Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bit Strip

Shooting Script

Wide-angle shot of a college lounge area. 4 male friends are hanging out. Two of them throw a football.

I heard Jessica was pretty pissed at you Friday night. (Laughter)

Yeah, she was being ridiculous.

Damn, your girlfriend was in town for one night and you didn't even get laid? (Met by more laughter)

Close shot of Mike

Who said I didn't get laid?


Pan to Jason

Bro, I saw Jessica before I left, she wasn't having it.

Mid-Shot of Mike

 Yeah. And I had my man Jax pouring her drinks. He got a little heavy on the vodka and eventually things worked out. You know what I'm saying? She started feeling it a bit, and eventually she was feeling it a bit.

Wide shot as Mike makes lewd gestures and laughter erupts from all but one friend who has been silent. Close up shot of his face - concerned- knows its wrong but just won't quite speak up.

Screen goes black

V.O and Text
"Don't be a silent bystander- respond to sexual assault"
(accompanied by link to page)

Monday, April 21, 2014

My shooting script

Tentative cast:
Girl 1: Hagar Mansour
Girl 2: Sheena Desai
Girl 3: Sabrina Madni
Girl 4: Feven Laine
Girl 5: Bahar Amalfard
Boy 1: Shujan Valiani
Boy 2: Kewyan Beh
Boy 3: Adnan Basrai
Boy 4: Ashraf Patel

[Screen starts black with some dramatic, emotional music, then it cuts to a very out of focus shot of a girl’s face]

Voices saying slurs start to overlap each other and simultaneously slide across the screen as the girl’s face comes more and more into focus

Voices will be saying (identities of the voices will remain anonymous):
1. You don’t belong here
2. Go back to where you came from
3. How many wives is your dad allowed to have?
4. Why do you let men oppress you with making you cover yourself?
5. Get out, You know that Chik fil A is a CHRISTIAN organization right?
6. If you don’t drink, why are you even here?
7. How many of your uncles and brothers are in Al Qaeda?
8. Sand nigger
9. Towel head
10. If I’m mean to you, is your dad going to blow me up?
11. What does your hair even look like under there? Do you ever wash it?
12. You’ve been randomly selected for a security screening
13. America hater
14. Jihadist
15. Allah is not God; he’s just a pimp to pedophiles
16.If you’re black, why are you Muslim? Muslims can’t be black
17. You cover yourself to pretend you’re innocent
18. Aren’t all Muslims from the Middle East?
19. Jew hater
20. Your religion is stuck in the dark ages
21. If you’re Muslim, why are you in a biblical studies class? Let me show you where the MESAS department is

[now the girl’s face will come into focus]

Girl 1: Greek Life isn’t for me, and that’s not because of the fact that I am Muslim.
Girl 2: The fact that I am Muslim does not mean I can’t be in a sorority.
Girl 3: Don’t use the excuse that you’re drunk to say something offensive to me at a frat party.
Girl 1: Don’t assume that I’m a good or bad girl, because I wear a headscarf.Get to know me.
Boy 1: I don’t have to drink to know how to have fun
Girl 4: Just because I value modesty,and respect myself doesn’t mean that you should respect me less.
Together: Don’t assume anything
Boy 2: Just because I look like this, it does not make me a terrorist.
Girl 5: I love America. That’s why I live here.
Girl 2: Just because I’m Muslim, doesn’t mean I hate people of other religions.
Boy 4: My family hates Al Qaeda as much as you do
Girl 3: My family grieved after 9/11 too.
Boy 2: I don’t mind getting randomly selected, because I know I’ve done nothing wrong
Together: Terrorism has no religion
Boy 3: Not all Muslims are from the Middle East
Boy 2: Not all people from the Middle East are Muslims
Together: My religion has no race
Girl 3: My dad has one wife and he loves her very much
Boy 4: I don’t think women are unequal to men
Together: I am not so different from you
Boy 2: I may be Muslim but, I am so much more than that
Girl 1: I am_______
Boy 1: I am ________
Girl 2: I am________
Girl 3: I am______
Boy 2: I am a person
Together: You can’t fit me in a box
Boy 3: I am_________
Girl 4: I am ________
Boy 4: I am_______
Girl 5: I am_________
Boy 2: But above all
Together: I am an American too.

[then there’s a title sequence that says: Don’t discriminate. Stop the Hate. Educate. with a link at the bottom leading to my website]

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tactical Media Bitstrip


Melodrama in SIte and Project

My knowledge of melodrama has shaped both my website and tactical media project in various ways. Understanding the classic, melodramatic theme of hero vs villain 

How Melodrama has effected my Website and Tactical Media Project

Both my website and my tactical media project have been influenced by the concepts of melodrama that I learned about in ENG 212W. In my website I note multiple sources on melodrama covered in class including work from  Marc Bousquet, Elizabeth Anker, and Linda Williams. I used those ideas to make a hypothesis that exposing the melodramatic techniques utilized in those works would be an effective way to demonstrate millennial mobility.

The role of Melodrama In my Project

       My project has a sort of complex relationship with melodrama. The motivation for my research was to expose more complexity, ambiguity, and gray area in how people think about and identify Muslim Americans. It was to combat the melodramatic way in which the media portrayed Muslims post-9/11. I needed a narrow facet in which to study the effects of the melodramaticizing, but in my research, I came across a problem. People in Greek Life did not seem to be more prone to discriminating against Muslims than the average American. My research website then, works to dispel melodramatic tendencies by acknowledging the complexity and ambiguity of what it means to be a Muslim American in tandem with Greek Life and of identity in general. When it came to the video project, I was really stuck on the "naming an enemy" part of a melodramatically effective piece of tactical media. I kept trying to make Greek Life the villain and Muslims the victim, but my research did not support that finding and I didn't want to create a problem where there wasn't one as melodrama often does. I then realized that I should take a completely different route naming melodrama and the stereotyping it creates as the enemy.

Melodrama and my project

A big part of my project is spreading awareness and encouraging registration for the bone marrow donor registry.  A common and often effective way of bringing attention to this cause uses melodramatic techniques presenting patients as victims, cancer and the lack of volunteer donors as the villains, and donors in the registry as heroes.  There are many videos and graphics that emphasize the horrible lack of representation of minorities in the registry.  However my research that when called to donate, people in the registry often back out if they joined specifically because they felt that their ethnic group needed more representation or if they joined in honor of a specific patient.  As a result I have tried to make the activism portion of my project focused around education and positive connotations rather than the need for minorities or specific patients in hopes of garnering

Melodrama in my Projects

I have seen very clearly this year the power of melodrama. Having learned about how and why melodrama is used, I have been very aware of the effects both of using melodrama, and of withholding it. My topic is sexual assault, one that is seen ad innately melodramatic in its clear villains and evident victims who have their innocence stolen. Others think that many cases of alleged sexual assaults are purposely, and wrongly made out to be overly melodramatic-- a reaction that I have shown as highly inimical to victims and society as a whole. I thus tried to limit the use of added melodramatic elements as I felt that presenting the facts in a strait forward manner would be powerful enough on its own to pursued my audience to see how serious the issue I am discussing is and how important it is to address it. I hoped to show how people were trying to downplay what is a truly, innately, melodramatic issue.

My storyboard


Knowledge of Melodrama in Relation to my Project.

Several elements of melodrama, that I didn't know about before this class have helped me to create a melodramatic website and video with regards to my issue - anxiety on college campus. The first is naming the enemy - which I have struggled with in my website. I relished the opportunity to name the enemy when I was writing pages for my website. But I forgot that sometimes naming the enemy so explicitly can backfire. So while I name the enemy "Midsize University Administration", it is masked. I spend most of my tactical media project to focus both on the gilded college advertisements and what the truth can be in real life. In this sense, I make fun of the advertisements, while also bringing awareness to the victim - which is an important element of melodrama.

There are also melodramatic elements to the website. I kept the website clean with a 60s, creepy typewriter font. I splash pictures of ambulances, dark skies and pills on the pages so they stand out against the white background.

Melodrama in my website and project

Melodrama, as I choose to implement it, takes the form of exaggeration in the name of urgency. Exaggerate the dichotomy between good and evil. Exaggerate the relevance between the issue and the average modern life. Exaggerate the toll this will take on society. Melodrama proves essential to both my website and project because, in the grand scheme of things, the Holocaust pales in comparison to other, more recent and more relevant tragedies. Without this exaggeration, the Holocaust would fade into the pages of history books, as distant and irrelevant to modernity as the Civil War or the Storming of the Bastille.

Tactical Media

My music video in my attempt at tactical media in order to encourage more people to swab and join the bone marrow and stem cell donor registry.  My project in particular relates to Patricia Aufderheide’s definition as something to “expand the ability to act of the public as the public—as people who have in common both their shared problems and the need for a shared solution.”  People of all races, ages, religions, economic class, gender, and sexuality have been affected by cancer and could be or know the next patient who needs a donor and can’t find one in their family.  Another insightful Patricia, Patricia Spyer describes tactical media as “crucially, like other media, they open a space for a range of situated readings and viewings; potentially they inspire a divergence of individual and collective actions.”  I hope that my video encourages people to think about donating in a different, more positive outlook and ultimately encourage them to join the registry.

Tactical Media Project

For my tactical media project, I plan on satirizing the American educational system by creating a spoof video based on the reality television show House Hunters.  In this show, a host takes couples who are shopping for a new home around to see three houses that the host thinks they would like to move into based on their preferences.  My intention is to create an episode of a show called School Hunters where I am the host, and I show a couple three high schools where they can potentially enroll their child.  The three schools would be an urban public school, an elite private school, and a strict Catholic school in an attempt to include the main types of schools that compose the educational system.  Each school will be an exaggerated version of what the school actually is in an attempt to address the disparities in the experiences the average students of these schools have in a comedic way.  Based on my intentions for my project, I think that it best fits the definitions of Dee Dee Haleck and Gregg Bordowitz.  Haleck defines tactical media as "creative solidarity in the fight for justice and democracy: resistance to the rampant tendencies toward repression, exploitation, isolation, alienation and corporatization", which I feel describes my project extremely well since my purpose for making it is to draw attention to the differences in the qualities of these schools and experiences of their students in order to provoke educational reform and provide a more just system for all kids regardless of race or socioeconomic status.  Furthermore, in Bordowitz's poetic definition of tactical media, he says things like "Tactical media is always collectively produced, even when an individual author produces it....Tactical media is not suspicious of strong emotions. It is wary of how emotions can move people to action; and yet, tactical media is about moving people to action....Tactical media has an ironic sense of humor and a sincere heart."  This also describes my project extremely well because it is meant to add to the existing conversation about the achievement gap and educational reform, is supposed to ignite a fire within people that makes them want to actively try to change the educational system, and it is meant to do so in a way that is humorous but still has a serious underlying message.

shooting script and storyboard

Below is the script of the first interview with my friend Coco. The other interviews will be in a form very similar to this. 

I stand in a corridor of my dorm and introduce that I'm going to fake a message and tell my Chinese friends that plastic bags are going to be free again in China. I'll ask them whether they will use their own shopping bags since the plastic-bag is no longer effective. Also, I expect some personal views on white pollution solution.
I then walk and go visit one of my friends in her dorm room. 
(The camera takes medium-long shot and the scenes include both me and Coco)
Me:Hi!Coco,how are you doing? Can I ask you something?
Coco:Yeah, sure. What is it?
Me:Do you know that plastic bags are free again in China?
Coco:Really? I didn't know about that.
Me: How do you feel about this?
Coco: Well,I don't understand why the ban is suddenly no longer effective. But I think I may still bring my own shopping bags. 
Me: Is it because you know plastic bags can cause serious pollution?
Coco: Yes. That may be one of the reasons. But I don't know about
my grandparents. They mostly use plastic bags to contain trash and
other stuff.They must be really happy to have free bags again.
Me: Yeah, it's not easy for them to change their habits.
Me: At least it's good to know that young people like you are conscious about harm of white pollution.
Coco: Thank you. White pollution is really "obnoxious".
I stand in the lounge and tell the camera that the first interview is over.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tactical Media Project and Definitions

   My tactical media project is going to follow a social experiment. It shall have a disclaimer that not all of the events expressed in the video do not claim to be absolute reality. I plan to publish a "secret" anonymously on the University's "secrets" Facebook page that expresses a true event that deals with discrimination and stereotyping of Muslim American students within the college subculture of Greek Life. I will then create a video diary following the development of the reactions online inter-spliced with the clips of students' reactions to the post. This follows along with Hallek's definition of tactical media in that it is meant to lead to greater democracy through acknowledgement of "tendencies toward repression...and alienation." Also, in holding with Spyer's definition, this piece is directly related to using the infrastructure of broadcasting with non-traditional messages in the production. It is meant to
"inspire the divergence of independent and collective actions."


Storyboard in bitstrip form

Tactical media project

My plan for the video encompasses a call to action in the form of spoken word poetry. I begin with the observation that our modern world loves to fixate on tragedy, to turn it almost into amusement. I segue into the notion that, in order to make the Holocaust relevant again, we must make it the next chic tragedy. In lieu of explaining it all, here is my current script:

We live in a world of phenomenon
Tragedies happen every day
But we pick the ones to care about
Or rather
“They” do
They glom onto an event and show it on the news for 24 hours a day
They interview friends
And family
And use technology to reenact
And dissect every possible cause of this tragedy
They show you a pretty woman with impeccable hair
And a voice dripping with false concern
They drown you
They consume you
They play the same footage over
And over
Until finally you feel like an asshole for mentally begging to stop hearing about Columbine
About the Dark Knight Shooting
About Sandy Hook
About Haiti
About the Boston marathon
About the Malaysia flight
They exploit our short attention spans, our compulsive need to feel guilty and sad for things that truly have no bearing on our lives
And we fall for it
So what can we do?
We can’t change the world
But we can use it to our advantage
We can make the Holocaust our next tragedy of the minute
The trendy event to care about
But why now?
What sense of urgency can we convey about an event that ended 70 years ago?
Survivors are dying
If we want to follow “their” tried and true phenomenon method, we need the interviews
The people
The personal connection
We need it now
We need to become “them”
So do it
Call your grandparents
They’d be glad to hear from you anyway
Call your friends
Call anyone who might be holding on to a fact
A story
A life
And release it
Post it anywhere
Post it on Facebook
This is our last chance to bridge the gap between history and phenomenon
Between truth and media
Between then and now
At least for the Holocaust
The Book Thief just grossed over 70 million dollars at the box office
One million dollars for every year since the Holocaust ended
The Book Thief is a movie
Based on a book
Loosely rooted in historical fiction
Imagine what we could do with the truth?
With old and young coming together in truth?
There are millions of stories out there
Hovering just at the edge
Waiting for a call like this
We just have to make people want to find them
To read them
To share them
Make the Holocaust the trendy cause
Make the Holocaust relevant again
Make the Holocaust part of the now
Share your stories
Holocaust means fire
Fire because towns were burned
Fire because lives were burned
Fire because worlds were burned
But now
We can start our own fire
Light the fire
Light the Holocaust
Light the phenomenon

I am still struggling with how to turn this into a video, but I am working on it.