For my final project, I wanted to focus on developing my cinematic, video editing, and audio skills. The video focuses on my relationship with my new cat and the different ways that she’s helped me in my life. There are a few things that I would like to add to this over time, including more videos and photos of her and a bit more depth to the voiceover. My phone camera wasn’t as good as I would like, so I’m hoping to get a better one to make my videos and photos sharper. I plan on doing this over the summer so I can add it to my portfolio. Overall, I’m glad I was able to do this project and I’m excited to keep working on it and see it evolve.
Here is the draft of my final project!
Kidnapped by Brayden Sathrum.
For my final project, I will be reconstructing my diagrammatic project into a visual, cinematic piece. My plan is to record different backgrounds and short scenes while using the dialogue from the original to help tell the story. The plot will revolve around two siblings that gradually grow apart due to conflict. The story illustrates the chemistry and friendship to eventual fallout. I will be using a mixture of narration, text on-screen, and background footage that fits the dialogue.
The project will be a video with music, video, and text. I plan on making a few changes to make the storyline more suitable for the medium. I want some aspects of the characters to be ambiguous and to focus more on how the imagery, text, and audio tell the story together. My goal is to use the dialogue as meaningfully and sparingly as possible. I’m also hoping to take this project as an opportunity to showcase my video editing, sound mixing, and storytelling skills for my portfolio. As I’ve been going through senior seminar, I’ve realized that highlighting some of these other abilities could be useful. While I’ve been outlining the story, I found several of the in-class video narratives to be great inspirations for how I want to frame my own work. I am also going to watch more short films to get an idea of best practices. Overall, I’m excited to begin this project and develop more of my skills. I believe this will be a strong piece to put on my portfolio once it is finished.
I enjoy playing many narrative games, but one of my favorites is Spiritfarer. In it, you are a young girl with her cat who are chosen to be ferrymasters that find spirits and fulfill their final wishes, eventually taking them to the afterlife. Spiritfarer has a relaxing atmosphere despite the narrative and is often defined as a “cozy” game. A part of the management genre, the goals revolve around building up your boat with new rooms, collecting resources, exploring islands, and fulfilling quests. Besides mini-games, there are no time-sensitive tasks and no way to get a game over. The music and art style are soft and playful, adding to the peaceful ambience.
The plotline mainly comes from the spirits that you meet and bring onto your boat as you travel. Each one is a different animal with their own unique personality and backstory that you learn about as you complete quests for them. The conflicts in the story are minimal or have occurred in the past and are explored through dialogue. Every island adds lore to the spirit world and creates a more immersive experience. In these ways, the mechanics help drive the storyline forward. However, the game itself hinges on the plot and characters, as it is the reason behind all of the tasks you must complete.
I think Spiritfarer is a strong example of weaving storytelling with gameplay. Both sides are intertwined and illustrate how video games can explore complex themes like death. Overall, I think Spiritfarer is a lesser known model of how a game can tell a strong story.
I found the usage of symbols, index, and icons in the story “Forever” by Alan Bigelow to be an interesting way of keeping the audience engaged while still exploring the plot’s themes. The story itself unfolds using commonplace icons like the messaging symbols displayed on the phone. By doing so, it places the user in a situation that feels familiar to them and creates immersion.
Another way in which the story uses icons is how it transitions to different screens that the audience can identify with. An example of this is when it shows “rate your professor” while the text helps the user understand the characters and their personalities better. In doing this, the audience can relate the plot to their own lives as most have probably used similar websites.
Another aspect of the story that I found interesting is the way it uses indexes to focus the audience on a particular video or image. Oftentimes, it is due to a character making a reference that users may not understand. These are typically memes or niche internet inventions. By explaining these to the reader, it gives the audience a better understanding of the group’s dynamics and their sense of humor. It also illustrates how long they’ve been friends as they have inside jokes and discuss moments that have happened before the events of the story.
Overall, I thought the way “Forever” explores its story with icons and symbols to be unique. It gives the readers aspects to relate to and allows them to get enveloped into the story. To me, this shows how you can mix timely videos and sounds with a plot to create a piece that fits into a specific point in history.
I had a lot of fun making this video and I hope everyone enjoys it!
I would consider all three of these works to be stories. Although some are more linear than others, there is a plotline present in each one that is given to the audience in a unique way. I found “My Boyfriend Came Back from the War” to be the most confusing as the way it is presented requires the reader to deeply consider each line. I thought the imagery chosen for it, as well as the boxed format for most of the text, highlighted this element. While it was a little convoluted, I also found that this was part of what made the story engaging. “How to Rob a Bank” uses its format and music to draw you in quickly, although I had a few technical issues at the beginning that could drive casual users away. Out of the three, “With Those We Love Alive” has the strongest connection to the choose your own adventure genre. The layout and variety of options feels exactly like what an interactive story would have.
Each of the three stories contain a world for the reader to explore, but none of them do it the same way. “My Boyfriend Came Back from the War” and “With Those We Love Alive” represent this the most, as their storytelling is fragmented and requires the reader to actively investigate in order to discover each piece that, in the end, creates a picture. “How to Rob a Bank” follows a more linear process that audiences are more familiar with, but still combines it with digital mediums to provide a unique experience.
Altogether, I found these stories to be a great illustration of what you can do with imagination on the web. Between Twine and coding, there are a lot of ways to create a story that is unique and captivating to an audience. Regardless of the presentation, I would say that all three of these projects have interesting storylines with immense thought put behind them.
Attached is my short day in the life video!
Here is Brayden and Sotheara’s video!
This piece revolves around the relationship between my sister and I and the way it changed over time. My sister and I communicated frequently over text, so all the dialogue came from our real conversations. I created simple diagrams to communicate our backgrounds and relationship in a way that couldn’t be expressed in text. If I expand this to be my final project, I’d add more depth with extra conversations and make it a blend of images, video, and text.
“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” by Ambrose Pierce, follows the tale of a man that is about to be hanged but miraculously escapes death, or so he thinks. I thought both the short story and the film were well-done and accentuated different aspects of the plot. The written version includes many added details that help us get into the mind of the main character. An example of this is when he is drowning after the rope breaks. There is a lengthy paragraph dedicated to his thoughts and feelings as he tries to free himself and get to the surface. Adding these little moments gives us a better sense of who he is and what he’s feeling in these intense sequences. While in the film we witness this event unfold, we have no idea what he’s thinking and therefore lose that perspective.
With that said, the movie has its own elements that provide a unique take on the story. The imagery and sounds largely tell the tale as there is little to no dialogue. I think these add to the tension, particularly when he is fleeing and you can hear the guns and cannons going off around him. You never know if he is actually going to make it and pairing this unknown with the loud sounds of gunfire elevates the suspense. The film also gives us sympathy for the man through its music and camera angles. Even though we don’t know what he’s thinking, the camera focuses on him enough for us to see his emotions. I thought the song that was used several times also played a role in making him feel more human and allowed us to grieve over his circumstances. Overall, I enjoyed both versions of this story and it was interesting to see what aspects each medium chose to focus on.
The photos are of my dog, Bandit, receiving a toy with the goal of destroying it. He is ultimately successful and celebrates by taking a nap. I tried to take the pictures at different angles and zoomed into one picture, the reminders of the alligator, for effect. Similar to what McCloud describes in “Understanding Comics,” I wanted the pictures to capture different feelings, such as humor when seeing him tear up the stuffed animal or satisfaction when you see that it has been destroyed. The images are put together subject by subject to illustrate how the story unfolds chronologically. Overall, I enjoyed making this piece as I feel it allowed me to experiment with the different methods of creating a visual story.