In the beginning of the semester, a lot of our writing stemmed from the books we had to read (Boyd, Swanson, etc.). But as we moved on throughout the rest of the course, our writings started to evolve more and focus on more than just answering questions about readings.
One of the pieces I really liked from this course was James’ Concept in 60 video. The reason I found his video so amusing is because he used a concept that went in the opposite direction of what a lot of the rest class did (how to properly watch a movie at home), which I think is sometimes needed in class because people like to really touch upon more serious subjects, which isn’t a bad thing at all, but a little comedy sometimes helps everyone, even if though don’t admit it. I’d say my favorite part of the piece is the credits scene because he used a whole Star Wars theme throughout the video and in the end credits, he did a Star Wars type credits crawl which I thought was entertaining. Overall, I chose James’ concept in 60 because it was very engaging and was a good change of pace for the class because of it’s comedic approach.
A piece that I thought went beyond writing was Sam’s remediation poem “The Hudson River Blues”. I chose this piece because one, it was a remediation of an assignment done in a prior class, so I thought that was passing beyond some borders that not many people crossed. Secondly, I think that the fact that he didn’t use any writing in the remediation of the piece shows how much he went beyond writing. The edition of the background music to go along with the image of an of the actual Hudson River really helps brings out a more understanding and entertaining meaning to the poem and my favorite part of the post is how the image is moving from the sea up to the clouds. I thought it was pretty cool how as the poem was read in the background, the moving image almost matched up with the words, and if the poem were to simply be written then we wouldn’t get this effect as readers/viewers. All in all, there were so many pieces that I could’ve chosen from for both my favorite and one that reaches out beyond writing, but the two I chose really just stood out to me and grabbed my attention the most.
Throughout this semester, I have come across such a wide variety of posts that I have really admired. One post which I admire for its quality of prose is Will’s concept in 60 remediation piece. I enjoyed how playful and creative he was with this assignment. He built upon future Will’s character in a very descriptive way that may not have been construed the same way if it had been through a different medium. I recognize Will’s piece as a natural flow of his thoughts and story-telling. One of my favorite quotes from this post was:
“He wanted to taste the bounty of life, to behold the wonders of life outside the auto shop. What he really wanted to be is an exotic dancer. So he came up with this plan to go back in time, using the blueprints for the time machine he helped make, to motivate his younger self to take control of his life, even if it meant helping him make a PB&J.”
I enjoyed this part because it made me laugh while allowing me to understand both this post and his concept in 60 post even better. Will gives his readers everything we need to know about his character: what his aspirations and ambitions are, even if making a PB&J sandwich was part of that. Future Will could have easily said these things about himself if this had been a video but the readers received a lot more description through this piece.
One post I admire for how the writer moved beyond writing is Sam’s remediation of his Hudson River Blues poem. The poem was inspired by a picture he took of the Hudson River and he provided that photo in the video. I really enjoyed this video because I feel as though he described the picture so perfectly. Specifically, when he says the line: “and tuck myself in / with the blanket of clouds that rolls overhead” the video pans up to the actual blanket like clouds Sam is referring to. Poems are open to a lot of different interpretations but Sam gave his viewers a peek into his specific thoughts and ideas with the use of this video.
One of my favorite written pieces for this class comes from Isabella. Titled “Everyday Curators”, this piece discusses the second half of Nicholas Carr’s “The Shallows.” Isabella’s takeaway from the second half of the book that she discusses is that with internet, we as people have the power to designate what becomes relevant news and what does not. Moreover, the idea is that with social media in particular, we can share, post, and hashtag in a way that creates a story or brings attention to a particular topic. I feel that Isabella describes this brilliantly in her piece. My favorite line from this post is “Our phones are grenades—with them we have the power to blow something up. Not in the literal sense but in the sense that creates a ripple effect within a medium that reaches anyone worldwide.” This is such a powerful statement because not only does it utilize a metaphor, but it signifies our power as users of the internet. The idea of “blowing up” a story can have both positive connotations, as well as negative as we saw with Ronson’s book. Isabella does a great job at pointing this out and bringing to light the idea that we are empowered by our technology—we curate our information and pick what we think is important and skip over what we think is not.
One of my favorite posts from someone who moves beyond writing was James’ Concept in 60 video, where he explains how to properly watch a movie. James really utilized the subtlety of comedy in this video. While never explicitly saying anything super funny, something he does quite well is show the viewer how one should watch a movie in a comedic manner. The actions in the video that go with the instructions for how to properly watch a movie is what makes it funny. The one scene in particular that stands out to me begins at 0:42. In this scene, James has described how one should get into the right mindset to watch their movie. Because James is demonstrating by watching Star Wars, he is decked out in Star Wars gear. However, this scene in particular made me laugh because of the manner in which James lights up the toy light saber. He has a straight face while doing this, and it is this subtle facial expression, or lack thereof, that video allows us to see. In writing, we would have to describe this and it might not be as funny.
Voice and Tone
Guidelines for Concept in 60
Responding to Ronson (and boyd and Carr)
In groups: Discuss your responses. Select a a piece to present on Monday that you feel pushes our conversation beyond where it is now.
- Mon, 4/17, class: What are you going to do (have you done) for the Writing as Social Action assignment? Be ready to speak briefly about your project. We will also discuss the responses to Ronson you’ve chosen on Friday.
- Wed, 4/19, class: Read Fenton and Lee, chapter 7 (pp. 83–99). Think about possible digital writers you may want to profile for next week (due Thurs, 4/27).
- Thurs, 4/20, 10:00 am: Post your report on Writing as a Social Action to this site. Read and comment on the posts of your group members.
Page and Screen
In groups, draw on your most recent post to create some notes on:
- A taxonomy: What are some popular forms for the 60 Second Video?
- Affordances and constraints: What can you “leverage and resist” in video that seems different from writing?
- The experience of composing in video: What was fun? frustrating? challenging? satisfying?
- Mon, 4/03, class: Read Ronson to p.157. A response will be due on Thurs, 4/06.
- Have a great break!
There are many differences between the two mediums of video and print. Making the Concept in 60 video really highlighted these affordances and constraints since we have been writing blog posts all semester and have been asked to jump into the new medium for this assignment. For the most part, relaying a concept in video format can be a lot easier since you can use different elements that you can’t in writing. The creator can speak instead of write, which makes their meaning and interpretation of what they are saying clear to the audience, which is done by tone of voice and where they place emphasis. With that being said, the use of audio is a great affordance in using videos. There can be sound effects and music which can bring out a certain mood of the viewer. Visuals are what makes a video really stand out. These can be used so the audience gets the rights images and scenery in their minds, while also bringing the whole story together. Videos tend to get a message across quicker than reading a chuck of text can, and can be more entertaining, both of which can keep the audience engaged in their work a lot longer than reading text does. Some constraints of using video vs text are that is does not leave much room for the viewer’s imagination, as everything is already laid out for the viewer. This does alter the viewer’s perception and experience of the text because it leaves less room for the viewer to really make it their own.
Graham’s video is almost a perfect example of the affordances of video that I just explained. While his video does not have any speaking, it really highlights what video can do to add effects. He uses various combos of different types of music with different filters/visual effects. Even though he is not doing anything in the video, you can still get a certain tone from it based on these effects. In text, you would have to write sentences in order to attempt for everyone to get the same intended vibes that can be effortlessly achieved through video.
Another example of great use of these affordances is Sam’s video about how to make a grand entrance. Trying to effectively turn this video into text and get the same message across is nearly impossible, or at least very difficult. Sam uses every affordance simultaneously throughout his whole video. His tone of voice and visuals form the actors clearly indicate humor, the grand entrances are nicely complimented by the sound effects, and reading the actors faces throughout the video really adds to the experience.
Will’s video is yet another great example. His video starts off with future him talking to present him. He is using a tone of voice that would be difficult to describe accurately and effectively through text, so the use of video really highlights the humor and tone of Will’s piece. The visuals and facial expressions seen that were added by the use of video makes the intended tones a lot more clear.
What can you, as a student in this course, do in working with video that you can’t do in a written text? Conversely, what kinds of things is it hard to do with video that you can do more readily in writing? Affordances and constraints. Video and print. I’d like you to think about the relationship between these two modalities using the Concepts in 60 videos posted to this site.
Let me make an arbitrary rule: You should refer in your post to at least three Concept in 60 videos. Your goal should not be to evaluate these pieces, to say what you especially liked or didn’t, but to note what the medium of video seems to encourage authors to do and what it seems to constrain them from doing.
Deadline: Thurs, 3/23, 10:00 am. I’m eager to read your thoughts on this issue!