FWIW: “Generic Brand Video” from company that deals in stock video

Take a look at “Everything You Hate About Advertising in One Fake Video That’s Almost Too Real” from AdWeek. I think this is interesting in at least three ways:

  • That video is funny.
  • That video is also both funny and disturbing because of the extent to which it is tapping into the “generic”/genre conventions of these sorts of videos/PSAs/advertisements.  We could spend a lot of time analyzing the way the commonplaces work rhetorically here.
  • There’s actually a company out there that deals in all of this stock video footage and is making fun of themselves for it, dissolve.com

Brainstorming Interview Questions

Interview Schedule Update:

I was trying to write this in an email and then stuff crashed (!), so let me try it again here…. This is what I have so far in terms of a schedule for these alumni interviews:

  • Lisa and Adam are going to interview Elaine at U of M, and hopefully some other recent EMU grads who have gone on to PhD programs and such.
  • Seth and Molly are going to interview Kim at HFCC; I think the schedule for this one is all sorted out, right?
  • I’m putting down Tracey and Danielle down for Mary and Jonathan and Jennifer down for Bryan mostly for scheduling reasons– your schedules match up in ways that will probably make this work. I just did the “email intros,” so you guys take from there to arrange the interviews themselves.
  • I have some equipment I can loan and for folks who want to take a shot at working the “fancy” camera and such, let me know. The only concern I have is with the limitations of wevideo, anything beyond using iPhones with some kind of tripod device might be “overkill.”  But like I said, get in touch with me if you need help and/or stuff.


What’s your name? When did you graduate? Undergrad or grad or both? What’s your occupation? (Establishing shot sort of interview question)

What led you to chose EMU’s program over other schools and other majors?

How did the program prepare you for your career/position/occupation?

How did the program change your perception of the kinds of career you’d want to pursue? How did it change your perception about being a writer? 

Here’s a link to the Google doc on the schedule for these interviews!

While I’m gone: PSAs and interviews

As you all know, I’ll be pretty absent the second part of the week this week because of the CCCCs in Indianapolis– we’ll all meet again face to face next week, and when we do, I’m hoping that each group has done a PSA analysis, a storyboard, and a script.  Hopefully, the collaboration process has already begun– and do let me know if you need any help in facilitating that collaboration or if you have any questions I can answer. I do have two basic (very basic!) suggestions for now though:

  • Collaborative Google Docs is clearly the way to go here. You can all be working on one Google document at the same time, which means that you don’t have to be in the same place at the same time to work on these documents– the analysis, the script, and even the storyboard– you can use the drawing option, for example. I’m going to assume that you are all aware of how to use this.
  • Google Hangouts. This is a little more tricky, but I’m guessing many of you have done this before too: basically, it allows you to do a multi-person live “video conference” with Google. I’ve use this several times for “hangouts” or chats or whatever you want to call them with three or four people with no problem and I think it supports up to eight pretty easily. So as long as you and your group members can agree on a time, you can “meet” electronically to talk out some of the details. Even better: Google Hangouts works quite well with Google Docs, so it’s a nice combination of collaboration with print tools and looking at each other tools.

Also in the back of your mind, keep thinking about alumni/recent graduate/about to graduate interviews. I think I might have a couple of potential people lined up, but if you all can get folks, that might be better. We’ll talk about the questions we need to ask and some more of the logistics of this next Wednesday, but perhaps we can start talking about/thinking about the questions we’d want to ask all the folks we interview?

Discussing Sheppard, “The Rhetorical Work of Multimedia Production Practices: It’s More Than Just Technical Skill”

This is where we’ll talk about Jennifer Sheppard’s, “The Rhetorical Work of Multimedia Production Practices: It’s More Than Just Technical Skill.” It’s another example of one of those readings where it isn’t quite on-point with what we’re doing in class this term, but it’s as close as I can come to finding readings (appropriate for a graduate level course, that is) where there is serious engagement with the ways in which working with “the tools” and the rhetorical choices we make as writers are very much connected. You’ve got to have some skills both as a rhetorician and as a technologist.

Three quick thoughts for now:

  • The tension between Sheppard and her client scientists about what to include or not include (they didn’t want her to “dumb down” things too much, etc.) happens in these kinds of projects in real settings A LOT.  Tracey posted this as a comment a while back, but this episode of The Oatmeal, “How a Web Design Goes Straight to Hell” seems relevant here.  A lot of what Sheppard is describing is sort of a less intense/softer version of this comic.
  • The example she talks about on page 126 (and maybe elsewhere) of developing a web site that is too technology intense to be viewed by the target audience of kids at a middle school rings too true for me. I’ve seen that in classes like “Writing for the World Wide Web” plenty of times in the past, and it seems to me that it is possible in your productions too: shooting video that is beyond the capabilities of wevideo, for example.
  • This reading (and some of the other things we have been talking about lately) makes me wonder if I shouldn’t include an assignment in this class the next time I teach it that is more about the “multimedia presentation” on a web site rather than just limiting it to audio and video. Don’t worry– I’m not going to change any assignments on you right now, that’s me thinking out loud and wondering about next time.

Discussing KDMC’s “Multimedia Storytelling” tutorial (and NOT Ridley Scott)

First what we’re not talking about: as a few (three?) of you noted in email messages to me, the video for  “Ridley Scott Demystifies the Art of Storyboarding” doesn’t work anymore– ironically enough, some kind of copyright violation. That’s okay; it’s not like Scott had anything too profound to say about the whole process of storyboarding; it was just kinda cool.

What is a little more worth reviewing/discussing is the KDMC tutorial on “Multimedia Storytelling,” particularly the section specifically on storyboarding (though I think the connections between what this is about and the work you need to be doing on your PSAs are pretty obvious). As has been the case before, these tutorials are both great and quite straight-forward, so I’ll just leave it at that for now to get the conversation kicked off here. What did you all think?

Discussing Ridolfo and Rife, “Rhetorical Velocity and Copyright”

This is where we’ll talk about Jim Ridolfo and Martine Courant Rife “Rhetorical Velocity and Copyright: A Case Study on Strategies of Rhetorical Delivery,” which is in the collection Copy(write): Intellectual Property in the Writing Classroom, available via the WAC Clearinghouse. It’s a little more “teaching of writing” focused and it goes down some other topics/emphases I don’t really want to dwell on too much. Instead, I’m more interested in the role of MSU as an institution appropriating that image of Maggie.

Continue reading

Discussing selection from Friedmann’s “Writing for Visual Media”

This is where we’ll talk about chapter 2 of Anthony Friedmann’s Writing for Visual Media.  I uploaded a scanned version of this to eReserves, but I did a quick Google search and was surprised that the book is available here on Scribd, so if you’re interested in checking out the rest of the book, feel free. Chapter five might be particularly useful since it’s about PSAs and ads. More after the break.

Continue reading

Starting the “Creative Commons” and Copyright talk with a Comic

This is where we’ll talk about  “Tales from the Public Domain,” a comic by Keith Aoki, James Boyle, and Jennifer Jenkins, which is actually a comic about copyright.

This was a reading recommended to me by Derek Mueller a couple years ago and I’ve used it in a couple of different classes to introduce these conversations about copyright. Interesting stuff:  I always like comics, and I always like ones that try to introduce complex like this one.  Copyright law is very complicated, so I like the idea of how they approach it here, and given that you are making things pretty analogous to documentaries, the advice offered here is pretty accurate, too.

I also think this comic does a nice job of outlining the basic concerns of copyright and fair use.  I think it does an especially good job of describing the good things about copyright– a lot of the sorts of critiques I’ve read describes copyright in all negative terms.