“There may be no such thing as an original idea, but we can choose to deliver content in new and original ways.”

Walter Benjamin

  • Starts with photos and other mediums before talking about music
  • On hashish – practice and culture of smoking hashish
  • Started in 1930s
  • Popularisation of sound – linked to film
  • Alice in Wonderland and many other films remade for sound in the 1930s
  • Predating printing press – mass communication, mass media
  • Notion that ideas could be spread around the world easily, quickly and inexpensively
  • How does reproducing something change it? How does it change the new version? How does it change how we see the original? How might it be considered authentic?

“Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be”

  • Art begins to be based on politics
  • Concept of the aura – the experience/atmosphere/quality generated by a work – what is the relation to the original? How much of the original is captured in the remix (question of authenticity)?

Eduardo Navas

  • Remix Theory: the aesthetics of sampling

Copy | Combine | Transform

“The quest of art: the moment between what was and what could be”

The Process of Filmmaking

“My movie is born first in my head, dies on paper; is resuscitated by the living persons and real objects I use, which are killed on film but, placed in a certain order and projected on to a screen, come to life again like flowers in water.” – Robert Bresson

I was reading through quotes made by filmmakers and came across this gem.

I think it speaks volumes about the role of a filmmaker pushing through the challenges inherent in bringing a film to life. There are so many stages involved in this process and it is so difficult to translate ideas from imagination to a physical reality, that the process naturally flows up and down. What this quote also stresses is the importance of pushing through to see the beauty of the final product, which makes everything else worth it.

Making short films for the first time this semester, I had trouble at times carrying through the vision for my work through from conceptualisation to the end of production. This quote helped me to realise that this is a common challenge, and to think about the key times in the process when I really need to stay focused.

Our Sample Artefact

This week, we began constructing our website on, adding pages and outlining the content we will be putting in each tab. Below is the draft theme for the “adaptations” page.

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 2.45.00 pm

Note: we will now be using a Media Factory blog as the platform for our final product



The Essence of a Moment

Capturing the essence of a moment is no easy feat. I found that this was a particularly interesting topic touched upon in Dan’s week 11 lectorial.

In terms of creating media, it is so wonderful to have the freedom to create something you are passionate about, because this emotional attachment to your work shines through in the final product.

I think it is unavoidable that remixes often lose the unexplainable “magic” of an original. This may be because we’re hearing sounds we’ve heard before being used in a different way that sounds bizarrely foreign to us.

The same goes for photographs and other media forms. Though you can never get a moment back, occasionally you can capture it in still or video form and feel the same emotions again. Especially with new technology, you can recreate scenes from your life in your head triggered by a panorama shot, a video, even a 360 degree capture of a place (created through taking 100 different shots at different angles and piecing them together in an app). However, recreating this video or photograph at another time will still not produce the same effect.

 I think that often, moments are trapped in memories so no matter how imaginative, creative or altogether wonderful a remix or adaptation may be, it can never produce the same feeling or trigger the same memory, only new ones.

Connections Between Classes

In my elective class, Rhetorics and Politics of the Contemporary World, I made a connection between what we were learning and the Media course.

Leith & Myerson reading:

  • “There are four ways of making a book. Sometimes a man writes others’ words, adding nothing and changing nothing; and he is simply called a scribe (scriptor). Sometimes a man writes others’ words, putting together passages which are not his own; and he is called a compiler (compilator).” … “Sometimes a man writes both others’ words and his own, but with others’ words in prime place and his own added only for purposes of clarification; and he is called not an author but a commentator (commentator). Sometimes a man writes both his own words and others’; but with his own in prime place and others added only for the purposes of confirmation; and he should be called an author (auctor)” (p. 152-153).
  • “There is no one who writes purely in his own words. Everyone writes with other voices” (p. 153)
  • “Voices always quote each other, and words belong to more than one voice at a time” (p. 153)

The above quotes screamed adaptations and remixes in my mind. Especially in the first quote, there are distinctions drawn about the role of a creator, at different levels. I think that people who create adaptations and remixes may fit into any one of the categories listed above, depending completely on the work produced, how much imagination the person has used, the degree of sampling and new ideas, and to what extent the source material has been changed.

This also brings back the concept of there being no such thing as an original idea, a topic explored in one of our Media lectorials. Thinking about the possibility of “words [belonging] to more than one voice at a time” is an outlook I had not previously given thought to, but it is very true. Just because one person says something first does not mean others have not thought the same thing or that these words can never be said again without “copying” the original speaker.

I think the debate surrounding adaptations and remixes will continue on for a long time to come because there is no clear line between inspiration and taking ideas. I enjoy finding connections between my classes, as it helps put into perspective the importance and scope of the concepts we are learning about.

Everything is Story; Story is Everything (Narrative)

We grow up believing that narrative is an imperative element of media; mainstream movies, television shows and songs support this idea.

In its most basic sense, narrative is the telling of stories. It is the (commonly linear) structuring of existence into a form which we can “comment on and amplify”.

From infancy, we are told stories, both true and fictional. Our parents reading stories to us is how we learn to speak and to read, and in turn this shapes everything we do. Telling stories is what separates us from every other species.

The basics of narrative include:

  • Causality: the logical progression of events, e.g. flying Melbourne to Sydney cannot happen unless you are somehow in Melbourne first
  • The 3-part model of storytelling:
    • Character development – learning about characters, how they’ll react in different situations and how they change over time; becomes more complex as we learn more about the character
    • Plot – chronological sequence of events, usually based around action (what happens, who carries out the action, who it happens to)
    • Resolution – the ending is the natural result of the plot

…and the 7 types of stories are:

  1. Overcoming the monster
  2. Rags to riches
  3. The quest
  4. Voyage and return
  5. Rebirth
  6. Comedy 
  7. Tragedy

These types of stories are seen again and again in different contexts with different characters, but ultimately the same plot thematically.

In class, we mapped out both the emotional intensity:


and character prominence:


in well-known films. My partner, Maggie, and I chose Cinderella. When other groups drew their graphs on the whiteboard, we discovered there was a prominent trend in emotional shifts at different points in the plot line.

On a closer level, patterns of representation often enable viewers to guess what will happen before the action actually happens in a scene, e.g. closing bathroom cabinet mirror to find someone standing behind you with a knife. This expectation can be subverted to create an interesting plot twist and keep viewers interested.

I personally believe that creating meaning from everything we see is an innate part of being human. Even if there are no clear plot points, as in the film we watched in the lectorial, there are loose connections between elements that we (the viewers) may interpret in our own ways. 

As we saw in class, even experimental films that do not follow the conventional plot progression of mass media, tell stories in some way or another. In the film, titled “We have decided not to die”, there were three distinct and separate sequences, each of a different person.

We Have Decided Not to Die


  • There is no context for why people are where they are, doing what they are doing
  • Characters are props in the film
  • Blunt transitions from one person to another
  • Focus on visual elements and mood rather than story
  • No beginning or end apart from a cut and music starting (no reason/causality)
  • Nothing explicitly stated, no explanation – have to guess meaning for everything
  • No emotional levels – constant chaos

or Narrative?

  • Title: We have decided not to die – gives meaning to scenes and aims to characters
  • Climax during each scene (action)
  • 3-parts: birth, in between, death (headings are sequential)
  • Similarities between characters formed their collective character development
  • Thematically characters were connected – patterns of representation (breaking out, jumping)
  • Snapping from one place to another gives the sense of a journey taking place

This was yet another intriguing class that took common, everyday material, and asked me to think about it in a new way. Every day I see and hear stories unfolding at different speeds, in numerous forms and in a plethora of contexts but I hadn’t really considered these stories beyond their content and my surface level reaction. After this course, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to watch a movie or even have a conversation without Media 1 concepts springing into my mind.

Trouble Working with the Zoom H2N Sound Recorder

Below are two of the sound clips my partner and I recorded during our tutorial using the Zoom H2N sound recorder. After a brief introduction to the equipment, we set out to record a variety of different sounds, including “silence” in different sized spaces, conversations, modes of transport, etc. The aim of the task was to get a feel for recording and to start paying attention to the considerations we will need to make when working to create our own original recordings for project briefs. The thing I noticed almost immediately when I started to pay close attention, is how difficult it is to differentiate between different noises coming from every direction. In our clips, the sound we intentionally set out to record was sometimes muffled by outside noises, and this is especially difficult to control in a public space such as the city.

The major issue we encountered with this task was that after setting the decibel level to the recommended level and taking a sample recording, we couldn’t hear the recording in playback. We tried changing the recorder settings, recording in different locations and trying to find louder sounds, but still had no luck. We concluded that because we couldn’t find the issue, it must have been in the playback not the recording, so we continued, in the hope that all would be resolved once we transferred the sound files to our computers from the device. However, what we didn’t realise was that there was a small dial on the outside of the recorder (right in front of our eyes!) that showed the volume level that would be recorded, and ours was turned almost to zero! This is a mistake I won’t make again, so I’ll put it down to a learning experience.

Below are two of our loudest sound recordings, which are audible but still fairly quiet.

Birds and water:


Week 5 Lectorial – ‘Successful’ Reading

In our week 5 lectorial, we spoke about successful reading as well as how to practically approach our third project brief (and some things to keep in mind).

I’m going to try to make use of the following tips to help me get through all my readings at university, and particularly the challenging ones.

  • Read the abstract first (if there is one), paying close attention, as this outlines what the reading will be about
  • Skim read the body of the text to figure out the main idea of the writing and become familiar with the writing style and structure
  • Read introduction and conclusion to clarify the overall purpose of the text
  • Think about the argument the writer is making so that things make sense as you read
  • Don’t be overwhelmed by a lot of text; look for key sentences and go for there
  • Don’t get stuck on terms you don’t know – make a note to look it up and come back to it later
  • Highlight and annotate as you go
  • When you finish reading, write a brief summary of the main ideas of the text for quick reference
    • Look for a kernel that sums up the main point of the text
    • Also evaluate the text in your mind, thinking about the strengths/limitations and the scope of the reading
  • Think about the relevance of the text for your purpose (e.g. background reading, inspiration, developing a creative or technical skill)

In terms of things to remember for project brief 3, I made the following list:

  • Release forms signed by participants
  • Original and Found Footage
    • Found footage: pre-existing footage found and appropriated in an original way that the original creator
  • Editing
    • Make use of cutaway shots – keep the audience interested
    • Voiceovers
    • Interview – filmed from multiple angles
    • Fast cuts and repetition
    • Think about putting effects on videos (e.g. colour washes to create a certain mood, sense of ageing/time to create a sense of reminiscence)
    • Play with camera focus – same thing from different angles
    • Mood music behind a person speaking – can lift what they are saying

Creating a Story Sequence

In our week 4 lectorial, we did an activity where we wrote 5 activities from the life of an imaginary person on sticky notes. One card was clearly the opening, one was the conclusion and there were 3 moveable activities that could be placed in any order.


This made us think about interchangeability in the editing process and the value of being able to mix things up when they’re not quite working right. We then had to decide which of these cards could be a turning point in the day and how this would affect each of the other activities. Finally, we had to replace the opening and closing activities for the day with two more activities that could be placed in any order, the same as the first three.


It was interesting to experiment with different sequences, imagining how the person’s mood would change throughout the day and the impact of certain events on other activities. Even moving one event had the potential to change the narrative behind the ‘day in the life’ mini story. This was a simple exercise that got me thinking about how different clips can work together. I found that when I put the media elements together for my second project brief, they didn’t work as I imagined they would. I had to reconstruct and even re-film some of these elements to work for the piece I was trying to create.


“The Magic of Editing” – week 4 lectorial

In this week’s lectorial, we heard from two guest speakers, Adrian Miles and Liam Ward, who spoke about theory & practice and editing, respectively.

I found Liam’s explanation of editing particularly interesting, as he brought up a completely new way of thinking about this process that I had never considered. He asked us to think of the editing process not as “fixing” the filming work, but of “breaking” the work, taking existing material and smashing it. He mentioned this in the context of creating meaning between elements, including the false illusion of movement and causing audiences to question what is surrounding the shot and what happened before/what will happen after the clip. Thus, according to Liam, “what is important is not what’s in the shot but what’s not.” He argued that humans bring historical and social context to everything they see, and it is in this space that creators infuse meaning, through connotations and attribution of meaning.

It follows, then, that Liam also suggested that “magic happens in the gaps” of media. The challenge for viewers, similar to poetry, is piecing together the different parts, which have been broken apart. This whole concept was fascinating to me. I knew that the editing process was important, but I had previously thought of this in terms of making sure each clip flowed on from the previous to create a cohesive whole. I had not thought about the spaces between clips, and how certain jumps could subconsciously plant associations in my mind. I hope that as I progress through this course, I can improve my ability to incorporate these techniques effectively into my own work in a range of ways.