In college, making cartoons

When I was in high school, I never would have thought that I would be making cartoons in college for a project. It seemed so simplistic and silly, especially since I wanted to become a doctor. Well, here I am now, and there is only one question racing through my brain:

Who knew making a cartoon would be so difficult?

That’s right, for my remediation project, I have decided to make a cartoon of the events that transpired in my memoir. Initially, this sounds like it should be lots of fun; unless, of course, you have zero artistic talent like me. Then it becomes even more fun as you try to scour the internet of cartoon creating websites that are free. Thankfully, Bitstrips comics allows me to create comics for free, so I have been investing a lot of time and energy with this website over the last few days. While Bistrips does make the task a bit more cumbersome (especially since the panel size is minuscule), it does save me the trouble of having to physically draw out the comic, ultimately making it worth the little inconveniences.

regret nothing

With regards to my mock up storyboard, there is not much that I feel needs to be explained for that. All my mock up storyboard details is the scenes I intend to cartoonize (I feel like that should be a word) from my memoir, the specific moments that I want to emphasize through the visual medium of cartoons. I will say that while I plan to cartoonize (there’s that word again) most, if not all, of my memoir, the storyboard does help me decide what moments I want to linger on and draw out in greater detail.

Writer’s (or producer’s?) block

Sometimes, going against the norm is not good, it can just create problems

I feel that my situation for the remediating project is different than most, and as a result, I am not sure as what I am going to do. Most people’s repurposing project involved transforming an essay they wrote into another form of written genre. So, for this project, they have a wide variety of non-written mediums to utilize.

For me, the situation is reversed; I repurposed a memoir I wrote into a video already, one similar to The Daily Show or Last Week TonightNow, I am not sure as to what medium I want to remediate this project into. I cannot think of a non-written medium that has a similar audience to the target audience of my repurposing video (generally curious young adults who want to learn things from a different and unique perspective). For me, some options that have crossed my mind is a podcast and an article similar to The Onion.

However, one possibility that I have been mulling over considerably is creating an animated cartoon of sorts, like Futurama or South Park. While this is still a video, the genre and style is vastly different from programs like The Daily Show. Instead of acting like a news reporter and directly giving information to my audience with a satirical twist, an animated show would involve me creating a story of sorts, one that has a plot where I could tie in the information I gave in the repurposing project. The reason why I am suggesting this is because of my target audience; while the audience would be less inquisitive about certain topics, they would still appreciate the humor that is presented. This would most certainly be reflected in the material; I would be less informative and more comedic if I decided to remediate my video into this type of show. Nevertheless, I could still include some informative elements into this type of show, which is why I have strongly considered this possibility.

south park

However, I am still in debate as to what I want to do for my remediation. Since my target audience for the repurposing project was so specific, I am still exploring other forms of media perfectly encapsulates my target audience.

Sinful Cinema

Everybody’s a critic.

I’m sure you’ve heard that saying before, and I am sure that just as many of you criticized one thing at some point in your life. So, if this statement is true, then it would not be too far fetched to assume that just as everybody can be a critic, everything can be criticized in some way. That includes movies; in fact, I would argue that movies are one of the most criticized forms of entertainment out there. People rank how good a movie is based on their own personal preferences and standards, and for those who write movie reviews, they have the power to influence the number of people that see a movie.

One problem with being a movie critic, however, is highlighting specific moments in a movie that an individual would have disliked. Imagine trying to describe a movie scene you hate to a person who does not know what you’re talking about; it would go something along the lines of “Oh yeah, I hate that one scene with the sic-fi effects, where that one guy did that one thing to that other guy, it was so fake.” In other words, its description is incredibly vague and not helpful in the slightest to those who are genuinely interested in hearing your opinion.

That’s the beauty of CinemaSins, a popular youtube channel that utilizes digital rhetoric to highlight regrettable aspects of a movie. While playing specific scenes of a film in the video, they comment on why that moment in particular was “sinful” in their eyes and how it detracts from the overall value of the movie. By using movies as a visual aid to help show exactly what parts were sinful, it not only creates clarity and a stronger connection between the audience and the video creator, but it also creates a community that closer analyzes this form of digital media.

.cinemasins

Cinemasins instills into its viewers the ability to observe and point out particular details that may be missed initially. This channel is incredibly compelling due to the fact that exposes how people gloss over details that may be missed due to being captivated by the film’s entertainment value. It reveals how easily captivated society can be when it comes to watching films through creative rhetoric that pokes fun at the film for the errors, not the audience for being unable to perceive them. That is why I enjoy the channel so much: it serves as a guide for the audience members on how to perceive movies beyond the superficial level and truly analyze it as a form of entertainment, a technique that I do not see all too much in the world today.

#ThanksObama

Let’s recall the Michigan-Michigan State game that happened this weekend; more specifically, that dreaded ending. All of the shivering Michigan fans held anticipated breaths. There was only ten seconds left in the fourth quarter. The game was essentially a win for Michigan at that point. The Wolverines could finally stop Michigan State’s undefeated winning streak and prove to them that the wolverines-not the spartans-were the leaders, the best, and more importantly, the bigger brother.

And then tragedy struck.

We all know what happened in those last ten seconds; the Michigan State spartans, who were predicted to have a 0.2% chance of winning in those last seconds, were given a miraculous opportunity. After those ten seconds, a crowd of 110,000 participants became silent. They bore witness to something truly remarkable, a moment that would live in infamy for the Michigan football team.

By the time I am writing this, it has been a few days since this has happened. Any television or radio station that contained even a small section regarding football discussed this incident first and foremost. However, what was really interesting was the sports section of several newspapers, and the rhetoric they used regarding the game. They described the punt as being botched and unfortunate, with some calling the overall incident “Agony of Ann Arbor” and “Fail to the victors.” Supposedly breaking the internet, Michigan fans were heartbroken and disgusted by what happened, according to other articles.

However, there was a silver lining from that incident; one that involves the most powerful man in the world.

In an article posted by the Detroit News, it was mentioned that Jim Harbaugh recently went to the nation’s capital to discuss the importance of higher education. There, President Obama himself stated to the normally khaki clad football coach that it was a tough way to lose a football game. He continued by stating that the Wolverines needed to keep their chin up, and how they liked the way they played. Let that sink in for a moment.

The most powerful man in the world, who has an insurmountable collection of responsibilities, stated that he watched the game and liked the way Michigan Wolverines played.

To me, that is insane. While various articles were published regarding the meeting, they all stated the same message; President Obama sympathized (at the very least) with the Michigan Wolverines. It feels a little weird for me to say this, especially without any sarcastic or negative connotations with it, but #thanksObama.

Probably shouldn’t have done that…

When I originally started this project, I thought writing a script would be easy. All I would have to do is let my thoughts flow from my brain to the keyboard, and then do a little bit of editing. So, in accordance with my hubris, I made the decision to write the entire script the day it was due, thinking that it would be a simple task.

To be honest, writing a script has been one of the most excruciatingly difficult things I have done as a writer. It’s not because I cannot think of content, that part comes easy (at least, that’s what I like to believe). It’s guessing how an audience would respond to said content. Since I am creating a satirical video, I cannot assume that the audience would watch the video in its entirety. In an academic essay or news article, the reader would (sometimes) respectfully read what you wrote to the end, and then comment on the piece with their opinions. That’s not the case with video; if the audience does not like it, then they can simply turn off the program. As a result of this, I need to keep the audience’s attention, which creates another problem: finding the medium with regards to comedy. If I come off as too crass, then people will ignore the video because of my vulgarity. However, if I am not edgy enough with my humor, then I will be written off as not being funny enough for the audience I am attempting to pander too. Creating this script has been incredibly daunting, and I am unsure whether I need to start from scratch or do a couple of quick edits.

Yet that’s the beauty of writing a script. The uncertainty keeps me on edge, making me double, triple, quadruple check what I wrote down to make sure that I am personally satisfied with it. In previous essays, if there was a line or two I was not completely enamored with, I would be content; the overall piece was good enough to justify one or two weak sections. I can’t do that with a script, however; if one sentence is weak or questionable in delivery, then it can completely ruin the rest of the piece. It invigorates me in a way, having to make sure that what I write is what I really want to say, that what I really want to say is truly representative on my stance towards an issue.

Writing the script has certainly had its rough patches; I have enough awkward similes and metaphors composed to fill a book, and am still making more while I edit my draft. Yet, this style of writing is one that I am becoming more comfortable with. No longer is it alien for me to write sentences that being with the phrase “it’s like,” and it does not feel strange to place random monologues in the middle of a presentation. This video will undoubtedly be one of the greatest challenges in my career as a writer, but I know that the reward will far outweigh the struggles and that the lessons I will take from this project will be invaluable tokens that I will remember forever.

So much reading, so little time

Ah yes.

Research.

How has it been going, you may ask?

It has been very time consuming, to say the least.

For my repurposing project, I am creating a video on the ailment that is epilepsy. As a result, the research I am doing has been divided into two categories: theme and form. For the theme, I have to investigate what epilepsy is, how others perceive the disease, and common misconceptions. Despite the technological advances of the world today, we still have not uncovered everything there is to know about the disease; in fact, there is still a lot more we are attempting to understand. With this being a disease that is very much an enigma to the scientific community, there has been an insurmountable amount of research done on this topic. A fair amount of these research papers often come up as traditional academic research, most often in the form of lab reports.

Long, technical, scientific, dry lab reports.

tired

Fortunately, I don’t have to peruse through lab reports for the entirety of my project. This is where the second aspect of my research comes in, where I analyze the form I want to create my project around. Since I am deciding to repurpose a memoir into a satirical informational/news video, I have been able to watch Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and pass it off as doing research. So, I consider my project topic to be exciting in that regard.

With regards to any difficulties I anticipate to face while I am researching, I currently cannot think of any that cannot be overcome. One concern could be the quality of the materials I utilize for my project, but I am not too worried about this.

Personally, I am excited to learn about creating videos. I have not had the chance in my academic career to do a video project all on my own, so figuring out how to create a video to my liking will be a challenge I look forward to facing. I believe that learning how to create videos like this will help broaden my perspective on media and writing through a creative and fun medium.

Branching out with my ailment

In the entirety of my writing career, the one genre that I have excelled in first and foremost would be the stereotypical academic essay. Whether it was compare and contrast, a research paper, or the standard 5 paragraph essay, I had no trouble writing one in under a few hours. This changed, however, when I had my first English class in college. Despite the few assignments we had, the format was vastly different from what I was originally used to. Ranging from memoirs to short stories, I struggled in the class initially, but was excited by the challenge. As I am writing this now as part of the Writing 220 class, the idea of changing one piece that I have written into a completely new one is very intimidating. While I have a wealth of academic essays at my disposal to repurpose, I feel as though doing so would limit me as a writer. I want to branch out with my writing and understand what it is like throughout all genres; that is why I signed up for the minor. As a result of this, I want to repurpose a memoir that I have written in college. The one that I have chosen is one detailing my brother and our relationship through his sickness, and I want to transform this into a satirical informational video that informs others about said sickness. In order to better understand how to tackle this repurposing challenge, I needed to do research on other genres that handle similar topics.

buzzfeed article

One unconventional website that I visited to analyze this topic was buzzfeed, which may seem odd considering the nature of my memoir. However, when I saw an article labeled 21 things only people living with a health problem know, I realized the value that this website had for me and my project. While this topic and similar content is generally avoided on such a website, I can better understand how to do my project by heavily analyzing this website. Buzzfeed generally panders to young adults, so I can better understand how to appeal to such an audience in my project. The style of writing is also something I plan to take note of while doing my project, as the linguistics utilized in a blog really do help create a connection with the audience. While some may argue that the buzzfeed’s writing style would detract from the nature of the topic, I would argue that it enhances it, as it allows a far greater usage of pathos than other genres would.

poster

This poster regarding diabetes is another form of writing that I analyzed while doing research. One particular component that I focused on was the factual information presented in this poster; while it does discuss a serious topic, it presents it in a way that is entertaining to the viewer. I would say that this text is supposed to appeal to a wide audience, particularly to those who don’t mind a simplified version of the disease. This is crucial due to the fact that I need to simplify my understanding of ailments in order to appeal to a wide audience like this poster does. However, I need to make sure that I don’t reduce the content too greatly as to not be informative; I still want to leave my audience feeling as if they learned something after the video.

Overall, researching various mediums helped me analyze the best components of each, thus allowing me the possibility of integrating them all into my project. I hope that by doing this, I can achieve the goal that I have set out to fulfill in this class; expanding my writing horizon and obtaining a far greater understanding of each type of genre.

Cracked is like crack

All right, it’s been about two weeks since school has started. Classes have been going pretty well, and the temptation to binge watch Netflix is nonexistent (for now, anyway). Perhaps it will be possible to achieve something beneficial this semester, like living a healthier lifestyle, finding a new hobby, or creating world peace! Nothing will stop this newfound optimism!

Except, of course, the Internet.

Like a drug dealer in a shady alley, the Internet is always there to give us something different and addicting to try. This time, I explored the blog known as Cracked. And just like the drug crack, it was a one-hit hooked situation: I couldn’t resist once I had my first taste. What’s so captivating about this blog is the sporadic nature of the posts; ranging from “What I learned spamming a suggestion box with cat pictures” to “‘Entourage’ is so bad pirates don’t want to steal it,” the broad variety of topics piqued my interest. Portrayed as a slice of life type of genre (where everyday aspects of life are arbitrarily discussed) with a comedic twist added, this blog intentionally targets my age group; curious young adults in school who are fascinated with unique perspectives on different aspects of modern culture.

It’s easy to dismiss this as nothing more than catchy titles reeling in viewers, a practice that has been around for many years. However, the blog makes up for this in actual content by using hyperbolic statements to make situations and statements more absurd. For instance, when reflecting on an episode of “Celebrity Family Feud,” the blogger recalls that “Steve Harvey, having no idea or interest in what Mario’s actual answer was just now, instead screams “Chicken Nugget!” at the answer board because, I guess at a certain point during a disaster, you stop trying to save the day and start exploring what surprising new lows you can sink to.”

steve harvey

By juxtaposing the family television show with an exaggerated guess on why Steve Harvey acted in that way, this blog surprises its audience with a unique take on what happened. Extensively utilizing this type of language, Cracked allows the reader to enjoy a somewhat sadistic perspective on topics that would not normally be viewed in such a manner, mesmerizing the niche it is directed towards.

Ultimately, you should consider looking through this blog if you are having a bad day and want a good laugh. This blog will expand your paradigm on comedy if you keep an open mind about it. Just remember that, just like the drug, Cracked is addicting; so only look at it when you can afford to spend a few hours doing nothing.

Organic writing

Writing is a craft that has been present in the world for thousands of years, with its definition becoming more ambiguous as time progresses. I believe, in a very simplistic manner, that writing is simply the expression of thoughts and ideas by etching them onto another surface. Even though these etches can take variety of forms, they all have one thing in common; each one has a single defined meaning or can be joined with others to obtain a meaning, regardless of the language. Looking at the class’s gallery of what counts as writing, all of the answers had some form of text in it, which I believe to be a crucial component of writing.

As for what writing has to do with me, I believe it to be an integral part of who I am today, leading me to disagree with the notion that writing is artificial, external, and alien in Ong’s piece. While it may appear that way in society today, with politicians having their written pieces being politically correct to prevent public wrath, there is still that desire to express one’s true thoughts in the written domain, to be genuine in the content that is written (at least, that’s how I feel about writing). I can understand the idea that learning to write is artificial, since there are various rules and regulations to master in order to communicate a thought or idea effectively. However, once they are mastered, the writer can start to truly become genuine in his or her writing, allowing that person to truly become a writer in the sense of the word.

In high school, my English teacher would often say that my writing was inorganic. To him, organic writing didn’t mean to try and comply with his standards in order to obtain a good grade. He would argue that this is not the point of writing, that it was about letting your thoughts flow freely without fear of regulation or backlash; otherwise, you can’t express what you want to express to the fullest extent. This belief ties in with my goal for the minor, where I want to be able to have my writing become inherently expressive of who I am without needing to make it feel artificial.