Visual Novel Essay

Artist Note:


For my final project, I wanted to create an essay that was meant to educate people on what a visual novels exactly is. In short, a visual novel is a sub genre of gaming that’s popular in Japan, while the Western Audience mostly doesn’t know about these games. In the beginning of this semester whenever these games were brought up, people mostly didn’t even know what I was talking about. I thought this was interesting, so I wanted to use what games I played to showcase some of the best titles in the genre.  The games that were used in the video are 999, Steins;Gate, Cinderella phenomenon, and Code Realize. Besides Cinderella, which I recorded gameplay footage myself, the rest of the footage I grabbed off of YouTube.

While I did have fun working on this project, I definitely had some obstacles to overcome. For example, for the voiceover, I ended up getting super nervous and kept stumbling over my words. This led to a bunch of re dos and trying to slow down while also trying to have a casual tone that was consistent throughout the video. I also had to figure out what clips to use that would best match my words.  I feel like making this video was important to me because it was such an accomplishment for me to do. I mean that in the sense that prior to taking this class, I have never even done anything close to what I just did (I mean, the first video I did for this class kind of proves that.) So, as I looking back on everything I did, I feel pretty good.


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Video Essay Post

Video Essays are a new and visual way for people to learn information. I, personally, think it’s more interesting the usage of spare text, imagery, and sound.

I feel that video essays are especially essential when learning about cinema. As a visual learner, it is beneficial to watch, for example, Every Frame a Painting’s videos that go into detail about why certain scenes works, and where an editor should cut. If this were completely in text, this wouldn’t work as well since film is such a visual medium. Since starting this class, I have watched a lot of youtube videos that specifically are about what makes a scene work and the composition of a scene. I’ve found them really interesting and helpful when I do work for this class. It’s also reinforced my understanding of the work that we do in the class.


For my final project, I want to make a video essay that is about visual novels. A lot of people don’t seem to know what a visual novel is, so I thought it would be fun to make a video that shows them what it is. Admittedly, it’s a genre of gaming that isn’t too popular over here, but super popular over in Japan. To be honest, I’m still working over the structure of the essay, but I know a few examples of visual novels that I want to talk about. So far, I’m going to talk about 999, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Steins; Gate, and Code Realize. What I am going to need for my essay will be gameplay/trailer clips from Youtube, a decent mic for voiceover, and a good script/essay.


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Interactive Cinema Post

For the interactive story I chose, I decided to take a look at DreamingMethod’s The Flat. I was surprised by what a creepy atmosphere it had! Granted, I am a complete ‘fraidy cat. However, this game is interesting in the sense that the player traverses through a flat, in first person view, that uses multiple images, sparsely used abstract text (that purposely makes it a challenge for the player to piece together) and some sounds. It’s also a point and click as the player uses their mouse to proceed through the flat (with each room being clickable making this an example of linking) to find information that will give context to the player. During my exploration of the interactive story, I was preparing myself for the worst: a jump scare. I only really got one during my time in the bedroom when I was standing in front of the closet. A man’s face appeared and my first thought was to get away from the room. The second time was when I left the living room (I’m pretty sure it was the living anyway..) and the main character’s translucent hands appeared as they lifted them up for inspection. This all works well with the game.

The whole combination makes for a creepy game. This game responds to an algorithm as the player has to make a decision which rooms to enter and what items they can take a closer look at.

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How to Youtube

I think what makes a good youtube channel is many things.  For example, a lot of people tend to make titles that are misleading from what the video is about (the video didn’t mention this, but this is called, Click Bait.) This is very off putting as the viewer feels a little cheated. I also feel that it’s important if the youtuber puts in the effort to make their videos have a nice quality to them (in terms of thumbnail art, quality of the picture and sound.) It makes the videos more professional, and it gives off the impression that the creator cares about the content that’s being made.

From one of the videos, they mentioned collabs between youtubers. I have seen this method work really well. In the past, I have been introduced to new channels through this method. For example, I used to watch a channel called, Sharmander (it’s basically about a Canadian girl who moved to Japan.) and I was introduced to more youtubers who also live in Japan. My point is that I wouldn’t have found these other people if Sharmander hadn’t done collaborations.

There’s something else that I believe is important. I think it’s the person’s personality. What I mean is that the person has to have a personality that draws viewers in some way. Not to say that passion for what the youtuber focuses on isn’t important, but I think personality and/or charm is important, too.

My favorite youtuber right now is Taylor R. I was introduced to her channel when Sharmander did a collaboration with her a few months ago. She has a charming personality, kind and is always doing something fun.

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For my interview, I decided to ask my mom a series of questions. I wanted to avoid using a lot of effects, so I just used transitional effects. The biggest issue I faced was using the noise reduction effect in Audition, as well as Premiere having some sort of issue. What happened was that after exporting the file back to Premiere, it had to shut itself down. When I tried opening it back up, Premiere ending up creating a copy of the file I was working on. So yeah, I’m not too sure why that happened.


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Digital Cinema Hybrid

So, I made a video only using two different trailers from the anime series, Mob Psycho 100.


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Digital Cinema/Hybrid Cinema

As technology is advancing, so is the way we define cinema. In films such as The Man with a Camera, the way the film was shot organically. In fact, film was hard to manipulate back in the day. In the text, it was said that film was originally a way to preserve the way reality was back in that time much like a photograph. Nowadays, effects are being used to manipulate what the viewer sees in the film. For example, many directors use green screens to create environments that the actors aren’t actually interacting with directly. A good example of this is the character, Daenerys from the Game of Thrones series. In the series, she is interacts with dragons quite a lot. Obviously, there aren’t actually dragons, but with the special effects team and a green screen, the final scenes can make it look like there are.


In The Star Wars Wars, films 1-6 are all layered on top of each other to create one incomprehensible film. This is a form of compositing. It’s an interesting way to create a hybrid cinema.


The Play Damage is a series of images and sounds being altered to create shorts that have heavy special effects. The way that the space is being altered is that the artist(s) are using copyrighted songs that are mixed with imagery that create different spaces. In Manovich’s article, he mentions how animation is used as symbolism.

“The opposition between the styles of animation and cinema defined the culture of the moving image in the 20th century. Animation foregrounds its artificial character, openly admitting that its images are mere representations.” (Manovich, 6)



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Visual Evidence

If I were to interview someone for the Eagle Creek fire tragedy, here’s how I would do it. I would interview the first person to report it. During the person talking, I would create a B-roll that was pan images of what the forest used to look like, with people walking and looking at the scenery, and the animals who inhabited the forest.

I would also interview the firemen who worked on the fire. The B-roll would cut away to people who live in the area with masks over their faces to protect themselves from the smoke. I would also cut away to firemen who were trying to put the fire out. I would also do closeups of both the firemen and the looks of grim determination (if it could be foun d)and the looks of sadness of the residents.

The last interview I would do is teens from Vancouver whose reputation has been tarnished by the kids who started the fire in the first place. I feel that would be important because it would show other people that not all teens are like that. The b-roll would be teens who were trying to help in any way possible, and show them tearing up knowing that Eagle Creek will never be the same again. I feel the shots that would be most effective would be extreme close up and regular close up. However, as the reading states, I would have to be aware of the fact whether or not the scene was actually there.

“I remain convinced that the tender, almost loving, moment between Miss Darling and the boy actually occurred the way I witnessed it, but there was no way I could use the footage we had shot to communicate to an audience what I had seen and felt. Even describing it in narration wouldn’t do. The evidence simply was not in the footage.” (Hampe, 95.)

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Trailer Mashup

My idea of a movie mashup was to which the Steve from Wonder Woman with the Steve from Captain America, since they have some similarities.


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Run Lola Run

In the film, Run Lola Run, shows a variety of different styles. For example, in the opening and certain parts of the film, there are animation segments. In the beginning of the film, Lola is seen leaving her house, and her mom asks her to pick up shampoo. As this is taking place, the camera pans around the mom until we see the television that segues into an animation segment. There is a lot of resets in the movie. Just like a video game, each time Lola or her boyfriend die, the story resets itself to the shot of the phone falling that’s seen at the beginning of the film. This is a form of time shifting.

“In the digital era, the effect of randomness is very difficult to achieve. In the digital era, the effect of randomness is achieved through careful planning and manipulation of the database, as what appears to be a more natural rendering of reality is in fact the product of technologies that are as manipulative as the classical era, analogue technologies.” (Time Shifting, 216.)

Throughout the film, there are montage sequences that center around random characters the main character briefly come into contact with. Each time the story resets, the montages for the same characters differ each time. Each montage is a series of discontinuous shots that come together to tell a story, which manipulates time.


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DTC Continuity Assignment

So, this is my video. I wanted to do my own twist on the Lunch Date, so the ending is slightly different. I tried to make it flow like an actual Hollywood scene. The basic idea was that the first actress made a bowl of cereal. She takes a bites and leaves on the counter for a moment. In walks in the second actress whose character had a very bad day and wants something to eat. She takes the bowl and leaves. First actress walks backs and notices the missing bowl of cereal and leaves again feeling disgruntled.

What worked was some of the camera movement and cohesive as a story. What also worked was some of the shots which included, close up, zero frame and an establishing shot. I tried to vary the different shots. I also told both actors to act naturally, as I followed them around with the camera.

Some of the things that didn’t work was some of my editing was a little clunky. I also didn’t have much variety in my some of my shots, and could’ve used some match up shots. I also could’ve shortened some of the scenes in the beginning. I also realized that there was a continuity issue towards the end of the sequence. When the second actress walks in, she comes in from the left side of the room. When the first actress comes back, she reenters from the same hallway that the second actress went through, thus creating a continuity error.


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Time Frame

So, here are the three gifs I have picked out.

So, this gif comes from a manga called, “One Punch Man” that’s really popular right now. Random fun fact: The artist who drew worked as an animator for a few years, and fans of the manga put together panels and found that they flow together like a whole sequence.

I feel this gif really fits the subjective motion concept. “Subjective Motion, as I call it, operates on the assumption  that if observing a moving object can be involving, being the object should be more so.” (McCloud 114.) What I mean by that is how the reader follows the blast from the point to where it was shot to where its intended target is. This makes the reader feel as if the action is impactful. McCloud mentions in the comic, “If you’re going to paint the world, paint it with motion” (109). Each frame seamlessly blends together to make a series of panels blend into one sequence as the action is going on. The interesting usage of time in this is Genos (the one shooting) aims with his incinerator and try to hit Saitama.












It’s a gif of a simple cup of coffee. The steam coming off of the coffee has a seamless animation loop. It makes it difficult for me to decipher when it loops exactly. There is an illusion here that deceives the viewer into thinking that this cup is forever giving off steam, but it’s probably only a few frames “When the Content of a silent panel offers no clues as to its duration, it can also produce a sense of timelessness.” (McCloud 102.)










The third gif depicts a kitten managing to dislodge a Jenga piece from the bottom of a tower. The gif plays within the idea of motion as the kitten repeats the same actions again and again. “But just as a single panel can represent sound – so too can a panel represent a span of time through pictures.” (McCloud 110)

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Favorite Scene in a Film – Narrative Space

The film I chose to examine each shot of is, “Pacific Rim.”

I would consider this to be a full body shot.

Raleigh is testing to see who will be drift compatible with him, to be able to pilot the mecha.

This is a wide angle shot. I also think this is a 3/4 over the shoulder shot with a slight high shot.

Mako (girl on the right) thinks that Raleigh could easily do a better job of fighting.







Another medium (waist up) shot

Raleigh challenges Mako to fight him.

medium close up



Mako clearly wants to fight, but Becket says no. This shot works because we can perfectly see Mako’s expression and her silently asking if she can try to fight him.



Mako gets into the ring.

I’m not sure how what kind of shot I would call this. I guess a zoom shot?







Mako ends up getting the first hit in. This shot works because it shows the Mako is on a similar level to Raleigh when it comes to strength.

I would classify this as a 3/4 angle shot.






wide angle

This shot works because it shows that Mako and Raleigh really challenge each other in the ring.












This is a zoom shot.

This works because this is focused on Mako and her perspective as Becket brings Mako out of the moment.


medium (waist up)

In this last shot, Becket stops the fight. Raleigh then says that should be his new co-pilot.



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Death of Cinema

Cinema as we knew it may be dead, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Initially, Cinema was mostly catered to the rich, and it wasn’t as accessible to the common people until the video cassettes came out. In the article “What Was Cinema?” it states that it was only until 1989 that videocassettes were made available to the public. Nowadays, theaters main objective is to boost sales for DVDs and different forms of merchandise. “Theatrical screening of films is a marketing device to enhance video/DVD sales and to promote and sustain franchises in toys, games and related sources of revenue.” (27)  . More importantly, it became more accessible for people to watch and take interest in, and potentially get inspired to get into the filmmaker business.

I also feel like almost any art goes through an evolution of some sort. Just because the way we make films nowadays are different, it doesn’t mean that the quality of the film has gone down because of it.  A good film can still a good film no matter what was being used to film it.

Today, many people use cameras and vlogging as a form of automatism. I am an avid watcher of vlogs and DIYs on YouTube. I tend to watch people vlog from different parts of the world, particularly Japan. I find these videos both educational and interesting. I find them interesting because I get to know and understand the vlogggers on an emotional and feel like I have some sort of connection to them. I also feel a realistic connection to them because it has a more authentic feel to them, as opposed to the scripted reality television shows.


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Hello There!


My name is Allison. It’s my very first week here at WSU. So far, it’s a pretty cool school here. My major is DTC, which is pretty exciting. My aim in this class to learn as much as possible and hope to apply everything I learn here to a job in the future. I’m keeping a pretty open mind to what I want to do, but I do have an interest in Video Games and Coding.


Speaking of which, I have some experience in Illustrator and Photoshop, and a little in Coding. So, I don’t have any experience with filming of any sort, but I’m willing to learn. I hope to learn as much as possible in the DTC program, and find a career in there somewhere. As for what I have, I have an iPhone 7 as a camera, and a Tripod. So, there’s that.

So, I decided to add a kitten video, because there’s always a need to watch kitten videos.



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