There is a fine line between ‘Criticising’ and ‘Critiquing’; To criticise means to negatively find a fault in a piece of work; it questions the artist more than the artwork itself. Elbert Hubbard once said “there is only one way to avoid criticism; do nothing, say nothing and be nothing.” To critique means to review the structure and find what needs to be changed; it questions what can be done to improve? Wiz Khalifa once said “I critique myself way harder than anyone else ever could.”
As a Media Practitioner, it is paramount that I should be able to critique my own work in order to progress. However to progress, to even make a trace of existence in this competitive industry I must evaluate the work of professionals; after all it is them that are being paid to film Taron Egerton, not a first year Media Production Student.
For the duration of 161MC: Creating Impact in Media Production module, I was able to find out what separates those professionals from me, an amateur. Aside from my minimal experience in the field, I am not exactly knowledgeable when it comes to creating an impact – or at least I wasn’t before beginning this module.
To further assess my professional development and progression I am going to give you a week-by-week overview.
Week one was the study of how we are portrayed online, essentially it questions ‘how are we presented to our online audience?’ I began to think about the accounts that I had; there was my profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. However those sites didn’t see me as a ‘professional’ as such; they saw me as Jess from a small town in Northern Ireland, studying at Coventry University. As for WordPress, I am one of three people; a Poet, a Travel/Fitness fanatic or a Media student. To me none of my online accounts screamed ‘professional’, they were all very informal and personal.
It was time I reinvented my online persona, but in order to do that I needed to know what ‘my brand’ was. As MTV’s Catfish shows us, in the online world, we can choose to be who we want to be, it also tells us that we should be ourselves – because we’ll get caught out if we lie.
Figuring out my brand was an easier process that I assumed it would be; I knew I wanted to be creative and arty. Reflecting my brand online was the hard part. I created a TV Ident (sting) over the Christmas holidays to see if that would spark some inspiration on my image. I came up with the name ‘Creative Ink. Productions’ which suggested the creativity part and that I like to write, which is exactly the person who I want to be seen as. The next step was to take over Twitter, instead of being just your average Irish I am now ‘A Student #Production Company based in UK. #AVGeek & Photo-Journ. In the process of development with interest in the Rom-Com & Documentary genre.’ (@CreativeInkPro, 2014.) Eventually my sting lead me to creating a logo for my production company, it gave my image a more official look and meant I could use it to further my social media appearance.
Presently in the media industry it is getting increasingly difficult to get noticed by anyone, let alone making a impact. In the film PressPausePlay a music artist called Moby mentioned “-so if you give a human a hammer and a piece of wood, they are going to make something interesting. Now everybody is a photographer, everybody’s a filmmaker”(Dworsky and Köhler, 2011.) if that is true, I was left to think, what was the point in competing with a position that has already been filled? However, if I want to make an impact, beginning with developing my brand and starting now was the first step.
The second week turned us into “eco-friendly” students and required us to recycle material and remix it into a new narrative. I choose to make an experimental piece by remixing four clips of footage created in the 160MC module and by using ‘Definitely, Maybe’ as the core of a new film trailer. I fitted both sets of footage with clips from the likes of Friends, Catfish and BBC NI’s documentary series The Estate.
This was a task I found to be quite challenging because it was my first time independently editing anything on Premiere Pro. Overall with this task, despite many redrafts I was very pleased with the feedback and the way it turned out. In the end, a piece I now see as a learning curve, proved to be seen as a comedic piece also, by my peers. Showing my work to the rest of the class, equipped me in being open to critiques and also compliments.
Steven Spielberg said “people have forgotten how to tell a story; stories don’t have a middle or an end anymore. Stories have a beginning that never stops beginning”, its a quote that brought me out of comfort zone and to the next process in my development.
During week three we discussed distribution packs for films which included a film’s synopsis, cast, crew, budget, location and equipment. I found this task the hardest out of all because we had to present our idea to our a group of people in class. My short film ‘What Happened to Alice?’ was something I pitched before to a TV Producer last year, who did not take a liking to the idea, or a liking to my pitch. This rejection has always left a negative impact in my mind and left me question my ability in pitching.
It was essential for me that this time round, I was more clear of the concept of my idea. Despite having had the experience of helping to compile a production pack for my final college project – a short film entitled ‘Betrayal’, this was an individual task which took a lot of extensive researching. It was another task I struggled with as I was unsure on the budget aspect.
Week four was my favourite week overall. The task required us to use only ‘web 2.0’ tools to retell a classic story into a social and digital perspective. Basically to introduce a classical narrative into the world of ‘New Media’, which I found very interesting because new media is an ongoing development, “new media will always reflect the date on which the list is generated” (Burgees, E. Bruns, A. A Companion to New Media Dynamics.)
I had a lot of fun with this task as my chosen story Alice in Wonderland is a story that never gets tires. Although to some extent I did feel like these types of literature should be left untouched and should be told in their original forms. Putting something as timeless as Lewis Carroll’s Alice into the ‘New Media’ world felt like I was spoiling it, “spoiling emerged from the mismatch temporaries and geographies of old and new media.” (Jenkins, H. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide.)
During the week’s lecture I learnt a very valuable and transferable skill of storytelling, “for a story to occur, something extraordinary must happen to so upset the balance of a chosen character’s life that he is then impelled top pursue a goal generated by the change in his life.” (Moritz, C, Scriptwriting for the Screen.)
As an avid writer it reassured me that I had mastered the skill of telling a story through Tzvetan Todorvo’s theory. Using screen recording to tell the story was fun, I previously used this technique in an Apple Advert I made and loved doing it. Admittedly this task came with another learning curve on the editing; it was the first time I learnt how to crop footage on Premiere Pro.
During week five we learnt about Collective Storytelling, this is where I felt slightly pressured into coming up with an idea during the lecture. I came into question that since I couldn’t verbally say a story on the spot meant I wasn’t really a storyteller so immediately I didn’t feel positive about this task. I understood that this task really linked in with week four as both required telling a story.
For this task, in pairs, we experimented by using two Ping Pong balls to tell the ‘greatest story ever told’. It was something I enjoyed creating however it restricted me to a skill I don’t have; drawing. I love Stop Motion animation and I felt Vine was a great outlet to express that interest in because it made Ping and Pong’s story simple to create.
Week six brought us to our final task learning about interactive documentaries or ‘i-docs’, which I experimented with Mozilla Popcorn and created a Top Five list that featured my favourite Ulster/Irish rugby players. I learnt about how interactivity was an effective way to include an audience to information, rather than just show them.
During the lecture we got to interact with a Google Chrome documentary called the Wilderness Downtown which I felt was very well put together. The aim of this task linked well with task two as Mozilla Popcorn Maker’s aim is to remix old material to spark new ideas and creations. It does “allow people to create amazing content while peeking under the hood of the internet, getting familiar with all the moving parts and getting their hands dirty” (Mozilla Webmaker.)
Aesthetically I thought the delivery of each task was very effective. By doing a new task a week I learnt more about the individual elements used to Create Impact in Media Production. Now I am more encouraged to think that I can actually make an impact in this industry. It just may take a while until we find out if that impact will be a positive one.
Arsenec, P. (2013). Critiquing versus Criticism [online] – Available from http://www.godlywriters.com/critiquing-versus-criticism/
Quote Investigator (2015). To Avoid Criticism, Say Nothing, Do Nothing, Be Nothing. [online] – Available from http://quoteinvestigator.com/2015/01/09/say-nothing/
Brainy Quote. Nd. Wiz Khalifa Quotes [online] – Available from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/wizkhalifa492016.html
Twitter (2014) Creative Ink. Production’s Profile [online] – Available from http://www.twitter.com/CreativeInkPro
Dworsky, D and Köhler, V. (2011.) PressPausePlay [online] – Available from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rvlaTg3vPg
Moritz, C. Nd. Scriptwriting for the Screen. Available from http://www.amazon.co.uk/Scriptwriting-Screen-Skills-Charlie-Moritz/dp/0415465176/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1393844046&sr=8-1&keywords=screenwriting+for+the+screen+moritz
Burgees, E. Bruns, A. (2013). A Companion to New Media Dynamics – Available from http://www.amazon.co.uk/A-Companion-New-Media-Dynamics/dp/1444332244
Jenkins, H. (2008.) Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide – Available from http://www.amazon.co.uk/Convergence-Culture-Where-Media-Collide/dp/0814742955