WRIT371

The Creative Process and How I Spend ~2100 Words Talking About Mine

We’re finally done withe McCloud. It feels like it has taken forever, even though it’s been a few chapters every week, I feel like it’s been months. My brain has been so foggy though, so that may have something to do with it. I’m going to warn you upfront that this post is L O N G because I feel like some of my other posts have been lacking and I want to make up for it.

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Coincidentally, this post falls at the same time as me finishing up a project for another class that I have spent at least 200 hours on (that’s about average. Almost everyday for the past ~2 weeks, 8-12 hours a day and a few days I did 16-18 hours, because I am insane apparently). As it was for class I wasn’t getting paid for it, but there’s a good chance an internship in this wouldn’t pay anyway, so I got the experience without awful stress of the internship. Just the awful stress of feeling like I’d never be done and that it’s not going to turn out. I’ve watched it so many times that I’m unsure of how it is going to land with its intended audience. I’m not even done with it yet either, I’ve still got audio to work with and adjust and some scenes to clean up. I also have the hiccups while writing this. It’s a big part of why my comments and other work has been late in my other classes, but thankfully I’ve got some great professors who understand that sometimes I bite off a bit much and are willing to work with me. I’m also proud how much I’ve got done even if I pushed myself a little too hard and it resulted in me getting sick and remaining sick still.

But I want to talk about Chapter 7 in relation to all of this. Because I’m finally in possession of a current example that I’m going to exploit.

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The Idea

As soon as the Syllabus was live in LIT431RH I knew what chapter I wanted to do for our group project but I wasn’t sure how to do it. Then, as absolutely cheesy as it sounds, I thought of scene right before I fell asleep. It was one of those thoughts that you know you should write down because you’re going to forget, but you don’t

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because you’ve reached perfect comfy and perfect comfy is more important that remembering something silly. The whole thought was of a woman standing behind a bar in a dark room and it was a close up of her left shoulder. THAT WAS IT. That was literally all I had. The idea that there was a man at the bar and that there was something else going on between them would come later. But at that moment I knew I would need to get something done in a bar. I think another reason I didn’t write it down is because it wasn’t a fully feasible idea yet. Sure I had a camera phone but that wouldn’t be good enough so I took my time and tried to plot out some other ideas. I knew that the Sirens chapter took place in a bar but the sudheading said it should be used for those of a musical persuasion and I thought that I would save that for someone else (at the time I had zero audio editing experience. Now a month later I can say I have at least some).

How’s My Form?

Ultimately I hatched it as a film. Not knowing where to start I realized I should probably find an adequate

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camera to shoot with. I found a place in town that gave a student discount and that would let me rent several thousands of dollars worth of equipment of camera equipment for very little money (in comparison). It was the first time in my life I’d ever held a professional camera and I felt really cool. Before I ever picked up the camera though I know I had to convince SOMEONE to be in it. I couldn’t be in it because I was directing. But also, I know I’ve got a great face most days, but the rest of me belongs behind the camera, so that’s where I am (you can laugh at that, I know what I look like. I’m completely comfortable with it and work hard everyday to promote body positivity which means accepting that I make jokes about myself CONSTANTLY. IT. IS. OKAY. TO. LAUGH. AT. THEM. I. PROMISE.). In my head the woman I wanted was on the shorter side (which doesn’t mean much when it comes from me because almost everyone is short), dark hair, dark eyes, and the man taller than her but was quiet. In that class though, I barely knew any men. So I asked around and a lot of people didn’t want to be on camera. Fine. Then I found Matthew and Cassidy and it was perfect. A plus to that was they mostly had the costumes and that saved me some time. To get the Bowler hat I wanted I just called my hat guy and he hooked me up, lent it to me from his stock (he does costume rentals for theaters and we’ve been friends for a while now).

An Idiom for You, An Idiom for Me

But how was I going to shoot this? What sort of look was I going for. I realized that the hat I had on the way and the other props and costumes we’d organized were things that didn’t fit quite right to have an entirely

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modern setting. That was okay though, because one of the first things the internet taught me about shooting a independent film was that if you do it in black and white, no one can tell if it sucks (also that you need permits to film on most city streets, I’m sure you can figure out which one I ignored *shhh*). So I was sure to pick colors that were somewhat neutral. But I needed a ‘damsel’ and realized that if we did this right, it could almost be a noir film. Or at least the prelude to one before the hard-boiled detective gets put on the case and solves the problems and get the girl (or in the case of the Maltese Falcon, sends the girl to prison). So I used as many film noir tricks that I could, my male character was down on his luck and thought he had met a girl who liked him (though they had never spoken) and he slowly starts to lose it as time goes on. I had the pessimism and menace down. It was a perfect fit and I loved the idea. One thing that I did want though was red. The color red was something important as it represented the lust he felt toward her and how the lust resulted the way it did (I’m not spoiling it because we haven’t released it yet). So the film was black, white, and red. I don’t know if you know HOW MUCH RED is in the world but it is A LOT. But that was just apart of the Sony Vegas learning process.

My Creation Lives

We filmed over three days total I think. It was super quick. Getting half the spaces we needed to film was hard though. Thankfully Plonk (my bar scene was going to be amazing) came through right away but finding a stage to film our finale in was near impossible. Theaters in Bozeman are not friendly to film projects and some wanted a couple thousand dollars up front. I don’t mind paying someone for their time but it was immense. Securing permission took a lot of time the first week. Cassidy finally remembered taking a tango class in the Romney gym and I was able to secure the dance studio for 4 hours. There were a few shots where we ignored protocol and one shot where I almost got hit by a car, but we go

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them. Through the cold and wind we got them. There were scenes we had to change a lot because filming them became impossible without permission. But even after all the filming it was now the process of fitting everything together. I know that there are lots of takes when it comes to film and that something that takes you 4 hours to do can yield as little as a minute or so of footage. You have to cut out the first few seconds usually before you say “action”, or in my case “go”. Then missteps or mistakes need to be cut. Editing together footage to keep in time with a dance scene was super hard. Didn’t think it would be as hard as it was but it was. You have to keep stuff that goes with the continuity of the scene too. You can’t have something happen and then show it happening again in the same scene without an indication as to whether you’ve switch POV or not. Things have to be is the same place. People have to look the same. Whenever I think of continuity issues I always think of the BBC show Merlin where Merlin, Colin Morgan, had to be under an umbrella if he were outside because everyone was nervous that if he were to tan between takes that is would effect the continuity of the show. So that’s always a big thing that you have to be careful of in film.

Let’s Get Shit Done

I had an idea when I started how much work this would be. I knew what I was getting into and took every opportunity I had to learn the program I was using and all the things that go along with that. I’ve watched so many youtube tutorials on how to do cool tricks in Vegas that I think I’m pretty competent in it at this

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point. My art school background helped here a lot as well. I knew how to cancel out certain colors in scenes and was able to identify how the scene should look overall. Actually sitting down and working on it for so long has reminded me that patience is key and that I need to practice it more. I don’t think I would have been able to figure everything out in time without Youtube. I learned the audio editing part of the project by cramming a bunch of tutorials into a weekend (something I should have spent more time on but I didn’t know it was going to be to the extent it has turned into). Without those videos this wouldn’t be done yet, it’d be far from it. I knew though that if I kept my head and if I stopped when I was getting frustrated I wouldn’t burn out. I burn out more while I try to work through frustration because it doesn’t work and then I just don’t want to look at what it is in front of me. That was key to this craft.

(Hang in there, we’re almost done. I know it’s a lot of words but you’ve got this)

How Are Others Going To Appreciate This

Now this project isn’t technically done yet. That’s okay though, I still have a bit to work on it. However I know for a lot of people watching it there is going to be massive focus on just how it looks. They’re not going to see the work that was put in. They might in some scenes where I could conceal or cancel other reds in the world to make sure my red stood out, definitely be able to see those. But I also think that it’s important

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for me to remember that that is okay. Not everyone can do what I did in such a short period of time. I’m starting to find my niche with projects and I like how finishing things makes me feel. I might even go on to finish a novel (finally). But when I apply the project to McCloud’s process I see a lot of what I did paralleled, even though I didn’t read it a month ago when this started. I know there are many people, even in my own major, who are more adept at things like this than I am. I know some of them may criticize it. If there is one thing I wish I could do it would be to give myself enough time to disassociate emotionally from this project. That hasn’t happened so I’ll be running with pure emotion when we present on Wednesday. Let’s see if I can be okay with that.

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WRIT371

A Moment In Time

I think that McCloud’s chapter on time is very interesting and it’s something that is address in comics in a very different way than how it’s addressed in, say, film. In comics it is super important to understand how the reader is going to read the scene, with film it’s like the viewer can see everything at once and understand what is going on. Whereas a comic artist will know that a long panel portrays a pause between the characters, a filmmaker just continues to film in the same scene.

Drawing from my experience in the last post I think it’s important for people who are writing comics to understand the passage of time more than what we’d expect from other types of authors. Jumping from frame to frame quickly doesn’t give them impression of time passing slowly.
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Time and Motion are very similar in the way we move through comics. Each needs to be expressed deliberately and expertly. It was a problem that our comic had in high school, no one was ever shown moving and the passage of time was usually assumed as a single moment. Creating drama for us was literally having a character’s face filled in with more pen than usual. Any sort of movement was specific to a character. Like if someone flapped their arms in protest, the arms would simply be a few quick strokes in the place of the arms. But other than that there wasn’t any real motion.

(E)motion was the easiest to show, mostly because you can use static images to show emotion. There isn’t any sort of cross panel change that has to happen in order for 26de946068fcaaa3383eeb93992fb311someone to understand passing emotion. Sure someone may look disappointed for eight frames, but as soon as the face changes in frame 9 we know the characters mood has changed. We don’t need to see the actual movement of the face. When a mood gets progressively worse I’d say that is how emotion is incorporated into the motion of time in a comic.  Like a character going from confused, to angry, to embarrassed (I actually couldn’t find a comic that emulated this but I’m typing this through some wicked cold medicine and just want to go back to bed).

Maybe emotion is the start to understanding how physical motion and time move in comics. Like when you start building with lego. Emotion is that single lego, a single frame of a comic. Once you add a few other pieces and have a foundation built, you’ve moved how it changes frame by frame, maybe even back tracking sometimes to other ’emotions’ and you’re showing how physical movement is happening frame by frame. We can watch the bricks move as you build. By the time you’re done you’ve got a perfect little model about the passage of time.

WRIT371

This Is Not A Blog Post But Simply a Visual Representation of a Blog Post

 

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This is actually our author “photo” from the front page of the ‘comic’ we did. The artist I worked with has definitely improved on her style since then, but this was the bomb when we were in school. Also don’t comment on the clothing. I wore that… pretty much everyday.

I’m actually a fan of McCloud and I’m glad to be reading something that I can identify with. I used to co-author a short comic with a friend of mine, back in the day when a notebook and a pen were the only tools we had and our friends had to hand the notebook around to read. So I have some appreciate with what McCloud does in Understanding Comics. Comics are hard, you want characters to be distinct but at the same time (at least on the part of the artist) you want them to be easier to draw. Overly detailed characters take up a lot of time that can be better spent doing other things, so McCloud’s section in chapter two is there to remind you that the character just needs to be recognizable. I like to think that the more simple a character is the more you, as a reader, are able to fill up those ’empty’ spaces and put yourself into those spaces. For me it helps characters that, otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to identify with. It’s a technique that McCloud calls masking (with some combination of background involvement, but I’m not talking about that).

 

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This was the last painting I did while I was in art school. It came out okay at best.

Now I was never the artist in our duo and at the time probably couldn’t be bothered with blank space in the frame. That was okay though, she understood it. Not everything needed to be filled in, not every prop in the scene needed to be detailed out; we just knew what it was. We knew that what ever we put on the page is what was there. If there were lockers in the frame or a large caravan (we did a real life and everyday comic as well as a comic called The Red Circus) we just assumed that there was something in there, but we didn’t need to show it. At least I did, I guess I shouldn’t speak for her. The readers also understood that they didn’t need to see the inside of the caravan in order to know that it was probably bloody inside (The Red Circus was not an all ages comic, it was (for us at the time) quite gory).

 

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I am, however, quite proud of the food art I do.

One thing I want to point out, is how McCloud is avoiding actually using the Mickey Mouse logo but mentions it through out. Especially on page 64, I didn’t realize what he was showing us right away until I read “Sometimes, a mere shape or outline…” I understand this to mean that he didn’t have the rights to the images but still, his point was made before I even realized it. I feel similar to this as I do when he references how we see ourselves in everything, like cars and soda can tops.

I do wish I had this book when I had gone about my early comic career. Maybe we would have stuck with it. Now I just make memes like the rest of the internet.

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One last thing I want to add, is that I recently read Grim Grisley’s Frankenstein and McCloud’s concept of “The pipe is not a pipe but a drawing of a pipe…(and so forth)” is on the wall of the cabin where the Creature learns to speak and read. It was pointed out in the class we read it for and I thought that was a nice tie in with what we’re discussing in this class now.

WRIT371

Pigs… In… Space!!!

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This wasn’t even on purpose, Jay.

I couldn’t help myself with the title after reading the subtitle in Blinded By The Letter ‘Literacy in Space’; if you don’t get the reference your childhood had a shortage of Muppets (weirdly enough, puppets that I’m okay with). I hated the way this article was laid out. From having us go from two articles all about how conscious we should be about design this was an example of what not to do. I found parts of it incredibly hard to read, simply because I wasn’t always sure which part belonged with the previous sentence I had just read. Meant a lot of scrolling back and forth for me, but it is what it is. A part that made me laugh to myself a bit was the “Note of the Illustrations”. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something like that in a book before; if I had I’ve never remembered it.Image result for muppet group photo I do appreciate that the note points out that the authors are aware that the drawings are of white and middle class people; as if they are acknowledging the lack of people of color and people that come from different classes and strive to be more like the Muppets.

I think that an essay like Blinded By The Letter is still important, even if the information feels a bit dated. There is a quote on page 357 that can be applied, quite well, even today:

“I stare at the textual field on my friend’s [computer] screen and I am unpersuaded. Indeed, this glimpse of the future–if it is the future–has me clinging all the more tightly to my books, the very idea of them. If I ever took them for granted, I do no longer. I now see each one as a portable enclosure, a place I can repair to release the private, unsocialized, dreaming self. A book is a solitude, privacy; it is a way of holding the self apart from the crush of the outer world.”

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This quote really speaks to me. As well as a quip I heard from somewhere saying “I worry that people who are against e-readers are more in love with the idea of book than actually reading them.” Regardless of where it comes from, I think it aligns with the quote before it. The reason I identify with these two things is because I can’t read on computer screens for very long. I didn’t grow up reading on one. I didn’t get a smartphone until I was in my twenties. I even have to print out reading assignments and such to make sure I actually grasp what the piece is saying. I have to read from physical print. On the other hand, I used to be a staunch anti-e-reader; I wouldn’t dare touch one because I thought it was an insult to the idea of reading, insulting to feel the pages in your tumblr_m8ewmk4bse1qb63fco1_250hands and the weight of it. Then I realized I hadn’t read a book in months, those around me had read several on their kindle, nook, or other e-reader from 2010 when the world was young. That’s when it struck me that it doesn’t matter how you read, just that you do it. Sure the technology may evolve, but it is evolving to help people read more.

 

3992oIt was a bunch of students at Columbia that ruin the fun of photocopying dollar bills. I know a firehouse in my home town that photocopied a 100 dollar bill on their new copier and had to call the company to get it reset. How many calls a day do you think they get about that very thing?

 

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My point is that we should embrace technology as it grows with us. If we stand by archaic methods of communication we are only hurting out own fields. Yes, we can still use them; I write better poetry on a typewriter, short stories on a computer, and jokes with pencil and paper. But I also know restricting others expression of how they want to write will prevent people from writing if they just can’t perform with certain circumstances.

 

 

 

WRIT371

Diane, 7:30 am, February twenty-fourth. Entering town of Twin Peaks.

(Author’s note: I apologize if this post isn’t as funny as it should have been. My entire post disappeared when I moved an image and WP swears it doesn’t exist anymore. That and I just showered and the blue hair I was so proud of is now gone and I’m pissed, so please, bear with me (addendum: I watched a load of cat and dog rescue videos, so it should improve near the bottom.) cooper

Agent Dale Cooper is my spirit animal. He doesn’t have anything to do with Rhetoric, at least not in this context, other than sharing a last name with one of the authors. But he and I have a lot in common. He is trying to solve the murder of a girl and I’m just trying to understand what it is I was suppose to have read. Academic reading is not my strong suit, it never had been and most likely never will be. How we’re similar in this endeavor is that he is going up against aliens, demonic spirits, and… magic, I think. I’m just trying to understand further theories on Rhetoric; but both parties approach their situations with a naive, whimsical, but still serious outlook. With everything I’ve learned so far, I’m sure I’ll be finding myself in a chevron tiled room surrounded by red velvet curtains and full of the spirits of… lost people? (Honestly, I’ve seen this show so many times through and half the time it’s like they are throwing whatever plot they can at the proverbial wall and seeing what sticks. Still, it is an amazing show and I recommend it if you haven’t watched it already).

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My favorite part about the Fisher piece (I would have had a gif set for Fisher, because there is a character named that in The Mentalist, but she apparently just doesn’t have fun gifs) was the approach Fisher has on the public moral argument. The initial example he gives is about nuclear warfare and how, even though not everyone is qualified, everyone has an opinion on why it shouldn’t happen.

Though I can argue that this is more of a biological response than a moral one because biologically humans are meant to continue their race (though not on the same level as say, The Handmaid’s Tale). But Fisher also mentions that abortion is in the realm of public moral argument, which I think is very interesting as I don’t think there has been any growth in the argument for/against abortion and the entire thing has just become shouting at each other; rhetoric is no longer the game. Persuasion is no longer the twin-peaks-giftwin-peaks-quotesmajor-briggsdesired outcome. The desired outcome for one is to allow women the choice and, for the other, to bring children into the world regardless of choice (but let me not get overtly political here). These are important because every one member of the public has a right to an opinion.

Fisher does explain that to him a public moral argument is moral in the sense that it is founded on ultimate questions (life/death), of how persons should be defined and treated, and of preferred patterns of living. But, also, that public moral argument refers to clear cut inferential structures, in the rational world paradigm, and to “good reasons” in the narrative paradigm (389). Applying these definitions to these types of conversations helps me understand what it is that they are defining. Even if I don’t think that Aristotle’s definition of Rhetoric applies to any of these ‘arguments’ anymore, looking at the examples helps me further how I think about Rhetoric; or it just adds more forest before me.

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That does bring us to Cooper and, no, not my spirit animal. Cooper I had a much harder time with and that could be because I feel it’s more a philosophy piece or just that it’s a thick steak to chew through. Cooper is the one who inspired this gif set, especially throwing the word ‘agency’ into the mix. My brain puts two and two together and I get Special Agent Cooper. But, even if I had a hard time understanding where Cooper was going in the beginning of the text, I started to pick up when she was talking about President Obama’s speech. I was in high school when Obama first ran for office and I remember how well he delivered his addresses. Something about it inspired hope in a lot of kids my age and it was what we had needed as an icebreaker for our first election (may be dating myself here, just a tiny bit). I do find myself seeing where Cooper is investigating agency through the speech that Obama gave. Obama is a very strong rhetor, even his most recent speech resonated with people who may have previously been against him. That is rhetoric at work. Obama may not have persuaded people to join his side of the argument, but his words may have been able to spark something in them that they wouldn’t have otherwise known. The more we talk about Rhetoric as a thing, the more we begin to forget that it’s not always apparent and it’s those subtleties that we’ve lost in the modern day of things like Twitter. When you’re too busy shouting, people stop listening.

That is the conclusion for today. I’ll let Agent Cooper sign us off.

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Well, apparently he’s running late…

Good day everyone!

WRIT371

What Is This Fish Saying?

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But not this one. This one is from Hell, where coincidentally, Belial is from.

As it was told to me on Thursday, only reading the Fish was required for this week’s blog post and, in typical student fashion, that is the only piece I’m going to talk about this week. I’m okay with this, because this weekend exploded to be WAY busier than I thought it was going to be. So I appreciate the reprieve. Especially when I take into account how thic c c (that’s thick with three c’s) the Fish article was. It amazes me that every semester starts with dense readings of Rhetoric that I feel is meant to drive away people from this wonderful major. When I was first considering the switch it was something that kept me away for a while. But this isn’t really about how I feel about the reading, but more about the reading itself. So let’s get into this.

Stanley Fish’s essay “Rhetoric” starts us off with an excerpt from Paradise Lost, a series of books I have never read (no matter what my Goodreads account from high school says). So, a quick jaunt over to Wikipedia caught me up on what was happening, but it still didn’t help much. But one thing I thought was interesting was how Fish uses Belial (a character I recognize, thankfully) constantly when he is speaking about Rhetoric and used excerpts of Belial’s speaking parts for analysing. Fish also states that he chooses this specific passage because “we can extrapolate from it almost all of the binary oppositions in relation to which rhetoric has received it’s (largely negative) definition…” (Fish, 124). Which introduces us to what interests me most about this piece (and introduces you, as the reader, to my apprehension of talking about things that occur early on in the piece because it gives to impression that I haven’t actually read the text) and that is the three basic oppositions that Fish explores. Maybe it’s because I like to look at molecular structures in my free time, but the way he talks about how every opposition is linked to another between two kinds of language is fascinating and, strange as it can appear to be, makes me think of the different way I use it in humorous ways.

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It was originally part of the structure for magnesium carbonate (basic) but I like mine all the same.

When I think of it in a similar way to the diagram above it makes it easier to understand. Where Fish is going with this, at least in my opinion, is that we all hear words on a daily basis that mean something to us but may mean something else to another. Which leads us into exploring Fish’s next point where he discusses how every effort into constructing a language is to enable words to have several meanings but to always know what they mean in certain contexts, or in his words, “to establish a form of communication that escapes partiality and aids us in first determining and then affirming what is absolutely and objectively true, a form of communication that in its structure and operations is the very antithesis of rhetoric.” (Fish, 124). Our understanding of the oppositions is where a lot of humor can grow from as well. Take for example, puns. Exploiting a word’s meaning or using the opposite meaning of the word is a quick way to get a groan or a laugh. A pun may not be a perfect example of Rhetoric, as it isn’t an art of persuasion (unless you’re actively trying to persuade your friends to go away), but it is an example of the idea that Fish is putting forth. We have an established idea of what a person means, we have context to the sentence, but at the same time we appreciate their play on words.

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