Constructing a video essay: my fully-realized experiment rationale

For my fully-realized experiment, I am choosing to rework my origin piece, an autobiographical essay that examines my social media profiles, into a video essay. My decision to work on a visual essay came down to my interest in the rhetorical and structural elements of video essays, which I believe will make for an effective transposition of my origin piece’s content. To be more specific, I am interested in video essay’s composite of audio and video modalities as well as time-based structure. Both of these features would be complementary to the linear and evocative nature of my origin piece.

In considering an audience for this experiment, I would describe my target individual as young, technologically-savvy, and intellectually curious. This individual views a platform like YouTube not as a mindless pastime, but as a gateway to informational and cultural content which can be engaged with critically. For my piece, I hope to encourage a more reflective approach to social media use by drawing attention to the implications of content persistence on social profiles, as well as user interventions to counteract this feature. My origin piece attempted to bring this out through a critical reflection on my decision to delete hundreds of old posts in an order to override the “automatic” construction of my Facebook profile, which I thought was no longer an accurate representation of myself.

While my piece presented itself as a personal narrative, it also takes on a critical lens to general social phenomena within the information age. The piece was originally motivated by my interest in general concerns over privacy and self-image in social-information contexts. I believe the implications of content persistence is important to discuss as more and more data from our lives are integrated into these incomprehensibly vast information networks. As I rework the content of my piece for video essay, I may also try probing further into notions of privacy, data ownership, and “the right to be forgotten.”

In my proposal, genre analysis, and reflection papers, I discussed three characteristic qualities of video essay which include, a condensed presentation of information, subjective argumentation, and continuous narration. I argued that these elements would allow me to strike a difficult balance between contradictory experiences:

between the visceral and contemplative,
the critical and aspirational, and
the personal and universal.

I also explained that I could create a more compelling piece by reworking the original text into a format and style that would be better suited for a video essay. I had hoped that I could develop a script that would allow me to toggle between general or universal sentiments concerning social media and my own particular perspective based on my personal experience.

To execute this experiment, I will first complete a planning and preparation stage which would involve, writing a script, drafting a storyboard, gathering visual materials (e.g., footage and images), and acquiring access to a microphone for recording and software for video editing. I would then need to actually record the narration as well as create, film, or appropriate images and footage for the video. My editing process would involve recursively moving from feedback reception to revision. By the end of this process, I may consider publishing the project on either YouTube or Vimeo.

3 thoughts to “Constructing a video essay: my fully-realized experiment rationale”

  1. This sounds very exciting! Perhaps that’s because I’m very distinctly within your target audience, but I think taking your ideas on social media and putting them into a video essay that I might stumble upon on YouTube is a really cool task to take on as your final project. I wonder, though, could you make a statement by changing who and for how long people might be able to access the video? I think that could be pretty cool, and could serve as a pretty engaging hook. All the best.

  2. This is a really interesting concept. Just a thought, it might also be interesting to publish this project on a platform like Facebook – critiquing the platform while having access to the audience that is most affected.

  3. Samuel,
    This project sounds really well-thought out, and I can feel your passion for it through your words. I like that your motivation is balance between personal experience and a wider, societal concern. Your audience is very specifically targeted, which I think will give you a great sense of direction moving forward. Good luck!

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