Brief 4 Final Reflection

On the day that we formed groups and were assigned the task of creating a “Media Artefact” for Project Brief 4, I have to admit I was quite lost. It took me a long time to wrap my head around how we were going to use academic research to produce something that was both creative and meaningful. The media idea “texts” is inherently broad, and while we thought this would serve as an advantage, it actually caused us some confusion. On the bright side, there were also a lot of interesting topics for us to explore that also happen to be incredibly relevant to today’s changing media climate.

At the beginning of the process, we had several ideas floating around and not much direction for any of them. After further research and working to improve and combine these ideas, we finally settled on a topic we were all excited about: textual adaptations. The next challenge was narrowing down the topic area, which was still too broad. We attempted this in several stages, each time taking out some aspect of the work until we whittled away our topic to a core that we could explore in depth. I think that strangely the most successful aspect of the creation process was revealed when someone in the group was having trouble. This prompted us to ask questions to clarify what we were working on, and this not only helped us to come up with new ideas and better approaches to our work, but also highlighted the collaborative strength of our group.

Once we had a solid idea of the work we wanted to include, it was a little problematic deciding how we wanted everything to be presented. We were concerned that we would not be able to efficiently present our learning through a video or audio, so we eventually decided on a website. I think our final work is strong and demonstrative of the hard work we have put in over the semester. The only area I think we could have improved upon is the overall cohesiveness of the final website. There are three core branches we focused our work on: texts, leading into adaptations with a focus on Romeo and Juliet adaptations into a range of mediums, but we could have tied everything together more clearly.

I think the major success of our final artefact is one of the things I was most concerned about at the beginning of the process; the effective integration and application of references into our work. This element of the work fell into place as we watched the different Romeo and Juliet adaptations, and thought analytically about these works. The sources we used provided a highly relevant framework upon which we were able to substantiate our ideas.

As a group, I think Lucas, Rob and I all worked really well together, supporting and expanding on each others’ ideas and ensuring everyone was tasked with something that they had a personal interest in. I also learnt a lot from working with these two talented up-and-coming media practitioners, especially in terms of thinking about and following through with creative ideas. I especially respect the work Lucas and Rob did in filming and editing the adaptations interview with professional dancer Maddie.

At the same time, I was also able to showcase my strength in research and use this to improve the academic rigour of our artefact. Working on this assignment taught me a lot about the characteristics of positive collaboration, and how this can create a platform for elevating individuals’ ideas and highlighting everyone’s best abilities.

During the weeks I spent working on this assignment, I was able to refine my research skills, in particular learning how to use the RMIT library resources. I also developed my ability to perform meaningful analysis on media texts, learning to recognise conventions and techniques in particular works to expand my understanding of media as an area of study. Finally, I discovered a lot about intricacies in the field of media adaptations.

I think that everything I learnt and the skills I developed during the brainstorming, researching, creating and editing stages of this brief will help to inform my future work and studies in media. I believe this is significant because texts are constantly evolving in the fast-paced media industry, and to have a solid understanding of this strand of media is invaluable.

The End of Media 1

“Because today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups… So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.” ― Philip K. Dick

I read this quote and I knew I had to write something about it.

The concept of “manufacturing reality” scares me as a future media creator. I want to believe that I can tell the difference between what is news and what is make believe, but it seems that increasingly it is harder to trust my senses on this.

The quote above reminds me of the film Wag the Dog, which explores the idea of a filmmaker writing history by creating news of a war that does not exist, to protect a politician. Though it’s fiction, it’s quite scary to think that somebody could have so much power that they could literally create history. I think that after a certain point, it would be out of even the creator’s hands; if something is so ingrained in people’s minds and enough people believe it, it becomes real. It is the very same concept mentioned above of “creating universes of the mind”.

I hope that through my work I can create alternate universes that may help people escape from their lives for a while. But I also hope that people can always tell the difference between reality and imagination, and that the media is never so powerful that we completely lose trust in those feeding us information.


In our tutorial yesterday, we looked at each group’s second draft for project brief 4. It was great to finally see what everyone else had been working on after being so caught up in our own work. A couple of the artefacts that really stood out to me were the following:

Elise and Jack

  • Institutions
  • Gave a clear explanation of what an institution was, then honed in on their topic of classification (connecting to the classification board of Australia)
  • Presented their work as a short 10 minute film explaining the intricacies of the classification system
    • How it works
    • What the different ratings are
    • Challenges facing film-makers today
  • I thought this was a very well executed media artefact that did well integrating academic information, whilst also being creative and interesting

Maggie, Jac and Dusty

  • Audiences
  • Focused on how audiences now interact with the content they watch, and the effect this then has on the media content produced
  • Presented their work in the form of a website, but also created Youtube videos to demonstrate linking to other sources and created an app to view the website easily from a mobile device
    • I thought these ideas were particularly creative because they were highly relevant to their content
    • Teaching about interactivity by creating something interactive

I also liked Gloria, Patrick and Bianca’s work. They created a sound recording with information and interviews with experts in their topic. It was the first assignment presented as a sound recording, and it really changed the way we experienced the artefact, requiring more attention because there was no visual component. Though this work still needed to be edited, I thought it was a really interesting response to the brief.

Blog O’Clock

Week 12 Lectorial:

Watching Valorie Curry’s short film, Kara, I was shocked by the sympathy I felt for the machine who had become a girl in front of my eyes. Even though I knew full well that a) she had been developed as a piece of technology and b) she was merely a creation in a film, not real life, when I saw what looked like a human, my response was to think of her as a human. 

I recognise that technology has not yet developed to the extent portrayed in the short film, and also that there are many breakthroughs that we have yet to learn about. However, at the end of the day, I think that humans are more intelligent than machines. I don’t mean that we can do all the computation that machines can, nor can we have 10 tabs open and running in our minds at the same time or speak every conceivable language, but humans are capable of thinking for themselves; machines are not.

If technology humans have developed is clever, it’s because somebody had the idea, the initiative, the tools and the intellect to bring that idea “to life” (no Kara pun intended). What may at face value seem like a machine’s intuition cannot possibly be so. 

Machines of every kind need to be programmed in some way, thus building the options we will then see when we use said technology. I think there is a risk that humans are coming to rely too heavily on technology and this begs the question of how much we are thinking for ourselves. This is the real danger; relying on technology that does not have the capacity to think for us, and losing our own capacity to create and use initiative.


In our week 6 lectorial, we talked about the characteristics of positive collaborative experiences, reflecting back on good and bad experiences from the past and thinking about the upcoming group project brief.

My experiences:

  • Good – I collaborated with two people whom I knew were hard workers. We were able to bounce ideas off each other, which helped us to think more deeply about the topic and in turn gain a more well-rounded knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.
  • Bad – I recently worked with a group of 3 others, one of whom did not contribute to or communicate with the group. This meant that the rest of the group (myself included) had to complete more than our fair share of the work.

The characteristics identified in the lectorial as making up positive collaborations are:

  • Consistency – making sure work is of a high standard and that as a group member you are reliable
  • Respect – communicate with others, especially if unable to attend a group meeting or complete a task by an agreed deadline, not wasting others’ time
  • Support – looking out for other members of the group and helping them where necessary
  • Responsibility – each person has their own tasks that others trust them to complete well and in a timely manner
  • Equitability – everyone shares the workload

Being upfront with group members is very important so that everyone knows where they stand and what they intend to get out of the assignment; this forms the groundwork for everything. It helps to map out where your group hopes to go with the project and outline practically how you will work towards this, assigning responsibilities to each group member. Key is having resolution procedures so that if anything happens, it is clear how the group will deal with the situation and proceed.

The Things I’ve Yet to Learn

Playing my self portrait for the class today was very intimidating for me. I love receiving feedback on my work but always get nervous presenting to people, and especially in this instance because the work was very personal. On the other hand, I was proud of my work and it was great to hear what other people thought about it and interpreted it to be. I also loved watching other people’s self portraits because every aspect of the work said a lot about the person and there was so much variation from video to video.

There were a few portraits that really stood out to me and sparked ideas for my future work as well as making me think about new skills that I could work on developing.


  • Filming and editing were thoughtful and seamless
  • Told a story – clips gradually grew shorter and shorter, then snapped back to slower cuts to create a sense of calm after the ‘chaos’
  • Contrast between black & white and colour using split-screen – put a lot into 60 seconds
  • Words jumped around on the screen and changed fonts – almost looked animated

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 1.55.57 pm


  • Editing – I want to learn how to have a black screen that reveals a video behind as words show up on the screen
  • Layered two videos over each other (filters and semi-transparent)

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 1.53.04 pm


  • Interesting use of colours, blur, layering
  • Managed the switches in aspect-ratio well
  • Use of repetition tied everything together well (e.g. video > photo > back to different segment of same video)
  • Red hat: dark, mysterious


Portraits of America

I follow a page on Facebook called “Portraits of America,” which has the same purpose as the much more well known “Humans of New York” – to provide a small glimpse into the lives of complete strangers in the hope that people may become a little more thoughtful and compassionate in their everyday lives.

One particular post, shared on 7 March, caught my attention. A man spoke about his experience growing up, expressing his opinion that “You have to reach a certain level of intelligence to avoid the control of the media. At a young age, you’re very susceptible to influence.” He then relayed his personal experience, explaining that a commercial on television led him to believe that because he was from a violent neighbourhood, he wouldn’t live past age 25. This had a deep psychological effect on the man. Reading a glimpse of one man’s story, I was shocked by the effect the media had on his life. I also started thinking about how many other people had been similarly influenced and to what extent this affected the way they lived their lives.

In a few of my tutorials for different classes, we have discussed how the media can have an impact rather than just “reflecting” society at a given moment in time. The example I saw on “Portraits of America” is a perfect representation of the power of media. If you hear something enough times, from enough sources, or presented in different ways, ideas start to sink in.

This man’s story also illustrates the importance of education in making well-informed decisions. The media can provide a skewed perspective for a multitude of reasons – advertising purposes, catering to a particular audience (left- or right-wing, for example), biases of the media producers, etc., which means that we need to periodically take a step back and exercise common sense to asses how media content should be interpreted.

I don’t necessarily agree with this man’s word choice that the media “controls” people, because the media cannot take away a person’s free will, but I do think it is much harder to escape today than ever before.