New Forms of Media Institutions and Copyright Issues

Above: Channel Criswell 2016, I’m being Sued, YouTube video, 3 June.

Below: Henry Jenkins (2014) Rethinking ‘Rethinking Convergence/Culture’,Cultural Studies, 28:2, 267-297.


Below: Hinton, SH, Larissa, LH 2013, Understanding Contemporary Culture series : Understanding Social Media, SAGE Publications Ltd, London.
Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 1.29.11 AM

The arts encourage us to reflect while science has allowed the internet to become a medium of expression. Nowadays, the roles of producer and consumer have blurred. The internet is an interactive space and everyone wants to exercise their freedom of speech and expression.

It is also a platform that gives rise to new forms of institutions. For e.g., individual YouTube channels can be used as a specialised “tv” program. Channel Criswell (above) only publishes film essays and reviews. YouTube has become a giant database that houses independent production companies. We are moving away from traditional television. Netflix and the newly-launched YouTube Red have noticed this culture change and are now earning via subscription fees.

As we continue to participate online and produce user-created content, I think copyright laws should evolve and not restrict content from being remixed. One should have the right to sue another for defamation. But one should share goods and be open to others’ points of view as well. We are all part of a wider online community. Sharing and recreating will allow new institutions and businesses to form and grow, creating yet more communities. This is how the arts and science marry and generate more ideas – and more jobs!

Rubber Band Plot

I enjoy reading Robert Mckee’s “The Substance of Story” very much. He sounds so sassy!

I imagine a good story is similar to a stretched rubber band. A rubber band because, like the flexible and tangible object it is, a story “is about life lived in its most intense states… a circumference of experience defined by the nature of the fictional reality.” We can stretch them to extreme possibilities that excite players/readers but we are conscious of its limits too.

One end of the band is pulled by the protagonist’s goals and the other end pulled by his/her obstacles. The story has a sad or happy ending, depending on which end gives up and lets go. The tension represents the character’s will while the existence of opposing forces represents his/her conflicting desires.

The plot continues to thicken as the tug-of-war continues, increasing the danger of snapping the rubber band. Will there be a winner? Or will the rubber band snap and all becomes lost?

Dramatic Development, Time and Story Structure

M. Rabiger has constructed his tips on creating good stories in a succinct and engaging way. A couple of his ideas stand out the most to me:

He quoted Wilkie Collins, “Make them laugh, make them cry, but make them wait.” and elaborated that “…films need dramatic tension, so make your audience wait – but not too long… Never be afraid to make them wait and guess.

This reminded me of my actor’s training when I was encouraged to allow my character to take time to listen, process then react. Reading the above-mentioned article further reinforced my belief that a good storyteller understands how to use rhythm (beats in time) to push and pull the audience’s attention.

By “beats”, I am referring to Rabiger’s definition, i.e. a change which “signals a new phase of action.”  This is also related to an actor’s training. The actor registers a new beat when the character he/she portrays reacts to a change thereby producing new action for a new goal. This acting technique was introduced by Russian actor, theatre director and acting teacher, Constantin Stanislavksi. 

This technique is clearly illustrated in our second reading, “The Discipline of Noticing”, of which John Mason quotes Christine Shiu:
Mason - The Discipline of Noticing copyNatasha registered a “beat” between each change of tactic. An actor may imagine the process below.
Goal: to inform, Action: “Mummy I want a cough sweet.” *beat*
New Goal: to plea, New Action: “Please may I have a cough sweet” *beat*
New Goal: to assure, New Action: “I won’t spit it out.”

John Mason writes about researching our practise by consciously noticing, recording and assessing/reflecting on the relevant events in out practise. Journaling and learning in this manner is not new to me. I had done so in college. However, journaling effectively for media and communciation studies is still very new and thus challenging for me. This is because, I am still unsure of the codes that are useful to analyse various media texts.

Prior to entering RMIT, my codes and technical vocabulary largely revolved understanding the actor’s physical body and its relationship to the performance space.

It is so interesting how my acting vocabulary has evolved; how the same words has expanded to include the director’s/editor’s/narrator’s technical point of view now. We are all storytellers. This awareness has prompted me to continue consciously, connecting the dots between my previous theatre experience and current media-making studies. 

Art of the Interview


  • consistent mode of comunication
  • administration: forms for insurance, release forms, safety report, acquiring venue PERMISSION
  • always have PLAN Bs in case permissions/forms don’t come through
  • be aware of private info e.g. house number, street etc
  • be aware of context and what’s necessary. is form needed when focus is on subject and not location? is it a public or private venue?
  • would you brief or not, subjects? purpose: a choice to set them at ease
  • subjects sign personal release form (producer allowed to edit form)
  • what does the release form implicate? is it necessary for each project?



  • do they have something to say (are they interesting)
  • are they credible
  • can they deliver on camera
  • are they good talents
  • who is my audience


  • what are you going to ask them
  • research – reading speaking, observing
  • write questions (simple, short, open ended, no bias!)
  • it’s not about me, it’s about the subject
  • practice

close ended:

  • who will you vote for this election?

open ended:

  • what do you think about the two candidates on this election?

leading questions (they are bad because they imply something biased):

  • what problems do you have with your boss?
  • how did you smash your car?


  • location. private or public? connection to interviewee? permission?
  • technical. setting. is there enough light? disruptive sounds? visual background? will there be changes? how can setting compliment the story as well?


  • brief subject: clothing, repeat question, overview, etc
  • maintain eye contact
  • listen. nod and facial expressions. be quiet. no ‘uh-huh’ or ‘mmm’
  • be flexible / adaptable
  • be respectful and show empathy

Time in Relation to Text Analysis

Since there is no “objective truth” because every person is entitled to their own interpretation of a text, identifying the “most likely interpretation” can be challenging. This makes me wonder about the director’s role: how can he be certain that audience will grasp his interpretation of the story?

In “A Beginner’s Guide to Textual Analysis”, Alan Mckee explains that understanding the context is essential to make sense of the main text in question. He highlights three levels of contexts: the “rest of text, “genre of text” and “the wider public context in which the text is circulated.” Generally speaking, it is necessary to identify the social circumstances surrounding the media article and how its creation is influenced by other related articles.

This leads me to realise how the concept of time plays a key role as well, specifically the way past and present affect each other. We can only understand the past from our present context. From where we stand, we evaluate how past events culminated in the present. Therefore, when we are recounting, we can only affect the audience based on present-time interpretations of history.

Going back to the idea of directing, the artiste can only predict his/her audience’s most likely interpretation based on the present context. It is not possible to create something for a target audience in the 60s. People from that period have already evolved with time. This idea reminds me of how in photojournalism elective, we learnt that the value of a story is based on its “newsworthiness”; i.e. how relevant and important it is in the present context.