Pharrell Williams has been having quite a lot of success this year with 2 appearances on very popular songs. His most recent project is the worlds longest music video. The song itself is only 4 minutes long but it plays on loop for a full 24 hours. The video itself is a combination of many different people dancing and lip syncing across Los Angeles throughout different times of the day.
Because 24 hours is a long time to commit to watching a music video, an interactive clock has been incorporated to allow the viewer to scan through the hours of the day. There is also a compressed 4 minute long version of the video. [link below]
The concept of the video is happiness. Pharrell Williams is trying to send the message to the viewers that we should all be happy (or at lease try) to be happy 24 hours of the day. Ok maybe that’s an exaggeration, but the point is that he is advocating for happiness. The upbeat tune of the song combined with the cheerful demeanor of the dancers makes for an over-all uplifting experience.
I personally really enjoy the interactive clock aspect to the whole project. Granted, without it the video would probably not be quite as successful due to the fact that barely anyone is going to sit down for 24 hours straight to get through the video. The over all style of the video is very visually pleasing. I was able to just escape the world for a few minutes and let the happy music take over my brain.
Watch Pharrell’s Happy here:
I’ve recently discovered the wonders of Songza. For those of you who don’t know or use Songza, what it is is essentially an online music database. There are pre-mixed playlists for almost any mood or situation. The home page is categorized based on the time of day that you visit. For example, if you go onto Songza early in the morning it may suggest a playlist titled “Enjoying your morning coffee” or if you go on Songza on a Saturday night it might suggest a playlist called “Getting ready for a party” etc…
This website, among others like it, is a great way for people to discover new music. I find a lot of new music on here. Depending on the playlist, this website also brings me back to songs that I hadn’t heard in a long time.
It may not be telling a narrative story, but the level of user-based interaction is interesting to me. I find that the website is very user oriented and created to revolve around it’s audience’s needs.
Somehow the playlists are perfectly constructed based on the title and the brief description given. Whenever one song ends and a new begins i find myself thinking “wow, yup that fit’s perfectly.”
I have experienced a few other playlist websites similar to this but none have come this close to perfecting the art of musical moods. When I can’t think of a specific song or artist to listen to, Songza knows what I need.
I find it quite odd how similar Jeff Harris’ project is to that of Charles Trippy. Jeff Harris is a photographer who set out to take one photograph of himself or what he does everyday. His project started in 2007 and continued all the way until 2011. He never missed a day. As the days, months and years progress we, as an audience can see the treatment of the photographs becoming more intricate. I for one have noticed that the photos start off quite simple and as time progresses I find the photos to be more captivating and they appear to be more thought out. Throughout Jeff’s project, he discovered that he had cancer. After this discovery, he takes us through his journey in various photographs of him at the doctors, going through treatment etc…
Charles Trippy has been vlogging himself consecutively for over 5 years now and has just recently been diagnosed with brain cancer. In Charles’ case, vlogs are more personal and they give his audience a more in depth feel for what is going on in his life. None the less, these two situations are very similar. Two people who set out on a project to challenge themselves and document their, seemingly average, lives, end up battling a terrifying disease.
These two men inspire me as a photographer and a film maker. I would one day like to challenge myself to something similar. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am very passionate about the idea of documenting life. One day, I would like to embark on a daily photo or video challenge and see how long I can keep it up.
I’ve never been one who enjoys video games, especially not first person shooters. I’ve never been able to properly control the subjects and my attention span for that sort of thing just doesn’t exist. A person I knew last year introduced me to Portal. My initial thoughts on the game, prior to having played it was that I thought it would be boring and complicated just like all of the other video games that I had experienced. Instead of actually playing, I watched this person play for a while and as they progressed into the game it became more and more interesting to me. I found myself engaging in the tasks and trying to solve the puzzle that is each level. What I love about this game is the fact that the protagonist does not shoot at bad guys in order to beat the game, the game revolves around using the portals to out wit the bad guys, avoid obstacles or redirect things that could be harmful to you. Another thing that fascinates me about the game is the fact that you (as a player) only has one option for a “weapon”, that weapon being your portal gun. Rather than having many different guns available at your fingertips, your only option is a gun that allows you to create portals. This non violent way of defeating a game is refreshing and incredibly different in comparison to the majority of video games today. The intellectual aspect of the game is what captured and held my attention. Rather than figuring out the best way to kill someone, you need to solve the puzzle that is each level.
Since I’ve started writing these blog entries I’ve thought a lot about the various ways that we tell stories digitally now-a-days. Looking back on my blog, Ive come to really appreciate all of the different options that we have to tell stories. The internet is amazing in itself because anyone is able to tell and share any story that they want, regardless of quality and even content.
What I never realized is the fact that, in writing these blogs, I myself am taking part in digital story telling. I’m telling my story in small blog entries every week. In writing about digital story telling, I am taking part in it myself. I enjoy having the liberty to write about what I feel is important or interesting. Having that freedom of expression really encourages me to keep up with my blog entries. Having a text based blog is a new experience to be. Prior to a text blog, I had only experienced Tumblr, a blog that (in my case) only really consists of photographs and short blurbs. I have two tumblr blogs, one that I use primarily to reblog photographs that I find to be particularly captivating and beautiful, the other is a personal blog where I post blurbs about my life, photographs that mean something to me, both personal and from other sources.
This course has opened my eyes to the different possibilities of digital story telling. Prior to this course, I really only thought of digital stories as digital videos or photographs online that relay a story. Now that I’ve experienced this course I’ve learned that we can share and tell stories in so many different ways, ways that even engage the viewer and allow them to effect the story and the way that it unfolds.
I’ve talked about how YouTube is important to me as a creator but I’ve never talked about it’s importance to me as a viewer. I believe that is because it never really dawned on me just how much I appreciate YouTube until recently.
The reason that I make YouTube videos and the reason that I’m studying what I am is because of the CTFxC. Charles Trippy and his wife Alli have been documenting their lives for the past 5 years…straight. They recently announced that Charles has a small but malignant tumor in his brain. It wasn’t until I heard this news that I realized how much of an impact these two complete strangers have had on my life and how I feel such a strong connection to them. It may seem weird to some people, watching a couple play with their dogs, get groceries and swim in their pool but over the years it’s become so much more than that. I’ve watched their lives evolve; from their engagement to their wedding, they’ve shared it all. By sharing their lives with millions of people they have managed to build a strong connection with viewers all over the world.
The content doesn’t always have to be exhilarating day in and day out because it’s real and that’s what I love. This brings new meaning to reality “television”. They don’t need scripted drama to make sure the audience comes back for more. Now that they are going through something truly horrifying, they not only have the support of their families but also the support of these millions of viewers who have grown to love them.
I’ve never been one to enjoy video games or interactive media. I do not have the attention span or interest in such things. In my opinion, interactive videos and websites that borrow from the video game format/template are basically the same thing and therefore have never caught my attention. I’d much rather sit back and relax as the story unfolds as a posed to being a part of it myself.
Today in class we were told to take a pre-existing tv-show and come up with a way for the audience to have agency. My group and I decided on Modern Family. Our idea was that each character would have their own Twitter account and their tweets would be incorporated into the episodes we watch on TV. We would watch them tweet in the episode as well as read their tweet on our timeline. Hashtags would play an important roll in determining the way that the story unfolds. For example, Claire and Phil often make bets with one another. On TV we would see them tweeting about their bet and it is up to the audience to tweet back with hashtags. Whichever side of the argument has more hastags would determine who wins the bet.
Although I personally do not think that I would enjoy this, the idea that my group and I came up with was quite interesting. For those who enjoy the interactive aspect, I think it would be quite the hit.
Some of the actors have their own personal twitter accounts and the Modern Family itself has a twitter account, which bring the audience closer to the show but not quite on the level of interaction…yet.
With TIFF recently coming to an end I thought that I’d talk a bit about the way that story telling and even film making is evolving. Sadly, I was unable to attend TIFF this year but I was fortunate enough to have been introduced to one of the short films that was playing called Noah. This film is unlike any other that I’ve seen. It guides the audience through Noah’s breakup and how it all unfolds over the internet. What really makes this film different is the fact that it is all recorded straight from the computer screen. The only actors that physically appear in the film are Noah and his girlfriend when they talk over Skype.
What I found to be particularly fascinating about this video is the fact that I myself, and I’m sure many other people my age, are able to relate to the things that Noah does. For example, when Noah suspects that there is someone else in his girlfriend’s life, he endlessly creeps his Facebook knowing that it will not provide him with any more information about the situation.
Although I do not believe that this method of story telling would work for a feature length film, I do however find it very interesting because of the fact that so many people of this generation are able to relate to it. I also find it quite refreshing to see such a unique way of telling a story. Although using a computer screen to tell a story is unique, the computer screen itself is something that we see nearly every day, so seeing it in a different light is quite captivating.
Stories Without Words
What’s beautiful about art is that it can take on any shape or form imaginable. In my opinion, one of the most beautiful arts forms is dance. I, for one, am not a dancer. I have never been able to move in such ways, however, I have always admired those who can. Dance; whether it’s contemporary, ballet, jazz or hi-hop, is a personal expression, it is an extension of the dancers (or choreographers) way of communicating.
I have recently developed an interest in concept videos. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, a concept video is a video that was shot to showcase the full potential of a choreographers dance/idea. In videos like these, props, editing costumes and makeup are all used in order to help the story of the dance come to life. The best way that I would describe a concept video is similar to a music video but instead of focusing on the music, a concept video showcases the dance and/or choreography.
What I really love about these videos is that they enhance to the story. Commonly, dance videos are shot at competitions or in the studio. In a concept video the music, movements and camera angels all come together in such a way that enhances the story behind the dance. I find it beautiful when different art forms compliment one another to create one mesmerizing masterpiece.
One of the most beautiful and empowering concept videos that I have ever seen was done by choreographer Keone Madrid to a song called Superman by Robin Thicke.