This Is Serial (Blog Post 6)

Today we began another shoot with Robin as director and instructing the rest of the class, divided into different departments, on how to bring his vision of the scene to life. I have only been on set during a  live television shoot, so for me, lacking this experience, I thought it was awesome.

The strongest knowledge comes from practice, especially in terms of using equipment. I wrote down lots of notes but the best way for me to learn will always be to try using these cameras in class tasks. The fact that the entire class was involved also made it harder to see everything that was going on. While I was seeing the camera being set up, I missed the sound crew setting up their equipment and I missed some of the instructions given to the actors. Hopefully in the smaller groups we get into, I have time to ask questions and learn by watching and doing.

This Is Serial (Blog Post 5)

Dialogue with the writers has been swell because they have been using our prompts for inspiration, and we have been able to transform their written ideas into videos. This collaboration has been excellent despite being separated.

In this second video prompt we my role was sound assistant/boom operator. Like I’ve mentioned before, we work far more efficiently when we assign roles and that’s what happened today. Rotating roles is a smart move when in a comfortable environment like this, so I can learn how to perform professionally in each role and truly decide which is best for me. I’m curious to see how I would work as an assistant director in future shoots because I’ve never been one to keep track of time unless I absolutely have to.

Basically, I have been building up my technical competency with cameras and sound. In my spare time I do a lot of editing so I think I should try other roles while I have this chance to. I am also gaining a greater awareness about production design & continuity. In these last few tasks I have been very wary about which location we choose to shoot in and keeping an eye on where everything is positioned right before we cut. Therefore I’m content with the studio so far because I hadn’t given this much thought before and it’s another important aspect when it comes to post production.

This Is Serial (Blog Post 4)

We constructed a video prompt for the creative writers about action. We did not assign roles besides who would be our actor and our camera person. However, I think it would have been helpful if we had. It’s difficult to edit a video with six other people. We had conflicting opinions on where the video should be shot. A single person to make this final decision on location would have been perfect. We were all keeping an eye on the time instead of one assistant director reminding everyone of the time left, and our method of keeping time seems ineffective in hindsight. In this class I’ve had an experience where roles were assigned and where we worked without roles assigned. In the future I will make sure we assign roles because it seems we work more efficiently and produce work on time.

I think the writers might find the prompt a bit strange. It features a dramatic soundtrack for an action that isn’t dramatic at all. However this contrast does make it seem comical, which is the genre constraint we were hoping to have them write within.


This Is Serial (Blog Post 3)

The Huffington Post describes a web series as “a series of scripted videos, generally in episodic form, released on the Internet or also by mobile or cellular phone, and part of the newly emerging medium called web television.” This details my experience with web series in the past. It has involved watching a series on the YouTube app on my phone, or watching a television show that is only available to watch on the internet. A web series can be produced and distributed in the same way that traditional television is created and broadcast, but creators are also able take a completely distinct approach. They can make a TV series without feeling the need to be picked up by a network, they can make their series exclusively available to be streamed online, or even on television. The possibilities are endless.

Netflix binge-watching has become a standard pattern among those who pay for the streaming service because the content being produced is considered addictive and highly compelling. Ending on cliffhangers and delving into intense drama is a way that a Netflix original series is able to keep their audience hooked. And so these methods have led to a shift in what is considered normal in Western society. In a discussion with my parents, they stated they would never have been allowed to sit & watch their favourite shows on television for hours and hours at a time – for various reasons, but mostly because their parents would consider this unhealthy. However, my experience as a teenager in the later parts of the digital age has been that it’s okay to watch multiple episodes at a time, although I’m not simply sitting in front of my TV. I’m watching on my phone, on my laptop, on my tablet, etc. It’s encouraged among my friends and age group.

Services like Netflix are comprised of a huge catalogue of shows to watch (considered web series because they can be watched on the internet and can be watched on devices other than a television set). As a result, all their shows need to be made a certain way – need to have that hook factor. Or else someone could easily go and choose another show because it’s just that easy when it comes to web series. On the other hand, traditional television tends to follow a schedule of 3-6pm for the younger kids and 6pm-12am for the adults when we consider parental guidelines. In the past this kind of programmed viewing and limited choice for TV audiences would have made it easier for television networks to broadcast their shows – without such an emphasis on competing with other shows for audience attention – what else will they watch at this hour? The 5 o’clock news competes with two or three other channels, as opposed to the thousands of other similar shows a web series competes with. Because a web series can be accessed online instead of only being available at a strict preset 7pm on a Monday night, the creators of a web series can gain a large audience that is exposed to the series as soon as the webisode is made available, and whenever they get the chance to watch. Thus web series also contributes to the end of scheduled television viewing and the prevalence of viewing driven by an active desire to watch a certain show (when the person is in a physical state – time available, at home, etc – and mental state – eg excited – to watch). This may also influence the reception of the web series in a positive manner.

Producing a web series can involve making a show of high production value or can a budget of absolutely nothing. With the presence of the internet age, any person can make a web series. They can be found on YouTube, centred around the life of a regular person in their bedroom with a DSLR. It’s about content and in this instance, how interesting the persona is, that garners attention. In my experience, I have noticed that web series also tend to feature a comment/rating system. On Netflix, upon finishing an episode I’m immediately able to give the show x stars out of a total 5 stars. On YouTube and Facebook you can leave a like, dislike, or comment on the web series. The interaction between a creator and their audience in a web production like these can seem limitless.