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schemin’

a 20-30 minute radio show is in our ds106 futures! wahoo! 20-30 minutes isn’t too terribly long, but it certainly is an amount of time that needs a modicum of planning and idea generating before jumping in.

cat jumping GIF

so im currently reading 1984 by Geore Orwell, and my oh my is that a BOOK. I’m really enjoying it so far (im not finished quite yet so no spoilers!) but i think this could serve as a super interesting basis for a radio show. my thought here is some sort of analysis on perception of the 80s- through pop culture- before and after (and maybe even during, depending on time) the decade itself. the only pop culture that focuses on the 80s but is from before then that i could come up with was 1984, but its not as if 1984 is scant of things to analyze. As for perceptions of the decade afterwords, there is a lot of pop culture that is set in the 80s, like the muscial Rent or the (newish) movie Bohemian Rhapsody. But yeah i think the pop culture perception/expectation (depending on from what point your looking at it) of the 80s from other decades could be super duper interesting to explore.

related to that, i also feel like it could be cool to just dissect 1984, but thats a kind of super professor-y and mayhaps not ~storytelling~ enough.

so yall may or may not have noticed via my blog posts and assignment inspo, but I’m really into broadway musicals. Thus, i feel like another fun and cool radio show idea could be the musicals that premiers on (& maybe even off) broadway throughout the 1980s. There are a lot of good ones, phantom of the opera, les miserables, sweeney todd, and little shop of horrors, to name a few!

Similarly, discussing plays and musicals that take place in the 1980s but are not from the decade, like Heathers, Fun home, and angels in amercia, for to focus more on our current perception of the 80s. i just like musicals

okay last thing, maybe exploring the slang terms and usage of language in the 1980s. Slang has always been super interesting to me, i just love using it and hearing it and learning about how it comes about, so i think focusing in on that could be kinda fun. also in the heathers movie they say “how very” a Lot and i want to know if thats legitimate to the period or just a Cinematic Decision ™.

stay very, -liz

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underrated

okay so Moon Graffiti does a really really good job of setting up a sense of place and time; contextualizing the scenario and giving the audience a setting and a literal visual while literally not having a visual, which i think is just. so cool. this story was definitely more on the spooky and sad side of things, thanks to the content & implications, but also thanks to the Great use of background music and tones. They sort of signal to the listener that its time to get Scared or Devastated at the idea of what’s happening to these people even though it never did happen, and I think that’s so cool! Abumrad talks in the first video about how radio storytelling is this act of dual author- and owner-ship, which is a really good way of putting it. The visuals are, within the parameters set by the audio accompaniment, completely up to the listener and the listeners taste and background. Additionally, the lack of set visuals makes it a little bit easier for people to project their own personal experiences onto the circumstances and empathize more or more specifically.

moon GIF

when i think of audio storytelling, however, i think immediately of Broadway and Broadway soundtracks. Although the musicals themselves are important storytelling mechanisms, the soundtracks and songs can often be taken completely separately, and often are due to the prices of theatre tickets currently. i listened to the Dear Evan Hansen soundtrack a few years ago and was obsessed with the story for quite a hot minute (i still love it, but my obsessions have shifted as they are wont to do), but I have never seen the actual musical. Storytelling within songs is one of my favorite things; the power and EMOTION that songs invoke is just so incredible. “Telephone Wire” from Fun Home, for example, is a song that never fails to make me cry whenever i listen to it. The rises and falls in volume combined with how emotional her voice sounds and the anxiety and longing and deep desire and fear and i just really like this song and think the amount of emotion that’s fit into it is super impressive can you tell? anywho heres telephone wire, the best parts of what im talking about at at approximately 3:19 if you don’t wanna listen to the whole song (but i def recommend it)

i certainly underrate audio storytelling when there are visuals involved, i focus heavy on the screen and scenery and faces and THINGS, when in reality there are a ton of audio and musical effects working tirelessly to Finish Off the scene. In fact, its usually background audio/music or the Sad Songs in musicals that invoke a physical emotional response from me (aka: i start crying), but I don’t think i ever really give the audio the credit it deserves. so i suppose this is my formal expression of gratitude for being an integral part of a lot of different storytelling mediums, as well as an amazing storytelling mechanism in and of itself.

don’t forget to hydrate! -liz

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fast photography!

  • Emphasize the sky by placing the horizon very low or very high.
  • Features a repeating pattern.
  • A photograph of something old or aged today.
  • Make a photo that represents the end, termination…
  • Make a creative photo of some sort of boundary
  • Tell the story of a place in a single photo
  • Make a photo dominated by your favourite colour and share it!

click for another list.

Start time: 3:29

End Time: 3:49

Yo this was delightful! I had so much fun doing these, the combination of artsy and chaos (because I was running around like the headless chicken in the idiom) was right up my alley and I think I got some good photos out of it too!

The first prompt I tacked was make a photo dominated by your favorite color and then share it. I just really like yellow and thus was able to make a pretty cute photo from the items laying out and about in my room.

I kind of wish I had been able to make the banana stand out more, but there’s really only so much I can do when Everything is overwhelmingly yellow (which is by No means a bad thing). Also, I don’t think the yellows really clash which is nice; I didn’t consider until literally typing these very words that that could have been a problem.

The next one I tackled was the repeating patterns one, for which I used a really cool staircase on campus! I struggled a little bit with angles for this one, I wanted a plainer background to really show off the pattern, but the layout of the staircase is such that that is kind of super difficult. I’m certainly still pleased with the picture though!

Its such a cool pattern, I really like how each one fits so perfectly into the other!

After this photo, I popped back into my dorm to grab an old button I found at a vintage store in Richmond. Its a little bit of a betrayal because its from GMU, but I’m in the swing dance club here so I couldn’t resist!

I have absolutely no idea how old this button actully is, but the stains and markings lead to believe its at least a little bit old!

The next task I tackled was to take a picture of the horizon. the sky was really cloudy outside, which was super fun and made for a really good end photo.

I decided to take a panorama photo to really capture just how much horizon there was, but also to show how much there was blocking it; both man-made and natural.

Up next was a photo representing the end, or termination. The phrasing of this immediately made me think of “the end of the line” which inspired me to try and make this “i’m falling off a ledge”-type photo using the self timer feature on my phone’s camera.

Although I’m overall pretty pleased with this photo— it was really fun to make— I do wish I had time to remake from a different angle, because the trees and mulch and branches all up in the picture make it a little bit messy.

My boundary photo was of one of the those guard rails found on highways / in parking lots, and this one, although simple, is really cool looking too!

I like the contrast between the natural and wild to the right of the photo and the man-made and built to the left, its a really interesting contrast and emphasizes the role of the barrier.

The final photo I took, which I had been avoiding because it sounded hard, was to tell the story of a place in a single photo. I ended up getting the littlest bit inspired by my surroundings and decided to tell the story of Monroe Hall, an academic building.

And this is low key one of my favorites from this assignment! Setting the timer and then running up the stairs was just a lot of fun! The story of Monroe hall is one of confusion and studious studying from the students, even though sometimes the material makes No Sense.

Overall, this was a really fun activity and I enjoyed the challenge of finding and making photos that represented these prompts, even though I wish I had had a little bit more time to stage the photos, and maybe some time to try and edit them as well. The quick thinking associated with the timer was a really quick and easy way to break out of my “just one more photo” tendency, because I literally did not have time to do that. I just really like taking photographs! It incorporated design and still lifes and ACTING (on my part) and I am overwhelmingly happy with all the end results.

toodle-oo -liz

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80s photography- a reflection

so what ive learned is i need to look at more professional photography. the photos that ive looked at thus far are all so interesting and narratively signficant, that is, they all Say something AND are super interesting to look at. this photo, for example, found here.

this photo stands out to me mostly because of the contrast between the foreground and the background. in the foreground of the photo is this older woman, with an obviously serious disposition despite not really seeing her face, who is well dressed and manicured, who is matured and experienced and knows it. in the background, an abundance of graffiti, covering all the available wall space and even some of the door space, the aqueduct ad behind her; the contrast is so strong.

The lady’s placement behind the pole also really strengthens that one specific line running straight down the middle of the photo, creating two distinct halves that are, despite not mirroring each other, feel very balanced. this photo. these features are what create the storytelling of the photo, her stance, dead center, facing the camera but not oblivious to the chaos on the walls behind her. her thoughts obviously unhappy; there’s something in the city that she hard core doesn’t vibe with. this gives me vibes of isolation and disillusionment, life here isn’t what she thought it would be. or maybe its something completely different.

this next photo, although completely unrelated, is a super interesting contrast to the one above. (found it here!)

still people on a subway/public transport situation, but the exact opposite vibes. Everyone interested and smiling and together, there’s a sense of community emulating from this photograph. the perspective makes it feel much more snapshot-esque; the group of people looking through the window, sometimes cut out or off by the wall in between glass and window. this photo also feels a little more candid, the moment is more natural, just people heading home from a long day together, which contributes to the story nicely. the depth of this photo is sort of related to the perspective and is really variable, which contributes to the interest of the photograph. Where the subway walls are, its very shallow, but within the window the crowd of people extends much deeper and people are packed in, but not in a way that feels overwhelming. the lady in the top left of the photo, for example, is furthest away from the photographer, but her face isnt blurry or unnoticeable, her smile is clear as day.

and one more photo! (found here!)

this is a photo of Freddie Mercury on his last tour, and its such a Cool photo. I really like the burst of bright light on the left side of the photo, and its even cooler because Freddie’s body is kind of curled around the light; the angles match, which is super interesting. you can really feel the energy in this photo, how excited and hype Freddie is, and just how much fun he’s having performing and the energy he’s bringing. The perspective (backstage rather than from the audience) is also really neat and adds some authenticity to the energy and excitement of the photo; there’s no way he could have known there was a photo being taken. Freddie really is the center of attention in this photo, the background is very blank, forcing the eye to pay close attention to Freddie Mercury’s figure. Overall a really really cool photo. Story-wise, for the specific “this is freddie mercury at his last concert” you certainly need the context//background knowledge, but the energy and loving what you do is most certainly conveyed with only the photo.

live long & prosper -liz

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pics or it didnt happen- my experiences w photography

photography week, lets do this! i’m big into taking photos, but its usually not for the purposes of an artsy, high quality shot. More often then not i take photos to capture the essence of a moment (in a “pics or it didn’t happen” type mindset), which i suppose sounds a little bit artsy, but trust me its not. its for memory purposes; i want to be able to look at a photo and feel the moment. I take A Lot of photos, but the quantity is usually because my modus operandi (i doubt that’s spelled right but nothing matters!) is to take Many Photos and one of them will probably turn out good; which, according to this post about photography, is really not the way I should be looking at things. Although i certainly do see the appeal of taking my time with shots and thus getting a higher quality photograph, some of my favorite shots have come from me or a friend of mine just snapping pics really quickly in succession. There’s a time and a place for both types, candid photos have to be quick and planless, but Cool Artsy Instagram shots are oft better suited to a little bit of planning and thought.

So in regards to my personal photography approach, i already sort of went into it, but i want to elaborate. i like the mass picture approach because it gives a lot of material to work with, and makes me feel like im in a model-y photoshoot, which is just a Lot Of Fun. it gives me photos like this!

which is just one photo out of a Whole Lot, and although not all of them are good, there are quite a few fun ones. The appeal to the mass photo approach for me is that its kind of part candid- because the subject doesn’t have the pressure of stand Very Still and make this photo count- but still holds the purpose of “we are taking photos” – so theres more likelihood of nice photos. A lot of the cooler, interesting lighting or perspective photos i take just happen out of serendipity, and also are usually photos of a sunset because the colors are So Pretty. I have purposefully played with lines in photos, although not too often. One relatively recent example is while i was out hiking with my family.

the slant of the tree vs the upright trees in the background vs the angle of the actual camera is just really cool, and the shadows also add a little bit of linework and interest into the photo. and of course, my photography experience resume wouldn’t be complete without including my ~extensive~ food pic collection. It took me a while to get good at food photography, but i’ve finally started becoming happy with my pics. I think adding a sort of background, giving ppl something to look at other than just the food, and also shadows and lighting really makes the pic.

im also the designated selfie taker for my family, which is hilarious, and i wont be including pics bc they would Not Appreciate it, but its no great loss because my goal when taking that type of picture is usually just “get everyone in and making a nice face before someone- usually my father- gets bored. I think a lot of the photos i take currently definitely convey memories, but i don’t think i would call it a narrative, because you sort of need the background. Like the thumbnail of a youtube video: looking at it sparks a narrative if you’ve seen the video already, but if you haven’t already seen that video it doesn’t mean much. Thats a really good metaphor for my photos actually. go me!

As far as tactics i want to start including, i really like the tip on being more meaningful with the photos i take. in general, my current photo style is to try and capture a moment or a specific vibe or memory before it disappears, which does not lend itself to much thought. I want to try and incorporate the contrast and depth tips; getting an interesting background as well as foreground, rather than just focusing on the latter. i want to be able to take photos that are interesting to look at as well as speaking to memories or emotions. the storytelling of photography is, although fundamentally similar to words storytelling, kind of a whole different animal. you can only really fit so much into a photograph, and editing can only do so much to modify what is in the actual scene. i feel like pictures can’t really tell specific stories like words can, there just isn’t enough space for specifics. instead, photographs speak more universally, speak more to concepts and ideas In General than to the specific concepts or ideas of one. They certainly still can do the latter, but i think then it become more like a thumbnail in the metaphor i mentioned earlier. I’m looking forward to experimenting with photography and trying to actually tell stories with my photograph (rather than just thumbnail the stories happening).

rock on! -liz

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i mean, it was a movie

Story analysis time (ft spoilers for the 1985 Clue movie)! Woo! The story I chose to work with for this week was the 1985 Clue movie. I was scrolling through Showtime’s (pretty pitiful, if I do say so myself) collection of 1980’s movies, and, having just watched Knives Out, was in a murder mystery mood (say that three times fast!). Clue was a comedy, and looking at it from a digital storytelling perspective is super interesting.

Captain America Movie GIF by Knives Out
regarding knives out mostly, less so clue

For example, one of the biggest and most interesting about the 1985 Clue movie was that there are three different endings. Streaming it in the present day, the movie shows the viewers all three endings, but in theatres, audiences at specific showings were only shown one of the three, so the film’s ending depended on where and when you saw the movie. This is such a cool idea, and I’m kind of shocked it didn’t catch on. It’s such an interesting take on digital storytelling and frankly I’m upset that I don’t get to experience that. Especially in this more modern age, I feel like it would be even easier to create multiple endings; although I suppose the news cycle and social media and whatnot would make keeping the secrecy alive a little bit harder. Alas yorick I just think that would be so cool. But in regards to digital storytelling, that truly is such a hot take on films and how films could be, like a choose your own adventure except you don’t choose and also don’t know that its a choose your own adventure. Am I the only one who thinks that’s cool as hell? I’ve gotta know!

jodie whittaker congratulations GIF by Doctor Who

The movie kind of flopped as far as reviews go, but from what I can tell it wasn’t because of the secret endings thing, it was mostly issues with the plot in general being a little slow moving and pointless. I think, unfortunately, that’s likely the reason that sort of thing isn’t done more, because the movie flopped and now directors and producers and writers are too scared to try out that technique.

One thing that I liked less about the film was some of the characters, which is kind of an integral part of storytelling (as explained in this reading). A lot of the characters, especially the ladies, were quite flat, and none of them really had any sort of character arc. Maybe I’m expecting too much from a 1985 comedy, but there was just one too many camera pans to Yvette’s (the Very Sexy maid in a Skimpy Outfit that I’m uncomfortable actually embedding a photo of on this blog so if you care, Here’s a pic and Here’s a gif). Like I suppose it isn’t That Bad, but that plus her characterization as a ditz who never knew what was going on, plus the men of the group obviously ogling her and angling to be alone with her just wasn’t it for me. The rest of the characters were fine, but not really anything special. Wadsworth was kind of fun, but only really at the end.

As far as plot goes, it was definitely an Interesting shape. Here’s my interpretation:

which is certainly not one of the popular shapes that Kurt Vonnegut covered in the video. Its novel and new, but that obviously didn’t work out in its favor. Regarding the origins of comedy and tragedy, this low key follows the tragic order more. Simplified, in ye old ancient times, tragedies went order to chaos and comedies went from chaos to order. And this certainly went from okay to bad to just so much worse.

Overall, I think the funky plot structure plus the poor characters kind of set this movie up for failure, which is super unfortunate because the triple ending thing is SO COOL and now we’ll probably never get one of those of our own because Clue didn’t do too hot. Also, I really might be harshing on Clue too much or expecting more out of it than I should. On my part probably not the best movie choice because I’m kind of predisposed to Not Comedies, and this definitely wasn’t my kind of film. Not horrific though. Will not watch again, but am not upset that I did watch it.

meh GIF

à toute à l’heure! -liz

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80s pop culture things

80’s pop culture in general, at least when I think about it, is very big and loud and over-the-top, but upon consideration, this is a very stereotypical, 2020-type view of things.

Jimmy Fallon Laughing GIF by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon - Find & Share on GIPHY
essentially what i think of when imagining the 80’s

As the gif suggests, this portrait of the 80’s is a very modern, “Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show satire” portrayal, and although there is no denying that the 80’s was the era of big hair, neon colors, and questionable fashion choices (see: shoulder pads), chalking up the 80’s as a decade to those few things is simply a travesty, and a falsehood at that.

Image result for 80s shoulder pads popular
a french magazine showcasing the hot trend

The 80’s was also the era of many hot Broadway musicals, with shows like Phantom of the Opera, Cats, and Les Miserables premiering (in the United States) in the 80’s. The insanely popular musical Rent, although not written until the 90’s, takes places in the middle of the AIDS crisis in New York City. Rent ended up facing a little bit of controversy because of the way it seemed to bury the problems of homelessness and AIDS and LGBTQ+ rights in catchy songs and well-off characters, almost romanticizing the issues.

La Vie Boheme GIF by Rent the Musical - Find & Share on GIPHY

However, this seems to be similar to how we as Americans deal with the 80’s in general. We couch all discussion in jokes about the horrible fashion and silly hairdos, not ever truly touching on the origins and issues that made the 80’s Like That. We focus on shoulder pads and rock music rather than the discrimination faced by LGBTQ+ folk and the terror of the AIDS crisis. Billy Joel’s “We didn’t start the fire,” for example: the majority of the references for the 80’s (only in the last verse) are very much negative, with lyrics like “heavy metal suicide// foreign debts, homeless vets, AIDS, crack,” none of which are terribly positive things.

A film that I watched, Night of the Comet, seems to capture this underlying angst that usually remains shoved into the metaphorical closet. The plot of this film, which came out in 1984, is that a comet comes to earth and wipes out almost all life, turning nearly everybody into either a pile of dust, or a blood-thirsty zombie figure. The film has lots of fear and murder, at one point two children are shown nearly getting killed for the purpose of maybe finding a cure for the zombie-fication. Additionally, although unrelated to the widespread cultural angst this film shows, the end is very conservative and traditional. The main female protagonist, Regina, who, throughout the film is shown defending herself and taking no grief from anybody, ends up in a stereotypical mother/housewife role. This was incredibly interesting to me, because I truly expected Regina to remain a strong, independent woman. However, when I consider the fact that this movie was made in 1984, it becomes less of a surprise. Regina says something along the lines of “its up to us to uphold civilization” so of course she would fall into a housewife/mother role, because that is- according to the thinking of the time, not my personal beliefs- the only civilized place for a lady to be.

In conclusion, a lot of the loud, raucous 80’s culture seems to be a desperate attempt to keep things normal and secure despite a wave of chaos and change, what with computers becoming common in homes in the 80’s and the domestic and foreign chaos. Not to say, of course, that that makes 80’s culture inherently bad, or that 80’s culture can only truly be enjoyed by nitpicking it for metaphors. I enjoy all of these things just as much at a surface-level of appreciation, especially the abundance of neon colors!

-liz