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Twittering a Meltdown

 

17625D42-9F68-4B82-A3E2-E4DAA503DB313:55pm Casey here ladies are you ready to party!?!?!?!

4:00 pmOMG Happy sweet 16 to yours truly!!! Kiss my ass bitches let party!

4:30 pm Still on for Friday night and the party, right!?!?!

3:00 pm I can’t believe face is so swollen and screwing my birthday up  party rescheduled. Send me good vibes!!!

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3:30 pm Lame! Mom gave me a cup of TEA and some dusty old books wrapped up in a pink ribbon. Most of them aren’t even in English.. WTF!?!?!?!

1am Sitting her reading books with ice against my face. Somebody shoot me!

2am holy crap I wonder if these spells are really?!?!? JK magic is for kids right! LOL

3am Ok I know this is a load of crap but what if I try one? Just one what could possibly go wrong  LMAO I need some sleep.

4am so no sleep and still have a fever but found mom’s emergency candle supply. Here we go yo!!

4:45am no surprise nothing happened. I’m so going to bed and tossing these books out in the morning.
5:00am There’s a weird light coming from under my door. People I’m freaking out!!

5:05 Ok it was just my family member taking a pee. They are heading out on a vacay. LOL I’m so silly good night again y’all

5:15 ok WTF is that noise

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7:30 Looked all over the house for the scratching noise Mom says it’s a raccoon. I need to get some sleep y’all Peace out.

10:00 sleep is a bitch man! Mom and dad are out having fun and I’m stuck here with a face full of pain. Damn girl friends I guess I’ll read another of these crazy books.

11:10 This is so creepy who writes about baby’s blood!!!! WTF?!?!

11:30 Ok, ok I found something that sounds interesting. Raiding the spice cabinet let’s see what happens?
1:00 still nothing Damn It!!
1:05 Anyone got suggestions??
1:30 how come no one is answering me???
1:45 ok I’m not freaking out… I’m closing my eyes and going to sleep.
1:50 Holy crap There was someone standing over my bed he ran off but he was really I’m not losing my mind.
2:00 I’ve got a bat and been all through the house now what the hell do I do????
2:15 Ok call me crazy but I’m putting all the books in the fireplace and lighting them up. That should handle it right?!?!?

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3:30 the smoke alarm is going off I need to get out of the house.
4:00 Sorry if I worried any of you my imagination ran away with me me. Mom woke up and open the flap on the chimney and everything is fine.
4:05 Funny I really thought mom went away for that overnight with dad?? I guess he was here all along.
4:10 Good night all

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Digital storytelling to video

Making a video or film of a story brings in more elements than simply reading a story. My favorite of those elements is photography. You can do so much with the simplest adjustment to the angle or the lighting and turn a comedy into horror or love into drama. You can change the mood of the piece, the feeling of the character, even how much the audience likes or dislikes a character by the angel of the camera. That’s not to say that editing, sound and the rest aren’t as important they are. but for me, it’s camera and lighting all the way. Sound is insanely hard to do well and capture without a huge team on your side so if you’re thinking about going out and making a film plan accordingly because it can destroy your movie.

Below is the link to one of the first video film I worked on with the WNN crew. There is quite a learning curve but once you learn to spot reflections and control echo you are well on your way. Once you go video it’s hard to go back.

Literary elements, Text based adventure

What makes a good story?

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So, what makes a good story? That’s a very personal question to answer. There are many story elements to choose from, but I would have to say suspense to me is the most important. Suspense is what keeps a person turning the pages well past their bedtime. Suspense is what makes people line up at midnight for a release party. Suspense is what makes your curiosity gnaw at you until you keep reading, playing or watching the story. Suspense is the reason people buy stories on multiple platforms to watch for changes and clues.

Now that that is out of the way let us discuss the two most important story elements that can add suspense and keep those pages turning. A strong plot with believable twist and turns is essential to keep the audience interested. In the “A Summer Story” (Sakata, A Summer Story) digital story we reviewed in class the plot was secondary to the setting. Whereas I like a new and interesting setting, the slow pace and lack of surprises left me bored and waiting for it to be over. Even though for a second, I thought something interesting was going to happen when the keys where jingling behind the character the resolution was a letdown. In the blog “LonelyGirl15” the plot shown in small bite sizes pieces kept moving and created a hook to see where the character was going. It sparked a curiosity about what this nervous girl was doing on the internet and what trouble she could get herself into. In “Where’s Norma Now” (Brown, WNN) the plot shared quite a few similarities with Lonelygirl because here again, you had a plot based around a person who was taking enormous risks and making changes. You may not even like the characters in any of these examples, but you may find yourself watching for the same reason people watch others doing stupid things and getting hurt on YouTube. It’s a plot you know something that is worth seeing is going to happen; you’re just not sure what it is or how the story is going to get you there.

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The second crucial literary element is characterization. How well the audience can relate and connect to a character will decide how often they come back for more stories involving that character. The downside to character is it can be slow to build up a solid figure that people will live and die within a story. But, if you start with a robust and relatable archetype and allow your character to change for the better and worse throughout the story people will stay. In “Bandersnatch” (Slade, Bandersnatch)

By Black Mirror on Netflix, you would think it would be the “choose your own adventure” portion that draws people in, and that is part of it. The young programmer who the story centers around, Stefan Butler, is a draw in himself. He is a skittish slightly disturb young adult that clearly has some undefined issues from the start. He’s slightly off behavior draws in the audience and sparks that Curiosity to make you wonder where the character is going to go and if he can possibly change for the best. This digital story relies heavily on visual clues to let you know that things are not right with this character and those around him. Although this character is much younger than I, I was able to quickly relate and understand the character. If you look at Norma form “WNN,” you can see from the first episode that Norma is a funny, caring person who is looking to grow and change. In some cases, not by choice so much as by happenstance. Even though the character of Norma is significantly older, then I found her easy to relate to and understand. These two examples show how good characterization can drive a story.

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Between plot and character, either one can create suspense and drag the audience in until the other element is up and running. If you want a great example of how to build suspense in nonfiction storytelling check out just about any TEDx Talks https://www.ted.com/talks. They have mastered a formula that creates suspense in nonlinear storytelling while relating a character to you the audience. You may think it looks natural and that those people are just good storytellers, but it actually takes a lot of work to present a talk. Tedx comes out and coaches anyone who is going to speak for them and teaches them the art of suspenseful storytelling with relatable characters. When looking at a digital story that you are working on ask yourself what is strongest?  Can you start with an archetype character and jump right into the plot and create suspense that way? Or maybe a deeper connection to the character is where you should begin to build the suspense that way allow the plot to unfold a bit more slowly. Either way or another way you come up with remember to use character and plot to create conflict and suspense in the story and your audience will come back for more.

Citations

Sakata, A (Creator), (2015) A Summer Story Retrieved February 2019

http://www.sakevisual.com/summerstory.html

 

Finders, Mesh (Creator). (2006, June 16) LonelyGirl15 Retrieved 20 February 2019

https://www.youtube.com/lonelygirl15

 

Brown, S. (Director) 2014 Where’s Norma Now (WNN) retrieved 2016

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVgGgKCd8jxkM3F4uNfzXBg

 

Slade, D. (Director). (2018, December 28). Bandersnatch [Video file]. Retrieved December 28, 2018, from https://www.netflix.com/title/80988062

Text based adventure

“A Summer Story”- Review

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“A Summer Story” is a digital story about a young girl’s summer vacation to visit her uncle. In the story she talks about being given the responsibility to get herself across Japan on her own for the first time. She meets a new friend along the way who makes suggestions and helps her have adventures during her vacation. I won’t say anymore Incase you decide to play the story yourself.
The most interesting literary element of the story was setting. The story highlights examples of the Japanese cultures that Americans might not understand without some explanation. They keep subtle and work it into the story. It also lends itself to a coming of age story with a slight culture variation. The picture format of the story gives the reader a glimpse into how the island looks. Unfortunately, I don’t think the pictures do just to what the island would look like in-person.
This is definitely more of a story then a game. Where as it allows you to make choices and see different outcomes it is slow moving and lacks the excitement that most of us have become use to. This does help with the story telling being such a slow paced story. I can say that even though it is not my usual genre or style in which to read digital stories I did play through twice to see if any of the choices lead to a more exciting story.

To play this story please go to: http://www.sakevisual.com/summerstory.html

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Text-based adventure

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Halt and Catch Fire is similar to old school texted adventure games. They are slow moving with no graphics and very few options on what to do. The interface is clunky compared to the technology that is available today. For the most part, I’ve hated these games since I was a child playing Oregon Trail or Carmen San Diego on the Apple II. For those who are looking for the nostalgia feelings or who truly prefer the slow meandering path, this game will meet those needs. But, I prefer fast-moving choose your own adventure books or even the Netflix show that railroads you into options to text-based gaming.

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Characterization for story building

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Archetypes are the fastest and most effective form of characterization. For those of you who don’t know what an archetype is let me explain. An archetype is a familiar or typical example of a person. Similar to a stereotype or the Gods of old, archetypes are an excellent place to start your characterization. By starting off with a basic archetype, you can shorten the character building in the beginning of the story while still building a relationship with your reader/watcher. Of course, that doesn’t mean the characters can’t change and grow away from the archetype as the story progresses. It just means that you can start the action to pull the reader/watcher in faster.

Lonelygirl15 initially portrayed herself as a real 16-year-old girl that was making a video blog to join the “cool kids”. Her archetype is that of a whiny teen who wants friends and people to like her. As time ticks on she becomes slightly less whiny and a touch more interesting until five months or so in when they admit it is a scripted story with an actress playing the annoying main character. The story is told from the perspective of Lonelygirl15 who tells the audience slowly about herself and drops hints about the story. The blogs get longer and more interesting along the way, but she never loses the whininess that makes her a teen character. In fact, more people began to watch the show to find out why a secret organization is interested in an ordinary 16 girl with a video blog. The story eventually had to evolve and add more characters to keep the plots fresh. The additional characters also help us get to know Lonelygirl15 better and understand where her character is coming from and how she is growing and changing.

In Where’s Norma Now the mini-stories are set around a woman who’s the archetype of a midlife crisis, retiring and changing her life in ways she has yet to imagine. She is gifted a go-pro camera, and this sparks ideas about all the things she could do with her. The story progresses and grows as Norma grows as a person. She goes from the first episode “What do I do now?” Wondering what a GoPro camera is to having adventures that rival any teen with a camera. The character and her adventures are what drive the story and make it relatable to those who are watching even people of different age categories. The character of Norma is developed through the eyes of those close to her. Occasionally we even get a glimpse inside her head. This allows the audience to get to know Norma and form an attachment to her.

With both of these blogs, the archetypes are familiar to everyone, thus allowing the action to start quickly while slowly. This allows the story to begin quickly with limited backstory. Even if you aren’t a shy 16-year-old girl or a retired woman you know someone who is and can find these people easy to relate too. You don’t even have to like the characters to understand them from the start. I can’t stand lonelygirl15, but I can see why the blog gained so much popularity. By building strong characters, you engage your audience in caring what happens to them. Secretly, or not so secretly, people like the fact these characters appear to be real people. Humans enjoy watching other humans living, suffering, and loving their way through life.

One thing both of these blogs can teach us is making the main character that people can love, or hate is one of the keys to crafting an excellent blog people come back to and tell their friends about. A strong character with well-planned faults and weakness who overcomes obstacles and develops inner strengths drives storytelling. Change and deepening of the main character whether for the good or the bad keeps the reader/watcher interested in the story. The reader/watcher wants to see the struggle of the character reaching their full potential. Another thing we learn as we watch these stories grow and unfold is that a single character driven story can be tough to maintain over the long haul. You will eventually want additional side characters. It allows for more adventure and interaction with the main character creating more depth, and it gives members of the audience another person to attach too. Super-secret lesson three is that you need a character that elicits a strong response from your audience. Be it a blog or a series of seven novels the main character has to make the audience love them or hate. If possible, you want your audience to cheer for and sometimes against your character as they make mistakes and gain achievements.

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Small Town Noir Examined

Small Town Noir is a blog that looks at Mugshots. These shots were found in a small town police station. The writers of the blog researched each of the mugshots and traced the individual from the earliest day they show up in history through the rest of their life. In some cases, their lives improve and in others not so much. The tone of this blog is the attention grabber. It is a matter of fact and to the point but also conveys enough emotion that you feel for the individuals. It is exciting to watch their lives develop, and sad to see them end. Although Tone does not affect the story it can help deliver a readable list of facts in a way that keeps people reading. It adds credibility to the story.

https://smalltownnoir.com/