remixing and drawing from the original, as in a way pop art was the first remix, creating works from already existent work, but in this case to create a critique of mass culture, unlike today where it has become a staple of mass culture. (teh_manis, 2013)

An example of his work is Drowning Girl (1963), which came from a story from DC Comics’ Secret Hearts #83 (teh_manis, 2013):



An example of the ben-day dots that Lichtenstein used in his works:

ben day dots

When Lichtenstein first published his works, he was met with much criticism as many in the media questioned his originality. “In 1964, Life magazine published an article titled ‘Is He the Worst Artist in the U.S.?’ Lichtenstein responded to this claim and others with ‘The closer my work is to the original, the more threatening and critical the content’.”  (teh_manis, 2013). The media continued to criticise his works, even asking the question ‘is this art?’. The attention to detail created by hand is no small feat, but it was created for the purpose of critiquing the climate of art and culture at the time and made you contemplate your current situation. By any definition it is art, just as John Cage created the ‘sound of silence’.

Another great example of the pop art movement of the 60’s is Andy Warhol’s work:


The “Campbell’s Soup Cans” painting by Warhol (of which the above is only a segment) references and critiques the mass consumerism and culture of the 60’s.

The works from this new wave movement from the 60’s were vital to the creation of the current mass culture as well as the expression of critical views towards society through art being fostered and continually fostered now,thanks to such artists.

– teh_manis. “The Originality of Roy Lichtenstein’s Comic Panel Art”. Mar. 15th 2013. Available at:

– Barsalou, David. “Deconstructing Roy Lichtenstein.” 2015. Available at:


Today Brian Morris talked to us about our final assignment, a group assignment, as well as one of the subject matters for said assignment: texts.

When talking about a ‘text’ one can speak of anything so long as it falls under the definition of a “material trace that [is] left [for] the practice of sense-making. The only empirical evidence we have of how other people make sense of the world.” (Morris, 2015). When analysing texts one can respond in two different ways; the effects tradition in communication studies which focuses on the effect that particular text has on its audience, and an idea that emerged from structuralism post WW2 (mid 20th century) against a particular idea of culture. This ‘interpretive tradition’ focused more on the meaning which the audience gleans from texts and the idea of popular culture texts, creating the broader structuralist movement known as semiotics.

Semiotics, as developed upon by Noam Chomsky, is denoted by ‘signs’ which have two parts, the signifier and the signified. The signifier is the audio/visual stimuli that triggers the signified, which is the mental connection that we associate  with that stimulus. For example, if you see this image:

curious dog


the first mental connection (or denotation (litreral/first meaning) you make is that the creature in the photo is a dog. The second mental connection you may make (or connotation (cultural/second meaning) is that the dog is curious, or has heard some kind of noise/seen something to make it react in such a way.

Codes are also associated with these ‘signs’, as they are conventions operating in relation to the stimuli (in this case a photograph). Such codes can be formal such as technical codes (shot scale, focus, etc.), composition (are the objects close together or spread out/in clusters?), genre (e.g. a family photo has basic conventions representing togetherness and a strong bond). There are also social/ideological codes, such as family, gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, class, age and nationality.

Texts, and the study of texts is essential to our growth and understanding of society, as through texts we can glean information about social values and discourses. For instance, through the use of semiotics we can develop our understanding of how meanings are created in a society through signs, and codes and conventions, all represented through the stimulus.

Jasmine Roth also spoke to us about the affordances of sound, which was very interesting as she spoke to us about how “the sense of hearing cannot be turned off at will.. We are continually absorbing and filtering the landscape… the ears only protection is an elaborate psychological mechanism for filtering out.” (Roth, 2015)

These ideas led  the intimate and immersive nature of sound and further develop the idea of tuning in and out of the soundscape through a perspective of hierarchized sounds that fit into three categories: figure/signal (focus/interest), ground (setting/context (not aware they are listening too) and field (background/ambient space(heard but not listened to). (Roth, 2015)

It was very interesting to listen in depth to the values and mechanisms of soundscapes, to discover that it is a “representation of a place or an environment that can be heard rather than… seen. [It is] an environment of sound.” (Roth, 2015) I feel knowing these small details about sound and its affordances will help me to utilise sound as a craft better in the future.

– Morris, Brian. Week 7 Lectorial. Apr. 21st 2015.

– Roth, Jasmine. Week 7 Lectorial. Apr. 21st 2015.

Portrait Reveals: Dad Edition

Today we revealed our portrait of someone else, our final portrait projects. Film festival style as always. And a De Bono style feedback session after (as always), also.

This time, we all took on every hat as we pleased, and my feedback was actually really great to hear. Only getting feedback from your parents can only get you so far in a project.

My feedback

First off on the red hat (which also kind of blends into the yellow hat), my group thought that my dad was pretty cool, which I definitely have to agree with. the whole reason why I chose to do this project on my dad is because he’s the type of guy who you always ask to tell his stories, because they’re always so interesting and he is very unashamedly open.

They thought that it was interesting how 3D printing is a very creative field, even though it seems to be a very technical field, which I totally agree with. One of the things my dad loves about 3D printing is that it allows him to be creative with programming, two of the things he loves to do.

I really enjoyed showing that part of my dad and my group thought that I captured the creative side of 3D printing really well, as you could see how passionate my dad is about it, which I was really pleased to hear as I felt like I had done his creative mind justice.

The stop motion really emphasised the mechanical, step by step process of the 3D printing, which was great to hear since I wasn’t really sure what to put in that space until stop motion dancing Groot came into my mind.

My use of found footage helped to cement my dad’s history in their heads as it created an image not otherwise possible, such as in the day dreaming section.

The opening shot of my Dad’s work-space was good to establish the type of person he is.

They really liked the time-lapse of the 3D printer.

And although I noticed the clipped audio a lot during the editing process, they said that it wasn’t that noticeable or that big a deal.

Now time for the black hat. As good as the choice of found footage was, it didn’t flow very well between images of my dad being interviewed as there were very little links, so it didn’t flow as well as it could have, which now that I notice it I agree with completely and want to work on it.

They also thought that I should’ve somehow placed more of the 3D printing process into the piece which I also agree with, as it probably would have brought the focus more onto the printing itself.

They also mentioned that the section at the end on Thingiverse could have been done better, using more varied images and text to show the same thing, making the sequence more visually interesting. Yet again, I agree.

I really enjoyed making this project and utilizing found footage was very exciting and enticing for me, to the point where I feel I may have over used it in some areas and forgotten about the flow of the project. However, I do feel that I managed to capture the essence of my dad and his creative and enthusiastic approach to 3D printing. If I had the chance to do something like this again however, I would have limited my questions strictly to 3D printing as I find that the best solutions and ideas come from thinking outside the box. But how can you think outside the box when there is no box to begin with?

Jeremy’s Project

I really enjoyed this unique take on a portrait by Jeremy Costa, as it really captured the personality of his subject, Keegan Mew, through the views of others surrounding him and a unique and very uninhibited look into his daily life through his hair and poses for the camera only he could do. The use of found footage as a sort of shadow over the footage of Mew doesn’t over power Costa’s subject and simply compliments the mood and aesthetic he is trying to achieve. It finishes on a nice note, as Costa asks Mew to describe himself, as all of his friends have done. The only thing I’d suggest is, add in more found footage, just so that complimentary shadow like effect occurs more frequently to greater impact.

A Portrait of my Dad

For our most recent project (and the most recent iteration of the portrait saga), I chose to create a two minute portrait of my father. For this project, as there has been with with each one previously, there has been a unique ‘catch’, found footage must be utilised throughout the project.

As with each project there has also been a reflection required, so here’s mine;

Looking back on the piece I feel that the found footage I chose to match with the audio really linked together to create an entirely new meaning, a more childlike hope and sense of wonderment, as I felt that was the essence of my father that I was trying to capture. I also feel that the photographic components worked really well in the piece and aided in creating this mood drastically. This was the first time I created a timelapse video and utilised stop-motion to create movement on a large scale, and I think that both processes worked really well.

The most problematic aspects of the project for me were the audio and the interview process. I found it very difficult to edit the interview I did with my father as he is a very fast talker, and generally didn’t leave me any space to cut the audio cleanly, which made some clips sound rougher and more clipped than others. I also discovered very quickly into the interview process that some of the questions I had written down were too open ended, as answers would stretch on for around ten minutes each. This gave me around an hour and a half of footage to edit for the interview, which was very difficult to break down to just two minutes of material.

I found that the use of found footage allowed me to take the essence of the piece to the level and the attitude of my subject, allowing me to hopefully instil the audience with as much hope and enthusiasm for the future as my father has.

While I did borrow and use the Zoom H2N recorder to record the ambient noises around my dad’s work area, I later discovered, after returning the device, that the recordings were not very useable without alteration, and also realised that just my father’s words by themselves were powerful enough, so I decided to let his words and the imagery speak for themselves, as opposed to over-saturating the piece.

Through this piece I really wanted to experiment with the linking of the visual and the auditory, creating meaning through these created links, as well as cuts between footage. I really wanted to utilise match cuts to link the two parts of the ‘story’, so I matched an image of a rocket flying with the 3D printer, printing a rocket, which was a new idea for me but I think worked really well. I feel I really achieved my goal of creating a new meaning through editing, and brought through the essence of my dad’s persona.

Collaboration: Community Sourced Media

In today’s world everything can be shared instantaneously through social media, making everything more accessible and starting a new wave of entertainment and media sourcing. At the head of that wave are websites such as YouTube and Vimeo, on which artists can freely contribute whatever they create for the viewing pleasure of audiences around the globe. The sheer number of artists present on these websites has created a vast community, some of whom interact and collaborate with each other to produce even better videos than before.

But, there is an organisation that not many have heard of that is utilising this idea of collaboration and taking it to a whole new level. Joseph Gordon-Levitt started his open, collaborative production company ‘HitRECord‘ in 2010 where they started by producing short collaborative films which were screened at film festivals such as the Sundance film festival. As Gordon-Levitt himself puts it, an open, collaberative production company is, “open, meaning anyone can contribute, collaborative meaning we use the internet to work on our projects together, and production company because that’s what we do.”

The first season of HitRECord on TV! won a Primetime Emmy and an Emmy for ‘Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media – Social TV Experience’. The TV show, through its collaborative and mix of styles is a new version of the variety show in the age of social media. The first episode, ‘RE: the Number One’ was first aired on YouTube before it was aired on television and contained work from 426 contributors:

The show, like most vloggers and bloggers of social media, is also unafraid to tackle vital issues on the headlines of newspapers such as this call out for contributions regarding feminism:

Other topics explored include fantasy, trash, space and money, among others. Even though the other episodes in the list don’t seem to cover topical issues, each episode goes in depth on its topic, exploring every possible avenue it can, such as in the first episode above where they bring light to the honey mushroom, a singular organism that is so large it is destroying every tree that stands in its way in the forest it occupies.

HitRECord is only one of many entities that use community collaboration to create some truly amazing artistic creations, and thanks to the internet and social networking sites, collaborative art works are more and more possible to create, not just within a network of peers, but globally too.

Media is a Form of Research: Collaboration

Today Amy Saunders and Rachel Wilson spoke to us about research and collaboration respectively.

Amy, the liason librarian for our program, spoke to us about how to properly use the resources at our disposal through the library, such as how to search properly, the databases available to us and how to know if your article is scholarly or not. It’s surprising how much you don’t know about this type of thing until you look a little closer.

Rachel talked to us about collaboration and the value and need for successful collaboration within the industry, all in time for our big group assignment. She gave us a lot of valuable information about how to structure our group work and meetings to ensure fairness and strong collaboration within the group, such as writing minutes for every meeting convened, and different ways to diffuse bad situations, involving sharing ideas and solving problems when they arise.

Zoom H2N Sound Recorder Practice

Today in our workshop we practiced with the Zoom H2N Sound Recorder, moving around the uni to try and capture all different sound qualities. The list included lovely locations such as, a bathroom and a large hallway, and various nature sounds.

It was very interesting to hear the variation between room types and to hear what echo was like close and far away from a subject. Emily Mitrevski and I experimented with echo as we had a conversation in a small, echoing room. We pointed the microphone towards and away from whoever was speaking during our conversation, noticing that one person’s voice was echoing while the other wasn’t.

Also, in the bathroom, I experimented with sound by placing the microphone faraway from the sound and then close, creating very different sounds each time.

I also put a Zoom recorder out a window slightly to record the sounds of the outdoors. As I securely moved it from side to side of the window, the glass slightly blocked the sound and dulled the noises, especially the wind, creating a kind of kaleidoscope of sound , as it changed drastically from end to end, scaling down in the middle.

Through this exercise I’ve discovered a lot more about the capturing of sound and how the distance at which you capture it from can create a unique versatility thought unique only to the visual image.