Final Project Reflection
Having a project idea going into the course was a blessing. Some of my classmates might share the struggles of finding and/or choosing an idea, but this course gave a voice to worries about which I have kept silent.
Writing is my truest voice. It is also my memory. I have blogged for over five years now. For many years, I kept a journal. In the years I did not write, everything become muddled. Writing for this course project clarified my worries and my desires for communicating my love for my children. Through the course process, the framework for my message was developed—the concept of two questions that merge into one. Themes to build my message around also emerged—parent/child relationship, abandonment, forgiveness, making mistakes/making choices and fears.
The writing of the script informed the selection of images and videos. I had originally thought about doing an animation or storytelling in character, but the script that emerged dictated a more straightforward, personal imagery.
With writing roughed out and images/video chosen, I needed to select a soundtrack.
To give more of my voice, my point-of-view, to the video, I opted to use a recording of me singing a song my youngest often requested at bedtime. To achieve that fair balance parents strive for, I also chose a song written and performed by my oldest and a band he was in. The video is composed of very personal connections, which I feel gives it an even stronger Voice.
All of the elements ready for creation, I had to choose the software for production. I experimented with various apps on my iPad. Videoshop was my favorite, but it was still limited given the course expectations. I also looked at YouTube’s videomanager, which I had used a few years before. It was easy to use but did not have all the bells and whistles other software offered. If I had more video editing experience, I would probably have stuck with it. Ultimately, I chose to buy iMovie for my Mac.
It took more time than I thought to understand the workings of the iMovie software, and I still don’t fully understand every element. However, it offered some lovely creative options, like a comic book theme to frame my images. I did go back to the iPad and use iRecorder to do the narration. Using that, I was able to open it in iTunes, which is accessible in iMovie.
The greatest struggle in the whole process was accessing the internet over the holiday break. I was in a rural location where even the nearby (20 minutes away) McDonald’s internet was spotty. My brother kindly loaned me his hotspot, buy I burned through 75% of the MB limit in the first day. This learning experience made it clear to me that preparing all the materials needed for video creation (images, mp4’s, video, etc.) and having them on the working computer was a much better option than trying to access them while creating. In other words, plan and pack everything digitally before you travel.
One of the great benefits of the online course is the feedback availability from classmates. Not only were comments encouraging and insightful, but they were available for review when needed. Several of the choices I made in the design of my video came from comments in feedback on my project or on classmates’ projects. It also helps to know others are struggling with some of the same issues in the process. We were fortunate to have several experienced creators in the course.
Two subjects within the course that informed the project yet also stood apart are the Creative Rights lecture and the Seven Elements of Digital Storytelling. The Creative Rights information was fascinating and intimidating. I actually feel like our projects are part of the Fair Use and Creative Commons history in progress. I wish I had tackled this in process, instead of tracking everything down in the last week. Again, the benefit of using primarily personal artifacts is attributions are much simpler. The focus on the Seven Elements really helped keep my project on topic. The questions about video creation that it introduced, although similar to written storytelling, helped keep my focus on the end product, a video.
In all, the course and the project were very satisfying. I feel I have gained skills and insight in writing and storytelling. Thank you, to all my classmates and Professor Carter, for a wonderful digital journey.