We Are Wizards: Impressions

The Internet is something that has revolutionized our lives forever. Never have we lived in an era where everything is so connected, making day to day activities so much easier. Accessing media is only one click away and there is no need to wait as much as people did in the past. It is truly an exciting time to live in because everything is constantly changing. In the documentary “We Are Wizards”, the filmmaker Josh Koury delves into the dedicated fans of the Harry Potter world, discussing various topics ranging from intellectual property rights and the concept of fan-dom.

I feel like intellectual property was the balance of power between fans and Warner Brothers. When WB reacted negatively to The Leaky Cauldron made by a 12 year old fan, they believed that the creation of such a site was a threat to their business. However, as a response, the fans decided that boycotting everything (besides the books) was their best option.  This was living proof that the Internet was a powerful medium of not only communication but rallying the like-minded individuals, making their cause more effective and potentially a threat. The growth of the Internet has high correlation with the rise of fan culture – not in just the Harry Potter world but other topics of interest, whether it be a band, sports team, or video game. Due to the ease of accessibility of content, it definitely is easier to spread the word and garner more fans. In other words the fan culture is growing. Compared to the era of Harry Potter when the Internet was still rising, I did not know that sites with similar interest or topics existed at all. I did not know that they were even a possibility. However, with the Internet, fan sites are so common and literally everywhere.

The most important thing in this movie for me is the aspect of fan culture and how it has come so far. I myself am a huge Starcraft: Brood War gaming fan – I followed professional players & teams for years, watching live games at 4 or 5 in the morning (which was afternoon in Korean time) to cheer for my favorites. However, it was a really fun time while it lasted. When many people share the same interest or passion that you have, it really makes everything not only fun, but also very interactive. I feel like fans (of whatever) may have some sort of negative view for being too obsessive but this is definitely not always the case. Do what you enjoy!

Final Project Video Footage (Rough Draft)

Here is our rough draft for our final project:

Of course there is still some way to go in terms of organizing how we want to transition from one scene to the next as well as other aesthetics or features, such as background music and    This is only a fraction of what is to be made. All in all, I am satisfied with our group’s progress at the moment. It really was difficult arranging a time to meet and capturing our own footage. This is because we all have busy schedules so finding a day to get most of the fundamental parts of the project on camera. This also meant less room for error so it was very important that we managed our limited time wisely. When we finally refine our video through more editing, we can certainly display something more accurate in terms of what we would like to show in relation to spinal cord injury and assisted mobility.

There are multiple ways I believe that can work quite effectively to spread the message to other people. First of all, sending the link to friends and family. This can be done through many ways: AIM, Facebook, E-mailing, Tumblr, and any other social media outlet there is that I use.  Our target audience consists of mostly college students (but not limited to just students – in fact people who don’t know much about spinal cord injury) so people that I know would fit perfectly in this aspect. I was thinking about this too but another easy yet effective way is to utilize the popular Internet site “Reddit”. As many people know, the site works based on an upvote-downvote system where the more “upvotes” a post has, the more likely it is to be seen. If we have a well-made video, there can a possibility of getting so much that it will make the front page; However, this is not likely and we should not expect this as priority. Even if we don’t get a lot of “upvotes”, we could post it in various subreddits (equivalent to a forum’s subforum) that relate to paralysis or disability. With a simple Google search I was able to find this: http://www.reddit.com/r/disability . It is perfect in the sense it has a specific target audience which makes the video something useful to those that can access it. I am sure there are many other subreddits that exist which cater towards the disabled. So our video will have some sort of interest base among viewers.

Thoughts on Group’s Creative Process

In my opinion, the two biggest milestones we were able to achieve were creating a final storyboard for the project and gathering what materials we want to incorporate for our project. As stated previously, each group member did his own storyboard to share later on when finished. This gave us a better perspective on what we needed to work on as well as incorporating new ideas that maybe one of us had not thought of before. As a result, with a final storyboard in mind, we each know what we are doing for the project as everything is set in stone. Second, gathering materials was the next important step that we took. We were able to decide as a group which videos we wanted to use (from either the Christopher Reeve YouTube page or elsewhere via Creative Commons) and edit. Furthermore, we met outside of class and took a good amount of pictures through one of our classmate’s smartphone which has exceptional image quality. Such pictures include: ramps in school, stairways that seem very implausible to navigate via wheelchair (think of Brower area, it is not explicit in the sense that if you were disabled, you’d have no idea how to access the dining halls), and elevators for easy navigation. By using audio recording, we are going to implement that and voice over the images, detailing each picture and why it is significant.

The two biggest hurdles yet to come is the video recording fragment and the editing aspect. Recording the video will not be as hard as it sounds, but we will need to find a time where one of our classmates’ roommates, who has the camera, has the available time to meet up and lend us his camera. We were unable to record anything this week as his camera was not with him in school. However, we plan to change that very soon. The editing will be hard in the sense that we are going to be dealing with all three aspects – image, audio, and video editing. Everything must be synced and on point. Simultaneously, we must keep the audience in mind and cater to how they would perceive our project. However, programs that we learned to cover in class, such as image/video/audio editing will help a great amount as we can all contribute in some way or the other (each thing we need to record can be a duty for one person, for instance). As our homework editing assignments were snippets (a minute or two max), this one is more serious and longer in video length, so everything must be taken even more seriously and with careful consideration. However, with the help of Audacity, Pixlr, Windows Live/Sony Vegas, and our final storyboard, we should be able to make a good product of the message that we want to relay.

Three Pieces of Media for Group Project

Song: http://soundcloud.com/willkids2/flowers-nujabes
Image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/47/SJ_x11-plank.JPG
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4mLJTkPlYs

With the help of the Creative Commons Search Engine, I was able to find potential media components with not much difficulty. For each category, I kept in mind how useful they could be in relation to our project.

For me, the song was the hardest part because I wanted to make sure I was using not only an appropriate sounding track, but also confirm that it was indeed free to use. I did use the aid of the Fair Use checklist. The reasoning behind my choice is because jazzy hip-hop instrumentals are smooth, easy listening, and minimal vocals. Lyrics only make the type of videos that we are making a little chaotic. For example, rock, metal, electronic dance music, etc would not fit the theme will in my opinion as opposed to jazz, world, and the likes.

The image is a picture of a man on a wheelchair going inside a train with the assistance of a ramp. I feel this would be a great reference due to the fact that a big portion of our video will be dedicated towards assisted mobility (how people get around) along with day to day activities of SCI patients/raising SCI awareness. It is simple and gets the point across quite effectively as one of our group’s goals is to find an area with ramp accessibility for wheelchair users.

This video, also from Creative Commons, is a short ten minute clip which discuss the most efficient methods in navigating on sidewalks and curbs. Furthermore, it stresses the importance of the design of sidewalks and how there are some flaws that can make it difficult for someone on a wheelchair. Although our group has primarily decided to use day-to-day videos from the Christopher Reeve YouTube channel, I still believe that this video has huge potential for use. Just a consideration for the time being.

Storyboard and Group’s Progress

For my storyboard, I simply used MSPaint and the tools that were provided. There are two reasons for this: There was no way to draw on my Google Docs presentation file & I am a terrible artist. Although the art may not be the best aesthetically, I feel like I got my point across. Honestly, writing down the ideas were not hard at all. Drawing however was a painful process. My group and I, while sharing similar ideas, decided that for the storyboard process that we would each work on our own individually. After we are done, we ware going to share what we came up with, and use the ideas and thoughts that we were able to brainstorm to implement into our final project. Since we already discussed as a group what we want to do, we have a goal set in stone. However, there is huge potential to come with more ideas working individually. Of course, everything will be considered by the group as a whole on whether or not a certain idea is appropriate to implement. Nothing much has changed since what we last discussed in class, but things are bound to happen once we all share our storyboards together. What I am looking forward to the most is how we are going to piece everything together. A very good thing I noticed is that there is not much material we need. It really comes down to a decent camera and maybe a microphone (which a smartphone could easily replace, if used in a controlled environment).

Our Group’s Creative Process (towards the Project)

Before I begin, my group members consist of: RaShaun, Julian, Jonathan, and myself Our group discussed what we would do for the first time on Monday, and I believe that actually meeting together helped us a lot in terms of creative organization as well as communication. For our final project, we decided that creating a video would be the best form of digital media to relay our information to those who watch it.

The primary concern to address is how serious spinal cord injury is, and how a tragic incident can affect those around you, such as family, friends and loved ones. Knowing actual facts can spread awareness to those who do not know such information, such as many college students and young adults who do not think a lot for their health (not saying they are neglecting it, but because the age demographic is usually very young & healthy, injuries or illnesses is not a big concern for the vast majority). Our video will consist of the day to day activities of what people do when suffering SCI, such as preparing meals, one hand wheeling, and exercising. There are many reputable sources for media footage that we can use – one of the few we will be applying actually comes from the Christopher Reeve foundation’s YouTube page. We would also like to implement facts about SCI as well.
Not only are we using other footage, we would like to use our own content as well. For instance, we were considering asking one of the Rutgers bus drivers to show us how people with wheelchairs/disabilities get on buses because there are actual lifts that the buses use to get people on board. Overall, I like where our group is heading, and there is definitely huge room for potential to make an informative video on a tragic happening.

Top 5 Midterm (Favorite) Blogs

Here are my following top 5 blogs.

1) http://rj0nes.wordpress.com/ – All Your Base

As much as I love music, I am the biggest nerd in gaming so of course this site caught my attention. That is all that needs to be said. Attractive layout makes everything easy to navigate. Being a huge starcraft brood war gamer makes me interested in what has to be said on this blog since Starcraft has already been covered. Reading about gaming is always a plus for gamers. Media content kept me entertained and I really hope more will be added in the neat future. People who enjoy strategy games but topics of gaming will enjoy this place without a doubt.

2) http://andyblogsaboutstuff.wordpress.com/

Anything related to music is something I will always check out. This site was no exception. Although the music posted was not what I listened to, I discovered new genres I do not really bump across on a daily basis. It was informative and the layout was my favorite out of any blog. Easy navigation will make people who visit it grow easily attached to the site at first glance. Media content was well done. The only thing I’d change is the URL since it is kind of unclear what the site is about. Besides that I look forward for future updates.

3) Entertainment Love – http://tvsongblog.wordpress.com/

Fans of TV & films will like this site if they visit. The layout is simple and clean, and the banner colors complement nicely with the white background. It is very easy to tell this site will talk about from the get go so it is also accessible for newcomers. Since I enjoy watching TV, I was very eager to see someone covering on related topics. Subtle but cool image and nicely edited video. Also the fact I would like to learn about more media to watch makes me very excited to keep an eye out for this blog.

4) Film Blog
http://trillznation92.wordpress.com/

Another film blog but considering the amount of movies out there, I would like to learn about more cinema and also seek recommendations. The media content in this site is already rich and is all of high quality. The editing for both videos and banner is one the higher qualities that I have seen, and that makes me feel people who visit this site will want to check for future updates. Posts seem to be very detailed too. With strong clarity and effective relaying of information, there can possibly be a ton of learning in the topic of cinematography . Looking forward for more.

5) Wiki Travel 101
http://wikitravel123.wordpress.com/

Since I want to travel the world someday I will keep updated with this page. It seems to have knowledgable information for someone wanted to travel in the near future. A lot of variety and the way the content is presented is unique as well. People seeking general knowledge of all around the world will find this blog useful. Also for people who are traveling to certain regions in which the site covers (through the usage of tagging posts) will learn a thing or two about their designated area. The design is very easy to navigate with and the knowledge is abundant. High potential here!

Overall great work and will definitely utilize this in accordance to future travel plans.