Girls Write Now Digital Remix: Spotlight on ChanTareya & Alissa

Follow along as we chat with Girls Write Now Remix Pair ChanTareya and Alissa to hear about their adventures mixing poetry with video and animation. This post is part of the 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 ChanTareya (who goes by TT): A senior in high school in New York City, ChanTareya will be attending Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia this fall. When asked to describe her digital self ChanTareya says, “I don’t do a lot of computer stuff other than typing on the computer 24/7. I love to take pictures and I enjoy playing virtual reality games.”

Meet GWN mentor AlissaAlissa lives and works in Brooklyn, NYC, and describes her digital self as, “Sharing prose excerpts, observations, and flash in a sleepy Tumblr community.”

See How They Remix

This spring ChanTareya and Alissa participated in a series of dorkShops–workshops on digital media–where GWN mentees and mentors got to mess around with different programs, like iMovie, After Effects, and Audacity, to digitally remix writing into multi-media pieces. ChanTareya and Alissa both remixed Alissa’s poem, “River Road,” and we asked them to tell us a bit about their remix process.

Why did you both pick Alissa’s poem, “River Road,” to remix?

Alissa: I chose this remix piece chiefly because I felt the poem was visual and would translate well to images and video. I liked the idea of being able to layer text on top of photographs and give a clear sense of what had inspired me to write the poem. TT and I went through a few pieces, but ultimately we both settled on River Road and thought it would be interesting to see how each of us would interpret the words and select the visuals.

TT: I remixed this poem because I found that Alissa’s words were relatable in such a way that even people who weren’t raised in the city of New York could connect to them. I chose to do “River Road” as a video interpretation because I felt that the imagery that Alissa used in her original poem would be best shown visually. It also enabled the viewer to take a look inside of Alissa’s hometown, or how I interpreted her hometown to look like as an outsider looking in.

What was the process of turning a poem into a video like?

TT: The digital process of making this video was fun because we were able to get in touch with our surroundings–this being, New York–as we walked around and filmed and took pictures of things that best related or fit our interpretation of the poem.

Alissa: The editing process for me using i-Movie was much the same process I use while writing. I started to become nit-picky, analyzing over each angle. It also took a long time to determine which image would include different sections of the poem. There are certainly things I still see now that I would like to change, but I imagine this is true of any form of art!

From the Page to the Big Screen: This is the Remix

Alissa’s remix of her poem, “River Road“:

TT’s remix of the same poem is a work in progress, but tune in to our final Digital Remix post next week to see the finished video.

What did you learn from this process, as a writer?

TT: Because of this process my view on writing has changed–now I want to be more expressive and descriptive in the things I write. I also want to show people the world that I’m trying to create through imagery. If I had the right tools I would probably adapt Alissa’s poem about her hometown into a movie about a girl who wants to get out but sees the beauty of her neighborhood even when others don’t.

Alissa: I found the process to be fascinating, but also overwhelming at the same time. What I liked most is that the options are limitless. You start to think of your own work or someone else’s work in a completely different context. Suddenly there’s a whole new medium from which to derive inspiration and create work. I liked to manipulate and explore different facets of each program, trying to determine how to best convey a story through visuals and movement.

All in all, though often challenging, it was an incredibly rewarding experience. I feel as though this time I only got my feet wet. Maybe next time, I’ll be able to dive into the pool.

Be sure to check back next week for the final GWN Digital Remix post of the series where we’ll see the Remix mentees presenting their final remix projects! And we’ll also share the final drafts of all the remixed piece–so be sure to stay tuned if your piece was in the running to be remixed! You won’t want to miss this.

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