Group Project: Google Docs more efficient than real world collaboration?

Group Project : Google Docs

Before our video shoot, before our story board the three of us had to collaborate on what we were actually going to do. In our initial sit down, it was easy to throw wild ideas and think of the positives. However the actual planning phase and story line takes works. Especially when there are more people. More people requires more opinions, ideas and thoughts you have to factor in. We utilized Google Docs to collaborate on our project. Our group Lambda Lambda Lambda, met from all over the country simultaneously using Google Docs. I was in New York City, Sam in New Jersey, and Eric in California. Yet we chose a time and filled a full two hours of good quality ideas.

Google Docs is very powerful and I have never used it as a collaboration tool. In the past I had always used it as a method to put my documents in the cloud, but this was something else. We were able to see all three of our cursors and see each other edit our script. We could throw in images and media and it would update immediately on the other end. We worked independently yet at the same time collaboratively to put together a quick script. We then edited each other’s and offered suggestions as comments where could. After a gruesome two hours we had rough but very good first draft.

I am going to go as far as saying Google Docs makes collaboration better than had we met in person. The ability for everyone to look at the same screen and edit simultaneously is something we could not even do had we met at a library. With the constraint of one screen one keyboard and one mouse, it is easy for a team member to be distracted or not offer as much. Because of this the balance of work is unfairly shifted with one person doing more work because of the limited resources. Google Docs forces everyone to be on the same page (haha) and work together on the same goals.

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Group Project: Story Boarding

Group Project: Story Boarding

For our group project we came up with the idea of shooting a video infomercial for Geek Week. Our idea sounded fantastic when talking about it. But we had to get it down on paper and organize our thoughts. This was a little harder than having fun and simply discussing it. First, we had different schedules and one of our group members was out of state so it was hard to arrange a sit down. When we finally did come together, a lot of the ambitious plans we had were either forgotten or hard to put down on paper because of the real life limitations that we would have had to go through.

Story Boarding

 

Once we got into the flow of things, things progressed very quickly. We began first to write down the scenes we COULD do. After we had one piece of paper of every separate scene we began to organize them around to see how they would fit best. Starting with the opening and closing scenes, it was difficult to string together the series of events as there was no wrong way to do it. I had a different vision in mind, and so had Sam and Eric. After all was said and done, we had a rough series of events which would be known as our story board. We then assembled all of the slides into a PowerPoint and Eric voiced over the series of events.

Had it not been a requirement we would not have thought of doing a story board at all. However, I can not express how much it helped save us during multiple parts of the project. First, it gave us a solid story to work with in our heads. Over the net few days we each envisioned our own idea of where and how the scenes would be shot based on the story board. Next, on both days of the video shoot, it helped us shoot the shots in order and gave us an outline to follow. Otherwise, we would have been calling them at the top of our head trying to remember which scene goes where. All in all, I am glad I was exposed to this, and I can’t wait to incorporate this in my future projects.

 

Meme Culture Today

Memes are a fascinating subject to study from a sociology perspective. It represents a phenomenon that started on an obscure site, targeted towards a niche audience, and exploded to being widely integrated in our social culture. It is used in many different streams of social media as well as used in forms of advertising. It is common practice to use memes to get a corporation’s message across. This is an example of corporations adapting their models to appeal to a different audience. Based on this, they are every bit a part of fan-culture.

The memes I have selected are interesting because they are easily relatable to everyone’s life. “Good Guy Greg” is interesting because it showcases acts of genuine kindness. It creates almost a prophet of some sort that viewers can look up to and appreciate their kind acts.

Contrasting with “Good Guy Greg”, there is “Scumbag Steve”. Scumbag Steve is a meme that highlights a particularly bad citizen of society. He has very little regard for others, and puts his needs often at the cost of others.  His character is very interesting because it sometimes gives us insight on to things we might do that may be considered Scumbag Steve-ish.

My third favorite is the “Overly Attached Girlfriend”. Because, who hasn’t run across weird creepy individuals?

These memes help us express our selves and make weird occurrences in our habits more relatable. So for instance you have a room mate that never takes out the trash, it can now be more relatable that someone else posted a meme about the same thing.

Memes tie in together with Ang’s paradigms in the sense that they change based on their audience. Corporations are a perfect example of this. They often take already popular memes and change them so they reflect their products. You can see ads on popular target sites such as Reddit and 4chan. These big companies can deliver the same messages but through the use of memes as the medium to cater to their audiences.

“We are Wizards” and the Threat to Media Conglomerates

The documentary was a very interesting an in depth look into the Harry Potter culture. Never realizing this before, I came to the conclusion that Harry Potter is now on par with the same level as fans of Star Wars and Star Trek. However the documentary goes even deeper than just Harry Potter fandom. The musical genre that has sprouted from this culture can be defined as a subculture. It is a new form of geekery that goes along with the fan fiction writers and artists that genre has produced.

While this sub culture of music is not something I would particularly listen to in my free time, it was a very interesting watch and I feel more aware of the different micro cultures that exist. It feels heart warming to know that not everyone is blindly following what the music industry and record labels are putting out. There are those that are taking their creative freedom and creating new avenues of music and variety always leads to more competition and better quality of music.

It was very encouraging to see two people so enthusiastic in something they believe in. Two kids took an aspect that was started out as a joke (them resembling the harry potter characters) and they took off with it. Very little regards to how popular they would get and who would actually watch them. One of the band members laughed while admitting, “They asked us, ‘Why are you going on tour? Who would even watch you?’”. And that did not stop them from having a good time and putting out what they felt like.

Their popularity is remarkable in this time when media outlets such as YouTube and Facebook allow the mass sharing of information. This has directly hurt the monopolistic control of media conglomerates such as Time Warner. They face direct competition from media producers operating from their own homes. Now their multimillion dollar investments in media are facing a run for their money from budget friendly and more efficient content the people can create from their homes. This in turns forces companies such as Time Warner to produce a higher quality of work.

Group Project: Creative Commons & Geek Week

The first and most important piece of media that I researched was an audio clip used in the introduction of our infomercial. It was important that our first piece of media be striking and able to hook the audience enough to make them watch the rest of the thirty seconds of our message. This task was especially challenging because having worked with paid content before, the difference in the quality of media was not matched. But that statement is not striking since it should be expected that paid content will obviously be of better quality. The search feature of the Creative Commons was not as accurate as I had hoped either. This may also be due to the lack of availability or simply because it is a lot harder to tag to search within an audio file compared to a website or text.

The next media content I searched for an image which would open our infomercial. It was incredibly important our introduction audio went along with our imagery. This would either hook our audience effectively or turn them off completely. Since our idea was to be in the territory of outrageously outlandish, the pairing of our audio and visuals was very vital. The creative commons search yielded a final search result from Flickr.

The third media content we received was another image we were going to use as our closing slide. This was equally important as our previous searches as this would be the final thought our audience would walk away with. We needed a soft and aesthetically pleasing image that would convince our audience to “embrace the geek”.

 

Watching previous examples of student work at geekweek.rutgers.edu it is clear the standard students set was high. I am excited and ambitious to create something worth showcasing on their site.

Garage Band Experimentation

I started this project with two tracks off of Jay Z ‘s new album “Magna Carta Holy Grail. The tracks I selected were  “La Familia” and remixed it with another track called “Beach is Better”. Garageband has definitely changed since using it back in high school. It was a little difficult getting the hang of all the tools again, but GarageBand’s simplistic nature made it very easy to grasp the concept of all the tools.

First off it is important to choose two songs that have similar tempos or evoke similar feelings. For me, La Familia brought out a more modern club single whereas Beach is Better brought back a nostalgia feeling. I made an effort to crossfade in and out of the two tracks multiple times to switch between tempos and more importantly those feelings. I found adjusting the volume levels and timing them at the right moment challenging but rewarding at the same time. I had always wondered how DJ’s and radio stations had achieved these results but had no idea it was so easily done.

The voice recording was a little less fun as the GarageBand required me too speak very loudly for it to register any noise. It also recorded the ending click of the mouse which is ironic because it had such a tough time picking up my voice clearly.

A side problem which may not be applicable to everyone – I completed this project in two sessions. The first session I saved the file as a .band and emailed it to my self so I could continue work on it later. However, after downloading it and opening it, GarageBand said it was unable to open the file without offering any explanation to why, This resulted in my redoing the assignment from scratch. Lesson learned: If you are doing a serious project, opt for a more professional program.

Jayz’s New Tracks Remix