Storyboarding Part 2

MarleyKaltRemediationStoryboardI wrote before about loving the storyboard experience (mostly after the fact) of the e-portfolio, so I was actually looking forward to storyboarding my Re-Mediation project.  For this project, I was going to create a collection of animated GIFs, on the topic of gender socialization.

I planned to make a Buzzfeed-type article about breaking gender stereotypes, with most of the information presented visually through animated photos or video clips.  Creating my storyboard was pretty straightforward – I typed a list of what images or clips I wanted to find (ex: a female gamer, a boy playing with dolls).  I even had a title, “(#) People Valiantly Breaking Gender Stereotypes.”

But when I looked at my completed storyboard, I realized it lacked depth and context.  I felt that viewers would not get anything out of this project.  It left much open to interpretation and did not take a clear stance on the issue of gender stereotypes.

So, I changed my platform.  Instead of creating a single, static list, I will compile my animated GIFs into a Tumblr.  While many of the posts will still be visual, using Tumblr should give me more room to explain the issue, how the GIFs relate to each other, and will give my topic more of the depth and seriousness it deserves.

So, here’s my storyboard (please ignore the bad drawings – I promise there will be no stick figures, rainbows, or dog-like animals in my completed project).  This shows the basic layout I want to have.  It will be very simple; just one page where viewers can scroll through and see all the images I have animated/compiled.  I will also include short posts to bring in my thoughts and explanations of the topic.

If any of you have suggestions of what types of images I should include or how to make the most out of Tumblr (I had never used it before this project), I’d love your input!

Tech Challenge Follow Up – Not As Easy As I Thought

In my last tech challenge I thought I had it all figured out – animating a GIF wasn’t so bad! Then I tried to download it.

I don’t have Photoshop, so I made the GIF on a university computer and saved it in mfile. Earlier today I was playing with Tumblr as a possible change-of-platform for my remediation project (more about that later) and thought I should try to upload my first animation. But when I tried to get it from mfile, it would only download as frame-by-frame still images.

Oy vey. Back to the online tutorials.

I found the problem was that the file opened in a PDF viewer, which does not support the animation. I continued to download and save the file in about 12 different applications, and was eventually able to upload the animated file to Tumblr as a looping image, although I’m still not entirely sure which application worked in the end.

This was definitely a good reminder that learning how to use new technologies and new media is a process. There will be parts that are challenging and parts that come more easily, but I’m looking forward to being able to say that I have mastered (hopefully) a new technology by the end of this project.

Tech Challenge – Photoshop Animation

For my Re-Mediation project I will be making a Buzzfeed-type list using animated GIFs (the looping images or video clips that are popular all over the internet), so as a technology challenge this week I wanted to experiment with creating animation in Photoshop.

I’ve used Photoshop in the past for basic editing, so I’m familiar with some of the tools and the concept of layers, but I’ve never tried to animate anything.

I started by looking up a lot of online tutorials (I liked the ones here and here) and trying them out to learn different ways to create animation.

It turned out to be much easier than I thought it would be! I’m getting really excited that I can now create my own GIFs out of photos or drawings (using video clips may take another tech challenge).

Anyway, check out my first GIF:

MarleyK GIF

Storyboarding

Draft of my e-portfolio homepage
Draft of my e-portfolio homepage
My e-portfolio storyboard
My e-portfolio storyboard

 

 

Looking back on the in-class storyboarding for our e-portfolios, I realize it was a very helpful experience.

When I walked into class I only had a vague idea of how I wanted my e-portfolio to look. I knew which tabs I wanted in my navigation bar and that I did not want a theme, but that was about it.  I sat at the table with a blank piece of paper in front of me, looking at what everyone else was doing so I could figure out where to begin.

Slowly, it all came together.  I sketched out an idea of how I wanted my homepage to look, and decided to figure out the logistics of creating my actual site later.

It was during this “later,” as I was staring at the dozens of Wix.com templates, that I was grateful for my makeshift storyboard.  Storyboarding forced me to choose a direction (which I needed) and made putting together my online draft much easier.

See the similarities in the photos above!

Too Many E-Portfolio Questions

1. What platform do I want to use?

  • I really have no idea. There are things I like and don’t like about each of the ones I’ve tried (Weebly, WordPress, Scalar). Do I want the ease of creating a layout on Weebly? Or the greater customization of text I’ve found on WordPress? Or do I want to try something completely different?

2. Do I want a theme?

  • Themes are fun. Themes can create consistency between many different types of writing. But, what theme would I choose? Something alliterative with my name? An interest of mine? Can I find a theme that ties my e-portfolio together without seeming forced or like I’m trying too hard?
  •  If I choose a fun theme, can my portfolio still be professional? I definitely want it to be professional.

3. Will I ever make a decision?

  • I’m horribly indecisive (I think I’ve come to class everyday with a new angle for my repurposing project) and there are a lot of design choices. Possibly too many design choices. I think I’ll just keep procrastinating until the deadline gets closer.

“Making a Case for Rhetorical Grammar”

In “Making a Case for Rhetorical Grammar” author Laura Micciche argues that students must learn grammar from a rhetorical point of view, not just a prescriptive or descriptive view, in order to be able to communicate effectively.

She explains:

1. “Rhetorical grammar instruction emphasizes grammar as a tool…to generate persuasive, clear thinking that reflects on and responds to language as work, as produced rather than evacuated of imperfections” (p. 720)

We should understand grammar as active choices we make while writing, rather than using grammar as a set of concrete rules for eliminating mistakes. As writing students, learning rhetorical grammar can teach us a new way of thinking about language; it can teach us to think about how we express ourselves and why we choose specific words or styles.

 2. “The shaping of meaning through writing is intimately connected with a writer’s grammatical choices” (p. 722)

Rhetorical grammar teaches us that way we use grammar affects the meaning of a text or speech. Using grammar rhetorically is not just about where to place punctuation or how to arrange subjects and verbs. Rather, rhetorical grammar emphasizes how an author relates to their audience through language. We need to understand how to use grammar in this way so we can construct sentences and paragraphs that convey our intended meaning to readers.

 3. “Grammar skill and instruction are linked to cultural attitudes, beliefs, and assumptions” (p. 732)

What we say and how we say it can have larger societal implications by, often unintentionally, imposing meaning on certain cultures.  The way writing students are taught grammar – as static, unchanging rules – implies that those who follow the rules are right, and those who do not follow the rules are wrong.  Learning rhetorical grammar, however, helps us uncover links between language and meaning, which can lead to a greater understanding of widespread cultural attitudes.

I find that these three ideas overlap to explain the importance of grammar in the rhetorical situation (the relationship between author, audience and message) as well as the potential consequences of teaching grammar as a fixed set of rules.  This article has expanded my view of what grammar is, and will make me more aware of the meanings attached to my writing style and structure.

In addition, Micciche includes several examples from her students, who analyze and reflect on any text they find interesting.  These examples (pp. 725-8) gave me a greater understanding of how rhetorical grammar operates in the real world and how I can apply its principles to my own writing.

Foodgawker

I love eating delicious food.  And looking at delicious-looking food.  And just food in general.  That’s why Foodgawker.com has earned a top spot in my internet-surfing repertoire.

Foodgawker is not so much a blog as it is a collection of food photography.  The editors collect photographs from food bloggers around the world, categorize them, and repost the pictures into a large, searchable, drool-worthy gallery, always linking to the original post by the photographer/food blogger.

There are three main reasons why I love Foodgawker (and why you should, too):

  1. Photographs
  2. Dozens of categories
  3. Links

Photographs:

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 12.15.38 PM

S’mores Brownies.  Enough said.

Categories:

Foodgawker labels and organizes its posts very well.  This allows you to search by type of food (ex: Nutella), type of dish (ex: dessert), and even by submitter of the post.  The multitude of categories also makes it incredibly simple to find diet-specific foods, such as vegan or gluten-free recipes.

Links:

Clicking on a post on Foodgawker will bring you directly to the original post of the submitter, which is usually on a personal food blog.  This gives you the recipe so you can make delicious food for yourself at home, as well as background on the recipe and reasons why the original creator/their family/their friends enjoy it.  I love this feature because reading a recipe off a food blog makes me feel as if I’m getting the information from a friend rather than the anonymous sources behind general recipe websites.  Foodgawker gives me access to thousands of blogs and points of view that I may not otherwise have found.  And although I have not started following any specific food blogs, I like knowing where I can find them.

 

Oh, and did I mention the food?

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 12.21.07 PM

Eggplant Penne Pasta Bake

Analysis of My Writing Style

I analyzed a response paper I wrote for a Spring 2013 Communications class, where the prompt was to reflect on the week’s assigned readings.  Even though it was a personal response paper, where it was acceptable to use the first-person pronoun, most of the paper was written from the third-person point of view with a formal tone.  I am not surprised that I took this approach in a response paper because I tend to err on the side of caution to make sure that my writing is appropriate for the situation or audience.

My “go-to” sentence shape in this paper appeared to be the Periodic Sentence.  I found that I added many modifiers before arriving at the main clause of many of my sentences.  At the time, I believed building long wordy sentences would make me sound intelligent.  But, looking back, this style just makes the paper difficult to follow.

Furthermore, many of my sentences began with either “However” or “Rather.”  I found that about half the sentences I wrote were actually just fluff leading up to my main point in the second sentence.  Once again, I used far too many words to discuss a single idea, making the paper hard to read.

In the future I hope to strive for greater clarity in my writing.  I will use this analysis of my writing style to become more aware of my sentence shapes and the effect my style choices might have on my reader.

Orwell and Didion Response

What resonated with me most about the two articles is how Orwell and Didion both describe writing as something they need to do, rather than something they want to do.  I understood both authors to be arguing that writing became a compulsion for them, rather than a passion.

In some ways I agree with their point of view.  Writing is the way in which I best express myself and, like Didion, putting pen to paper is often how I create a sense of clarity out of the chaos around me.  Furthermore, in relation to Orwell’s four motives for writing, I know that writing is the best way I am able to make my mark on the world (although I hope this doesn’t fall entirely into the category of “sheer egoism”).  In short, I do not know who I would be if I didn’t write.

However, it is Orwell and Didion’s apparent lack of desire for the act of writing that I do not understand.  I have always associated writing, both my own and that of professionals, as an art driven by passion, a point of view which Orwell, especially, negates quite bluntly several times throughout his “Why I Write” essay.  It makes me uncomfortable to think that some of my favorite pieces of writing may not have been written because the author truly enjoys bringing entertaining stories to readers, but rather were created solely in the author’s self interests.