Week 13: We are Wizards

After watching “We are Wizards” I am intrigued by the way that these super fans are consuming media, as opposed to the way that I personally consume media. These fans go way beyond a mere interest in the subject, and they create entire societies out of information from the Harry Potter franchise. Instead of merely consuming the content, which is what many people are satisfied with, these fans feel that they must interact with the media and create new content that expands upon Warner Brothers’ intellectual property. Warner Brothers has a lot of power over what is considered acceptable in terms of fan creations, and what they consider threatening. I believe that the cease and desist letters are valid, because although the fans think that it is their creation and their world, they are entirely using the intellectual property that Warner Brothers has purchased. These fans are not paying any money to Warner Brothers for the rights to use their content, and therefore I believe that they must protect the integrity of their franchise. In the past few years, I think that this fan culture has died down, because the book series, as well as the movie series, has come to a close. All of the actors have moved on to other projects, and even J.K. Rowling has written other books. However, this type of culture still exists with other franchises and content, and the tension between fans and large corporations still exists.I think that it is important for fans like this to understand that there are laws governing intellectual property, and that they must be respected. Fans can still create content, they should just either keep it on a small, local level, or pay a fee to Warner Brothers so that they may use the content. Not everything can be free and it is unreasonable to assume that you can just use all of this intellectual property and content without any ramifications.



Week 11: Post-Production

Thus far, I believe that our group has made it a long way in terms of our creative process for our group project. Although we still have work to do, I believe that we have covered some major milestones.

First off, I think that one of the major hurdles we have gotten past (mostly) is the ability to coordinate filming and meeting outside of class around all of our schedules. I know that some group members (not naming names!) give me a hard time about how I always seem to be busy, the fact is that we all have prior commitments and other responsibilities that take priority over a group project. I think that we have, for the most part, dealt with this problem like adults, and we have all moved our schedules around a bit to try to make it as convenient as it possibly can be for us to meet in this situation.

Second, I believe that we have done a good job with our story line, especially since our storyboard was not incredibly detailed. Our premise has really come into its own, and we have all done a lot of work to make that happen.

In the future, I see us having to deal with finally making a choice as to what music we are going to use in our video, which might be difficult. This is due to varying ideas among group members as to what feel we want the music to lend to our project, as well as the limitations that are set forth by trying to find Creative Commons music. In addition, I also feel that post-production will also prove challenging, because working with the audio and video programs is more of a singular activity, and yet we all have to have a say in the way that the video ultimately turns out.

Our group has not received feedback on our storyboard as of the time that I am writing this blog post, which is somewhat troubling to me because we were supposed to have received feedback before we concluded filming, which will be in the near future. We will be using some digital tools that we have learned about and used in class to complete our post production. One of these will be Audacity, which will help us ensure that our sound and background music is just the way that we want it. Instead of using Windows Movie Maker, which has some severe limitations, we will be using Adobe software to edit our video. We feel that it will create a much more professional product than the software that we used in class.

In conclusion, as we are about halfway through this project, I believe that we have done well thus far, and that we will continue this trend in the weeks to come.

Week 10: Creative Commons Content

Here are the three Creative Commons pieces that I have found that may be of some use to our group project. The first is a song by Josh Woodward. I think that it is pleasant to listen to and that it is much better than some of the other songs that I listened to while I was searching for a usable piece of media. I feel like we could potentially use this song in the background when we are in the scene where the main character is found living on the street with his back to a brick wall. It has that desperate sound and I think it would be fitting for the situation. The picture I chose was of a sunset with some buildings behind it, taken by Rosa Dik. I feel that we could use this picture in the freshman year scene where we are transitioning from the Quads to College Avenue for the party that the characters are heading to. It would offer a nice transition into night time and from the more suburban Livingston campus to the urban College Avenue campus. I had a hard time finding a creative commons film that was in English, and finally I settled on this movie called Teach Now. I felt that we may be able to use the shots in the very beginning of the film where the actors are waking up slowly, and employ them in our assertion that the main character is a lazy college student who really should be using the Career Insider tool if he wants to get ahead. I feel that it was easiest to find Creative Commons music, and much harder to find Creative Commons films. This may be because a film takes more time, effort, and resources to produce than does a two minute song that could have been recorded in someone’s bedroom. Because of the culture that currently exists around “anti-piracy” and the like, Lessig addresses the fact that amateur content, not “amateurish” content, must be used to take the power to remix content back. The content like that above is a way to do that, and I feel that there are some good options out there to be considered. For the song, please click the link and choose to open the file with Drive Tunes.

Picture: The Last November Sunset 2012

Song: Anchor by Josh Woodward

Movie: Teach Now


Week 9: Post-Storyboard

After my not-so-new discovery that I really am an incompetent artist and that I live in the most silent room on Earth, I have come to realize that although there was a ten slide minimum for the story board, that we need many more slides. More work is required for this week’s assignment than I had originally thought, and it has gotten me to realize why producing anything that is filmed takes such a long time. After the storyboard, I feel like the actual filming will be not quite as painful. Because of the overall lack of drawing skills on my part, at least, I feel that the storyboard is a very rough outline of what we are actually going to do when we begin filming. I feel that the storyboard would be much more helpful if there was some sort of software that would perhaps allow us to recreate the rooms and locations that we will be filming in, so that we could see detail and refer to it during our filming process. Working with what we have, paper, a pencil, and my unique ability to draw stick figures with broken spines, it is my opinion that we simply do not have enough detail for the storyboard to be useful for anything other than a rough reference of our scene order and a general outline of what should happen in a particular scene. However, I must say that I think we all did a great job, especially because of our hectic schedules this week which made meeting up very difficult. Proud of you, group members!

Week 9: Pre-Storyboard

Although we had a bit of a slow start in class due to the constant interruptions because we had to hear about our progress in the class, among other things, I believe that we have a solid foundation with which to build upon when we work together as a group later in the week. We laid out the framework for our entire video, and I think it was critical to have nailed that down in class. As for our creative direction, I feel that a lot of the roles are “guys’ roles”, as we have called them, and I suppose that I will be doing a lot of the filming aspect. With the direction that we are taking this advertisement for Career Services, I do not see that aspect changing, but I feel that it will be a different experience for me, because I really have never went out and shot a video, be it amateur or professional. I have a bit of trouble trying to be funny on demand in any case, so it’s probably for the best. I definitely think there is room for personal growth by the time we are finished with this project, and I am excited about the future regarding this aspect. Oh, yes, and because our posts are supposed to be “visually stimulating” here on our class blogs, enjoy my friend below :]


Week 8: My thoughts on group work

Thus far, I think that group work on the final project is going smoothly. We have not had any major assignments due that we are required to complete together yet, however I think that it is important that my group met in person for the first time today to discuss the project. Rather than simply use the chat function in a Google doc, we chose to meet face to face, which I believe will be helpful in building a stronger group dynamic as we have to shoot and edit footage for the project. According to Hyde et al, social contracts help to mediate the relationship of contributions to the collection as a whole. I believe that by determining specific roles and time periods in which work is to be completed, that the project will run as smoothly as possible.

Week 8: My Top Five

After reviewing everyone’s midterm blogs, my top 5 are as follows:


1. http://ml920.wordpress.com/ Published by Min Li

This blog is bright and colorful, which is very eye catching. I really liked both videos, as I thought that they were informative and they made me smile because Min just has so much energy when she is talking about her makeup and clothes. Personally, I’m more of a jeans and tshirt kind of girl, but I love makeup, so I found that aspect of the blog to be very interesting. I like that Min used many products that were not prohibitively expensive, so the blog is accessible to everyone, not just people that can afford to shop at pricey department stores. The videos were well thought out, and overall this was my favorite blog posted in the forum.


2. http://zmt6omamnews.wordpress.com/ Published by Zane Tower

I appreciate the effort that Zane put into this blog, and it is evident because of the amount of changes he made to an original WordPress template. Nearly every aspect of the blog has been customized, and it gives it a professional feel, while still being about something that he enjoys in his personal life. I like that there is a large amount of posts and content available on the site, and that there are many videos included. The posts about the videos are informative and effective.


3. http://worryfreewaistline.wordpress.com/ Published by Casey Getz

I like that this blog is bright and colorful. I give Casey a lot of credit for managing to put together a blog about weight loss/healthy eating without coming across as judgmental or negative. This is a great aspect of the blog because the descriptions of the recipes are positive and I feel like I would actually eat some of the things that she suggests. The video is quick and simple, which is great for a cooking video. I like that there is no audio component besides the music, because it is hard to speak to a camera while you are cooking effectively and often it can end up muddled. The captions were definitely a great choice.


4. http://www.hollywoodinreview.wordpress.com Published by Yassmeen Nazzal

Great concept, I like that there are national movies as well as one that is made by Yassmeen. I especially like the header image, it is well edited and looks almost as if it came as the default header from WordPress. The black and white layout reminds me of a movie scene clapperboard, which is a nice comparison considering it is a movie review blog. I feel that the descriptions of the movies could be a bit longer and more detailed, but overall it is informative. There is a lot more that could be done here, but there may have been copyright issues that go along with those ideas, such as inserting short movie scene clips. Best to stay legal, and I think that this blog did a good job of doing just that.


5. http://thecollegestudentcookbook.wordpress.com/ Published by Kristen Hanley

This blog has a great layout and is incredibly user-friendly. I get the feeling of being at home in the kitchen when I see the wallpaper-esque background and that is definitely comforting for a college student, because most of your memories of cooking come from time spent with your family at home. The video is a bit comical, which it probably wasn’t meant to be, but that’s how I took it. It almost looks as if Kristen is about to cut off a finger while slicing the chicken breast at some points and the comment at 1:11 is a bit offensive, implying that if you want more than one fajita taco you have a “huge stomach” since she can only manage one. Overall I like the layout and features of the blog, but I think that the terminology should be changed so as not to offend users in any way.

Week 8: My Creative Process

For my midterm blog, I wanted to combine two topics that I enjoy pursuing in my free time: travel and food. I am always looking for unique experiences, and I love to experience new cultures, whether they are found in a different country or right here at Rutgers. There are several key features of my blog that were well thought out. The background is a parchment paper design, which is representative of both food and travel. The paper reminds me of the type of paper that cartographers would use to create maps when they were still in use in that capacity. It brings in that old-world charm that accompanied travel, as it incorporates the spirit of adventure and the unknown. The background also reminds me of the type of paper that you might find in use in several countries to wrap up street food at local vendors’ shops. The thought of eating good, local food in a new city is comforting and exciting to me, and I feel like those emotions represent the blog well. The background is also representative of people cooking at home. It is similar to parchment cooking paper that is used in countless kitchens, and represents the joy of finding a new recipe to try and sharing that food with those that you love. My header has two images, one of which (the background) is my own image, taken outside of Borough Market in London, England. The forefront represents the excitement that travel and food bring to me, as well as others. I wanted the blog to have a lively, fun appearance and I felt that the hustle and bustle of the picture and the catchy slogan would capture this. I tried to model my blog after the blog that I used for our class assignments, because I have had hands-on experience working on that blog. After using the original blog, I have found it much easier to produce my midterm blog. The midterm blog differs greatly from my class blog because it has a much crisper, professional look to it. This is because the midterm blog was designed to be functional and user-friendly, rather than a canvas for trying out new programs and tools that I have learned about in class.

Week Five Update

When you click my audio link, a screen will come up. Choose to open it with DriveTunes, and you will not have to download the file. I have tried using SoundCloud without success, so I used Google Drive, and it works this way.

Week Five: Audio Editing with Audacity

Overall, I think that using Audacity to edit audio was easier for me to accomplish than using Pixlr to edit images. I had fewer issues with the software, because Audacity seems much more intuitive than Pixlr. I spent less time hunting for the right tools to accomplish my goal, and Audacity also made it much easier to save my project files. I also liked that my work did not just disappear if my browser had a problem or the computer crashed or froze. All in all, I feel like editing audio was a much more enjoyable experience. In addition, I felt like it was more fun, and not just homework, to play around with some of my favorite songs. I like the idea that you can use your own music instead of just picking a Creative Commons License image from Google and uploading that. Audio is much more personal, and a great way, I feel, to get to know about everyone else in the class more than I already do.

    I did have some difficulty with creating a music bed, because I had to try several times to get the audio to the appropriate level so that the listener could actually hear me speak, but still hear the song in the background. I could see Audacity being useful in the future by using the program to edit audio on a professional blog or to showcase my work to a potential employer by demonstrating my skill with the program. I feel like being able to use Audacity will give me a leg up in the workforce, even if I don’t necessarily use it, because it demonstrates my ability to learn new things in a relatively short time period.

    In relation to the Minutemen reading, I feel like the band members would be astonished to see this type of software for home use, if they had been shown it when they first began playing. Editing audio with this amount of precision and quality from home is a huge step forward from live recordings that have to be strung together ad hoc, and performances on stage in front of angry crowds. I found the reading enlightening, because I never knew that the band existed before, and their journey was raw and vivid.

    I feel like I did a good job editing this piece of audio. The two songs are “21 and invincible” by Something Corporate and “Elliot Smith is Still Alive” by Backseat Goodbye.