Introduction to Genre 3- Interview Based Article

I believe the topic behind my two experiment cycles this far has been trying to understand myself in different spaces and what my identity exactly is as a junior at U of M. For my first two experiences I used genres that required me dissecting my personal experiences through writing. However, for my third experiment I am going in with the goal of writing about the identity discovery experience of a different college student.

I decided the third genre I want to practice is an interview based article. I think I will gain a lot of perspective through understanding the challenges with identity someone else in a very different space is having throughout college. I feel this will give me perspective on my own identity challenges and struggles.

https://www.thebalancesmb.com/how-to-write-a-profile-or-interview-based-article-1360733

From the article I pasted above I learned that it is very important that interview based articles have a main focus and go beyond just surface information. One of the biggest tips it gives for conducting the interview is that you don’t just write the answers down physically but also utilize a voice recording, so you can utilize every detail when you go back to analyze the interview. It then recommends that after you review your transcript you narrow in on what the focus is of you article and pick the relevant details/information from there.

I think when considering my interview I want someone not involved in similar social organizations on campus. Additionally, I want them to have different challenges in regard to their ethnicity, skin color, sexuality, etc. I am hoping through my interview to discover some identity challenges that I take for granted and never have to think about.

Right now I am not sure who to go about finding this person to interview. There are definitely different pros/cons of knowing who I interview.

 

 

Challenge Journal #4: So much noise

You know the best thing about creating a podcast series, other than having deep and heartfelt conversations with your friends?

The hours upon hours spent editing the transcripts for them.

 

 

So. much. fun (as an aside, THANK GOD for canvas having a transcription feature).

I’m slowly chipping away at these, and should have them done by the end of the week (hopefully before the March Madness game on Saturday!). I’m excited because that’s all of the mindless work done; no longer will I have to sit at a computer for hours and listen to a file, pause it, and edit the transcript accordingly.

Now I get to sit at a computer for hours and listen to a file, pause it, and edit the audio file accordingly.

Such a big improvement.

Here’s the thing though: I actually get to be creative with the audio files. I can add my own zany and wacky effects to them to really individualize and distinguish my podcast above all of the others. I can now begin to explore incorporating my voice in a way that is not necessarily written, and it is a prospect that I am happy to start diving in.

At the same time, it is the part of the project that I am most fearful towards.

While I enjoy the abundance of creative liberty that is granted to me with this project, there are two concerns I have. The first involves deciding how exactly I want my voice to be understood with the podcast; not my literal voice, but the one as a podcast creator. How loud do I want my presence as an editor to be known to the listener, and what tone should it take? I’m leaning towards having it be comedic, but I don’t want to inundate the listener to the point where the valuable lessons to be ascertained from the podcast will be lost with the laughter. My other, equally worrisome concern is that I will go down a metaphorical rabbit hole of editing, and that I will not be satisfied with my project until it is what I consider to be the epitome of a podcast, which will involve me spending literal days hunched over a computer instead of enjoying my last few weeks here as an undergraduate (unbeknownst to some readers, I’m a wee bit of a perfectionist: I spent roughly five weeks editing a paper for an English class I’m taking now until I thought it was acceptable).

It’s a similar problem I had with my gateway class and the initial major project we had to do (I think it was the repurposing project?). I knew I wanted to do some form of satire, but I was not exactly sure how to strike a balance being comedic and being informative. So I looked up multiple examples, cycling through various multimodal and written pieces of satire, eventually falling in love with Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

I loved how he was able to include humorous quips into his piece that did not obfuscate the main point of his message, which almost always turned out to be very informative. To that end, I decided to mimic my project to be of a similar nature, and this decision proved to be essential in helping me come up with the editing decisions and script I made for the final project.

Even though there were a couple of podcasts I listed as being potentially useful for my project, I haven’t really been enamored with them. They are fabulous podcasts in their own right, don’t get me wrong; it’s just not something that I am really resonating with. To that end, I think that’s what I got to do for this project. I’ll keep cycling through different podcasts until I find one that I really latch onto. From there, I’ll analyze it thoroughly, try to understand why I find it so captivating, and subsequently attempt to incorporate their editing techniques into my own project.

At least it will give me something else to listen to other than my own voice.

Challenge Post #3: When to do the time

So, now it begins. Now is the time where I put my money where my mouth is, and start actually creating a podcast series.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the project that I have planned. I am actually looking forward to sitting down with the people I plan to interview, my friends and peers, and hearing their thoughts on competition here at the University of Michigan and how it affected them. Despite the serious topic, I think it will be an overall fun experience, one where I learn more about the culture here at the University of Michigan and where I place myself in it, as an individual and as part of a collective whole.

I’ve also never created a podcast before, so I am really interested in fiddling around with the medium and playing with its capabilities. I think the end product is going to turn out to be something that I am proud of, and will be a phenomenal way to conclude everything that I have learned as a student in the minor in writing program. It will be rewarding and fruitful, I have no doubt about that.

But the research…

Yeah. Not exactly that thrilled about it (Also been re-binging Breaking Bad, so this felt apt).

The thing is, I decided upon this particular project for two reasons: it is a topic that I am very much interested in but have not done much research on, and it is going to be created through a medium that I have never done before. It was the novelty of these two aspects that drew me to decide upon this project, so it makes sense that I should do some research on the subjects. Yet, I don’t want to be bored of podcasts by the time I have to record them; otherwise, then the project loses the flare that drew me in and the ultimate product will be less than stellar in nature.

But we all have to do the time. At the end of the day, there has to be at least a modicum of academic merit with the piece in order to make it substantive, to make it be more meaningful than my own random thoughts and ramblings. The question is how to go learning about podcasts without having my interest in them wane.

To that end, I am going to take a page out of a project I did in the gateway course (I believe it was the repurposing project?), where I decided upon creating a satirical video for a topic that was dear to my heart. With that project, there was certainly an element of research involved with it as well. But rather than bog myself down in the dry literature of television shows and satire, I decided to watch some examples. The next few days I was roaring with laughter from The Daily Show and Last Week Tonight, and jotted down notes of what I found to be captivating with the shows for the script. I did basic research into how to record a video and eventually filmed the piece at the recording station on North Campus. It was only during the editing process of the video that I started to dive into the technical and dry literature of video production and satire. With this method, the passion was still very much a part of the project, and could be seen with the video I recorded. As for the editing, it was done over the course of a few days, so I could have time to distance myself from the dull parts of research and return to it reinvigorated with the initial passion I had.

So I’ll just do that with this project. I’ll listen to a couple of podcasts while walking to class or cleaning the apartment, and scribble down what I find to be fascinating with them. I’ll use the notes I have to craft questions for the interviews and, before I start the more mundane research, interview and record the people for the podcasts. If I do this early enough, then I’ll have plenty of time to go through the less than lively literature on podcasts and still retain the passion I have while editing the project.

Am I pushing off the necessary work and hardship for future me that should probably be done earlier so I can enjoy the rest of my senior year? Probably. But I’d much rather push off the research and have fun starting the project than do the research now and dread my final project for the minor in writing. It’s all about having fun at the end of the day, so let’s have fun throughout the project’s entirety.

The Happy Medium Between Science and Personality

For my past experimentation, I took a more scientific approach on a personal experience. While, the insight gained from this process was extremely useful, something was missing when the information was presented in a purely scientific format. The voice and personal experience that was cultivated through the series of diary entires was lost. So, for this next experiment, I plan on combining the personal experience of the diary entries and scientific basis of the literary review paper into a comic. I think this will be a great platform, because in cartoons and comics, authors convey current events, controversies, or historical events in a comedic or personal manner, which amplifies a reader’s reaction to the piece.

Traditional comics have relatively the same overarching characteristics of creating an argument or claim, usually through humor. They are usually published in online or print magazines and newspapers, and therefore lend themselves to an intended audience of people who are interested in the subject, so scientists, professors, and students for scientific comics. However, I think comics are so powerful because their audience invoked is so large. Anyone who reads the magazine or newspaper where the comic is located is exposed to it, whether they are originally interested in it or not. In fact, some people skip straight to the comic section in the Sunday news.

Here are some traditional comics that caught my eye:

After researching some examples for formatting a comic, I found that there are a few variations in the genre:

  • Color vs. black and white
  • Multi-strip vs. single strip
  • Comment blurb vs. words throughout

This helped me narrow down what I want to do for my piece. Looking at different examples, I find the color comics more eye-catching and will use that technique in my own piece. I believe that my message will be better suited for a single strip, rather than multi, comic. Also, having words throughout my comic will flow better than containing them to blurbs.

While many comics use humor to further their claims, I feel like this might be inappropriate to talk about such an impactful disorder like depression. Therefore, for my experiment I am choosing to go against this norm of the comic genre, and instead attempt to draw deeper and more emotional reaction from the readers, while still keeping the same formatting structure.

I think what I hope to emulate is more along the lines of a project that my friend, Kathryn Rossi, a student at FIT, created for her math class which she shared via her Instagram @kathryn_rossi:

 

The Result of Too Much Cold Brew

Whenever I’ve had too much cold brew or overslept after a long night of binge-watching Scandal, I get in the habit of asking really irrelevant–but extremely provocative–questions. Lucky for my parents, they’ve been my involuntary audience this weekend.

Crostini from Fig and OliveWhile sipping rosé and dining on three crostini at our favorite restaurant, Fig & Olive, I asked my parents one of my classic questions: knowing what they know now, where would they have gone to college?

For a little background, both my mother and my father went to super small schools. I’m talking all-girls (mom) in the middle of nowhere, Minnesota. My dad’s, in Texas, was so small that he could name every person in his graduating class. Obviously, they didn’t have the typical college experience that a lot of my friends’ parents had.

When I was first applying to schools, I had absolutely no idea where I wanted to go. I knew it had to be big and it had to have good college football (my dad’s brainwashing when I was a kid, I’m sure), but other than that, every school seemed like a place I could be happy.

I actually applied to Michigan on a whim after seeing this picture of me in a Michigan cheerleading uniform. I asked my mom why I had it, given that no one I knew went to Michigan or even liked it. Her response, in my mom’s typical surprised-yet-totally-not-surprised tone, “I got it on sale.”

Michigan Cheerleader

A sale. That’s all it took to get me here. Well, not exactly…

My dad is the type of guy who gets overly excited about everything. As soon as I said I was applying, he fast forwarded to football season and bought himself Michigan shirts, hats, gloves, and even a foam finger for when he made his first appearance in the Big House. I found out that I got in just in time for him to order me the classic maize and blue overalls for Christmas. He had decided: I was going to Michigan.

I think I needed someone to make that decision for me. It’s not like I didn’t have a say in coming to school here, but I think that I was so indifferent about the entire college process that I would still have been deciding once the deadline came around. Since coming here, I’ve definitely gotten better at making decisions, but I’m glad my dad took the liberty of buying me all the gear to push me to come here.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that my dad answered the question I posed at dinner with, “Michigan, of course!” Even though I have two older brothers and they both went to good schools, I think I’m living the kind of experience that my dad always wanted. It would probably freak some of my friends out to know that their parents wanted to live vicariously through them, but for me it’s a huge compliment and even more incentive to do well in school.

My parents have never been the type to ask me about my grades or how I’m balancing school, work, and my personal life. They always joke that I came out of the womb with a briefcase, and I think it’s sort of true. With all of the trust they put in me, it has allowed me to become independent, and to realize that my dad’s dream of coming to a school like Michigan is something that he isn’t jealous of me for. It’s something that he hopes take full advantage of. And I definitely intend to with the years I have left.

Oh, and my mom’s answer…”I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Aw, how cute…

Puppy Steve Carrell

Mapping my Capstone Portfolio

I’m planning on categorizing my work into three over-arching navigation pages: non-fiction, fiction, and multimedia. This will help maintain a cohesive feel throughout my site – I won’t isolate my capstone project and developmental essay from my other work.

I decided to categorize in this way in order to make the site easily accessible for a handful of audiences. Evaluators are looking for specific pieces, but other site visitors might be confused if the navigation was directed by specific assignment titles.

Each piece will be prefaced with a short blurb – here is where I will speak directly to my evaluator, explaining the content, and how it showcases a specific skill that I have acquired. This is also the way I plan to incorporate reflective material (in addition to my developmental essay, which in itself is reflective).

I think that my site’s organization will accurately represent me as a writer because it displays three distinct genres of writing (as well as sub-genres). I am a very flexible writer, and I have experience with various mediums. I want this aspect of my writing to be conveyed.

What do you guys think?

 

a new perspective

I’ll be honest, it was nice to have somebody make a decision for me. Its not easy to make decisions. I find that weird because when picking between two things I usually want one of them more than the other. I guess I just find committing to that one thing to be the hard part.

Going forward, my favorite idea that Yona gave me was making a documentary. I wasn’t told what to make the documentary about, but making a documentary was something I never would have thought to do. In Writing 200, my project was taking an essay, transforming it into a play, and then finally a video. So I have some experience making films already. The idea of making a documentary sound like a lot of fun, but I realized that going through the editing process isn’t for me.
Another idea Yona suggested was writing a story about my most boring class, and making fun of it, but hopefully grasping something valuable/worthwhile from the experience. To me thats a great idea because I would find it funny. After much thought, I decided that not everybody would find it as funny as me and it would be better to go with another idea – something more people could relate to.
It was through these two ideas that I came up with my idea to write an essay about a collection of math problems that I find important and that may help others view the world differently – through a mathematical lense. I say these two ideas helped me because I want to use my experiences from even my most boring classes and document them in a way that benefits the reader.

It was great to have Yona because she provided a bunch of unbiased ideas. This assignment allowed Yona and I to exchange ideas in a way that normally wouldn’t occur. I say this because most people, when giving advice about a project, will ask somebody what they are doing for that project. For this assignment we were given information about eachother that was related to the project but not our direct thoughts. This way Yona could think of an idea based off my major, my interests, my previous writing experience, ect. and not necessarily an idea for the project that I already told her.

Making Decisions, Making Progress

I am an unfortunately indecisive person, when it comes to myself. I dread having to come up with plans, or pick a restaurant, or even decide which shirt I want to wear on any given day. But making decisions for another person is usually much easier. So, I loved working with Jamie to come up with possible ideas for each other’s projects.

From the questions she asked me, I felt that Jamie got a good idea of what means a lot to me, and I felt I understood a little more about what was important to her and important to understanding who she was. Because of that, I trusted that what she suggested were legitimate things that she thought could be successful and interesting to devote my entire semester to.

I came into class knowing that I would really like some aspect of my project to focus on my passion of animal rescue, but I wasn’t exactly sure where I wanted to take that. After talking, Jamie gave me some great suggestions. One of her best was using my favorite book, Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, as a model for my writing style.

My favorite book of all time
My favorite book of all time

Keyes creates a character that undergoes a life-changing operation that changes the way this character thinks and subsequently writes. However, I’m not sure I’m up to the challenge of mirroring that, and I’m not sure how I would encompass my animal rescue passions into that.

I did really like the idea we came up with together of creating a series of magazine articles or yearbook stories (as I’m the editor-in-chief of the university yearbook — shameless plug, we’re still hiring one more writer!) that cover human interest pieces intersecting with animals and animal rescue. I think Jamie really managed to understand that animals and yearbook were both important to me, and that I’m pursuing a career in journalism, and she managed to help me tie all of those together into a project.

I mentioned that I love writing children’s fiction as well, but I don’t think I want to pursue a story featuring human and animal interaction, only because I’ve done it once before and I would love to explore something different that might challenge me to think outside the box a bit. That’s why I’m leaning towards creating a “mini-magazine” focused on animal rescue, and particularly the Humane Society of Huron Valley (where I volunteer in Ann Arbor).

Humane Society of Huron Valley - Click for more information!
Humane Society of Huron Valley – Click for more information!

Reflecting on the actual process of getting to know someone and help them make their decisions, I think I definitely want to bounce ideas off of people more often. A lot of times I go into a project with a pretty clear idea of what I want to do, which I think is good, but I also don’t get any of the insights someone else could offer me. I would have never thought of connecting Flowers for Algernon with experimenting with writing style, and even though I most likely won’t take that route, the suggestion got my gears turning in a different direction and helping us spit out ideas a little more easily.

I’m actually super intimidated by this project, but I think that’s the point. I wanted to make sure I got out of my comfort zone, even though I know it’ll be a lot more work than experimenting with a medium I’ve already done before. I’m so excited to get started, and to see where everyone else takes their ideas.

(PS sorry for posting this half an hour late, Shelley. Festifall and the sun got the best of me today.)

Inviting Someone Else to Make My Decision…

I always find that the best ideas are discovered after hearing someone else’s perspective. I actually had thought up one or two ideas of my own before walking into class; however, as I began conversing with Jessica about each of them, the ideas finally seemed to come to life. Before immediately jumping into my project ideas, I described a couple of my passions to Jessica, allowing her to get to know me better, considering we hadn’t known each other before this class. Actually, I began our conversation with something like, “my favorite ideas are the ones that come from something small about yourself…something so particular or quirky or different that you never knew you could elaborate on; yet, you somehow find a way to spiral the topic into an entire project!” I was excited when Jessica seemed to agree with me and jumped on my bandwagon. So although we shared our general interests with one another, including our majors and our future goals, we also tried to steer away from those simple questions and instead, go for something more fun…more weird. Not only did it get my mind rolling, but it got hers going in all different directions, as well.

 

Jessica seemed to really like my two original ideas, so we decided to go off of those and see what else we could add to spice them up. My first idea was to bring back my college app. essay, which was all about my height. Not only am I little physically, but I’m little mentally, as well, in the sense that I refuse to give up Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, or any cartoon for that matter. More importantly, I absolutely love the “little things” in life- you know, like the cold side of the pillow or that first sip of water in the morning. Jessica loved my use of the word “little” and suggested that I could maybe do a spin off from my college essay or even an addition, which would combine all of these “little” areas. However, I then threw at her my second, very different idea: Branding ourselves through Instagram. I explained how I wrote an old paper on reality TV stars and how they “brand” themselves by coming up with an entire character that the public can easily latch onto. I then said how it’s not just celebrities anymore- it’s us. WE brand ourselves. WE create the persona that we wish the public to see and we do this all through Instagram (or Facebook for that matter). Jessica liked this idea, as well, and how it relates to every college student, including herself.

 

In considering how passionate and indecisive I was about both topics, Jessica told me I should try and combine the ideas somehow. I thought this was a great idea! Together, we brainstormed what I could do and what kind of final project I could create. I had already told Jessica that I wanted to steer away from using a Prezi or making a movie, since I had explored those forms of media plenty throughout my college career. Jessica suggested I do something more meaningful to me. For example, if I were to go more in the Instagram direction, how could I personalize the project? She brought up my dream of wanting to be a kindergarten teacher, and suggested I create some sort of children’s picture book. I thought this was a great idea…although, children’s books are much harder to create than they look. It would be a daunting task, considering I am no artist, but it could turn out really awesome. Jessica also mentioned how it could technically be teaching younger kids a lesson: to appreciate the little things in life! Thus, she was able to bring in my first idea, as well! Things were getting good…

 

Based on this experience, I will make sure to listen to someone’s interests, no matter how simple or on the surface they are, and take every little aspect of their life into consideration before giving them advice- something so basic, such as your major, could actually create the most intriguing idea in the end of the day. Yeah, I may have jumped right into the whole “quirky” thing too quickly, but at least it helped Jessica with her own project ideas! Yet, for me, I wouldn’t have even thought about bringing my love for children and teaching into the picture unless Jessica had suggested it. I think Jessica is right- I think there is a way I can combine both of my ideas, since I really do love them both. I am going to think about everything she suggested and go from there – hopefully it’ll all work out!

Letting Someone Else Make My Decision

Guys, I have a confession to make: I have serious issues with making decisions. I know a lot of people say this, but I’m pretty sure I take the whole ineptitude thing to an extreme. The other night, it literally took me almost 2 hours to figure out what to do for dinner. I wasn’t sure whether to just go pick up take-out, or to cook something, or what to carry-out or cook, or whether it was worth going to the grocery store for ingredients that weren’t in the fridge… Eventually I realized that I’d spent so much time trying to figure out dinner plans that I was not only VERY hungry, but also I had totally wasted the time I intended to use to get my reading done (I ended up getting a burrito from Pancheros, in case anyone was wondering). I wish this little story wasn’t true, but I’m ashamed to say that it is. I really am that bad.

Anyway, as you can imagine, I was SO excited to have someone else to make decisions for me in this brainstorming activity because I had no clue what to focus on for this project. I talked to Joe a lot about my research and mentioned my BCN major as potential topics to explore, and he brought up the idea of maybe writing a fictional story that relates to the research I’m doing in some way, but after thinking about it a bit I realized I’m already spending so much time on that stuff that I don’t think I want to use it as inspiration for my capstone project. Another big idea that came out as a potential starting point was my gateway project, which was all about fostering collaboration and relationships through music. I really enjoyed doing it, and I ended up making a podcast, which was a lot of work, but also a ton of fun! Joe brought up the idea of maybe doing something musical, or making a podcast again, which I totally considered, and think would be really cool. As I reflected on all these different big ideas, I was still totally stressin about what I would actually decide to do. This is a pretty big project, after all, and no matter what I pick I’m going to have to spend more time on it than I did on that dinner the other night, so as you can imagine, I’ve just been totally in my head. In my attempt to make a decision between a bunch of ideas that had already been chosen for me, I started doing other little things that I convinced myself were relevant, but really it was just me procrastinating. I started to organize things. I worked on making folders and subfolders and I started writing out some of my ideas so I could pick a track to start with, and suddenly it came to me: instead of following any of the great ideas I’ve already got, I’ll make an organizational guide about how to keep life organized in all sorts of ways. I’m definitely big into organization and making detailed calendars, color coding things, keeping everything really precise and neat, so what better thing to write about than organization and structure. I know it sounds insanely boring, but I think it’ll actually be kinda fun and definitely useful in the future to keep as a means of helping myself and others with organizational skills.

So that’s where I’m at for now; I came in with a bunch of interesting and creative ideas and ended up with something that kinda sounds like the total opposite (but in my head there are all sorts of cute directions it could go, I promise!). So I’m excited now to see where this project takes me, and I’m hoping it’s organized enough that all my decisions just fall into place, though there will probably be a lot of unavoidable choices to make. I’ll keep you updated on how that goes…