Reflecting on my visual aesthetics on film: farm buggy shot

I’ve had a tumultuous past couple of weeks ranging from some sort of creative menagerie in addition to some nasty “Winter is Coming!”-type of cold or whatever, but alas, it always surprises me how easily I can open up Premier Pro and string some pieces together and assess my visual aesthetics.

Of course, this is a very important aspect for a director. Very important. Filmmakers, though we’ve seen plenty productions that look and feel and seem very much alike, this often always is not the case. Shall we study my Spanish-er, my directorial language then?

(excuse the quality of the videos. DSLR is not my forte.)

~ Yarra Valley Shoot ~

Farm Buggy.mp4

This was a coincidence shot. I was roaming around with the camera, mostly focusing on the surroundings when the buggy violates my peripheral vision. It was going faster than you can say pull focus, so I zoomed, framed and as best I can, follow (pan) the buggy as it works it way on the path.

Notice my frame. Again, I reiterate the composition. The trees “blocking” the buggy from view made me think of a hide-and-seek vista. The camera doesn’t do the work for you, instead, the audience’s eyes have to do the work themselves. I tried and evidently failed towards the end to allow the buggy to leave the frame as I focus on my framed end shot, but you can somehow tell (I hope).

This particular exercise taught me two things: i. the power of colour (refer to The Girl In Red scene in Schindler’s List (1993), and ii. my preference of intimate, tight framing.

In post, I tried to up the contrast from softer hues to a higher degree of polarity to highlight the colour of not just the trees, but also the red-orange colour of the buggy. This helps the audience in the “seeking” side of the H-and-S capture. And for tighter framing at a distance, what kinds of lens is best to use? 50mm so both foreground and background remain in focus? (I was on 35mm)

If this shot was part of a narrative, the focus is on the buggy, seen from a character’s point of view. It could also be a motivated shot to show the audience that there is more to the buggy than what a wide-angle shot could portray:

Wide angle – establishing shot, shows the general “setting” of the scene where a buggy so happens to pass by.

Tight frame shot – like above, there is an intent, a reason that as to why the buggy’s view is blocked and why it follows it specifically. It’s preparing the audience for the scene to come and/or making sure the audience keeps this buggy at the back of their minds to be later address in the film/narrative.

It’s a Neverending Story Part II: The Frozen Arc

An essay of the roles of audience participation in the media industry.

”…networked literacies are marked by your participation as a peer in these flows and networks – you contribute to them and in turn can share what others provide.”

I have a penchant for punny puns…

*Ally gets asked about her first kiss but boy is it complicated because le boy likes her and this other girl* (sound familiar?)

Official transcript:
“I felt like Cinderella… until the princess girlfriend showed up. Then my glass slipper broke, the pumpkin exploded all over me, and the gingerbread man found a wolf in grandma’s house.”

“I think you’re mixing up your fairytales, dear.”

“It was pretty…. Grimm.”

(Apparently I’m also into Disney shows that cater for an audience of “pre-teens and adolescents aged 10-16 but who am I kidding.)


What was striking about this innocent interaction is the “mixing up your fairytales, dear” because, it’s true. Ally Dawson did mix up her fairytales, and the heartbreak is only partly at fault. By whose authority does she have to liberally spew out an entirely new fairytale from an-already established one? How dare she connect stories like that?!

(Yellowlees to the rescue!)

Douglas J. Yellowlees states, “…the book that changes every time you read it, responding to your moods, your whims, your latest fetish is, perhaps tellingly, a fantasy that has never been explored in print.”

…until now that is.

I’m a big book reader. One of my biggest dreams is to one day become a professional writer; a novelist, amongst other things. The “changelessness” of a book’s text, bound up in its “fixity” is the main allure; the satisfying crunch after a whole day of lounging on your gluteus-maximus and ignoring the social world (Yellowlees, p.4). I quote myself, “One of the reasons why I believe that having a beginning and an end is very important to a body of work, especially when it is some sort of narrative, is how it necessitates arguments, debates and opposition” (Chiong, Mythographic). But I want to delve deeper into not just the paperback side of things, but networked media in general.

I want to explore the meanings behind what it means to have a beginning and an end; the convulated relationship of adding on to something that has already been established whether they be in books, movies or television. Basically, the notion of how Media helps to “ensure freedom of expression and to provide genuine opportunities for expression” and how the role of the audience plays a big impact in this narrative-manipulation. (Sundet, 2012, p.3)

So first, let’s refer back to Adrian Miles’ take on network literacy. He states that network literacies are “marked by your participation as a peer in these flows and networks” (Miles, 2007, p.24-30). We, as a network-literate generation contribute to this seeming enigma by sharing what others provide.

Let’s look at it this way:

Anna & Elsa of “Frozen’ on ‘Once Upon A Time’ (Courtesy of ABC)
I recently came across this television series, “Once Upon A Time,” when I stumbled across real-life Anna and Elsa photographs while I do my usual Internet troll (le photo). Now, I wouldn’t normally care for real-life adaptations (my heart’s been crushed with the Dragonball, Tekken and The Last Airbender adaptation – please don’t get me started). However, looking at the photographs to your right, and being incredibly anal retentive, I couldn’t help but be drawn to actress’ likeness to the animated characters.

As a member of their audience, my expectations are extremely high just by looking at one photograph. And Once Upon A Time creators, Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz share the same feeling of “not just pressure but responsibility” also (Horowitz, 2014, n.p.).

The Frozen storyline has a fixed beginning and end. We saw each of the characters go through their development; changing in ways as is necessary to the narrative. And if you’ve watched the entire series you can see just how much the creators have played around with the canonical material of the other fairytales. (I bet you didn’t know that the Wicked Witch of the West is sisters with the Evil Queen from Snow White now, did you?)

So, going back to my argument about how a fixed beginning and end is important to a narrative because arguments, debates and opposition are birthed by such, we have to look at the audience.  Garcia-Avilez sums this up quite nicely:

The synergies between television and the Internet have brought about innovative ways of considering the role of audiences and amplifying the reception of programs, as interactive technologies transforming the way television communicates with the audience, and also increasing the opportunities for audience feedback and engagement with programs.

(Garcia-Avilez, 2012, p.430)

Horowitz, Kitsis and most of the main cast are active participants of the global social-networking site, Twitter. Through this online medium that can reach millions of people around the world, those involved in the television series have an extremely easy access to consumers worldwide, influencing people’s choices to fully support the series and the introduction of the new Frozen arc; garnering media attention from the public. This fosters the idea of Twitter as a participative medium that “facilitates the involvement of the public” in different ways including commenting, sharing, criticising and reacting to different pieces of news (Garcia-Avilez, 2012, p.431). Check out the stars’ fan-engagement if you don’t believe me, right here.

At the same time, the instant feedback from social media has become a “thermometer to measure the level of audience engagement (Garcia-Avilez, 2012, p.437). Their involvement “generates support” and whether it be the support for the insinuation of the Frozen arc as opposed to being against it, or simply for “visibility,” it still links back to the whole idea of how Kitsis and Horowitz were able to freely manipulate canonical material to cater for their creative choosing.

In America, the season opening was a record-breaking high for the series.

Does this mean that the marketing campaign was successful in garnering all the hype? Or are people simply curious as to how Edward and Kitsis appropriated the the popular, beloved characters into their television show?

Let’s look at the reactions of the masses in the basis of the “hook” of the story below:

Once Upon a Time – Rotten Tomatoes Rating

Season 1 (2011) 

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 8.54.09 pm


Season 2 (2012)

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 8.54.30 pm



Season 3 (2013)

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 8.54.47 pm



Season 4 (2014) 

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 8.50.44 pm




Analysing the reception for each season, we see a change in how the audience – from the average couch potatoes to the top critics – have reacted. The Frozen storyline emerged in Season 4 (and is still ongoing) and the critic consensus: “feels like a marketing angle” but it “shines…adding more layers to an already complex story.” Average users liked it as much as Season 1 though the ‘tomatometer’ speaks otherwise with Season 4 averaging a mere 64% compared to Season 1’s 78%.

What does this mean, exactly? Are the critics just that much harsher due to the exploited current pop culture obsession?

“We’re not trying to change these characters or redefine them, because we love the movie so much and what they did with them. We’re instead trying to surprise the audience with how they become involved with our characters and our world.”

Mixed responses all over the internet. Some “abhor” the idea that the creators didn’t change the characters as much as they did the others. But as Kitsis says, “this is the most expensive fan fiction ever”(Kitsis, 2014).

Key word: Fan fiction. 

The whole medium of adapting these characters and be given a new set of adventures and stories links back to the notion of hypertext, or in this case, hypermedia. The prefix “hyper” refers to that “extra dimension,” an extension of what is previously confined (Heim, n.d., n.p.).

Think about it.

The freedom to choose to do what you want to do with what has been given to you.

Both Horowitz and Kitsis wanted to stay true to what the movie has established. They may even have feared the idea of drastically changing the beloved characters as much as they have done with those already in the show. However, this side of the industry simply reiterates the idea of how the media promotes creative freedom.

The basic sum-up is simple: creative freedom in the media industry is empowered by audience participation. As someone who will be deliberately influencing the future of media, this has opened up a a nebulous network of avenues that challenge me to perceive media as not just simply a place for pure creative freedom without the audience’ consent, as evidently, it wouldn’t do well, especially if they are your target audience.

This study enabled me to not approach the industry lightly. It challenges me to think about the fine subtleties in the marriage of established, confounded narratives with the ever-changing interactive media. Do I want people to see support my works and therefore create that visibility I need for future broadcast? Or am I content in re-structuring narratives however way I want with no fear of audience reception?

In any case, at least I’ve both expounded (or hoped I did) upon the relationship of narrative beginnings and ends while simultaneously incorporating the impact of audience participation.




  1. Bolter, J 1991,
    Writing Space: The Computer, Hypertext and the History of Writing, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillside
  2. Garcia-Aviles, J 2010, ‘Citizen journalism in European television websites,’ Lights and shadows of user generated content, viewed 20 October 2012,
  3. Ng, P 2014, ‘Once Upon a Time Bosses on Season 4’,  New Rivalries, Rocky Romances and ‘Frozen’ Twist, viewed 18 October 2014,
  4. Steiner, A 2014, ‘Frozen’ On ‘Once Upon A Time’ — Pics Of Anna, Elsa & More From The Set, online image, viewed 20 October 2014,!6/once-upon-a-time-frozen-ftr/
  5. Sundet, V & Ytreberg, E 2006,
    Born to Participate: Media Industries’ Conceptions of the Active Media Participant, ESF Exploratory Workshop, Lysebu
  6. TheMediaDB 2011, Once upon A time ABC New Tv series Trailer, online video, viewed 18 October,
  7. Yellowlees, D 2000,
    The End of Books – Or Books Without End?, University of Michigan Press, Michigan

11th Pointing Outs

I’m kinda liking this whole 11th theme.

Thank you, Kiralee for a nice summary of the the symposium this week. Steph draws out the idea of our human need to somehow make everything a story; our ability to “fill in the gaps.” Is that an innate thing? Or are we just drawn to the idea of doing so as an act of rebellion against society’s deliberate vandalising of such concept? Deep stuff…
I would also like to admire Jess‘s immaculate organisation as she always seem to be up to date with everything. You go glen coco.

11th Chaos and Lots and Lots of Letters

What’s more valiant than trying to get my artsy fartsy brain around logical structures, hierarchies and feigned knowledge of the medium I’m supposed to have all the knowledge about? I would like to whisper everything, but who am I kidding?


Cue a new-mum Snow White trying to fix a whole town’s generator. (Edit: start from 0:25)

What I did like was the whole contributing factor to the misconception of the Internet as chaotic rather than highly controlled. Galloway states that the contradiction between Machine 1 and Machine 2 is the reason for this misconception. Machine 1 is our Medieval guy. Shared power, distributed amongst autonomous locales. A castle here, a land over there. A moat for you, some sheep for thine. Machine 2 is our moustachioed friend from the two-set of W’s time era. Rigid, defined, hierarchies, power, absolute power. Nauseating and slightly murderous.

If I was to strike a pose to define my understanding of the internet as a whole, it’ll be me on the floor fast asleep. I want to understand the intricacies of the world wide web. I want to flourish amongst all the codings and encodings, the historical drama that later on defined the millennia. But I can’t grapple this on my own.

In all honesty, the main thing I garnered from this reading is the idea that if I was smart enough to be that controlling authority who, hypothetically of course, wished to ban a certain country/continent from the internet just cause, I could pretty much do it through a “simple modification of information contained in the root servers at the top of the inverted tree.”

So if no one else is climbing that tree, I’ll put my Anna boots on and blocking your Kristoff’s out as I climb away to find my sister, er, power…

Useless Boxes and the Neutral Game

Neutrality. Ah, yes, my favourite Swiss word.

Dear Jess animated my vision, and at the same time horrifically made me philosophise at the worst of times by showing me the useless box kit that costs forty flippin dollars that may not even include shipping.

Apart from its appeal to the hip-pocket, I’m slightly unnerved. I don’t want to delve too deep into her question of whether or not this useless box kit is neutral because I may just dive into the why of its existence, which is basically, a reason to go against the unreasonable.

Think about it. Why would anyone make the useless box kit? Isn’t it because some stroke of genius or, in my opinion, sass, came upon the creator one day and with a flick of a switch, thought it funny to actually go against the laws of what makes this box useless. I mean, why is it useless? Is it because there’s already an existing thought of its uselessness and therefore we should gratify this thought by physical interpretation? Hardly.

I reckon the creator’s just a sass master, willing to bend the rules of neutrality, trying to find a loophole in the system by waving around this annoying box screaming hallelujah. To a vast majority, perhaps many would conclude this useless box to be neutral. But for the creator, not so much. Why? Because when you think about, all of us “have a relationship with most things which carry specific meanings.” And for the creator, this is exactly so.

Shop me an entertainment economy

As an always-been-forever-will-be film fanatic now student (who would have thought), I’ve always had this desire to extend my cinematic gauge. Thanks to my father, who is a movie-lover himself, we’ve always had our fair share of video, DVD rentals; a tradition whenever the holidays popped by. Nowadays, my local video store has been replaced by a fitness gym with a horrifically exorbitant membership (when are they not) and the only thing you can watch is fat crying on treadmills. Not exactly entertaining and definitely far from a Lubitsch classic, if you ask me.

For too long we’ve been suffering the tyranny of lowest-common-denominator fare, subjected to brain-dead summer
blockbusters and manufactured pop. Why? Economics. Many of our assumptions about popular taste are actually
artifacts of poor supply-and-demand matching – a market response to inefficient distribution.

So here’s a jarring word: economics. Now, I’ve never been that much interested with the whole production, consumption, ‘produsage’ vibe until very recently and what hurts most is how I didn’t pay as much attention to as I should have in the first place. This is the ‘Jaws’ attack metaphorically and figuratively. (My good friend does an apt job of explaining my sentiments here.)

I echo everything. I’m flabbergasted, amazed, consumed, overpowered, embarrassed by my limited knowledge of film art. It’s almost appalling to look at my reflection on my TV screen. Everything is about the latest blockbuster trend. What makes for a good spin-off, a music video, a collector’s doll for the only dusted shelf in the house. No one attributes good movies with exactly how good it is any longer. I could scream “THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER” to both your ears via magic and either you’ll look across from me to that shop around the corner or you’ll think I’m half mad.

You probably wouldn’t even know that the movie is an 8.1 on IMDB or a perfect-score tomato party. Chris Anderson surmises this whole entertainment economy quite frankly and in all its verity. I’m a culprit of this crime too. I can’t not say that I’ve been and still is continually being allured by the latest Hollywood movie trends and what word of mouth says is worth the movie ticket. You simply can’t help it, nowadays. Or can you?

Are we just going to sit off the usual cinematic prose borrowed from every piece of blockbuster film for monetary concerns with salty buttered popcorn?

I may need water.

Technical Botts and Beans

The first time my eyes came across the words “Potts Murphie Theory” I inadvertently thought of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans (le yes) and I got so excited… for nothing.

Well, not necessarily nothing. My goblet of dedication to Harry Potter just remained unfilled (is that a word?). In saying that though, here’s a line:

“…all technologies are extensions of human capacities…the computer is an extension of the brain.”

It’s never shallow waters when one is trying to connect technology with the human world. I’ve been a victim of such thinking and when you’re taking classes that explicate this notion, your head will do more than a 360.

What I love about this concept is just how basic it is. One really does not need to overthink. The computer is incredibly exhausting to flesh out. Similarly, the brain is too. Imagine trying to put together in a coherent sentence exactly how the brain works with all the nerves and tangles and electrical messages, memory storage, opened tabs for easy jumping from one thought to another… it is exactly like a computer. Actually, it’s far more superior than a computer. Why? Because computers are made by human hands, controlled by the human brain.

I can’t stress enough how serious I shall going to be discussing this in the future.


It’s A Neverending Story

What if you had a book that changed every time you read it? —Michael Joyce (1991) 

There was a section on Melbourne’s daily free newspaper, MX that spoke about aviation and design engineers architecting an aircraft carrier whose interior matches and changes with the stratosphere overhead as it flies by. Basically a chameleon of the heavens.

Crazy, huh?

The shaky thought about hypertext fiction not having fixed, tangible beginnings or ends as print books and stories, is not the fact that it’s limitless, it’s the problem that arises with the amount of free will someone has towards it. Douglas Yellowlees surmised hypertext’s dimension varying from hundreds to the thousands in terms of narrative episodes or segments which are also connected by a vast number of bridging links.

My personal problem with this, which I’m sure some other would echo, is the idea of exactly not having that fixed beginning and end. Let’s take a book known by all: Pride and Prejudice. If we were, for argument’s sake, refashion it as a hypertext fiction, I am more than positive that we would not have it lasting this decades long with countless adaptations in print, television, movie, new media and the web. A final conclusion and a definite beginning is the head and the feet of the body of narrative. Without these parts, I don’t see it moving anywhere at all.

One of the reasons why I believe that having a beginning and an end is very important to a body of work, especially when it is some sort of narrative, is how it necessitates arguments, debates and opposition. Does this make me sound like some lawless chaos-machine wanting all that disarray? Perhaps, but hear me out, anyway.

Debates, arguments and opposing views are all part of the inter-personal relationship we have with each other. It governs motivations for obtaining gratifications in social media, for example, because ‘you just can’t stand that “fandom” at all.’ It also births ideas better than the first said. If we had been able to manipulate Elizabeth Bennet into marrying Mr. Collins for one day and then Mr. Darcy after a week of arguing and so, then what’s the point? Our conversations with our bff’s would well, not end. We’ll say our goodbyes thinking about what change can be made next time we see each other again.
And the list goes on…

For me, it’s frightening in that respect to think of a book that changed every time I read it. Goodreads would lose not only its recommendations list, but it wouldn’t exist at all. Because why would one go to a website to recommend books whose stories forever changed anyway? No one would be liking the same things or fighting over the same character or giving 5 out of 5 cats for the fantastic ending or a thumbs down for its poor read.

Conclusively, everything will be quite forlorn. There’s no solidarity or consensus between groups of people. No book-clubs or favourite reads.

I like change. But not this kind of change.

Hypertext and Interwingled’s the word.

…this does not mean that you need to understand the intricacies of programming and other computer miscellanea (that would be like needing to know the intimate language and history of typography in order to read and write) but that an understanding of some general principals about the properties and qualities of these networks will allow you to successfully use them.

Adrian Miles, wherever you are right now, what type of coffee you are currently wanting to drink or how your morning was ruined by your dissimilar pair of socks, I would like to thank you for this great sentence about network literacy.

It alludes to the shenanigans of hypertext and frankly, after reading the very word hypertext, I had no idea what to do with myself. *rocks myself backwards and forwards*

I like the idea of not following orders to the extent of respecting authority, of course. But I like the idea of non-sequential things. And Latin being my most favourite subject, non-sequitur will forever be embedded somewhere in the deep recesses of my heart.

‘Drawing by Theodor Nelson from Computer Lib/Dream Machines. Courtesy Theodor Nelson.’

“Interwingled.” What a word. It’s almost as if J.K. Rowling conjured it from one of her pewter cauldrons of ingenious. Hypertext is basically writing/text that branches off allowing the reader for the best of readings on an interactive screen.

The world of paper, books and manuscripts can only offer you the choice of opening it, reading it, closing it and putting it back to the desired shelf or location it belongs. You can’t touch Augustus Waters’ name and suddenly a new page will magically transcribe itself on the spine of your paperback all beautified by Ansel Elgort’s gorgeous pout.

And that’s why the world of computer text systems come in a savvy, Sparrow-esque entree.

  • Jumps around text
  • Outlining and text expansion
  • Ability for users to put separate notes onto linear documents
  • Categorization of messages according to their “social-strategic type” (commitments, fulfilments, suggestions, inquiries, etc.)

I like this whole idea of hypertext. I mean, for crying out loud I’m using it right now. But I have another view in this matter. I shall elaborate after a glass of ink.

Vannevar and the Research. A sci-fi band at wit’s end.

“Of what lasting benefit has been man’s use of science and of the new instruments which his research brought into existence?”


I shall give you another ten seconds to re-read Vannevar Bush’s question before I carry on…

  1. Increased control of material environment, he says.
  2. Then there’s the improvement of food, clothing and shelter,
  3. Security and my personal favourite:
  4. Release from the “bondage of bare existence.”

Vannevar Bush’s sentiments echoes my very own. Increased evidence may prove facts and truth about our researches, but in the same way it also stipulates a mental breakdown. Take a simple psychological case study about say, Bandura’s controversial Bobo doll experiment. How many other researches have been funded under this parent research that produces a staggering amount of findings and conclusions of which we just do not have the time to grasp?

Follow up experiments in ’63, a refinement of the experiment itself in ’65. The result? Inconclusive and predictions that are not fully proved. Has your head exploded yet?

I love how the conduit between these two different worlds comes down to the “new and powerful instrumentalities” that come in handy dandy.

Would you call me a cinemaphile? Probably too defined for the ever-changing me. Let’s go with movie buff. As a movie buff, the very idea of machines having interchangeable parts that does as it’s told is cheesecake any day, all day. Perhaps if no new materials for recording appear, these present ones are almost always in the process of modification and upgrade.

Example, oui? Check out the Lytro camera. LOVE its concept. You take a photograph and there is no fixed depth of field. And it used to look like this but now it looks like this + more features.

I think it’s say to say that it’s a wonderful time to be alive!
… but then it really does give me lots more to think about.