Our group compiled the ultimate social network site that compiles countless ways that people are now glued to the computer screen instead of out doing things in their community. Putnam states in his article, “people who have attended a public meeting on town or school affairs has fallen by more than a third (from 22 percent in 1973 to 13 percent in 1993).” I’m pretty sure that if the numbers were declining that much about 20 years ago, then they are probably much worse by this point in time. People are now finding more and more ways to stay at home and get work done via the Internet. Whether it is online banking, shopping, group meetings, etc., more and more things are starting to be able to be done using a computer. We created a Facebook page that incorporates many of the ways that people are able to use the Web now-a-days that used to never be possible. With all of this new technology, one of the downfalls according to Putnam is that membership in groups has slowly been declining. One example is the fact that there is now online volunteering. On one hand it is very beneficial because it allows more people to volunteer than ever before; at the same time, it takes away from the community aspect of everyone coming together in one place and making a difference at the same time together while bonding. Putnam uses an example in his reading by describing bowling. He says that more and more people are going bowling by themselves rather than joining a league and enjoying the camaraderie that others bring to the table.
Danah Boyd is a social network expert and she describes the Internet and social media websites as a place where people gather to converse and share. She goes on to explain social network sites as follows: “profile generation is an explicit act of writing oneself into being in a digital environment and participants must determine how they want to present themselves to those who may view their self representation or those who they wish might.” Websites such as Facebook and Pinterest allow a person to express themselves in a way that was never before possible, and these sites make it much easier to connect with people who have the same interests as you do. That is why we used Facebook as our presenting tool because it allowed the class to instantly speak their minds and interact with one another. And outside of our class room it allows people to express themselves openly or secretly share their opinion. Boyd also explains the meaning of community and why people would meet up in groups, “one approach is to construct public as a collection of people who share a common understanding of the world, a shared identity, a claim to inclusiveness, a consensus regarding the collective interest.” This is now done much easier on the Internet with online dating and blogging sites which allow people to express themselves to which other comment and agree or disagree with you. Those who agree with you can become a big part of your life if you continue talking and this creates the community atmosphere that we used to have to go out in the real world to find. There are gaming communities, as we showed in our presentation, which allow huge amounts of people to gather and communicate while doing something that they love.
The world is shifting to an online community whether we like it or not. The Web allows us to do amazing things such as connect with people worldwide, complete everyday tasks such as reading the daily news, or as complicated as finding a soul mate. But I do believe that we still have the option of slowing the computer shift down slightly or at least preserving the community aspect of our lives outside of the computer world. Getting out into the real world still has its many advantages that we need to stop taking for granted. Although the Internet can take us places our wildest beyond our wildest imagination and it allows us to do everyday tasks with the click of a mouse, we cannot forget where our roots come from. The breath of fresh air, the wind at our back, the face to face interactions cannot be replaced. I am as big of an advocate for social networking and online communities as anyone else, but I still like the idea that people get outside and interact with their friends and family in the real world community too.
Our group first brainstormed and thought about doing a scavenger hunt online to present the many ways that our society is shifting to the online scene rather than community interaction. We originally thought about creating another documentary type video, but decided that would be too difficult to make interactive. We thought of tons of ways that people now perform tasks online rather than going out in their community and performing them. Then we realized that we had to utilize Facebook because it essentially is everyone’s online community that connects us all. From there we decided to take a slightly different approach to a scavenger hunt, but still make our posts interactive. We posted about 12 ideas of ways that the world is being shifted online such as online banking, bullying, celebrities, recipes, news, dating, and more. With these ideas we added comments (trying to keep them short like twitter) that elicited discussion or asked for class members to find other examples online. This way, throughout our presentation, classmates could write back and forth in discussions regarding our topic. On top of that, we included either a short video or a news article to provide an even more detailed explanation of our idea; this also made our presentation more interesting for the class. As a group we also decided to make a mini sound clip that described what we wanted everyone to do along with our thoughts about our topic. This was our ultimate way of an example of how we didn’t even need to be in the room for the class to understand our presentation because it could have all been done through the computer. For the entire project our whole group met several times and each helped write the discussion questions, the podcast directions, and find the many online examples. It was a strong group, collaborative effort that I think worked out very well.
1. What were the differences between modern and traditional art according to the Bolter?
2. What were the three ways that Bolter said remediation reformed new mediums?
3. “For hundreds of years, the remediation of reality has been built into our technologies of representation. Photography, film, and television have been constructed by our culture to embody our cultural distinctions and make those distinctions part of our reality; digital media follow in this tradition.”
-Do you think that any of those mediums have almost reached their peak in terms of improving? And what are some of the ways that digital media will continue to be remediated?
My audience for this documentary was really just for anyone because his story is so open and covers so many different activities that would interest people, but it was especially made for students at U of I. I wanted to show how much some people have accomplished or been through already in their lives while some other people stand idly by. I was hoping that people saw the video and thought that they should start doing some more interesting things with their life that they have always wanted to do but have not been able to find the time. Another place where this video would work well would be at freshman orientation or high school senior presentations to show how diverse this school is and how interesting students here can be. If they did show this video they may want to add some more facts about the University in the beginning though. Again, from seeing this video I would hope that the viewers saw Neo’s life and were inspired to make their life more diverse and less routine. It might just be a small change, but I believe that Neo has such an interesting story to tell that people will want to watch and become captivated by him. He is such a nice person who speaks well with no stuttering words and a great accent. His stories set more of a context too for most students here that our lives are not the same as everyone else’s in the world. We are not forced to train in the military just because we are born here and the most exposure to animals we usually get here on campus is the squirrels attacking us. His life sheds some light on our perspective of the world hopefully and opens the eyes of people who believe that everyone in the world live like we do here in the U.S.
I began this documentary by showing how the University of Illinois is such a large school with people who are all interesting and unique. Then I added that one of the most interesting people on campus was Neo. The song that I chose to open up with hopefully got the audience’s attention and provided a good complement to the reading. I hope that this got the viewers intrigued as to what makes him so interesting compared to the rest of us. In the body of my feature, I presented Neo’s most interesting stories about his life. In order to captivate the audience and add even more life to these stories I used several b-roll shots. The shots also described in more detail some of the things he has done as well as provide an extra dimension to the visual aspect. He gave me so much interesting stories about South Africa and the World Cup among everything else he discussed, but due to time restraints I could only include the basic parts of his stories so the audience at least got an idea of his life. McCloud notes that this has to happen every once and a while, but by doing this it can actually help the overall product. He states, “When we abstract an image through cartooning, we’re not so much eliminating details as we are focusing on specific details. By stripping down an image to its essential meaning, an artist can amplify that meaning in a way that realistic art can’t” (McCloud 30). I used the rule of thirds to shot all of the shots of Neo talking. He was shown on the right side of the screen with just a plain background which I actually liked a lot. But to balance the shot out a little more I provided many picture in picture shots. I did keep two of Hampe’s documentary ideas close to heart which were: A documentary communicates through strong visual images organized in sequence to make a statement, and editing is the heart of the process of communicating in a documentary (Hampe 53). I used many pictures to support the stories that Neo told me as well as several video clips to enhance the visual elements instead of simply watching Neo talk the whole time. They were very good breaks in the dialogue and kept the audience interested. I decided to try and take a more linear path which actually took me quite a while to figure out, but I was pleased with the result. In order to do this I edited and edited and edited to make sure that my message was conveyed to the audience in a clear manner. To close the documentary, I decided that I just wanted a simple shot of Neo thanking the audience for viewing his story and for being considered an interesting person here on campus. As Meredith pointed out, I may have added too many photos which detracted from Neo himself. Wysocki states, “note how easy it is to focus almost exclusively on the photographs when you analyze a text composed mostly of photograph and type” (Wysocki 133).
Documentary Editing Process:
This was my favorite project of the year. I had such a good time making the documentary that I want to continue to make more. I started out by brainstorming different ideas to shoot. At first my idea was to make a documentary of my house and sort of make it like the show “Cribs”, but then I saw that we had to make the project on something we weren’t very familiar with so then I had to think of some new ideas. I then remembered how many people kept telling me how interesting our friend Neo was so I decided to dig deeper into this topic and focus the whole thing around him. I wanted the main material to be focused on him so I made the shot of him talking about his life very simple and just had him off to the right side of the screen. I did this also because I planned on using the picture in picture feature to make his stories even more vivid. It was interesting going into the filming because I didn’t really know what to expect. I had given him an outline of some questions I was going to ask him, but I didn’t know what stories he was going to come up with. It worked out perfectly though because he did turn out to be really interesting and he was not camera shy at all; he actually spoke very well which made my editing easier. I still had to take all of the information which he gave me and figure out a way to present it. I decided to try and take a more linear path which actually took me quite a while to figure out, but I was pleased with the result. I started with his early life in Singapore and that lead into why he had to train in the military, then I went to South Africa where he spent most of his life and this tied into the safari stories he told me. Next I lead into the reason why he came to America to study and that lead into World Cup from a timeline perspective because it took place in 2010. Finally, I decided to keep my favorite story about him for last to finish strong which was the fact that he raced in two world racing finals. Once I had all of the footage in place, I slowly went through the 1000s of pictures he provided for me and placed them into the documentary. I chose the safari pictures that I did because I thought that they were close ups of very interesting animals that would catch viewers attention (I especially like the one with all of the elephants in a row looking at the camera). I then spent countless hours checking out videos on the internet that had to do with racing, the World Cup, and the Singapore military. Eventually I found just the right footage to include in my documentary and once I edited the videos to get all the main information I needed I placed it strategically into the film. I decided to place most of the videos before he had talked about the subject because they made great transitions. I thought that they were just the right length to introduce the topic that he was going to discuss next without going overboard. I also placed the travelling globe shots with the jet noise in the documentary not only for a visual effect but also for another good transition break. I wasn’t quite sure how to start the documentary but I eventually thought about the Star Wars beginning and how it kind of tells a story even before you see the main plot. I took this idea and explained basically about how big the university is and how unique everyone is and that during this documentary viewer would see one of the most interesting people here on campus. I didn’t use much music throughout the video because Neo was talking most of the time, but I chose the song for the intro because I thought that it was a good song which started the whole thing off with a bang. To end it all I just asked Neo to simply express his thanks for being considered an interesting individual here at school and to thank everyone for watching. This wasn’t a complicated ending but it tied everything together well. Meredith thought that I had used too many pictures which took away from Neo’s stories, and I can see where she is coming from but at the same time I didn’t want it to just be Neo talking in a chair the whole time. It does make sense though that people may have been too focused on the images rather than the stories which Neo discussed. One other thing that I thought I could have done better had I known the editing tools better was that some of my transitions cut off a little bit of what he was saying, but it didn’t affect the overall documentary too much. If I had had more time to work on this I would have loved to change those mistakes, but overall I was very pleased with the outcome of the video.
Working title: The Most Interesting Man at U of I
Director: Ryan Kluever
Camera: Ryan Kluever/Scott Diamond
Sound: Ryan Kluever
Editor: Ryan Kluever
1) WORKING HYPOTHESIS and INTERPRETATION
In life I believe that…most people take their lives for granted.
My video will show this in action by exploring…Neo’s (Neeraj Varyani) life and everything that he has had the opportunity to go through so far while we have all been, more or less, coasting by.
The main conflict is between —- and —- …living life and ACTUALLY living life.
Ultimately I want the audience to feel —-aroused and motivated and understand that —-that we only live once so make it count.
-The subject of my documentary is going to be focused on Neo. He has been through so much in his life already while plenty of people have not gotten or chosen to do anything special or exciting in their lives. We only live once so we need to make every moment count. If someone wants to go sky diving then they should, if someone wants to visit another country then they should. I am not trying to say that people should drop everything they are doing such as college work or jobs, but I believe that people should take more risks involving things that they want to try in life instead of regretting it for the rest of their lives.
-The research that I will have to conduct will be based on the interesting stories that Neo tells me about. For example, I know that he has been involved in a war so I will have to give background information about the war so that the audience understands and becomes more informed. Another example is that he is from South Africa so I may decide to give some background information regarding South Africa as well.
3) ACTION SEQUENCES
-I am not really going to have too many action sequences. I am probably going to film us walking around campus for a little while, and mostly all of the other actions that will be involved in my documentary will be b-roll shots based on stories that Neo tells me.
4) MAIN CHARACTERS
-My main character is Neeraj Varyani but we all call him Neo. He may be the only person that I interview in the video, but if I do end up filming Ryan Bloom, another person from South Africa then they are related through being in the same fraternity, or I may interview some of his good friends to get an outside look at his life. Neo is basically the center piece for my documentary, his actions and accomplishments that he has already had throughout his short life is what makes him interesting. He is significant to my overall theme of showing how people need to take more advantage of their lives. Ryan Bloom is a senior who lived in South Africa for the beginning part of his life, and he may be able to give me more information about what life is like there including some of the more interesting activities to be a part of.
-The issue is basically that most people don’t actually live their lives to the fullest. The characters I would be interviewing represent those who take life by the horns and do live life to the fullest. The conflict is calling upon those who just coast by life doing the same routine everyday to push themselves to expand a little. Neo is an extreme example of someone who has been fortunate to take part in countless remarkable experiences so hopefully it will shed some informative light on people.
6) AUDIENCE/AUDIENCE BIASES
-My audience is for those people who believe that our lifestyles here on campus and back at home are the norm for most of the people in the world. I believe that many people here at school are naïve in believe that being wealthy or at least relatively wealth is not a big deal. They don’t have any idea of what is going on around the world while we are pleasantly studying here on campus. I want people to see how lucky we are to be studying here at U of I. Another possible message that I will show is that not everyone lives life to the fullest as they should; Neo is a good example of living life to the fullest and hopefully his stories will make people realize that they need to take advantage of their lives.
7) TO-CAMERA INTERVIEWS
-my main interview will be with Neo and his life so far: Coming here from South Africa, being involved in a war, playing rugby, etc. With this interview I will be attempting to show another side of life that most of us are not used to and establish the idea that our lives aren’t the norm of everyone else in the world.
-I might also interview Ryan Bloom because he also grew up in South Africa before he moved here so if I need any reaffirming of information that Neo tells me I might be able to get it from another source here on campus.
-As of right now I plan on introducing Neo as the “most interesting man at U of I” in a short clip of videos and then panning over several places at school and introduce my conflict. Then I believe that I will go back to Neo for my interview while integrating different videos based on stories that he tells me about. I am possibly going to include interviews of his good friends to get an outside perspective on Neo or I might include an interview of another person I know from South Africa to get their two opinions on living there. A lot of my structure will include b-roll shots, and I think that I will also include some background information regarding the stories he tells me too.
9) FORM AND STYLE
-I think, as of right now, I will conduct my interview of Neo in his room making sure that everything is evenly spaced as we saw in the provided videos. I also might film him while we walk together on the quad or something like that. I plan on shooting various areas of the school and cutting them into the video. He used to live in South Africa and he was involved in war, among other things, so I will try to include videos of some of those topics to cut into my documentary. During my interview I will include text to introduce Neo and I will probably include text over some of my added video clips to make it as clear as possible.
-I think that my ending will depend on the type of stories that Neo tells me about his life. I know that he enjoys golfing so I may start with him playing some golf and then end with another shot of him playing golf just to show that although he has been through some really interesting things in his life, he is still a normal guy just like you and me. Or I might start and end with a voice over of myself explaining about Neo and why I chose him and then ultimately my thoughts and reasons for making the documentary. The other ending I might include is just by asking Neo if he has any advice or final words to sum everything up.
-I don’t believe that I will be using a budget because everything that I will be shooting will be here on campus, and the video cameras are free to rent.
-I plan to film Neo this Wednesday and then add in my extra shots to fit the interview. After I have finished that, I plan on editing it further by possibly filming more with Neo on Saturday and/or Sunday.
1. What were the main points he discussed that need to be avoided when making a documentary?
2. What are the three trends that have come together to create a new interest in nonfiction video and film production according to the author?
3. What documentary genre (documentaries of behavior, documentaries of emotion, docudrama, or new reality videos) did you find most interesting and why?
For someone who has no formal background creating sound essays, I really enjoyed this project. I started out brainstorming some ideas with the topics that we had discussed in class. I first thought of doing a project about a specific location and then had the idea of talking about nature in general, but wound up taking a completely different direction and discussing why people should join a fraternity or sorority. I chose this topic because it was something that I knew a lot about and thought that it was relevant to the class. I started by writing down the main benefits, in my opinion, of joining a house and slowly expanded those ideas. Then I went around my house and interviewed a few people regarding their own specific experiences with a fraternity. After revising my ideas into shorter, more compact ideas to make the time limit a more realistic goal, I inserted my interviews into specific spots that fit well. Lastly, I input other sound effects from songs I thought had to do with college and more importantly Greek life. I chose the “Hail to the Orange” song because it is a well known song here on campus and my audience is University of Illinois students. Then I chose the song “Fraternity” by the Foo Fighters because it was relevant to my topic. Next I picked the song “Last Day of School” because my end message is that college kids need to take advantage of their time here on campus and the song states: we live life, like it’s the last day of school. This directly connects with my message of living life to the fullest, especially while you’re here on campus. Then I picked the well known graduation song to conclude my sound essay; I feel like it is a great closing song that has a lot of meaning and that is the song that you listen too as you graduate from college. I didn’t include music throughout the whole audio project because I wanted these few songs to stand out and really separate my introduction, main points and conclusion. I think that my project is really solid but I wish that I had added a few more interviews such as maybe one with a sorority girl. I also wish that I had used a better radio voice that sounds more inviting and makes the audience want to connect with me.
For this project I wanted to pick a topic that I was really familiar with and yet could provide a good call to action. I ended up choosing to do my audio project about why it would be beneficial for people to join a fraternity or a sorority here on campus. My main points dealt with how going to fraternity parties can be a stress reliever after a long, busy week or maybe even after a busy day. The parties also allow you to meet new people and expand your friendships. Another one of my points deals with the fact that you become part of something bigger than yourself. You become part of a brother hood that is willing to help you out in anyway necessary. Lastly, I point out that a lot of the people in a fraternity have a specific job such as president, secretary, alumni chair, etc. These jobs are treated as if they were “real-world” jobs where you can be fired because that can actually happen. My last point, as I said, has to do with the jobs in the fraternity and how they can help you learn “real-world” skills that you can use in your everyday lives. The music that I used in the project also holds important values that help heighten the sense of college and fraternity as a whole to the listeners. For example, I picked the song “Last Day of School” because it directly connects with my message of living life to the fullest, especially while you’re here on campus.
My target audience for this project was mostly for students here at the University of Illinois because of our huge Greek system, but my message could technically apply to all college students around the country. The overall theme or idea of my project is to get people involved with something during college. I think that it is very important that students get involved while at college because it is such a fun, yet crucial part of our lives. There are so many clubs, IM sports, groups, and Greek life activities that people can take advantage of here on campus and I want to make sure that everyone knows that. By getting involved and taking advantage of our time here on campus we can learn valuable life lessons, help fill out our resume, and at the same time have fun with new friends. I believe that this topic is relevant because a lot of college students don’t take advantage of the things that are offered to them as college students. This hinders them as they don’t become accustomed to more “real-world” situations and meet new people while gaining valuable experiences.
Frat Life Podcast