This post is part of the ongoing GWN Digital Remix Portfolio series, which follows GWN mentees as they remix written work–their own, their peers’, or work submitted by our very own Figgies–and use images, animation, photographs, sound, and video to tell stories in a whole new way.
This week’s GWN Remixers
Meet GWN Mentee Idamaris: Idamaris resides in Manhattan, New York, in a building she describes as having “never ending drama and fun.” She enjoys all forms of writing, but prefers creative writing “especially poetry because it’s short and sweet”. Ida has a voracious appetite for books and loves to read. In addition to reading and writing she loves music, but does not “dig rock and country music”. She calls herself a “food addict” who “likes savoring almost every food except onions. Ugh . . . ” Her favorite authors are V.C Andrews, Paulo Coelho, R.L. Stine, and counting. About her digital self, Idamaris says, “I’m not tech savvy, but I sure am an enthusiastic tech girl. I’m a text addict, Wikispaces social justice writer, and an iPod Touch lover. I’m hooked on my Nook. Enjoy watching YouTube. In other ways, I’m like a baby robin bird still learning how to navigate through this vast world of technology.
Meet GWN Mentor Demetria: Demetria is a writer, wife and Detroit native. She loves to travel and admires pretty things. She describes her digital self as a “writer, prolific link putter-upper on FB, and queen of shameless plugs on Twitter.” When asked to describe her favorite place to read she says: “I don’t have a favorite place to read, I just love to read. If a place has good lighting and a comfy place to sit, I’m fine.” Her favorite authors are Toni Morrison, Pete Hamill, J. California Cooper, Octavia Butler, Charles Dickens, Junot Diaz.
See How They Remix
Over the past three months, Demetria and Ida participated in GWN Digital Remix dorkShops where they got to mess around with audio production, animation and video editing. Demetria remixed a piece of her writing into a stop motion animation, and Idamaris created an audio piece based on a piece of writing from Figment contributor Ami Chan. We asked them to share their process, thoughts and experience with us.
Demetria and Ida, can you tell us more about your pieces and why you chose them?
Demetria: My remix project is based on a handwritten piece I wrote during a mentee/mentor pair session with Ida. A lot of times, Ida and I will use prompts from a phone app I have called “Word Prompt.” One of the scenario prompts required using magic, a post office, a small town, bird cages, and a new car smell. In our 10-minute time limit, I wrote a little more than a page about a guy in a small town who wanted to be a magician but nobody believed in his dream and he was just ready to leave. When I did the remix, using iMovie and Audacity, I realized that the character I made up wanted to use magic to make his life better and easier. So in the remix, I thought about how magic would improve my life. As a freelance writer, my computer is a critical part of my existence. So I made a stop motion animation that shows my laptop literally eating my bills. That’s really what it does so I decided to make it more literal.
Idamaris: I chose to remix a piece by Figment member Ami Chan. I chose her poem “The Ideal Child . . . Not me” because I can relate to it, but in a slightly different way. Instead of being pressured by my parents, I spent a long time pressuring myself. In the beginning of high school I was convinced I had to be an overachiever in order to fulfill the expectations I set for myself. Now I realize that I was too critical. I was very hard on myself if things didn’t go my way or if I did something wrong. Just like Ami’s narrator had to let her lover go, I realized I also had to be less demanding of myself and let life take its course. I realized that I cannot control every experience or every aspect of my life. I learned to love who I am and what I do. Ami Chan’s “The Ideal Child . . . Not Me” inspired me, and I want to share that inspiration with others. I could not think of any better way to convey the sincerity and integrity of this poem than through audio and sound effects.
What was it like using digital tools to remix these written pieces?
Demetria: When I edit written work, I am only limited/impacted by my own thoughts and my ability to transfer what’s in my head into the “right” combination of words. With digital editing, I’m at the mercy of technology and therefore I’m also constricted by my technological abilities. It’s definitely a process! It’s amazing how accomplished one can feel after completing a video that’s less than a minute long. My grand ideas were definitely taken down a notch once I saw how much time it would take to execute them. I had to figure out ways to maximize my new skills and get across the concept as intended. When remixing, you have to find the right balance that works for you. If you are committed to executing a project in a certain way, you have to be willing to put in the time and effort to do it.
Ida: Ami’s poem had me enthralled because I can relate to the emotions and the ideals of the speaker in her poem. Since the poem has a mixture of emotion, stream of conscious, narration, and repetition, I thought using audio to remix it was the best choice. I decided to use my voice to narrate and convey the speaker’s story and emotion. First, I recorded myself using the Voice Memos Apps on my iPod and transferred it to Audacity, which is free audio editing software. Then I downloaded and retrieved some sound effects from cool websites like freesound.org and sounddogs.com. I added sound effects to bring some of the sounds in the poem to life and to convey the mood. For digital editing, you have to preplan a lot and have a clear vision of what you’re aiming to accomplish with the digital medium you’re using. I think the key ingredient is to be patient and also have someone to guide you through the digital editing process. Through this remix project, I learned how to appreciate the value of digital technology and how it can modify not only writing, but certain aspects of our lives.
This is the Remix
“Life With Magic” by Demetria:
“The Ideal Child . . . Not Me” by Ami Chan, Remix by Idamaris:
What are your future plans, now that you have these digital skills and experiences?
Demetria: I will definitely be using my newly acquired digital skills in the near future. In today’s media world, you have to be technologically savvy. If you can be a one-woman-band (create and edit your own audio, video, graphics, etc.), you’re golden.
Ida: I’m looking forward to polishing the other remix drafts I started in the GWN remix program and sharing them on GWNRemix.org!