For my final created Daily Create assignment for this semester, I decided to do an a cappella cover of the song, “Everyone,” from the Backstreet Boys’ 2002 album, Black & Blue. After looking up the lyrics on the Internet, I used Audacity to record me singing them, as close to the original track as possible, without any instrumental accompaniment of any kind. A few minor edits with the footage later, I turned everything in – once I saved it all – using my SoundCloud account.
P.S. If anyone asks, the reason there’s no number next to this Daily Create is because my applications were turned in hours before this article went up. This will be updated, in full, the moment this becomes a legitimate task.
This is just a reminder…
Since I’ve yet to hear from the Daily Create’s Twitter feed regarding this last-minute entry, I decided to send them this article on my own, just in case they missed anything these past few days. Again, I apologize for not responding sooner, since I was putting as much effort into my last project as possible. Either way, here’s the link I sent the Daily Create.
In closing, I wanted to say “thanks” to Ms. Polack again, for providing such an enjoyable class. I really wish that there was another level to this.
With less than twenty-four hours to go from the time this is published until the end of the semester, this is my last update here at DS106 for 2015. As for what happened these past two weeks, there really wasn’t much. Sure, I wrote a prequel to one of my favorite manga and anime franchises of all time, Gosho Aoyama’s Magic Kaito, with the comedy-drama “Shot Through the Heart,” but everyone had to do one of those for our final exams, so that’s nothing new. I even created a behind-the-scenes featurette for my project, entitled “The Slug Hunt,” so everyone knows how each part of the story was told, heard and shown, and I put it in a separate post, but since the checklist made sure to point that out, I can’t really bring that up, either. On top of that, I can’t really complain about the tutorial portion of this exam, since both of my entries were made earlier this semester, as well. I am speaking of “Remind Me Someday,” which basically became a parody of mixed signals on the radio and was worth three-and-a-half stars at the time this went to press, and “Down to the Last Morsel,” or as its also known, the “Morse Code Challenge,” which managed to keep its ranking of five stars throughout the semester.
Having done everything I can do in Digital Storytelling, the question must now be asked: In the words of David Essex, “Where do we go from here, and which is the way that’s clear?” Well, I’m currently planning on wrapping up my studies at the University of Mary Washington with an English major in creative writing, which this class helped me out with in spades, and my favorite assignments always seem to fit one peculiar theme. As it turns out, the BuzzFeed personality quiz, “Shot Through the Heart,” and of all things, my fan fiction reading of “Reality” were all among my favorite assignments for this class, and they all tie back to writing and editing, the latter helping out in the making of some of my other favorite challenges, among them being the “Five-Second Movies” of Stay Tuned and Kimagure Orange Road.
So, yes, this class was especially helpful in getting everything back on track for me, and I couldn’t be any grateful for this experience; with that in mind, I would like to give thanks to Ms. Polack for letting me learn the importance of modern media, social and otherwise, in these sweet sixteen weeks here at DS106. I’ve learned a lot about who I am, in terms of creativity, during this time, most important of all being that it’s not too late to start again in life. With everything being as hectic as they were, I still consider this second chance to push my artistic limits more than worth it, when all is said and done, and the fact that all of this was done from the comfort of my own home still surprises me, here and now. I know who I am when I say this, but Ms. Polack, once again, thank you for letting me see what, for the longest time, even I never really knew existed within me: a creative ability that has to be heard, and seen, to be believed.
So, as much as I want to say “goodbye,” and be done with all of this, I’m afraid that’s out of the question now. The experience I’ve just had is too priceless for me to just throw away. Ergo, I will simply say, “Happy trails to you, until we meet again.” I’m Mitchell Eubank, and if you think that you’re seeing double… that’s probably because I post multiple videos of similar themes, just to make sure that I did everything I was supposed to, and did it right. Also, I left the inspiration tags on the media portions of “Shot Through the Heart,” for tradition’s sake, but I won’t credit them on this site, this time around, out of your blessing. Thank you for seeing, listening and helping me out if there was any trouble, and I hope to see you again real soon, preferably next year.
Also, this happened.
As part of our final exams here at DS106, one of our last entries as Digital Storytellers is supposed to be a behind-the-scenes featurette, regarding all of the things we made in order to make our respective stories stand out more. So, with that in mind, here are all of the tasks I had to complete, in order to make my Magic Kaito prequel, “Shot Through the Heart.”
We start with both the collages of the things on young Kaito’s mind at the time of the story and the interior of Inspector Nakamori’s bedroom. As a word of warning, when you read this, you have to remember that this takes place before Toichi Kuroba gets killed during one of his performances, so Kaito still has someone near and dear to him who can teach him magic. My opening collage of this project, a send-up of “Love at First Shot,” puts a strong focus on Kaito’s seven-year-old mind: He wants to learn stage magic from his father because he wants to be as successful a magician as he is when he grows up; he wants to travel around the world to show off his talents because, as young as he is, he already has the confidence to pull off his tricks in front of whoever happens to be in his audience at any given time; he wants to fall in love with a childhood friend because the ideals Kaito has in his youth never really went away after his dad’s death, to the point that several chapters of the manga have hinted that Aoko might be Kaito’s one true love, after all; and he wants to find a way to get over his deathly case of ichthyophobia – the fear of fish – because it seems to be one of Kaito’s more comedic character flaws, so much so that it also serves as the basis for a minor running gag in manga and anime appearances. The inspiration for this was the “Bucket List” challenge, worth three-and-a-half stars as of press time, and was the result of looking up various public-domain images of Kaito as a child and teenager, as well as his late father, Toichi, during one of his magic shows, to say nothing of the image of various oversized versions of world landmarks on an image of the world. These images were compiled during various searches on Google Images, Bing Images, and even Yahoo! Images, at one point. Uploading them onto the web site, BeFunky.com, allowed me to play with them until I got all the pictures centered, and the necessary words typed out; I saved my collage as soon as I was satisfied with the final product, before ultimately turning it in to Flickr.
VISUAL ASSIGNMENTS – INSPIRATION: 3.5 STARS; BASED-ON WORK: 3.0 STARS
This was a continuation of “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?“
The same website and based-on work carried over to my second collage, this one inspired by the “Room Tour” challenge, which allowed me to work on one shot in particular: the interior of Inspector Ginzo Nakamori’s bedroom, where Aoko finds the now-infamous revolver in my short story. For this one to work, I focused on an image of a Japanese master bedroom with a glass door, that I managed to find on the website, glubvon.com; intrigued with what I saw, I saved it onto my hard drive, uploaded it onto BeFunky.com’s collage maker, and went to work finding the right angles to highlight the necessary parts. To quote – with minor paraphrasing – the Flickr page where I posted this picture:
The [inspector’s bed]room was designed to hint at certain bits and pieces of Inspector Nakamori’s thoughts and actions throughout the events of the “Magic Kaito” franchise… The earthy tones (brown and green) shown throughout this part of the residence tie back to Ginzo’s love of his family – both those related to him by blood, like his daughter, Aoko, and those who he treats like family, like their next-door neighbors’ son, Kaito Kuroba. The alcoholic drinks tie back to the manga, specifically the “Crystal Mother” chapter, where Ginzo and his fellow officers have to drink several glasses of an expensive wine to find the titular gem before the Kaitou Kid can steal it. Naturally, the television serves as a reference to all of the hours Ginzo’s spent in front of the cameras, as the officer in charge of capturing the Kid. The widescreen format is a nod to the anime adaptation, “Magic Kaito 1412,” as well as the “Green Dream” chapter of the manga, which takes place in a theater during a performance of “Mars and Rosa,” itself a send-up of tragic romance stories such as “Tristan and Iseult” and “Romeo and Juliet.”
The glass door is a nod to both the Nakamori and Kuroba estates in the anime having glass doors, to provide further continuity between the manga and anime versions of the story. The rest of the place, including several wall paintings and an old-school telephone, flex and all, ties back to Ginzo being an old soul, with a “thrill of the hunt” mindset during cases, especially those where the Kid is the culprit. The reason why is featured in the Christmas episode of the anime, in which Ginzo pleads to Kid – unaware of the new face under the old monocle and top hat – not to leave him the way he did eight years ago, an event that happens to be foreshadowed in my story. Yes, the blood will be cleaned up afterwards, and yes, Ginzo still won’t change the design of the place; he’ll simply paint over the bloodstains and leave it at that. Familiarity may breed contempt, but then again, it’s the job of officers of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department to keep all those who hold such contempt from causing any damage, so the trade-off is rather fair to Inspector Nakamori.
Once again, I published everything on Flickr once everything was properly saved and uploaded in the usual manner.
VISUAL ASSIGNMENTS – INSPIRATION: 3.0 STARS; BASED-ON WORK: 3.0 STARS
This was a continuation of “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?“
This brings us to my entry in the Design category, a full-on return to one of my more interesting assignments, based on one of my favorite movies: “Designception.” For this one, I needed to recreate the image of the revolver, resting in a carrying case, on top of a dresser. After finding a public-domain picture of an Oriental dresser on the web site, Silk Road Collection, along with two more photos of an aluminum carrying case and a Type 26 revolver, I went to work sizing everything up, so that the final image was as exactly to scale as the situation called for, using Photoshop. After that, I saved the final image before, once again, uploading it all on Flickr.
DESIGN ASSIGNMENTS – INSPIRATION: 3.5 STARS; BASED-ON WORK: 3.5 STARS
This was a continuation of “In (Your) Dreams.”
Since we were also given permission to choose original assignments for our respective stories, mine was turning the exterior of the Nakamori estate into a legitimate crime scene, following the abrupt assassination attempt in this story. Finding a stock photo of a modern Japanese household was easy enough, once I found the right site, and with the minor edits I made in Photoshop, it honestly felt like the aftermath of an event that nearly resulted in the premature end of a young boy’s life. There was even a blood trail leading to the house, that Kaito left behind as he and the Nakamoris headed to the ambulance, next to a faded “chalk angel.” Couple that with some old-fashioned yellow police tape blocking the entranceway to the house, and we have a crime scene. As always, as soon as I was satisfied with this piece of the puzzle, I saved it on my hard drive, and uploaded it to my Flickr account.
ORIGINAL/DESIGN ASSIGNMENTS – INSPIRATION: 4.0 STARS; BASED-ON WORK: 4.0 STARS
This is a completely original work, done just for this assignment.
The audio and video assignments were actually the toughest ones of the bunch for me, primarily because of how tough it was to find the necessary footage for the video, while typing up the script for the audio. I pulled through on all three counts, however, as you’ll soon see, and hear. First up, we have “The Many (Poker) Faces of Kaito Kuroba,” in which the Kaitou Kid becomes Derek Zoolander for a moment, and shows us four(teen) versions of the Kuroba clan’s most famous look. Using various public-domain photos of the current Kaitou Kid, both in and out of his signature outfit, as well as in disguise in a few cases, I was able to use both VideoPad Video Editor and Windows Live Movie Maker to create a short montage of Kaito’s version of the “Poker Face” at work. Unlike the original Zoolander movie from 2001, which used names like Blue Steel, Ferrari, Le Tigre and Magnum, Kaito’s variations of the Poker Face were named after the members of the J.A.K.Q. team, from the 1977 tokusatsu series, J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai. I even sampled the members’ voices from an actual episode of the show to do the intro for each piece, as well as a live version of the show’s theme song, performed during the Super Sentai Spirits concert in 2006, to serve as background music. Suffice it to say, I needed to make a lot of visits to SaveClipBro.com, in order to find the necessary samples, before editing them down using Audacity. I also attempted to do a conversation with myself when doing this list, as I did an impression of former TV Burp host Harry Hill for the introductions, and described each look with my normal voice. Suffice it to say, a lot of effort went into making this particular video, as it serves as a representation of Kaito practicing his “Poker Face” before he has to use it, for the first time, later on in the story. After another round of editing and uploading, I turned my final product in on YouTube.
VIDEO ASSIGNMENTS – INSPIRATION: 3.5 STARS; BASED-ON WORK: 5.0 STARS
This was a continuation of a combination of previous tasks, including “Rewrite This Story,” for 4.5 stars; “‘Cut,’ Print…Moving On,” for 5.0 stars; “On the ‘Road’ Again,” for 4.5 stars; and “Time for Something Biblical;” for 5.0 stars. These scores averaged out to 4.75 stars, which would translate to 4.5 stars in the Assignment Bank, but I’m rounding up the scores, just to be sure.
My second video was a reenactment of the exact moment when Kaito jumps in front of Aoko’s bullet, taking the hit in Ginzo’s place. Since there are very few bits of footage that could fit the bill exactly, and since Magic Kaito was as much about the comedy as it was about the drama, I decided to go for a spoof reenactment. Using SaveClipBro to download a YouTube video, in which someone jumps in front of “several” bullets, I then turned to VideoPad Video Editor to play the footage in full for the first take, before I slowed down the second, making an “instant replay” of the moment that the stand-in for Kaito was shot. After the editing was complete, I saved the final product, and uploaded it all on my YouTube channel.
VIDEO ASSIGNMENTS – INSPIRATION: 4.0 STARS; BASED-ON WORK; 4.5 WORKS
This was a continuation of “Ten-Second Cinema.”
Finally, there was the audio, and I knew that if there was going to be a murder attempt at the Nakamori house, then someone was going to have to call the hospital for an ambulance; since Ginzo was the only one in that building over the age of eight at the time, let alone eighteen, that meant he was the only one who was able to contact local emergency services in time. This final assignment was a send-up of the “One-Man Play” I did in the earlier weeks of this semester, as now I was attempting to play a female receptionist, in the same vein as Janine Melnitz from Ghostbusters, while also attempting to put on a husky voice, to play Inspector Nakamori, as he makes the call. This assignment was actually based on a task where someone had to call the police for something, but since Ginzo already works for the police, he has to call “119” for an ambulance, instead of “110” for his own men. That’s because I used the Japanese numbers for emergency services in the script for this audio, adding to the story’s authenticity; the archipelago of Japan is a nation that has next to no gun-related murders nowadays, and thus, an assassination attempt, especially one of a known celebrity’s child, would cause quite an uproar the next morning. As for the script itself, I decided to do what I did in the original “One-Man Play,” and follow another one I found on the Internet, which is similar to the type that’s printed on pieces of paper small children are handed during classes, so they get to know how to call such services responsibly. The moment I was satisfied with what I had – primarily after editing the addresses and phone number to keep to the Japanese aesthetic – I recorded both halves of my performance using Audacity, before editing it all down to sound like a legitimate “911” call; the English language in a Japanese setting makes sense, once you realize that in several branches of Tokyo, authorities are recommended to speak several other languages outside of their native tongue, with English chief among them. After everything was completed, and I was satisfied with what I heard, I saved the final product, turning it in using my SoundCloud account.
AUDIO ASSIGNMENTS – INSPIRATION: 4.0 STARS; BASED-ON WORK: 3.5 STARS
This was a continuation of “The Show Must Go On.”
Overall, these challenges make for a great prologue for the events of the Magic Kaito franchise, and with a grand total of 25.5 stars in the “Inspiration” category, and between 26 and 26.5 stars when ranking all of the past works that went into this project – depending on the ranking system for these kinds of final exams – I can safely say that this project passes its inspection with flying colors. The comedy and drama meld together in a way that doesn’t overpower the influences of one genre or another; the situation is, sadly, relatable to anyone who’s at least heard of a gun-toting maniac in a news story recently, while still being handled with a deft touch; and it all builds up to Toichi’s death, and the start of the series proper, while keeping spoilers for future events to a minimum. Suffice it to say, you’ll have to read the manga, watch the anime, or both, if you want to find out where all of this is heading. Well, there’s still one final entry left for me to publish here at #DS106, and it’s the big one – my end-of-semester wrap-up. I’ll see you there, once I get all of my packing done.
Kaito and Aoko may have only known each other for the past two years, but they had already formed a close bond through their friendship. It didn’t hurt that they were also next-door neighbors, and that Aoko’s father, Inspector Ginzo Nakamori of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, knew a thing or two about responsibility. That can’t be said of one’s offspring, however, as they would all find out one night, when a “family game night” turned into a fight for one child’s life.
Aoko was excited to have won a game of Cluedo for the first time, after successfully guessing that Miss Scarlett stabbed Dr. Black to death, using a dagger she found in the mansion’s library. Kaito, himself, was just happy to see Aoko smile for once, considering that last week’s outing, in which they got to see a magic show starring his father, Toichi Kuroba, nearly resulted in him and Aoko ruining it with what was, in retrospect, a really petty argument. Luckily, Toichi calmed Kaito down by letting him spend some time after the performance to watch his dad play some Texas hold ’em, before teaching him one of the finer points of stage magic: the use of the “Poker Face,” which allows magicians to keep their emotions inside them, to make themselves seem stronger than they usually are in front of an audience. Little did anyone know that this conversation came in handy sooner than expected.
After the mystery was solved, Ginzo told the kids to get ready for bed; they agreed, and made the long journey to the upstairs bedrooms of the Nakamori estate. Before they got to the room they would share for the night, Aoko noticed a glimmering light emanating from her father’s bedroom. She turned on a dime, and headed straight for the dresser mirror, noticing the glow underneath it. Upon further inspection, Aoko noticed that the object was a carrying case, which someone left wide open for anybody, including her father, to retrieve whatever was inside it, which seemed to resemble the image of the revolver from one of the weapon cards she saw during Cluedo that night.
Curious, Aoko picked up the revolver and took it to her bedroom, believing her father would know what a gun was doing in a police officer’s bedroom, especially in a nation where next to no guns were allowed whatsoever. Entering her bedroom, just as Kaito had put on his night clothes, Aoko tugged at one of Ginzo’s pant legs to get his attention, before telling him about the gun she found on his dresser, showing it to him in the process. Ginzo, shocked at this inadvertent reminder of his daughter’s to keep the carrying case to his revolver locked at all times, yelled at Aoko to return the gun to the case immediately. This, in turn, left Aoko in her own state of fright, as she had never seen her father act this way before. It was during a second round of shouting matches that Aoko would make the biggest mistake of her life up to that point: Her finger on the revolver’s trigger, she looked to aim at her father out of self-defense, fearing that the worst was yet to come from him. Ginzo, however, saw past this and tried to forcibly slap the gun out of Aoko’s hand. The only problem with that is that not only did Aoko’s grip on the gun tighten as a result, said grip caused it to go off. Kaito, not wanting to see either his friend or her father get hurt, ran as fast as his seven-year-old body could possibly go, and jumped in front of the bullet, hitting the ground limping.
From a distance, Tokyo residents heard a sound that wouldn’t have seemed out of place in screenings of the House movie from a few months ago, as Aoko screamed at the sight of the bloodstain on Kaito’s shirt, and of the gaping wound in his chest, slug and all. Kaito, while equally as stunned as the Nakamoris were of this turn of events, used the “Poker Face” to great effect, making sure to keep calm, and continue to take deep breaths, until the ambulance arrived. Ginzo told Aoko to make sure things didn’t worsen for Kaito, while he contacted the hospital. Authorities arrived minutes later to make sure the retrieval of the slug and the subsequent recovery were both done as safely as possible, even if that meant they had to keep Kaito in the local hospital overnight in order to do so. While there, Kaito was given several “get well soon” cards from classmates, including Aoko, and even got another visit from both his parents, who were thankful that the damage wasn’t too much for their son to handle, especially at his age.
As for Kaito, he was eventually released from the hospital on a clean bill of health within a week of the incident, despite the scar that had now formed where the wound was. Kaito was grateful that he had friends and family who cared for him during these troubling times, and the lessons his father gave him regarding his “Poker Face” worked wonders throughout the recovery process, allowing him to show no fear during something that would traumatize most kids for the rest of their lives. While Kaito was thankful for having survived everything – the resulting throngs of crowds welcoming him back to school was a personal highlight of his – he couldn’t shake off the feeling that, when Aoko first asked her father about why he needed a gun now, when he didn’t need to before, she was making a point. Kaito never wanted to admit it, especially with his whole life in front of him, but between his father’s impromptu magic lesson, and this controversial moment, he was starting to suspect that his life was about to change very soon, and that it wouldn’t be for all of the right reasons.
Thanksgiving break has come and gone here at DS106, and with next week bearing the full weight of the final exams upon our collective shoulders, now is the time to look back and see what we’ve done in our final preparations for the main event. Over the course of the last two weeks, I modernized a classic TV ad; painted my house red – figuratively, not literally; returned to the proverbial pumpkin patch; took snapshots of a week in my life; made an a cappella mash-up; attempted to remake the podcast I made for my mid-term exam; and paid tribute to my friends and family on both sides of the “Great Divide.” Also, I had a brief conversation with my mother, with regards to how mash-ups and remixes actually work, but that, suffice it to say, is neither here nor there.
The main lesson I took away from these two weeks is that it’s never too late to show off your creative side, and remixes and mash-ups are their own, bizarre form of creativity, as they provide us with different perspectives on the world around us using things originally made to show just one way. I do understand that progress can harm, as much as it can help, and the corporations of the world can at least agree with me on that, but the reason why one of the biggest films of 1994 was entitled Reality Bites is because it actually shows us what happens when we opt to see things from one perspective alone – in the end, everyone suffers. We need new perspectives to better understand how to make the world a place worth fighting for and living in, and remixes and mash-ups are among the most effective ways I can think of nowadays that can help us do that.
As for my favorite challenge of this particular grading period, I would have to vote for “Alice (Still) Lives Here,” as a sentimental gesture. While my one-man recut of the “Wacky History” podcast was a full-circle conclusion to one of the more awkward parts of this semester, it was my remix of a photo of a high-school shooter, to promote cancer awareness, that I felt needed to be done at this point in time, since cancer’s as real as it gets.
Thank you for reading this penultimate edition of my weekly summaries for this semester; check back in next week for the big finish. I’m Mitchell Eubank, reminding you that you only get one chance to make a good last impression.
Instead of writing up an explanation of what you learned, instead formulate your own understanding about remix and mash-up, and record a video or audio of you explaining it to someone who is not familiar; this could be a family member, friend, neighbor, random stranger. The point is to capture a recording of your explanation and make sure we hear the other person, perhaps asking a question. If you show them any examples, do it before you record – we do not need to hear them again. Write up a blog post that includes this recording and anything else you want to share to show your understanding of remix, and explaining how the examples you watched demonstrated the form. Put some thought on whether this is a creative act and as well explore what it means for the entities that retain copyright over the media forms that are remixed. Include links and/or embeds of all media you reference.
While this wasn’t featured in the final transmission, I can confess that mash-ups and remixes are very creative acts. It takes a lot of effort to make something new out of something we’ve seen and heard countless times, and it shows that art is the ultimate form of subjectivity. Anything and everything can be seen as art when taken from the right angle, the right perspective, and the right mindset. Those that hold the rights to the original work, however, just can’t be framed as villains here, for I simply refuse to believe that businesses and corporations continue to worry over what is essentially free publicity for their products. If anything, they’re more afraid that someone could accidentally paint their product in a negative light with these remixes and mash-ups, and don’t want to risk spending any amount of time in the local courtroom that they feel will hurt them even more in the court of public opinion.
Everything is a Remix Part 1: The Song Remains the Same, by Kirby Ferguson
The Original Scary ‘Mary Poppins’ Recut Trailer, by Christopher Rule
YouTube Duet: Miles Davis Improvising on LCD Soundsystem, by Alessandro Grespan
Brows Held High: The Man Who Fell to Earth, by Kyle Kallgren
A Fair(y) Use Tale, by Eric Faden
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words, created by Stephanie Englman
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Quite often we see pictures on different social media outlets. They are funny, awkward, or beautifully portrayed moments but we don’t know what led up to that point in time. Your task for this assignment is to find a picture and write a background or short story for it. It can be a photo you took yourself or found on the internet. This story could be based on a true event if the picture is from your personal collection, or completely made up if you are using a funny picture you found online. Be sure to tag it properly!
Remix Card: “Cancer Sucks”
You’d have to look long and hard to find someone who hasn’t been touched by cancer. Patients, survivors, family, friends, role models. For me, I’m pretty attached to my breasts, but I don’t want to die for them. Take an assignment and give it a cancer awareness message. Make it a general cancer sucks message or pick a specific cancer close to your heart and create a way to convince others to get screened, raise money, or simply support the cause. Save the ta-ta’s or save a life. Spread the word.
One of the key assignments for this particular grading period is how well we tell a story using a “remix.” In this case, I had to choose a photo from another person’s site regarding the original assignment, “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words,” and try to promote a cancer awareness message with a story involving it. Unfortunately, I can’t really do that, given the seriousness that comes with the theme of this particular remix, especially one that hits as close to home as it does now. However, now seems to be the right time to try, because by the time this post goes to press, families across America will have celebrated all of the things they are thankful for in their lives, as part of the annual holiday tradition of Thanksgiving. With that in mind, I can safely say that I’m thankful for my grandmother, Alice, who survived her most recent cancer scare earlier this year.
This is actually the second time that my grandmother, who I’ve affectionately called “Grandma Fella” since I was young, has been sent to the hospital for cancer treatment in my lifetime, the first occurring around the time I started kindergarten. Either way, it still broke my heart to see another of my relatives end up bedridden, after losing one of my grandfathers, Isaac, to Alzheimer’s shortly after I turned thirteen, and my other grandmother, Hazel, to natural causes in February of 2014.
The truth is, I know what the madman in the brown coat meant when he said that he didn’t want to go. I know what the nameless narrator meant when he prayed that his wife wouldn’t have to go, and what the woman with the heart of the ocean meant when she told a homeless man that she wouldn’t let go. Alice, if you’re reading this, I just wanted you to know, right now, that I will never let go.
This is to honor my wonderful grandparents, both those who have passed on and those that are still with us. The picture I sampled, of the character of Tate from the first season of American Horror Story prior to a high school shooting that he was a part of, is from a previous assignment by Brittany Raze entitled “The Noble War.” The picture may be taken out of context from the episode it was spliced from, but the fact of the matter still stands: Be it in realms of fiction, or the greatest story ever told – that of real life, as it occurs – nobody likes death. They hate it now, they hated it back then, and honestly, I thank the doctors for keeping health care debates out of the emergency room.
This assignment in pretty simple, yet very powerful. Mash-up your own work! Take at least 3 things you’ve done this semester, and combine them together to make one cohesive thing.
My third and final mashup assignment for this grading period is worth four stars exactly at the time that this post goes up. Entitled “Mash Thyself, Before Ye Trash Thyself,” my entry for this challenge consists of five separate audio clips created over the course of this semester. The clips in question are my article on wedding rings; my “Egyptian” bumper; my “Trump Nektar” commercial; a second ad, which updates the “How Many Licks” ad campaign that immortalized Tootsie Roll Pops in the eyes of kids for 45 years now; and a second article – on dentures and dental implants – cobbled together from the recordings I sent to my teammates during that particular grading period.
As for the story of this remix, it’s a makeshift episode of the Wacky History podcast I wrote a portion of the script for, as part of my mid-term exam for DS106. Basically, I wanted to provide an abridged version of the podcast I was a part of, the way I, for the most part, originally envisioned it. The first half of my “minisode,” on wedding rings, remains untouched, as are most of the clips in this remix; in fact, the only real edit I make here is cutting my short monologue on dental implants to make room for the unedited George Washington follow-up, before closing both the segment and the entire “podcast” with the remaining audio from the aforementioned “Implants” portion.
With regards to scheduling, the “minisode” opens with my segment on wedding rings, before cutting to a “commercial break” consisting of my “How Many Licks” parody, followed by “Trump Nektar;” we then hear the “Egyptian” bumper before completing the abridged podcast with a segment on dentures and dental implants. Once again, I basically took old footage from this last semester, and spliced them together using Audacity to make this “minisode,” mostly by aligning the various tracks so they all start the second the previous one stops, but also by cutting out any excess footage to make the final product run as smoothly as possible, something that was especially true when I edited my segment on dentures.
This mashup was made with the central goal of showing my intentions for the mid-term – providing listeners with the zany backstories of household objects – as well as showing how versatile I can be in terms of editing, as the audio goes from Radiolab in the first half of the podcast to This American Life in the second. Overall, the sudden shift in tone definitely provides a feeling of unpredictability within the podcast, as everything in life, including history, can and will be unpredictable.
This project, as bizarre as it is, is an experiment on two different styles of editing, to see which one worked better for me, and to make a long story short, I think I like both. This is essentially a split of personalities for me: I tend to keep things straight and narrow for dentures and implants, and I give my listeners twists and turns for wedding rings. The final product is a work of modern abstract art, something that really has to be seen – or heard – just to be believed.
As always, once I was satisfied with what I had, I saved everything the way it was, exported it as its own MP3 file, and uploaded it onto my SoundCloud account, for a total of twelve stars this grading period.
Make your own song using other lyrics. Complete this assignment by combining the lyrics from at least 5 different songs in order to make a song with flowing lyrics. This song should be at least 2 minutes long.
My next mashup assignment was my toughest one to date, worth four-and-a-half stars at the time of selection. Since this was yet another case of a task that’s exactly what it says on the tin, I decided to go for an a cappella number. For those of you that called yourselves “Gleeks” during the first half of this decade, you can probably understand what that term means; for those that didn’t, I basically had to sing my lyrics without any instrumental accompaniment of any kind – only my voice, and nothing else, could be carried over to the final project.
I also decided to push myself further, and do everything in one take, much like my infamous “One-Man Play” from earlier this semester, and use a form of storytelling that wasn’t used in a song before. Since Bob Dylan just left the verses out of order when he recorded “Tangled Up in Blue,” it meant that I had to pull off an illusion previously used by the likes of Christopher Nolan and Jason Robert Brown.
In both Nolan’s 2000 film, Memento, and Brown’s 2001 musical, The Last Five Years, the central storytelling mechanic was that half of the story was told from beginning-to-middle, going forwards in time, and the other half was told from end-to-middle, going backwards. For this story, I went with a street performer being increasingly heckled by rowdy patrons in the first half, and the performer getting his revenge on the perpetrators in a violent bar fight in the second, with the point where the two acts intersect being when the performer locks the door to the bar, so that the hecklers can’t escape.
The songs I chose were a mix of classic rock and country music, including “Who Are You” by The Who; “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” by Johnny Cash; “We Will Rock You” by Queen; “Hypnotize” by System of a Down; “Coward of the County” by Kenny Rogers; and “The Stranger” by Billy Joel.
After finding the lyrics I needed, and setting them up for the desired effect – a key example of this was reversing the order of the verses sampled from “Hypnotize” and “Coward of the County” to raise tension for when the door was locked – I recorded everything in one take, saved it as it was, and uploaded it to my SoundCloud account.
You’ve probably seen those videos where people take a photo of themselves every day for a year or seven years or some crazy length of time. Make a DS106 version! Take a photo of yourself every day for a week (7 days, 5 if you’re lazy), and put them into a video. Try to make your face line up in the video for a seamless transition.
“A Week in Five Frames,” my first official foray into the world of mashups, is an example of “A Picture A Day,” which is exactly what it says on the tin. After taking five photographs of myself from November 16-20, I edited them together to make a seven-second video, where every frame, including the opening and closing credits, lasted for precisely one second, and no longer. Thankfully, the pictures I chose kept a specific theme of moving the camera slightly, while my eyes still kept their focus on the lens as it moved. Since some of the assignments we’re allowed to take part in include recycling old footage, I decided to use the drumroll intro from my Morse Code Challenge as the basic theme for my video. The timing of the cymbal crash, with the final photo’s reveal, makes everything worth it for me on that front. The illusion of the camera moving while the shots are counted off was also my idea, as it really felt like a stop-motion version of a home movie, with the pan-and-scan “effect” coming along nicely, to say nothing of having the eyes stay focused on the lens at all times, like a modern-day Mona Lisa. After the editing process was completed, I saved it on Windows Live Movie Maker, and uploaded it onto my YouTube channel, for three-and-a-half stars.