Monday, November 7, 2011

Blog #9

Read Freak Factor


Blog #8

View Seth Godin's Brainwashed

One of Godin's more unique layers of reinventing yourself is "Acknowledging the Lizard". The lizard brain that we all deal with every day, the voice that keeps you from being yourself in fear of humiliation. Godin wants us to "acknowledge" this "lizard, kind of like picturing the audience in their underwear, like your teachers always told you. Don't be afraid to be creative; tell that lizard who is boss. Godin also discusses "Being Generous". This layer is more literal than the first...Godin means exactly what he says. In today's age, we all must be generous. Be willing to share your creativity with others for FREE! Be willing to spread your creativity over the internet without compensation...if you end up being creative enough, work and the pay that follows will find you. The most important layer Godin addresses is the ability to fail. Godin tries to explain that failing in today's society is necessary to discover new thought, new ideas, and new innovations. We have to see what doesn't work as much as we need to know what does. Knowing what doesn't work is the easiest way to figure out what will. Acknowledge that lizard, ignore that lizard, and kick ass.

I don't believe these blogs are a "waste of time". Each blog has its own useful piece of info to hand over in its own unique way. The manifestos, like Godin's, have all been very inspiring, as well as putting our technical skills to work. However, I don't know if everyone would agree with me on that. People have different ways of being creative...many can be creative with words and blogs...many try. When projects like these are assigned (here are three blogs....due in three weeks), people tend to procrastinate, like myself. Procrastination puts projects like this in the toilet, considering a majority of people (especially in our line of business) will wait until the very night before and crank out three blogs in three hours. Although some people do their best work when put on the spot, I believe many of these blogs will be rushed and minimalized to fullest extent. The idea is that most college students take the education they are receiving seriously, but the reality is that most students just want to get through the first few introductory courses as smoothly and quickly as possible. Thus, these blogs are just a small obstacle on the way to bigger things. If you really want these blogs to be taken more seriously AND spread the useful information contained within them more readily, make them peer-reviewed. For example, at the beginning of each quarter (soon to be semester), have all of the students create a blog under the same group, that way all of the blogs are linked to one single group. After this, every Friday in lab have students read and comment on at least one of their peer's blogs. This way, student will be encouraged to do their work (or suffer the wrath of other college students judgmental stares), and students will also have another interpretation of the information that is supposed to be transmitted through each blog. I don't believe this will conflict with Friday labs at all, considering the amount of free time we usually have anyways to goof off and dick around on the internet when we're supposed to be practicing the programs that the majority of us already know how to use (or can figure it out relatively quickly...we are college students). Students will also focus more on the presentation of each blog (grammar, looks, etc.) because each will know that eventually, someone else (besides the TA...peers are much more judgmental) will be reading the work. Just a suggestion...Godin would like my knowledge sharing generosity.

Blog #7

Scene from The Watchmen

One of the main underlying themes of The Watchmen is the complexity of human nature. In this scene, each character exemplifies human nature actively. Rorschach wants to fight for truth and justice anyway necessary, even if he will be killed for it. Dr. Manhattan knows he must keep Ozymandias's secret hidden, or else the humans themselves will destroy each other with war. The Night Owl knows there is nothing he can do to stop Dr. Manhattan, so he must sit by as his friend is blown into a million pieces. The theme, however, is also didactic, considering Dr. Manhattan clearly states he cannot change human nature in the clip.

This scene is one of the most climactic in the movie, as well as one of the last important scenes between the characters. Considering this, the scene has to put many different interesting aspects to use to keep everyone's full attention and interesting. Rhythm and movement are used together perfectly in the scene from the start to finish. As soon as Rorschach makes his way away from Ozy's large base, the camera angle arcs around Rorschach, only revealing Dr. Manhattan as an obstacle in his way...clearing stating "if you want to leave, you have to go through me". The snow falling around the three outside is also still, giving the scene even more of an urgency (even the snow has to stop and listen). Line is also used in this scene, especially on the shots of Rorschach during the conversation. Rorschach is looking to Dr. Manhattan off screen, but Rorschach's line of sight directly passes through Night Owl blurred in the background. This reinforces that even though the Night Owl is there, he is helpless to change the matter (this becomes even more subtextual if you think about how Night Owl is helpless to change the situation between his two comrades, or the situation between Russia and America throughout the movie). Space is even used in this scene; after the camera zooms out on Rorschach as he is blown up, the viewer sees the radius of his...matter flying out around where his person used to stand. Seconds later, the same "shape" is used by Night Owl as his throws his hands up and yells for his fallen amigo. The makeup of a scene is always purposeful, but never blatantly obvious; directors and cinematographers try to remain subtle when using all of these techniques to create a great movie.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Blog #6


I'm quite a fan of animated television and movies, so it was a hard choice to pick two animated shows to compare and contrast. "South Park" is depicted in the first picture, during the superhero episode where all the kids dress up and "gain" super powers to fight evil around the city. This is one of my favorite episodes of this show in terms of writing. "One Piece" is depicted in the second picture. This picture is just a still of the characters from the beginning of the anime, showing Luffy's (in the straw hat) core pirate team. Obviously from looking at the two stills, the two series are animated completely different. However, both shows have essential elements to them that make the two stand out. "South Park" is more humor driven than "One Piece", so the show focuses less on the actual animation and more on the writing and content of the show. The slim-to-none shadowing in "South Park" is purposeful, though. The creators are most likely trying to take the attention from the animation and make the story and dialogue stand out more importantly. The way the characters are drawn gives the show a lighter mood, even when the scene is trying to be "serious". "One Piece" is heavily shadowed, trying to let the viewers "believe" the anime more. Shadows on each character gives a semblance of real life to the animated characters. Animes tend to pay close attention to detail with drawing, unlike "South Park", to set a more serious tone that lends to the story. Despite the differences in shadowing, both animated series use color to their advantage in some way. Characterizing always utilizes colors; Mysterion in the "South Park" episode is trying to be...mysterious, so he is shown in darker clothing and color. Meanwhile, Mint Berry Crunch is shown in ridiculous pinks and greens, making his character seem more pansy than the costume already does. Luffy in "One Piece" is dressed in a red shirt, with a yellow straw hat...bringing all the attention to Luffy (yellow) while making him seem even more courageous (red). With or without the use of shadow and color in an animated series makes all the difference; "South Park" and "One Piece" both use shadow and color in their own ways to steer the animations in the exact direction the creators want. The creators of both shows tweak these elements purposely to get the viewers attention consciously and subconsciously.

Blog #5


Blog #4

Patrick Stump:
"Spotlight (Oh Nostalgia)"
Listening Framework for "Spotlight (Oh Nostalgia)"

Listening Phase 1
Tempo: Medium
Source: Piano/Drum
Groove: Powerful, rock
Listening Phase 2
Instrumentation: Piano, claves, synth, drums, cymbals, claps
Structure/Organization: Intro / Choir Synth Vocals / Chorus / Piano Vocals / Choir Synth Vocals 2 / Chorus / Hook / Chorus / Outro
Emotional Architecture: Low emotion until cymbal crash then high, significantly raising once the choir joins the chorus
Listening Phase 3
-Height: Some base in the song, so lows get pretty low. Vocals get relatively high at certain points as well.
-Width: A little bit of width with the choir
-Depth: Claves under piano under choir under main vocals creates great depth

Listening Framework for "Allie"

Listening Phase 1
Tempo: medium
Source: drums
Groove: Funky, powerful, love song
Listening Phase 2
Instrumentation: drums, guitar, piano, cymbals, bass
Structure/Organization: Intro / Piano Vocals / Chorus / Piano Vocals 2 / Chorus / Guitar Solo / Hook / Chorus / Outro
Emotional Architecture: drops after intro; leads up to chorus; drops again; builds to chorus again; guitar solo and hook reach a peak; drop to chorus and drop out to outro
Listening Phase 3
-Height: Vocals get very high at one point; a little bass low sound
-Width: almost no play with channels
-Depth: drums under guitar and bass under vocals
While most people are used to the sounds of Patrick Stump coming from Fall Out Boy, Stump has decided to try the solo act. So far, he has only released an EP with a few tracks, and in a few days, he'll release his first solo album "Soul Punk". I took a song from his EP as well as his new album to give a feel of what Patrick is really about with "Spotlight (Oh Nostalgia)" and "Allie". Lyrically, these songs are almost opposite. "Spotlight (Oh Nostalgia)" discusses how you don't need to focus on the past; anyone can bloom at any time and do great things. "Allie" takes this idea and dumps it, questioning whether or not he personally is as good as he used to be for his lost love. Musically,  these songs are alike and different in many ways. The similarities are abundant considering the same artist: lead by drums, high vocals, multiple instrumentals. Patrick Stump is known to be at the higher end of the spectrum, and the piano rock-ish feel is present in both songs. Both songs also share a similar emotional architecture, dropping and building throughout the song until the climax closer to the end. Patrick Stump's style leaves both songs with a feeling the same groove: powerful, funky, and rockish. However, the songs do differ in many ways as well. "Spotlight (Oh Nostalgia)" sounds like it is at a slightly higher tempo than "Allie"; "Allie" gets risky and takes the height to a completely new level that the first song doesn't touch. In terms of instrumentals, "Allie" decides to leave behind "Spotlight (Oh Nostalgia)"'s synths and claves for the classic setup with guitar and bass. When it comes down to it, "Spotlight (Oh Nostalgia)" is a breakout song, while "Allie" is the love ballad. Stump (even though every instrument on his tracks are self-performed) manages to give both songs their own sound, which registers him as an amazing artist in my book.  Neither song ceases to keep the listener's attention; when you're listening to these two, you'll be snapping your fingers and bobbing your head in no time.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Blog #3

Californication Season 1 Episode 7 ending -- link



HANK walks into BECCA’S room. Becca is laying in bed with her eyes closed and her earbuds in her ears with her iPod playing “Passenger’s Seat” by Death Cab for Cutie. Becca opens her eyes and shortly notices Hank in the room.
               (with “Passenger‘s Seat“ playing in the background)

Hank smiles and walks to Becca’s beside and sits.

              (with Passenger’s Seat” playing in the background)                              
         Hey. What are you listenin’ to there? A little fallin’ asleep music? Little Jonie Mitchell Blow on the Tracks?
               (with “Passenger’s Seat” playing, looking down)
        Death Cab for Cutie.
                (with Passenger’s Seat” playing in the background)
        Wow, you really know how to hurt a guy.
        … … …
        Hey…uh…I know, tonight, got a little ruined.
                (with Passenger's Seat” playing in the background)
        I know. I’m used to it.
                (with Passenger’s Seat” playing in the background)
        Yeah well I’ll uh…I’ll make it up to you, I swear.
                (with Passenger’s Seat” playing in the background)
        I know.
                (with Passenger’s Seat” playing in the background)
        Do ya?
                (with Passenger’s Seat” playing in the background)
        Sure. You never mean to let me down…but’cha do.

Hank sighs.

                (with Passenger’s Seat” playing in the background)
        Yeah, I guess I do.
                (with Passenger’s Seat” playing in the background)
        You know, it’s all well and good to talk about happy endings…but if a person can’t deliver, if he keeps screwing up…well eventually I guess you kinda just have to say fuck you. Or words to that effect.

Hank looks breathe-taken.

Becca reaches to the table and grabs a bill from her nightstand and hands it to Hank.

                (with Passenger’s Seat” playing in the background)
        You can keep the change.

Becca turns to her left and sleeps.

Hank looks down with a disappointed look on his face.


This scene is made for me just because of the underlying music in the background. This scene is done extremely well, using sound to its advantage. The listening mode in this scene is mostly semantic because you're accidentally hearing the song in the background as you're listening to Becca and Hank go back and forth. The song talks about trouble times and needing direction, two things Becca definitely is experiencing at the time of the scene because of her dad's unfortunate irresponsibility. The song also sets a depressing mood for the scene, being a slower song with a soft-spoken singer. Time is also executed superbly in this scene; while Hank and Becca are talking about their terrible night, the song talks about feelings within the same tone. You can constantly find yourself fading in and out between the scene and the song if you watch the scene a few times. The meaning of the song definitely drives home the mood of the scene at the end, when the song plays over silence, rather than the two characters conversing.

Blog #2

Read "Finding your Howl" by Jonathon Flaum here.

In Flaum’s article, he recalls a story from a fifth grade classmate about a tiger in a zoo. The story discusses how the tiger is strong and can jump great length, so he plans his escape from the zoo. Once the tiger musters up the courage, he jumps out of the cage…only to awake in another cage in another zoo. Flaum wants the readers to know that the tiger story is undoubtedly true; “there is no where to run”. The tiger has became apart of the cage that is in-turn also apart of the zoo. The cage is a prison, but it is also where the tiger has to live…so it is a home. The tiger can’t just leave, he must travel through dark depths of his foundation, until he reaches the light at the end of the tunnel on the other side. To find new perspectives, new views, and new environments, we, like the tiger, must rid ourselves of what we know to be “true” boundaries, like the cage, and open ourselves up to the unknown, like the tunnel.

“All those things that weren’t supposed to happen? They happened. What happens next is up to you.”
- Hank Moody

    This quote speaks to me not only because it was spoken by one of my favorite actors, David Duchovny, or because it was spoken by one of my favorite characters, Hank Moody, but because of what it means. Hank puts it plain and simply: bad shit is bound to happen. So much in our everyday lives, we expect things to happen the way we want. Then, when things don’t happen the way we want, we get upset about it, like life owes us something in return. The fact is, shit is going to happen regardless. There isn’t a rulebook that life plays by, things just happen. Instead of hoping for the best, we should prepare for the worst. This is how I live my life.
    Making it successfully through life depends greatly on your actions, but mostly on your reactions. Most likely, you won’t be able to be successful in life alone. You have to work together with others. While people like to hope they can depend on others (and definitely, people surround themselves with people they can depend on),  it won’t always work out this way. Because you have to depend on others, you also have to prepare and expect others to fuck up. Being successful means if you take a hit, you take it in stride and come back even stronger than before.
    I depend on my friends and family for my success. I know sometimes these friends and family might mess up, and it’s up to me to take whatever comes at me and use it to my advantage. Hank’s words echo in my head every day.

Blog #1

Character: Kirby
Colors:  Pink
Light: Show him in brighter lighting
 Shape: Round

 Pink represents Kirby's characteristics in many ways. The color of these flowers just emits a sort of softness. Generally, pink is a lighter, more uplifting color. Kirby, being a character that is constantly traversing the skies and clouds, mostly floating to get around, automatically fits perfectly to the color pink. The pink flowers in this picture radiate happiness, much like how Kirby tries to maintain peace and encourage happiness. Pink also symbolizes sweetness, being the color of Valentine's Day, cotton candy, and flowers like these. The sweetness of pink translates to Kirby's heroic, but caring nature.
 Kirby's character would be depicted in a light manner to represent many aspects of his character. Much like the man in this picture, Kirby is a champion. Kirby thwarts the efforts of his opponents to save people from evil and destruction. The beings of Kirby's world depend on his ability to triumph over others, so showing Kirby in light like the man above also symbolizes he is succeeding, in other words..."the good guy always wins." Putting Kirby in the spotlight like this man also confirms his importance. Being the main character of his story, Kirby is more likely to appear lightened up.
Kirby is also round in many ways, just like these marshmallows. The marshmallows round shape allows it to appear soft because of the lack of sharp edges or corners. Kirby, the happy, caring hero, is round to show his soft, squishy body. Not only is he physically soft, but he is emotionally soft, protecting the beings of his land from harm. Pointed characters appear more harsh at first, compared to Kirby's roundness, which instantly makes him look safer and harmless. Marshmallows are less threatening, being rounded, than a knife, which is pointed and sharply edged.

Character: Metaknight
Color: Blue, Silver, Purple
Light: Shadowed
Shape: Pointed sword and shoulderpads

Metaknight’s armor is blue, silver, and purple mostly over his entire body, minus his signature yellow sword. These colors, being darker, represent Metaknight’s antagonistic character well. Dark blue colors allow characters to appear much more mysterious and conflicted, like this dark blue water. The purple and silver of Metaknight’s armor exude a feeling of nobility, considering Metaknight is a knight…it is fitting that he is colored this way. Aside from the mystery and nobility that come from these colors, they are also a good contrast to Kirby’s light, uplifting pink, making Metaknight the perfect rival for Kirby.
Metaknight, being the character of mystery and illusion, is often depicted in shadows. Shadows allow the child in the picture to be silhouetted, but still unidentifiable. Metaknight’s character wants to remain hidden, so he can swiftly overwhelm his foes. This shroud of mystery is often associated with antagonists.  Darkness is often linked to wickedness and evil, as well. The child in the picture almost seems evil just because we cannot see his face (you often fear what you cannot see). While, not every antagonist is “wicked” per se, the methods of Metaknight’s madness is much different from Kirby’s, making the contrast of shadow versus light great for contrasting Metaknight and Kirby’s conflicting characters.
While the Kirby universe is full of mostly rounded, soft-looking characters, Metaknight is one of the few with edges and points in his design. Instantly,  the points of Metaknight’s sword and armor attract the eye and convey his nobility. The sword in this picture has your eyes travel along the lines of the edge of the sword to the point, much like Metaknight’s blade. Attracting your eyes to the blade automatically shows Metaknight’s worthy strength, and the points of his armor represent his worthy defense. These “edges and points” depict Metaknight’s contrast to Kirby’s completely rounded character as well.