In Class Writing – 11.8.2016

Virtual reality is a slippery slope. The push to consume this type of medium is becoming more and more prevalent as technology continues to accelerate forward. But the benefits outweigh the flaws. While advertisers could take advantage of people (which is how every futuristic move portrays VR advertising), that is why we have a government. If it gets to the point where advertising becomes over the top, I’d imagine that our government would step in a put laws into place that limit the power of these advertisers. On the other hand, there are many positives. For example, in medicine, VR can be used to train surgeons in high pressure situations about how to complete the surgery, without spending tens of thousands of jobs on a professional dummy. The military can use VR to plan/map out missions beforehand in order to get a better feel for how the operation will go. It is a way to train people on there field without too much hassle and expenditure.

Blog post 9.5

The subject matter of my video game is to take an object view of both presidential candidate’s histories. The critical question I’d like to explore is how people react to just pure facts about each candidate, without the preconceived notions of each candidate. What I’d want to do is use only established evidence of indiscretions by both candidates, and offer a choice. I wouldn’t let the players know that the choices were based off of presidential candidates; I would want to keep the point of the game as discreet as possible. Eventually the game would choose the candidate based on the player’s answers and reveal the true intention of the game. I personally do not want this game to be deeply political. I would like it to be more about comedy and satire while making a point.

The tentative argument that I have is that preconceived notions are more effective than the actual facts themselves. Personally, I do not know the outcome of the game, but I would guess that it may be more even than most would anticipate. Something I may want to consider is not using a Trump v. Hilary format, but instead use a Bernie v. Hilary or a Trump v. Rubio v. Cruz. I am not sure which direction would be most effective, but it is something I’d like to consider. Furthermore, I also feel that this game could make the argument that quality of a person (in terms of scandals) is actually very irrelevant in the scope of an election (if I were to use the Bernie v. Hilary model). I’d like to discuss with you what you might think is the best course of action to take among these options.

The audience of this game would be any registered voter. Specifically though, I would like to target the millennial voters as this could make a point that affects how people look at future elections as well as this one.

I definitely anticipate problems with this game. The biggest problem I anticipate is that I won’t know the outcome of my argument until people actually play the game. I also think that I will have to execute this game very carefully to keep the true intent of the game hidden from the player util the reveal at the end. The other problem I mentioned first is choosing the right path of who to compare and contrast. The way I remedy that problem is to discuss it with you and see what you believe the best course of action for me to take is. The first problem doesn’t really have a solution. I will just have to find out if my argument holds weight after people play the game. The second problem will just take a lot of specific wording and potential distracting backstory. If i edit correctly and have some people test the game, they should be able to tell me if at some point they get on to what the game is truly about.

In Class Writing 10.27.2016

  1. Based on what I can tell, you are assessing our ability to turn a point, or send a message through the interactive gaming platform Twine. The emphasis of the assignment is to show how video games can make the same points as other forms of media. That is why the game and the rhetoric aspect of the game have the same grading weight. You also want us to answer all the questions in the rationale.
  2. You are not grading our proficiency in building a hi-tech game. You also don’t seem to be interested in an essay when reading our rationale (no thesis or grammar points).
  3. The reason you are grading for the rhetoric of our game and whether our game showcases the affordances of video games as a medium is because that is the course definition. Further than that, we are in a world where media and technology is at its peak of usability in our generation. We are constantly using other mediums such as video (snapchat and vine) as well as sound (music, youtube) much more than previous generations have. It is important for us to understand the positives and negatives of these mediums as they will continue to be more and more prevalent in our lives moving forward.

TWD Analysis

Throughout the game, there are both emotional and logical rhetoric arguments. The game uses an emotional argument from the outset, when the protagonist, Lee, finds a young girl, Clementine, alone by herself in her house after the changes began. Lee then has the choice to take care of her or to leave her. The choice, tugging at the player’s emotional heartstrings, has clearly one option. There are also logical arguments throughout the game. Right after Lee decides that he wants to stick with Clementine, he has to make the choice whether to stay at the house and wait for her parents, or to go out, look for help, and keep moving.

Throughout the Walking Dead game, there were examples of rhetoric present. One example of rhetoric was whenever the game made you choose a side, and then it told you whether the decision was good or bad. For example, in one specific sequence, two boys were in trouble. They were both being attacked by zombies. My character Lee ran over to the escalating situation and had to choose which person to save. He chose to try and save the older boy, which ultimately failed. A message on the screen popped up, saying that the father would remember that you chose not to save his boy. The young boy’s father ran over to save his son. Then, shortly thereafter, Lee was presented with another choice: whether to take blame for not saving the farmer’s sons life, or to blame the young boys father. I chose to take the blame myself, leading to a message to pop up on the screen saying that the young boy’s father would remember that I had his back. What I am getting at with these examples is that the decisions that game presents has a clear good and bad choice, and they will let you know which choice is good or bad. From there, the player will realize the trend and only begin to pick good answers.

Procedural rhetoric is also present in TWD. Many times throughout playing the game, there were objects that I wanted to interact with. I would click on them and would only see the eyeball icon, which meant to observe the object. There would be no more possibilities other than to observe. That right there told me that I had to continue to explore and find the tools or people necessary to engage with the object. That rule, which is to observe objects, helped me establish what my next steps in the game would be.

Procedural Rhetoric

When I was a kid I used to play the computer game Rome Total War a lot. The background of the game is simple: You, as the player, are allowed to choose a faction of Rome from which to grow your empire. The player can wage war, trade, explore, settle, and most importantly, engage in diplomacy. While the game is titled, “Rome Total War,” diplomacy is pushed significantly as a safer, more strategic option. The game makers also keep the diplomacy options simple as to not overcomplicate such a complicated issue for children.

In Bogost’s preface, he talks about procedural rhetoric, or in other words, the persuasive message that a game can send through the player simply playing the game. When first tasked with the assignment to brainstorm a video game that contained elements of procedural rhetoric, I thought for a long while about all the video games I have played. None of them stuck out to me, so I loaded my old hard drive to see what computer games I used to play. That is when Rome Total War jumped out to me as a perfect example of procedural rhetoric.

The point of procedural rhetoric is to make an argument about some idea by just having the player advance through the game normally. One example that pops to my head about Rome Total War’s relevance is when how the game sets up players. Since the game is a war game, they feature the normal array of troops (infantry, cavalry, specialized infantry, generals, etc.). The game is set up in a fashion where the more specialized one’s job is, the more difficult the unit is to obtain. Separate to all the troops one could purchase, players could also purchase diplomats, which were not cheap. Immediately that shows me that diplomats are a high character in the food chain of the game.

Secondly, through normal gameplay, the game presents opportunities for diplomatic relationships semi-frequently. I remember I was traveling north with my battalion and I ran into diplomat, who had a special message for me to begin relations with a neighboring faction. At that point I could not ignore the diplomat; I had to actively decide whether or not I wanted to pursue diplomatic relations. The game did not give me an option to pass on the diplomat; I had to make a decision. I ended up (foolishly) avoiding diplomatic relations, which ending up with them starting a war with me that I was not equipped to handle, subsequently leading me to have to significantly downsize my faction locale.

The aforementioned example is what I believe perfectly embodies the idea of procedural rhetoric. The game sent a message to me, which I received by simply playing through the games steps. I did not have to seek out anything whatsoever. The fact that the game demanded I make the decision about whether or not I wanted to engage in diplomatic relations sent me the message that diplomacy is something to always consider. Furthermore, the negative outcome from my decision to forgo diplomacy sent me the message that diplomacy may always be the smartest option.

In-Class Writing 10.18.2016

What I have learned about consuming and producing video was that access is probably the biggest road block when it comes to producing a video/documentary. When I was in high school, I produced a seven minute long documentary, but everyone that I wanted to use and everywhere I wanted to access was allowed and encouraged. However, with this video came a different set of rules. Legends was very courteous with Ben and I, allowing us to shoot inside the establishment. The Red Lion, however, blocked our access to the premises and employees, which, throughout the course of the project, significantly hampered our ability to produce the documentary that we had originally envisioned.

Video offers unique affordances. The best thing that it does is it allows people to visually embrace a situation. With sounds and essays, a message can sometimes be interpreted differently by viewers. Especially with sound, a sound of waves could have vastly different impacts on people, which may not fall in line with what the producer wants to relay. With video, I believe there is less variance for interpretation, unless interpretation is the original motive of the producer. This way, while an audience can react differently to a video, generally the basic messages they take away may be tied, related, and similar.

Video usually works hand in hand with sound to give the audience the most straightforward interpretation of the producers message. Video can also use elements such as 3-D effects, to push even further through the boundaries between the piece itself and the audience.

I will probably try to continue to produce video pieces at every opportunity I get. I don’t actively use social media video platforms such as snapchat and vine, however I do actively consume video through TV. I don’t envision myself becoming a video producer, but that is more because I seem to have already chosen my path rather than because I don’t think I’d enjoy doing a lifetime of filmmaking and editing.

In Class Writing 10/4/2016

  1. The reason that I believe you assigned the Wohl piece is because from a practical standpoint, the concepts explained in the piece should enhance our documentary. Learning about all the types of shots and when to use them should make constructing our documentaries easier.
  2. The reading was useful to me because it taught me about the mechanics of filmmaking from a storytelling point of view. I always knew to mix up the types of shots and angles I was using but I didn’t really know why. I just believed that it was necessary to “mix things up.” The Wohl piece explained to me the reasons behind why each shot should be used. That information will help my documentary and overall video editing skills increase tenfold.
  3. I think that film can be a language, but having significant audio in a film takes away from that message. Most people understand language as either auditory or visual. Combining them will make it harder for people to understand that it is now a new language. I think that films can tell a story better than either just an audio or visual language, because there are more parts from which to relate to. I can relate to a character because of how they look and act as well as how the sound.

Blog Post #7: Wohl Article Clip Analysis

 

I chose to analyze a clip from the hit comedy, “40 year old Virgin.” In the clip, Andy and Cal are talking about how Andy should approach talking to females. They enter a bookstore in which Cal encourages Andy to approach the saleswoman, Beth. This scene incorporates a lot of the types of cuts that Wohl referred to in his article. The scene in the bookstore begins with a medium cut to establish location. From the distance that the camera is shooting from, the angle establishes both characters in the scene as well as the surrounding environment. The surrounding environment is many bookcases filled with books. Therefore, from the medium cut of the camera, it is easy to establish the location as being a bookstore. To further establish the location and perhaps the time as well, the editor cuts a long shot of Beth, an employee of the bookstore. This allows the audience to see more of the bookstore and establish it is in fact a bookstore as opposed to a library. Beth also yawns in the scene, which, to me as a viewer, establishes the time as mid afternoon (or that she is working the end of her shift).

In the article, Wohl also says to not make any unnecessary cuts. Through the first ten-fifteen seconds of dialogue while Cal and Andy are talking, there are no cutaways or changes of shots. This allows the viewer to follow along with the conversation as it is in one succinct line.

The editor then walks the camera with Andy until he reaches Beth. From there, the editor uses a medium long cut to establish the act that both characters are flirting with each other. The medium long cut allows the audience to hear the characters speak as well as see their body language. The editor also mixes in a couple close up shots on specific flirtatious lines to allow the audience to relate to Andy. However, the main shot that they use in this portion of the scene is the medium long shot. That shot is the best angle for this scene because with something so subjective as flirting, the audience needs to see a mix of shots to believe it. We need to see close ups to see the emotion and establish relationships with the characters and we need to see the medium long shots so that we can see the supporting body language that will reinforce the ideas that the director wants to put in our head.

 

 

Doc Proposal

The subject matter of our documentary is to examine the life of a bar employee. The two bars we want to study are Legends and The Red Lion. Depending on how much footage we end up compiling, we may have to choose one bar to chronicle the tales of. Everyone that I speak to considers the bar employee a great position. The bar position is a very sought after post in Champaign-Urbana. Many people I have spoken to believe the job to be quite glamorous and easy. They think it is just pouring drinks or checking IDs. The primary subject matter of our documentary is to disprove those people. We want to show that this job is not to be glamorized; this job is hard and there are negatives. From out perspective, the argument is to prove that bar jobs are not glamorous and easy. We want to showcase the negatives of a bar job in order to promote the hard work of our friends that are bar employees.

The audience for this documentary is primary students. Specifically, it is the students who dream of having the “easy” bar job. Furthermore, this documentary’s audience could also extend to any person that has ever envied a bartender or bar employee, or has treated them negatively while at the bar because they think the job is easy. Anyone who has attended a bar could learn something from our documentary.

We are planning on using different types of footage in our documentary. We want to get multiple interviews with multiple bar employees. Depending on what the bar managers allow, we may or may not be allowed to conduct the interviews in the employees respective bars. We also want to grab honest, raw footage of the bar employees in their element while on the job. In addition, we will attempt to grab extra footage of the bars when busy to give the audience the ability to understand the environment that the bar employees are required to work in. Other than those two forms of footage, I don’t believe our documentary will require extensive further types of visual evidence.

Obviously, the biggest problem we anticipate running into is whether or not the bar owners and general managers will allow us access to filming the employees or filming the interviews in the bar after hours. We don’t know how they will feel about our exposé. If they choose to fight us, we may have to go in a different direction. Between me and Ben, we have relationships with bar managers on a nightly basis, so hopefully we get around this issue by getting permission from them and not having to involve the bar owners at all; they do not need to worry themselves with this issue. Another issue we think we may run into is getting good footage at the bars. The bars are so crazy that it may be hard to isolate the specific footage that we need, as people may get in the way constantly. Hopefully we can get good angles by standing on the stage or tables to get an overview of the entire bar situation.