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.