Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Take two: What is style?

After reviewing my blog posts for the semester, I have come to the conclusion that while my definition of style hasn't changed astronomically after taking this class, my understanding of it has. For example, while I could have pick out bad writing before, I now have the tools and vocabulary to explain and understand why it is bad (thank you, S&W and W). Similarly, while I previously would have be willing to argue for the validity of comic books as an art form/writing style, I now have solid foundations to explain why that is. In addition, this class has given me first hand experience in activities I would have been unlikely to tackle on my own, such as creating a writing technology and re-working a style rule. These projects (and the subsequent reflection upon them) has forced me, in many ways, to broaden my definition writing (and the style rules that define it) and consider the ways in which I use it in entirely different lights.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

peer review recap part 4

So far this semester, we've spent a lot of time reflecting on the peer review process. My initial post on the subject were hesitant, though supportive. My last post on the subject was a bit more critical, as I concluded that peer review was good for an ego boost and catching grammatical errors. After participating in the process for a fourth time, I have to say that I'm only finding it more useless. I still feel that its strengths lie in positive feedback and piddly error correction. As I sat down to write this final review, though, I was struck by how much easier it would have been just to complete the process with pen and paper-- I'm pretty sure I would have received better feedback that way, as googledocs and wetpaint are just clunky editors. Don't get me wrong, I will leave this class with a new love of googledocs-- but for using google docs to share and collaborate, not edit. These programs weren't really designed to do this, and they don't really do it well, and as such some comments that would have been quick in the paperandink world were simply left out, as it would have been more work than it was worth to annotate the document meaningfully or correctly.
Over all, I really like the idea of peer review. However, I think it would be more worth while process if we content guidelines (aka Rubric) to base our judgments on, and perhaps done on paper and not the internet.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Making Connections

Relating the moving making process to the texts we have read in class will be a distinctly creative process. I think McCloud will be most useful since he's already looking at pictures as text. I've thought about a couple of connections here, dealing with how we relate to images using closure--for example, I'm thinking about how I wore a mask to play the "essay" in our short movie changed the way the audience relates to the movie because there's more room for imagination and less mirror-like reflection of self. I also think that our other choices of costumes to fulfill stereotypes falls in this category as well. I can also see connections to the YouTube texts through arguing that the process of making a video (at least a semi scripted one with a topic like ours) induces a type of learning because it requires the use of an out of the ordinary, through, thought process. I could also see making connections to the writing process here, perhaps using picturing texts, dealing with the similar considerations of audience, purpose, subject and style that are universal to most forms of creation, writing and movie making included.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

the youtube delimma and other related ideals.

So far, I think that the movie making process has, in many ways been congruous to the writing process. The process is much the same: brainstorming, planning, introduction, body and conclusion. However, i have noticed a very distinct difference in the process of creating a movie and writing an essay, particularly within the context of upper level lit/English classes: we're not expected to be good at making movies. In fact, in many cases, the worse we are at it the better, because the goofiness of it act of a situational inside joke that is funny because all the participants know one another and the nuances of the course for which its being made. However, when I write an essay for these classes, I am expected to be somewhat of an expert, and as such, turning in an essay in which I was goofy and situational with no real regard for a larger audience would be completely unacceptable. As such, on the surface, moving-making is an easier task in this context: wtihout grandiouse expectations for its maechanics, there's no real need for refinement or gaurenteed clarity.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

peer review recap part 3

After reading my own previous peer review recaps and some of my colleagues, I found that our entries mostly say the same sorts of things: I found the process to be sort of helpful; there were some glitches editing on line (Jeff, Hannah, and Mike all seem to be on board with me here). However, since this blog assignment asks us to look more critically at the process as a whole, I logged back in to Wetpaint and my first Google docs group to look at what comments were actually made on not only my work, but others as well. I found that the peer editing process is really good for two things:

1. An ego boost.
There are a lot of "great paper!" or "good start!" 's flying around out there. Which, is nice. I had 4 different people tell me my Style paper was some variation on "good". It was nice to see, but apparently not correct, as after receiving my graded paper back the professor, my grade did not reflect the sorts of overwhelmingly nice comments I received in the peer review process. I can't fault people for doing this though; they probably do think it's a great start. I think this significant drawback to the process could be eliminated if Professor Krause gave us some sort of rubric to work with that we could base our judgments off of while we peer review. I'm thinking the most base form of rubric, some thing like "to score top points on this paper, you need to make clear connections to both texts discussed in class. Mulitple examples will be given and explained fully.... yada yada details only krause could give." That way, we could meaningfully judge our peers work.

2. Grammar. Since good content is relatively subjective given that we don't know what its expected outside of our own expectations for "good", a majority of the feedback given is gramatical. Commas, excess words, and capitalization are caught in abundance. Which, is of course, useful, espically since these things often slip past the author because they're familar enough with the work to know what should be there.

Peer reviewtake three hasn't really been much different from this. As much as I really like the idea of peer review, in retrospect I think we need more information and guideance to make it a truely meaningful process.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

McCloud-ian comics, part II

for this assignment, I chose to look at Mike's blog. The comic he analyzed is called Player Vs Player. The "episode" he looked at involves a the accidental stabbing of a security guard mistaken for a vampire.
Mike commented that he liked the fact that the comic was black and white. I tend to agree: while I wasn't at all taken by the comic he chose I can almost guarantee that I would have liked it less in color. I think this is because of something Scott McCloud (the comic-theorist-god) points out in his chapter on color: "With out the emotional impact of single-color saturation, the expressive potential of American color comics was often canceled out to an emotional gray"(188). This really struck a chord with me, as a tend to dislike action comics for their over saturation of color. I think that McCloud must be on to something with this, as both Mike and I prefer the black and white, and it was briefly discussed in class that the comics with intense line and color in the paper were often skipped by many students in the class. Not quite related to what Mike had to say, but still relevant: that McCloud quote concerning color suddenly explained to me why I eventually found reading things like this

From Daniel Clowes' Ghostworld

comparatively comfortable: the single color use and thin lines are far less jarring than their over-saturated action-hero counterparts. That, and I'm a cutting-edge bitch too, so I can relate.
I realize that this is a complete aside, but I feel its an important observation if we're talking about the theory of comics and their perceived prestige in society.

Back to Mike.

In his discussion of PvsP, Mike doesn't really explore the relationship between the words and the images, which is what struck me as most compelling about this strip. All four panels are, according to McCloud, Word specific-- the words convey the meaning of the strip by themselves and the images simply illustrate without lending any tangible meaning (153). This seemed odd to me, as some pretty exciting stuff happens in these four panels but we don't get to see any of it, just read about it and look at people discussing instead.

Reading and writing about comic ala McCloud

The comic I chose to read is "The Silencer", an online comic by Mike Heronime and Tony Pacitti. The Comic is about two boys who find a briefcase containing a gun-with a silencer- while fishing. It can be found here.

Things McCloud might like to talk about here:

1.Gutters. I really like the choice of panel contents in the segment I have included above. Specifically, I like the intentional-ness of it: this easily could have been on panel, but its not. Instead, a transition is created between the active bicycle and the emotive face, creating two separate foci or actions. On a broader scope, transitions are a very interesting aspect of this comic. Because it is published online, the author can control how much of the story a reader sees at once, in way that wouldn't be as effective (emotionally or cost) on the page. In this case, the reader is often only given one frame or panel at a time, and it requires action on the part of the reader to see the next one. On the surface, I could see how McCloud would argue that this pushes "The Silencer" in to his "cartoon not comic dammit" category. However, I would argue that the internet changes the medium-- and our definition slightly. I think that because the individual panels are intended-- and indeed require-- to be read together, the fact that they are presented on different pages does not discount them from inclusion of our comic definition. Instead, I would argue that the web allows for "infinite gutters", requiring more closure and direct participation from the reader, not eliminating the need for it.

2. Real vs. ideal. "The Silencer" uses an intriguing combination of realistic and idealistic images. In the example above, the use of shading and gradation creates a fairly realistic body, and the straight lines of the bicycle add to the effect. However, the wobbly looking wheels and relatively simplified face adds a distinctly "cartoonish" quality to it.