ASSESSMENT TASK 2: SELECTED POSTS

Narrative Writing

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This blog talks about my background in writing how it has developed.

Initial Narrative Project

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The blog is about my initial narrative project idea, concept, technique and how it interacts with the audience.

Feasible and Infeasible

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The blog talks about my major changes in the concept. The reason why I change to the whole new concept.

Engage with Audience

The blog addresses the issue of engaging the audience with the whole new concept. Some several strategies have been pointed out.

Project Change Concerns

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I talked about my concerns and difficulty to work on with the new

EPOC

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I talked about my EPOC in the last assessment, what I would do in order to best simulate my project.

EPOC

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Since my project has changed to the new concept and also total new content, so the whole new EPOC will be totally different.

A demo of the website will be set up. The demo will show the features as well as how the information search tool on the website will be like. The demo will include a detailed template with full graphics of the three-page examples of the diary. Through this, the viewer will know how the design and information of the diary pages are presented.

The diary page will be compiled in English language and has a handwriting. The layout of the page has an old yellowing color, this will remind the viewers of the fact that Tram’s diaries have existed for more than 49 years. The place mentioned in Tram’s diary will be illustrated by the actual image at that time. In addition, the viewer can also see how the place has changed at the present time. Relevant facts and information will be attached and some elements will be illustrated by black and white graphics with hand-drawn lines.

Overall, the amount of work for the demo is not that much. I will try my best to design the demo with detailed information and visual effects in the best way to express my wills and to illustrate my project in the most accurate depiction.

 

I declare that in submitting all work for this assessment I have read, understood and agree to the content and expectations of the assessment declaration.

Project Change Concerns

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To be honest, changing the whole project at the last minute brings me a lot of difficulties. I was wondering and thinking a lot about finding a new idea that was attractive and could preserve its feasibility at the same time. Although I did not have too much trouble in compiling content and finding relevant information, researching and analyzing two diary books accurately would take a lot of time and effort. In addition, website design is a big problem when I am merely learning the basics of writing code with HTML and CSS. To get an eye-catching and effective website, I will also have to seek the help of a website designer. This has made me consider about creating a new website by writing code, or using established website platforms like Wix.

A demo of this website will not take too much time, however, if the project is implemented then the compilation and design of 256 diary pages will be a huge amount of work.

However, my biggest concern is that my project is not entertained to easily attract others. Many historical events are quite delicate and sometimes bring out different perspectives, this leads to the fact that certain people will avoid talking about it. I am also thinking about whether the project will be selected in the final term and if fortunately it is selected, whether my classmates will be willing to participate. Although there will be a lot of difficulties ahead, I will do my best in my final assessment with my EPOC to attract my classmates as well as gather feedback from them and my teachers to complete and modify the project if needed.

 

I declare that in submitting all work for this assessment I have read, understood and agree to the content and expectations of the assessment declaration.

Engage with Audience

There are 181 thousand results with the keywords “Nhật ký Đặng Thuỳ Trâm” (Vietnamese) and 443 thousand with “Dang Thuy Tram’s Diary” on Google. These figures show that the public at home and abroad are very interested in this historical evidence. However, most of the results focus solely on diary content as well as analytical articles related to the historical events mentioned in the diary. The content of the diary has been public since 2008 and does not require copyright to publish.

Thus, an interactive website of the diary content along with images, locations, and related events will provide a full and completed knowledgeable source. The graphics style of the website will also attract the audience with categorized content to make it easier to find information. In addition, the audience can leave feedback and comment on each page. This will help to complement and finalize the information as well as a place for the audience to express their feelings.

As I mentioned in the previous post, this website will be linked to social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. The audience can share the web page on social networks to promote the interactive processes. The Facebook page will also be set up to update related information with the #thediaries #dangthuytram hashtags.

 

I declare that in submitting all work for this assessment I have read, understood and agree to the content and expectations of the assessment declaration.

Feasible and Infeasible

Although I put a lot of expectations on the first project, after receiving feedback from teachers and classmates, I was very disappointed but also totally agree with the idea that my project is too hard to implement, and it is infeasible. This gave me a lot of concerns and consideration about whether to change the way a project is produced or start over, proposing a whole new project. I was quite desperate and in urgent to find a new idea. I spent days and days doing research and looking through all my previous assessments. Thanks to an “excellent” compliment of my documentary script in Story, Medium, and Genre course, I am finally able to pitch a totally new idea.


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The Diaries is an interactive website illustrating the content of the “wartime” dairies which were written by Dr. Dang Thuy Tram, a civilian doctor working for Northern Vietnam. Frederic Whitehurst, an American veteran had brought the diaries to America when he finished his duty in Vietnam in the early 1970s. After 35 years being lost in America, this veteran came back and returned the dairies to Tram’s family. This event arose a great interest of national and international public opinion, especially Vietnamese and American veteran who survived from one of the most disastrous battlefields in human history.

 

Biography

Dr Dang Thuy Tram was a Vietnamese doctor, born in 1942, in Hue, Vietnam and she sacrificed in 1970, Duc Pho, Vietnam. Tram was born in an intellectual family. Her father was a surgeon, Dang Ngoc Khue; her mother was a pharmacist, Doan Ngoc Tram.

In 1966, Tram volunteered to work in the field as a battlefield surgeon for Northern Vietnam during the Vietnam War. During the wartime, Tram wrote two dairies, which chronicled the last two years of her life. At the age of 27, she was killed in disputed circumstances by US forces while traveling on a trail in Ba To jungle in Quang Ngai, Vietnam. Her diaries were kept and brought to America by Whitehurst. They were returned to her family 35 years after the Vietnam War ended.


Story World

Vietnam 1968 – 1970:

The year 1968 saw major developments in the Vietnam War. The military operations started with an attack on a US base by the Vietnam people army (NVA) and the Viet Cong, ending a truce declared by the Pope and agreed upon by all sides.

Although militarily the operation was a failure for the Vietnamese communists, for them it was a propaganda victory, as on the home front the American public was shocked by the images they were seeing on their televisions.

June 22, 1970, during a business trip from the mountains of Ba To to lowland, Dang Thuy Tram was ambushed by the American military. Her remains were buried by local people in the place of her sacrifice at the age of 27 in Duc Pho.

“The diaries” journey 1970 – 2005:

In response to a strong anti-war mandate, Nixon announced the effective end to US. Involvement in Vietnam in 1973. American veteran returned home, along with Viet Cong crossing border to US.

Tram’s diaries were brought to America by Whitehurst. A few years later, could not stand the obsession of what Vietnam War had brought, Whitehurst asked Greifzu to keep the diaries. 20 years later, Greifzu joined the effective translation and recognized the value of these particular relics, Greifzu decided to give them back to Whitehurst in 1996.

After nearly 10 years of ideological struggling, in 2005, Whitehurst returned Vietnam to give Tram’s mother the diaries.


Production design

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The diaries speak poignantly of Tram’s devotion to family and friends, the horrors of war, her yearning for her high school sweetheart, and her struggle to prove her loyalty to her country. At times raw, at times lyrical and youthfully sentimental, her voice transcends cultures to speak of her dignity and compassion and of her challenges in the face of the war’s ceaseless fury.

The Dairies with 256 pages translated in English will be accompanied by information as well as events related to the war at that moment. By clicking on each page, all photos and information about the location on the map will be displayed. In addition, related events information and images will be displayed through motion graphics to enhance the visual of the web layout. The content of the two diaries will be screened and classified. The viewer can read the diary in chronological order or by category.

The audience can leave comments and feedbacks. All feelings, thoughts, and especially flashbacks, memories of the war are especially welcome to express.


Target audience and distribution plan

“The Diaries” aims at people who are interested in Vietnam War, especially Vietnamese and American veteran.

“The Diaries” Facebook page, which most popular social network site used in Vietnam will be created before launching the website to intrigue the audience. Hashtag #thediaries on Twitter will be linked with previous articles about how Whitehurst and Greifzu came to Vietnam to return Tram’s diaries.

 

I declare that in submitting all work for this assessment I have read, understood and agree to the content and expectations of the assessment declaration.

 

Initial Narrative Project

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My original project proposal is called Dream, within a Dream. It is the short film series using 360 degrees and Omni virtual technique.

360-degree videos, also known as immersive videos or spherical videos, are video recordings where a view in every direction is recorded at the same time, shot using an omnidirectional camera or a collection of cameras. During playback, the viewer has control of the viewing direction like a panorama. In advanced, the viewer can use Omni treadmill to enable natural movement in 360 degrees. The viewer can run around in virtual reality without risk of falling or colliding with people, walls and other objects that hurt.

Dream, within a Dream requires HD 360 degrees camera and the video format is MP4 or MKV with a resolution of 2:1 ratio at 7168×3584. The series will be published on YouTube with a duration of 5 minutes/episode. Its target audience ranges from 16 to 30 years old, who are young and interested in technology.

Its story world is in Cambridge, England, and Melbourne, Australia since its protagonist is Eric, an 18-year-old innocent boy from Cambridge, moving to Melbourne to study in University. Eric has the ability to create and control his dreams. Although Eric enjoys his own dream world, he has to face problems when the reality is too different from what is in his mind. Eric is an introvert and does not talk to people. He is boycotted because of his special accent from the East of England. Eric is described as “a freak nerd” and “daydreaming all time”. Eric has a crush on his classmate. Using his rare gift of creating dreams, he recreates the girl’s image with his dates though, in reality, he never dares to approach her. The confusion causes Eric trouble in distinguishing between reality and dream.

“Dream, within a Dream” brings the audience a new experience of “walking through” the film, as well as knowledge of human brain capacity.

 

I declare that in submitting all work for this assessment I have read, understood and agree to the content and expectations of the assessment declaration.

Narrative Writing

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I always have a passion for writing since childhood. My daily stories are mostly recorded in notebooks, and I keep this habit until now. Although I have been involved in a lot of media productions as well as producing TV Spot and Radio Spot and I also have good skills in using the camera and video software in post-production, I always want to be more involved in creating and writing content.

Because of this, I have spent most of my free time doing research and reading books about creative writing methods and skills. This has helped me maintain my interests as well as my assessments when I am most in charge of content design or script writing. When approaching the New Directions in Narrative, I would like to use this ability to propose a project with content that can attract the audiences.

In my point of view, we are impelled to write in the same way a musician or a skillful actor is urged to perform. If writing actually is my “day-job”, I will be willing to keep my interests as an inspiration to follow my career pathway. And I would be really worried if one day I lost my motivation and my story ideas were not ready to be formed.

To be honest, I love words. As I mentioned above, I consider them a hobby. I practice writing skills by keeping full of new vocabulary words so that I’m always learning new ones.

Before this semester began, I had a lot of hopes that I would be able to use my best skill to create and propose projects that not only impressed the teacher but also with my classmates. Through the knowledge I have learned on this subject, I have comprehended new knowledge in narrating a story. This subject not only helps me improve my skill but also inspires me to pursue a career in story writing and content creation.

 

I declare that in submitting all work for this assessment I have read, understood and agree to the content and expectations of the assessment declaration.

 

 

ASSESSMENT TASK 1: PITCH PEER FEEDBACK

 

 

‘As a student of Master of Media at RMIT, we take “New Direction in Narrative” in the 3rd semester. In this course, we have an opportunity to experience with various story structures enabled by digital and networked technologies. For the first assessment, the students had to present individual projects under 3 minutes and peer review other members in the group. Here is my feedback for my classmates.


NING ZHEXIONG (LYN): Multilinear Stories – Butterfly Effect Project

Lyn’s project is a fiction short film with several parallel storylines, but each of them relates strongly to each other. His story presents a tragic continuous sequence. Each character and action have a strong potential relation. The details of storyline impress me the most in which six parallel different situations occur at the same time but cause another.

This multilinear story film requires great skills of the scriptwriter and director where events are portrayed, for example, out of chronological order or in other ways where the narrative does not follow the direct causality pattern of the events featured, such as parallel distinctive plot lines, dream immersions or narrating another story inside the main plotline.

As Lyn mentioned, “some of the multilinear looks like an empty skeleton without the flesh, blood and soul”. And I believe his story is a multiple protagonist narrative where it does not focus on one main character but spreads out to various.

If this project is planned to produce, Lyn has to consider his complex storyline which requires too many characters involving in, as well as the difficult scenarios to be staged. For example, a big track block the way and a great firework on the sky are included in the story. This could be hard to produce when it requires safety license and production on a public road could even more difficult to get permission. I would suggest simplifying the story so that it becomes more feasible to work and avoids audience’s distraction when the story focuses a little bit more on each character. Theme, sprite and soul are important parts for director and scriptwriter to pay more attention when “some little object can cause a huge change in the world”


STELLA: Interactive Web – Bissu Project 

Stella started her presentation by an introduction of the Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation situation. I have to say that this was a really good way to get attention from the audience. Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation are always a sensitive topic to clash with religions, especially with Abrahamic religion.

She aims to produce a Documentary film with an interactive web and misc to illustrate Bissu, the Meta Gender Half-God of Bugis Tribe. The documentary focuses on the life of meta gender priests from an ancient religion in Indonesia who had been hunted and now struggle to fit into the modern way of living while facing discrimination and extinction. Current time, in Sulawesi, Indonesia, where Bissu lives with common people and tries to fit themselves into the modern way of life while facing the fact that they are on a brink of extinction. While most of the media products are stories of young people seeking to cross the barriers of society to speak out their true gender, Stella brings out this topic from a story of a priest, which makes her project deeper and more meaningful to the target audience she mentioned, such as people were born in the 80s or later, researcher, and NGOs.

The way to approach the target audience is also quite interesting. Stella plans to design an interactive web with a simple interface, use the colour code for different sections through the data bank. The audience can participate and interact through sharing and comment section to preserve the power of narration, branch stories with different characters, storyline, challenge, and different POV. The project uses traditional and modern marketing tools, including newspapers, magazines and social media.

The topic is brilliant and the way she approaches is really unique when Stella links the social sensitive issue with the stories that go way back. However, since the storyworld is in Sulawesi, Indonesia, Stella will find it difficult to shoot her project in the next semester if her project is selected, therefore I wonder the feasibility of Bissu Project. Moreover, producing religious-related media product is a really sensitive issue and the approach method should be carefully considered.

Producing religious-related communication products is a sensitive issue and the approach should be carefully considered. Stella needs to develop detailed scenarios and avoids misunderstandings about crisis and conflicts with other religions in the matter of gender barriers.


ANNETTE: Web Series – Africa’s A Continent, Not A Country Project

Annette proposed an informational, light humoured short web series aimed at debunking misconceptions that she and others have faced about Africa among the contemporary Melbourne, Australian public. She plans to create a series of short video interviews with Africans and Non-African participants that will be posted on a dedicated website in series form as well as social media. While other students proposed projects related to entertainment, I highly respect Annette’s educational project when her project is a great way to educate people about Africa continent and her country, Kenia.

The digital Narrative Platform is a good idea when participants are encouraged to submit their own relevant and pertinent media to the website. The decision to choose Wix to launch the website is also better than WordPress because of its better video template. Annette demonstrated her entire project among five steps from creating a website to refurbish campaign. Her prototype website looks really interesting with an image of the earth in the background with the title “Where is Africa?”.

The project collects data from doing interviews with the target audience from age of  18 to 35 years old, among the multicultural Melbournian men and women. Annette plans to implement her entire project in Melbourne, and it targets the right crowd.

If Annette’s project is selected, she will have to make a strong and detailed media campaign to encourage people to freely do the interviews as well as contribute data. However, a wide range topic will make it hard to sort out the information to avoid confusion. Nevertheless, this could be a really successful project while Melbourne is a multicultural city when the African community can contribute their own thoughts of living and studying here. This is also a meaningful and educational project which can provide knowledge and attract relevant organizations.


PRIYANKAR RAY (RIK): Web Series – Pass the Buck Project

Rik proposed a web series named Pass the Buck. The project has 4-5 episodes and ranges from 5 to 10 mins each. Rik mentioned his project as “the story was far too complicated with a theme of darkness and the audience participation was very little. However, I find this project really interactive since it allows the audience to write the continuous story. The participant will contribute either simple or detailed story as they want, Rik will choose the story he likes the most and produces while the author will be credited at the end.

Although the idea is very intrigued, I find it confusing when Rik did not mention the main plot. In case the audience takes too much control over the storyline without initial guidance, the informative dissemination and disorientation in the story might happen. This may affect the quality of the web content as well as the way it is produced will cause problems and difficulties for Rik.

I suggest Rik narrow it down on how to build the story line and propose a detailed guide for the participant to create good stories to avoid blandness or over-develop upon passing five episodes as originally planned.

However, the project has a high potential. If the project is selected, I believe there will be a lot of participants in writing and submitting the scripts since their name will be credited. Moreover, if the project succeeds and has certain followers, Rik should consider offering more option in different themes with different main plots.


NICK: 42 – Meaning of Life Project

First of all, I have to say that Nick’s project is very unique and abstract. I was so impressed that even I do not get the story of the world he creates, his abilities over what he presented were enough for me.

The abstract sounds along with the 3D world simulator using 360-degree technique attracted me the most among other’s projects. Perhaps I’m also a musician so I’m very excited when Nick recorded the sounds around and used it to create a multi-dimensional space. Not everybody has this kind of creativity and ability because I have not seen too many similar products so far.

As the name of the project, “Meaning of Life”, Nick wants to use natural sounds and multi-dimensional graphics to illustrate the relations so the audience can imagine its different meanings.

However, I’m wondering if Nick’s project is interactive since he did not mention if the audience can comment and leave feed back through his project. Also, I’m not aware of the platform and how he wants it to work. Nevertheless, since he said he had been working on this project over a year, I hope Nick’s project will be selected and I would love to join in to make it happen.

I declare that in submitting all work for this assessment I have read, understood and agree to the content and expectations of the assessment declaration

Reflection on Sound and Image

‘The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.’

Malcolm X


I started studying Master of Media at RMIT University three months ago. I have to say this is the most exciting experience ever. Three different courses at the first semester have left me not only valuable knowledge, but also one step closer to my career pathway. One of them is Sound and Image course, which turns me from a person who had no idea about filmmaking, to a student who now knows every basic step of being a filmmaker.

During the first days at school, I had so many difficulties from pre-production to post-production. Knowing how to operate professional camera was hard, using software to edit the footage was even harder. I used to be the one who could only come up with an idea in imagination, now I can work with those heavy filmmaking equipments from camera, sound recorder to lightning system. The course structure was designed so well. I learned from the basic knowledge of how many camera shots are there, how to perfectly focus on an object with camera lens circles, and how to organize a faultless frame with ‘the rule of thirds’.

I was so thankful that we had opportunities to advance our skills with our intensive days. We had various topics, from producing a movie scene to a documentary. It was hard but interesting. We learned to set up a plan for pre-production, get our hands on drawing storyboard, worked in team to decide which camera shots and angles most suited the scripts. We now figure out what it is like to manage the production and how to work in a team. Different roles in a film crew have different responsibilities. Lower self-esteem and support each other will always bring good results.

We now also know what Vox Pop is. We were struggling with our confidence when asking strangers to do the interview in front of camera. But it is no longer a problem. A refusal can never bring us down. This is not only an experience in producing documentary, but also a lesson for every person. Be patient and never stop trying.

However, the most compelling skill I learned from the course is editing. It was really hard and it took so much time to know every function of the editing software, especially Pro Premiere. Each tool has its own function. And when there were too many ‘terms’ to learn, I started being panic. I overcame by dropping at the suite when I had no class. Practicing is the only option to develop editing skills. Now I know a lot of short keys in Pro Premiere to save time, as well as how to polish my product with different video and audio effect tools.


Sound and Image course is almost ended. After three months I now acknowledge every step of filmmaking from pre to post production. I wish we could have more class for this course so we can advance our skills. Advancing editing skills is essential and I would never stop practicing to achieve my goal.

Color Grade

Colour Grade is the process of altering and enhancing the colour of a motion picture, video image and it is always my favourite part of editing a video. We use colour to describe objects, express emotion, and evoke a response. It is descriptive beyond what we see. Therefore, colour grade in post production is essential. Different colour grade will generate different themes and styles of the video.

originalThis is the screenshot of my project “The One”. We filmed the scene in a “not too sunny” day in Carlton Garden. However, this footage is a little bit too much exposure.


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For the 1st grade, I reduced the brightness to -20 and contrast by -0.4. The Three-Way Colour Corrector was used to change the “mood” for the video. The Shadows, Midtones and Highlights were adjust by the following image. The Master Saturation was also changed to 45 to fade the video. Now I have a red artistic look to create a vintage theme.

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colorgrade2For the 2nd grade, I kept using the Three-Way Colour Correction. I want to have a bold, dark and mystery look, therefore I decreased the brightness to -12, contrast by 3. I like how this function had the colour wheel for the Shadows, Midtones and Highlights. This one so far is my ideal tool in Colour Grading.


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With the final grade, I decided to bring a “hope” for my character by using bright,
colourfultheme. The RGB curve is quite easy to use. When I used the red and blue together, it made the clip more liveable. I feel I needed to get a better idea of what I wanted to do with this footage, but I enjoyed giving a try on RGB curve. screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-4-37-23-am


Colour is a fundamental element of design and visual storytelling, and Colour Grade is an indispensable element in post-production. This is a creative process where decisions are made to further enhance or establish a new visual tone to the project.