personal development

Overcoming Problems and Concerns

The main concern I have had throughout this project is that people wouldn’t “get” it and yet I really didn’t want to spell it out to them. I wanted the experience to be exploratory and for the audience to work it out for themselves and enjoy the pieces for what they were. However from user testing and further research, my testing participants only really got it when they were given an encouraging hint. This is why the control pages were added to ensure the point was not missed. I am disappointed the linear narrative didn’t work out because I really feel as if this would have been stronger than the multi narrative had it have been better planed out with one more specific point than larger overall points.  I feel I definitely made the decision to change from the linear narrative structure far too late and struggled with it for too long. This is where too much planning and research can cause problems because I was convinced I could make it work but sometimes you just need to know when to move on. This has frustrated me a lot because I feel that had I come to the decision to change to an interactive collage/layering of videos sound and image I could have really executed it much better. Although for this project I feel like it impacted the final result in a negative way, for future projects I will know to react sooner and be able to make a firm decision to change pathway if need be.

In terms of time management, I behaved with the best of intentions and believed that my production plan was realistic. The filming sections went very well and remained on schedule, with all of it being completed across 5 days and with the help of Jessica Long (see methodologies). However,  it was the editing that took the time and learning the software that required patience and dedication. Additionally collecting the Instagram images for my overlapping video was very time consuming!! You can only search a hashtag word on a mobile or tablet and then there is no way of seeing the full image with the hashtags included at the bottom unless you screen shot it in two halves and then photoshop them together. This was not difficult but it took a lot of time.  Issues regarding export qualities and waiting for files to render was something that was out of my control but something I should have been prepared for, however my lack of experience with Premiere Pro and After Effects meant I was not to have known. The overall video design, although they were all story boarded thoroughly, it was a case of trial and error to get it looking its best when it actually came to editing the footage. Even though this caused me a set back in terms of time, I feel it was beneficial to my future production pieces and has truly given me a solid foundation of experience to take on bigger and better projects in the future.

The coding of the website was something I knew would take me a fair amount of time due to my lack of confidence with code. The trickier parts which Dominic helped me with (see methodologies) went to plan and together we had four organised meetings over a 3 weeks period which we all productive and worthwhile. I had chosen to do an artistic piece because it meant I could utilise my creative strengths and manage a lower level of code. I feel that my coding skills have improved dramatically however it did take even longer than I anticipated – especially with the reworking from a linear click through to a 3D gallery scroller.

Overall I feel like this project had a lot of concerns from start to finish but a majority of them was because of my own lack of confidence. It is frustrating that now at the end of the project that I feel I have reached a peak of knowledge and experience and could go on to now completely smash another project under the same brief, so although I had a lot of short comings I feel in the long run I have proved that I can overcome them, I am committed and persistent and will do everything I can in my power to reach an end result.

MAJOR PERSONAL ACHIEVEMENT *round of applause please*

In a time as stressful as this, it’s important to emphasize the small things in life.

After working really hard in trying to develop my personal skills in terms of HTML, CSS, PHP and Java I have managed to code a mobile responsive website template complete with drop down navigation bars and everything. Okay Okay so I am aware of how simple this sounds but for me its a huge achievment and means I can get underway with coding the website portfolio to host my mini series of “The Hashtag Life”.

Last week I have been in talks with fellow course member and Leeroy, as well as a post grad student from Plymouth Uni, Chris, who have led me on the way to coding my Twitter in real life installations where tweets are read allowed after the user searches for whatever term they like.


Reiteration of the project idea:

For my graduate project, The Hashtag Life, I am creating an interactive online portfolio of digital art. The projects aim is to make the users/audience question their own usage of social media and the impact it is having in terms of real life interaction. For a small section of the portfolio I am looking for somebody to help me code a “Twitter in real life” experience. I basically want users to be able to search for a hashtag word and for the most recent tweets to be played back to them via spoken sound as if the tweets were being spoken allowed. This is to show how bizarre tweets would sound if they were actually spoken in day to day conversation.

I think I need to use the twitter API to store tweets in a MySQL database, then build a search so the users can search words. By capturing the results in an array in JavaScript or jquery and then pass the array of tweets from the search results through a text to speech API (all of which using Ajax to make it asynchronous)…. I hope this makes sense and there may be a better way to do it?

Addtionally, a webcam plugin where the the viewer is put in the experience…perhaps in a profile picture scenario…



Production Analysis: Methodologies

The dreaded Pitch Presentation…. 15 minutes of solid pressure to sell The Hashtag Life to my production tutors.

Here are the demonstrations videos that I used to portray the way in which THL is carried out and how the audience is required to have specific purposeful engagement.

I apologise the quality isn’t great and my voice over is massively whiney… The video is also a little slow in places.

What I learned from my presentation pitch was to include target audience responses in perhaps the form of a videoed interview recording peoples thoughts and ideas and how they think it will work in the real world. The target audience for THL is 20 something year olds and I know my tutors who I pitched too were definitely not 20 somethings (no offence meant).