HSS8123: at the CLIMAX of my journey

As it happens in the movies, when the story is reaching the end, the hero takes a decision that changes his path 180º or even 360 ºand he ends up arriving to a different destination. That’s exactly where I’m right now, I am at the CLIMAX of my journey (the master) and I am going to take a decision that will change what was expected: change my final project.

When I was doing the assignment for Digital Media module, I was struggling with it a lot. I was very frustrated until the point of wanting to dropout, as I had to create a final project that it was very related to what I was doing in that moment. I was asking myself: ‘Do I want to be like this over the summer, working on project that is too much for me?’ I was trying to achieve a result that resembled in some way the projects that I mentioned in a previous post like ‘Pilow Talk’, ‘Family Rituals 2.0’ etc. The authors of these projects had a better foundation in coding when they created them than I do have now, and I won’t have it over the summer either, not even if I locked myself in Culture lab 24/7: Joana, Montgomery, the author of ‘Pillow Talk’, has a Bachelor’s degree in Digital Interaction Design; David Chatting, one of the authors of ‘Family Rituals. 02’ has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Obviously these guys had the right foundation for achieving their projects successfully. Let’s be realistic, I am not ready for this kind of project, I don’t see myself doing it and I’ve realised it when I was doing the assignment (this is what’s call in writing anagnorisis). In addition, I don’t know how the final result could benefit in my career, how it would fit, and how it would be useful in terms of employability. I think in my career the outcome of this project doesn’t worth the stress that it would imply achieving it.

On the other hand, I have been working on a personal project since the first semester. It’s about Long Distance Relationships and it’s made of real testimonials. People from different countries and backgrounds share their personal stories in ‘Wireless Love’. It is becoming bigger and complex and I need to dedicate hours this summer to get it done. It started being just a unique documentary film, but it seems now that it will end up being  a serialized audio visual project.

When I was doing my assignment for Screenwriting module, I was stuck with the story I was writing. After a while I started to remember what the professor Tina Gharavi (the module’ leader) was constantly saying in class: ‘The problem for many of the scripts is that they were just “too wide” and very removed from you or reality. Would you really want to watch the film you are writing? Go back to the beat sheet you wrote in the first day. Go back to your starting point, your initial idea, and remember why you wanted to write that story.’ I applied that advice for my assignment and it was very helpful. Then, I decided to do the same with the final project as well. I looked at the title of my blog, which is ‘digital storytelling’; I checked my first post about hypothetical ideas for the final project, which was mainly ‘storytelling for kids’. Storytelling is my thing; it was what I wanted to do and what I still want to do. Creating or designing a device for L.D.R. couples has nothing to do with storytelling. In fact, with this last idea for my final project I was getting far away from my starting point, for the reason I came here, to Newcastle. I’m aware that my tutor Tom won’t be very happy with this decision because he always wanted me to do something different from video. But the thing is, even if video is my background owed to my Bachelor’s degree, it is something that I have not done for the last 2 years, probably 3 years. I was rusty when I came to Newcastle and actually one of the main reasons why I wanted to come here and do this specific Master was because I wanted to go back to filming. I chose this Master for the freedom that the students could have about the module’s choices (from different disciplines) that made sense for them and for their careers. I didn’t choose it for learning coding or becoming an artist or becoming a Phd student after the master. I chose it for the freedom that students have in order to create their projects, not matter what discipline is involved as long as it is artistic or creative. In fact, I have recently checked the handbook of ‘Creative Practice Project’ and there is one part that says: ‘Although many projects incorporate elements of digital technology, this is not a requirement’.

In conclusion, my project is going to be a serialised audio visual project. On one hand I will edit small videos about the couples I have been interviewing a long these moths and also I’d like to create a sort of “interactive storytelling’ for the web with Processing. I’d like to display the information about project on the web (videos and information) in an interactive way as these examples:

http://www.sbs.com.au/cronullariots/documentary#chapters/introduction/map

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 21.35.36

One of the ideas I have is creating a map that illustrates the distance that exist between the couple who starred my projects. So people can click on the couples and get information about them, they can watch the video etc.

Other kind of interactive storytelling that could be source of inspiration is:

http://www.sbs.com.au/theboat/

Well, these are just some ideas; I really have to research about this, and decide what exactly I am going to do with part of the project.

I’d like to finish clarifying that this project is actually the reason I came here (something I have forgotten a long the months unfortunately). As you can check on the blog the video documentation I have created for Wireless Love,  this project was an idea that I had some years ago. I came to Newcastle to create finally this audio visual project on my own (that was trapped in my head) for my portfolio, as an example of what I’m capable and what kind of projects I’d like to be working on the future. Now, everything makes sense for me, I understood why I am here, why I came here. I am looking forward to start this third act of my journey.

* As a curious anecdote I’d like to point out that the video documentation I did for Wireless Love is going to be useful for me actually, in order to apply a funding competition that is going on this month. So I am very happy that I have alredy done it and got some useful feedback from my classmates/tutor to improve it. Thanks guys 😉