This is the first time I’ve ever completed an assignment like this. I’ve had no prior experience with putting together a mash-up or any sort of movie. I was scared, nervous, and stressed out, thinking how I was going to ever get this assignment completed.
I have a MacBook, so I was able to create my mash-up using iMovie. Honestly, I had no problems using iMovie. Getting started was a little bit confusing. At first, I was not sure how to do anything. With the help of Google and YouTube tutorials, I was able to figure out how to import movies, piece them together, make edits and cuts, add music, and put the credits at the end. iMovie made this assignment a little less stressful for me by creating the program easy to navigate through. In my opinion, iMovie is set up for beginners and accommodates those who aren’t used to using programs like this. When you import videos, the videos go to the bottom portion of the program. Each of the imported videos are stored in this portion. From there, I was able to drag the specific clips I wanted from videos to the top portion of iMovie, which is where the mash-up was pieced together. Clip editing was also a piece of cake too. If I wanted something shorter or longer I was able to drag it out or delete some of it. Also, I was indecisive at to which song I should use for my mash-up. I was concerned that if I removed a song, everything I worked on would get deleted. I switched it probably 5 times. iMovie automatically connected with my iTunes and I was able to drag each of my song choices to My Project, and simply delete it without messing up my mash-up.
The only thing that frustrated me throughout this assignment was the fact that I couldn’t upload my mash-up to the class YouTube channel. I tried everything, even changing the format of the video, and it still was giving me problems. I posted my first two drafts on twitter and my personal YouTube account. I will post my final draft on this blog, my twitter, and my YouTube account.
Initially, I was unsure how this mash-up assignment related to traditional writing. My thought was that using technology to create a mash-up video that conveys a message doesn’t help me become a better writer. However, this was before I finished. The mash-up assignment has everything to do with writing. When I write, I like to give a message to the reader. This assignment allowed me to do convey a message in a different and more creative way.
The process of putting this mash-up together relates to traditional writing in many different ways. First, most writers also utilizes a beginning process, which is what we did by creating a story board for our mash-ups. I think that relates to pre-writing. Second, no one writer gets a perfect piece on the first try. There are many different cuts, edits, omissions, additions, etc. that take place before finalizing a piece. I made so many changes to my mash-up right up to when I clicked the finalize button. Even when I was finished, I still felt like I could’ve made more changes. Writers even go through many drafts that go into creating the final piece. For this assignment, we were required to make two rough drafts before our final piece. Creating two rough drafts helped me realized what edits I needed to make.
The message of the mash-up is to focus on the influence today’s media has on body image. Girls and women in today’s society feel pressed to look like models and celebrity figures. Commercials, magazines, television, billboards, etc. all contribute to the way females view themselves. Females look at these people and believe that is what “perfect” looks like. They will strive to resemble the women they see, and will do anything it takes. Women will take drastic measures such as starving themselves and damaging the health of their body and mind in order to look like the women that are portrayed as “perfect” in today’s media.
Throughout my mash-up, I used semiotic theories that Sean Hall discussed in his book, This Means This, This Means That: A User’s Guide to Semiotics to convey the message I stated above. I also integrated a few techniques we learned about in class: intertextuality, montage, and juxtaposition.
Juxtaposition is two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect. This can be seen at 0:32-0:47, where I showed an old Pepsi commercial and two newer Pepsi commercials. The times in which each were aired are different, however, both used women with exceptional body figures such as Britney Spears and Beyonce. In the older commercial, the woman is seen walking and the camera zooms in on a man looking at her. I put a montage in at 1:46-1:49, showing different women looking in the mirror, not happy with the way they look. I decided to put a montage in this spot because the lyrics and music speed up. The montage lasts three seconds with 7 different clips that go with the pace of the beat at this point in the song. Intertextuality is the relationship between texts. Intertextuality is shown from 1:10-1:11 when a young girl is putting a smile she found in a magazine. She pretty much made her own “dream girl” out of magazine clippings. As she puts the smile on her “dream girl”, the lyrics of the soundtrack go, “ and when you smile, the whole world stops and stares for a while.” This could be taken two ways: something that the little girl is potentially saying to her “dream girl”, or someone else telling the little girl words of encouragement while she is struggling with her body image.
The semiotic theories that I used throughout the mash-up are metaphor, appearance and reality, ideal and real, denotation and connotation, and past, present, and future. Metaphor is seen in the mash-up multiple times when someone is seen looking through a microscope. This is a metaphor for how women feel like they are being looked at and critiqued under a microscope in order to look a certain way. The next theory, appearance and reality, is seen at 1:49, when there are two clips of women looking in the mirror at themselves. They are not happy with the appearance they see in the mirror, but in reality, they are starving themselves, and diminishing their bodies. Next, ideal and real is pretty much used throughout this whole mash-up. Women want bodies ideal that are portrayed by the media as being perfect. As for “the real”, half of the bodies we see in the media are photoshopped, or fixed in some sort of way. The fourth semiotic theory I used is denotation and connotation. This is seen twice when the girl in the woods is holding her ears and looking down. The denotation, the literal meaning, is a girl holding her ears. The connotation is that women feel very trapped and scrutinized to look a certain way. This girl is frustrated and wants it to stop. The last semiotic theory is the past, present, and future. I featured many vintage clips of runway shows and a commercial that show they used women with a desired body. I also showed numerous clips of today’s media that make women feel like they should look like the women in magazines, commercials, etc. As for the future, I’m hoping the media changes their ways of using women with ideal bodies. I want to see more campaigns that use normal, everyday women, that will make females today feel great and love themselves the way they are.
Overall, I definitely think achieved my goal of showing the how the media influences females in today’s society. With the use of juxtaposition, montage, intertextuality, as well as semiotic theories, I feel I conveyed my message to the audience in an appropriate and understanding way.