Category Archives: Thoughts/Ideas

Dear Future DS106ers…

As my semester in this class winds down, I think it’s important to go back and reflect. My experience in DS106 was incredibly fun, although I definitely could have done some things differently.

You can learn a lot in this class, so long as you take the time to sit down and prepare for each week before, say, the Friday it’s due. It is a very busy class. Very busy. But if you prepare the weekend you get your assignments and set up everything first thing, all will go smoothly. If you make a list of everything you need to do, from the number of Daily Creates to readings, reflections, and assignments, then you will be fine. If you know you’re going to be really busy during a particular week, just prepare for the worst, pick easy assignments, and do them as quickly as possible.

Renting equipment from the HCC Information Desk for video/audio assignments will make your life a lot easier. It’s better quality, easier to use and adjust, and hardly ever at risk of getting corrupt. Just make sure you’ve planned what you need to record before you get the equipment and that you return it before it’s due! The fees are pretty steep otherwise. Also, record everything early in the week so you have time to edit it and make sure it doesn’t need re-doing.

And finally, don’t be afraid to reach out to people for help! Dr. Bond is quick to respond to emails and tweets, and you’d be surprised what kinds of skills your classmates bring to the table. You may never meet anyone in person, but Twitter is a really easy way to keep in touch (just make sure you’re actually checking up on it every now and again).

Good luck, and have a great semester!

YOU GOT DANNY KEYS

DANNY

I’ll be honest, I got a little more excited than I should have to see this. When I found out that Kris had updated his Western106 Buzzfeed quiz, I immediately went in search of Danny to see if he made the cut. And he did! It took me no time to answer the questions as Danny might have to find him (first try!) and this final blurb on my character made me grin like crazy.

Kris, thank you for making this quiz! I can tell you really did your research, and it brightens my day to see that you’ve put so much effort into finding stuff on everyone’s character and reading into each personality. And to everyone else, make sure you take the quiz yourself! It’s very well done, so find who you’re most like, and maybe try to find your character, too! I was most like Bonnie Sue, myself.

Thanks again to Kris for making this happen!

I Have an Idea!

After receiving the instructions for our final project (and getting some other final projects out of the way), I started thinking about ways to tell a good, multimedia story based around my character. At first, I had no idea where to start aside from looking through the various assignments we could draw from.

Then I kept thinking about my most recent web design assignment, which was the interactive story I wrote. That assignment was very fun, but complex. If I write a story and branch it out, then I can add extra media and develop it into a new, multiple-ending, interactive narrative. In order to incorporate more media, I will use photo, audio, and perhaps video or writing assignments which will amount to 25 or more stars.

This week, I will focus on writing out a general plot for my dear character Danny’s adventure and work on the assignments that will become a part of the story. Next week, I will finish the assignments and put the story into Inklewriter, the online writing tool that will allow me to make this story come to life and put it into the hands of the reader.

Video Essay: Talkin’ Bout Django

Here is my video essay on a scene from Django Unchained. I really enjoyed watching the movie, and I struggled a little with picking a scene, but I didn’t want to go in too many directions for the sake of time, so I chose something that covered several of our topics while being interrelated. I used the readings and videos to talk about perspective and camera position and ventured to discuss what each part meant.

In order to capture the scene, I used OBS to record it from Netflix. I then had to convert the video in RealPlayer from the original recording file into something I could edit. Finally, I recorded my analysis using Audacity and put the video and the audio together in Windows Movie Maker. A lot of programs went into this one 3 minute video. I’m not a big fan of all the time it takes to edit, but hopefully the more I do it the quicker it goes by.

Overall I’m pretty proud of the analysis, and I think the video shows what I want to express well enough. The editing could have certainly been smoother, and I would have recorded the audio while watching the actual scene to time it better, but here’s to my first full edited video! May it be the first of many.

Turning Tumbleweeds: What Really Happened

Now that the radio show is broadcast, here’s the script of what really happened! I only wrote the bare minimum of what happened so everyone could put their own perspectives into what their characters interpret to have occurred. So this is the real thing, no twists or interpretations!

_________________________________________________

The day started as usual. The saloon opened and Johnny was as chipper as ever. Agnus, one of the barkeeps, came to work on time, as usual. Danny, the pianist, came in a few minutes late. After around 6 PM, the place was crowded. Talie, a saloon regular; Bonnie Sue, a friend of Talie’s; and Sally and Riza, friends and competitors of Johnny’s, came in for the latter half of the evening. Johnny didn’t have a moment to himself most of the time, though he made sure to visit and chat with all of his patrons, friends, and regulars. He played a few games and shared a few drinks, but no one thought he seemed troubled at all during the night.

Except for one incident. The town drunk, Two-Shot Harry, had come in and gotten a bit too wild. Johnny had tried to make sure he didn’t drink too much, but some thought they saw Harry with a bottle or two of something already in his jacket. After about an hour of his drinking, he began to shout and eventually broke a barstool on which someone was sitting. Johnny and a few of his friends helped get Harry out of the saloon. One of the sheriffs’ wives went out and brought her husband to arrest Harry. He was in jail all night. Outside of that problem, the evening went smoothly.

Once the saloon was closing, Jenna and Danny helped clean up, chatted a bit, and left Johnny alone. The next morning, Johnny was found dead, shot twice in the chest.

The sheriffs’ wives eventually discover that a woman named Bell had been with Harry for the evening while he was in the saloon. Once Harry had gotten kicked out, she heard Johnny say a few things about the drunk that she didn’t like to his friends and employees. Johnny said that he was going to ban Harry from the saloon and have him put away the next time he tried to come in. That night, when everyone was gone, she returned under the guise of leaving something in the saloon so Johnny would let her in. She then shot him without a word of warning and left.

Keeping up with the News

Tonight I listened into “World Wide Western News” and “You Might Be a Cowboy If…”. I’m going to reflect on the first one for this post, but I want to congratulate both groups for making such cool shows!

“WWW News” had my attention right away when it started, coming in with cool introductory music that sounded just like a radio show! The introduction also mentioned Tombstone Arizona, which is where “Turning Tumbleweeds”, our murder mystery, takes place! So maybe Thursday we’ll need more news to report on whatever happened. All throughout the show the audio was spot-on. It really put you in the moment of what was happening in the news and where the newscasters were!

The commercials were also excellent and engaging. They sounded real! Some of them had a bit of a rough start, but the quality and content of them made up for that right away. I’m ready to buy some cards and barb wire, honestly. The news stories also had good references in them and the reporters sounded really professional.

 

I think my favorite part of the show was tweeting with everyone who was listening in, though. Talking with the people who had made it was even more engaging. I learned that quite a few cookies were involved and people even outside of the group participated, which was really cool! The real question remains, though: how many segments were recorded with more than one person present and how many were spliced together? Because it’s hard to tell, really.

Congrats to the group who worked on “WWW News”! It was really fun to listen in and hear everyone’s hard work on the radio.

Calling All DS106 Friends! Collaborative Ideas

Hey, everyone! I have some assignments queued up for collaborative work between characters, and I decided the best way to find people to work with might just be to post my ideas and see if anyone is interested in one in particular. Or maybe it’ll just be a good way to give everyone a start on what to do collaboratively for their own purposes. Either way, it helps someone, so here’s what I have (leave a comment on what you’re interested in so we can get in touch!):

The assignment “I’m Having an Old Friend for Dinner” (2 stars) except between our two characters, old friends, who are catching up over a meal.

A collaborative story from “Sharing Credit” (4 stars) — pretty straightforward. It would be like the story from above, except more open-ended.

Celebrity Speed Dating” (3 stars) minus the celebrity, unless your character is a celebrity of sorts! The idea here might be to have the two characters each do a 30 second segment in which they pitch themselves to one another, or maybe we could get together and try to “speed date” in one minute with a series of rapid-fire question and answer.

The assignment “Roller Coaster Freaks” (2 1/2 stars) in which someone is sitting between our two characters who are on the roller coaster. Again, it could be spliced-together dialogue or just a meet-up recording session.

A trickier “Create a Crime Scene” (4 stars) in which we make up a crime scene (perhaps meet together to do some photography work). Maybe one of our characters has died and the other is trying to figure it out?

And finally, “Storytelling through Pictures” (3 1/2 stars) might be like the written assignments I mentioned earlier, except with visual media instead of words. It could tell a story of how our characters met, or how they would spend a day together.

If you really like these ideas, let me know you’d like to work with me or feel free to use them for your own purposes! I just compiled these to get the mind flowing and maybe help out anyone who might be a bit stuck.

Here’s the introduction to my character Danny, by the way, and a bit more background on his life. You can find all the stuff involving him in his tag on my site. The general idea of this character is fairly fluid, so he can be in your town, if you have a specific setting, or in a different place entirely. The only really solid part of him is that he is a pianist, so he will be wherever he can work by playing music (usually saloons, but those are in all kinds of towns so he’s not going to interact solely with saloon owners/workers).

I hope this helps! I can’t wait to collaborate with all of the characters and ideas we’ve created so far.

Design Blitz

This week we were asked to do a design blitz based off of the logos or signs around us. While I was thinking about this assignment, I realized that most of the items around us have a design or logo somewhere on them. So, here is a survey of the items in my room, more or less.

DCstar

This first logo comes from a shoe brand by the name of DC. Here we can see a good example of minimalist design. The “D” and the “C” cross over one another to make a square shape despite the size and original shape of the letters. Both are open, loosely imitating one another, and the “C” holds a small star. The combination of the two letters look like a chain link as well, making a small, simple, and visually pleasing logo for a brand.

LLBean

The second logo I chose was this L. L. Bean one off of my backpack. The design of this logo is simple and clear in its typography, giving the name of the company in a nice, easy to read font. The letters themselves are embroidered, giving the logo texture and a sense of three dimensional space, which is an appealing effect for a brand.

Sunsweet

This third symbol is from Sunsweet, which sells dried fruits. The colors in this logo are the most striking, drawing the eyes to its bright yellow and orange, which is offset by the blue logo. Yellow is a naturally attractive color, and the bold print of the brand name on top of it makes consumers feel drawn to its contrast and appealing, easily viewed name.

Coffee

Finally, depicted here is a Starbucks (and Keurig) logo. The Starbucks logo is heavy with symbolism and incredibly distinctive. Starbucks can draw its customers in by simply putting this logo out in the street. The two-tailed mermaid is reminiscent of the sirens of old seafaring stories, which is appropriate given that the name of the company comes from Captain Ahab’s first mate, Starbuck, in Moby Dick. The symbol of the siren with the star over her head is hard to miss in modern culture.

These symbols all hold important characteristics of effective design, no matter how simple or symbolic it is.

Economy of Design

This reading by Vignelli had a lot of interesting information. It was useful in exploring the principles of design and space. I hadn’t considered much of what went into the design of visual elements such as logos and printed works. Even the font and spacial awareness of words were necessary in maintaining a well-designed page.

The part of the reading that struck me the most was using the phrase “economy in design” as a means of expressing useful, effectively organized design within the given parameters. Maintaining a good balance of simplicity and complexity in color, texture, type, and size is difficult, but certainly worth understanding in order to create a nice design for any situation.

I understood a few of these principles prior to the reading due to my experience in high school art classes and the newspaper. In those cases we had to ensure that our images had good balance and design before starting any drawing or painting, and each newspaper page had to be laid out before articles would even be written in order to place our most interesting articles up front with a picture and balance out the lower half with well-spaced articles. Doing both art and newspaper for a couple of years helped me learn how to ensure that space was used well and that each work had a solid central focus. The meaning was understood without any explanation.

Of course, those were high school-level activities, and the information in Vignelli’s book would have been immensely useful at the time. I had to learn a lot of what he explains by simple trial and error over those years.

Thoughts on Moon Graffiti

The audio in the podcast episode “Moon Graffiti” was extremely eerie and well-placed throughout the story. I liked how the speaking sounded like it was coming from different positions and areas. Listening to it with headphones on was effectively immersive. The characters within the story spoke eloquently and solemnly to one another throughout the story. Behind their dialogue was a beautiful ambiance that helped create the mood. It was honestly very emotional, despite just being a hypothetical alternative to history based off of a speech.

While this podcast is a much more modern performance, it held a lot of similar themes to the radio shows I heard during my live tweet-along. The relatively brief length, the ambiance behind the characters’ dialogue, and the subtle descriptions of their actions to help the listener were all parts of the stories I’ve heard this week. This one had better quality and more immersive audio, due to the technological advances since the radio shows were produced, and I’m a huge space fan so I enjoyed the story a great deal. Despite this, however, I think all of the stories had their merits as solely audio-based stories.

Frontier Gentleman used narration heavily in its telling, as each episode was depicted through the eyes of a British reporter, a sort of detached main character peering into others’ lives. Gunsmoke used narration much more sparingly, only to introduce the general idea of the story and get through scene changes or events. “Moon Graffiti”, on the other hand, only used narration at the beginning to set the stage and allowed for the characters to play out the rest of the story. I liked the limited narration a great deal, and I hope to focus my own podcast around a similar set-up.