So, it has been a while since I have done a personal post as this blog has become the exclusive site of my WRIT371 blog posts. That ends in a few weeks and I feel the need to just get out how this semester is going.
Started out strong, wore myself out, and now I’m just waiting for the cold I have to subside. I’ve done a lot since the beginning of the semester, including the film, and I’m going to have a lot more done by December.
Including the JET program application.
It is the single most stressful thing in my life right now because it is the most important job I have ever applied for. It is the literal job of my dreams. There are so many things that require absolute perfection and the only thing that I can do now to make myself stand out to the interviewers is have perfect grammar on my personal essay. The content isn’t the main focus, though it is a focus, they just want to confirm that you have perfect grammar. I do not… have… that.
But I’ve got the resources to do it.Which is better than nothing.
Godin seems like the dad in every 90s movie. He thinks he’s super funny and makes corny jokes, but at the same time has some very interesting and informative things to say. This video is from 2006, my freshman/sophomore year in high school. Websites like his weren’t common like they are today, memes weren’t really memes yet and we didn’t call them that. But we’d howl over Badger, Badger and stupid signs like it was 2018. Now we can create memes on our phones without having to know some level of animation or Photoshop. When there weren’t content creators as we know them now.
I know that this post is suppose to be about design, and I didn’t fully get that until I was trying to figure out what I was watching a TED talk about using colors on medical reports. The Wysocki article was harder to read, because of the design and layout of the article. I won’t like I gave up on that a few times and I’m still not sure if I totally understand what it is I read; which I, again, contribute to the format. It felt so disjointed and broken. Which brings up back to Godin.
Godin talks about broken things; things that not everyone will think are broken. Like the piece of art that Banksy shredded right after it was sold (Vox is going to disagree with me here). Because the piece was ‘broken’ it was immediately more valuable to those willing to buy it. It wasn’t broken to them OR they found the brokenness of the piece added to its perfection. I personally find it ridiculous because Banksy has become such a commercialized commodity while still promoting itself as a anti-mainstream entity. I know that not everyone will agree with me on my idea that Banksy isn’t just one person but is an idea within itself. That theory comes from how accessible the art has become, how quickly new pieces appear on different corners of the earth (sometimes within the same day). It isn’t that it isn’t art because anything can be considered to art to someone; but it is something that has lost the originally significance that I think it once held. It’s hard to explain how a piece by Banksy is something I no longer consider art because of it’s commercialization but I also support artists selling their work. I think that has something to do with how I feel a bit betrayed by it. When I was younger Banksy was a cool idea; it had a lot to do with no selling out and keeping true the the art form. And I feel betrayed now that the pieces are selling at auction for millions of dollars.
We could say that the website Godin refers to, thisisbroken.com, is also broken. There hasn’t been an update since July of 2007. The website still works but without a update it has become dated and ‘broken’ in some way. Broken meaning that it no longer serves the purpose it once did and it’s purpose now is to stand as a relic of how far we have comes.
I always find myself thinking of what I can do as a final project in classes and I usually find myself coming back to the same subject. Others who have taken classes with me in the past are probably sick of what I’m about to propose, but my critical photo essay is going to be within the realm of digital folklore and the horrors therein.
As a short horror writer I am no stranger to the ‘scary stories’ that one comes across online. I’m a subscriber to the creepypasta wiki, the reddit forum r/nosleep, and am a fan of several short horror narrators. I’m also no stranger to the news that surrounds these types of stories. Online horror forums have become the breeding ground for news stories warning parents of the dangers of being involved in these stories as well as real life crime being committed in their name.
My goal with this project is to explore how the writing of a creepypasta has grown out of longer fictions, like those of Stephen King, and how it has become applicable for such a large audience. What used to be scary stories to just tell in the dark have evolved into something that is readily available at every time of day and has had to adapt to be quickly read and, more importantly, quickly written. My question to be researched is:
“How has the written horror story changed over time to adapt to the ever changing, growing, and more technologically adept world?”
“Why is this important to you?” or “Again, Kas? You’ve done this project so many times already, why again?” are questions that may be crossing your mind. It isn’t that I do the same project over and over again, but that I continue to expand my knowledge and understanding of a topic. This is important because this is what I do. As a horror writer it is my job to know how the genre is evolving and how I can properly apply my abilities. With a world like ours I know that in order to be at the top of my game and to be continue to be relevant in a quickly changing genre I need to know these things to help predict future moves.
I’ve done so preliminary research for this project, specifically, within the following sources:
The Genre of Horror by Mgr. Viktória Prohászková
This thesis is about the horror genre, outlining it, and describing the dominant features of the genre and variations of content. It provides a brief overview of the development process in the realm of literature, film, and computer games; outlining its appearance in other fields of culture and art. It characterizes the readers and viewers of horror the horror genre and their motives for seeking the genre. This is important to my piece as it helps shed light on the workings of the genre and how it goes about defining subgenre and application.
How To Write A CreepyPasta
I include this website because it is important that I study how the writing process between the different stories has changed over time. It discusses what types of fear an author can subscribe their story too and characterizes the narrator as someone giving a first person account of a true story. Creepypastas have helped the genre evolve to being a first person experience from the third person narrative (thinking along the lines of IT, Ringu, or At The Mountains of Madness; which are all told from the third person).
The Lure of Horror by Dr. Christian Jarrett
Though the Critical Photo Essay isn’t a paper on psychology, understanding the psychology of what draws someone into the horror-sphere will aid in the accuracy and the pinning down of why people are interested. This essay gives information on why people engage with the things that scare them and theories on meta-emotion. The essay also talks on Dr. Norbert Mundorf and his studies into the slasher films of the 80s and 90s. The reference section of this essay is also very vast and will aid in further research.
Limits of horror by Fred Botting
(Montana State University Library, 3rd Floor)
This book delves into the history of monsters and ghosts and how the have evolved over the last 200 years, as well as the means of conveyance that have evolved with them (from fiction to film to video games). This book includes the evolution from gothic to cybergothic and looks at the range of literary, cinematic, and popular culture while examining the changes of the genre and the questions they pose for understand contemporary culture. This book also examines concepts like the uncanny, the sublime, terror, shock, and abjection in terms of the bodily implications. It advance current critical and theoretical debates on gothic horror and proposes a new theory of cultural production based on Freud’s idea of the ‘death drive’.
“Spread the Word”: Creepypasta, Hauntology, and an Ethics of the Curse by Line Henriksen
This article deals mostly with one of the original creepypastas, Smile.dog, and the ideas behind haunted email chains; as well as digital urban legends. This article goes on to explore modern ethics in a digital world. Through the lens of Jacques Derrida’s concept of hauntology– a haunted ontology– this article explores what digital monsters and curses may teach us about those ethics as a question responding to that which haunts and hoaxes.
Here it is. In all its glory.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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 someone 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.