Have we mentioned how excited we are about the Girls Write Now Digital Remix project? We can’t wait to see how the GWN team takes written stories and reinvents them into videos, photos, and sound. One of the coolest parts? The GWN remixers are remixing Figmenter work! We announced the finalists last week, and now we’re ready to present the winners whose stories will be reimagined and remixed by Girls Write Now. Though they originally planned on remixing three stories, there were so many fantastic options that the GWN gang decided to focus on four instead. The following stories will be remixed throughout the spring at workshops–nicknamed dorkShops by the GWN team (adorbs)–that will take place at Parsons The New School for Design.
At each workshop, the remixers will learn how to use new digital media platforms to turn the winning Figment stories, and their own work, into reinvented, reimagined pieces, and we’ll be giving you a glimpse into each of the dorkShops.
First a little background on what this week’s featured remixers are into:
Mentee Chandra Hughes:
“Using Sony Vegas Pro, I mix radio plays and fandubs, create amvs and openings, add visual elements to writing and that’s my world!”
Mentor Claudia Parsons:
“Email rules my life, hundreds every day. I’m a journalist who tweets and blogs occasionally and dreams of writing something creative.”
Talking about Remixing:
“I was quite interested in editing film for something that wasn’t an animated cartoon. Since all the editing I’ve done involves anime, it was a new experience to film something else. I have to say, standing in the freezing cold was no fun, but getting the clips into iMovie and editing them was awesome. I think, when I have time, I may start taking pictures of nature instead of staying home all day editing with my program Sony Vegas.
The greatest challenge for me was holding the camera still. I was shivering, so some of my footage was really messy. Besides that, it went pretty well because I’ve done editing before. I think the hands-on experience, in terms of filming and taking pictures, went well. However, I feel like there could be an improvement with the editing–I feel like I didn’t have enough time to really edit anything.”
“Our first digital dorkShop is coming to an end, far too quickly. We’ve barely scratched the surface but already I can tell there is a lot to learn and it’s a lot easier to get started than I had imagined. It seems like the software does everything that used to take hours or days or even weeks.
The first clip we saw today was a stop-motion animation filmed entirely on a Nokia smartphone. Of course, the director had the talent to come up with the idea and draw or build the animation, but it still shows what anybody can do. We watched a couple more examples of short films to give us ideas about what is possible.
Chandra and I chose a poem called “If These Wings Could Fly,” by Catch Me, a Figment member. This appealed to me because it’s got a lot of emotion as well as visual potential. My mentee Chandra and I decided to both remix this poem and use the same one for all three workshops.
We went to Washington Square Park on a very cold day. The first thing we noticed is it’s hard to film birds as they don’t cooperate. I ended up taking a lot of still pix of trees–the branches make dramatic shapes in the sky on a grey day. My favorite shots are the ones where you can see the birds. Of course the battery died on my camera too soon, I forgot to charge it the day before, so I ended up just using a blackberry camera which did okay.
I tried filming a girl sitting on a bench looking up at the trees–one of the Girls Write Now alums kindly agreed to play the starring role. Since I don’t do video much, I made the rookie mistake of holding the camera in portrait (i.e. vertical) format, so when I transferred it to the computer it was sideways. Fortunately iMovie lets you rotate it, but it doesn’t fill the frame so it’s not great. I’ll try to avoid that mistake next time.
The editing process was fun, and fairly intuitive. The basics are pretty easy to pick up, though there are clearly lots of little tricks and effects that take a while to learn. We didn’t get around to adding audio tracks either–I haven’t decided whether there should be a voiceover of the poem or if the text would work over the images. My video draft is very rough–I think I may cut the second video clip and just focus on the photographs. Also the pix are very grey and could do with a bit of work to bring up the contrast, but that’s not something I’m very good at either.
I’m looking forward to experimenting more with this technology.”
Want to learn more about the remixing experience? Visit the GWN Digital Remix blog.