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Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Your final blog post for this class should include a link to your project and a discussion of at least 5 paragraphs that include the background information for your idea, a reflection on how your project fits the story spine, and media references, and details of how you produced it.

I can’t believe the end is finally here and I have created my final project for everyone to enjoy. Again the task for the final project was outlined by our professor ( and it was a huge undertaking.  To think I have outlined all my possible ideas over the weeks and now have to pick one!  I decided to go with my idea about the Chicago River telling the life and times of the City of Chicago.

The first steps I took after coming up with the idea was look around on internet for where I would get the historical and relevant information and decided Wikipedia would be best. I found two sites that had a ton of information that would be great to start my project.  Those were:

Next, I decided to treat my little history character as an app you download while you are in the middle of the city to find out more about it. There are a ton of guides, signs, and websites but this would be a great way to learn while walking around.  I could even see it as chapters on the app that you could launch.  Others would probably have ideas like this from historical figures or someone just reading the facts so I liked my idea of having the River take on the persona of the guide and fix the information overload.

I choose to just give a taste of what the concept app would sound like and cover just the brief beginnings of the city. The full blown app could cover all of the past and present.  I even thought about the idea of having some of the buildings take over talking points and act like they are friends or other inanimate objects in the city.  The potential is limited only by imagination and need.

For the script I used a lot of the wiki information and put it into a word document so I could make sure I added the beginning and the ends of the script to give context to someone that is listening for the first time. I then used audacity to record my voice reading the script.  I figured I could change my pitch so it would sound different and represent the River’s voice.

Then, I used photoshop to come up with a concept poster or advertisement for the app that could be placed downtown or online for people to find and use. I found images of Chicago online but none really worked for me so I went back to my photos I took myself when I was there last month. I also thought this was fitting since it was my inspiration for the character. I used the layers feature of photoshop to manipulate the images, put in shapes for his face, and put in additional text on the app and where to find it.

Screen capture of Photoshop poster creation

Screen capture of Photoshop poster creation

Finally, I created a video to use the promotional advertisement, the voice recording I did earlier, and combined them to create a video advertisement to showcase my story on why the app is great to meet Mr. River and discover his city of Chicago. I just imported all the items and created the final video. The website helped me download the original.
Original video I used:

Image of Movie Maker

Image of Movie Maker

Final video:

The final story fits the story spine well in that it has an introduction, a middle, and an end. It would go something like this:

Once upon a time there was a river named Mr. Chicago River. Every day, he saw events unfold before his eyes and a city rise around him. Until one day, he saw a tourist staring confused at an information sign and looking around lost. Because of that, he decided that he could tell his own story about his beloved city and not waste people’s time reading.

Overall I think it went really well and like the final product. It was challenging as always to use all the different software but it came out fine.  Oh and I had such a hard time saying all the tribe names! I am horrible at names. But, I could see myself pitching this concept to the tourism department of Chicago to get additional funding to make it a reality. Mr. Chicago River could have friends like the former Sears Tower that talks or well anything really. Also, the app could have a gps feature that lets it tell the story of the item closest to you.


I may just go to Hollywood after all!

Weekly Summary Checklist

The last 2.5 weeks have been crazy when you think about all we had to do and what we did as a class. I finished final week off with some computer issues but finally got it all under control and finished all the assignments. From other posts I was not alone but such is life. I still had fun doing all the assignments. Speaking of let’s recap what I did this week.

The Reading the movies assignment was very interesting. I never thought about how placement or how a director can use unspoken things to influence how a movie unfolds. After reading through all the insights by Roger Ebert’s “How to Read a Movie” it made sense that it could work that way. Reading about other techniques was interesting too. I for sure relate to finding mistakes in the shots from scene to scenes and I got to sum it all up in a blog about it too.

Next the Look, Listen, and Analyze assignment was interesting as well. It helped me when I got to review the Matrix and watch/listen to it three times and come up with my thoughts on it. The one downside to this assignment is the amount of time you watch it starts to influence what you think you should say but overall it was a good exercise in seeing how it all comes together.

I must admit the assignment that took me the longest was the Foley assignment and it was just getting my PC to do everything I wanted and lots of watching video tips or searching google. But I finally got through it and learned that doing the assignment on a Mac was probably easier. Too bad I do not have one. Stupid Microsoft! I do have to admit it came out okay after all. Hopefully people like my story about him talking to animals!

The two assignments we got to pick this week were so varied and awesome to put together. I got to do my own chipmunk video and tap into my childhood memories of watching the cartoon. Next I got to practice using the new Vine App and creating a video that way. The think about that app is you lose some of your editing but you have to be very smart in how you lay everything out and your script/sequence. So crazy that kids are doing that type of video creation more and more.

I was glad to take a break and look at other people’s ideas for their final projects and provide feedback. Lots of creative people in our class and good ideas.

Overall these last 2.5 weeks were great and scary at the same time but glad I got through them. I have never been late to publish all my homework assignments before but this needed extra time. I didn’t want to rush and not do something well. Also the computer issues really held me up. But overall I am proud of what I did!

So glad it is over and done!!

Chi-town sure was loud

You would think each week has me in a new city and that would be true the last two weeks. This week I was in Chicago for work and needed to do my assignments while in either a hotel room or a friend’s house. So that was an adventure but I was up for it!

First up was the creation of my account and that was super easy. I even got to do my first sound upload for it and thought it was a breeze. I did use my iphone to create the file since it is something that is easy to do and fast!

Next up was my sound effect story that was a little harder to do because I had to think of the story I wanted to tell! But my surroundings gave me a great idea and I just ran with the spring weather and lake idea. The software, Audacity, was easy enough to use and I figured it out.

The Charlie Chaplin Foley assignment was a little harder to do in a hotel room and being in one spot to record everything in one take was hard. However, I figured it is not meant to be perfect but show that I am trying. So that’s what everyone got!

The audio assignment bank were not filled with a lot I wanted to do but I finally found the mock 911 call idea and loved. That concept goes with my silly humor and I know I really did want shorts badly with the nice weather!

The story idea came to me with all the touring around I did and the great stories my friend gave me. That also means others might not know the stories so why not share!

I got a lot of good comments from the professor on getting more detailed on the images and concepts. I am still waiting on some additional audio comments and plan to update this when I have them. I saw others were doing a great job on the sounds. I like how some were doing screen shots with numbers on the clips to help explain. I should try that next time for mine.

Overall, I think this was a good week but not as easy as images since making sounds is very technical and not second nature to me like images. But I tried and got better!

And here is a nice remix to get you excited for summer!

A week of fun, friends, photos, and NC!

I was glad I looked early in the week for what was required for assignments because I knew I had a trip to see my family in NC so I needed to be smart about what I could do now and when I was in NC. The photo assignments made the trip to NC a fresh look on items I could include beyond typical DC scenes. I used flashback safari as my title for the design elements we were supposed to find in the world. It fit since I took photos in New Bern and Raleigh, NC which were flashback to my youth. Oh I almost forgot the TED talk with the record and other elements of design was amazing and shows me how creative folks can be with materials and rethinking new concepts for old things. Also the video of symmetry was great and well produced. I could see myself thinking something like that up. The design document on google was a little over the top but I think it served its purpose. I would suggest making more graphical to break up the text that made you click to find the full information.
Okay back to my work. The Motivational Poster was fun to do and I chose a hike to the top of Kilimanjaro as my inspiration. It was fun to put together the concept in Photoshop and play around but again I am not as good in that program at all. I will practice in summer when I have more time. The second item was the six word memoir which I might print out and keep in my house. It was fun to think about on my life and be very simple. I used powerpoint for that assignment because I knew exactly how I would do it there and did not feel like fumbling around in Adobe.
A sheet of paper I leave out for guests reminded me that setting alarms can be scary and maybe a good story. Not sure I love that idea but seems like something that people could benefit from.
There were a lot of items to comment on and reflect on comments received by others. I personally saw a good story idea ( but got me thinking that some of our stories may never get seen if they are not easy to locate for people to read. I was reminded IKEA and how it can drive you wild but there may be hope. ( I was reminded that I am not always as good as I think on putting images to words. ( The pain of DMV is universal it seems and always a good story. I liked the idea of a story for DMV process but was left wondering what the characters would be in the story.
The comments I received showed I was on the right track with how I was doing my stories and also I need to consider how the stories will be accessed by folks or characters. I made sure I used that thought when I looked at some others I commented on, beyond being careful with my thoughts on story. I was also reminded it is important to give a url or site name for places I find images, that is easy to forget when blogging.
Overall, I was good this week on looking ahead, thinking things through, and using life events to my advantage to do my homework and not take away from personal life. It worked out well and was fun to know a photo I was taking for life would also double for school. I can tell I need to get better at photoshop because Friday was a little bit of a struggle to get going with my ideas on poster but I got it down finally.

And as a bonus here is a photo of my niece (Britni) and me infront of Tryon Palace with my friends and mom in the background. She is 11 years old going on 20. Haha.

Britni and Uncle Clayton

Britni and Uncle Clayton

Reflect via photos

So this week was interesting to practice all my photo skills and imagination. I knew this week might be a little harder than others so I took a look early and tried to plan out how I would accomplish everything. The photoshop pieces would be the hardest for me since I am still learning that program but overall I enjoyed it. The practice of becoming a better photographer was interesting and got me out and about on my street. I wasn’t kidding when I say lots of people take photos on my street in the fall so I looked like a normal tourist but it is my hood. The five photo story really tested my imagination and what I could come up with on photos presented to me. The photo safari was fun and I just realized one of my photos was really something like a safari when you think about the elephants. The two visual assignments from the bank of ideas were interesting. The color splash assignment gave me an excuse to buy the app I have wanted for a while. At 99 cents how can you complain? For the historical selfie it was fun to think who I wanted to come up with and being the sci-fi person I am, Albert Einstein was great. For the story I thought about how my roommate struggled when he first moved into my apartment and had to learn how to use my tv remote. It was hopeful he was watching a show as I was thinking of my next story.
So there you go, another week done and some interesting stories come out. I hope everyone enjoyed watching the street and inside of my house come alive. I feel I really got the hang of all the assignments and put some thought into what I would do via photos. The titles were a little harder to come up with this week but I think I still did them justice. Oh and hope everyone noticed I was still able to carry through the idea of escaping via tv, different views of your home/street, and just everything else I put out this week.

All these photos made me think of the song by Lady Gaga “Paparazzi”, well not the killing your boyfriend part but all the photos and media.

Escaping the Pull of Gravity!

This week was a fun one but some of those podcasts and videos were long. But the funny thing is I did not mind them since they were well done both production and story wise. I am also better able to appericate the thought that goes into these productions. When I started listening to Evelyn Glennie’s TED talk I had no idea she was deaf and played music. So once I figured that out it wowed me even more and made me so smart to be even hearing this amazing story.

Also, how great to start off the first assignment listening to some good radio programs and learning about audio editing and producing. I chose an NPR piece to write about and joked my Mom would be so proud. I must admit that I never thought of the fact that someone could record three different audio tracks for program that could include the sounds around them, the interview with no sound, and then the interview with someone doing something. It just allowed for a lot of different layering and shaping of the story. It also made me think how it could also be used to reshape a story to be what you wanted like a political ad. So hopefully people use it for good and not bad!

I cannot wait to tell people that part of my assignment this week was to blog about a commercial. Okay for the second assignment 2 you really were treating it like a good short film and they were good commercials. If they were bad or just dumb you could find this assignment boring. I did find the work a little time exhausting with the break down every 5 seconds but it actually made me pay attention to all the thought, camera work, storyline, and audio that went it producing it. I remember the 1984 commercial and now just know I can capture some of the key elements in a commercial now. Bring on the Super Bowl commercials! I need another Star Wars kid Darth Vader vs VW car to watch. That inner Sci-Fi fan can watch those commercials over and over again. Make sure you read about it here and for fun re-watch it here:

I was glad I got to catch up with my classmates and read/comment on some of their blog entries and see what was said on mine. When I was looking at some of the blogs I found a clean looking blog that was crisp and fresh on the eyes. I will need to keep that crisp theme in mind for mine. On that same blog I found it interesting that they divided up some of the blog entries into more pieces than I decided. I think that could help focus a reader but also miss some of the overall stories. Also on another blog I was reminded how much I love gif and surprised I did not think to use them in my blog posts. I use them all the time in texts and now need to figure out a way to do it in my blogs. Also I liked the use of youtube videos and links to give context.

The class was really good at giving me feedback and glad to see my Bus Story idea is a hit and folks get it. I also need to up my game with images and links to keep folks engaged . I think next week I will have to do more with gifs.

Image of gif key

Wish there was a gif key – from shutterstock

My second idea around a story is one related to performance reviews. I thought this one could be a different way to teach a concept that has system and people aspects. I am not sure how folks will get excited about it but I know it is a twice a year requirement for me!

Overall, I can tell I becoming more comfortable with the format of the class, the time commitment, the videos/audios we must read, and used to the blog tool. I feel like week 1 was my rocket just starting to blast off from Earth and now I am starting to escape the pull of gravity and really speed forward! I feel I gave each post a lot of thought and tried to get the concepts down. I feel I am getting better and better!

Phew! That week 1 sure hits you like a sledge hammer.

Wow what a week! I will not lie and say I knew this class would test me right off the bat and really get us thinking. I must say that Allen set the tone with his first video blog and I knew this would be nothing like I have done before. Not to mention the addition of a wordpress blog was a source of fear but I got the hang of it.
Just picking the title for my blog and tagline seemed like a never ending task of me thinking and rethinking through what to call something I have not even started. But I feel it worked well because everything about my first blog post was an adventure. So it was fitting I named my first blog post “Adventures in setting up WordPress “ because it started out as the wild west! Slowly I tamed it and make progress.

Thinking through stories with a formula really made sense to me. I found the desire to figure out the shape of countless stories now or consider it when I see a new one. Taking themes or concepts that work for stories and blogging about it was a great exercise. Since I am so busy with school I choose Frozen for my story that I would categorize using the new concepts I just learned (Vonnegut shape, 22 Pixar Rules, and Story Spine). Don’t believe me? Well take a look at “ This story shape won’t leave you Frozen” and you judge. I feel I got a lot out of the concepts and already can apply them to the world around me.

Next having to think about storytelling and what makes a good story made me smile. Mostly because I was remembering both my Father and Grandmother’s great ability to tell a story and keep the audience engaged. Sometimes with my Father is just a simple joke but the outcome is always the same; someone paying attention. Okay sometimes it is me rolling my eyes and walking away but I promise that is only if I have heard the joke a million times and know someone will laugh which will goat him for more stories! Thus having a good foundation of what makes a story and personal experience should help me a lot. I already feel like I can do some of it but have a lot to learn. Check out my “What’s your storying telling got to do with me?

Have you ever had someone ask you a question and before they did you could name a million things that come to mind? Yeah, that was me trying to think of something that is not done well that could benefit from a story. It was not until I was on the bus headed to the metro that it hit me. I was not always so good at figuring out the bus system and honestly it was all the technology advances and apps that finally made me feel comfortable. However, not everyone has an app or the patience to figure out the horrible maps. That issue makes me think a story could really help. So my blog “Wondering how to use the DC bus system? That reminds me of a story…” is my first thought at what my final project may be for this class.

Again I am excited and think there is a lot to learn in this class. I know now why it could help me in my job because training can be boring, why not jazz it up!