We Are Wizards

To start off, the internet has completely and fundamentally changed the way people consume media. In the past, the consumers were limited consuming media on the producer’s time frame. Whether it was the nightly news broadcast, the morning newspaper or a new song release, the consumer was at the mercy of the producer. That has changed significantly with the introduction and widespread use of the internet. The consumer can now go on the internet and find new content any time they please. They are essentially demanding the producers of the content to keep pace with their rate of consumption (which has gotten quite large). On top of that, when the producers are not creating enough material for the consumer’s wants and needs, the consumer now has the ability to take production into their own hands and easily distribute it to other consumers.

Fan cultures are the consumers in this current scenario. Their desires for more fiction material used to be at the mercy of the authors or the production companies who made the movies. But now they are taking the production into their own hands using modern technologies and are using the internet to distribute these creations. This has drastically changed the balance of power between the two groups. The power used to reside much in the producers hand, as long as they were doing enough to satisfy the static fan base. But now the fan bases have become mobile and demanding the right to create their own productions in areas that the studios or publishers are not. This change of power is what was most important to me about the movie. All along the power should really have been in the hands of the consumers; after all they are the ones paying and participating to keep these business franchises alive. I am happy to see the internet providing them with a medium to do as they please. 

Storyboarding

I think our overall creative process worked really well. Since no one in our group was married to one specific idea for our project, it allowed multiple ideas to be entertained and the ideas to stay flexible. The best part of our process was not settling on any one idea, but rather always building on an evolving group of ideas. Our final project is not going to look anything like the first idea we came up with and I think that is for the best. However, not having an initial idea slowed our group down in the beginning. It was hard for us to get past the preliminary brainstorming stages and onto morphing our project into an idea we were all happy with. I would not say it was for a lack of creativity, I just think we were all a little unsure of what direction to take. I also think our group did not have much experience in working with scripts and videos so this may have been one of the reasons we were slow getting going.

A far as the storyboarding process went, I think that our group’s weakness was being able to visualize what our final video would look like. This made the storyboarding step extremely important and a vital step on our way to finishing the project. I was charged with creating the sketches for our storyboard and did my best to recreate our group’s ideas. This was difficult since I am far from a great artist, but I soon realized that it was more about giving our ideas spatial visuals and how the scenes would play out in real life.  

Google Docs

This was not the first time I had used Google Docs for a group project but this was the first time that the project could not have been completed without the programs help. The ability to have a chat room on the side of the page while you have the document up in the background is invaluable. However I think the most useful feature of the program is the real time editing. It is so helpful to be able to see what is being changed in the document in real time because it allows you to truly follow the thought process of the other group member. Also this feature allows each member to most easily build on each other’s ideas. This was key for our group since everyone worked on the script at different times of the day due to our conflicting schedules.

What I really like about the Google Docs is the fact that it has every basic feature from Microsoft Word in it. I used the highlighting tools and formatting to organize our script and show the areas that needed work. This was really helpful because the next time I logged on to view the document, one of my group members had added to the project without me having to directly contact them. I think this also allows for more creativity. Instead of me telling them what I think they should work on or do, they are able to look through the project in its current state and build on it where they see fit. Without my outside influence, my group members are able to bring up ideas I would have never thought of and add new ideas to the mix.  Overall, I think Google Docs is a great tool for online group collaboration. I am definitely going to use it in the future, whether in school or professionally. 

My First Podcast

This was my first experience using strictly audio editing software to create a finish product. It was not nearly as hard I imagined it would be. Editing in Garage-Band was simple and I can see why people are attracted to the easy interface of the software (I am normally a PC guy but this experience with mac computers was surprisingly pleasant). I choose to keep it simple and use two sound files Aaron provided us in class. The most difficult part of the whole process was getting the timing of the fade correct when merging the two sounds. The first few attempts I had very quite terrible and there were awkward silences between the two songs. I adjusted the sound tracks perfectly by zooming in closer to the sound bits and connecting them on beat.

Overall this experience has made me more open to using audio production in the future. I am not sure yet how I could incorporate this with my writing interests but I am thinking that I could use to to create introduction “summaries” to my longer papers. For my midterm project I created an online portfolio of my works. Possibly in the future, with each paper I could include some audio podcasts to describe each paper to the visitors of my website.

The Zines

To me, the zines piece by Stephen Duncombe is an interesting analysis of a particular subculture phenomenon that relates to the particular time period he talks about. The ideas on the “margins” of culture are often very progressive and where the next big change for society is coming from. If culture always stuck to the mainstream, it would never evolve (I loved his example about Thomas Paine and his published pamphlets). To me, written works is the perfect medium for this progressive thinking to take place due to the way writing encourages critical thinking of complex subjects.

Another major idea that stuck with me after the reading was the freedom that the authors of these zines enjoyed. They wrote what they wrote because that is what they thought, not what they were told to write or what they thought people were going to like. Brutal honesty and revealed emotions can produce some great discussions about the reality of what the author is experiencing. Zines provided a personal outlet for many people to explore this form of expression.

I think the zines idea directly relates to the idea of blogs and communities on the internet. Blogs, much the way zines did, give people a vehicle to express ideas and arguments through writings. However I think there is a major difference between zines and blogs that makes them fundamentally dissimilar. Zines were products of not just people’s thoughts and writings, but also the physical hard work that was required to put them together. For a person to start blogging on the internet, it can take as little as ten minutes to create an account on a blogging platform. Therefore, I believe zine makers had a higher level of motivation to have their ideas and writings heard throughout the community. Sometimes I wish it took more than the click of a mouse people’s opinions to be heard in the age of the internet.

Zines are unique as those that create them

My Blog Creation

This is not my first experience setting up a blog, but it is my first experience using WordPress. The first blog I ever ran was on Tumblr, a more social network that WordPress and a little less professional. I found the dashboard of WordPress to be much more complex (as expected) and provided many options that my previous blog was not able to include. I just felt using WordPress I could make a blog that was uniquely my own, instead of just another blog made out of a cookie-cutter template.

But along with more options for change, come more opportunities for frustration and an imperfect final product. The dashboard for WordPress is fairly easy to understand, but at times a little too complicated to get exactly what you want. However I was happy with the interactive options for the blogs, giving the readers a chance for feedback and comments without them having to write a blog post of themselves. I believe this is important because usually people don’t want to respond to your whole post, just an argument or two you made in it.

Tumblr, the more social blogging sphere