Documentary Titles

5 Jun

I just finished yet another exciting editing session on my Facebook documentary, and just wanted to quickly report back on an exciting stylistic idea for the “titles” that appear within it. It suddenly dawned on both myself, and my friend Kara who is assisting me in the edit process today that it might be a nice idea to do the titles in the typical Facebook colours… blue and white!

We have tested this and it’s looking really good, and generally I’m surprised that I didn’t come up with the idea in pre-production! It just goes to show that not everything can be planned out prior to the event, and in many cases better ideas manifest themselves DURING the creative process! One of the biggest things I’ve learnt whilst undertaking this process is the need to be both adaptable and flexible when generating creative projects – especially if trying to produce the best outcome!

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Facebook In Real Life

2 Jun

Within my Transient Spaces documentary, one of the key issues I will be examining in relation to the Facebook community, is the issue of how this online community differs from real-life communities. Do we act and say things differently on Facebook? Are there things we can do or ways in which we can behave within the Facebook community, that we cannot do in offline communities? Is your ‘community’ of friends in real-life synonymous with your list of Facebook friends? These are just of the few of the questions I aim to explore.

Throughout my process of researching these ideas, I have recently come across some very telling YouTube videos, which explore exactly what would happen if Facebook was played out in real life. Whilst they are intended to be humorous, at their core each video comments on the key characteristics, and indeed differences of the Facebook Community. By using Facebook ‘jargon’ words, they also reflect upon the new set of “norms” that Facebook has introduced to its users…

Watch and enjoy, but with a critical eye as to what is unique about the Facebook community! You may notice that certain behaviours which are considered completed normal online, are entirely unrealistic in a real-life scenario!

This final video is a particularly good one! It is a segment from Hungry Beast which shows the reactions of the public when two guys go around asking people the same questions they get asked on Facebook everyday…

Rough Cuts

25 May

Today in class we presented the “rough cuts” of our community-themed documentaries for critique and feedback from our peers. Having been through several “rough cut” presentations during my undergraduate degree, I have come to see the process as being both advantageous and hindering at the same time. In one respect, I appreciate the opportunity to receive constructive criticism from my classmates in order to make improvements before submission. However, I also find the task of showing unfinished work to be quite confronting. Normally at university, our work isn’t shown to a teacher until the final product is submitted – however in this case, both they and the class get to view evidence of your unpolished, unfinished work in progress. I think this makes the final viewing of your documentary for the purpose of assessment less exciting, as the assessor has already seen and heard lots of the content previously. In simpler terms, it’s almost like a bride revealing her wedding dress to her groom before the big day… Okay so maybe it isn’t exactly like that, but you get my drift!!

That said, I found today’s class to be both interesting and helpful. I found it really interesting to see in more detail, the kinds of documentaries that my classmates were creating. I was hugely surprised by the variation between each and it seemed that their was a great breadth of mediums being used- from video to photography to social media itself as a platform to present a documentary. It made me aware of the vast amount of possibilities this assessment task presented. For the purpose of this blog, I thought I would quickly go through the various documentaries discussed in class today and discuss their strengths.

Firstly, Caroline’s Tumblr documentary about “Dinner on Tuesdays”. This really impressed me. I love how she had chosen to use the social medium of Tumblr as a new, experimental form of “on-the-go” documentary-making. Immediately I saw the connection between two fundamental themes of our course “social media” and “documentary”. I also really appreciated her use of several different mediums within the overall framework (video, photos, text and sound) and the fact that these were produced using “on-the-go” technology. Namely her IPhone, and the various applications available within it. To me, this stressed the value of social media in allowing anyone, anywhere to share information. The third theme of our course, “community” was also clearly represented. Her simple idea of documenting her own group of friends and their weekly tuesday night dinner was extremely effective and personal. The simplistic layout was also an asset in terms of easy navigation through her documentary, and overall I think the class really responded to it. The only improvements suggested was more “tags” to theme certain posts within her documentary, and a contextualising paragraph to concisely explain the “Tuesday Night Dinner” concept.

Next, was Phillip’s “Unknown Artists” documentary about the “collaborative community” between the various artists he works with. In a similar way to Caroline’s, Philip’s documentary also took the form of a blog that incorporated images, videos and text. However at first glance, it wasn’t as easy to navigate or understand as Caroline’s. I felt the fundamental concept behind his documentary and how it related to a community was extremely strong, however I don’t think he articulated it as well as he could have. While I understood his efforts to make the page appear clean and artistic, I think for the purpose of this course, he needed to include more text describing how the different elements relate to the documentation of a community, and who that community was. While the source themes of “documentary” and “social media” were clear, the theme “community” needed to be emphasised further. I think once he does this, it will be a really interesting and engaging form of documentary and I am excited to see the finished product.

After Philip, we watched some footage from Susie’s video documentary about the craft community “Brown Owls”. There seemed to be a consensus within the class that the “community” Susie chose was extremely appropriate and very effective in expressing the direct impact social media can have on the creation of community. I loved the juxtaposition created by the somewhat old-school topic of arts and crafts and the vigorous discussion of very modern pursuits such as blogging and Twitter. The filming itself was incredibly well done, and Susie’s decision to interview the two main craft people together made for great banter and depth of discussion.

Next, was Emily’s video documentary about the “Ballarat Bushwalking Club”. First and foremost, I was incredibly impressed that emily had bravely chosen to participate in the documentary herself. Her vibrant personality was a noticeable asset throughout her documentary, adding to the interviews with bushwalking members. I particularly liked her piece to camera at the beginning, which gave the documentary quite a personal feel and directly set the mood for what we were about to see. I think the piece will lend itself well to a Vimeo audience and look forward to seeing the end product.

Following this, we discussed Rolland’s “Self Portrait Project” which aims to collect photographic “self portraits” of people from all over the world. Despite the project being in the early stages, this concept is really exciting and has great potential. I thought it was great how he had decided to change his angle from being about an already established community, to being about the creation of a community. I think this will serve him well, as it is extremely different from what everyone else in the class is doing. The web pages Rolland has designed to display the project are extremely appealing, and his use of several social mediums to get the “word out” so to speak, showcases a great understanding of how social media can be used to generate a community from the ground up. I will be following the project closely and look forward to seeing it progress.

Finally in the last 20 minutes of class, I showed my own rough cut footage. Overall I was really happy with the feedback I received. I was glad to hear that I was on track with the themes I had chosen, and it was really useful to hear what people’s views were in terms of the length of each of my 4 mini documentaries, as this was what was concerning me most. Going from here, my plan is to continue working towards the final goal I have envisioned for my project, ensuring not to cut important content for the sake of a shorter documentary. That said, I still want them to be tight and engaging pieces that maintain the interest of the viewing audience from start to finish. I have a lot of work to do, and several hours of editing ahead of me, but I am hopeful now that it has the possibility to turn out really well. Wish me luck!

Professional Networking

23 May

Due to the fact that my Transient Spaces documentary is based around the community of “Facebook”, most of my blogs have been discussing the use of social media for social purposes. However, what about the use of social media for professional networking purposes? Facebook is intrisically personal, and doesn’t really allow for professional, industry-relating networking. However, there are several social media sites that do. The following is a list of professional networking sites, that aim to create a community of like-minded professionals:

Linked in – A professional network that allows you to be introduced to and collaborate with other professionals.

Biznik – A community of entrepreneurs and small businesses dedicated to helping each other succeed.

Cofoundr – A community for entrepreneurs, programmers, designers, investors, and other individuals involved with starting new ventures.

Fast Pitch – A business network where professionals can market their business and make connections.

Focus – A community focused on helping business decision makers and IT professionals make decisions.

PartnerUp – A community connecting small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneur Connect – A community by Entrepreneur.com where professionals can network, communicate, and collaborate with others.

Upspring – A social networking site for promotion and social networking.

Having previously been a member of LinkedIn and been disappointed with the “networking” experience that the site offers, I am forced to wonder whether any of the sites listed above are particularly useful or effective? In such a crowded marketplace already, how are professionals meant to know which professional networking sites are superior to others? I have found a great blog post here which explores the topic of whether or not professional networking sites are worthwhile or a complete and utter waste of time.

What do you think?

The Editing Process Begins…

21 May

So today I began to edit the huge amount of footage that I obtained during filming and it is suddenly coming back to me exactly how long-winded the process of editing actually is. The seemingly simple task of editing my own interview questions out of the footage and grouping each answer under the relevant “theme” heading took me a grand total of 5 hours! To edit this documentary I am solely using my friend Kara’s Final Cut Pro program on her home computer…

So BAD NEWS KARA! You had better get used to my ugly mug, because it seems like I’m going to be at your house every night until June 10th!!!

Ahh the poor girl will be sick of the sight of me by the end of semester… This documentary had better be worth the loss of friendship!! 😛

Being a ‘Reflective Practitioner’

20 May

Throughout our Transient Spaces course so far, our teacher Peter has regularly discussed the benefits of being a ‘reflective practitioner’. So what exactly does a reflective practitioner do?

Reflective Practice, as defined by Wikipedia, is “the capacity to reflect on action so as to engage in a process of continuous learning”. Apparently, it is “one of the defining characteristics of professional practice”. generally, the notion involves paying critical attention to the practical values and theories which inform everyday actions. By reflecting on the processes that have come before, practitioners are able to make better and more informed decisions in the future.

The following flow chart is intended to portray the reflective practice process:

It has come to my attention that the blog itself, it the perfect platform for reflective practitioners. So far throughout the semester, I have been using it as a medium to not only reflect, but to brainstorm, analyse, share ideas and most importantly, vent! It appears I am a reflective practitioner after all!

What the hell is ‘crowdsourcing’?

19 May

So far in my research of social media and it’s uses, I have come across several words, that I’m embarrassed to admit, I don’t really know the true meaning of. First I examined the definition between social media jargon term “social bookmarking”, and today I’m wondering.. what the hell is “crowdsourcing”??

I constantly read about “crowdsourcing” websites, and not knowing what the word means, am left more than a little baffled! So I thought it was about time to use my blog to investigate exactly what the term represents.

According to Wikipedia, “Crowdsourcing” is the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to an undefined, large group of people or community (a “crowd”), through an open call. Interestingly, the term is not just used to describe social media, but relates to all industries,in which work is “outsourced” to a community.

The most important example of web-based crowdsourcing is social bookmarking or collaborative tagging.(No wonder I didn’t know what it meant!) Another key example of web-based crowdsourcing is online “idea competitions”, which offer the online community the platform on which to share there ideas.

Overall, crowdsourcing is all about collaboration, and using a large group or “community” of people to complete a task successfully.

The following video describes web-based crowdsourcing particularly effectively: