In the Works

As my post suggests, my Capstone Project is certainly still “in the works.” For those of you who do not know, I am using this opportunity to combine my love of movies and language in a really interesting exploratory way. I am interested in tracking the changes in comedy films, specially with topics having to do with sex, sexuality, and language, from the 1950s through the 2000s. I have selected one comedy film from each decade. While watching these films, I took notes to myself, paying close attention to the topics I mentioned.

So far, I have not really worked on the analytical aspects of my project. I still need to look through my notes from each film and decide exactly what changes, trends, and similarities I would like to display through my project

I am extremely excited about putting the whole thing together. However, I am very nervous as well. I am not sure yet how I am going to lay out the various points I am trying to make : on different pages of the website, in different tabs, across an interactive timeline, or on a tumblr page (or something similar).

First things first – I will need to decide exactly what information I want to display. Then I will work on the format of displaying that info!

I would appreciate any and all input! Thanks for reading!

Tiki Toki

For my comedy film Capstone project, some of my classmates gave me the idea of including an interactive timeline into my website. That way, I could establish the sex and sexuality changes that occurred in Comedy films from the 1950’s to the 2010’s! For my New Media Skill, i googled “interactive timeline creator” and played around with a few different websites. The one that seemed to most exciting and easy to use (so to speak) was Tiki Toki. During break, I will continue to play around with the website and hopefully create the base of my own timeline.

Alexis and I ran into a few issues when we first started to look around the website. We are not sure exactly what is available versus what is not available with the free account. We will mess around with it some more to get our answers.

I feel that the interactive timeline structure will really enhance the arguments I am trying to make with my Capstone project. It will be a really interesting and exciting way to display the information. Also, it will be a great way to keep the audience’s attention and get them involved in my presentation!

Take a look at this photo of a potential timeline made by Tiki Toki!

Twitchhiker-Tiki-Toki

Different Writing, Different Views

What excites me most about writing at this point in my life is the ability of a writer to deliver a number of ideas in a number of ways to a number of different audiences. It has always been extremely interesting to me that two very different ideas about one thing can be expressed simply based on the writing. To me, that expresses the realistic nature of writing. There are generally a large range of feelings, ideas, and opinions revolving around one event or one topic. It is truly realistic that so many of these varying ideas are able to be expressed through writing. This may have to do with the writer and their own beliefs, a certain assignment they were forced to write about, the varying tones, the varying themes, etc.

This is exactly why I am interested in pursuing a career in the publishing industry. In publishing, your main purpose is to deliver idea(s) to a certain audience. The way in which these ideas are expressed is largely dependent on the writing of those ideas.

As a quick example, I googled “review of Jimmy Fallon’s first late night appearance.” These two articles came up as two of the first hits from google. These two articles are not extremely different in content, but write in very different ways. Reading one over the other would certainly sway your beliefs, without watching yourself, about Jimmy Fallon’s first late night appearance!

People Magazine Article 

Ny Daily News Article 

Check them out and see what i mean (:

Language = Evolutionary

While working on my Capstone project proposal, I stumbled upon a major idea that can be translated into my Writer’s Evolution Essay.

In my original proposal, I compared the evolutionism of the language of comedy films to the evolutionism of my own writing through my three years and many experiences in the Sweetland Writing Minor. I thought this would be an interesting way to connect my final project to the progress that I have made throughout the program.

However, this idea of “language evolution” really got me thinking about one of my favorite concepts of linguistics – of course being the changes of both written and spoken American English language throughout the years. We can all agree that our language has changed drastically since the introduction of the internet, social media, and Youtube on our once British-proper spoken society. There has been a lot of debate about whether the internet has changed the English language for better, for worse, or for…both? Consider what how much more difficult it would be to get your point across without the popular and easy acronyms “WTF” and “OMG.”

Words

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You might be wondering: What on earth does this concept have to do with the evolution of my own writing throughout the last three years? Well, in the height of the internet-language era, I have progressed in my writing and even developed my own style of writing. Would this style be the same without the constantly-changing language of the internet? Most likely not.

For my Writer’s evolution Paper, I would like to look at the changes within my own writing throughout the past few years and how these changes connect, if at all, to the changes in internet language. For example, my ability to write-freely on blogs has helped my writing style to become more casual and relatable. I am not sure of exactly how I will make all of these connections into one essay, but I will try!

Here is a piece I found about how the hashtag has singlehandedly “ruined the English language.” I can definitely find a lot more sources where that one came from…

#guilty

http://gizmodo.com/5869538/how-the-hashtag-is-ruining-the-english-language

 

How to Write your First Book

As most of you know, Buzzfeed has quickly become one of the most visited, most posted, and most referred to websites around. I couldn’t think of anybody I know who is currently working on a major piece of writing. So, I went to the web to research some of my favorite authors and hope that one of them is currently writing another novel and being interviewed on the writing process!! Well, during my research, I found a Buzzfeed article titled “How to Write Your First Book.” I thought it was really interesting and probably relevant to many of our aspirations at some point in the future. (If you’re anything like me, you’ve dreamed of publishing a book of your own since you picked your first book off the library shelves!) This Buzzfeed article offers words of advice from 21 successful and published writers.

Each of these questions were answered by a varied group of the 21 authors:

Was the proposition of writing a book intimidating or crazy-seeming, or were you confident you could do it? 

Did you show people sections or drafts of your manuscript as you wrote it?

What obstacles did you encounter while writing?

All told, how long did it take you to write the book, from idea to selling it? 

What do you know now that you wish you’d known then? What advice would you give your younger self?

What I gathered from this piece is that the writing process varies largely depending on the person. While ten authors had completely different obstacles to face while writing their first books, each one of them was able to work through those obstacles and successfully publish a piece. The authors in the Buzzfeed article took anywhere from 8 months to 8 years to finish their first book! Some of these writers answered that they had never shown their work to anybody until it was signed on by the publishing company,  and some admit that they showed each chapter to their loved ones for constant opinions. One of the most important things, according to these authors, is to make sure to take in all of the feedback – good and bad – and work it into your piece!

Chang-Rae Lee (author of Native Speaker) looked back on his experience writing his first book, stating that “he wishes he had had a little bit more faith in himself at times.” This quote strikes me as very important. While we are working on these semester-long intensive projects meant to showcase our abilities, our strengths, and our skills, it is probably easy to succumb to the obstacles we may face along the way. However, if we maintain the confidence in ourselves, and stay true to the statements we are trying to make, the topics we are trying to explore, and the artwork we are trying to create, the project will be worth it and will come out successfully.

Here is the Buzzfeed article if you are interested in getting some tips from these successful authors: http://www.buzzfeed.com/sandraeallen/how-to-write-your-first-book

The Comedy of Sexuality

There seems to be a common trend here. Many of us aimed a little too high with the first drafts of our proposals, aiming for too broad of a topic – myself included! My proposal conference helped me to focus on a more specific topic for my project.

Originally, I wanted my project to cover the linguistic changes in comedic films throughout the years – one decade at a time. However, I am now going to track the changes in sex and sexuality through the funniest comedy film of each decade, starting with the 1950’s rather than the 1930’s and ending at the 2000’s rather than the 2010’s (considering this decade is not even halfway over yet!) I am not necessarily going to focus on the linguistic aspects of the comedy. Instead, I will watch each of these five comedy films looking specifically for examples of sex and sexuality. Later on in the process of working on  this project, I will somehow connect the information in the films and my research to linguistics.

I also want to add some aspect of comparison between the top grossing film versus the viewer’s choice film. What is it that defines what is funny in terms of sex and sexuality? Is this different in the films that are “critically acclaimed” and the films that are not so critically acclaimed, but are inappropriately hilarious? Are jokes revolving sexuality more appropriate or accepted if a movie is critically acclaimed or maybe if the movie is not critically acclaimed?

I am very excited to start this project, and of course excited to watch some new, hilarious films!

What Makes People Laugh?

For my capstone project, I am thinking about researching and exploring two things that I love – movies and language. In particular, I am very interested in how the language of comedy movies have changed over time. In other words, what, linguistically, makes people laugh today and what made people laugh yesterday. I wanted to start by researching some of the funniest movies of all times – according to a number of different sources. I would love to find one film from each decade since the 1930’s that has been unanimously named as the funniest film of , for example, the 1960’s. I started to research this films, and immediately came across a problem – one that, interestingly enough, has a lot to do with language.

How do you define a comedy? White google searching “comedy,” I found a number of results relating to the recent awards season – the 2014 Golden Globes, Oscars, SAG Awards, etc. This article  lists all of the nominees and winners for the various categories. However, the “comedy” nominees are very different than the comedy films I discussed in my proposal for this project. What do you think constitutes a comedic film? Why would this be any different as it applies to theaters versus a big time awards show?

Click here to take my survey and help me chose the funniest film from each decade!! I would really appreciate it.

 

Something Old, Something New

No, I’m not getting married – I just thought this was a cute title.

A lot can change in 18 months. A year and a half ago, my biggest decision was what to make for breakfast, and now I am trying to decide what on earth to do with the rest of my life and how to do it! A year and a half ago, I was just beginning the minor in writing. I was just beginning to explore my own writing style, why I write, and what I write about. Now, in my last semester of the writing minor and my last semester as a college student, I am confident in my writing, using it daily to express myself. One specific memory stands out to me from the time period I was enrolled in Writing 220.

I remember walking up the stairs to my apartment building at 611 Church street like I did every day after class. I always took the stairs up. The elevator was used when we didn’t want to run down the stairs in heels, or if we had friends over, because the staircase was locked. On this particular Wednesday, I ended class at 1 PM, and arrived home earlier than any of my six roommates. I rushed into my room – a double in the back of the apartment – plopped down my backpack and of course, changed quickly out of my jeans and into my sweatpants. Looking back on my decision to leave the door unlocked, I don’t know if this was a mistake on my part or an intentional doing considering we were not accustomed to locking the door during the day. I heard the door open and shouted “hello” thinking one of my roommates would respond. When there was no response, I walked around the apartment into the view of the door and saw an unfamiliar man staring back at me. He shouted “im gonna get you” and turned around immediately to exit my apartment. I called the police and my roommates, and an elevator code was installed later that week to insure this never happened again!

Needless to say, I learned my lesson. This incident may have played a role in the immense amount of anxiety I now have staying home alone, checking the door-lock four to five times each time I enter my house!

Fast forward ten months, and my memories have changed a great deal, along with my outlook on life and thus, my writing. This summer memory came to me quickly, as it was the most carefree feeling in the most unlikely of environments.

It was a warm night in late August, and I had been traveling through Asia with my family. After an incredible 8-course meal in Tokyo, we slipped into a taxi to bring us back to our hotel. Everything in Tokyo is significantly far away because the city is so spread out, and none of the taxi drivers speak more than a word or two of English. We hoped our driver knew how to get back to our hotel, considering the numerous transportation and communication issues we had run into throughout the last month. My dad was adjusting his seat and the driver tried to tell him, both in Japanese and using hand motions, to buckle up his seatbelt. Thinking that the driver was trying to explain to him how to adjust his seat, my dad responded “No thanks i’m ok.” I started laughing at my dad, which caused my mom to start laughing, and the cab driver started laughing at the sound of my moms high pitch laugh. Within seconds, all five of us were laughing hysterically, the driver wiping tears from his eyes every time the car stopped. Oddly enough, I was the only person in the car who knew why the laughter had started in the first place. My younger brother used this story to write one of his college essays (I was the editor) about the importance of appreciating other cultures and the universality of laughter.

I am attaching a video I took of this moment. You will hear my my mom’s, as well as the cab driver’s laughs.

IMG_5705

Advice from my Advisor

From personal experience, the academic advisors here at Michigan do not give such great advice. When they are not extremely knowledgable about your specific subject area, it makes it very difficult for them to advise you on what courses to take and what steps to take in the direction you would eventually like to be. However, the Writing Minor advisors are a different story. Because they are not only advisors, but also professors in this very specific program, they know exactly what we are going through and are able to advise us as to how to better improve our writing or how to better organize our portfolios in a way to more appropriately present ourselves as writers.

Just before Thanksgiving break, I met with my advisor with some questions in hand. As we sat down, she asked me about my favorite parts of the Gateway Course and she asked about my outside interests. I showed her what I had done of my E-Portfolio, and we discussed my pathway through the re-purposing and re-mediating projects. She gave me insight into the professional writing world and suggested that I really focus on showing my audience something that they have never seen before – presenting new information, or presenting it in a way that seems fresh. As for the E-Portfolio, we discussed the major differences between this beginning portfolio and the portfolios we will create in the Capstone Course. My advisor said she always tells students at the Capstone level to think back to what they have gone through since their Gateway Portfolio, or how their life has changed in any way. We discussed my study abroad plans, and she told me that my experiences from living in and traveling around South America could certainly be a great way to shape my Capstone portfolio.

Although this is thinking ahead, she gave me some great advice to get me thinking through the next year of the minor. I suggest you all meet with your Writing Minor Advisors if you have not yet done so!