Response to Week 8/9 (Video Project)

Week 8/9 reflection

So over the past couple of weeks I’ve been producing the video project that will be my culminating experience for this class. I’ve decided to produce a video blog in response to a ocntroversial video blog that was posted by a Youtube Celebrity, chastising the practice of the Women’s March and the longevity of its message.

I filmed my rough cut last week, and I wanted to try a new method where i filmed the “skeleton” of the video by just standing in front of a camera and reading off the script first. We read in “Writer/Designer”, in the section on how to produce videos that don’t suck, that when screenplays are written the first thing that actors do is to do a reading of the script. I wanted to do the same, but in front of a camera, because I’ve never filmed myself before.

I borrowed some equipment from Jones Media Center and booked the Innovation center for the filming. I set up a Canon Vixia camera on a tripod and attached a microphone onto it for audio clarity, and began filming right away. I had my laptop at eye level and it acted as a transponder.

The dry run/filming was immensely helpful, because I got to realize certain tics I have when I am talking which may be distracting for the viewer. The biggest lesson I learned was not to move my hands as much and to keep them firmly planted on my legs, because it gets difficult to edit certain bits out if my body is not in a stationery position. Another habit that I have is I keep touching my hair and not only is it distracting, but it makes it difficult to cut and edit because there would be clips where I’d speak, touch my hair immediately after, and the clip I was going to add on after is one where my hands are on the chair and not on my head. The disconnect there was not pleasing to the eye. I was also wearing a black shirt on a black background, which was not aesthetically pleasing either. I also realized that the laptop was in fact not at eye level and it was obvious that I was reading off of a screen on the slight left.

I’m planning to film my final project in a completely different way. I thought that the innovation center would provide a more professional look to my video, but it ended up looking more like a newscast than a casual video blog, which is the genre that I am producing my video in. For the final cut, I am going to be filming in my room most likely in natural light against a white background and have the script printed out in flash cards which I can then place right above the lens, and individually replace them for different parts of the video.

The readings were interesting because I had done them before, but not immediately before the shooting process. I read the part that talks about storyboarding and the importance of having every scene planned out, even if it is just in brief words, and took the advice by creating a cut-by-cut script that I followed exactly. I could clearly tell that the readings were immensely helpful because having each cut planned out and having each line written helped in the recording process. However, one thing that I would do different next time would be creating flash cards instead, so that I can know when exactly to cut the video. Having a long script in front of me made it difficult to know when to end recording, so I ended up just recording an extended 15-minute video where I kept on talking and cut later, instead of having snippets that I could piece together.

The topic of location and casting I did not pay much attention to, to my disadvantage. It was a dry run so it did not matter as much, but I was wearing a black shirt on a black background and the lighting was much too harsh. As stated above, amongst the changes I will make, the most important one will be on location and lighting.

Response to “How to Make Videos” and “Preparing Public Service Announcements”

Response to How to make Videos, selection from part 2 and PSA

For my final project, I’m going to be producing a Video Blog (or a “Vlog”) of myself discussing the issue. I think this will be the best way to cap off this course because I don’t think a PSA would work best for my issue. In the reading we had to complete about preparing PSAs, it states that PSAs work best on issues where there are either specific announcements to make, have a clear and easy-to-understand issue or are requesting a very specific action. The Women’s March fit none of these bills, so I decided to go with a video blog.

For example, in the Huffington Post collection of PSAs we had to watch, I was particularly impacted by the friends don’t let friends drunk drive PSA of the two cups crashing into each other and the glass breaking, with the friend’s hand being the only thing that stops the last glass from breaking. This PSA works because the message is simple: “don’t drink and drive”, and there is a clear call to action: “if you see your friends drinking, don’t let them drive”. There is a clear audience. However, for the Women’s March, there is no way a PSA can be produced when the March itself seems confused about its aims and causes.

This was the video that inspired me to do a video blog: I would say that it is not one of those channels that I would readily click on if I was browsing youtube on my own, but after i watched it, I thought the host was actually quite brilliant and had a lot of important things to say, and the execution of the vlog was also good.

One of the reasons I think the vlog was successful was because it seemed as though the host had the video scripted out from beginning to the end. The “How to Make Videos” reading talks about this in the section on how important it is to have your videos scripted. The difference between quality vlogs and just talking-head rant videos are that the hosts have a script, or at least a guideline on what they will be saying throughout the video.

Several parts of the “How to Make Videos” reading was important in scripting my Vlog because it reaffirmed a couple of points where I may have erred in producing my podcast. The reading states that often producers, in an effort of sounding balanced, often make the mistake of sounding extremely long-winded. In my podcast, one of the biggest lessons I learned in the editing process was that editing would have been a whole lot easier if I had not tried to pad the questions I was asking Megan. The Vlog that I referenced above does a really good job of discussing the issue without sounding too crass. It pushes the envelope without breaking the envelope.

I am currently in the scripting process of my Vlog but I am unsure yet whether or not the Vlog will be of just me or an exchange between me and a friend discussing the topic of the Women’s March. All I know is that the exchange will have to be heavily scripted if it is going to be just me, but if it is the exchange, I think I’m going to have to go against the reading to allow a little more freedom in the filming process. I am personally a big fan of “Buzzfeed Unsolved”, and the conversational style of the show. I think I’d like for an opportunity to be able to produce this, and I think it would serve better to put some legs below the story.

A PSA would be easy to produce but for such a controversial issue as the Women’s March where so many people have opinions about how effective it was, creating another short “PSA” where all it does is a call for action, will actually detract from the cause than add to it.

Response to Episode 25 of TRL

Episode 25: The Pod(cast) People Speak

These podcasts came in at a hugely handy time, as I was listening to them within a few days of recording my interview that was going to be the main body of my podcast. Listening to these – and other podcasts that we were assigned for this class – I’m slowly beginning to realize that I’m not a huge background music person. This is perhaps why I enjoy a very limited selection of podcasts. I’m a huge listener of NPR and BBC radio, which rarely has any embellishment. I think I was going to take my podcast in that direction, and listening to some of these podcasts solidified my intentions going into editing my podcast.

My biggest issue with Courtney Danforth and Harley Farris’ podcast (KairosCast) was that it sounded extremely scripted. When Danforth said “I’m really excited about using audio for some in class activities too”, the way she said it made it so obvious that she was reading off of a script right in front of her, which made it difficult for the listener (me!) to engage with the content. I was too distracted by her tone of voice and the forced way in which she was trying to feign enthusiasm as though it was a normal exchange/conversation. I thought Farris (the guy) was a little bit better, but I also cringed when he said at the end “I’m about to collapse over here” closing out the podcast, because again, it sounded so obvious that it was being read off of a script.

Besides the element of artificiality, it may be a personal aversion, but my philosophy when it comes to podcast production and editing is that the content should be the main focus. A sizeable population of listeners are already not going to be the best auditory information retainers, and having extra distractions certainly does not help. For instance, the chimes that they were ringing at the end of the podcast to signal that they were finishing up – also as an element of humor – was just plain distracting and cringeworthy.

I was also not a fan of “People, Place, Things”. The feedback noises that they inserted between their exchanges was so, so annoying – to an extent where I slightly felt nauseous after listening to it. However, at the end, I sort of thought – maybe they were trying to stir up this sense of annoyance in their listeners to communicate their message that a podcast is ultimately anchored in an entertainment model. However, the background music and the random screeches (from the feedback noise they inserted between words in a sentence!) made it extremely hard to enjoy the podcast.

However, i thought Eric Dettweiler’s podcast was BRILLIANT – mostly because it fit in exactly to everything I experienced when I interviewed Megan for my podcast. This was my first time actually interviewing someone on tape, so I was extremely surprised when I listened to everything on playback and everything sounded extremely natural! I chose not to go with a script, because I was afraid of sounding like the first podcast. Instead, I wrote all the questions in advance and had it in front of me, and also on a whiteboard behind me so Megan could anticipate the questions that were coming up.

I think my experience as a coxswain however, helped me a lot. As part of my job, I’m always talking into a microphone, communicating messages and making calls to the guys in my boat. In order to get better, coxswains are encouraged to record their own voice and listen to it, no matter how horrific it sounds the first couple of times. I’ve also gone through this process, and  now am a little more comfortable with how I sound on tape. I think knowing the way you’re going to sound helps a lot when you’re taping an interview, because it allows you a little more leverage over the interview. I had that extra sense of confidence because I knew how I was going to sound when I listened to the tape later.

However, I did suffer from the “verbal tics” that Dettweiler mentions. The toughest part of the interview was when I had to tie Megan’s response to the former question to how I was going to frame the next question, and because a lot of that was “on the fly” and unscripted, there ended up being lots of awkward pauses as I chose the words in my head, and a lot of “ums”. Editing those out will be interesting – I have yet to do it but I don’t think it’ll be too difficult to do.

Overall, I’m excited to start editing my podcast, but in terms of stylistic choices I think I’m going to go very minimalistic with my background music/sound effect choices, and make it very content-based – because those are the podcasts I personally enjoy the most.

Response to Jessica Abel’s Podcast (Episode 5: You’re Not Lucky, You’re just Good)

This podcast was interesting because as a podcast I would not consider it as a well-produced – but the content was really useful to me as I am planning on interviewing someone for my final audio project. A quote that stuck to me throughout the podcast was “anyone telling stories can understand this idea: you prepare and prepare, you dive in deep, and then something clicks, and it’s like a little bit of magic, and you find the thing that makes an unforgettable scene, or turn, or feeling.” A podcast is a great tool not only to convey information to listeners that are always on-the-go, but it’s also a great tool to make things personal and tell a story.

I wasn’t a fan of this podcast because it all felt really disjointed – I understand that she was discussing the various different topics she had written about, but when she jumped around from pasta to Trish Trash the Roller Derby player, I got lost really quickly. The impression I got from this podcast was that it seemed more like an audiobook than a podcast, especially with her monotoned tone of voice and the various different clips that were spliced together without much transition or introduction in between. I think if she were to introduce different speakers or switch to a complete different speaker (a whole new soundbite, if you will), a small introduction would have been more helpful to the listener. Podcast listeners aren’t really always paying “full attention”, and unless you are paying full attention to this podcast it was easy to lose her in her train of thought.

I also found the background music when she was speaking quite distracting, because it was too repetitive and commercial. This also added to the confusion, because there was a lot of different background music coming from all of these different clips weaving into one another. I understand this because part of being a producer is being a curator, but I feel like she had her hands in too many baskets for this one.

However, I found the content to be EXTREMELY useful. I’m going to be interviewing a couple of friends of mine who attended the March on the 21st in Washington D.C., and knowing how to approach that interview will serve to be very useful. I was going to go into it with a blank slate, just so that the exchange can be more conversational. Although this approach works, a better one is to set the “interview arc” before you go in – so you have an idea of what the whole narrative is going to look like. As the producer suggests in this podcast, I think I’m going to give Megan (my sorority sister who attended the march) a call beforehand to ask her some pre-interview question to vet her and find out whether or not if she is a suitable candidate. I also have a couple of interesting interview questions I want to ask her, like “when did you start doing this (interested in feminist issues)?”, “what did your parents think about you participating?”, “tell me about your commute there.”. I’m also going to approach this as me being someone knowing NOTHING about the march, so that I can get simple and honest answers without any self-selecting responses or forced responses.


Marwick & Boyd (2010) Response

In Marwick & Boyd’s 2010 study on context collapse in the age of Web 2.0 – more specifically in reference to Twitter – they raise points that are immensely relevant to my study of the Women’s March on Washington and the importance of knowing your audience to maximize the effectiveness of social media as a tool for social change.

Although it wasn’t as relevant to my social movement of choice, I thought the aspect of “strategic self-commodification” brought up by the researchers were useful in understanding our behavior on these various social media platforms. Marwick & Boyd argue that Twitter has allowed for the rise of “microcelebrities”, and how the content we post on these platforms are affected by the audience we imagine to be consuming our content. The break that exists between audience imagined and audience invoked is often what drives our behavior to produce and post content that pleases everybody.

In the article, Marwick & Boyd bring up Joshua Meyrowitz’ work “No Sense of Place” (1985) which ascribes the rapid rise of social change in the 1960s to the popularization of electronic media like television and radio “eliminating walls between separate social situations”. According to Meyrowitz, a situationist, situations make up our social order and the rise of a whole new dimension of self-expression brought down the conventional walls of social expression.

This article was published right around the time twitter was gaining popularity (Twitter was established in 2006; this article was published in 2010) so I think some of the analysis is now a little bit outdated. Marwick & Boyd argue about the use of twitter as primarily being to maintain followers and “create and market a personal brand”. I don’t think that the researchers foresaw the capability twitter had to become an entire driving force behind social movements, instead of just being a simple tool and facilitator. The researchers talk about “leveraging” the twitter platform – but now it is so much more than that. It is a whole new driving force of its own.

To dive a little bit deeper into my social media movement of choice, the Women’s March serves for interesting discourse because its social media campaign embodies every single part of Marwick & Boyd’s argument about audience engagement on social media. Earlier I talked about the use of Twitter as an essential tool for starting and maintaining a social fervor towards action or change. The Women’s March actually started on Facebook as a social media platform, with the idea of a March suggested on a popular political facebook page “Pantsuit Nation”. The idea galvanized into an entire March, soon taken up by a steering committee of experienced social activists wanting to make it into a National movement for Women’s Rights in the age of Trump.

Social media was essential in the promotion of the March, however one of its main critiques was that it had no use on the day itself at the physical site of the event. The march was attended by upwards of 3.3 million people across the world, and almost 470,000 people attended the March on Washington. Due to the size of the crowd, almost all forms of communication on the site of the event was paralyzed – no cell service, data connection whatsoever. News Media “The Verge” criticizes the lack of awareness on the kinds of logistical issues the March would face on the day of the event, and that it was lamentable social media was only “useful on the outskirts of the protest and afterwards, to digest dispatches that had been sent whenever a signal could be ferreted out”. This outlines and emphasizes the limitations social media has as a tool for social change – its seemingly boundless capabilities are easily curtailed by simple technological boundaries.

More relevantly to the article, the efforts of the March to remain as “inclusive” as possible was also a difficult feat to achieve. One of the biggest issues the movement ran into was initially when the march was titled “The Million Women’s March”. For some white women, this resonated too much with the 1997 March led primarily by Black women decrying their disenfranchisement. Some Journalists also argued against the march being branded as a “women’s march” – that it seemed like an “anti-fascist bachelorette party” for a “group of girlfriends who had failed to elect a female president”. This level of infighting is common for social media movements that use social media as their main tool to propagate their message.

The March has made every effort to be as inclusive as possible. It’s Guiding Principles make an effort to cover every marginalized population, using only female references where necessary. Their twitter account more than regularly posts about issues of race, reproductive health and voter disenfranchisement without references to a specific gender. Their hashtag campaign to increase voting behavior amongst women is #HearOurVote and not #HearHerVote. However, still a majority of their content is focused on Women’s Issues, staying true to their identity as the “Women’s March”. I personally think this is crucial, because trying to please everyone ends up leaving nobody satisfied.


Marwick, Alice, and Danah Boyd. “I Tweet Honestly, I Tweet Passionately: Twitter Users, Context Collapse and the Imagined Audience.” New Media & Society 13.1 (2010): 114-33. Web.
Tiffany, Kaitlyn. “The Women’s March Proves That 21st Century Protest Is Still about Bodies, Not Tweets.” The Verge. The Verge, 23 Jan. 2017. Web. 07 Apr. 2017.
Tolentino, Jia. “The Somehow Controversial Women’s March on Washington.” The New Yorker. The New Yorker, 18 Jan. 2017. Web. 07 Apr. 2017.

Quick introduction to the Women’s March on Washington 2017

The Women’s March on Washington was held on January 21st, 2017 in Washington D.C near the U.S. Capitol. The website states the event as a “grassroots effort comprised of dozens of independent coordinators at the state level”, with a mission statement as follows:

The March as a movement demands national attention to the idea that Women’s rights are human rights, “regardless of a woman’s race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, sexual identity, gender expression, economic status, age or disability”. (

The three women who helmed the movement were titled as the “National Co-chairs” of the March. They are Tamika D. Mallory, a renowned social justice activist and New York City-based consultant, Carmen Perez, civil rights activist and Director of nonprofit “The Gathering for Justice” that seeks to build alternatives to incarceration and violence, and Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American-Muslim racial justice and civil rights activist and “social media maverick”. (

The March’s homepage states that aside from the main Women’s March on Washington, there were 673 “Sister Marches” that were held all around the United States and the world, with a total of 4,956,422 attendees. (

The demands of the March are plain and simple: affordable birth control, equal pay and healthcare equality for transgender Americans. The movement and March was sparked by the election of Donald Trump as president in the 2017 Presidential Election and the various threats to Women’s rights that followed.

The Guiding Vision and Definition of Principles of the March simplifies the goals of the movement to the following (abridged and reworded for brevity). Find the original document here.

  1. Gender Justice = Racial Justice = Economic Justice
  2. Women have the right to live a life free of violence to our bodies.
  3. Justice for Police Brutality, Sexual Assault and Racial profiling against all women of color and Indigenous people.
  4. Dismantling the gender and racial inequalities against women in the Criminal Justice system and preventing sexual violence against incarcerated women.
  5. Promotion of Reproductive Freedom and fighting against any form of federal, state or local restrictions on all women’s ability to access reproductive healthcare, birth control, family planning, abortion and STI/HIV prevention.
  6. Standing in solidarity with LGBTQIA individuals and demanding equal treatment in healthcare for these individuals with full anti-discrimination protection regardless of gender identification
  7. Equal pay for equal work and workplace anti-discrimination against indigenous women, lesbian, queer and trans women
  8. Domestic and Farm workers have the right to a living minimum wage. Sex workers must be included in labor protections. Exploitation for sex and labor is a violation of human rights.
  9. We must seek to break barriers and stand in solidarity with women with disabilities.
  10. We seek an all-inclusive amendment to the 14th Amendment, as the current amendment does not serve to guarantee equity on the basis of race and/or sex. This will be referred to as the “Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S Constitution” and will guarantee equal rights without regards to race or gender, with each citizens’ vote counting equally.
  11. Immigrants and refugees deserve equal treatment regardless of status or country of origin and should not be subject to mass deportation, family detention or violation of due process. Migration is a human right and no human being is illegal.
  12. Every person in the United States deserves access to clean water, clean air, and public lands. We demand that our land and natural resources be preserved and protected from corporate exploitation.
  13. We must stand in arms to fight aggression caused by a war economy and fight back to a select party of wealth that use their political, social and economic influence for their personal agenda.

Source: Women’s March on Washington. Guiding Vision and Definition of Principles. Women’s March on Washington. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2017. 

Other cited sources:

“Mission & Vision.” Women’s March on Washington. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2017.

“March Committee.” Women’s March on Washington. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2017.

“Sister Marches.” Women’s March on Washington. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2017.

The Editorial Board. “What the Women’s March Stands for.” The New York Times. N.p., 20 Jan. 2017. Web. 02 Apr. 2017.