COMM 2302. Fall 2012. Please go to

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Stay classy…

Wow! The semester flew by, which I guess is never really a surprise since it happens every semester, but again my feelings are the same; glad but also sadden by the fact there is so much more to learn in this course. The course overall never seem to bore at any point in time. There was always a high point in class in which the professor made us laugh. He kept up on our feet. Most recently our talks about Post-Modernism really drew my attention. This isn’t because it is topic I can relate to, but a topic in which will be different in the future. We are learning about our recent past and our future. There will be the same themes, but I would to love back 10 years from now, and to see how different but also the same things are. These lectures the last couple weeks in class brought in so many different genres from politics, art, to everyday life. This shows us how even though we might be associated with other countries across the world, but they are going through the same hardships and hopefully rising to prosperity. Continue reading

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A Late Farewell

Something I really value in a class is the ability to relate and/or apply the material learned to situations or experiences outside the classroom. This was definitely something I was able to do, and continue to be able to do, with the knowledge I gained from Media Interpretation and Criticism. I have watched many commercials and seen many print advertisements recently that I am able to pick apart and more throughly understand what the advertising agency was trying to accomplish. I am also very keen to laugh tracks now, thanks to the Klosterman reading, which consequently happens to be one of my favorites from the semester. In the chapter, “‘Ha ha,’ he said. ‘Ha ha,'” from Chuck Klosterman’s book “Eating the Dinosaur,” Klosterman talks about the stupidity of laugh tracks in TV shows. He makes a great argument about how canned laughter is as stupid as we get. After reading this I became hyper-aware of laugh tracks and they began to really annoy me. Thankfully, as Klosterman also mentions, more and more of the modern and popular comical TV shows are not using laugh tracks anymore. This reading from Klosterman was funny, witty, sassy, and overall entertaining. In fact, all of his readings contained those qualities which I loved.  Continue reading

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Behind the Scenes

Before this project I had never directly worked on creating a movie. I was honestly pretty intimidated by the prospect of having to create my own movie with the deliberate intention of going against the intended theme. But in the end I was extremely pleased with how my video turned out. I felt a sense of satisfaction that I had created something new out of an old movie.

Gerry and Julius face off

When I started I had a clear idea in my mind of what I wanted to do. I used the movie Remember the Titans, an inspirational sports movie. This movie is all about how a football team overcomes all odds and wins the championship even without their star captain. But at the same time there is a subplot of how colored people and white people can get along. I decided to go straight against this subplot and try to make it seem like this movie is all about a racial battle. So I set about trying to find subclips that showed racial tension, but had a surprisingly hard time. Since the whole movie is about the coming together of the races, scenes with only white or only black people were rare. Once I had my subclips, I realized I had no idea how I wanted to sort them in my trailer. I was torn between whether or not to start my trailer slow and build anticipation, or to start it off strong and get my message across immediately.

Marcel Danesi’s article Messages, signs, and meanings: A basic textbook in semiotics and communication was a great place to look when deciding how to get my message across in the best way possible. Danesi’s article mentions how people can decipher hidden meaning through symbols. These symbols can be colors, a picture, or even a gesture. In my trailer I tried to get clips that without the context could look misleading due to gestures or acts in the clip. For example, my opening clip where Gerry is coldly staring at what appears to be a string of colored people walking into the room, in the actual movie he is waiting for his white friend. But by only showing the audience what I want to show them, I can alter their mindset on the tone of the movie.

At the end of my trailer I used the Gestalt Theory to make it seem as though Gerry had upset Julius, so Julius ran him over with a car. This is not what happened in the movie, but by showing motivation, then the action, and then the congratulations of the “black leader” after the deed was done, the connection can be made that Julius was responsible for Gerry’s crash.

Bernard Dick tells us that, “No great film is rhythmically uniform.” So for my music I chose a song that started somewhat slowly and built in intensity as the trailer built in intensity. I actually had to elongate certain clips and shorten others in an attempt to make the transitions match up with the foghorn noises in my song. The clip near the end with colored people running in a forest was found and added after everything else was done to give my trailer the extra 9 seconds or so it needed to make the ending coincide with the most dramatic part of the song.

I would say that out of everyone in the class, I very possibly had the most technical difficulties with my project. As with almost everyone else, my audio on my original piece suddenly disappeared. When I came in to correct this, the computer that I had my project saved on had mysteriously crashed. Overnight someone unplugged the computer while it was rebooting, delaying it yet another day. And when I finally had access to the computer lab, all the sound on my movie was sped up! The few words from the actual movie that I used actually came from converting Youtube videos with the correct scene in them and chopping them up to try to fit with my movie. Getting the scene where Gerry tells Julius that Julius is nothing to him took me almost half an hour to get the audio matched with the visual. But even with these difficulties I can say with confidence that this was my favorite assignment in any class all year. If I had to pass down one piece of information to people doing this in the future, I would say to not get too caught up on one idea. Don’t feel like you HAVE to use a certain clip or a certain song to get your point across. Sometimes clips just don’t match up in a logical sequence with your other clips. I waited until near the end to decide which music I wanted to use and I feel like that helped. I had a general idea of how I wanted the trailer to go, and then I modified it to fit the music instead of trying to force the music to fit the trailer. And seriously, have fun because it is an awesome project.

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Post it to the Whirlwind!

The conversation around Post-Modernism reeled me in the most. It’s totally complicated, diverse, completely confusing and yet so relevant that one can’t help being pulled in. It was especially fascinating to bring in these myriad perspectives as laid out in class in light of the Occupy Movement happening around the world today. The sense that something enormous is happening around us, presently, as the post-modern global picture was being laid out in class was too exciting. The size of the subject reminded me of the material Baudrillard published in “Spirit of Terrorism,” my favorite essay this year.

The overall range of material covered in his essay is awing. That was my first impression. The way he delineated Good and Evil, as being “irreducible to each other and inextricably interrelated,” gave the discussion around Post-Modernism and Globalization a size, paramount, and daunting.

Super Bau(rd)illard!

It was a good characterization of the often inexpressible ethos of our day, our doomy zeitgeist. Ultimately, it gave me a starting point through which to re-begin my thinking about the entire 9/11 conversation.

My least fascinating read of the semester may have been Bernard Dick’s “Film, Spance and Image” excerpt from Anatomy of Film. The technical jargon turned me off. However, it is cool to be able to speak quasi-intelligently about shot dynamics and cuts. His essay was my introduction to any form of film technicalities. I found it fascinating the way, in speaking about the subjective camera, the camera and its movements were personified. It made me hyper-aware of the subjective camera shots I found in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the film I chose to do my video project over. The subjective camera really does a number on its viewers.

Next semester, I’m going to kick it in gear! and stop turning in blog assignments two days late! I’m most excited about taking Shakespeare. And least excited about taking a Physical Geology Lab, the word “Lab” makes me shutter. For the future…. um…. the future…. I see… a… hang on, I’ll be right back.

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Bye Buddy, hope you find your dad!

So this is it, the end of the semester, the end of my second to last semester, nearly the end of my collegiate carer.  What a fitting way to end this semester… by turning in the final blog post almost a day late, I believe they call it the senior slide!  But I digress, it’s time to actually address the topics at hand.  The one topic that I wished we would have covered this morning was more information about how video games can have signifiers and symbols and how they are different than movies or print.  I wish this would have been the case for a selfish reason that I am going to write my final paper on a video game. Continue reading

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So Long, Farewell

Well it’s the end of the semester and my, what a ride it has been.  Throughout this semester, I feel like we have covered an incredible range of topics; everything from cults to Disneyland to laugh tracks to genocide to Star Wars.  If I was reading that list at the beginning of the semester, I would have told you that there were no similarities between each of the items.  But now I realize that each one has ties to the others and that they can be discussed within the context of one another.  Each of our class discussions was interesting and the topics were very wide-ranging.  Continue reading

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