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Over the mid semester break I met with Mollie and Matt to finish the promo video – which is looking amazing! We also cut three short 15 second videos for Instagram/Facebook. These will act as teasers for our full video, which will be released the Monday of our seminar week.
We also put some of our posters around Building 9, which are looking great! So happy with the way they turned out.
The playlist is now finished! I have chosen a selection of “classic” and modern songs all about female empowerment, and I thin intermixing the two will be really great. We have also included Jona Vark by Gypsy and the Cat, as it ties in closely with our seminar name.
Catering is getting there, I have purchased all of the lollies, as well as some pink plastic cups and plates. Next week I will purchase all of the things I need for baking and will have a big baking day which I’m hoping will all go well. My biggest concern with that at the moment will be how I carry it all into school. Will hopefully sort that out next week.
In terms of stage production, I am getting nervous about when/how we are going to set up all of our complicated lights and set. I have full faith in Sam that we will be able to pull this off though! I have also volunteered to man one of the three cameras for our seminar, which I think will be a good way for me to stay focused during our seminar.
This week we had our first seminar – #socialseminar. It was really interesting and definitely gave us some ideas about how to run our seminar so it can be as good as possible!
Today we split up into smaller teams so we can be more organised! I think this will help because with 13 people in a group it has become increasingly hard to be productive and make decisions. I have chosen to be in charge of the food/drink, as well as helping out with the stage production team.
We are going to assess what we have available in the RMITV offices furniture wise on Monday and then make some decisions based on that. We want to have a open discussion with all of our guests, so we are thinking either two couches or four chairs, arranged in a semi circle.
In terms of food I am going to research some recipes and see what happens!
Today we had some time to work in our groups – we were mostly focused on organising guests as our seminar is three weeks away (!!!) I suggested Natalie Tran, who is a YouTuber and business woman. She is based in Sydney, but definitely worth a shot! I’m going to email her and if we haven’t heard from her by Tuesday next week we will move on to someone else. Fingers crossed!
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.
Last week in class we talked about how big companies can use transmedia to tell stories. Following on from our discussion of The Matrix the week before, it was really interesting to see how other shows can create a complete universe from a single media item.
In class we watched the first two episodes of Agent Carter, which focuses more on Peggy Carter, and is set in the 1950’s. I was interested in the concept of a spin off show, what makes them good (or bad) and how well they tend to last in comparison in the original media.
Spinoffs tend to have a bad name – taking a minor character, placing them in a new location, and trying to run off the success of the original show, and generally just being pretty bad. Joey (the Friends spinoff) lasted only two seasons, while the Happy Days spinoff Joanie loves Chaci got cut short in its second season.
I think to make a good spinoff you need a couple of things:
• An interesting enough character with a strong storyline which adds something to the original media
• Provides enough information to the previous show, as well as having enough of a plot to stand on its own
The one to watch at the moment is Better Call Saul, the Breaking Bad spinoff. Set before the events of the original show, it provides several hints to the original show, as well as giving enough extra information that it feels like a show in its own right.
After our first week of Story Lab classes, we were introduced to Dan and what the rest of the semester held in store for us. We explored what story means to us – what we thought a story needed and considered the possibility of a story without these elements. We watched a Ted Talk from Andrew Stanton, who works at Pixar on such films as Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Wall-E, who spoke about the ‘rules’ of storytelling – and the importance of breaking those rules. There were a couple of things, which I really liked which he spoke about in the video. I really liked the 2+2 approach – which suggests that instead of giving the audience 4, give them 2+2 and make them work to put the story together. He explains it better – it’s at 7:15 in the video – which can be found here http://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_stanton_the_clues_to_a_great_story/transcript?language=en#t-431941. I am a big fan of making the audience work for a story when creating narrative – I think it makes for a much for engaging and interactive narrative.
In our second class this week, we explored different ways of telling stories – through the examples of Orson Welles radio performance of War of the Worlds (1938) and the original Frankenstein (1931). While I heard a lot about War of the Worlds and spoken about it in relation to media theories in the past, I had never sat down and listened to the piece. I really enjoyed how many different ways the story was told – through news stories and interviews. I was pleasantly surprised at how funny the story was – the use of silence was incredibly powerful, as well the music, which was interwoven through the piece. I liked how well the piece played with form – through a medium the audience was incredibly literate in (i.e. radio), they used different forms to telling a story which was incredibly engaging.
Overall I really enjoyed my first week of The Story Lab, I think it’s going to be an incredibly engaging subject this semester.
Things to Remember
- The 2+2 rule
- Write what you know
- What does a story need – and does it?
- Play with form
1. As per lecture – in a sequence you’ve called ‘colour’ you will have clips that are indicative of a particular colour or lighting state. To the right of that clip you will have that same clip repeated 2 or more times with different colour grades on it.Take screen grabs of each clip then upload to your blog the series of stills that show us ‘before and afters’ of your colour grading. Provide a few different examples of at least two different clips – each with a description of what you did to the clip and why. This is a learning exercise, not necessarily a qualitative one, don’t stress – it is the act of doing it and the reflection on that, that is important.
What we used – three way colour corrector and brightness/contrast
Image 1 – The Original
We decided that we wanted to use this clip in our documentary, the only problem being it was a little bit overexposed. The sky was one of our concerns – as it is a little bit yellow in this shot, as well as the wall, which is a slightly different shade of blue from the rest of the film.
Image 2 – Test 1
We decided to bring down the brightness, as well as increasing the contrast, to help with the over exposure. We bumped up the blue highlights to help make the sky look a bit more normal when compared to the other clips in our film.
Image 3 – Test 2
In this image we decided to adjust the shadows and midtones to help the colour in the wall look more normal. By adjusting the amount of blue in the clip, we made the wall look similar to the other shots we have used. We also adjust the brightness and contrast again in this clip, as well as adjusting the amount of yellow highlights, making the sky look more normal as well.
What we used – three way colour corrector and brightness/contrast
Image 1 – Original
This clip is a little bit over exposed, but our main concern was that it was not white balanced properly and therefore has way more blue than it should. While we initially thought we couldn’t use this clip at all, we eventually decided to have a play with it and see if we could use it.
Image 2 – Test 1
In this test, we reduced the brightness and increased the contrast, making the colours look more vibrant. As this shot is a pan, while it looked good in some frames of the shot, it didn’t look good in others.
Image 3 –Test 2
In this clip, we tried adding yellow highlights and increasing the contrast. While this worked to fix the amount of blue in the sky, it made the stones look really strange. As this is the main focus of the shot, we decided we couldn’t use this clip.
2. “In 200 words or less please outline your goals, desires – what you want to get out of this semester. You will review this later in the course. You may rethink this dramatically – this is a good thing.”
You were asked this at the beginning of the semester. Now, could you review constructively what you got from this semester – has the course lived up to your expectations, delivered what you expected, maybe even surpassed it?
At the beginning of the semester, I was a little bit reserved about working with documentary – I felt that narrative is a really a strong point of mine, as I’ve done a lot of work on that in the past,and I really didn’t know what I wanted to make a film about. However, I have found that I have really enjoyed the semester, and I feel that both my production and post-production skills have increased rapidly this semester. I have enjoyed the opportunity to have more freedom in our production schedule, as well as the ability to borrow equipment whenever we wanted and shoot as many times as we felt like. I also enjoyed learning how to use new equipment, like the Z7, and I feel like I am much more confident in using the equipment than I was last semester. This semester, I wanted to focus on my editing skills a lot more, as I felt I didn’t really get to do very much last semester. I loved the opportunity to increase my editing skills, and feel I am much more proficient than I was last semester, particularly in colour correcting and audio mixing. Overall, I have loved Film&TV 2, mostly in the freedom with our production schedule, and the ability to research and create a narrative with something I didn’t know very much about before.
Then reflect on the whole process – Consider: the quality and usability of your recordings; the effect of layering and juxtaposition of both the audio and the video and; the things you learnt from working with this kind of audio and video.
I found this to be a really interesting exercise, joining together audio and video together shot on completely different days, with no knowledge that we would have to put them together to create a cohesive one minute piece of film. On reviewing the footage and trying to join together I found that the video that we shot was much more useable than the audio. I think that this may have been due having a week in between recording the audio and the video, as it gave a chance to review and reflect on the footage and think about the video and what we were going to shoot before going out.
I found it hard to find ways to join together the audio and video when editing, mostly because there was little to no connection between them. This lead to me having to edit together and layer the audio I recorded separately, with the audio from the video we shot.
One of the most interesting things I have taken away from this exercise is seeing how other people have interpreted the exercise. Getting a chance to see Miguel’s finished exercise was fascinating as we had the same video footage to work with, but interpreted them in very different ways.
Select from one of the readings and briefly describe two points that you have taken from it. Points that excite you, something that was completely new to you. (Please put a full stop when you return so we get a paragraph break. Makes it easier to read.)
Paul Ward’s Fiction and Non Fiction: The Great Divide (2005), explores the relationship between “fiction, non-fiction and documentary” (pg.31) and how these things overlap and interact. He explores how the tensions between drama and documentary and how these can be constructed.
One of the interesting things I found that Ward discusses is how reality TV is constructed and can be considered ‘real’ and how it is constructed. He uses the example of Big Brother to demonstrate how documentary just relies on real people essentially acting, and having a “highly developed sense of performance” (Ward 2005, p.36).
Another of the interesting things I found in Ward’s reading was his discussion of several retellings of Aileen Wuornos’ story. The several different film retellings utilise different levels of fiction and non-fiction to different effects. Ward explores these ‘fly-on-the-wall’ style constructed documentaries allow a different level of intimacy and information than is been expected from traditional dramas.
Frankham considers how list-like structures can be used to create artistic materials and can aid in creating new connections and new levels of complexity. She states that, “certain documentary projects use non-narrative form as a way to prompt dialogue between the spectator and the work.” (Frankham 2013, p.137).
Frankham explores how lists alienate the elements of a project and how the connections between these elements (i.e. in and out keywords in Korsakow) can create something with more complexity and meaning than may have been originally intended. She proposes that these list-based artworks lend themselves towards online exhibition, as they move beyond linear narratives and allow for interactivity between the user and the creator.
Specifically, in relation to Korsakow, Frankham considers how these interactive web-docs can be considered a montage, or a “complex system of linking discrete objects” (Frankham 2013, p.142). She discusses the how the multiple connections that can be created allow for different interpretations and a more poetic approach to documentary.
The two things that stuck out most for me in Frankham’s reading were:
• Frankham’s discussion for how “potential for a more keenly felt and critical engagement may be enabled by relinquishing absolute control over the way the work is read” (Frankham 2013, p.144). In my personal experience with Korsakow, I’ve felt that the little amount of control I’ve had over how the audience perceives my work is frustrating. As an author or creator, you often struggle to predict how the audience will react to your work, and with Korsakow you have even less of a guessing ability.
• Frankham proposes that interactive web-docs can be seen as a more active and present form of creating media, as more of a thinking process than one which has been previously thought out. The sentence which caught my attention was when Frankham discusses the benefits of lists, exploring how lists “follows the structure of memory, impulse and flashes of association”. This inspired me to come up with an idea for the final Korsakow project we are undertaking this semester.
Frankham’s discussion of interactive web-docs, such as those created through the Korsakow program, and how they reward both the creator and the reader with deeper levels of complexity, was particularly interesting to me as it allowed me to further understand how the Korsakow program can be used.
Two of this weeks readings, Bogost (2012) and Ryan (2006) are closely connected, and as such I will be discussing them together and in relation to the Korsakow program.
Bogost (2012) discusses how “lists remind us that no matter how fluidly a system may operate its members nevertheless remain utterly isolated” (p.40) and how they differ from other literary forms to create disjuncture and a lack of flow. Lists are a convenient way to store and view information, however there is not a lot of art in writing or preparing a list.
Ryan (2006) discusses how the rise in the term narrative has “diluted the meaning” of the term. She examines how narrative can now be used in fields other than film studies, including culture and technology, thus changing the meaning of narrative in its truest form. She uses the example of Abbott’s definition of narrative as the relation between story, narrative and narrative discourse, defining the terms as such;
• Story – event or sequence of events
• Narrative discourse – the textual association of story
• Narrative – A combination of story and narrative discourse
These terms allow us to understand how narrative is created and the ‘true’ definition of narrative.
The Bogost and Ryan readings create the outline for how to use Korsakow effectively. Bogost’s detailed discussion of lists ties in closely with the Korsakow program and it forces users to use lists to create the final product. It is different to other programs as it challenges the user to create something with a sense of flow and rhythm through the creation on compilation of lists. Ryan’s discussion of true narrative allows readers to fully understand what the true meaning of narrative, not its more commonly used form today.
Both of these relate closely to the Korsakow program and how we are using it this semester as they tie in closely with the ideas and challenges presented by it.