Sunday, May 10, 2015

Burnt Pixel
'Burnt Pixel' (Dir. Josef Lorenzo) is an example of the new genre called 'mumblecore'.

It's a good example because it contains many of the mumblecore ingredients. It's a simple story about two every day girls on a beach. Together with the use of handheld DSLR cinematography, the film is very successful in creating a sense of realism. It feels like we are watching two real people interacting. The things they talk about are the things that every day teenage girls would say.
The camera, sound, sets and costumes are not over the top like many Hollywood films are - they are all low budget and make for a very realistic kind of look.
The dialogue and acting was also naturalistic. A lot of sound bridging was used to connect shots - and the shots shifted from location and places in time.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Creative Project Proposal

Boy With Apple

The painting 'Boy With Apple' appears in the film 'The Grand Budapest Hotel'. It is a valuable masterpiece by the fictional Van Hoytl, which Madame D leaves to Gustave H.

For my creative project I want to design a game. The software I'll be using is Alice 3.0. The newest version of Alice is able to export the code to Java script so it might be more accessible, whilst earlier versions could only be shared amongst the Alice community via project files. I haven't used Alice before but I'd like to try and see how it works. 

I joined the Alice community forum and some of the other people were able to help me. 

The design of the game is as follows:
Character: Zero, the lobby boy
Setting: Library in Madame D's mansion
Goal: To paint a painting to put in place of Boy With Apple in order to cover up that Gustave H took the painting
Obstacles: The paintbrush in the room is missing

I have worked on a basic design of the setting on Alice 3.0:
Alice 3.0 uses some of the graphics from the Sims 2 game. 

Here is a draft algorithm of the game:

Distribution: I will share the game with other members of the Alice community, and if I can manage to export the game via Java script I might be able to share it amongst Grand Budapest fans. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Transmedia as a Medium

Transmedia storytelling is a great new medium for storytelling that matches up with the technology and trends of today. But it didn't start today, it has truly existed for a while now - we just didn't know it.
The world wide web started in the early 1990s and revolutionized world communication, interaction and spread of information. Thus humans started sharing information, creating both producers and audiences of the internet.
One of the first major breakthroughs of transmedia as a medium would be journalism. It is crucial for humans from all over the world to hear the latest news about serious topics such as natural disasters, economic crises or wars. Thus, inevitably, this new medium of communication called the world wide web would be a perfect way to communicate news to others. Why is this transmedia storytelling? And did transmedia storytelling exist prior to the internet?
That is simple. Transmedia storytelling is a story told over multiple different platforms over time. Although it is true that these platforms need not necessarily be over the internet, it should also be noted that participatory culture forms part of transmedia storytelling and that the internet is one of the most convenient and successful forms of communication. A large part of transmedia storytelling is the relationship between the audience, the creators, and how the two interact. Transmedia storytelling embraces UGC (user generated content) and wants the audience to be involved in the creative process.
After journalism came marketing. Companies are always looking for the newest and most creative way to brand their products or market franchises. This is the point where advertisements and campaigns can cross the boundary into art and entertainment - because although they are intended for commercial purposes, some of these engaging campaigns truly do offer entertainment and is a form of art. And certainly, the UGC is a form of art as well. Fan fiction, parodies and remixes form part of the participatory culture which is linked to transmedia storytelling. The web interaction of the audience also forms part of transmedia storytelling.
Transmedia storytelling as a medium embraces the idea of creating a world in which audience members can immerse themselves, yet also a way for the audience to encounter aspects of the story in their daily life. Franchises do a very good job at getting costumes, props or other elements from the story world available to the audience. Though, franchises are not necessarily transmedia storytelling because they don't always tell a story.
The goal of transmedia is to take one story into another platform but keep the same characters and the same world - therefore different situations or information is revealed, but the character personalities and rules of the world do not change.
Transmedia storytelling is just in the beginning of its lifetime, and there is certainly room for this medium to expand and evolve. This medium is already forming part of our daily lives and the technology we use - the producer, consumer and pro-sumer process is becoming part of internet culture. Storytellers - whether that be through film, literature, journalism or any other medium - should explore and embrace this new medium and the potential it holds for spreading a story.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The 2 Screen Experience

We watched The Voice live yesterday night in support of the Traverse City singer, Joshua Davis. The goal was to watch the live show and live tweet at the same time - for a 2 screen experience.

I did not enjoy the tweeting at all. I don't normally have a twitter account and made one for this assignment. I'm not a person that has something to say about every little thing that happens in life. I say something when it's significant and when it'll be useful to the other person listening. Blabbering about what I think of tonight's The Voice episode is insignificant - it would just be one other opinion out of 1 million others. The singers were all pretty good and each has their own unique style - who am I to judge?

I like a solitary viewing experience because I want to be immersed and invested in what I am seeing - intellectually and emotionally. I found the tweeting very distracting. If I really think a song is very meaningful, I'm not going to interrupt and miss out on the moment to tweet 'This song is sooo meaningful'.

Though, it was a learning experience. I had never used twitter before and now I got to see how it works. I was also able to feel what it feels like to have the 2 screen experience - even though I didn't find it that pleasant. I know that not all people are like me and some people really enjoy the two screen experience, and I will respect that. I also know that as an artist I may one day have fans that would want to communicate through social media.

Quite ironically, Brian Johnson, one of the singers, sent me a thank you today for tweeting about his performance.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Twitter and Television

I think the relationship between the artist and audience has grown increasingly more personal over time. People find it much easier today to communicate with artists through social media.
I have never used twitter and didn't follow any celebrities for a long time because I would rather spend my time doing something constructive. My friends followed Justin Bieber and One Direction on Twitter and the kind of things that my friends read on twitter seemed superficial and insignificant to me. Though, recently I have begun the habit of befriending filmmakers on Facebook and I like it because I can see their work and learn what is going on in the industry, but also see a more personal side because these are their personal Facebook accounts and not just a Twitter account open to the whole world.
I understand how crucial social media is for that relationship between the artist and audience and for participatory culture, because the artist can learn what the audience likes and build a fan base, and the audience can learn more about the artist and art. Social media is also crucial for the relationship between consumers and products because it is a way for business to build anticipation for their products and to get feedback so that they can improve their products and keep consumers happy.

In South Africa, most people tweet about politics - often political jokes by comedians or anger and disappointment at the government, sometimes even racism and insults to the president - just like the Mean Tweets Obama Edition. I can understand that Twitter is a great platform for comedians to gain fans because their comments are funny. I follow a South Africa comedian, Trevor Noah, on Facebook and enjoy the comments he makes on the political affairs of South Africa.

Tweeting live TV shows is not something I had heard of until now.  I don't really watch TV shows and when I do, I wouldn't Tweet about it while watching because I'd like to enjoy the show as it is, solitary. Also, in South Africa most of the TV shows on TV are a few seasons behind the rest of the world. I don't have the problem of spoilers via Twitter because I don't watch TV shows and I'm not on Twitter but if I were, I probably won't be following the people who are Tweeting plot twists about the TV show. And if I happen to see it, I don't think I'll be upset because every one has the right to say what they want unless it is harming anyone and honestly I don't think a spoiler can qualify as truly 'harming' someone. Though I think live Tweeting 'boos' and 'cheers' is a really clever idea to expand the audience of a TV show and show audience reaction.
I have never communicated with other fans because I have never really been a fan of a celebrity or a TV show. I do follow filmmakers and watch what they're doing but I'm not really a 'fan' of any of them. Though I suppose other people enjoy talking to fellow fans about their favorite show or celebrity.
In terms of gender stereotypes in TV, I agree with the article by Henry Jenkins. Stereotypes is a problem. I can laugh at a 2 min Youtube video about stereotypes but I will not spend more time than that on characters that do no have depth or do not offer anything I can learn from. Another reason why I don't like stereotypes is because of what it teachers younger viewers and how it influences them and the way they shape the future of the world.
Tweeting scripts is a very interesting idea and it opens screenplays up to a new form of communication. I think it could be a very interesting way of telling stories and keeping viewers waiting in anticipation, as well as building tension.
The Tonight Show reading tweets shows how Twitter can be a way of sharing stories. Though, it also shows how Twitter can be a risk of potential emotional abuse because someone can post a story out to the world and whoever happens to be in that story, good or bad, will be posted to the world as well.
I never knew people would sing Youtube and Twitter comments and I think it's an interesting new form of art and music.

I know that I personally feel the time spent on social media could be used for something more productive, but I do realize social media is a vital form of participatory culture that gives a voice to the audience - their reactions will determine future products and shows. Social media can be used for good purposes and for learning from other people, especially learning from other artists in order to produce new artists.

Monday, March 30, 2015

EC - Communicating with Artist

Over this Spring break I added Antoine Allen on Facebook and he accepted. He is an independent filmmaker from New York - founder of his company Antoine Allen Films where he directs and produces his own films.
Antoine Allen started messaging me through Facebook and so we started talking.
He then offered to send me links of some of his work via email.
Overall it was a great experience to be able to see his work - his short film 'Split Decision' and some of the interviews and clips from premieres.
It was also great to talk to him and listen to some of the advice he offered. He is someone who started from the bottom and worked his way up. He recently premiered his debut feature, 'Life Is Too Short' and I was able to follow the photos of the premier and interviews on Facebook.
This experience really showed me the power that social media can have to connect people - I used to always think trying to connect with more successful artists would be a fruitless effort and that they would not reply, but this showed me that I was wrong in thinking that. Antoine Allen really likes to help aspiring filmmakers and there are many other artists out there who do too.

After this I also added several South African filmmakers on my Facebook and now I am able to see what work they are doing every day.

It was also nice to see which of these filmmakers won awards at the annual SAFTAs (South African Film and TV Awards) which took place this March. 

This experience as a whole has helped me to be more aware of what is going on in the industry and seeing other people post their work is a good way to learn and motivate myself. It also shows the power that social media has and the opportunities it offers that past generations did not have. The existence of such communication between the artist and audience has a great effect on the world - on future artists and the future art of existing artists. 
Mentorship is an excellent way for young artists to learn and gain experience, and social media does offer great opportunities for such relationships. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mashup Creative Project

Creative Mashup Project

This is a parody of beauty and make-up adverts. At the same time, the work makes use of irony because it is advertising the exact opposite of what normal beauty adverts do. The intention is to expose the vanity of modern beauty adverts - they are fake, with layer and layers of make-up plus digital enhancements. The work encourages natural beauty.

The first appropriated work is the stock photo of the woman (left).
I found it on DeviantArt - with her permission to use it non-commercially under certain conditions.
The photo is of MissSouls-stock, taken by Paul Von Wolfsburg, and here is the link:
In turn I sent her a link to my work, encouraging the creative process.
To the right is the unedited version of the cropped stock photo.
I used photoshop's brushes and techniques to edit and digitally enhance the left side of the face, and to insert the text.

 The second appropriated work is a stock photo of a brush (right).
To the left is the original brush pasted next to the brush I had edited. The edited brush does not look much like the original brush anymore. Considering that the original brush is just a stock image and not really recognizable in the second image, I consider it fair use.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Copyright Blog

Many of the points mentioned in the articles and the documentary are repetitive and contradictory. To me this topic is an unsolved debate and it feels like people are walking in circles of thought but never reaching a conclusion. Whether it is right or wrong is based on individual opinions and ethics. Every situation is entirely different because the people have different motives. Some people plagiarize for money and some people, like Schiffman, sue for plagiarism to get money. Some people, like Lewis, plagiarize because they do not believe it is wrong, whilst some people like Gladwell do not mind that their work is being used. 
All forms of art and academics participate in education, research and innovation. It is part of our society to learn from our past and build onto it. In science we learn that energy cannot be created or destroyed but only transformed. I believe ideas are similar. All ideas are consciously or subconsciously made up of fragments of other ideas or occurrences - they are only rearranged to make something ‘new’. This ‘copying’ process is inevitable because learning itself is a process of copying. Does a kid not learn how to walk by copying its mother? 
I do not believe the classification of derivative versus transformative is necessary because each new work would inevitably have transformed the previous in some way - otherwise it would not be a new work. I suppose the conflict arises when a situation such as that of Lewis occurs, where people confused the fictional character with the real one. Lavery’s character Agnetha is not Dorothy Lewis, and Lavery never claimed she was - the play was classified a work of fiction. In addition, there are billions of people in the world and inevitably some person may be unintentionally similar to a fictional character. 
I don’t quite understand why modern society is so wrapped up in copyright issues. I suppose it’s about money and fame. There are countless inventions, discoveries, stories, art, culture and languages that are thousands of years old that we still use today. We encounter countless renditions of folk tales - like the recent ‘Into The Woods’. We see architecture influenced by the Classical Age, or fashion influenced by some earlier art period. If someone appropriated my work I would feel proud that my work was able to influence someone else’s. I would be happy if they mention my name because it is the decent thing to do. If they don’t, then I would feel sorry for them because at some point in their life it will catch up with them. If large sums of money was involved I would sue if it was blatant plagiarism - not because I want the money but because a person who steals should not be rewarded. 
I use other people’s ideas every day - I learn their ideas in school, I do research about their ideas for assignments, I am exposed to their ideas through their interactions with me. I am influenced all day, every day. Every single thing around me that I encounter influences me. I am like a sponge, absorbing my surroundings. If I were put in an empty room, alone, without intellectual stimulation, I would go insane. 
I don't believe digital technology redefines authorship. This borrowing and transforming process is ancient and will continue as society grows and changes. Though, one can admit that technology has made communication easier and therefore the spread of ideas has become very rapid. Concerning remix culture, I compare mashups to collage artworks. I was in art class and we made artworks with collaging and multimedia techniques by directly using other people's art - whether that be photos, magazines, newspaper pictures or sticking objects that we did not physically create onto our artworks. Some of these are blatant copying and we did cite the artists. Though in some cases the original artworks were not recognizable - just as many of the mashups these days aren't either. I think the production companies are greedy and they are becoming unreasonably obsessed with copyright. 
As I have mentioned earlier, borrowing is neither right nor wrong - it depends entirely on the people involved. If the borrower’s intentions are for artistic and technological advancement, and the lender encourages this advancement, then there should be no problem. But like everything else in this world problems arise when people’s intentions turn sour - but that is part of life.