(Revised, 3/25/10; portions of this assignment are borrowed from the CFP for Volume 1 Issue 2 of the Journal of Undergraduate Multimedia Projects [JUMP].)
This assignment is going to ask you to think expansively about historical and contemporary representations of gender, sexuality, and race in visual media and compose a remix of video, audio, and, perhaps, still images in an attempt to make some social/cultural critical commentary. The remixes you create must draw from two sources:
- instructional, educational, or ephemeral film footage from the 1940s, 50s, 60s, or 70s, and
- contemporary Superbowl television commercials
This, as expected, is an enormously broad directive, which leaves the door wide open for a variety of possibilities, but which also requires a lot of student self-direction and critical conceptualization.
Decisions on film/commercial selection, cutting selection, and composition should be informed by our readings on semiotics, gender, sexuality, and race (the latter three of which are discussed in Visual Culture: A Reader; their ideas find their way into recent blog posts about the Superbowl ads, such as “Why Superbowl Ads Are So Sexist, Racist, and Homophobic?” “The Critics On The Super Bowl Ads: Boring, Misogynistic,” “Misogynistic Super Bowl Ads,” and “The Super Bowl: Madison Avenue Misogyny“).
In addition to the video production, you will also be required to complete 2 shorter critical reflection papers:
- The first (250-500 words in length), should focus on the medium, on the experience of working in/with/across digital video and how that experience relates to traditional writing.
- The second (250-500 words in length), should focus on the message, on the attempted rhetorical moves, on the editing techniques themselves and why various edits, cuts, mashups, etc. were done (what was their intended effect). This discussion should be grounded in the readings on semiotics, and constructions of gender, sexuality, and race.
Beyond these guidelines, your options are really wide open. You can create minor montage sequences; you can create 3 or 4 smaller projects that work together to make critical commentary; you can create micro-narratives, satires, ironies, tragedies and so on.
Remix Specifics and Resources
The nuts and bolts:
- must incorporate at least 3 communication modes (moving/still images, non-native audio, oral discourse, text, etc.)
- must be 2 – 5 minutes in length
- must include credits and sources (including separate, complete work cited [following the APA citation guidelines])
- must use at least 5 “cuts” (breaks in the native video flow)
Instructional, educational, or ephemeral film footage from the 1940s, 50s, 60s, or 70s can be found most readily in the Moving Image Section of the Internet Archives. Some useful places to start are: productions/collections by Coronet Instructional Films, the A/V Geeks, or the Prelinger Archives. It may help you to find a subject area by exploring the massive tag clouds associated with the collections, but I encourage you to look across subject areas to hep complicate your projects.
There are many places online to view the 2010 Superbowl ads, but I suggest using the Superbowl AdBlitz YouTube channel (to view all the ads, click on View All Commercials). Using these will make downloading and converting the video with Zamzar much easier. If you’d like, you can incorporate footage, images, and/or audio from older Superbowl and banned Superbowl ads:
- You can find older Superbowl ads by going to 38 years of Super Bowl Commercials (note, you will will to use the Firefox Download helper, Zamzar, or other application to convert these videos).
- To see 2010 Superbowl ads that were rejected by the NFL and/or NBC, see Top BANNED Super Bowl Commercials. You may also be able to find more by doing a search for banned Superbowl ads.
Specifics when Uploading the Video to YouTube
- Upload the video to the course YouTube channel
- Place the complete title of your video in the form field when uploading the video. The title you choose should be meaningful and should include some version of the work “remix” or “mashup.”
- In the Description form field, add the following text:
- start with a one-two sentence description of the the video, and describing its purpose
- state that the project was completed by you for Visual Rhetoric and Multimodal Composition, Spring 2010, Rowan University, taught by Dr. Bill Wolff. If you don’t want to include your full name, use your first name and last initial (this will also ensure that I know who completed the video). The video is [specify how you have copyrighted the video (choose a Creative Commons license that is consistent with any Creative Commons texts you have chosen)]. Include a statement with URLs that points the viewer to information about the course (http://williamwolff.org/courses/vrmc-spring-2010/) and assignment (TBA). Also mention the software you used to complete the remix.
- include credits and sources (including separate, complete work cited [following the APA citation guidelines])
- Please use paragraphs and complete sentences
- Add at least the following tags: remix, mashup, vrmcs10, rowan, rowan university, as well as multiple tags relating to your topic (these tags will increase the likelihood that the video will be found when searching that subject matter).
- For the category, select Education (it could fall under “Entertainment” but Education suits our purposes).
- Make the video public and allow embedding and comments
- After upload, please add the video to the Remix Assignment playlist
TH 4/1: project synopsis due on course blog (should be equivalent to 2/3 page single space)
TH 4/8: 1 – 3 minute rough draft due on course YouTube channel by class time
F 4/16: 2 – 5 minute final draft due on course YouTube Channel. Create 2 blog posts, one for each required essay. Embed the video in each of the posts. All parts are due online by 11:00pm.