For project one, my case study was LJ Frezza’s video, titled Nothing, which involved every shot of ‘nothing’ (buildings, empty rooms etc.) from the television series, Seinfeld, being compiled into one 6 minute supercut. In its editing of entirely archival footage, the experimental video gave an interesting commentary on the 90s TV show, as well life in the city of New York. Moving into project two and onwards, due to a lack of commonalities between our respective case studies, my group chose to select a new case study. We eventually settled on an iPhone 6 video review (link) made by Marques Brownlee. This was a largely conventional and very professionally made video, in which a very well informed opinion was voiced. In analysing this video through practice, we decided we wanted to deconstruct the conventions of the video review genre. The way in which we elected to do this was through the use of parody, remaining connected to the comedic elements of our initial case studies. What this meant was we would identify a convention evident in the iPhone review, and then proceed to parody this through exaggeration and adding an amateurish feel, while also considering the possibility of parody adding narrative to the non-narrative genre of video review.
This method of deconstruction was ultimately successful, as our sketches were able to give us a better understanding of the video review genre, as well as see how they can be recontextualized comically. In terms of the sketching process itself, we perhaps gave too much thought into it rather than just constantly making. One example of an effective sketch is ‘voice-over’, which involved the reviewer trying overly hard to come off as conversational, as well as incorrectly syncing the voice-over with the visual, resulting in an overall poorly made yet comedic clip. This idea of poor editing comes through in parts of our final prototype, like in the end of this video. However, this clearly differs from the sketch, as it is not an editing error, but rather an error in where the reviewer is facing.
Going into project three, we very much wanted to stick with the idea of parody, and perhaps broadening it into other online video genres. This included skate videos, game videos and make up tutorials. Unlike project two, we were far more concerned with the making, rather than the planning – largely in part to Seth’s adjustment to the assessment that would involve the completion of 14 sketches securing an automatic high distinction for each group. This adjustment was extremely refreshing and motivational, and no doubt lead to some of our better work to date. One of our favourite sketches was one involving a recycling dilemma, in which we used the filmic genre of spaghetti western to comically heighten the drama of an everyday life event. While we were very satisfied and proud of this video, we ultimately decided – with the guidance of Seth and the panel – that it was too distant from online video as a platform. However, we did to some extent keep the idea of parodying ‘everyday life’, prevalent in our prototype videos. Another effective sketch was the ‘parody of a parody’ video, in which we essentially parodied the nature of some of our project two sketches. Though the complexity of this sketch made it difficult to continue on with, it was still useful in reminding us that too clichéd and basic a form of parody can be detrimental and fail to make any valuable commentary. This lead into project four, where we – after a lengthy time of indecisiveness – chose to create a type of ‘parody-review’ format that could be used to effectively establish an ongoing web-series. Despite not being a sketch-based assessment, project four actually turned out to be the most ‘rapid’ process, as we now found it the most natural and useful way to work.
Other than sketching, this semester also saw us improve in another field: presenting. Initially, with project two, our presentation was quite messy as we showed all ten of our sketches, leading to a very rushed speech, as we were clearly not well prepared for the time limit. Despite this, what we were able to competently present was of a reasonable standard.
Come project three, we were much more prepared, as we had a more concentrated speech prepared as well as only three sketches to present. With a slightly adjusted presentation for the panel, we gave our best and tightest delivery to date, despite being in a far more intimidating environment. What we learnt from the constant presenting (including the non-assessed parts in-studio) was that, above all, we needed to consistently clarify what it was we were focusing on, rather than assuming our ideas will be easily understood.
Throughout the semester, the value of rapid sketching, constantly presenting and reflecting, among other things, became extremely evident. By improving these things, our created content only improved too, leading to a successful prototype that built on the work that came before it.
(Other reflection blog posts can be found in the OVE Reflection category)