Babies, remixes, music videos, parodies, vlogs, original shows, art—they all find their way on to YouTube. Despite their disparate origins and goals we accept them, welcome them, repeatedly watch them for a plethora or reasons. YouTube is a space that encourages creators and viewers to focus on even the smallest of ideas and experiences in the lives of the average citizen. We watch a 30 second clip of a kid woozy after going to the dentist or a two minute clip young man singing into his webcam and we see one moment in their lives. We define them according to it. We think about those singular moments in our own lives, moments that we usually keep private, wonder what would happen if they were made public. Often, as we have seen, we—and thousands around the globe—imitate it:
The above videos suggest that each individual person and their singular ideas are important, as Juan Mann writes of the first free hug he gave:
The first person who stopped, tapped me on the shoulder and told me how her dog had just died that morning. How that morning had been the one year anniversary of her only daughter dying in a car accident. How what she needed now, when she felt most alone in the world, was a hug. I got down on one knee, we put our arms around each other and when we parted, she was smiling.
The videos reveal who we are as citizens in a world that, through the use of participatory media like YouTube and Twitter, is becoming closer, more aware, more interested in exploring what it means to participate, share, and learn.
In this project we are going to consider the importance of the individuals in our community by asking 25 – 30 people one question which asks them to narrow down all the possibilities to one answer: What is the one thing you hope to accomplish today? What is the one most powerful memory of your childhood? If you could have been born in any time period in history, when would it be? And so on.
The question you ask is up to you, though it must be approved. We will talk in class about which kinds of questions work the best, but a general principle seems to me: the more difficult the question, the more interesting reactions you will get, and the more interesting the reactions, the more engaging the video will be. You should interview a diverse group of people (that is, don’t just talk to your close group of friends and family—get out and talk to people you don’t know). The goal will be to compose an idea-driven video through which viewers will learn about the ideas, lives, and experiences of ordinary citizens.
Number of people to interview: 25 – 30
Questions to ask, in this order:
- What is your first name?
- Where are you from?
- Your “the one” question, followed by any additional follow-ups needed.
Please be sure that people know that this is for a class project and that the video will be put on YouTube, but that their name will not be used if they so wish. If they say their last name, please start over so they can give you just their first name.
You may compose an new, original video, modeled on the the on Fifty People, One Question and Contagious Kindness:
Or, you may compose a response to a prior student’s The One video, as in this video by Jasmine Mulliken, an instructor at The University of Texas at Austin, which was composed for The Journal of Undergraduate Research Projects as a response to Contagious Kindness:
How you structure the video is up to you, but you should realize that there are different rhetorical decisions at work when composing one video over the other. We’ll talk about some of these in class.
Final Project Specifics
Each video must contain the following:
- A representative sample of the 25 – 30 people you interview
- A creative, unique, meaningful title
- A title screen
- A soundtrack with music borrowed from Jamendo
- Closing credits, including music and other source credits
- A Creative Commons license
Length: 3 – 5 minutes
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).
Specifics when Uploading the Video to YouTube
- Upload the video to your section’s course YouTube channel
- Place the complete title of your video in the form field when uploading the video. The title you choose should be create and meaningful.
- In the Description form field, add the following text:
- start the first sentence with the title followed by “presents” (or similar word). This will give the viewer quick information about the video without having to click the “more info” link. Follow that sentence with a brief description of what the viewer can expect to see in the video.
- state that the project was completed by you for Writing, Research, and Technology, Fall 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 (see above for details)]. Include a statement with URLs that points the viewer to information about the course (http://williamwolff.org/courses/wrt-fall-2010/) and assignment (http://j.mp/c3uaPI).
- state that the video was shot using the Flip Ultra video camera and edited using Windows Movie Maker or iMovie, whichever you used.
- state the artist and song title for any music you have used (you do not have to do the same with images)
- Please use paragraphs and complete sentences
- Add at least the following tags: the one assignment, wrtf10, rowan, rowan university, as well as multiple tags relating to your topic, such as super hero or interview (these tags will increase the likelihood that the video will be found when searching that subject matter.
- For the category, select Education.
- Add it to “The One Final Draft” playlist.
- Make the video public and allow embedding and comments
M 9/13 or T 9/14 (by classtime): Know your question and present it in class.
M 9/20 or T 9/21 (by classtime): Initial Interviews due, 3 possible music selections chosen
M 9/28 or T 9/29 (by classtime): rough draft due on section YouTube channel and added to “The One Rough Draft” playlist
F 10/8 (both sections by 11:00pm): Final video due on section YouTube channel by 11:00pm
M 10/11 or T 10/12: Reflections due in class server space at beginning of class.