Creativity

Here is my take on John Cleese’s lecture on Creativity.

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Digital storytelling

Take This Lollipop

All I can is WOW! What a great cover up, using “Take This Lollipop” as the title to such a frightening and freaky story. I got myself a mini heart attack watching that alone in a dark room. All my friends reacted the same way I did (some worse) when I demanded that they spent a couple of minutes watching this.

Jason Zada‘s idea of this story was so fresh and unexpected, and it didn’t take a long time to sum itself up, so I guess the percentage of boring someone would be close to zilch. The appearance and expressions of the character was so ideal that every emotion I had was amplified. For some seconds, I honestly couldn’t differentiate the virtual world from reality. The choice of sound effects collaborated and merged into one scary masterpiece of a tune (and this was including I didn’t use earphones, even though it was highly recommended).

Weaknesses. Well, I have nothing on the technicalities of the film. I personally thought it was an amazing production! However, non-Facebook users would have to miss such a great experience, as it would only work if you have a Facebook account. On quite an unrelated note, I certainly wish I could have gotten a warning about the direction of the story. This is definitely not for the weak heart.

Nevertheless, everyone should watch it. If you don’t have a Facebook page, maybe it’s time you get one 🙂

Sound of My Voice

Sound of My Voice directed by Zal Batmanglij showed the first 12 minutes of the movie. This story didn’t catch my attention as much as Take This Lollipop did, and watching it after that definitely gave me a higher standard to compare to (so maybe I was left a bit biased). However, Sound of My Voice gave an eerie vibe, just like Take This Lollipop, but it was much longer in length. This 12-minute duration has its good and bad. The good thing is, I felt curious and anxious, and the suspense lasted way longer. The bad thing is I found myself time, in the midst of it, to feel a little bored and distracted because I kept expecting it to be shorter.

The story started off with a couple in a car being led to a house where they were both requested to change into uniformed clothing and then taken to some place blind-folded, with another two people. Then followed a complicated handshake, which seemed like the secret passcode to joining a mysterious group. At this point, I still had no idea what was going on. My mind was still running. Kidnap? Murder? Some religious cult? Well, I was wrong. I’m not going to spoil it, so you’d have to find out for yourself. The technical aspects of the film were deceiving. Everything was mostly white and bright, which made it not as eerie as it was at the end of the 12 minutes. I suppose that that was what Batmanglij was trying to achieve; clueless audience, confused minds.

Allowing the public to watch 12 minutes of the beginning, instead of the usual brief trailer, definitely helped to gain a wider audience. I felt it was significantly more engaging and it succeeded in convincing me to watch the whole movie. The video ended with an invite to share it to social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, which is now a commonly-used and effective marketing strategy.

Welcome to Pine Point

This digital story, put together by Michael Simons and Paul Shoebridge (collectively known as The Goggles), differed from the first two that I’ve watched in the sense that it was an interactive website including stills, moving images, sound and text instead of a video. The theme of the story was rather old school and it depicted the history of the former mining community of Pine Point. Going through the pages of the website was like going through a yearbook of my own. The text and sound effects actually gave me a wave of nostalgia that brought back heart-warming memories.

What I thought was great about the story was that it started off giving brief information of Pine Point from the perspective of one of its residents and then slowly offered more and more detail about individuals of Pine Point. This gradual transition gave a sense of individualisation that painted a clear picture of exactly how these people were like. These were are foreign and strangers to me, yet I could relate in the same way to the people who mean most to me.

I liked most of what the story had to offer. However, I did find reading the text quite tedious. It is always easier to absorb a story through the use of visuals instead of reading off a text. Another weakness would be the fact that they had narratives playing throughout some of the pages and text on the screen at the same time. The fact that I had two forms of media in front of me confused me a bit. I didn’t know if I should be listening to the narrative or reading the text first, or if I was supposed to be able to do them both at the same time.

Welcome to Pine Point demonstrates a brilliant and different way of presenting information through a fancy layout of moving and still images, sound and text. With a little bit more of organisation, I would have found it easier to understand.

Student Charter

I have made three significant changes to the student charter for Professional Communication. I’ve added these criterion based on my personal weaknesses and obstacles, yet painting a bigger picture for other Prof Comm students to relate to. My first claim, relating to discrimination, was sparked by how i felt since i first joined this course. Coming to a new country, as expected, i would have learned and gone through experiences that are vastly different from that of RMIT. This meant that to excel in my education, i would have to broaden my mind to accept new technicalities and forms of language that were new to me.

My second criteria relates to the importance of gaining insight and new ideas from peers through teamwork and group discussions. I’ve learned that having opinions from more people would spark new ideas and from those ideas, more brilliant and excellent work could be put together. The collaboration  of both internet database resources and original thoughts of others, for me, have achieved much more than i can on my own.

My third and final criteria is due to my poor time management. These two years of degree, i have come across many other students who face the same problem (trying to juggle work, studies, personal time and a much needed social life). It’s important to always have enough time allocated to complete work, as without it, people would usually produce work that lacks insight and originality. It’s important to know our priorities. Plus, it’s never a good thing losing sleep!

Experience in File Sharing

I’ve always been embarrassed of sharing anything that i’ve done, due to the lack of confidence in my own abilities and capabilities (maybe because there’s not much there to begin with). The requirement of sharing my insight on lectures and blogs to excel in this course wasn’t something i’ve done very well. However, i would have to admit that receiving likes and comments (whether good or bad) would drive and guide me to improve on my writing abilities. Criticisms are bound to come by. All i have to do, really, is to use them to produce better work.

Experience in Collaborative Editing

I have never been a fan or fond of working together with strangers as a team. I’ve always had the idea that working alone would be more efficient because i could leave out the unnecessary debates and compromises. However, working together would definitely trigger new ideas through the collision of smaller ideas from peers.For collaborative editing to work, it would be essential to have all team mates contribute an equal amount to prevent disputes and petty fights (which would waste valuable time) about who’s doing more work and who’s not putting in enough effort. I personally think it is difficult cooperating with people and thus important that there are no team mates who demands the final essay. 

Enchanted Ground 3: Locative Media

Just a short, random story:

I was sitting at my usual spot, taking long drags off my third cigarette in half an hour, after a stressful day in class. Finally, i had some time to myself to just chill and relax, take a breather. I looked around the all familiar surroundings of RMIT before spotting a girl, dressed fully in black, sitting at the steps of Building 9 looking rather upset. I was truly concerned as to why she looked so down, so I stubbed my cigarette out against the brick wall before approaching her. I invited myself to an empty spot beside her and asked her what was wrong. She didn’t say a word, leaned against my shoulder, and burst out into tears.

She was a stranger to me, but somehow, i felt i understood her. It was wrong to think i’ve been living some of the worst days. There are people who suffer more, and i should be more grateful.

She thanked me for the friendly gesture with a smile before we parted ways, like we’ve never met.

The revolutionary app phenomenon

We’re all familiar with the ‘app’ phenomenon only after the production and release of the first Apple iPhone, but do you know that one of the first apps were actually launched way back in 1998? However, because technology then lacked a device which could support these apps, they never really gained popularity until 2007 (along with the craze that accompanied that of the iPhone). Before today’s all-familiar Apple App Store, apps were initially only available through Safari. Apple only launched the App Store in 2008 to tackle developers, who created their very own unofficial App Store and third-party apps downloaded through what they called “Installer“.

Apple’s AppStore gradually grew and grew, reaching a total of about 500,000 apps available for download. Moreover, with Android phones and iPads joining the market, people have grown so dependent on it. Besides the entertaining action games and mind-boggling puzzles, there’s an app for almost anything! An app to wake you up, to monitor women’s menstrual cycles or pregnancy, to remind you of appointments and groceries to stock up on, to edit your photos and keep yourself updated on all social networking sites.

Being an iPhone user myself, i’m going to introduce (if you don’t already know) and recommend three of what i think are the most useful apps that i have come across:

1. Shazam

Ever encountered a situation where you walk into a club or just a random retail store and they’re playing a catchy tune which got you thinking “I need that on my playlist”, but you have no way to find out what song that is unless a) you walk up to the salesgirl/DJ and ask for its title or b) you quickly struggle to make out the lyrics of the song and search it on Google? Well, since Shazam, i have never had to feel like that again.

All you have to do is put your phone near the source of the music that you like, record about 20 seconds of it and then BAAM!, the title, artist, album and lyrics of the song is all yours, safely stored in the “Tags” category of the app. I guess this app would appeal to people who, like me, think “NO MUSIC, NO LIFE!”

2. Flipboard

Before hearing about Flipboard from a close friend of mine, i used to have to browse through a crazy number of apps a day just to keep myself updated on every social networking site, newspaper and magazine app. Now Flipboard is just amazing because it offers the integration of all these information into one platform. By “flipping” the board, i can access Facebook updates, tweets, daily news (even backdated ones), my favourite fashion magazines and daily horoscope updates either altogether in one, or by category. I know, it’s quite hard to understand my explanations but i guess a preview of the app will make it easier for you to understand.

With the convenience of having everything in one, the ease of just “flipping” with one finger to skip to the next page and the attractive and user-friendly layout, i think Flipboard is just amazing!

3. My Timetable

Now this is exclusively handy for students who like keep things organised and viewing their class timetables in a proper, practical and colourful format instead of just jotting it down on a piece of paper or saving it on their phones. Or maybe could cater to just anybody who keeps a routine, lacks time management or likes keeping their upcoming days or weeks organised. This app cost me $0.99 but i actually thought it was worth paying for. My Timetable allows you to keep an endless list of timetables and even have those emailed to you as an emergency backup. It might not appeal to the majority and people might find it ridiculous to pay for an app like this but among all other timetable apps that i have downloaded, i found this the easiest to adapt to and the least dull and boring to view from.

With the prevalence and the certain continuing development of apps like these, phones with the ability to support this technology have become a necessity to a lot of people around the world. I, myself, have become very dependent on my iPhone to not only manage my time and keep myself organised but also get me through the boring, time-consuming train rides with informational and fun apps. With more companies and organisations starting to involve themselves in this phenomenon with the creation of an app for themselves, the world would definitely be more connected and integrated that accessing official websites through web browsers wouldn’t be necessary anymore. How convenient! 🙂