wrtf10 assignment 2: mixin’, mashin’, and remixin’

Assignment Overview

(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 an historical and/or contemporary subject that you feel strongly about and compose a remix of video, audio, and, to a lesser extent, still images, in an attempt to make a rhetorically savvy and visually complex social/cultural critical commentary or argument. The remixes you create must draw from two sources:

  • instructional, educational, or ephemeral film footage from the 1940s, 50s, 60s, or 70s, and
  • contemporary media (TV, movies, television commercials, video games, online video, and so on)

This, as you can see, is an enormously broad assignment, which leaves the door wide open for a variety of possibilities, but which also requires a great deal of student self-direction and critical conceptualization.

Perhaps, for example, you can’t stand the blather coming out of the mouths of cable TV news correspondents and you think it is causing the decline of civility in our society. Or, maybe you’re fed up with all the waste that contemporary cultures create. Or are enraged at the ravaging of the environment and lack of clean drinking water around the world. Or displeased about the state of race relations, the state of the education system, and so on.

Or maybe you have been pondering some historical issue that you’d like to rethink by contextualizing it in a contemporary setting but haven’t had the time or space to do so. For example, this week the excellent radio show, Studio 360, looked at The Autobiography of Malcolm X, though an historical and contemporary lens and by doing so touched on issues of race, gender, economic status, religion, and many others. Your remix could approach something similar by using an historical event as a launching-off point to investigate one particular related issue from a contemporary vantage point.

The most important thing, however, is that you locate a topic, idea, or issue that you feel strongly about and/or are curious about and have been waiting for a moment when you have the time and space to make your point known and/or explore the issue in some depth. This is that moment. And, ironically, you’ll be doing so by mashing together and remixing work created by others.

(Qualification: Please avoid over-used topics that have become tired and are prone to cliche, such as abortion, legalizing marijuana, and school parking. This is not a research paper, per se, though we will doing research in the sense of searching for videos and other texts. The issues that are chosen will be explored and thought about in nuanced, detailed, and sophisticated ways. The more complex your approach and the more nuanced your proposed issue/topic the more effective your remix will be. As such, I’ll have to approve any issue/topic your propose.)

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 remix.

Remix Specifics and Resources

The nuts and bolts:

  • must incorporate at least 3 communication modes (moving, audio, oral discourse, text, still images, etc.)
  • must be 2 – 5 minutes in length
  • must include credits and sources
  • must employ intertextuality, juxtaposition, and montage

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. Contemporary footage can come from anywhere.

For information how to download and convert online video that can be used with Windows Movie Maker and iMovie, see How to Download and Convert Online Video and/or How to Capture and Convert Video. For information on how to use footage from DVDs, see How to Rip DVD Clips by Jason Mitchell (make sure you read the comments, too, for excellent suggestions on top of those offered in the article).

Specifics when Uploading the Final 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 Writing, Research, and Technology, 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). Include a statement that discusses how the work is created for a class and as a result falls under Fair Use Guidelines and within the exemptions to DMCA Section 1201 rules announced by the Library of Congress on July 26, 2010. Include a statement with URLs that point the viewer to information about the course (http://williamwolff.org/courses/wrt-fall-2010/) and assignment (http://j.mp/9IRHyL). Also mention the software you used to complete the remix.
    • include credits and sources
    • 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

Due Dates

(updated October 11, 2010)

M 10/11 & T 10/12: 2 – 3 minute project proposal due on course YouTube channel
M 10/18 & T 10/19: video summary and storyboard due by classtime
W 10/20 & H 10/21: 1 – 3 minute rough draft due on course YouTube channel by class time
F 10/29: 2 – 4 minute second rough draft due on course YouTube channel by 11:00pm
F 11/5: Remix Final Draft due on YouTube by 11:00pm
M 11/8 & T 11/9: Reflective essays due on course server space at beginning of class

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