Media, Fans, & Participatory Culture: The Changing Landscape of Media Consumption

erotic-fiction-1422584338The Internet has changed the way in which we consume media in that it has created a space for an empowered, participatory audience. Media is no longer part of a simple input-output structure (i.e. create and consume), it’s now cyclical in that both sides are influenced by the other. As an audience and as media consumers, the web allows for participation: we can engage with our media, we can edit and alter our media, we can appropriate our media (i.e. turn it into something new or different), and we can provide impactful feedback that can even influence original media owners and creators to change their media artifacts.

There is also a burgeoning balance of power between fans and product owners due to this change. For instance many fans of popular shows, books, and comics engage in fanfiction communities, where they write, post, and engage in pseudo-original narratives based on actual original characters, stories, and entertainment media universes. (For example, someone might take the character of Jon Snow from HBO’s/George R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series and write a fanfiction story with him that strays from the actual narrative of the original series.) This both engages in the media that exists while creating something new that the fan becomes a very real part of.  Fans can also mash universes in crossover fanfiction (i.e. stories with characters from different universes, like having Arya Stark meet Captain America to battle Darth Vader).

This type of fan participation, however, also creates tension between the consumer and the creator, as it blurs the lines of ownership and spurs conversation on rights, legality, content ownership, boundaries, and to some degree ethics. Nonetheless, this sort of participation (a “participatory culture,” as described by Jenkins) is revolutionary for empowering fans and consumers to impact the media it consumes. This momentum can be seen a lot in the realm of TV series and comic books, where fans have shown the power to band together in order to bring certain characters or series back from the dead.

Group Creative Process: Milestones and Challenges

TeamworkMy group filmed our clips this past weekend. In and of itself the filming was a huge accomplishment, as it not only brought us together as a cohesive group, but also showed how we could overcome challenges as a unit (including a mishap with some cars getting towed, as well as a few audio issues). Another accomplishment was working together on finalizing the script, which was a lot of fun. We already had the bare bones laid out of what we wanted to get across, but getting together as a group and finalizing and running lines was not only fun but also a n exciting challenge.

One of the hurdles I anticipate involves having to rerecord some audio for a voice-over, as since we didn’t have any professional-quality recording devices, some of our on-camera audio was too low and we have to record it. My concern is regarding syncing the rerecorded audio to the actual video, though I’m sure we’ll figure it out together! Another hurdle will be simply editing the video to make it consistent, professional, and funny. I think finding the perfect music bed for this will be a fun challenge for us!

Some of the tools that we’re going to in editing our video, tools that we’ve explored in this class, include audio editing (such as Garageband) in order to do our voice-overs and edit our existing audio for optimal effect, as well as video editing software to actually piece our video together cohesively. I look forward to finally using all these tools for this finalized, major project, as it will certainly synthesize and put to good use everything that we’ve learned altogether, and this time as a group team.

Utiling Media in Multi-Media Projects: Adding Sound, Images, and Video Content

Audio and visual media are aesthetic tools that can help propel any project to a higher level, making something more engaging, more informed, or more entertaining. For our final project video, which we are creating a loose parody of The Exorcism with (albeit more thematically and less in a scene-by-scene narrative sense), it may be useful to incorporate some additional media artifacts into our presentation.

Audio:

Sound is absolutely critical for any media project. (Even the absence of sound, which we can consider a sort of audio cue in and of itself, can create a powerful effect in media.) As we are doing a video hat parodies a classical horror film, it may make sense to use spooky or scary sounding music to score our video.

This independent music below, “Slenderman” by David Jaworski, might be a nice sonic addition to our video to create an over-the-top, comedic feel, since it’s quite spooky and while we’re referencing an iconic horror film, our take is much more humorous and light-hearted:

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Images:

In addition to music, still images can also serve as useful content for a video, and can often help to break things up and make for a transition into a different narrative or piece of content.  The offer a moment for the viewer to gather their thoughts about what they’ve just seen, and maybe even have a moment to really examine a piece of information.

Image via http://pixabay.com/p-276893/?no_redirect
Image via http://pixabay.com/p-276893/?no_redirect

For our video, as we’re going to do a scene at the end which brings the viewer out of the fantasy scenario and into reality, showing the Resume Builder application in use as well as other Rutgers/student/resume-centric imagery. It might be nice to insert an actual stock image of a resume, such as the professional one pictured here, somewhere in that part of the video under the voice-over.

Video:

Even though we are ourselves filming and editing a video specifically for this project, it’s oftentimes helpful and engaging to insert other video and film clips into a video project. This is something that many pop culture and film reviewers do online quite successfully, making their videos more engaging by having actual clips of the films/media they’re referencing spliced into their video.

While I don’t necessarily believe that, from a narrative perspective, we’ll need to make this sort of video reference, this clip of someone using various digital technologies might be a good model of the sort of video clip that could work in terms of transitional content into showing how the Resume Builder app functions. However, I don’t think this exact clip would fit, and I honestly struggled to find a clip that would work in general.

Getting Started: Creating This Blog

Via Brains on Fire
Via Brains on Fire

I found creating this blog to be incredibly easy and user-intuitive. I’ve been blogging for over 10 years now, first on LiveJournal, then on Blogspot, and currently on WordPress for a number of other personal and work-related projects, so creating this blog was very familiar for me.

I began by selecting my theme and customizing it visually to feel “right” for me, and then moved on to creating the core pages as well as adding content to them. Finally, I selected general blog widgets and settings in order to meet class requirements.

According to Ciotti’s article, “a ‘clean’ site is an inviting site that is easy to read, easy to navigate, but that still has some personality.” I tried to keep this idea in mind when customizing my blog, keeping the user interface minimalist and appropriate for class, while still injecting some of my personality into the colors of the theme as well as the more personal content, such as my “Meet the Editor” page and header.

Via TechGYD
Via TechGYD

In addition, in Turner’s article, “Where the Counterculture Met the New Economy,” the author discusses the emergence of virtual communities, and speaks of these communities as hearkening back to tribal, social communities. Since this blog is a place for discussion and conversation, I tried to create a comfortable and simple space for my peers to contribute, a place that would be easy to navigate, feel friendly, and welcome feedback and commentary.

So, welcome!