Contemporary Video is Contemporary Storytelling

101a and video

I realized late into the semester that what we ended up doing with YouTube, Mashups, Swedes and Machinima was much more about engaging a contemporary storytelling medium and making a deposit in the cultural repository that will, if it survives, tell our stories to the future.

Someday it will be possible to index the text of video, when this happens there will be an explosion of angst and self serving drivel released upon the world through the archives of youtube. I hope this DOES get indexed as part of the record of the time.  In the ranting and the stupidity though will be the feelings, passions, hatreds and insecurities of a generation that has discovered the power and communicative ability of the internet.  This is the first generation to be able to do this, and the first to be able to have this lasting voice that can impact the rest of the world.

So our casual rantings will tell one story, our vlogs will show how insecure we are but will let our emotions and our minds and our culture peek through the veil, in our own words and amid the haters, detractors and distractors.

As a class we experienced this.  We felt the gaze of our peers and exposed ourselves to the world, we became more comfortable in front of the camera and began to express ourselves.  We formed a nascent community around our productions, and we started to understand the role this work plays in culture and expression.

Somewhere in there we shot a minutes worth of video. Here is where we began to see the over the shoulder archaeology. We laughed and we admired the creativity of our peers.  It was wonderful to see everyone perform well and to see such a variety of types of work.

full playlist here:

The Mashup video took on other peoples stories and began to work with editing.  We learned how to grab video from online sources and actually talked about intellectual property and ownership. For many of us it was the first time we edited video and it was a lot of work.  There were delicate balancing acts regarding how to get what we wanted out of the story, pacing and ownership.  Our first stories were about ourselves but our second ones were about the culture and world around us.  We actively engaged the video through the borrowing of other materials. We attempted to engage this in a scholarly way and give credit, though sometimes our newness became a stumbling block.

full playlist here:

With our Swedes we learned how to use the camera and brought our friends and families into our work.  There is a richness to the over the shoulder information that is encapsulated in many of these works, our lives are part of this work as are our passions and tastes.  This work talks about what we care about but takes it further and adds us to the story.  The swede made us think about what we were saying and how we said it.  We had to be critical of each other and listen when others offered criticism.

full playlist:

Finally the Machinima gives us a universe where we have complete control but also no control.  It lets us comment about the games we play and the games our peers play.  It sharpens our storytelling abilities and makes us think about what we are saying. I was astonished at the range of tools used by students and the overall quality of the final pieces.  I think on demo day the first six people to present had all found different ways to create their machinima.  This project was of course a beast, and everyone who made it through deserves the hardiest congratulations.

full playlist:

In the end all of our work was about mashup, mashup of culture, our lives and the medium. We found that by telling our stories we often told much larger stories.

In the end the class was one of the most fulfilling I have ever had the pleasure of teaching, everyone worked hard to master the skills and we helped each other.