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Craig DaCosta

Page history last edited by Craig DaCosta 9 years ago

About

 

     Hey guys! My name is Craig (obviously) and I'm a junior at AC pursuing a major in media studies and a minor in sociology. My experience with "digital networked narratives" is relatively limited, as most of the media I consume are typically of the more traditional persuasion; although more and more of the media I interact with possess at least some facet of digital, network, or narrative and/or are accessed through digital means. As we clarify the definition of digital (and) networked media throughout the semester, I feel as though many of the common media I personally interact with may end up falling under that category. 

 

     As a child, I read a lot of books and watched a lot of movies. Roald Dahl was my favorite children's author and my favorite movies included The Flintstones, The Wizard of Oz, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, The Little Rascals and Dennis the Menace. My mother and grandmother's obsessions with Super Mario Brothers and Dr. Mario, respectively, eventually lead to an infatuation in my teens with video games. Today, I still prefer film and television for personal media consumption, whereas video games have become more of a social tool to connect with far-off friends. Although I do stream quite a bit of content via Netflix and other digital services, and occasionally browse social media in lulls throughout the day, I typically prefer analog content (physical books, blu-ray copies of films, etc.). I would hesitate to say there are any entire genres of media that I hate, but some particular works certainly merit less praise from myself than others.

 

     This class interests me insofar as I am a media studies major, eventually emphasizing media production, and this class clearly yields me the opportunity to output creative work through varying means. Although my interest lies mostly with film ("digital video," as one may call it these days), alternative means of storytelling can be creative and quite useful in remaining creative.

 


 

Essential Narratives List

 

5. The Office (television series, 2005)

     Without a doubt my favorite television comedy. EVER. Although after the fourth season the quality of the show seemed to steadily decline, with only episodic/scenic glimpses of the greatness that once was, the first few seasons of the show are riotously hilarious, the characters and their storylines all feel very real (as should with a mockumentary), and the comedic timing and coordination between the actors and camera is incredible. Although the overall narrative, in the final seasons, did not conclude particularly well in my opinion, the characters and stories set forth in its early days kept me continually engaged in The Office.

     Wikipedia page

     IMDB page

     Official NBC page

 

4. Red Dead Redemption (video game, PS3 and XBOX 360, 2010)

     Undoubtedly my favorite video game I've ever played. The developer of the game, Rockstar Games, has always been known for telling a strong, cohesive story despite typically boasting a very open-world, "tell your own tale" type of video game. Being able to simultaneously experience the story written for the user and generate one's own tales through constant exploration gives Red Dead Redemption an unlimited amount of entertainment and replay value.

     Wikipedia page

     Official Red Dead Redemption page

     IGN review

 

3. Adaptation (film, 2002)

     Inspired by Charlie Kaufman's own struggle with writer's block while trying to adapt the non-fiction novel, The Orchid Thief, this film should give hope to anybody who has ever drawn a blank when attempting to put a pen to paper. As the story progresses and the events fictitiously connecting Kaufman's life with the book's subjects unfold, the absurdity of both reflect each other flawlessly. In terms of narrative, the film is intelligently written, constantly self-aware, and utterly hilarious.

     Wikipedia page

     IMDB page

     YouTube link to trailer

 

2. Breaking Bad (television series, 2008)

     Easily my favorite television series I've ever watched, and for good reason. What started out as an off-beat dark comedy eventually turned into one of, if not the single most, well-received television dramas of all time. I have never enjoyed any television series so thoroughly throughout its entirety like I have Breaking Bad. Each episode tells its own part of the tale, but the story as a whole feels incredibly cohesive and fully realized throughout. It is often hailed as the greatest (or at least, a top 3 ranked) television series of all time because of the brilliance of its writing, coupled with incredible performances that truly bring the narrative to life.

     Wikipedia page

     IMDB page

     Official AMC page

 

1. Pulp Fiction (film, 1994)

     Maybe an obvious choice for a prospective film student, but there's good reason Pulp Fiction is one of the most quoted, most favorited and loved movies of all time. The movie has everything and more that one could ask for in a narrative; violence, action, hints of romance, unparalleled dark humor, the "coolest" soundtrack ever put together,revenge, redemption, more quotable lines than any Gone With the Wind, and of course, Samuel L. Jackson. The story is told so non-linear that you could watch it ten times and not know what's next chronologically, yet is impeccably conducive to the storytelling and character development. The dialogue is almost Shakespearean in essence- derived from everyday language, but contrived just enough to fit his style and tone.

     Wikipedia page

     IMDB page

     Official Miramax page

     YouTube link to trailer

     YouTube link to the "tasty burger" scene (because why not?)

 


 

Workshop 1: Bruce Springsteen's "Thunder Road"

 

     For a visual representation of Bruce Springsteen's song "Thunder Road," I feel as though a Five Frame Story could suffice. The song is fairly long and varied in its content, as there is no repeating chorus, but the overall message and prompted images of the song are fairly cohesive and full in essence. The song is about a man trying to get a girl to run away with him and drive off on, appropriately, Thunder Road. To be included in the Five Frame Story would presumably be:

 

1. An old, "homey" home, to represent where the girl is coming from, as a central point of the song is trying to coerce her to come with him. Springsteen provides little imagery in "She dances across the porch," but with the tone of the song and its content, I imagine something southern-ish and out in the country.

 

2. An image of the young woman herself- I imagine a "girl next door"-looking girl, as he says in the song, "You ain't a beauty but hey you're alright." 

 

3. A long, country back road, maybe an old farm-to-market road or highway to represent "Thunder Road." Maybe this.

 

4. Some visual representation of the car he drives, as he speaks a few times of her getting in the car, rolling down the windows, driving off, etc.  

 

5. A longer shot of a road, at sunset, with a car off in the distance, to represent Springsteen and his young lady having gone off together, as he hopes for. Something like so.

 


 

GIF

 

YES!
make animated gifs like this at MakeAGif

 

     For my creation of a GIF, I decided to utilize footage of Tom Brady's post game-winning interception celebration in Super Bowl XLIX. The mood here is clear, concise, and clearly exhibited by the GIF- excitement, jubilation, elation, happiness. Choose any adjective you prefer, either way, it is clear that any of these emotions apply to the description of what the GIF contains. The GIF could be used to denote a celebration, as is apparent, or could be used to describe excitement or great anticipation of something. I chose this image to describe these feelings because, being a New England Patriots fan, I understand the feelings Tom Brady must have been experiencing in this moment- eleven years and two failed Super Bowl attempts since the last time he had won "the big one" underscore this reaction to a game-winning interception made by a lesser known player, solidifying the victory and his place as the greatest NFL quarterback of all time. One can, bearing all of this in mind, see why this image could help evoke a true sense of elation in description of accomplishment, achievement, or excitement.

 


 

Idea for Portfolio Assignment: Digital Story Video

 

     To be worked on in class on February 20, I am proposing a digital story video that would serve as a fictional news broadcast covering a zombie apocalypse-style outbreak. The voice-over narrative would provide explanation as to why video was not available for the broadcast (the lights have blown in a power surge, camera equipment has stopped working, etc.) and that the images are all they could muster to get out a broadcast on time. It will be made apparent that the images selected for the visual aid were pre-selected and programmed, whereas the voice-over will be presented as a live broadcast.

 

     The pictures will depict what is being discussed throughout the broadcast; updates on particular parts of the city, possibly numbers and figures relating to local incidents, etc. The broadcast will continue, and in the end the caster will begin to strike an optimistic tone. with images depicting hopeful outcomes. As the speech takes a turn for these optimistic wishes, there will be a clear interruption, commotion, the caster will be bitten, and as this occurs the images will provide ironic, positive images to contrast the horror of the situation.

 

Link to first (working) draft of script.

 


 

Proposal for Student Designed Assignment

 

Machinima or Machinima-Based Narrative (20 points each, +5 superior, x2 max)

 

Description: Throughout the semester, we have looked at several new ways of telling stories using digital and networked means. Another one of these methods of storytelling, one that is largely popular (in different forms, i.e., game walk-throughs, personal reviews, etc.) and a bit more conventional than some of the digital networked narrative forms we've discussed is machinima- video game "filmmaking," in a sense. This assignment emphasizes a use of machinima techniques for telling one's own story. One will take game footage, accompanied by voice overs and/or other filmed/textual elements to generate a new story within the context of a pre-existing video game. A good example of this would be Robot Chicken's Red vs Blue YouTube series that uses footage from the earlier Halo video games accompanied by character voice overs to tell a story that is not inherent to the game.

 

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Does the submission utilize footage/content from a pre-existing video game in a useful and creative way?
  • Is this video game footage accompanied by other creative work by the student (i.e., voice over, textual overlay, other filmed elements, etc.)?
  • Does this additional creative content reveal and/or tell a narrative other than which is inherently programmed into the video game? 
  • Is the content edited together in a practical way that is engaging? 
  • Is the narrative coherent, cohesive, and conclusive?

 


 

Idea for Remix Video

 

     I am currently working on refining the idea and collecting the resources for a remix video that would re-purpose some Game of Thrones footage into a sitcom-like piece. My plan is to take a good portion of the Arya Stark and Sandor "The Hound" Clegane scenes and add to them a laugh track, utilizing canned laughter, audience gasps, etc. to create a more straightforward, humorous narrative of the two's journey through Westeros together.

 


 

In-class Story Exercise

 

1: A young bartender shares enough time and personal information to yield a $50 tip from an older, more seasoned bartender.

 

2: A young woman finally takes her dream trip to New York. She is totally let down by the fact that her friend, whom she is going to visit, really doesn't enjoy spending time in New York City itself and hardly gets any time in the city.

 

3: On a local sports radio show, the hosts and guests of the day debate among themselves and callers the morality of signing a player to an NFL team who has been charged, yet suspiciously acquitted, of domestic violence.

 

4: Upon selling customer data during their bankruptcy crisis, Radioshack becomes responsible for the apprehension of thousands of innocent civilians based on "suspect" purchases of electronics equipment.

 

5: Ted Cruz gets elected president, centering his campaign on gay rights.

 


 

Proposal for Amendment to the Remix Video Portfolio Assignment

 

     Upon beginning work on my Remix Video for the class Portfolio Assignment, I have found that many of the most well-put together and effective remix videos already in existence iterate their narratives in less than three minutes' time, which is the minimum according to the assignment criteria. In putting this limitation on the assignment, I believe there is the potential for a loss of possible creative projects. Most film trailers, for example, which are a typical subject of remixes, fall short of three minutes, sometimes even short of two minutes. I don't believe that an entire three minutes is necessary to convey a cohesive re-imagining or original conception of a narrative through this medium. Here are a few examples of effective remix videos that fall short of the three-minute mark:

 

The Office re-imagined as a horror film trailer.

Rambo/Toy Story trailer mashup.

The Notebook re-imagined as a thriller trailer.

Game of Thrones cut to resemble an episode of Seinfeld.

 


 

Digital Networked Narrative Critical Review: Dying Light (PS4)

 

     It was not too long ago that the entire medium of video games seemed to be geared toward a somewhat niche audience. Gamers were quintessentially equated to nerds in most popular culture until pretty recently, it would seem. Today, video gaming itself doesn't necessarily occupy a niche audience, but rather there are niches found within the larger and much broader gaming community. Although there are many more types of games out there today, accompanied by a varying audience of gamers, there is still a group of video game players out there, or at least an image/stereotype of these players that one may call "real" gamers, "hardcore" gamers, or "true" gamers. Dying Light, a recent game developed by Techland and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is most certainly directed at a particular audience- that of the  "true" gamers.

 

     First of all, it is important to note Dying Light's gameplay style as it relates to its audience. The game takes cues from several already-existing genres, and the game is very well-executed in most of its facets. It is a first-person shooter role-playing zombie game that is largely centered around parkour, or free running in its gameplay. The game is marketed as such, and therefore is presumably intended for use by fans of any of these genres. It capitalizes on the developer's previous successes and learns from their failures on a similarly-themed escapade of theirs, Dead Island (sans the free running aspects), and clearly take cues from many other successful games in different capacities. The combination of all of these genres, each typically geared toward different niches, indicates that Techland is looking to appeal to as many types of gamer as possible.

 

     The free-running element to this game is something I find to be crucial in its sense of immersion and truly allows players (both the "true" gamers and casual alike) to really commit to and thoroughly enjoy the game. As Bryan Alexander iterates in his book The New Digital Storytelling, "(o)ne key aspect of game-based storytelling is the immersion of a player in the story's environment. This is especially true for large-scale games..."  Many modern games incorporate free running, or at least advanced platforming elements (Assassin's Creed and Uncharted come to mind), but rarely do we find a first-person game with anymore than simple jumping or climbing mechanics. In fact, the most recent (and really, only) free running first-person game is Mirror's Edge, which was released back in 2008 and had an extremely dedicated, albeit somewhat small fanbase of very committed gamers. By incorporating parkour elements into a first-person game, there are so many graphical and animated opportunities to immerse ourselves into our character in the game- the whirring of the wind as one sprints through a crowd of zombies or jumps from one building to a lower one, the swaying of the camera as we see our avatar's hands reach further up the side of a building, the grunts and sighs associated with sticking a landing and rolling out of it. Giving players a first-person perspective on free-running allows them to not feel as though they're "watching" their character do these things (as in third-person games), and alleviates the player of many of the movement/platforming restrictions that typically come with first-person shooters1; it takes cues from and expands upon both genres of game to create an incredibly immersive game experience that is sure to appeal to any gamer, let alone those who claim to be "true" gamers.

 

     That being said, where Dying Light truly shines is where we also find it's real intended audience, the "true" gamers. The game does so in two major ways that indicate its truly intended audience. The first of these ways is how the game rewards gamers who know video game history and lore through many of its side quests. Several side quests exist in the game that pay homage to, directly reference, or even reward players with items/story pieces from classic games. One of the clearest examples of this is the very clear replication of a Super Mario Brothers level included in the game. Another example would include one of the children in the game wielding a replica sword from The Legend of Zelda. The other way that Techland makes itself clear that Dying Light is intended for "true" gamers is the constant updates and publisher-created mods that the game utilizes. Typically in the past, only PC games would get these mods (holiday specials, for example), and although Dying Light is available for the PC, the game company puts in the effort to provide the same treatment across all platforms for its players. The most recent and relevant example of this would be the game's recent April Fool's Day physics overhaul, which gifted players with superhuman strength for slaying zombies.

 

     Whereas most modern AAA game producers take themselves too seriously or are too busy working on other ways to make money (developing further DLC or sequels) to treat their gamers to such entertaining, temporary updates, Techland consistently goes above and beyond to reward long-time, "true" gamers, and the regular players of their games. This is indicative of the fact that while their game style is conducive to a cadre of different audiences and fan types, the game itself is truly intended for, and consistently rewards, video game players who have always been engaged with games and continue to play them regularly.

 

1- I have found a YouTube critique and brief historical overview of the inclusion of parkour elements in first-person shooters. It doesn't exactly pertain to my discussion of immersion, but does analyze the history and effectiveness of first-person parkour elements in light of the imminent release of Dying Light. 

 


 

Proposal for Final Project

 

     For my final project, I am looking to create a Machinima project of significant length, depth and breadth that would tell the story of an NFL season using gameplay footage from Madden 15 (XBOX 360). The project would recap the 16-game regular season and any playoffs I was able to win my way into/through with the team using the game's Connected Careers mode (AKA franchise, career mode, etc). The project would definitely involve using and editing gameplay footage, background music, and personally recorded audio, perhaps some real-life commentary clips, still images from the internet (of teams, players, etc), and maybe even some topical social media posts and feeds. The audience of my project would be any fans of video games and/or sports, people with interest in Machinima, remix videos, and of course fans of the New England Patriots, the team I would play with. Having come off a Super Bowl winning year, there are an overabundance of fan videos all over the internet, but most of them have been remixed using real-life NFL game footage. My project would be in the same vein of these videos, only made using Madden footage instead.

 


 

Design Prospectus for Final Project

 

     Log line brief: The central concept of my final project is to emulate a season-highlight recap for an NFL team, one like you might find on ESPN or another sports network. It will document a Super Bowl-winning season for the New England Patriots using a varied group of media- gameplay footage from Madden 15, real-life commentary bits, real-life video clips, music, recorded audio commentary, and social media feeds.

 

     Layout and sequencing: The final product of my project is going to be a video compiling the aforementioned media altogether. The exact order and inclusion of each media is not quite yet determined, as the narrative of the video will be emergent from the gameplay itself; it is impossible to predict how an entire 16-game season will play itself out in a Connected Franchise playthrough. However, here is a prospective layout of how the video will be generally structured, and how each media can be utilized:

 

  • The video should be between 10-15 minutes in length (depending on how different games turn out, significant emergent storylines- injuries, obstacles to overcome, trades, free agent pickups/releases).
  • The in-game footage itself will be largely, if not exclusively, made up of video gameplay, underscored by both music, real-life commentary, and recorded audio commentary.
  • The gameplay footage will be complimented by and intertwined with clips from real-life interviews and event footage (on-field celebrations, post-game press conferences, etc).
  • Also included in the video, and mixed in with the other complimentary elements will be screen captures of social media feeds depicting applicable opinions and fan commentary. These will potentially come from both in-game faux Twitter feeds from Madden itself and real-life social media that would be taken from existing social media and/or generated specifically for this project.
  • The conclusion of the video should be the arrival at and playthrough of the Super Bowl, given that my playing ability will yield me an opportunity to play in the culminating game of the season. If not, it will document the reasons why, in a stylistically narrative fashion, the team fell short.
  • Again- the nature of the narrative in my machinima video is yet to be determined, as the story will be emergent from my gameplay. Once all gameplay has been completed and recorded, the narrative will be more easily laid out and structured.

 

     Schedule:

 

  • Monday 04/27: All games will have been played and recorded. By the end of the day, I should have laid out the story of the season and its development.
  • Wednesday 04/29: Once the season's story has played itself out, I shall gather all applicable real-life resources that will accompany my footage. This should be completed by the end of the day.
  • Friday 05/01: A layout should be made better detailing the narrative and the media that will be used throughout the video. This design document will be closer to what was expected above in the second part of the design prospectus, but cannot truly be completed without having finished the gameplay and resource gathering. 
  • Monday 05/04: All footage (both gameplay and accompanying media) should be compiled. The video editing itself should be done at this point.
  • Wednesday 05/06: Additional commentary, sound bites, music, etc should be added in at this point and a draft of the final video submitted by the end of the day.

 


 

Digital Networked Narrative Critical Review: Tom Brady - The G.O.A.T.

 

     One of the most well put-together and affective fan-made sports videos is one put together by YouTuber Joseph Vincent, entitled Tom Brady - The G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time). It chronicles the story of Superbowl 49, recently voted on NFL.com as the greatest game ever played in the NFL, and mirrors the progression of the game perfectly with the ups and downs of Tom Brady's career. This video was one of the most influential I had seen in deciding to go with an NFL-themed machinima video for my final project, as I believe it utilizes some of the concepts we have discussed over this course quite effectively- that of successfully establishing and addressing a particular audience, the use of non-linear storytelling, and the illustration of DNN's remixable, transformed and transmedia qualities.

 

     First off, it is easy to determine who the intended audience is in Vincent's video. The passionate fans of the New England Patriots rejoice anytime anybody outside of their fandom acknowledges and praises Tom Brady for his accomplishments, and as Vincent's repertoire varies from different teams to different players, it appears as though he has no loyalty to the team or player himself, but rather objectively chronicling the greatest sports players and stories of our contemporary times. Sports fans in general- anybody who has interest in sports or can even appreciate a great story- and isn't entirely committed to the Patriots/Brady Haters Club, could certainly enjoy the video for it's great storytelling, even outside of the subject matter. NFL fans, fans of remix or fanvids, even arguably prospective film editors/makers could benefit from seeing the video, as its editing is extremely conducive to telling the story; but with something as polarizing as sports and sports fandoms, the most obvious and immediate audience would be fans of the Patriots, and the video most certainly exceeds in addressing them and their GOAT quarterback.

 

     Joseph Vincent not only addresses the audience well in his YouTube video, but also exhibits an extremely effective use of non-linear storytelling. The video's narrative is obvious, its argument simple, but its storytelling technique is both extremely useful and effective. About half of the footage in the video is derived from this past year's Superbowl, Superbowl 49, and is especially appropriate given that many sports fans believe this has solidified Brady's place as the GOAT quarterback in the NFL. Vincent thoughtfully intersperses applicable and relevant footage from early in Tom Brady's career to highlight certain points of the game- the video begins with the setup for Superbowl 49, and is followed by the story of how Brady even became the starting QB. It then recaps Brady's first two Superbowl wins, a clear high point of Brady's career, juxtaposes this with Seattle's game-tying touchdown at the end of the second half in the Superbowl, and smoothly transitions in a way that makes it appear as though Brady (or at least the audience) at this point is reflecting on Brady's third Superbowl win from many years ago, effectively assuaging the audience into a sense of comfort that there is still hope in the second half of the game. It thoughtfully complements Brady's in-Superbowl interception with his atrocious play in week 5 against the Kansas City Chiefs, a game which left many doubting Tom Brady's greatness, and henceforth spirals into doubt and suspense using audio clips from throughout the previous season and seasons past; this is carefully edited together to intertwine and coincide with the lowest point of the Superbowl for New England, when they were down 24-14 at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The tone then shifts hopefully, taking us through the end of the game, the Patriots' comeback victory, and Vincent accents these clips with several bits of commentary lauding Brady for his incredible fourth quarter. 

 

     Through all of the video's tonal shifts and recaps, it wonderfully coalesces the overall story arc of Brady's career and the Superbowl game itself in a non-linear fashion that turns out to be quite affective. As Greg Costikyan put it (courtesy of Alexander's The New Digital storytelling), "A story is best envisioned as 'beads on a string,' a linear narrative." As our in-class discussions have allowed us to believe, however, that a strictly linear story is not always the most effective means of conveying a narrative. Here, with the Tom Brady - The GOAT video by Joseph Vincent, we see an illustration of that fact. Rather than strictly utilize a chronological re-telling of Brady's career and/or that of his most recent Superbowl victory, the video creator intersperses relevant and applicable clips of audio and video from earlier in the player's career, illustrating the remixable and transmedia quality of modern digital networked narratives, to maximize affect to the audience. The video might still be thought of as "linear," as it clearly follows a flowing narrative, but the metaphorical "string of beads" may look more like a strand of DNA, interweaving two or more sets of beads to create a new chain of events altogether. Regardless, the video breaks traditional norms of "linear" storytelling to interweave multiple narratives from Tom Brady's career into one epic retelling that is ultimately most effective because of this non-linear structure.

 


 

Digital Networked Narrative Critical Review: Mortal Kombat Legacy (season 1)

 

     The idea to write this critical review was actually spurned from a discussion held in another class of mine this semester, What is TV? with Erin Copple Smith, in particular the lecture day on WebTV. We looked at some examples of WebTV in class, and afterwards, I asked myself why I had never really given web series a shot. I had really enjoyed what we'd seen in class, and had a few online series I figured I'd get around to watching one day, so I figured it was time. The first WebTV series I decided to watch was the Mortal Kombat Legacy Machinima original series. This review will discuss the series' intended audience, its success in addressing such an audience, the show's capitalization on the affordances of being a digitally networked narrative, and how it exhibits the remixable/transmedia quality of digital networked narratives.

 

     The Mortal Kombat Legacy series tends to a varying audience, not just Mortal Kombat fans as one may expect. For a YouTube series, the show is well-produced and highly polished, which may lower barriers for entry for those skeptical of the quality of an online series. Any fans of action, hand-to-hand combat, martial arts, stunts and/or even mixed martial arts fighting should be entertained by Mortal Kombat Legacy, as the series is pretty action-packed given their presumably (comparatively) small budget. The story is extremely well told, especially in some of the earliest episodes, in which the form and apparent genre of each episode coincides with the main character whose tale the production team is telling. An example of this would be in the third episode, "Johnny Cage," which gives us the background story for the titular character. Throughout the episode, we find out that Johnny is a struggling reality TV star who can't seem to catch a break with a producer despite his wicked combat moves. The episode is, in part, shot to appear as Johnny's reality series pilot, and even the rest of the episode outside of this story within a story has a similar aesthetic and tone, which is very different from, say, the sixth episode, "Raiden," which has a much darker tone.

 

     This segues nicely into a discussion on the affordances of being a digitally networked narrative. Had the creative team behind Mortal Kombat Legacy gone the more traditional route with their production, and approached a television distributor, there may have been a lot less room for creativity and innovation within the series. Take, for example, the aforementioned point about each episode's narrative and form being reflexive of the titular character; in a traditional television series, most series don't generally differ in tone or protagonist from episode to episode- they rely on consistency and familiarity as a part of their formula. With a web series, however, and without a major telecommunications and/or production company breathing down the creator's necks, the form, tone, aesthetic, plotlines and characters can change between each as the creators see fit.

 

     Coalescing nicely with this capitalization on the affordance of its medium, is the remixable/transmedia quality of its content. With this freedom of form and narrative, the creators of the series are able to tell whatever stories they want, and in the case of Mortal Kombat Legacy, the creative team gives us their personal takes on these familiar characters' backstories. It utilizes the transmedia quality in that these characters are and largely have been confined to the realm of video games (sans the early 90's disastrous films), and here we see their backstories explored through an entirely different medium, one that wasn't even around at the advent of these characters. It is also remixable in that all of these stories take and remix recognizable signature characteristics, appearances, moves, storylines and quotes with their own perceptions and ideas. Again referring back to the episode "Raiden," there is even a point at which the screenwriter for the episode (and most of the series) Kevin Tancharden iterates that this episode is completely his own take on the character's backstory, and although it coincides well with all of the established Raiden-isms of the Mortal Kombat Universe, he acknowledges that his take may be different than anybody else's.

 

     This remixable/transmedia quality, coupled with some of the affordances associated with being a digital networked narrative, has allowed a narrative to emerge that may not have been possible through any other medium in this same form at any other time in our history. It is precisely the form and affordances of the medium that have allowed Mortal Kombat Legacy to be created and flourish as a series. The review process for this web series was quite reminiscent for me of the "Everything is a Remix" video that we watched early this semester; everything Mortal Kombat Legacy is doing right now has been done before. The characters were pre-existing, people have made YouTube exclusive series before, there are plenty of action flicks out there, the list goes on- it's all been done before. What the text does do that hasn't been done before, however, is take all of these currently working (or not) ideas, formats and narratives, and remix them all together to create an entirely new narrative.

 


 

Machinima Narrative: 2015 Boston Red Sox Home Opener 

 

     Although this is my final machinima project to upload for the semester, it was actually the first one I began working on. I had just recently picked up this year's installment of MLB (15) The Show and had been playing a bit when I had managed to find free time when my idea for a machinima project came about. As soon as the equipment was in and Brett had lent it out to me, The Show was the first gameplay I captured with the intent of creating a project out of it. There was a bit of a learning curve, lots of little nuances about both the hardware and software that I was able to get acquainted with and used to by the time I began working on my final project.

 

     The final product for this assignment, the one you will watch, was filmed a while back, I storyboarded it out shortly after, probably finished editing all of the footage and adding music about a month ago, but never got around to recording the commentary once I was engaged in my final project. It worked out pretty well in the end, as I rolled right into recording the voiceover for this machinima after I finished the Borat and Madden stories. The voiceover audio quality of this video is probably the best of the three, and it definitely took a bit of time to get the balance between music and verbal speech. The story for this project was also emergent from my gameplay, much like my final project, but on a much smaller scale. The emergent narrative turned out to be interesting, as I was able to use real-life storylines for the Red Sox this season to iterate my narrative; they really do have a questionable pitching staff this season, and catcher Christian Vazquez really is a rookie trying to prove himself on the team. It all worked out well in the end, as the starting pitcher (Clay Buchholz) and Vazquez turned out to be the game's MVPs.

 


 

Fail Badge

 

     Early on in the semester, we talked a bit about digital video stories, which incorporate still images as well as some sort of audio that compliment one another to convey a narrative. I watched some of the previous years' digital video stories and really liked the idea of this type of project, but wanted to do something that defied the media's typical use. Most people who had done one of these projects had some sort of story to tell, and used images to accentuate or amplify certain parts of the story (eg, telling the story of Robin Hood with pictures that represent characters, situations, settings, etc). What I intended to do was pass off my audio as a news broadcast taking place from a small studio in a zombie outbreak, and in some way I planned to establish that the station's video equipment had been lost, damaged, or not working due to some event that had taken place over the outbreak. I would have then used my pictures as a visualization of their report, complimenting what they were saying. The dialogue was shaped to indicate that the voiceover news report was taking place live, and that the image sequence had been pre-rendered to accompany what they were saying. At the end, in my defiance of this mode of storytelling, there would have been zombies that got into the news station and interrupted what was going on in the studio, and the pre-rendered images would have contrasted the sounds of the men being attacked and eaten by a small horde of zombies, as the end of the speech (and therefore the images) was planned to bring in a hopeful tone that sought to get people mobilized against the zombie threat.

 

     What I found when beginning this project, however, was that I'm a bit picky when it came to the images I was to use. Since my narrative was conceptualized as a pseudo-newscast, I felt that much of my dialogue (if not all of it) should read and sound like something you would catch on the news, whether by TV or radio. A lot of camera time during televised newscasts is reserved for shots of the actual reporters, interviewers, interviewees, etc, therefore when it came time to visualize these parts of the broadcast, I was sort of at a loss. I didn't want to have to compromise or consolidate much of the "boring" segments in the newscast, as these parts would have made the representation of a newscast more accurate and believable, but I also didn't want to put 45 seconds of still imagery of some reporter up during those segments either. A lot of the dialogue I had written was not conducive to affective visuals, and at some point along the photo-gathering process I became frustrated by the conundrum I had put myself in and decided that if I were going to conceive of another digital video story that I may need to take a more conventional approach, or at least write something that could yield more interesting imagery. In the end, I gave up on digital video stories altogether, as I found myself more engaged in some of the other assignments for class, and I would definitely consider my lone effort into digital video story making an utter bust and failure.

 

     Coming out of this failed assignment, it helped me with some decision-making toward the end of the semester. As I closed in on starting up my final projects, I made sure I was well-aware of what the project would entail and how I would go about doing such things, unlike I had with my digital story video. Before diving head into a narrative, I examined the media and the process behind producing such pieces, making sure I had chosen the right portfolio project for my given narrative. I did not want to find myself half-way through another assignment and give up on it because I wasn't connecting with the project. I also took away from my failure that in creating digital video stories, the best material for this storytelling mechanism may be narrative material. Typically, narrative/story-telling tends to lend itself more to vivid imagery than a narrative told like a newscast, which is more centered around facts and figures. Facts and figures provide much less visual ammunition than a less formal presentation of a story.

 


 

Machinima Narrative: Far Cry: Kazakhstan

 

     For my first fully-produced machinima narrative, I teamed up with a friend of  mine who is an avid Far Cry 4 player to build a map in the game's map editor and construct a narrative around it. Far Cry 4 takes place in a small, fictional Himalayan country known as Kyrat, a pseudo-North-Indian border state with various mountainside terrains. Given the possible geographic layouts for one's custom map, as well as the Nepali-styled architecture and amenities, Daniel and I came to the very early conclusion that we would need to create a narrative applicable to this setting and period. Almost immediately it was suggested that we recreate scenes from an American classic, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Nothing else made more sense.

 

     This project posed some unique challenges that I wasn't quite familiar with handling and served as a beneficial learning experience for any future foray into machinima videos. Recording Daniel as "Borat" was easiest to record live via party chat audio on the Playstation 4, but recording my responses had to be done later through my computer, which resulted in a somewhat noticeable difference in quality and clarity between the two. Another challenge I ran into early on was how to recreate scenes from a film in a game engine which was not at all designed for such purposes. We overcame this hurdle by accepting it and adapting it into our narrative; one of the characters becomes convinced that the map they are playing on is a replication of the town of Kusack from Borat. From here the video takes a twist, and the subsequent footage is an attempt to recreate lines, scenes, segments and clips from the film. All of the scenes are not mirror images of their silverscreen counterparts, but an adaptation to an entirely different medium, utilizing its affordances to our benefit... Or to "make benefit glorious nation of Kazakhstan."

 


 

Final Project: Madden Super Bowl Hype video

 

     Author's Statement

 

     For my final project, I initially conceived of an intermediary sports video/machinima/digital video production that would include an abundance of media all compiled into one video to recreate an entire season-long recap. What I ended up with was a primarily machinima-based replication of a Super Bowl pump-up video that a team may use or a fan may create to stimulate excitement leading up to the biggest game of the year. A lot happened between my initial conception of the project and the writing of this note, and at this point I think it's safe to say that I was probably thinking a little too grand in scale at the onset of this project. I was unaware of many of the limitations and challenges in creating a work like this, but there were many that I encountered that eventually helped shaped the project that I published to YouTube.

 

     First of all, with the abundance of sports media out there, I figured it would be a cake walk to garner a bunch of highlights, interviews, sound bites and commentary on the Patriots, especially given their recent success and subsequent attention in the sports world. Although I was right that much was out there, its applicability and accessibility were almost always questionable, if not both. There turned out to be a lot less "raw" material for my project available for use than I probably had initially thought. The only site I could rip videos from was YouTube (using the YouTube to Desktop Video Downloader and ListentoYouTube.com), so if a clip that I found or specifically went looking for was on some other site like ESPN or NFL Network I couldn't always obtain the clip. When YouTube versions were found, they were often some sort of remixed highlight video and would therefore have been further edited by the creator, intertwining the footage with unrelated clips, having the creator's watermark on the screen, or having been dubbed by different commentary or music than would make sense for my project. Additionally, many of the clips that I did find for editing were not entirely relatable to the story that emerged from my season play-through. If the video incorporated players and/or plays that I felt were useful or interesting, oftentimes they again were unusable- having been recorded on a phone from somebody's TV and were poor quality, brandishing over-the-top sports feeds or company watermarks, etc. Even finding pre-existing commentary bits to dub over my video proved to be near impossible, with each commentary track also coming with its own/original background music and sound bits, meaning they were entirely incompatible with most of my video. I initially thought I would have the opportunity to find any and all clips and segments that would spruce up my story, but in the end I had to rely mostly on the gameplay footage, background music, and custom commentary.

 

     In the process of creating my video, I also had to change the narrative based on some of the troubles I encountered along the way. First of all, playing through games and recording gameplay turned out to be a little more cumbersome a task than I had hoped. After each interesting, exciting or scoring play, I would have to then go into the game's instant replay feature, find a good angle (hopefully none in which the avatars glitch- another challenge I came across), the right speed, who to focus on for the play, etc. Eventually I got the hang of it, and actually discovered some deeper features around week 16 in the season, but the process was still time consuming. The resulting story of the season was interesting enough- a rough first-game loss to the division rival Dolphins spurned a Tom Brady resurgence for three games, going 2-2 over the next four games, and running away with seven of the last eight games of the season, starting with the rival Denver Broncos and winning against every team but the Green Bay Packers over that stretch. Then, in the playoffs, New England secures a snowy shutout win over the team that started their season on a loss, the Dolphins, beats Peyton Manning and his Broncos in a close game yet again, and in the end they show down against the only team to beat them in the second half of the season- the Packers.

 

     I could not have written the plotline any better myself and, just like in the real sporting world, the emergent stories are always dramatized to the point that they almost seem scripted half of the time. I ended up losing the Super Bowl, both in the game itself and in the process of making my video. I was essentially attempting to move all of my files (videos, screenshots, audiotracks) into a less conspicuous and more organized place on my computer, and tried doing so while my video was saving to a shareable file form. When I played the video back before uploading it, many of the clips from the Super Bowl game just played black and after some investigating, that was the part of the video that was saving when I moved the files and it therefore couldn't find those files anymore. As this occurred close to the deadline and I was initially totally baffled by why that portion of my video wasn't working, I had to cut out the last few minutes of my video and cap it off with an allusion to the Super Bowl, rather than the dramatic re-telling I had constructed.

 

     With the creation of this video, I was hoping that any audience of the video would take away a few things. One takeaway, and probably the most obvious, should be a sense of feeling excited. Football can be an extremely exciting sport, and the Patriots have been one of the most successful and exciting teams to watch for the last 15 or so years, and anytime a team gets as far as they (I) did throughout the season it's a time for sports fans and team loyalists to be excited. I also hope that audiences find my piece believable and watchable. By that, I mean I hope they don't find the fact that the footage is mostly from a video game to be distracting or detracting, and that people could immerse themselves in the video and commit to its narrative without questioning or too heavy handedly paying attention to the media used rather than the story itself. I also hope that an audience member would simply enjoy the piece, whether they are a Patriots fan, media scholar, remix video expert or have never even seen a computer before- I just hope I have constructed something enjoyable and worthwhile.

 

     One piece of digital networked media I personally looked at (and reviewed) this semester that partially inspired and influenced this project was the Tom Brady - The GOAT video by Joseph Vincent. Vincent is a part of a YouTube group called Bored Film Grads, and spends his free time constructing videos like this to showcase his talents and engage audiences. The comments section on the video itself is the only direct feedback available for this project, and unless somebody has commented on the video to iterate hate for Tom Brady, the YouTube community seems to have really taken well to Vincent's edits, as they really are masterfully put together. My piece is similar to this in the sense that both recap the 2014 season for the New England Patriots and both remix (some) already-existing media together to create a cohesive narrative. They differ clearly in the media that were used to make the video (video games versus NFL footage), the "GOAT" video is mostly about Tom Brady, whereas mine is about the team in general (mostly), and Vincent was more apt to intermingle different sports broadcasts/highlight reels boasting banners/scoreboards that differ greatly. This is something I was trying to minimize, to help create a cohesive image for the video, because I felt as though anything too radically contrasting with my video game footage could be detrimental to the immersion into the video. Plus, I was trying to pass off my video as something entirely original, so I was looking to avoid it seeming as though I borrowed from other networks and such. I believe my video adds something new to the sports remix video community because it utilizes video game footage and the resulting storyline as its main basis, rather than recreating or complementing an existing text with the machinima video as mere visualization.

 

     Another digital networked narrative that I consulted for this project was Red VS Blue, one of the earliest and most successful machinima video (series) I could think of. The video is made by Rooster Teeth, a popular machinima group that popularized machinima with the advent of this series. Throughout the comments found on the different videoes, it's clear that there is a loyal fanbase for the web series, and as mentioned, Red VS Blue has been largely critically successful as well, as it really is quite funny. My video is similar to this one in that it essentially is the same thing- a machinima video; both also tend to try and "ignore" the fact that each is derived from a video game and each utilizes voice overs and music tracks. However, they differ greatly when you look at them each separately and together. Red VS Blue uses Halo multi-player footage and its replay feature to create its visuals, much like my Madden video, but my story emerged from the games played, whereas Red VS Blue probably (almost definitely) constructs their narratives first, then goes out and gathers the shots they need. The fact that my machinima video used sports gameplay footage seems like a relatively untapped section of machinima, and I therefore feel as though I have contributed to the realm of machinima in that regard.

 

     A third digital networked media that I encountered over the course of this semester and this project- probably the most obvious- is the video game Madden NFL 15 itself. The game also has an accompanying website (requires login) which tracks statistics and stories from your season in the Connected Franchise mode; I used this site to consult statistics throughout the season. The game is annually created and published by EA Sports, and every year since 2005, when EA Sports signed an exclusive NFL license agreement, the game boasts a bevy of new features and "new" (previously present, and omitted at some point in the game's tenure), and the series has been generally accepted among critics as stagnated for the past 5 or so years with a lack of viable competition on the market. My project is obviously similar to Madden 15 in that it derives much of its content from the game, uses many of the mechanics of the game to further the storyline (ie, playing it), both are centered around the NFL and its sport and narrative. However, I believe my project utilizes Madden in an inherently different way than is typically intended, as the game doesn't come with game capture hardware or software, and no part of the game is even available to simply record and store replays. My project differs from Madden and its intended use by nature; it seeks to use gameplay footage and capitalize on the Connected Franchise mode's continuity and real-life schedule mimicry to tell a story. The story of the season is the focus of my project, the gameplay (and footage) are not the primary objective, as is with the game itself. I believe that adds a contribution to the Madden domain, which is typically centered around isolated play-throughs of singular games that obviously spurn stories amongst players, but are not typically molded into some cohesive narrative. Even many of the existing machinima videos that utilize Madden footage (like this one) are different from my project, in that most users use the "game" as part of what they discuss and what we see on screen, whereas my project uses the footage in a way to hopefully construct a fully-immersive experience without heads up displays and button icons running rampant and breaking the illusion.

 

     One course concept that really shaped my thought process behind this project was the concept of emergence, in particular, emergent stories (especially as discussed by Bryan Alexander in his The New Digital Storytelling text). Emergence is something that can be conceptualized in many ways- to some extent, one can even say that any story and/or its medial representation is emergent, as it continually "emerges" and keeps going. The way I am understanding it, especially in terms of this project, is how the story of my season continued to be emergent from the gameplay itself. Going into the project, I had no idea what my story would be, effectively flopping the typical method of storytelling. As opposed to conceiving of a story and then finding some way to tell it, I played through all of my games, recorded all of the replays, and had to retroactively derive the story. At any point in the season, an injury, bad game, bad play, poor/exceptional execution by a player could all  have drastically changed the narrative of the season. Luckily, none of these issues really emerged, and I think the season had an interesting enough ark on its own (maximally interesting given the result of the Super Bowl, which was not in the video in the end).

 

     The transformative/transmedia qualities of digital networked narratives also played an obvious role in my project, as that is exactly the type of work I was doing for it. I was taking different media texts and molding them all together to create on cohesive piece; a jumbling up of resources and media that brings in and ties together so many differing narratives, essentially transforming these different media into one narrative. Namely, the Leduc piece really iterated a lot of things well to me concerning these two characteristics of DNN, and I think the piece exemplifies some of the effects of these tranformative media.

 


 

Five-Photo Story: The Semester

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     I titled my five-photo story The Semester because this is just about how I felt throughout the semester. I started off super naiive, excited and eager. I got to work early and diligently on my work and thought I was making great progress, and the next morning when I woke up it seems, it was May, finals were on the horizon, I feel like life was rattled by an atomic bomb, and there I lay at the end- dead, exhausted and ready for summer!

 


 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QW3iZyhmnuc&feature=youtu.be

Comments (29)

Brett said

at 8:21 am on Feb 10, 2015

Re: Required elements - Count it. You mention "cohesion" a couple of times in your List; that's an intriguing adjective to hone in on, almost as if we need to be reminded of the value of it (perhaps in the face of other kinds of stories?). Something to consider as the semester progresses.

Brett said

at 8:24 am on Feb 10, 2015

Re: Thunder Road exercise: Some solid ideas here. Do you think the two versions of a country road would be too much for so few images total? 5-photo stories rely heavily on economy, getting just the right image for each moment in the story: those two shots are so similar, some of the impact might be lost.

Brett said

at 8:40 am on Feb 20, 2015

Re: Brady GIF - This works well. Count it. What makes this especially useful as a GIF in any story *other* than a Super Bowl or pro football story is that what Brady is reacting to is off screen, thus making it useful as a story element since it implies a question - "What is he looking at?" - that draws our attention outside the current frame and thus, potentially at least, into the story.

Brett said

at 8:43 am on Feb 20, 2015

Re: Story Idea (digital story) - Love it. Especially nice is your idea about the divergence between sound and image track toward the end: it will have significant impact if the images are carefully chosen. :)

Brett said

at 9:56 am on Mar 16, 2015

Re: Machinima assignment proposal - This is largely in good shape. I'd like to tweak some of the wording here and there, but I'll copy/paste it into the Portfolio assignment today and get that done. Count this for the badge. :)

Brett said

at 8:53 am on Mar 20, 2015

Re: Remix video idea - This is interesting, but it appears it's already been done: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bK9R7NOdAkQ Not that it isn't still a good idea - I don't find this one very successful - but you'll want to think carefully about how you can build on or go in a different direction from this one, and you'll want to address those choices in your Statement.

Brett said

at 9:20 am on Apr 8, 2015

Re: Review of Dying Light - This is a solid start: it sounds like the game is fairly unique in how it addresses its audience (the Mario level is particularly fun). However, there are some elements in need of development.

First and most prominently, I would like to see you address our class discussions/readings more directly; as is, this could be a review on any game review site, as opposed to part of a course on digital networked media specifically. Which authors and/or concepts this semester have you encountered that have helped you understand this game better?

Second, the emphasis on parkour either needs more development or needs to be stricken entirely; as it is currently written, it is interesting, but there is not enough development through external sources (like other articles and/or blog posts, video clips, etc.), and it is not clearly tied to the larger argument about "true" gamers the rest of the review makes.

Finally, the opening paragraph is probably too long in balance with the rest of the review: consider shortening it considerably and using the extra space to develop one or both of the elements above.

Keep working on this. :)

Craig DaCosta said

at 1:10 pm on Apr 14, 2015

I tweaked my review up and hopefully improved upon it. I took into consideration all three points you made and kind of put them all together- I discussed the parkour elements in terms of immersion, as purported by Alexander, and cut down the opening paragraph to make room for what is now a considerable amount of my discussion.

Brett said

at 9:01 am on Apr 15, 2015

Yes, this is more solid. Count it.

Brett said

at 12:11 pm on Apr 8, 2015

Re: Project Proposal - This has the potential to be an outstanding project, especially if you are able to take advantage of the additional media sites and streams you mention in the Proposal. Those additional pieces - real-life commentary and images, social media items - will add an additional degree of realism to this project that could be quite compelling. Keep us informed of your progress. :)

christopherrahmeh@... said

at 10:21 am on Apr 20, 2015

Design Prospectus Commentary: The Log Line and description for this assignment is very clear. The author will be making a mash up using gameplay footage, real life commentary and clips, social media feeds, and more based around Machinima footage from the game Madden 15. I love the idea and think that the emergent nature of the project will be interesting. Because of it's emergent nature some of the description of the steps needed to create the project are a little up in the air or unclear at this time. As the nature of the story emerges from the gameplay though, I'm sure these elements will become more clear and focused. The schedule for the project is very well laid out and seems achievable for completing each element by the desired date.

Brett said

at 2:41 pm on Apr 21, 2015

Re: Design Prospectus - There is a clear sense for the main outline of the project here, and the schedule is sensible and seems like it will leave enough time for all the pieces (assuming the remaining games can be played/recorded by the 27th, which seems a little tight). Though this submission explains the emergent nature of the project, more could have been done here to provide the level of detail the assignment is looking for (even if, as mentioned in class, it required writing out two or more separate sequences to explain the possible divergent paths the multiple playthroughs could take you down). Though some good thought has been put into it, the primary issue with this submission is that, lacking sufficient detail at this stage, it will ultimately take more time to bring all the materials together than if care had been taken with the planning before now.

Brett said

at 8:36 am on May 4, 2015

Re: The GOAT Critical Review - Count it - Superior. A solid argument here regarding Vincent's skillful remix of highlight footage, it is clear and coherent, with a thesis well-supported by the analysis in the body. Especially effective is the concluding juxtaposition of Costikyan's "beads" against DNA's double-helix: its an original but also insightful metaphor for the use of parallel editing in digital networked narratives.

Brett said

at 3:15 pm on May 6, 2015

Re: Fail Badge - Solid start: lots of good detail here. Missing, though, is that moment of reflection where you reflect on what you might change in the future to try to keep this particular kind of fail from happening in the future. Keep working on this.

Brett said

at 12:14 pm on May 13, 2015

Yes, better. Count it. And a solid insight about the value of narrative "material" - I take you to be talking about sequences of content anchored on a problem (especially where the sequence shows a clear cause-effect chain): you're right that the kinds of objective material a typical newscast provides can be much harder to shape a story around.

christopherrahmeh@... said

at 9:07 pm on May 9, 2015

I loved your Far Cry Machinima. You were right the level did look like the Kazakhstan from Borat. The whole co op partner shtick was pretty brilliant. At the beginning of the video I thought it would be just another buddies playing video games and making funny commentary romp that youtube has a million of. The co op partner taking over the gameplay to make a silly machinima while the other player is annoyed and just wants to get back to the mission was really clever. I didn't see it coming and I was pleasantly surprised and found myself laughing a lot. The person you got to play Borat did a good job and I like how you loosely recreated the opening scene of Borat while adding in some elements that are more Far Cry based. The chemistry between the two co op partners was also very funny and well done. The only suggestions I have if you were to make another cut would be giving other characters in the Machinima portion lines besides Borat and allowing more chit chat between the two players because that element of the video was really funny.

Brett said

at 12:52 pm on May 11, 2015

Re: Far Cry: Kazhakstan Machinima - Count it. The audio disparities *are* noticeable, but otherwise this is an engaging if silly video that transforms the Far Cry footage into something *much* different. :)

Ali Center said

at 11:28 am on May 12, 2015

Your final project video is awesome! You really have video editing talents to be able to put that video together. It's really cool how it's almost all like one big game and I like how you put the clip of the announcer at the beginning, makes it seem more realistic and that the game is about to happen. Good job on this video! I wish I had even half of your video editing skills!

Brett said

at 7:42 am on May 14, 2015

Seems like you enjoyed it. :) Now: what constructive feedback can you give Craig so he can improve this kind of work for next time?

Ali Center said

at 3:10 pm on May 14, 2015

However, something that could have made your video even better is if you had an announcer voice over during the video so it seemed like actual games. Since it was just music it wasn't as realistic as it could have been and an announcer would have helped.

Tyler said

at 10:06 am on May 14, 2015

I found your critical review of Dying Light intriguing. I must admit it is a game I have not heard of, but based on your review it sounds like a game I might need to try. The only thing that I would have liked to have seen was maybe a picture of the box art or something. I know this wasn't required but as a gamer I tend to remember games by the case they came in, so I found myself immediately googling the game to find the cover art. Good review, like the comparison to AAA titles at the end.

Tyler said

at 10:30 am on May 14, 2015

Great GIF. I immediately knew which emotion I was suppose to feel from the GIF. I think this makes it perfect for telling a story outside the context of the Super Bowl and when reacting to the Super Bowl. You just use the GIF whenever you are excited about something. I do think the GIF is fine how it is but a possible idea for an alternative would be to make a looping GIF of Tom Brady jumping. This would make it seem as if he is constantly jumping with excitement.

amorano11@austincollege.edu said

at 11:16 am on May 14, 2015

I really enjoyed reading your critical review of Tom Brady The G.O.A.T. You give a detailed analysis of who the intended audience is, but you also go into depth about why a certain audience would benefit from watching this video. You also give a clear understanding of what is being portrayed in the video. However, I was unable to see the video. When I clicked on the link it said "This video contains content of the NFL, who has blocked it in your country due to copyright." I'm not sure what was up with that, if it was a technical issue on my end of the computer. I think another way to go about this in the future is to include images of certain parts in the video that are of most important that you have addressed in your review that way if the video is taken down for copyright there is some visual still available to help get your argument across.

Brett said

at 8:31 am on May 15, 2015

Excellent point.

dgraham11@austincollege.edu said

at 4:08 am on May 15, 2015

I find your five photo story to be a very accurate portrayal of this semester. Something that really works well for it is how easily and student could relate to it. Because you include that calendar of May it immediately brings to everyone's minds that school is ending for summer and how it goes from exciting to stressful to ready for relaxation.

Brett said

at 8:19 am on May 15, 2015

Could you offer some constructive feedback on how the submission might be improved?

Brett said

at 8:11 am on May 15, 2015

Re: 5-Photo Story - Count it. And this was probably a narrative you could only have produced here in the final hours of the semester. :)

Brett said

at 8:18 am on May 15, 2015

Re: Red Sox Machinima - Count it. This probably wouldn't have worked as a submission without the specific references to the "two big questions" at the beginning and end of the narrative. Those simple additions made it much easier to view this highlight video as a narrative. Nice work. (FYI, the link actually takes us to the Madden video; I found the Red Sox one by going to your channel, but you might want to fix it for future viewers.)

Brett said

at 12:11 pm on May 19, 2015

Re: Mortal Kombat Legacy Review - Count it, superior. This review does a superb job linking the nature of the web series' form to its effectiveness conveying itself to it's audience. Nice work.

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