Adding a Script onto a Website

As we near the end of the semester, I am faced with the challenge of beginning to actually create a website for my capstone project. I have been putting off this aspect of the project up until now because I feel that the core of my project is going to be the writing – the script – rather than the website itself. However, after talking with Shelley and some of my group members I am getting some ideas for how to add my script onto a site in an interactive fashion.

However it is still definitely a challenge. The last time I had this problem was the gateway class where we also created websites. I remember being stuck for a while in that class, not knowing how to present my writing, or where to put each piece. I put a lot of pressure on myself to make it something meaningful. Ultimately, I was able to take ideas from my teacher at the time, Ray, my classmates, and outside sources of inspiration to make a creative site that worked. One idea for instance that I was able to apply was playing the song I was writing about, A Day In The Life, as you opened the site and read the intro on the Beatles, myself, and my project.

Some ideas that I have gotten / come up with myself thus far for this project consists of creating a “kindle type” format for my script where the reader can click onto the next page as opposed to continuously scrolling down. Also, coming up with my “dream cast” for the script. As well as having an introduction page that speaks to my process as a whole.

If anyone has ideas, or ways to utilize Wix that might be helpful for this type of project, let me know!

Oliver’s Challenge Journal 3

When you first begin to create a story, an idea pops up in your head. You get excited, and you develop that idea further. The idea seems bullet proof and there appears to be no way in which it could go wrong. However, once you have to actual create an entire outline for your story, things get difficult. This is the stage of which I am at now. I am writing a screenplay and just finished completing the treatment for that screenplay. However, there seems to be many areas now in the story that I am unsure of. There also seems to be holes in that aren’t filled proficiently enough.

I’ve dealt with this experience before. I remember writing an outline for a personal narrative essay I was working on for ENG 325. Although this wasn’t a screenplay, I was still attempting to tell a story. I got past this hurdle by continuing onward and writing up a first draft. After writing that first draft I was able to see where the major holes were in the essay, and where I needed to tighten things up, or change completely. As I kept writing and re writing the story got better and better.
Right now, I think I just have to be patient in this process. It is hard to write a screenplay – much less a very good one, even if I’m only shooting for 20 pages. But if I can harp back on this experience and trust that it will continue to improve with each draft, I can have the confidence that I need to finish the script strong.

Turning to Fiction

Writing fiction seems like it should be easy, right? I mean, you can write whatever you want. However, this is the problem that I am currently stuck with. Sure I have some guidelines. I am attempting to create a fictional screenplay based off a non-fictional essay I wrote last year for ENG 325. But this is a bigger leap then I first anticipated. I have an idea for a story but I feel as though it could go in so many directions. There are so many different themes I could focus on, symbols I can emphasize, and types of characters I could develop – but the question becomes, what are the choices that will lead to the best script?

This experience reminds me of my gateway project. For that project, I was taking an academic essay that I had already wrote on The Beatles’ song “A Day in the Life,” and attempting to turn a creative interpretation as to what The Beatles hidden, deeper messages were in the song. I struggled with finding what the most important lines of the song were, and the themes which to focus on. With time I was able to come up with a strong piece of writing that I felt comfortable with, but still being in the early stages of this project has made me question how difficult it will be this time around.

What I learned from that last experience was when I start with a big idea, and then start to narrow it down and focus on what seems to be the most important, and then researching and spending time thinking about it is how I got the most productive response. I am trying to do this for my story now, but there seem to be a lot of challenges that I didn’t anticipate.

Challenge Journal – Rituals

After reading Tharp’s take on rituals, I am now very clear on the importance of all rituals to the creative and writing process. I have always tried to have some form of a ritual in place to help me write: be in a quiet room, clear my mind, and just start making my fingers move, whether I have something to say yet or not. However, I do believe I usually take for granted the creative experience. As I can imagine many people have a similar thought process of, “Oh it will just come to me…I’ll write when I have an idea” I believe that these rituals are a way to speed up that process and put yourself in a position to come up with significant ideas on the spot.

One of the biggest challenges I have when I begin to write is simply picking the topic of what I am going to write about. I think back to my time I spent in SAC 210, when we were first assigned to write our 10 page screenplay. I was so excited about this opportunity, but simply could not decide on what to write about. I remember being up the night before our longline was due and going back and forth between about 10 different story ideas. Once I finally came up with an idea I was fixed on the other ideas I could have gone with, and if I had a made a mistake.

A ritual I would love to start developing is whenever I know I am going to be starting the creative process, starting to brainstorm early, and then each week cutting down my ideas from 10, to 5, to 3, and finally picking a topic that I feel the best about. But perhaps even more important than that is once I have my topic, having the confidence to stick with it. Investing into the idea, and not looking into the past and second guessing my decisions.

Boilerplate vs Cliche

A boilerplate is most often a piece of writing that is meant to try and convince the reader of something. It is vague and can be applied to many different situations. When looking for good examples of boilerplates on the internet I found this excerpt from an article promoting a chemical producer that reads:

“BASF is the world’s leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics and performance products to agricultural products, fine chemicals as well as oil and gas. As a reliable partner BASF creates chemistry to help its customers in virtually all industries to be more successful.”

This brief excerpt is practically all examples of boilerplates. “World’s leading company”…”ranges from”…”reliable partner”…”virtually all industries to be more successful.” These are phrases that are seen in commercials, articles, newspapers, and all over the media to convince the consumer of a brand or product.

A cliche is different than a boilermaker. A cliche isn’t meant to convince you of anything necessarily, it is just a plain, overused phrase. I remember a few seasons ago my favorite football team, The New England Patriots were struggling to begin the season. They started 2-2 and their offense was nonexistent. The media was blowing this story up as the demise of the Patriots. Bill Belichick, the head coach of the Patriots took the podium that week for his press conference, and got asked heavy questions – and he proceeded to answer every question with – “We’re on to Cincinnati.” No matter what the media asked him he responded with the exact same phrase. He wasn’t trying to convince anyone of anything, everyone already knew the Cincinnati Bengals were the next team the Patriots had on their schedule, but he still used the phrase over and over again.

Robin Queen – Extra Credit

I found many aspects of Robin Queen to be quite interesting. For instance her writing process is unique. She makes herself write down as many words as possible on a page without stopping. She referred to this as “vomiting all over the page.” She is so committed to this theory that she actually sets up an app in which a baby screams if she goes too long without typing on her computer. This seems to me like a very smart and effective method. It is forcing you to put words on a page. And there is no harm because there is no need to keep anything you don’t like moving forward in the draft process. She also makes it clear that this is not a ritual but instead a step-by-step process, in fact if she developed a “ritual” she would have to change it because it cannot be sustained.
In a chapter in Queen’s book titled, “Why does a linguist care about Mad Men and Modern Family,” she brings up a thought provoking question: what do you know when you know a language? This stuck with me as I was leaving Literatti. It is such a ordinary yet complex question. I would say the main benefit is communication and being able to live and interact in a community of your peers. But what do you know? It is hard to think of a concrete answer to that – I can only think of it acting as a pathway to other opportunities.
When talking about how she is unique with her students here at Michigan, Queen said that she tries to avoid literary essays and instead uses methods of writing that she feels come up more frequently in the real world. This made complete sense to me, as I always questioned throughout high school and some of college – what the hell are we writing all of these literary essays for? I am yet to actually read, or even see a literary essay that neither I nor my classmates wrote. I understand there is some value in literary essays but why can’t middle and high school develop more papers that allow us to write on more interesting topics in more interesting ways?

Success Is What You Make It

What is success? We use the word success so often in our daily life, yet when asked to define it, things can become complex.
I think it is fair to say that different people have different definitions of success. The poor boy growing up with few resources may define success as going to college. And a child that is more well off may be on a straight line to college the second he or she is born and has to do more than just get attend college to be “successful.”
But perhaps those examples are too much on the surface of what the word really means. I think what should be analyzed the most is if success is a word you can apply to yourself or if it needs to be awarded to you by others. Think about your own life, do you only think of yourself as “successful” when others give you credit for being so? Or do you think of yourself as “successful” when you achieve inner peace – when you are happy. In others words is success about your feelings, others feelings about you, or even how you feel about how other people feel about you?
The more I think about this word the more I lean towards the idea that, shouldn’t being happy be “success?” Isn’t the goal of life to find happiness? Yet I feel as a society we lean more towards viewing success based upon societal norms and others approval.
Am I wrong?

Why do I write? Why do you Write?

Let me preface my thoughts by saying everyone is unique. However when each unique individual is asked the question, ‘Why do you write,’ the responses tend to be predictable. Either you write because it is your passion, its how you are wired as a human, its what you feel your destiny is – or you write because you are told to do so. You have an assignment for school or for a job.
The tricky part of answering the question ‘Why I write’ is being able to go past the predictable response and perhaps don’t answer the question literally. Something that can help with this is thinking about emotion. For instance, do you write when you are sad or depressed? Do you write when you are happy? Does writing give you pleasure or pain? When asked these questions you start to learn more about the individual through writing.
My theory at least works on myself. I know that of course there are countless assignments I have written and will have to write for school and most likely my future employer. However when I think about my state of mind during writing, I detect a pattern. I tend to enjoy and write my best, when I feel well, have a clear head, and am in an inspired mood. I am not the type of writer who enjoys writing their feelings on how the world is such a dark place and life isn’t fair – that only brings me down more, I find no purpose in it.
There are times in my life where I have written just to write. And these times connect to my emotional state. I write just to write when I want to write – if that makes any sense. It is hard to explain but there are certain times where I am driven to sit down in front of the computer and write.
Another time where individuality in this question can be shown is why you write what you write. Ever since I was a little boy I was fascinated by storytelling. Harry Potter is, and probably will be my favorite book for the rest of my life because of the story it tells. I suppose that is why I am always inspired by stories, whether its in novels, movies, or even sports.
Though people may answer the question ‘Why do you write’ similarly, if asked to dig deeper more can be shown through writing.

Three Remediation Possibilities

As I have begun to think about the possible remediation forms my paper could take my mind quickly jumped to a blog setting with images and quotes intertwined in the blog. Most paragraphs would be split up with a relevant piece of media. I think this fits the style of writing I am trying to create. I could bring in quotes from Lennon and McCartney and images of what is literally happening in the song, and what I am trying to portray.

Another possibility I could see my essay turning into is being posted on a song review/critique website. I know there are many sites that discuss specific songs and their meaning, and what they make of these songs. This seems like a perfect place for me to share my personal thoughts and connections to “A Day In The Life.”

My third is idea is having my paper be turned into a magazine article. I am picturing more of a Rolling Stone piece that touches on old music and brings it back to life. Most people, especially my age, probably haven’t thought about a Beatle song in this much detail, so I think it would be an interesting experience for a reader to have.



My Internet Experience

After tracking my history on the World Wide Web for this extended weekend, I’ve noticed just how little of the Internet I utilize. For all intents and purposes the web is unlimited. There are an infinite number of pages to visit, articles to read, games to play, and things to learn. Despite this, I find myself mainly going back and forth between Facebook, ESPN, Canvas, and whatever TV show I decide to watch.

Of course there are times where I am fascinated by a link, which leads to another webpage, and another one, but this happens just on occasion, and not necessarily on purpose. I never set my mind on just “exploring the web.”

As I write this blog, I wonder why exactly I don’t travel all over the web more often. Don’t get me wrong, I am 20 years old and well equipped with technology, and certainly use it to my advantage, but at the same time, it feels as if no matter how much one surfs the web, missing an infinite amount of content is inevitable.

I am not trying to get to philosophical, but when it is really analyzed, have humans created something in the internet that we can’t even control? Think about it, different people have mastered most aspects of life, but no one has the time or the capability to take advantage of everything the Internet has to offer.

Sure there are people who make much more use of the Internet than myself, but its safe to say nobody sees it all.