05.09.13 / Weekly Reflection / Web Narratives
The semester has finally made its exit, therefore this will be my last weekly reflection post.
Going into the spring semester, I severely underestimated the purpose and importance of the web narratives course. But the thing I failed to realize most was the level of intensity the class would bring. Learning video while maintaining knowledge of still photography and storytelling was a major challenge. It was a challenge I’m glad to have experienced, though.
So, my final project. I’ll publish the finalized version in a separate post within the next day or so. I’m not going to elaborate too much about it, but for the sake of self-reflection, I’ll talk about some of the struggles I faced. While my story’s issue may not be emotion evoking, it is one that isn’t often told. I gave myself three weeks to shoot. While I was not shooting the entire time, I was most definitely trying to find ways to better tell the story. If I would have given myself more time to gather footage and develop a better storyline, it could have been really great. But in the end, it was completely one-dimensional.
I was aware of the quality of my final before going into critique. I knew I didn’t have a story that was going to win over the hearts of my professor and fellow classmates, but it was something. And not to justify mediocre work, but something is better than nothing. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t make this one work, and I feel completely self-defeated because of it. It’s all a learning experience, though. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
So, that’s that. Another semester under my belt, two more to go.
Summer reminders (note to self):
- Take a lot of photos.
- Understand and experiment with video.
- Hunt for story ideas and interesting subjects.
- Take it easy. Relax the mind.
Until next time…
04.09.13 / Weekly Reflection / Web Narratives
After the past few strenuous weeks I’ve experienced, I’m silently applauding myself for feeling even the slightest bit of accomplishment. I’m not completely proud of how this week’s assignment turned out, but I’m not ashamed of what I’ve produced given the circumstances. If anything, I’m surprised.
Normally, I would detest group work with every fiber of my being, but not this time. Collaborative work in my photojournalism courses has proved to be extremely beneficial to not only the content of the final edited piece, but a chance to learn. An opportunity to transform and correct mistakes. I enjoy feeding off of the creativity and insight of my peers and then combining our minds to put ideas to work.
This week’s assignment brought about many, many challenges. The main hurdle this time: finding a story and subject. I could make excuses, but that’s not entirely necessary because I’ve accepted the feat and I’ve grown from it, I think. Even when you think you’re prepared, you’re not. And when everything fails… improvise. I’m not saying improvisation is necessarily right for every project, but when subjects suddenly stop corresponding and you have a very specific deadline, it’s your duty to dive in and tell a story, regardless. Even if it means switching gears and pursuing something completely different.
That’s all I have for now. This semester is winding down and there’s only one more piece to produce for web narratives. My final piece, as it stands will be about feminism an moreover, equality in general. I have several subjects. And I’m promising myself that I will allow enough time and energy to build this story to its fullest potential.
I’ll make a separate post with this week’s piece sometime later today. Stay tuned.
03.20.13 / Weekly Reflection / Web Narratives
Before I discuss the normal class-related things, it’s important for me to talk about some of the personal struggles I’ve faced since my last reflection.
I’ve been stuck in an unusual funk for the past two weeks, and I’m finding it extremely difficult to remove myself from its tight grasp. My motivational spirit has decreased and my creative enthusiasm is almost non-existent. These “mid-semester blues” are the product of a combination of woes.
As expected, my classwork load has increased. I’m struggling to find a suitable balance between working third shift, getting enough sleep, and being a productive student. And to make things even more strenuous, I’ve been under the weather for the past three days.
I’m certain these pains will lighten up soon enough, but until then, it’s going to take a lot of self-motivation to cure my low spirits.
That’s enough venting for now. Let’s get back to the purpose of these weekly reflection posts.
The assignment I am currently working on is themed “sense of place,” but from what I understand, it’s more of a character study than a depiction of an individual’s environment. I believe I’ve solidified the direction I want to take with this project, and my subject has a relatable personality. I still have a long way to go, and only little time to accomplish the goals I have set for this project.
Over the course of the semester, my class has had the opportunity to Skype with some incredibly influential multimedia producers in the industry. Marcin Szczepanski, multimedia producer for the University of Michigan, recently spoke to us about finding a subject. Marcin gave many useful tips, but I was particularly drawn to what he said about finding someone you’d want to have a conversation with. This is so simple! I’m embarrassed to say that I often find myself disconnected from my subjects and their stories. I tend to find an individual and settle. All excuses aside, this is something I need to work on.
02.26.13 / Weekly Reflection / Web Narratives
This week, our mission was to cut a trailer for the documentary film “Streetwise” by Martin Bell.
This assignment required a lot of analyzation before the actual editing phase. I watched the film twice and skimmed through all the scenes countless times, noting the best ones as I went along. This process proved to be somewhat difficult because the documentary is packed with incredible bits that are both visually and verbally appealing. This hurdle was somewhat easier to overcome when I referred back to some of the techniques Andy Baker (National Geographic TV) discussed with us during last week’s class.
The two greatest struggles with this assignment were keeping the message clear and keeping the trailer brief. Andy emphasized the importance of creating something new, something different but not overshadowing the importance of appeal.
P.S. - Skipped week four, sorry.
02.12.13 / Weekly Refection / Web Narratives
After more than eight unceasing hours of editing, my journey piece for web narratives is complete! The relief and sense of accomplishment are sort of masked by sleep deprivation and the onset of what I think may be a migrane, but I am undeniably triumphant, nonetheless.
I’ll share my piece here after it is presented in class this afternoon, but for now I’ll illustrate some of the successes and failures of the assignment process, from my initial idea to the finalized product.
Talk about a struggle. Conceptualizing the idea of my piece was the most challenging part of the process. I spent nearly a week formulating the idea before I even felt comfortable picking up my camera. Being only a novice at video was difficult to overcome and the anxiety that accompanied this realization was brutal. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to construct a piece that was mysterious and, for the lack of a better word, haunting, but I had no idea what theme I wanted to convey.
I began by selecting several familiar tunes that could potentially work for my undeveloped concept, and then, it hit me. I had figured the impossible out. Music, after all, has always been my starting point source for inspiration. My idea, still in its prime, was to create a piece constructed around the struggle of an insomniac’s journey to leave the zone of the unconscious mind. I established a shot list, began considering serval different proses, original and copyrighted, and finalized the direction I wanted to pursue. And so began my venture of shooting video.
Thank goodness I had written out a list of possible clips, or else I would have been in a world of trouble. That goes without saying, but let me reiterate, my anxiety level was through the roof! I spent four nonconsecutive days shooting and gathering video. Many of the sequences came directly from my shot list, others presented themselves along the way. One very important lesson I can take away from this experience is the importance of a tripod when a scene calls for clarity and consistency. I discovered that I have an unruly shake whilst filming. This, unfortunately, derives itself from a number of factors, whether it be the weight of the camera or lens, my attachment to shooting still photographs, nerves, or the amount of coffee I’ve had on any given day. I do drink an inappropriate amount of coffee, I will admit. But from here forward, I promise myself I will use a tripod whenever my body is incapable of doing the work. But my lack of tripod use is superficial compared to editing the piece.
The remembrance of how editing began makes me want to dig a hole, curl up in it and remain that way for the rest of the semester. Okay, well it wasn’t that horrible, I guess, but I was a little embarrassed by my lack of Final Cut Pro skills. My memory of the program is somewhat repressed and distant, but after about an hour, I finally figured out how to set a scratch disk. I told you it was bad. Editing, from that point on, was extremely difficult. It didn’t get any easier. I blame this debacle on (but rightly take responsibility for it) the upwards of 160 small, 20 seconds or less scenes. I was, as you can imagine, overwhelmed and completely lost. But it proved to be easier once I established an opening sequence. I can’t say I am 100% satisfied with the outcome of the final edit of my piece because it does need work, but I am at least 83.99% content with what I have produced. I’ll probably come back to it at a later date an make improvements, but for now, it is what it is.
Like I said, I will post the final piece after it has been presented to my class this afternoon. I hope you’re excited!