It’s finally here – the last week of the semester! All of the elements of Connor are coming together this week and I am incredibly happy with how the project has turned out.
The final hurdle for me is the final vlog. I have been really indecisive about how to finish these videos, I can’t decide how to figure what note to end the videos on. I am very nervous about how to finish the video, as when you go to Connor’s YouTube channel the last video posted will be the first one you see. As the news articles will link to his channel, it is incredibly important to make sure this video is as effective as possible.
The main source of inspiration for this video comes from Elliot Rodger’s video. His final video, ominously titled ‘Retribution’ clearly outlines his plans and how he is going to kill people. While I don’t want Connor’s video to be that clear, there are elements from this video I would love to use.
A couple of quotes I like from the video are:
“It’s an injustice, a crime, because…I don’t know what you don’t see in me”
“You denied me a happy life, and in turn I will deny all of you life. It’s only fair”
“You deserve to be annihilated and I’ll give that to you. You never showed me any mercy and so I’ll show you none”
“You’ve forced me to suffer all my life”
I’m still undecided about if I’ll just get Thomas to say these things or directly reference the video within his vlog but I’ll figure it out.
The other thing I want to reference in the video are the facebook event, as well as names and other things from the diary.
Connor is progressing really well – the vlogs are coming together really well in the short time frame we have and are creating a character profile for Connor which gives enough character depth without being full of exposition. The trick with these vlogs is to provide enough push off points to the other platforms while still providing enough distinct content for the platform to be considered sustainable.
In an ideal world, I would love to have like 6 months of content created before our ‘big event’, to create a really full character profile which fully explored all of the nuances of Connor’s character. This is the benefit of the diary, as we are able to backlog content and put dates on things to create the illusion of this project going on for longer than the 12 week semester. I would have also loved to flesh out the Facebook aspect of our project, create profiles for people which exist in their own world. It would have been really good to incorporate some more social media elements into our project, such as some Instagram work. I don’t know what the most effective way of linking these projects would be, it would just be cool to try.
That’s the annoying thing about creating projects within the coursework, the 12 week timeframe doesn’t really allow for projects for fully develop and come into their own. Realistically, by the time you suss out the class, the groups you’re working in, and the nuances of your project you have 6 weeks to create a project which is fully fledged.
Here’s hoping all the other elements of our project come together on time – the news articles are coming together really well and Tiana is handling the diary. My main concern at this point is the photos, as I want them to be as effective as they possibly can be. We are scheduling time with Tom next week to take them, and then pulling together a collection of photos from our personal albums and working him into the background of them.
Our first piece of the Connor puzzle has come together – our first YouTube video!
We’re really happy with what Thomas has put together – considering we just send him the script (which very few directions) we are so happy with how it has come together.
Our aim is to put two videos up each week for the next few weeks – and we are just writing them week by week. They’re only going to be short videos, like two minutes each, but by the end we should have about 10-15 minutes of videos.
All of the other bits and pieces are slowly coming together – Tiana is working on the diary and we have slowly started drafting the newspaper articles. My only concern at this point is the photo album – as it’s meant to be the draw card into our project I’m just really hoping it works and is as effective as we are planning.
This week we were given a reading by Renira Gambarato, which explores the relationship between signs, system and complexity in relation to transmedia storytelling. I found this a particularly hard reading, mainly due to the fact it involved algebra, which I haven’t dealt with since 2011.
However, after a few readings, I finally got what Gambarato was talking about and pulled a few key ideas which I found interesting, as well as ideas which relate to our final project.
Garambato defines a system as the composition (or the set of components), the environment and the structure of that environment. This can be applied to any environment, be it a school, a workplace, or a narrative world.
Garambarto argues that a transmedia environment needs to involve “at least five main areas (systems)” to be considered an engaging project
Garambarto argues that a fundamental of transmedia storytelling is the relationship between the story and the people interested in it. This relationship can be divided into two different ways – interactivity which allows the audience to relate to it without changing the story and participation which allows the audience to engage with it and express creativity in relation to the story.
Garambarto explores the dichotomy of sytsems, either being open or closed. An ‘open system’ is one which invites and allows the audience to fully immerse themselves in the story, and allows them to express creative control over where the story can go. In opposition, a ‘closed system’ is one which does not allow the audience to interfere with the narrative..
The most interesting thing I picked up from Garambarto’s reading is the idea very few projects are created as open projects, that “all the story development was already planned and controlled”. I was thinking about this particularly in relation to the projects we have undertaken this semester, which are predominantly closed systems. The idea of creating a story but not having control of where it goes or how it will finish is really terrifying.
This week I wanted to provide a progress update on Connor
Webisodes: I don’t remember if I wrote this anywhere – but we’ve decided to scrap the webisodes. Given the small amount of time we have left this semester and how much time they would take to produce, we decided as a group to get rid of them. This gives us some more time to ensure the other artefacts are going to be as high quality as possible.
Vlogs: We’ve set up a YouTube channel to upload all of your videos (link coming soon and we are looking to upload 1/2 videos a week, with at least 5 in total. We are taking turns in writing them and going to write them week by week – just to allow changes in our project to progress. The key points I want covered in the vlogs are to really demonstrate Connor’s character, as well as providing links to our other artefacts.
Diary: Tiana has decided to take control of the diary – which I am more than happy to relinquish control of. Obviously we will help out creating content as much as we can.
Photo Album: We have planned to take these photos in Week 10 – we still haven’t decided the best way to approach it yet. We have created five Facebook profiles each, in order to make the community surrounding Connor as real as possible.
Articles: We have started drafting the articles – as we want to appear as professional as possible so we need to start on these as soon as possible.
This week we presented our pitches for our project, which was really exciting. It was great to hear about all the other projects people in our class are creating, as well as getting feedback from the panel.
The projects I’m most excited to see are Instafame and Dodging the Bullet – I think they’re both going to be really interesting projects and I cannot wait to see how they turn out. I think all the diversity of the projects are really interesting – and I cannot wait to see them develop over the next few weeks.
I think the most important thing to keep in mind for our project for the next five weeks (which is crazy!) is to be focused and have a good plan. We have a lot of content to produce over a variety of mediums which is going to take a lot of time. I think streamlining our project is going to help – the panel suggested we cut down on at least one of our media in order to create a better overall project. They also suggested we think about the order in which the audience is presented the media, to create the most effective storytelling.
I personally think we should get rid of the websiodes element of our project – I don’t think they fit in really well with the other elements and are going to be incredibly demanding in terms of time – which we are running short on now!
Connor is an interactive, multiplatform story, which deals with contemporary issues of bullying, isolation and online connections in a refreshing and distinctive way. Over a variety of mediums, Connor will engage the audience and provoke them to rethink the ways they think about unique individuals within their communities.
Our protagonist, Connor, is an isolated 18 year-old who for many years has been bullied, victimised and mistreated by his high school peers. This, in tandem with his high sense of entitlement and introverted personality means he has been turned to other avenues to connect with people. In the culmination of our project, Connor decides to get revenge on his classmates by killing them when they are all attending a house party.
Connor is a project that encompasses video, digital and physical mediums. Through these platforms, we will allow our audience an increasingly deep look into the life of Connor, our protagonist, as he acts out his revenge on his peers. The variety of mediums we will use in our project will be presented in the following order.
The first digital artifact in our project is the Facebook photo album from the party where Connor acts his revenge. These photos, on face level, will prevent themselves as just a regular house party, but when looking deeper will give hints as to what he is doing. These will be brought to the audiences’ attention by comments and tags in the photo by fake profiles (created by us).
Another of these mediums is Connor’s vlogs, which will be uploaded to YouTube. These are videos are Connor directly addressing the camera, voicing all of his feelings about his life, but in particular the segregation he has faced at the hands of his peers. These videos will give a comprehensive look into the way his mind works. While they will not mention the attacks directly, there will be heavy implications in the video themselves. These videos will be recorded on either a MacBook camera, or another low quality camera, to remain as authentic as possible.
The next platform for Connor is a series of ‘webisodes’, which will provide a look into Connor’s life from other perspectives – that of his mum, his neighbour and the media. This will be more professionally produced content, using equipment available to us at RMIT, or our own equipment. These videos will be uploaded to Vimeo and will provide an insight to Connor’s life beyond his own inner workings.
The written component of our project will be comprised of two news articles, which can be found on our own news site, using either Google Sites or WordPress. These will be the most objective elements of our story, as they will be completely removed from Connor and his life. These will be released at different times, the first one directly after the event, and the second a few days later, providing more information about the event. These will provide a more factual element to the event, and will be referenced in the webisodes.
The last object in our transmedia project will be the only physical element. It will be a diary, which will provide even further insight into Connor’s inner mind. This diary will give the audience a mass of information into how Connor was inspired to commit these murders, as well as his planning, and thinking about doing this. This will inform the audience more about how he was isolated, as well as giving evidence as to him planning the event.
In this project we will equally split the roles across all the media artifacts, from the writing to the producing, allowing us to all be fully immersed in the project. Of course, as we all have different skill levels and abilities, which will influence how we approach each individual artifact.
The main focus of this week in the Story Lab was our guest lecture from Dr. Troy Innocent, who deals with the elements of code and other digital artefacts in the physical world. Troy’s lecture mostly surrounded his work Urban Codemakers – which was a project which injected elements of video games into a real life game with physical artefacts to collect. It was a really interesting lecture, as it gave us more insights into how the things we learn about at uni can have successful, real world applications.
One of the most interesting things I took away from things from the lecture was how, by engaging users in something such physical collection of artefacts, you pushed them to create their own story, as well as engaging more in the story you have already created. Troy also spoke about how the locations of the physical tokens which were used for collecting points, often held significance in relation to the project as a whole In relation to our project, it encourages us to think more cleverly about how we create push off points between each of our artefacts.
Another thing I took away from Troy’s lecture was his emphasis on the endgame – that closure to a project is incredibly important. I think we definitely need to keep this is mind with our project, as we are encouraging users to piece together the story themselves. I think having a fully fledged story, even if we are the only people who know it, would be very helpful overall for our project.
Our Final Project group aims to explore more deeply the story of Californian shooter Elliot Rodgers, through several different platforms. We chose this story because we all found it very interesting (especially his manifesto found here – http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1173619/rodger-manifesto.pdf). Through the medium of film, articles, song and a blog, we are attempting to create an interesting take on this fascinating story.
Tiana, Kylie, Kevin, James and myself
1. Come to class
2. Good communication between members
3. Even contribution across the group (putting forward our skills and sticking to it)
Obviously our main inspiration is Rodger’s manifesto, as it gives us an in depth, first person look into his world and psyche. Rodgers also had a YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/ElliotRodger) which documents more of his world.
I’ve always been really interested in how social media platforms can be used to tell stories, how they can be told through the collation of posts and notes and likes. A tool such as Snapchat, an app which originally allowed users to send 10 second pictures/videos to any of their friends, which delete themselves after viewing, is certainly an interesting way of telling stories. Snapchat’s ‘Story’ feature, released in October 2013, allows users to upload a picture or video for any of their friends to view as much as they want for 24 hours, is the thing that captured my attention the most.
This feature allows users to create their own narrative and share it with as many people as they have friends on their contact list. Because they are only available for 24 hours, users are less worried about what they post.
The “24 hours only” availability of the Snapchat Story is one of those things that would be really interesting to play with when creating stories – it creates a sense of urgency with your audience to consume the media as soon as possible, as well as having a blink and you’ll miss it effect.