Problems

Future Improvements/Developments

Overall I think the idea has a whole has a lot of scope. The blurring of online and offline worlds is something that can be visualised and interpreted in many different ways, and although I feel as if I did not necessarily do the best job if displaying it, I feel that had  I been given the opportunity to take on this idea and develop another project, I have the research, the technical knowledge and the experience to do it much better. Instead of getting too hung up on making a “product” I needed to relax more and let the product grow organically  because this piece is a one time watch entertainment piece that aims to just leave a lasting impression on the subject in hand as opposed to a game you continue to play. For future projects I would have more video, more imagery, more sounds and more interactivity. I would have them all overlapping each other and still use the idea of 3D click through as opposed to linear structure, just because I feel that conceptually this has such strong representation values. I would involve more interactivity by making it more live. For example I would have loved to have a live google map, where you could click anywhere on the map and all the Instagram images with the hash tag of that place would pop up, or all the youtube video that have been filmed in that location would or all the tweets that had been geotagged would pop up….. This is all down to my lack of coding knowledge and I now wish I had found a collaborator sooner to help me out with it sooner because it is definitely possible had we had more time and had other people not been too overwhelmed with their own work load. Although I have said throughout that there needed to be a control element that would almost spell out the point to users, if I did this again I feel that more content and more craziness and more confusion would mean it would not require explanation and the creative brilliance would evolve into something great all by itself – because lets be honest sometimes things just don’t have to make sense, especially in an abstract creative perspective.

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.

Interactivity Code Elements: Problems

Cross Browser Compatibility. 

This was my problem. It is so easy to get stuck in your own world and your own laptop and forget that not everyone uses the same things as you do.

To overcome problems faced, which was both installations failing to work in Safari we had to change our plan of action.

For the Twitter speaking page, we used a plugin called myspeak.js.  The reasons we used this plug in was because it is a universal platform using only Javascript, which meant it did not require detecting the user agent and would have cross browser compatibility.

For the webcam plugin we were initially using a Javascript only plugin, however this did not allow for the webcam function to be loaded in Safari. To overcome this we instead used a Flash plugin that once set up was much simpler to use and didn’t alter the overall look or feel of the plugin. The “allow” or “deny” pop up was not something I had anticipated and did ruin the element of surprise that I wanted to add the piece. However sometimes these things just cannot be helped. I think for the viewers pieces of mind and privacy it is very relevant and additionally a disclaimer must be somewhere to ensure they are not worried than the footage is being recorded or stored anywhere!!

Concept Development: Don’t panic. Just do not panic. *

Okay. So things are looking a little terrifying right now and my writers block is still firmly cemented in place.

My concerns from the very beginning of this project have really come to a head, in that:

1.) To successfully pull off an interlinked story with so many characters in the medium I want, there needs to be a script so detailed that it would blow peoples mind. I don’t have time for that, and if your going to do these things properly they have to be done right.

2.) Importantly, running something live will be exceptionally difficult to record and hand in for the assessment brief, and won’t really have much to say at the exhibition.

3.) Generating the content for a story once done would be great if we had participating actors and actresses… like most things in uni – everyone is eager and over enthusiastic at the start of the year… but bring on the looming deadlines and felling of impending doom with everybody buried in their own work – people aren’t quite so quick to volunteer their time. This is completely understandable and something I had accounted for but means a plan of action needs to happen and needs to happen ASAP!

Change of direction 

Since meeting with my production tutor Liam, I have decided that instead of trying to write a story that expresses and utilises social media about a group of characters… instead I shall look at conceptualising the whole process of audience consumption of social media itself combining all the ideas I wanted to portray but instead creating a conceptual study and artistic installation for the exhibition. My concerns are that it would not meet the brief, however Liam has clarified that it does, and will stand alone as its own unique piece.

Its at times like these I ask myself why I struggle to commit to an idea – I have had this idea bouncing around my head for so long and done so much research and reading but when it comes to putting pen to paper, I struggle. This is something I need to note for future project work – Just commit and face the fears. Tell the world is great, make them believe in it as much as you do.

Read the next post for the mind map of conceptualisation ideas…

(Email to Mik and Simon clarifying the idea change with Liam)

Character Development

goodquoteBack to the original concept of my character Sophe “The Online Lurker” , somebody who views social networks but doesn’t post herself, really got me thinking. So far my time constraints and audience engagement has put me off following through with this idea, however I feel like it could still be possible. This quote got nearly 7500 likes on Instagram so is obviously something a lot of people relate too. I think from now I really need to develop the character of Sophe and tell her story as somebody who feels a bit overlooked in terms of the social circle of life.

Content Development: BE the Story*

Content generation that is engaging is a problem!!

Creating something that is enough to hold somebodies attention as well as incorporating interactivity and anonymity is very difficult!!

How about if people generated their own story?! Like the Arcade Fire Music Video  where the viewer is meant to visualise themselves within the story, and likewise with Take this Lollipop , it was people putting themselves in the story that had the effect and kept them engaged.

This blog by script writer and blogger, Declan Dineen, reflects my interest in potentially position real people’s story in some kind of unified story dependant on place, time…

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Additionally, I think augmented reality blurring with actually reality, by a story taking place within a known environment would hold audience attention. For example, if Bournemouth Uni was the setting, then BU students would be interested surely?

Ideas coming to mind:

– Crazes that go viral – how can I make a story go viral?

– How can I get people involved to share the story?

– Passing on a message/good deed/ section of the story? Almost like chinese whispers?

 

 

Audience Research: “Distracted: How hyper stimulation is making you smarter”

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In December 2013, Wired Magazine published this article  which summarise just how dependent people are becoming on technology, and how often they are checking it, browsing the internet and generally engaging with the technologies alongside everyday life. A point raised about the successes of interactive media really struck importance ….

“it triggers intermittent reinforcement, this well-known psychological mechanism by which whenever we’re presented by a system that irregularly rewards us, it’s really hard to pull ourselves away.”

In terms of getting an audience to engage with a story online – there must be some sort of “reward” ? I’m unsure what this could be… entertainment, educational, physical reward? hmm…

Content is Key

How am I going to single handed-ly create enough content for people to engage with?

With the project being live, and the need to strike whilst the iron is hot, the audience – once engaged with the story needs to be readily available in order to follow through with it , so they can enjoy the story at their own pace?! I’m so unsure about this now. I think a live story may have to change to be a package that can be altered and interacted with dependent of the user and how much they are willing to engage.