Voila! A Portfolio is Born

Everything we have done this semester has finally come down to this: a unique place to showcase our work.

ūüĆł‚ú®¬†Here!¬†‚ú®ūüĆł

Bear ūüźĽ with me, as my portfolio is still quite the work in progress! I have been focused more so on the final layout and arrangement of all the elements, and once those are finalized, all the content can be added right in place. More links to various past work of mine are also still to come!

 

My capstone project was an investigation into the new trend of veganism, and how it has been¬†able to gain so much traction so fast. It is in the form of a short video¬†meant to be lighthearted and funny, while also being informational. The last few edits are still being made, so I have the “trailer” up on my page for those who are curious. So far it has come together better than I have expected.

I would like my portfolio to embody a “green”ūüĆŅ¬†theme, and have coordinated the color schemes and background designs to emphasis this. It is also my favorite color.

It’s hard to believe that this is the end. Seeing how everyone’s project turned out will be very exciting!

 

Text To Video And Back To Text

As I prepared for my class presentation, I got to work deciding how exactly I would piece this baby¬†together. For my capstone project I am creating an 8-10 minute flash documentary, which will detail the rise of veganism into mainstream popular culture. It’ll be in the form of a video, using footage pieced together from various locations¬†found around the web and with my own or a friend’s voice over, most likely.

Though having dozens of clips at my disposal, they weren’t necessarily, well, edited yet into a nice and neat coherent presentation. Lots of fragments, lots of b-roll with no audio. These clips and the messages I’m attempting¬†to send with them would then need to be translated into text and still images in order for people to understand my presentation. Of course, this is where much of my video information originated; from written articles, charts, and photographs that I had adapted to fit into my video. And now here these figures were being re-rendered back into text, but this time in my own words, which is a whole other story.

This translation back and forth between mediums had be envisioning the whole process as some sort of academic form of telephone. How has the message changed from its original form of text or still image? Hopefully I didn’t screw it up too badly!

For Long Tomorrow: A Regulated Writing Community

Hello again Capstone folks. New semester, new chance at making decent blog post mumbles. I took the gateway course only a year ago, in the fall of 2015. Well, year and a half ago I suppose. But now I’m ready to get right back into the thick of things!

My name is Rachel and I’m a senior in the SAC program, Screen Arts and Cultures. It’s typically just easier to tell people I’m a film major. The SAC program in itself creates two very different writing communities, one focused around academic writing and one focused on creative writing. During my time in this major I’ve written many a term paper as well as short film scripts and even a feature length screenplay.

For me, fiction writing was always an open world of fantasy and freedom much different from academic writing, where everything is beautiful and anything goes. I would come to learn however that script writing and standard fiction are VERY different, where script writing can instead be thought of as tightly regulated fiction. Anything does not go. Everything has to be done a certain way, must be explained in a certain fashion. The goal is to convince the reader that your story may actually be worth a damn and would look good on the screen.

This was news to me of course, and even now as a senior and having finished my first screenplay I’m still learning to adjust to the strict format that script writing demands. It’s a tough process but an enjoyable and ultimately rewardable one, the same way I feel¬†after finishing an academic term paper. To me, it’s important that these two writing communities, though very different, at least leave me feeling the same way. Perhaps not so different after all.

Academic term papers left me feeling more at ease with a concrete grade. Either I satisfied the requirements or not, answered the question or not, argued my position well or not. But with script writing, what position is being argued? What questions are being answered, and how can you grade them?

My screenplay was very good and everyone liked it??

 

Fashionably late: The road home

While creating my ePortfolio I spent a lot of time going through the archives, looking at the things that past students had done. This would be where my portfolio would end up after all, like all the others. What could I do to make it truly my own?

I was never the one to present myself on such a public platform, so it was odd creating something about myself, something everyone would look at. It was difficult gaging what was too much information and what was too little, but I think in the end I found a happy medium.¬†It’s cool to see everything I’ve written¬†in class turned into something so visual and interactive. I strove to create a portfolio that would be beautiful to look at and I’m proud of coming as close as I could to that vision.

My portfolio is like an adventure. You can visit and explore,¬†discovering many things. Most people won’t discover much, I’m sure we’re all just browsing casually through each others, looking just to look. Well go on and look as you please.

Check it out: http://rwhutch9.wix.com/rachelhutch

Baby Steps

I really am very thankful that this course allows us to go in directions other than that of your typical analytical essay. Other classes give us nowhere near that kind of freedom, and its nice. I almost forgot what it feels like to do a creative project. But alas, this is a writing course after all, and I do need to return to the essay at some point.

And so on that topic, I do have some writing¬†skills that are in need of¬†improvement, mostly my¬†pre-writing process. Perhaps I missed this memo in high school but I feel like my paper outlining skills are practically nonexistent. When I sit down to write a paper, perhaps I have a few notes on what I want to write, but I just start writing the intro and then the body paragraphs and so forth. This is doable, but I feel like it’s not practical. This process is also stressful lol. I could save myself a world of trouble if I learned to outline my ideas before hand.¬†Its like sitting down to do a painting and just jumping right in with the colors without doing a sketch first. I need to learn how to sketch!!

Aside from honing in on my pre-writing process, I would also like to eradicate all my anxiety that comes when I hear I must write a paper. Even at this point in my education, a junior in college, I still get nervous when an essay assignment is presented. This is unacceptable to me. I don’t want to feel anxious, I should¬†feel confident and prepared, like I know I can do this and it’s not a big deal. Like I’ve done this so many times before and this will be none the different. I think the problem is that I don’t have enough experience cranking out essay after essay like it’s nothing, and (as boring as it sounds) maybe I need some high intensity essays in a short period of time to sponge out this fear.

But this would mean class won’t be (as) fun anymore! And thats no fun! I need to conserve my fun, since I only have one year of it left before the real world arrives ūüėČ

Writing Expanded

I remember when I first started this course I imagined I’d be up late writing lots of long essays and analyzing academic articles. Well this wasn’t true at at all. So far in this course I’ve just been analyzing myself.¬†I could have chosen long essays to write, just like for every other class, but sticking to the familiar wouldn’t help me get¬†everything I could out of this course.

Instead of essays I chose alternate forms of rhetoric, digital rhetoric, such as informative videos and web pages. I learned how to expand my ideas past pen on paper and transition¬†toward more contemporary platforms. The world of writing is expanding fast and its so important that this course teaches¬†writers how to capitalize on that. Just like Joan Didion, I write to peddle my message, to have the ideas in my head be served to a wider audience, whatever the medium. It is important to me that my writing reflects how I think and feel about the world around me. After all, writing is conveying one’s world to another.

By this point in the semester, after finishing my repurposing project and beginning on another, I’ve found my writing becoming more and more fearless. I feel like in the past I’ve been hesitant to express what I really wanted to say, afraid of displeasing some invisible writing overlord. But now for whatever reasons, probably personal growth, I care less about comments and more about being true to the message I want to express. I’m really proud of myself for becoming more bold, since it can’t be my best writing if the vision isn’t authentic.

World Wide Webpage

For this leg of my project¬†I am putting¬†together¬†an online webpage. This embodies the theme of technology pretty well, and I’ll be working with a lot of graphics and writing some html/css. I’m attempting to make the page appear really engaging and eye catching, which can be difficult to design from a 2-D piece of paper in class haha.¬†It was hard to successfully visualize what would be on screen if I kept erasing my pencil sketch every two seconds.

What I needed was a real-time mock up of my envisioned design, where I can have an immediate example of my ideas. So I took to tumblr and started playing around with some old themes I had already written, trying to reimagine them in the context of my project. This actually worked out perfectly.

Screen shot 2015-11-18 at 10.45.47 PM

(very rough draft!!)

So the html/css aspect of my design looked to be pretty solid. But how about those graphics?

The last time I created my own graphic, an animated gif, was several years ago using photoshop CS5. Unfortunately, as time goes on, technology tends to change. After doing some digging I found¬†that its apparently all the rage now to make gifs using photoshop CS6, and that CS5 is¬†a crusty old relic nobody uses anymore. ¬†Uh oh…. I don’t know the first thing about photoshop CS6….

So looks like I’ll be learning something new for this project, similarly to how I had to learn to use Final Cut Pro for my repurposing project video. I downloaded CS6 and am (slowly) familiarizing myself with its new features before I create any of my animated graphics. Lucky for me many of its tools stayed the same, so maybe my job won’t be so difficult.

 

The Cusp of Remediation

I must admit that it is pretty hectic having yet another huge project begin right after the culmination of another, but I guess the show must go on!

My repurposing project ended with a bang. It was very time consuming but ultimately I was very pleased with how it turned out. I have a link to the video here for those who are curious! Deciding on a video for the repurposing project makes it a little harder to decide on a medium for the remediation project, but I think I have nailed down my platform. Still wanting to incorporating writing with visuals, I toyed with the idea of doing a powerpoint before finally deciding on doing a graphic layout in the form of a blog.

As a longtime user of tumblr, I always admired the aesthetic of theme blogs. Theme blogs, which are custom made templates designed for other uses to pick and chose, have this welcoming atmosphere and friendly tone, the kind of tone I would love to have when presenting my information on film and neorealism. Many theme blogs are arranged in an objective style, catered to the viewer, so they can chose where to look and where to focus their attention on. They also feature various techniques such as hover text and post blurring that is pleasing to the eye. Here is one example of a theme blog I found particularly appealing.

From one visual representation form to another, but still centering around a mode of writing, I hope my original neorealism message will keep its appeal as it transforms one again.

Lets Review The Album Review

 

Online music reviews are a booming business of digital rhetoric, published for all to see and eagerly digest the opinions they enclose. Some of the time, album reviews are able to shed light on which direction the reader should point their ears toward. But mostly, those reading reviews are not perspective listeners but are just curious fans itching to know what critics had to say about their favorite tunes. But why? This was the case when a renowned music publication, Pitchfork, recently reviewed the new album by an obscure band I happen to like very much, Windhand, a femal-fronted doom metal 5 piece from Virginia.

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 3.30.12 PM

Here is a link to the review and what the writer had to say about it.

Now I wasn’t reading the review to have it sway my decision to listen to it or not, oh no, you see I had already listened to it a dozen or more times.. respectively lol. So if I had already bought and listened to the record, and very much enjoyed the record, why was I here on this website reading this review from some journalist type who’s opinion, while perfectly warranted I’m sure, effected me almost no way at all?

I’m sure I, and other music fans, read¬†reviews in search of¬†some sort of external validation. Music fans¬†read these album reviews¬†¬†to investigate whether or not others have found the same enjoyment in a record that they as listeners¬†had also found. As a writer and conveyer of digital rhetoric, the music critic has a unique job of having to communicate their opinion while simultaneously being relatable to the reader. Because if relatability¬†is lost, then the¬†readers identification with the critics¬†opinion is lost, which leads to, “well why do I care about what this guy thinks anyways!!!”

But if identification is made, then the critic’s opinion is valid, and he can keep his job writing for whatever publication will have him, Grayson Haver Currin, I’m watching you.

Well did I identify with this critic then? Luckily I didn’t have to work so hard to find the writer relatable since his positive review of the album aligned with mine, thankfully. Perhaps I have decent¬†taste after all.

 

Yearning to Appeal

My source material is an essay response, rigid and formulaic, designed to answer a question and not to intrigue an audience. With my repurposing project however, I hope to achieve the exact opposite. But where do I begin? Well, before any video can be made, a script needs to be written. It can be difficult to visualize the final project from some written words on a page, I know, but it needs to be done nonetheless. So keeping my goal of beautifully flowing poetic text in mind, I stripped away all the bulky analytics from my essay response, leaving only the pretty words and elegant analogies.

What is left? A style I am not used to writing, at least, not used to writing recently. For class papers I am¬†so used to a certain form of retort, but this video script requires something else entirely. The text has to be interesting yet not overwhelming, to entertain the audience and at the same time inform them. And so it has been quite an interesting journey so far, trying to reach this happy medium. However I think I have relied too much on the pretty sounding side and haven’t included enough of the key information I wanted to get across to my audience. I am trying to figure out how to weave these facts in without weighing down the light drifting narration style that I am going for. Who knew that walking these two worlds could be so intricate.