At the end of first semester when I began enrolling in second semester classes I was given the option to enroll in this one credit Comm seminar. At first, slightly skeptical to the unknown of what the seminar would consist of, I decided to enroll on a whim. I wasn’t sure if this seminar would serve me any purpose at all aside from an extra credit or if it would help me better understand concepts from my Comm121 course that I was simultaneously enrolling in. Now, as we are rapidly approaching the end of second semester I find myself quite satisfied with my decision to enroll. I am currently working on a group video project for my final in my Comm121 course and the key concepts and knowledge that I have retained during this seminar is proving useful.
The very first seminar speaker we had was a PhD student, Rachel Thibault who spoke about Film Censorship, History and Ideology (Film Study). Throughout her presentation she discussed the censorship of films and how this creates some risky business for creators because they are responsible for the films content. Second, she touched upon film as a social practice which is a way we make sense of ourselves and what society values. Film is very different from text because it does not stand along and it is constantly circulating and causing different reactions to arise based upon audiences. This ties into the current process we are going through to make our video because my group and I are using my knowledge of censorship and film to filter through what we want the content of our video to be. Since these videos are being made with the intent to distribute we must take into consideration what goes into them in order to make sure they are appropriate for a majority of audiences and politically correct when touching upon different social identities and cultural differences. Next, when looking at film as a social practice we must think about what we want our movie to portray about society and ourselves we live in today taking into consideration that people will have different reactions in different places and that these reactions will constantly be circulating. An in class example of this is when my Comm118 class read the short story the Buzz Buzz Boom. Not only has this been a constant reference for my Comm121 class but also we have been working with the classes’ reactions of this short story in order to help construct our video.
“Communication is never this transparent easy process” said Benjamin Bailey as he discussed cultural differences to my seminar class the following week. This quote has been in the back of my mind as I contribute to constructing this video because it reminds me that the message that we want our video to represent doesn’t have to be blatantly stated but it can be complex, raw and challenging. It can cause the audience to really watch the video, analyze the material and focus on the communication so they can communicate their own message out of it. Also, this quote is being used as a caption to provide more depth and complexity for a certain scene.
The beauty about creating a video is not only the fact that you are in control of what people are watching but that you’re also in control of what issues you raise awareness to. Jan Serves, a faculty member for Communication for Sustainable Social Change not only spoke at a seminar but, helped me realize the power of voice. Throughout Jan’s presentation he touched upon the “Narcissim Epidemic” which is the new up and coming epidemic for my generation- the Millennials. Also, he discussed influence in media, the NoH8 campaign and different Communication courses pertaining to social change. As we construct our video we are coming across these decisions of what to bring awareness to, if we choose to show both the negative and positive aspects of something or just one. My group’s video is working with the use of technology in society and how it affects not only the world but also our generation- the Millennials. We have been working with raising awareness in this video and how it then will affect the social change after it is released.
So for our final we are given a prompt and a list of criteria consisting of the bare minimum of what our video must have. But with that information where do you begin, what do you focus on, how do you make your video effective? Well, that is where Chris comes in. Chris was the documentary guy; he came into the seminar and introduced us to PAM however PAM isn’t a girl. PAM is a mnemonic device of how to construct a successful and efficient documentary. P-urpose A-udience M-essage and then the “A” triggers the call to action or what you want the audience to sacrifice due to the viewing of your movie. This simple little rubric saved our video because it is very easy to comprehend and consists of a basic set-up that allows you to lay out all of your ideas and separate the crucial from the useless. PAM and I are great friends since the start of this project.
However, there is still one more very important aspect- the audio. But have no fear because Zach Mcdowell was here. Zach came into our seminar and talked about fare use, sharing, mixing and remixing finals. He broke everything down from what is legal to do with music to what is illegal to do with music and all of the fine lines in between. This was and is extremely helpful throughout the process of constructing this video because we are more aware of how to select music, what we can do with it and how to site it in order to properly credit the proper people.
Looking back, choosing the seminar was a great decision, not only for all of the general knowledge I gained but because it intertwined with everything I’m currently doing in other classes with my major. Everything just crashed into each other and meshed into place and because of that our final video can be produced the best we can.