ALANA JC

Just figuring out my future...

Reflection- Assessment Task 5

When I chose the studio Good Form, I was unaware of the work we would be required to do. On the first day I was delighted to discover we were actually creating a legitimate comedy web series. My initial panic was thinking how the hell am I going to write a funny script?! Soon enough we were introduced to the creative writing students who pitched their web series ideas to us. I immediately jumped on Tom’s ‘Jeff and Janes Quality Fun Times’ and I never once regretted it.

The J+J team got to work right away, it consisted of media students, Gabby, Anie, Luka and I, as well as writers, Tom, Charlotte, Sam and Hamish. We clicked instantly and began getting excited about the show we were producing. Roles were divided amongst us media students and with 4 episodes on the cards it was easy to rotate positions and get a turn at everything.

 

We planned on using one day to shoot everything in the RMIT studios, however due to a peanut related emergency we had to come back the following week. An incident which I believed worked in our favour, as we had learnt from the previous weeks’ mistakes, and you can tell even in the final episodes posted that Episodes 2 and 4 are much better quality.

This was mainly due to the lighting and white balancing. In episodes 1 and 3, the skin colour was glowing orange, and the general shot was over exposed. During editing Luka and Gabby (their episodes) were able to alter this to the best of their ability, however you’ll notice the colour still looks a little washed out.

Luckily for me, I directed my episode 2 on the second week. This time we were far more prepared and ensured we checked the white balancing every time the camera changed position. The end result was impeccable and required no further altering. Throughout the semester I learnt a lot about post production editing, particularly how to use a green screen. I became far more comfortable with Premiere Pro and the X200 cameras. I got more hands on experience in the studio as well, including boom handing and general camera operation.

 

Based on my experience with production I’ve also learnt how important communication is within the team. I found at times a couple of my group members clashed as both their ideas had to be used. I found it a little annoying especially considering the director should be the main person in charge. In the ‘real world’ a camera operator wouldn’t be arguing with the directors shot choice, which I found happening far too often. As well as this, during editing, agreeing on the aesthetic of the show was a nightmare. You would notice the difference between episode 1 and 2 (for example). Luke edited episode 1 and believed ‘mistakes’ would add to the aesthetic of the show. However, my episode 2 was not like that at all. I didn’t like the way episode 1 was edited and it didn’t fit in with the rest of the episodes. Steiner told us during the pitch to be careful of what you ‘mess up’, and said that audio should always be on point. I followed his advice, unfortunately others didn’t and I was worried it wouldn’t be an obvious and purposeful mistake to our audience. I tested this when showing my sister episode 1, she immediately thought it was a mistake and didn’t find it funny, hence my concern for the rest of our viewers.

 

Despite this I truly believe we worked well as a team. I told Luka how I felt about his ideas however at the end of the day it was his episode to direct and edit. I was happy with my episode and (just quietly) it is the writer’s favourite. We responded well to feedback from everyone that gave it to us, including classmates, Steiner, Jeremey and audiences. Earlier on we found some family and friends were confused by the concept of the show, in response to this we posted more promos and even spent an afternoon filming the most random acts of Jeff and Jane that we could use as teasers. Tom and Charlotte were too good for words in their roles as Jeff and Jane. So to was Sam as Mick and Dr. Dren, even I made an appearance which I’m not bragging about ha-ha.

In regards to the rest of the semester, Shannon and I worked together to complete the weekly update for week 2. We jumped on it early to ensure it was done before things started to get busy. In all honesty week 2 was quite mellow and there wasn’t much to add. For the end of semester presentation, us J+J team worked together to form a little promo/teaser. It was basically a mini highlight reel of some classic Jeff and Jane moments.

 

Above all, I’m so happy with the end result of Good Form. Jeff and Janes Quality Fun Times is a laugh and a half and is something I will always be proud to say I was a part of. I’d love to go back through the footage and make a gag reel, as there was so much laughter throughout the filming I went home with sore cheeks. We put so much work into this whole semester and it never once got boring. If someone in our group didn’t know how to do something, there was always another one of us who would teach them how. The talent in our team was so diverse it made for such a smooth production of a quality comedy web series.

 

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Good Form: Assessment Task 2 Reflection

‘Girls on Facebook’ is an episode of the popular comedy web series Leftovers. The series is distributed to viewers via Facebook and Youtube, and has received a positive response for it’s hilarious sketch comedy. There are many aspects that make or break a comedy web series. These days, almost anyone can produce and upload a quality video and share it across multiple platforms. Of course, shows that attract big online distributors such as Youtube, Hulu and Netflix will have a greater chance of reaching success. As the media market continues to grow, there is more opportunities for filmmakers to create something that will catch a buyers eye. The mini series in the form known as ‘web series’ can become hits themselves, based on who they attract online.

“Somewhere along the line of making original videos, online content creators started crafting serialised programmes” (Williams, D 2012). The difference between those that were a success or not came down to multiple factors. Target audience is important to remember when creating online content. Remembering who is likely to be watching videos on Youtube etc and ensuring your content is tasteful, yet entertaining. After watching Leftover’s ‘Girls on Facebook’ I can understand why it received so much positive attention. They hit their target audience of quite literally girls on Facebook. It was distributed on Facebook and within hours the likes increased and girls began tagging their best friends to relate. Helena and Pip are best friends themselves and the process of anxiously uploading a new profile picture and consulting with your BFF is a situation most young girls have experience (sadly I can vouch for this). 

Another important aspect is tastefulness. It’s critical that jokes are kept refined ensuring they don’t touch on controversial subjects such as race and terrorism. If this is ever done, it needs to be extremely satirical or sarcastic and not offend viewers. For example, True Aussie Patriots posted an episode on Youtube that was extremely racist and inappropriate regarding asylum seekers. No surprise it didn’t take off. Leftovers on the other hand, never use jokes that approach subjects this serious. There was one fat girl joke made during the ‘Girls on Facebook’ episode, however I don’t think it was an attack on overweight people more so than an attack at Helena’s own self-esteem.

Accessibility also improves the success of a comedy web series. For example, Leftovers display their videos across three platforms, with links to the other two on each page. They also provide links to other videos in the series and encourage people to share. As a result of this, they have been mentioned on BuzzFeed Australia and FOXFM. Creating a successful comedy web series isn’t just about having a smartphone and a joke or two. It takes a lot of thought and preparation, as well as creative skill to really capture an audience that are willing to follow and support your show.

PDF: Leftovers: Girls on Facebook Describe Analyse

Good Form: Week 2 Update

To kick off week two Jeremy ran through our schedule for the week, he gave us an introduction to both Assessment Task one and two. We looked through some examples that our peers had on comedy web series. Oliver suggested the pilot episode of The Guild, which involved multiple characters in different locations having a conversation through an online game. Whilst it may not have been everyone’s kind of humour, it demonstrated an interesting take on how to introduce the series and establish their characters. During this viewing we realised they broke one of filming’s main rules.. They crossed the line. We then viewed Jake and Amir Fish Scroll which made everybody in the room laugh. This particular episode only involved one establishing shot at the beginning and then multiple cuts of back and forth close ups of the two talking. Finally, we watch an episode of Leftovers which involved a basic conversation between two girls. This clip stuck to the 180 degree rule, and also had a fairly specific demographic e.g. uni students. To conclude the Monday we were put into pairs for assessment task 2, and started thinking about which comedy web series we wanted to analyse.
On Wednesday, Jeremy had us watch the comedy series FLAT3 episode 1. This demonstrated a great point of view shot as well as over the shoulder. This then lead us into assessment task one, which we completed within the 3 hour studio. In groups of roughly 3, we were sent off to film and direct an already scripted scene, using our smartphones. Most us debuted our acting careers, which made our episodes extra cringe worthy. We were encouraged to try use different camera shots like the ones in FLAT3. Once we were satisfied with our footage, we headed to the edit suites and got to work. I think for most of us the longest part was the upload, the editing came quite easy to us all. We knew what footage we were looking, and it just became a matter of cutting and sequencing them into one fluid clip.

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Good Form: Assessment Task 1

Assessment Task 1 was a great introduction to producing a comedy web series. We were able to get some hands on experience regarding shooting a scripted scene and then editing those into a fluid ‘episode’. Gabby, EieKie and I worked together to produce ‘YEAH…’, we collaborated really well and had similar ideas. Based on the examples we had been shown in class including FLAT3, we were able to use the same camera shots they did. Some of these involved the point of view shot, where it would appear we were having the conversation with the audience. I think this one worked really well in regards to capturing the awkward moment in conversation and getting a sense of character from each person. Our aim was to film most of the lines from multiple camera angles/ shots, and then during editing figure out which ones flowed best. Even though it’s safer to have too many options rather than not enough, we may have gone a little over board, which made it hard to condense the videos and pick the right ones. The editing process was probably my favourite. It actually didn’t take us very long, as we were very efficient and knew where most of the ‘best’ lines were filmed.

The moment in the clip where is goes from the point of view to the wide shot of both characters starring at each other, works really well in demonstrating how separated and awkward  the two feel in the conversation. The wide shot is also important when setting the scene, which was done at the beginning making it was clear the two were coming from a class/lecture. The main thing I noticed that didn’t go so well would have been the second camera shot (right at the start). I began one of my lines whilst my head was cut off in the frame, and EieKie also walked right in front of me. To better this, we probably should have had a clear view of my face so that the audience knew exactly who those words were coming from. Considering it’s a short clip, first lines such as ‘didn’t understand a word’, are important when establishing character.

If I was to repeat this task again, I’d really prefer not to act. Rather, be more hands on in the filming/ directing aspect. I know it was just a quick introduction task however it would’ve been interesting to try and frame specific shots. I was still able to contribute to what shots would work best which was great. Another downfall is the sound, which obviously we couldn’t quite control with an Iphone. Although during editing, Gabby did a great job in trying to cover up any quiet or interrupting noises.  I think overall we created a decent episode that reflected many different camera shots and depicted the characters really well. We stuck to most of the rules we had recently learnt in class, including the 180 degree rule, and the establishing shot.

 

 

The Student Livestyle Show

It’s Alive RMIT!!! Episode 1 of The Student Livestyle Show! For this episode I was in charge of live streaming. This involved cutting between studios and bringing up live tweets to the screen.  It was challenging but very fun and I felt really important to the team 🙂 Overall, we were pretty happy with how things turned out, room for improvement as always though. aaaaaaa

 

‘Once Upon a Term Paper’- Assessment Task 3 Hypermedia Story

‘Once Upon a Term Paper’- by Amateurs Online 

Reflection

Throughout the duration of this course, the concept of an extension of hypertext has appeared often in relation to how users of digital platforms interact with a wide variety of media. ‘Hypermedia’, as the non-linear medium inclusive of video, images, audio, plain text, and hyperlinks, enhances the message being communicated to the view as a form of broad electronic literature. In Network Literacy: The New Path to Knowledge (Miles, 2007), it is contended that the ‘containers’ in which knowledge is conveyed in has changed in the movement into the 21st century, in that mediums such as blogs and visual interpretations of information has overtaken traditional mediums such as tactile books. The extension of this change can be seen in the use of hyperlinks, becoming a source of further learning and spread of information.

Douglass states that “it is hardly likely that digital media like hypertext are going to supersede books” (Douglass 1999). Even with the rise of new digital mediums such as more powerful video games and the internet expanding, the book continues to have its own place. He also states that the advancement of books help to continue their popularity. This continues to be evident as we now have the new ways of consuming books through ebooks and audio books with services such as Audible and the Kindle.

Hypertext reminds me a lot of modern video games. In the past, video games either had no narrative, their narratives were linear or they gave the illusion that they were non-linear. This is what inspired us with our interactive story. There are games, some examples include The Walking Dead, Tales from the Borderlands, and Stanley’s Parable’ that have multiple endings and each person’s gameplay can be different from another. Our story is created on flash. Visually it is not amazing which we understand will fail when trying to grab the attention of the audience. However the technical side works and allows flexibility. If given more time and resources, our story would have been much more fleshed out and allow the reader to completely dictate some areas of the story such as character names. Currently, our hypertext story contains different outcomes and each play through can be different depending on the number of times a reader has read the story. Currently there are only four outcomes. If we were able to add sections where the audience can completely change a part of the story, then each time a new entry is made, it is a whole new story even if it is a slight adjustment. Bernstein describes hypertexts as having “embedded and irregular links suggest the wildness of nature, where thumb tabs, lists, and menus all suggest systematic order.” (Herzogenrath 2012). Unfortunately our story does not contain as much interaction as this description of hypertext. Our goal was not to make it as sophisticated as the stories on The Walking Dead and Stanley’s parable. However we believe that with more technical knowledge, our hypertext can be further expanded on.

Douglass states that hypertext “is a primitive example of a highly refined technology” (Douglass 1999). With modern technology, this may change soon with more authors allowing the audience to add in their stories therefore expanding the narrative further than the original author can. This can be seen in sandbox games such as Fallout 4 and Minecraft where users often add in their own stories.

Assignment #2- Finding My Community

Facebook is many things to different people. Whether you use it to share information about your life on a daily basis, or simply sit back and scroll through everyone else’s problems. It can be used to follow interests such as AFL, a favourite author or even keep tabs on your favourite restaurants and cafes. You can check-in and review the places you go, because literally almost everyone and everything has a Facebook link to their name. However, I became involved in a particular community just a few months ago. Facebook groups were introduced in 2010 and revolve around communication, sharing and interaction with people you have commonalities with. The Dingley Village Community Noticeboard (DVCN), is a Facebook group designed for residents of Dingley Village. Some outsiders can be included if they have connection to the village i.e attend school, or own a local business.

Like most online communities, the DVNC have rules and regulations  and are run by a group of stay at home mothers, who are very involved within the community. The group is ‘closed,’ meaning others can see it but must request to join, it has nearly 4,000 members. Based on my experience to date within the community I’ve found it very difficult to contribute information without the risk of being criticised or humiliated. I personally haven’t experienced this, however I have seen it happen to many other people. Unfortunately I was unable to screenshot any examples of this behaviour for my blog as admins are quite quick to delete them. They also threaten to remove those involved from the group altogether.

I’ve learnt a lot about writing to an audience within my community. Oatway’s reading highlighted the important factors about reaching your audience. For example, when I first joined the group, I sat back and watched the page to see how others posted and responded to certain people. And when I finally made my first post I made sure it was relevant to those within the community and sure enough I sparked genuine responses from my neighbours. (Ignore the first sarcastic comment, that was my sister).

In terms of NOT reaching your audience, i’ve also witnessed other uses post ridiculous questions, often seeking attention or trying to be funny. Unsuccessful in their attempt, the post is removed by admin. I haven’t made a large amount of posts to the page, however I still involve myself in other people’s feeds. For example, a lady once posted a very negative comment regarding my place of work. I stood up for myself and my colleges and thus a spark of replies were created, once again, the post was unfortunately removed. Most of those involved within my community use it correctly, with the exception to those few who abuse the page. So far I have found the page very rewarding when it comes to passing on messages that will affect parts or all of the village. On the other hand, I had to turn off notifications for the group, as there are way too many posts that clog my newsfeed. Although, the DVCN allows me to share messages with my neighbours, I still question myself with every post I make in fear it will be ridiculed and abused.

Bibliography:

  • Oatway, Jay, Apr 26, 2012, Mastering Story, Community and Influence : How to Use Social Media to Become a Socialeader Wiley, Hoboken. 97-109. ISBN: 9781119943457.

The pro’s and con’s..

Unfortunately not everyone within your community will cooperate. It can be seriously hard to post anything online without being criticised or someone commenting something sarcastic. My post was genuine and sparked real responses. Whereas, poor John asked a question regarding if Playhouse was kid friendly, and for those who don’t know, Playhouse is a very ratty nightclub.  Hence the sarcastic and rude comments some people gave him.

 

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Dingley Village Community Facebook Page

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My Community

Interestingly enough my online community ‘network’ is my real life living community as well. I live in a very proud village in the south eastern suburbs. Dingley Village with the postcode 3172, have some extremely patriotic residents. Not only does a person’s address declare them a part of this community, but their involvement in the closed Facebook group  does more so. With nearly 4,000 members, the noticeboard was designed “to be safe and helpful, a place where you can advertise Business & Service Directories (recommendations/referrals), list Events (such as local fundraisers), make specific requests (such as seeking donations etc.) This was what I was expecting when I joined the group just a few months ago, however I was genuinely mislead….

 

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