In this weeks The News is a Joke class, we got into our three groups for the class project of recording and completing our first fake new comedy television show. As I am in group A, my job was to be the vision switcher, therefore I was in control of moving the camera positions on the screen from camera’s 1, 2 and 3. I was also in charge of fading the lights from black to the beginning of the first shot, and fading the last shot to black and the end of the tape. I did find the job a bit stressful as the it basically all came down to me to have all the shots running as smooth as possible, and also having the graphics on screen match the camera shots. After 2 takes, group A managed to successfully record the whole segment smoothy. I am really glad that I now know how to be a vision switcher, as this could have a successful impact on my next group project for this class.
The reading for this week was interesting, I really connected with what the reading was saying about how The Daily Show can be understood not as fake news but an alternative journalism, as it uses satire to interrogate power and parody to critique current news and it uses its dialogue to create a type of model of deliberative democracy. This part of the reading stood out to me as I thought it was relevant in the way we are trying to deliver our class project segments.
This weeks reading (painting and Hodgers, mocking the news) was interesting as it was all about the word ‘accountability’ which is McQuail’s words “refers to the process by which media are called to account for meeting their obligations.” The reading praises Jon Stewart as he is able to apparently hold the broadcast media accountable in different ways. The reading suggests that what is better, and what Stewart does do, is mock the genre of the television news, than the actual news itself. The reading also writes that “Stewart holds broadcast media accountable by pointing out inconsistencies and critiquing the very nature of broadcast news.” After researching, Painting and Hodger’s decided that Stewarts show is split up into 3 sections. The first section is Stewart will mimic the anchor with a news story with some video footage, secondly there will usually be an interview conducted on location and thirdly, a traditional talk show style interview with a politician etc takes place.
The class itself was very productive, I and another student Jason were in charge of taking photos and videos for the weekly update video. After we discussed the reading and looked at a couple of Colbert videos, we moved into the studio. It was interesting to learn all about how the audio works in the studio space and all the different microphones that can be used. I left the class feeling good as my group, (group A) have come up with some good research and a clear punch line for our end of semester comedy news segment about ‘tough on crime’, which is the issue with prisons and where that money is currently being spent and what it should be spent on, to ensure people who leave prison, are not just back on the streets again.
Here is the video that I made for this weeks weekly update:
This week I unfortunately was not able to attend the workshop due to personal reasons. However I do know that Group A, (the group I am in) did get together and discussed roles in the group, therefore hopefully next week I will definitely be able to know what role I am undertaking the group assignment comedy news project. I did however read this week reading, ‘the State of Satire’, which I found very interesting as it gave me a new perspective on what I thought satire was or meant. The key points that stood out to me was the National anenberg election survey found Daily show viewers no more about the real world news than non watchers, therefore people who watch comedy news to actually learn important news. A lot in this reading was about needing to make a clear distinction between humor and the political, as Mikhail Bakhtin writes of laughter as “unique in allowing social analysis, rejection and criticism.” Yet comedy has audiences question social controls, as the audience begins to resist and interrogate these social controls. The reading writes about how satire is able to take human emotions such as anger, shame or disgust and can transform those human emotions into a “useful and artistic expression.” G.K Chesterton’s opinion of satire is it “draws out the absurdity and isolates it.” However sometimes satire does not always have to be funny, as the reading states satire does require a level of sophistication as satire “provides a valuable means through which citizens can analyze and interrogate power.” These are the main aspects of this weeks reading that I found most interesting.
The reading for this week by Sophia McClennen was quite interesting as I learnt and discovered more about what is involved in comedy news and what it takes to make comedy news successful. I really took on board what Sophia wrote about the ability to have an audience or to let the audience critically reflect the “professional opinions” of the sources of a news story by using satire, parody and pedagogy. In between last weeks class and this weeks class we had to have completed Project Brief 1. Therefore I wrote an analysis about the story of Taxi drivers who are falling asleep at the wheel, whilst they are driving. Of course this news story is very serious and there are many dangerous elements to it. However after reading the reading for this week, I did think how easy it could be to make a parody surrounding the sources in this Taxi news story, such as the head of the Taxi Service Commission who states that Taxi drivers falling asleep whilst working is very dangerous but there is nothing they can do about it…Therefore I thought this is the type of news story that could turn into a comedy news story to get the audience critically reflecting and arguing with the points these professional sources make.
During the elective workshop week 2, I got placed into group A who are a lovely bunch of people who I am excited to work with this semester. We were the first group to have a go at running a little practice news skit in studio A, I put my hand up to be the floor manager, which was actually a lot more fun and simple than I thought it was going to be. I needed to listen at all times to the director in the panel room through my headset, and if need be press a button to talk back to the director. I basically sent messages from the director to the ‘performers’ on stage or on set. We then as a group discussed the topic being ‘tough on crime’ and the types of ways to go about researching the issue. We currently have a google doc that we as a group are gradually pasting links to sites in and other information from our research.
The first ‘The News is a Joke’ class was a success, as straight away I felt as though this class already had lived up to my expectations. I was happy I got placed into this elective as it was my first preference, the reason being is because I have always been interested in the news and how the ways in which certain media is received to audiences and if that is in a passive or active way. However as well as being interested in the news, for entertainment and a good laugh I do love watching comedy news such as Saturday Night Live and certain comedy news skits on The Tonight show or The Late Late Show. Yet this elective does draw influences from The Late show with Stephen Colbert and John Oliver who I have not seen much of. During the introduction of the elective in class, it was very interesting as Leo Berkley the tutor played for us examples of John Oliver and Stephen Colbert’s comedy news skits. I was then immediately very excited about this class as I do love acting and performing in front of people but I also can’t wait to know how to use all of the cameras and studio equipment.
In the second half of the class, we had a look at the two studios (studio A and B) in building 5, as well as the control panel room. The first word that came to my mind when I was the studios was ‘professional’, which is really inspiring and gets me motivated to work hard in the studios and complete the end results for the semester. In terms of physically working with the equipment, I had a go at using camera 3, therefore I directed the camera, the zoom of the camera, and I learnt how the headphones work in terms of talking to the director in the control panel room whilst filming.
What I considered to be the most successful aspects of the submitted work was having Molly and Gigi as group members, as we were all very diligent in making sure we found time to constantly be meeting up. Initially we met up outside of class for the group collaboration documents, as we wanted to make sure we got the group collaboration documents completed before anything else. We met up numerous times after the initial meet up, to record our sounds and edit the sounds for the audio piece. Therefore the most successful aspect of the submitted work is the communication between Molly, Gigi and I, which made it possible for us to be prepared to submit the audio piece on time.
There were also many problematic aspects of the submitted work, which I would put down to preparation issues. It was evident that our problem was not communicating with one another, but rather having our ideas flow, as it took us a long time to even figure out what our main idea for the audio piece would be. This then delayed the research for the project, however we did eventually decide the main idea for this project would be fandom and the generational shift that comes along with fandom. Once we knew exactly what our focus for the audio piece was, we then were able to research and do our annotated bibliographies. However, even aiming to have the annotated bibliographies done was hard work, as I struggled finding articles or readings that were completely relevant to our topic.
Attempting to record and edit the audio together was also quite problematic, as I would borrow the zoom sound recorder and record sounds that I thought we were using for the audio piece, yet we ended up not using it, and in general we ended up with a lot of random sounds that we did not use. I bring this all down to not planning our audio piece properly or in the way we should have.
Yet after we showed our rough cut to Katherine, we realised we would base our audio around the ‘Lord of the Rings’ fandom. This therefore shaped our audio into the audio piece it is today.
Our audio definitely ‘plugs in’ to the concept of fandom and hyper and deep attention that we have previously read about in readings and discussed in lectures and workshops. We specifically looked at the reading ‘A Night of a Thousand Wizards’, as this reading or blog focuses on a fandom, the Harry Potter fandom and what different types of fans of different age brackets pay attention to. This reading then influenced our decision to focus our audio piece around a specific fandom (Lord of the Rings) and especially the older and younger generations that come with fandoms such as these, and the generational shift that occurs. More specifically, we looked into how older and younger fans, act as fans, and if it is rather the younger fans, who through social media that have created this idea of fans being in a ‘fandom’.
I have learnt that audio based media can afford a lot, of course it cannot afford footage of videos or photos, yet the amount of sound and the different types of sound audio based media can afford, is almost infinite. Through attending lectures and listening to experts, I have learnt there are story sounds and sonic sounds. Audio media affords story sounds such as narration, a climactic point, exposition, cause and effect and mood, and sonic sounds such as ambient sounds, spot sounds, silence, tone and pitch.
What I have learnt in the making process about collaboration, is that people need to have their own specific job that contributes to the overall outcome of the project. I have also learnt that it is vital to plan and prepare for each meeting so it is always a productive meeting and runs efficiently and smoothly. Relating specifically to sound based group collaboration, I would next time somehow get the audio we as a group are working on, on all the group members laptops, therefore at group meetings, it isn’t the one same person always editing the audio themselves. I also have learnt that communication is key within group collaboration, and it is important for the group to feel comfortable around each other. That is why it is a good idea, before the hard work starts, to get to know the group members socially and become friends, as this should make the rest of the group assignment more enjoyable.
These are the main aspects of being apart of a group collaboration that I have learnt during this project and will help me with my broader development as a media practitioner.
For this weeks initiative post I decided to practice recording more sounds with the zoom recorder, yet still in relation to Project Brief 4. Therefore the first sound piece is an example of a fan watching a Star Wars film in a cinematic environment, and paying deep attention only the to movie, perhaps representing the older types of fans of Star Wars. The second sound recording is an example of a fan of Star Wars watching Star Wars on a laptop in a bedroom or causal setting, yet with many other distraction around them such as other tabs on their laptop and their phone, which is evidently heard by the sound of typing and phone notifications when the Star Wars theme song is playing. These two sound recordings depict the fans who use deep attention and those who use hyper attention.
For this weeks initiative post I decided that it would be good for me to learn more about Adobe Audition and how to use it successfully. Therefore I logged onto Lynda.com and watched a tutorial video. Maxim Jago, the Media Technology Specialist that features in the video, goes into depth about certain aspects of audition such as comparing audio file and multitrack session workflows, setting up audio hard wear input and output, additional panels and setting up audio channel mapping.
For this weeks initiative post I delved deeper into the research for this project, specifically looking at the idea of how older fans from older generations would use their attention to devote time to whatever they are a fan of, verse how this current generation (generation y) use their attention to devote time to what they are a fan of. I decided to scroll through Youtube as I know youtube is the centre for many types of fans to post videos about their fandom, and I thought this video, from the Youtube channel DanIsNotOnFire sums up the younger generations view on fandom and what it means to them. This ties in nicely to my groups Project Brief 4 audio piece, specifically about the young modern fandom culture, and what types of fans they are.
For my initiative post week 9, I used the sound that Molly, Gigi and I recorded in the workshop in week 9 and used Audition to edit the audio. I wanted to get a head start on using Audition before we actually had to, for Project Brief 4. Because nobody was teaching me how to use Audition, I learnt by doing. I found it easy enough to upload the audio, and create tracks, to drag the audio onto. I did manage to find the tools such as the move, razor select and slip tool.