Remediating an Argument, Digitally

In terms of what’s to come next, I have many routes before me for our upcoming Remediation Project. Over the course of my past two years here at Michigan, I feel that I have been given limited openings, and had limited access to build course projects outside of the essay writing sphere. Academically, I’ve rarely had the ability to branch out into other project styles, as the steady diet of exams-essays-exams-essays and more exams seems to be the norm at our academic institution. Building and expressing my ideas through the creation of media-based project opportunities, most notably through video production, has become my very favorite method of creative expression as a young man. This being said, as I have been looking to get into a new video project, I was curious as to how I might go about presenting a video for this project, outside of the standard YouTube platform (looking mostly for website/resource suggestions, as I continue to search down a topic).

As I felt upon first learning about the project, I believe that the Remediation Project will be a fantastic opportunity for me to drive home a set of ideas through media creation, allowing me to also focus away from the sphere of essay writing, for a short period. I truly cannot wait to pin down a topic for my new project (I am considering anything from a humanities based research experience, to a montage/compilation of what it means to be an objectively, or subjectively, successful student at the University of Michigan). I very much look forward to discussing these ideas in class this week, in order to delve into what may be the best road for my own Remediation project!

Spoken Word Poetry

I have thought about several possible remediation projects, and I have to say, I am a little surprised by how a spoken word poetry project has appealed to me the most. Thinking back, my only ”contact”/”exposure” to spoken word poetry was through my best friend. She was crazy about several spoken word poets. The one that really stuck with me most was Sarah Kay. I love her stage presence and the poetic nature of her script. Two of my favorite pieces by her:

 

“Point B”

https://www.ted.com/talks/sarah_kay_if_i_should_have_a_daughter?language=en

“An Origin Story”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esgfG3BoAPc

 

The thing about spoken word poetry is that it is a much more personal form of media than an investigative journalist article. The tone of my article turned out to be much more objective. So one of the major things about doing a spoken word poetry remediation project would be for me to rewrite my script to be more personal and “poetic,” much less heavy on the scientific side of things.

 

I would also have to think about performing my piece; spoken word poetry is about performance after all. The thing is, I have litting experience with filming things, so I’m a little intimidated by how that will work out. Perhaps I could just recruit a friend to film me with a phone. Or I could only write a script as the project itself….

 

Remediation – Finding Good Examples and Ideas

In my last post, I spoke briefly about an example that had caught my attention thus far. It was the “Class Matters” topic from the New York Times. Like other New York Times topics, this series focuses on one subject through different perspectives and digital mediums. There are graphs of varying complexities and types of information. Like many New York Times topics, there is a good amount of perspective supplied by ‘regular’ people, projected through the words or digital rhetoric of the journalist. For example, here, the journalist provides ways getting the story. There is a slideshow with audio from the words of an every day person. This is then followed up by an analytical research piece by the journalist. For me, I see this and I try to think of how I can remediate my project to create a supplement to the research I have done and the product I have thus far created. It would be cool to put together some interviews and voice over the opinions and outlooks of real people because that would  interesting and would provide more perspective for the my readers, who have only heard the story from me.
Some other things that I’ve looked at: Humans of New York (http://www.humansofnewyork.com/), for Brandon Stanton’s unique ability to ask the right questions and depict humans through their experiences and a snapshot on the street. Another pretty cool example of digital rhetoric that informs is the playlist that the New York Times offers when click on a video through one of their umbrella ‘sections’ (i.e. NY Region or Travel or Technology). It will play a video for the user, accompanied by words on the screen and a caption bubble on the side. When the short video ends, it was move on to the next one. Each video is interesting and new, created by Times journalists recently under the umbrella topic (here, called “Channels”)Take this video for example: http://www.nytimes.com/video/realestate/100000003981972/block-by-block-fort-greene.html?playlistId=1194811622241. Notice that as soon as you finish watching, it will smoothly play another video. About 10 minutes and three videos later, you will have learned a pretty decent amount about Real Estate and some history of Fort Greene (although skewed by those interviewed, and I really encourage you to read about the Walt Whitman Houses and the Auburn Homeless Shelter there…), Broadway, and Birds in New York. Admittedly, it seems a bit random as you watch, and it is hard to feel as though you really took a lot from it. The digital rhetoric here, and the smoothness it exhibits is very nice though.

Thoughts on Remediation

I am between a few ideas for my remediation project. Since my argument in my repurposing argument was fairly political, one of the ideas is to make a series of political cartoons. If I went forward with that idea, I’d run into a few problems. The first problem is I can’t draw very well. I would need to take a lot of time on the drawings or ask a more creative friend to help me out. Another problem would be how many cartoons to make for the project. I think the text of the cartoons would need to be concise to be effective, so I would need to do multiple cartoons to create an overall effective argument. As for a model for this option, I really enjoy The Far Side cartoons. They are simple and punchy and I loved reading them when I was younger. The Far Side

Another idea I had is to do a video. I could take this in a few directions. I could make a video from the point of view of the victim of an unfair dress code, making a personal call to action. Or I could interview multiple people and get their opinions on the effects of dress codes. Both of those sound kind of boring to me, but could be effective. I was also thinking of taking a lighter approach, making a video where I meet with people, read them stories of real or fake conversations between school administrations and dress code violators, then have the interviewee guess if it was real or fake. This would try and make some of the real reasons given by administrations laughable, showing how ridiculous they are. The trouble I have with this idea is that I’m not sure if that would detract from the importance of my argument. I would have to be careful that it makes enough fun of the reasons so that the reasons seem ridiculous, but not so much that the issue isn’t taken seriously. I don’t have a model for this idea because there are so many directions I could go.

Overall, I definitely have a lot to consider. I need to evaluate my argument again to decide the best direction to take it next. I am going to need some creative help regardless of what medium I choose, as I don’t know how to make either.

Thinking About Remediation

I am still pretty unsure of the direction my remediation will go. My first thought was to do a spin on some kind of political campaign or advertisement, and I found a video done by Planned Parenthood that seems to be along the lines of what I was thinking. However, I am NOT very tech savvy, and have really never made a video like this at all. I want my remediation project to look clean and professional, and I am worried about working in an entirely new medium because I do not want my project to look sloppy or amateur. So, I have been brainstorming other mediums through which I could get out the same type of message. Perhaps a podcast? Any other ideas would be much appreciated!

Either way, I think this video hits on the main points/exigence I want my remediation project to have. I really liked that it talked about some of the history behind Roe v Wade, old footage,  and then include some testimonials. I have audio recordings of the interviews I conducted, so I think it would be cool to incorporate that into my remediation project. I also like that throughout the video there was a definitive call to action, which I think was a big part of my repurposing project. I am not trying to change anyone’s mind about these issues, just to remind all those who feel strongly about fighting for a woman’s right to choose that the fight is long from over, and that we should continue to vote for candidates and policy that protect our rights. I think the video really captured that idea, and it is something that I hope to emulate in my own remediation project.

 

Send Help

This remediation project is stressing me out. I feel because I have already done a blog and an advice column I should do something on the opposite end of the spectrum like a blog post or a short film. What I was thinking of doing for the remediation project was either a children’s book or a storyboard. It is something that I have never done before and I think it could be interesting to explore that side of writing.

I am in the process of exploring models right now. I want to tell a story, whether that be in the style of a picture children’s book or a storyboard. I want to incorporate a lesson that I leaned while studying abroad but be able to deliver that message in a different way. My advice column was very literal and direct. In my remediation I want to convey a different message in a completely new context. I do not remember the last time I looked at a children’s book. From what I remember my favorite was “Oh The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Suess and “Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Pfister. It is a completely different style of writing that I am very interested in working with. What I am learning from these two works is that since they are targeted towards children they is always a lesson or message imbedded in the work.

Although making a video or podcast would be a totally opposite medium, I want to stay in the spectrum of classic writing. I have also thought to possibly incorporate video as the presentation model of the book in order to have a different presentation mode. I hope to get some more advice on the direction I should take!

Text to Image…probably

I keep coming back to this one idea: abstract illustration.

  • Why, Emily, whatever do you mean? Are you going to do an art?
  • “…probably”
Let me catch up my new blog group and anyone else who happens to read this:
For my repurposing project I paired 3 original high fantasy vignettes (short fiction) with an exploratory nonfiction piece.
illustration
Concept illustration of the Waystone Inn from Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind

So, my idea is to create 3 illustrations, 1 for each vignette. Either that or a short comic, but I’ll come back to that.

These illustrations wouldn’t necessarily be straightforward images of what my text is describing, but they would also ideally be manifestations of my original intents for each vignette. Which is to say, it’d get a little abstract. Of course, abstraction may also be a product of my artistic style and ability.
That’s one thing I’m kind of worried about for this idea, to be honest. The style I art in may not be conducive to the thoughts I’m trying to get across in the context of my vignette. However, if I think about the images outside of the context of my vignettes and only as separate creations within themselves it could work out pretty well.
K. There’s one.


Now the comic option. This would still focus primarily around my vignettes, but it would leave more room for the author-audience direct communication I love so, so much.

comic
Chibi style comic by MartAiConan on deviantArt
The chibi style pictured to the right would make it fairly easy to add a humorous element to my vignettes, which are otherwise pretty serious. Using a comic could take the same content, but twist it to create a different tone for a different audience.
This could potentially be the scenes direct from the vignettes, or a more superfluous interaction between author and the same elements within the vignettes.
Either way, it seems like a lot. Especially since most of this is digital drawing.
That last goes for the previous abstract art option, too. Though I could definitely do something nondigital, I haven’t every really crossed that threshold outside of technical drawings. I’m not sure if I even have the proper equipment and software for that.
Ah well. These are some solid ideas, and I’ll definitely go with one of the two…eventually.

Blog 7: Remediation Station

I would like to preface this blog post with a personal complaint about the state of my laptop, which is currently horrible. Apparently my “startup disk is full” and I’ve been putting off dealing with this for ~6 months now, and so I’m basically watching documents crumble and crash right before my very eyes. I should probably get to the Apple store, like, yesterday. On a semi-related note of remediating my laptop files into versions compatible to store on an external hard drive, I turn to the topic of remediating my project. I’ve been thinking a lot about my theme: humor, and how it’s emotional connotations are easy to connect to humans and their personal stories. That being said, my original idea for the remediation project actually came to me before I had completely honed in on what I envisioned for my repurposing project.

Considering human emotion and effective storytelling, I immediately thought of a blog I feel truly captures both of these concepts impeccably: Humans of New York. My idea for my remediation project is to take the way the photographer, Brandon, conveys such a deeper/ more meaningful story behind the blurbs and still shots he posts on his blog and mimic that. For my project, I’m thinking of doing a “Humors of Ann Arbor.” Originally, I thought I would be able to run around Ann Arbor, eavesdrop on conversation, listen for a cue of laughter and ask what the person was laughing about. However, after fleshing out this idea with several other students and myself, I realize this might not be the most effective way to extract the “story behind the story” idea that I’m going for. Instead, I’ve started compiling a list of questions surrounding themes that deal with humor such as comedy, laughter, etc. As of now, my idea is to roam around Ann Arbor, explain to people what I’m doing, take their photo and ask them one of the following questions:

1. What makes you laugh?
2. When’s the last time you laughed?
3. Do you have a fake laugh?

4. How do you make others laugh?
5. When’s the last time you laughed so hard your stomach hurt?
6. Who makes you laugh the most?
7. Tell me about the time you laughed so hard you cried.
8. Tell me about the time you laughed so hard you peed.
9. Tell me about the time you laughed when you were uncomfortable.
10. Off the top of your heard, what’s the funniest joke you know/ have ever heard?
11. Tell me about how you feel about the idea that, “laughter is the best medicine?” Do you agree/ disagree, and why?
I’m not sure if these will be the most effective questions in getting people to open up and reveal things deeper within their psyche, rather than just the surface level answers some of these questions elicit. However, I’m planning on further researching how exactly Brandon goes about asking people things and how he gets them to admit to such interesting snippets of their lives. It might be mostly in subject selection, or perhaps he has a formula for getting individuals to open up. Whatever the case, I hope to be able to capture and project the emotions and stories of individuals in Ann Arbor, with humor as a guide, but uncovering emotion beyond that.
Gif courtesy of giphy.com
Gif courtesy of giphy.com
My audience will be fairly similar to the one it reached in my repurposing project, in that I plan to create either a digital blog or Instagram account or both. (Mirroring Humans of New York.) It will reach the millennial audience of my repurposing project, but this audience may stretch a bit beyond millennials into both younger and older demographics who utilize Instagram or surf the blogosphere. I’ve never really had much experience photographing or interviewing people, so I’m excited to challenge myself with this task. Hopefully, it will further benefit both the quality and caliber of my writing and my writing experience for the future.

reMEDIAting

This remediating proposal really snuck up on me. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do for it while I was still in the middle of my repurposing.

“A podcast,” I thought. “That’ll be perfect.”

Drake Hotline Bling

My brain has been very chatty this semester and I think it’s in large part due to this course. I find myself constantly thinking about my topic on stress and success at elite universities and pretty much changing my mind every single day on how I feel about it. This has posed a huge problem in deciding what I want to do for my remediation project.

Now that I’m digging deep into the nuts and bolts of the remediating project, I’m starting to realize that given my topic and the audience I want to go after, perhaps a podcast isn’t the appropriate medium for communicating my ideas. From what I discovered from the repurposing project, my remediation will likely be evolving from the day I turn in my proposal to the final class of the semester (maybe even beyond that!). Along those lines, I’m starting to become okay with not knowing exactly how my project is going to end up. I guess the mystery is part of the excitement of writing.

With all of that ambiguity being said, I am leaning towards doing a TED talk-esque project. I want to be able to present my project myself with my voice and my image. The two models for my source come from TED Talks that I have previously seen both during college and in my job.

The first model is How to find work you love presented by Scott Dinsmore. This topic coincides with mine to some degree, and includes a CTA (call to action) for the audience to get out there and do what they love. I want to include this same sort of emotional appeal in my remediation project because I feel that appealing to emotion is what separates a great TED talk from a mediocre one.

The second model is Your body language shapes who you are presented by Amy Cuddy. This is my favorite TED talk of all time because Amy incorporates personal experience so seamlessly with the science behind communicating power through body language. An aspect I chose not to include in my repurposing project was my own personal experience, and I definitely want to include this aspect in my remediation project. My main goal will be to have the reader see me as a human they can relate to in 21 minutes, just as Amy does, despite the fact they will be looking at me through a computer screen.

Through writing this blog post I feel way better about my remediation process than I did yesterday. I think my main challenge will be to get my ideas down on paper for the proposal and then I’ll just take the rest of the process day by day. This will definitely be the most exciting and challenging project yet, so I’m looking forward to taking you all on this journey with me!

Jimmy Fallon Mind Blown

Meditating on remediating

I am very excited to begin working on my remediation project! The topic of my first project had to do with the nature of perfection in the arts and how the idea of ‘being perfect’ can be damaging to students. For the remediation, I plan on making a podcast that contains interviews with various SMTD professors.

I chose to interview professors over students because I would like to add another layer of “proof” to my argument; that is, when students hear from their own professors (who are all accomplished, fufilled individuals) that mistakes and instances of imperfect aren’t just okay, but sometimes necessary. This will not only provide comfort for my audience, but also bolster my own ethos (and the ethos of my piece?).

The two models for my source come from my educational/intellectual radio station of choice: NPR. The first model is the radio show This American Life. This American Life is an episodic radio show. Each episode follows a theme and includes a variety of narratives, essays, and even comedy routines that correspond with that theme. I love This American Life because of the way it ties seemingly disparate subjects together and the intimate way the show presents them (interviews, personal testimonies, etc.). Ira Glass is pretty cool too.

My other model is a specific episode from the radio show Fresh Air with host Terry Gross. The episode features alt-pop singer/pianist Regina Spektor. The interview is very personal and feels more like a conversation than a formal recording. Spektor outlines her life story, basically, and talks about how her past influences her present musical composition. I’m going for a similar tone in my interviews, although it may be a more formal because I am talking to my professors.

The process of the remediation project definitely won’t be easy, but I’m excited to get started!