The Reflection

So now that DS106 is over, I couldn’t help but notice that I’ve pretty much rallied a lot of my friends into taking this class next semester. Whether it’s with Professor Groom, or another Digital Storytelling professor, I thought it was one of the best ways to express our creativity. I’ve never had this much fun in a class setting before and I thought that a lot of the assignments didn’t have the same bland, torturous feel- unlike some of my labs due for my Fluvial class.

I was first hesitant to take this class because of the work load, but what hooked me was the fact that the work had to do more with creativity than reading and regurgitating information from powerpoint lectures. ┬áBut I’m already a Junior, and so far here at UMW I have never taken a class that I truly wanted to take just because it sounded interesting (and wasn’t a requirement for my major). Speaking for myself, I thought that the work load in this class was a lot to handle. With the exception of the Dailyshoot Assignment, the assignments generally took 2-3 hours depending on the quality of the work I wanted to post. There was a lot of creative pressure that I’ve never had in a class before, and the most difficult part of this was that I never knew how many hours I should set aside to do these assignments. But the creative pressure was definitely new and exciting. Some of the assignments was that sometimes it was a lot to take in at once. We would have an assignment due and then immediately move on-to a new creative project and was a lot to handle.

When I first came to Professor Groom with my Audio Mash-Up Assignment, I was under the false impression that audio mash-ups were going to be as fun as the audio story that we did as an in-class assignment but I was definitely wrong. I had never used Audacity before this class and it took me quite a while to finally understand the cutting of song clips, how to layer, how to utilize the effects, etc. Although the Lady Gaga Mash-Up was a hit, not all of the other song ideas came together as well as I would have liked it to. For instance, one of my goals was to mix two songs of different tempos. I arranged Ingrid Michaelson’s Parachute and B.o.B.’s Magic. I had the two songs in my head because I thought it had similar tempo qualities that I thought could go together. But similar to my other audio mash-up attempts, I don’t have the technology for being able to extract simply the vocals or melodies out of a song, so my only chance of getting the song clips that I needed was by searching through youtube- no such luck. It was frustrating to have these great ideas for mash-ups and in the end not being able to continue with it because I just didn’t have the proper tools (at least, with my budget) that I could have had.

So about half-way through the semester, I had the idea to just post about mash-ups that have already existed through other artists and DJ’s that I’ve listened to, and just comment on their work; such as the layering, use of vocals, melodies, etc. A few weeks into it and I had realized that my project, as well as some of my assignment posts, were only being saved into drafts and not up on my blog so it didn’t develop into the project that I had hoped for it to be. And had I known that a lot of the assignments for the class itself was going to require a lot of time/mash-ups as well, I probably wouldn’t have chosen an audio mash-up for my final project.

So here is my last post about my project: I watched a documentary on the problems with mash-ups and issues involving copyrights and who, if any, should be prosecuted for “stealing” songs. I had watched on Rip! A Remix Manifesto about Girl Talk– an artist who’s known for making some really amazing audio mash-ups averaging 20 song samples per song. In the documentary, 4 arguments are made: 1) Culture always builds on the past. 2) Past always builds on the future. 3) Our future is becoming less free. 4) To build free societies, you must limit the control of the past. The documentary builds on the history of how ideas started becoming business driven and how our society is getting punished for building on culture from the past. I think that copyrights shouldn’t apply for mash-ups because it’s not taking the entire idea (a song) melody, lyrics, and all and re-selling it as his/her own, it’s simply a marriage of different ideas which is still a new creative idea. There are only so many notes on a piano, or beat patterns that can exist before everyone starts suing for “copying a song”.

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