Category Archives: Movies

In Celebration of Guy Fawkes

My friend and colleague, Keith Reeves, posted the V for Vendetta speech as a way to remember the Fifth of November, otherwise known as Guy Fawkes Day:

And it made me think of other great video speeches of resistance:

The opening speech from The Newsroom where Will McAvoy riffs on the question of why America is the greatest country in the world. (Hint: he doesn’t necessarily agree.)

Jedediah Bartlett’s biblical soliloquy  from The West Wing. I found this series belatedly and this was my first episode. I knew I had found my television home.

And, finally, just to show my age…the classic from Network..

I was just entering high school when this movie premiered, so it gives you a sense of why I may have a somewhat cynical world view.  Every so often, I fight the temptation to open my window and lean out…

Any others I’ve missed?

Digital Storytelling

I would like to start by saying that I love my job. Right now, I am preparing for a digital storytelling workshop that I’ll provide over the next two weeks. It is Windows based so I fired up the Dell laptop I’ve got and have spent the last few days playing with PhotoStory and MovieMaker.  I’ll post both video sonce they’re uploaded to YouTube.  (I’ve got them on TeacherTube but didn’t have any luck with embedding them.)  First, I’ll reflect a little bit on the process.

I should start by confessing up front that I use Mac computers exclusively and have even managed to avoid Backpack. I had done a little work with MovieMaker but had only every seen demos of PhotoStory. I was prepared to like the latter program but was sure I would be unimpressed with MovieMaker. I was wrong.

First, I should say that I did like PhotoStory. I drew from digital photos that I already had available and it took about three hours to put together a fully narrated story with a music soundtrack. The only problem I ran into was in using the built-in music creator. I really liked the idea, but it crashed my computer each and every time I tried to save the movie file. I finally resorted to a public domain song I already had and the export worked just fine. Editing was easy, and I’m very happy with the final results.

This morning, I was up early prepared to tackle MovieMaker. I drew on the only material I’ve got: my yard. I shot all the video with my Flip Camera since that’s what my workshop participants will have available. I’ve used the Flip with my macintosh and had only so so results. It seemed much easier with MovieMaker. I just imported the files I had saved from the camera, renamed them, then did some basic editing. A few titles and then I needed some music.

Vivaldi seemed like a good choice. The Mutopia Project had a midi file licensed under the BSD license. I had to convert the midi to wma and used jetAudio, from Cowon to do the conversion.

All in all, I have had a wonderful two days making stories. I put together a wiki page as well.

Underground Digital Story Telling

An interesting abstract from my advisor for an article about the semiotics of multimodality, or texts that utilize a variety of media. I have to get the article from inter-library loan so I haven’t read it but I did visit the D.U.S.T.Y. website to see some of the examples. What a wonderful project! I can’t embed the videos here so I’m going to have to rely on you to check them out…

Well, It Turns Out That Lonelygirl Really Wasn’t – New York Times

Well, It Turns Out That Lonelygirl Really Wasn’t – New York Times
“They were like the new Marshall McLuhan.”

I missed this one…don’t spend enough time at YouTube, I guess. Anyway, it turns out that the teen who has been videocasting from her laptop is actually a 20-something actress who is videocasting from someone else’s laptop.  The interesting piece of this from a media literacy standpoint is that the audience suspected all along that this wasn’t “real” yet were fascinated by the story as well as the mystery of who she really was.  There is a fine line between fiction and reality these days, isn’t there?

Disney Does 911

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I haven’t seen any of the 9/11-related movies but this one is already generating controversy and is another perfect text to study in a media literacy class. ABC’s movie is a “fictionalized” account of history before 9/11 and evidently seems biased against the Clinton administration. Where’s the line between news and entertainment? Can you create fiction out of history when the main players are still alive and have any reason to stand up and say, “That’s not how it happened?” So, I wonder if this makes people think twice about all historical fiction, especially who is telling the story? Maybe it should even make them think about historical non-fiction 😉

NB: After I posted this, I read an article on defining documentary films by Dirk Eitzen that addresses the very issues at play here.  My notes on the article can be found at the wiki.