Unsymposium 6

Is the internet really a virtual network? 

Adrian states that the internet isn’t actually virtual. It’s not some virtual online network that uses no power or electricity; in fact Google uses more power than the entire city of Melbourne. There’s nothing virtual about African and Chinese people assembling iPhones from dangerous toxic materials and sending it back to us. The internet literally has a carbon footprint. I’m a little confused that Adrian said the internet is in no way virtual. Obviously it’s not all online with no physical hubs whatsoever, but there’s definitely something virtual about it.

Popular culture and the long tail 

I think Adrian answered this question really well by addressing every aspect to it (ok it was my question so I was really interested…)
Adrian compared it to retail; the most expensive thing in your store are your shelves. You definitely cannot afford to stock your shelves with obscure things all the way down the tail that one quirky person will buy every 4 months. Because of this, it’s easy to aim towards a low common denominator so it will appeal to a lot of people. This is the ‘mechanics of scarcity’. As a TV station can only show one show at a time, they have to make sure as many people view it as possible.

This is why despite the long tail and no more mechanics of scarcity (thanks to the immediacy of technology) there is  still a popular culture, with summer pop tunes and epic blockbusters that are still successful; they appeal to the masses and are already proven to be popular and successful.

A thought about Immediacy

I’m currently sitting on a tram heading towards the city and I get a message from a friend Saul I haven’t spoken to in a few months. It says “hey, what’s up?” I casually pass it off as nothing too significant as he sends me these every so often just to touch base. The difference is that this time, after I responded “not much really, you?” I noticed that under his message it said “sent from Paris, France”.

Now today this isn’t actually a big deal because we are so used to the incredible immediacy we are offered by technology but what if we really stop and think about this..
With a device a little smaller than my hand, sitting on public transport and while listening to music and texting my mum, I can have an instant messaging conversation with a friend who is literally on the other side of the globe.
That’s amazing if you really think about it.. Imagine telling someone from 2000 that they’d be able to do that in just over a decade? Or imagine trying to explain that to someone from the 1960s? They’d laugh it off as bizarre science fiction. Or someone from the 1700s before the telephone connected you to the person in the next room or they even knewwhat was on the other side of the globe. They’d most likely have an old timey aneurism.
But then we complain because ohmygod my 3G isn’t even working bloody iPhone I hate my life omg

Anyway, after two glasses of Shiraz that kinda blew my mind. How easy is it to overestimate the technology we have access to?
The end xoxo

Murphie and Potts

Here’s a short summary of this reading:

The definition technology has undergone significant changes since its origins in Ancient Greek, Latin and the early 17th century. It can refer to either the study of complex machinery and industrial systems, or this apparatus itself. It’s dominant definition has come to describe “the overall system of machine or processes”, although it remains an expansive and elaborate term. Technique refers to the direct operational skills (physical techniques) and means of appropriate thinking (associated techniques of thought) required to interact with technology to achieve certain things. There’s an intimate involvement between technology and technique; both which are crucial to understanding the complex concept of ‘culture’.

Sorry this is a bit brief. I did really enjoy this reading, it was straight-forward, interesting and relevant, but I’m not very writing-y at the moment!

At First Blush: The Case Of The Girl In The Purple Hoodie

The Case Of The Girl In The Purple Hoodie by Erin Davis – 2002

This audio-documentary explores the power of naturalistic sounds and layering. Its sound design is very creative and brilliant. It’s a complex collage of sounds all from two people, Miss Katherine (a young blind girl) and Miss Erin (the creator of the piece and the teacher). Words, sentences, conversations and sounds are repeated throughout the piece to make it sound like a busy conversation darting back and forth and exploring Erin’s use of the steel drum.

Layered in between and underneath the narration is dialogue and words which support what Erin is saying. For example, when Erin states “she is visually impaired, so she can’t actually see me sitting here,” a voice clip of Katherine exclaiming “HELLO?” is played tightly between the narration gaps. This clip is repeated at different volumes throughout the piece where it fits and is relevant. “But she knows I’m here” is layered and crossed-under with Erin saying softly “yes, I’m right here.”

Erin tells a story about meeting and working with Katherine. Different sounds fade in an out, layer on top of one another and interrupt each other. Katherine singing in the foreground “Itsy Bitsy Spider” is layered with Katherine talking about the song softly underneath which then slowly fades out to underneath more narration from Erin. When Erin finishes this, Katherine singing gets louder and once again becomes the foreground sound.

The narration is a much crisper and rounder sound than the conversations, which are slightly softer (but randomly gets louder and softer) and pick up more ambient noise, like the microphone is just placed in the centre of the room and the characters move about as usual.


A Sweet Ear – Jackie Sojico

Another audio doco from the Third Coast International Audio Festival entitled A Sweet Ear.


This is pretty cute and heart-warming; exactly what it’s intentions are. It discusses how everyone’s got a sweet tooth… or ‘a sweet ear’… for pop music. It’s proven that certain sounds (like the happy and warming chord progressions played) are attractive to our ears and we can’t help but love them.

She talks about this in terms of ice cream flavours and toppings and bases. While she talks about the ‘pop’  chord progression, it is played underneath, making her voice very warming and pleasant to listen to.

Then she begins layering different pop songs with the ukelele chord progression to show how in one way or another, they all utilise it.

She compares a variety of songs to this progression and different flavours (dark chocolate for Every Breathe You Take, cake batter for Baby by Justin Bieber, then nuts and praline for the heavy metal song).

The weaknesses in the sound design
What is realllllyyyy off-putting to my ear is that she doesn’t change the pitch of the chord progressions to suit each song played and layered, so they sound very off and out of tune. It was alarming and uncomfortable to listen to and took away from the sweetness of the piece. Was this intentional? Secondly, she plays the ukelele along with a heavy metal rock song that doesn’t seem to have any tune to it at all (it is not quite loud enough to hear any sort of melody) so the juxtaposition is just wrong.


The iFuture is here.

This article by VICE (my positively favourite news/reporting/photography/videography agency in the world) is incredible interesting. And terrifying.

MOTHERBOARD: The New Iphone Might Just Change Everything

It talks about how the two new iPhones revealed yesterday (one merely gold-plated with fingerprint technology and the other colourful) could potentially revolutionise the world.


For starters, the new iPhone 5S fingerprint scanner just might change everything, according to Fast Company. Apple is aiming to

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Dramatic elements and act structure – week 7 reading

Stories, movies, games, TV shows, plays and books all have different dramatic elements and structures they should adhere to, depending on the format, time limit and audience expectations of the mediums.

Greek plays:

  1. Inciting Action  – event at the start of the story which forces the lead character into action
  2. Complication  – when your character tries to deal with a conflict and faces unforeseen obstacles
  3. Crisis  – dramatic conflict building story momentum – places enormous odds against the character
  4. Climax – peak in the story; they confront the most fateful consequence of the rising action
  5. Reversal – tuning point twists the story in a new direction at the end of the act
  6. Denouement – resolution to the story

Motion pictures:

  1. Act One: inciting action, building conflict, unravels first plot point – 1-15 pages
  2. Act Two: develops story, heighten conflict, second plot point that twists the story in a new direction – 45-60 pages
  3. Act Three: paced quicker; conflict builds to climax; story is resolved in the denouement – 25-30 pages

Half-hour long sitcoms have a teaser of 30-60 seconds and 2 acts of about 10-12 minutes. Dramatic one-hour long shows are broken down into four acts and total about 60 pages.

The plot interest curve or audience interest curve is a useful tool in visualising the story in development, considering its pacing and judging the intensity of action sequences that can sustain and build audience interest!

Week 7 lecture

Although we touched on sound in Writing Media Text, it still feels like a terrifying and foreign land to me. EQs, reverb, sonic qualities, amplification – oh my! So this lecture helped.

Good sound design should keep the piece moving, add meaning/mood, put the listener inside the story and reinforce structure. Poor sound design can really break a piece; it could make it boring, repetitive, chaotic or unenjoyable to listen to.

Chain of Missing Links to be honest, I found very odd. Intriguing, but odd. An adorable interview with a kid whose husky voice whispers a story about her boyfriend (a drastic comparison to the interviewers mature voice that is far further from the microphone to make the child the focal point). There are three audio transitions; two are uses of dubsteppy electro songs (which seems to completely take away from the kid’s heart-warming innocent story and another an undistinguishable clicking. These break up the piece in a confronting juxtaposition – perhaps this was the point?

O Happy Dagger another one on this site, is far more enticing to me. Heavy layering of music (an intense and futuristic tune), sound FX (lightning, rain, phone rings, church bells), archival material (seemingly ancient recordings of voices speaking) and finally a female voice over the top reading out a poem or a story about a man who thinks twice about using his dagger (interestingly enough this is not particularly a clean recording; there is a lot of noise and distortion in her voice – intentional?) make for a very complexly haunting audio poem that really shows sound’s capabilities to set a mood, draw its audience in and create a structure.

> and < cuts both have different uses, the > (decrescendo) cut is more common as it can smoothly lead onto the next piece either by a complete fade or some sort of overlap.

Music can be incredibly powerful; enhance emotional tension (such as in O Dagger), emphasise certain words and provide articulation in the piece; however it can be distracting or inappropriate.

Reverb, Chorus, Flanger and Panning, EQ, Compressing, Delay; all sound and audio techniques you can apply to a voice or sound FX or music. I think the best way to discover all these is getting stuck into your audio editing software and press every button in every menu and play around for a while (which is why I’m a pro at Final Cut), but the lecture helped me start to understand them.


Hey Eddie, sorry I was stalking you on Facebook and I found this…

So totally relevant to this subject because in every other class or every other course of every other university in the world (presumably) we get shot to pieces for using Wikipedia or even using the phrase ‘google it’, but I remember in the early weeks of Broadcast, Adrian said that it’s ridiculous that we have all the information we could possibly ever need in our back pockets and on the internet, but our teachers say we shouldn’t use them, because “that’s cheaaating”.. I prefer the term “being resourceful”.