Monday, April 16, 2012

my montage - telling a story through video

I filmed, edited and produced a montage for my Television Production course at college. It took about four hours to get enough footage to fill the required three and a half minutes. I'll admit I was dreading the editing process, but thankfully it kind of turned out to be my favorite part (all 14 hours of it!).

It's amazing how much your footage can come to life with a powerful song and the right shot composition. I give a lot of credit to full-time videographers and editors who's work often takes the back seat to their talent. I don't think the right responses to what we see on screen could ever be achieved if our shots were static and boring and our edits poorly done. The project truly made me recognize how much work goes into something as short as three minutes.

I've always been interested in camera work (although never properly trained until now). I've also always loved photography and appreciate beautifully captured photographs. I'm starting to experiment with photography more than I ever have before, while remembering what I've learned in class of what makes a good shot (shallow depth of field and rack focus are your best friends).

I've written many stories for my journalism and creative writing courses, but all were done with the classic pen and paper. Telling the story that life is beautiful and fun through a montage was both a challenge and a reward. It was wonderful to tell a story through a different medium, and I couldn't be happier with the final product.

You can watch my montage here.

Thank you to my amazing boyfriend (my go-to white balancer) and talent for helping this project, this vision, come to life! Who knew dancing to only my clapping and terrible singing could turn out so nicely!


a twitter engagement

A Winnipeg man proposed to his girlfriend last Friday, April 13th. While it may be the typical happy ending most girls dream of, there was something not so typical about the events leading up to his proposal.

He took his fiance (spoiler, she said yes!) to eight different dates throughout the day, each one with it's own special story about their relationship which is cute. And the whole time he was live tweeting about it. Yes, he was live tweeting the events leading up to and including his proposal.

This is the first I've heard of such a thing and I'm not sure if I'd be sold on it myself (I'd probably become annoyed if, while on our dates, he was on his phone the whole time). But nevertheless, I'm writing about it because it just shows how much social media is becoming a part of our lives. The ways in which people find ways to use social media never ceases to amaze me and I'm not sure if I can predict what sorts of unconventional uses of it we'll start seeing!

Anyway, I'm happy for the lovebirds as always enjoy a happy, romantic ending. The hashtag received a lot of responses and he tweeted during dates quite frequently. Check out how he went about it and search the hastag #MikeProposes on Twitter.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

the web is what you make of it

Not only am I a fan of Lady Gaga's music, but I'm a fan of this video!

I think it's amazing when celebrities acknowledge their fans to extremes such as this. Gaga has over 22.5 million followers on Twitter and uses the web positively, responds to her community directly and keeps building her fan base as a result.

I also believe in the power of positivity when using social media. Enjoy this video!

Monday, April 09, 2012

big bra hunt

This sounds like a cool PR campaign- donate bras to help end poverty in western Africa. Since I'm entering the public relations field after graduating next April, this campaign strikes me as the sort of thing I'd like to be a part of one day :)

Bras are a commodity in developing nations because they're hard to manufacture which is why Oxfam is launching this project (it launched April 1st). I'm just starting to learn about it, but click the below links for more info. Thought this would be interesting to share!

Big Bra Hunt: Don't bin them, recycle them!

Oxfam launches Big Bra Hunt

English television and radio personality, Zoe Ball supports the cause:

The journey of a donated bra:

Dionysus in Stony Mountain

                                    Sarah Constible as "Heidi"

Dionysus in Stony Mountain, staged at the Rachel Browne Theatre and produced by Theatre Projects Manitoba, is directed by Bill Kerr. The play revolves around only two characters. Told in two Acts, the first revolves around Heidi and James.

Heidi, played by Sarah Constible, is a prison psychiatrist who is trying to help her inmate patient, James. James, played by Ross McMillan, is approaching his parole hearing. His treatment has been going well and Heidi is optimistic until she learns he’s no longer taking his medication.

James claims he’s seeing the world more clearly and finally feels as though his brain isn’t clouded by medication. He’s become obsessed with reading the works of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and rants and raves about Nietzsche’s beliefs, something he did when he was previously off medication. To Heidi, this is a sign of slipping back into mental instability.

James feels like he’s no longer a prisoner of his mind, and therefore, no longer a prisoner of Stony Mountain. It’s as if he’s come to terms with why he’s there (jailed for murdering his wife) and that he’s made a new discovery about people’s existence. He says being on his medication prohibits him from thinking so deeply.

The two characters compete with their ideas and definitions of what insanity, mania and the purposes of prisons are in heavy, intellectual discourse. The play is almost purely dialogue and the two spit off convoluted and compelling ideas. They make this look surprisingly easy and I very much appreciated their acting abilities for this reason.

Heidi stresses to James that he needs to take his medication or else he won’t be released from prison. James says he’s not the prisoner- she is. He says she’s too deep in her line of work and doesn’t understand the world around her like he does. Essentially, this Act raises the question…who’s the imprisoned one? 

The boundaries of the psychiatrist/ patient relationship are crossed when Heidi tells James she will quit her job and give up psychiatry is he goes back on his medication. They both comply so James can be free, and the second Act revolves around her defending this choice to her uncle Eric (also played by McMillan). This Act focuses more on Heidi and how she struggles with defining justice and mental illness.

I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy the play once I realized how much it focused on dialogue, but I ended up enjoying the higher level of thinking it required. Dionysus raises many questions about our society and how we treat each other. Imprisoning the mentally ill has been going on for years to the point where society doesn’t really question the action. Since I watched this play as part of a journalism assignment, I couldn’t help but relate the play’s story to journalism itself.

The procedure of imprisoning the mentally ill again and again is like telling crime stories the same way again and again. To explain…

In Act one, Heidi says she’s listening to what James is saying, but admits she’s having a hard time seeing things his way. This is probably due to her deep-rooted psychiatric values. It’s as if she’s seeing James the way she wants to see him. James essentially accuses her of this and says she’s “giving up thinking to be a cheerleader”. This immediately made me think of biased journalism and how some journalists see only the story they want to see and tell it so, cheerleaders of their interpretations.

When Heidi says she did listen to what James had to say but thinks he still needs medication, James says “you didn’t listen, you observed symptoms”. For me, this really stressed how important objectivity is in journalism. As journalists, we should not see the story we want to see, but instead explore all stems of the story in front of us to understand and report the whole picture.

James has come to terms with his imprisonment through Nietzsche’s works of enlightenment. In crime stories, we tend to learn the victim’s story or the judge’s story. But do we ever really learn the convicted’s story? In the play, James said some of his fellow prisoners in Stony Mountain were there because of their terrible upbringing and mental instability. Yes, they still committed murders and that is definitely not acceptable, but maybe crime stories should tell the convicted’s story too.

This might help us understand the whole story and help explain the injustice of their actions. If crime stories are where we differentiate from good and evil, then it might help us cope with injustices in society if we have a better idea of how the evil generated. In this way, readers of journalism stories may be enlightened. 

                               Heidi convinces James to go back on his medication