Many people today feel as if video mashups are not a form of writing, because they do not involve words, and because they are not original. For the past few months I have had the experience of studying video mashups, and then through creating my own, I have learned that the very opposite is true: video mashups are a form of writing. In “Becoming Screen Literate” Kelly explains that “In fact, the habits of the mashup are borrowed from textual literacy. You cut and paste words on a page. You quote verbatim from an expert. You paraphrase a lovely expression. You add a layer of detail found elsewhere. You borrow one structure from one work to use as your own. You move frames around as if they were phrases.” When writing a research paper, you sit down, brainstorm and outline your ideas. You are then able to go into the library, search through thousands of books, find inspiration, and take exact words from books or articles by citing the author. Lastly, you are able to move these words around, add your own, and the form that you do this in determines the value of your research paper. This is much like the process we went through when creating our video mashup. I had to sit down, pick a topic and brainstorm ideas of what I wanted to include and what I wanted to accomplish. Next, I sat down for countless hours with my laptop, searching Youtube, and other sites for videos that would clearly help aid in getting my point across. Once I found all of the videos I then had to edit them, and organize them in a way that would get my message across in the best way possible. Through this process I found that creating a video mashup is so similar to my writing process that video mashups are without a doubt, a form of literacy (and I am sure all of my classmates who also spent countless hours and shed countless tears on this project would agree with me on this stance).
As for not being original, this should not be a reason that video mashups are not considered a form of writing. Today, there is nothing that is completely original because someone will always find inspiration and ideas from somewhere else. Ferguson argues that “Everything is a remix”. Video mashups are more than just a form of entertainment, they hold significant value and underneath it all, a complex meaning. Literature today incorporates all medias and cannot just be limited to writing with a number 2 pencil on a sheet of paper.
I looked at this project as if I were writing a paper, because all of the connections between mashups and writing are so evident. Therefore, every second of the mashup was like a word in a paper- I had to use each second deliberately and make each one count. I choose to do my video mashup on the income equality in the United States of America. The large economic gap is one of the largest problems that our country faces today. I find it most disturbing though, that the wealthy have turned their backs on the poor and pretend that there is nothing wrong with it. The first thing I decided to do to show the difference of the lifestyles of the rich and poor was to juxtapose the clips of the poor, with the clips of the rich, so that both were always on the viewer’s mind and there was a type of shock and awe at the difference. In the beginning, there is a clip of homeless on the street and I choose a transition that makes that clip slide to the side while a clip of wealthy flapper girls moves into view. I choose to do this so that the viewer is forced to look at the two side by side and realize that both are happening in this world simultaneously.
I applied intertextualism with my clip of Miss Piggy, because the viewer needs to know who Miss Piggy is and the role she played in “The Muppets” to understand that through her I am portraying the greed that is so prevalent in our society, as well as a sense of entitlement, self-centeredness, and consumerism. I think one of the best examples of juxtaposition I have is when I show the homeless in line at the soup kitchen for possibly the only meal they will have that day, and then right after I show the vintage clip of the “ideal” family at home eating dinner. In this clip the family has a huge spread of different foods in front of them on the table and I purposely edited the video so the father would scoop the mashed potatoes onto his plate over and over again to show his greed and excess of food. . Montage is clear in 0:58 seconds when they are more than one scenes of the homeless to create a larger picture of the lack of empathy that the rich have for them and their conditions.
In my mashup, I include many semiotic theories from “This means this, This means that” by Sean Hall. I use metaphor (pg54) in my last clip when I have the nicely dressed lady, closing the big, elegant door. She represents the rich as a whole and how they are “shutting the door” on the poor by pretending that they do not exist and do not need any help. Another metaphor I created was in the use of my tumbleweed, which was meant to represent the poor, who are alone and discarded ,slowly rolling through life unnoticed. I experimented with fast vs slow (pg108) by making my clips of the rich much shorter and fast, representing the lifestyle they live vs my longer, slower clips of the poor. By making the clips of the poor slower and longer it makes the viewer concentrate on them and forces them to actually look at them, because many of us don’t. I used the theory of past, present and future (pg106) by using my vintage clips of the man shopping, and the family at dinner by showing that this issue is not a new one but just something that is becoming worse. There have always been the rich, and poor and the rich have always had an excess and found joy from material things. I also attempted to show the signifier in the cash register, which signifies money, whether it be the lack thereof or an excess of. The theory of subjectivity and objectivity (pg 78) is embedded throughout my video because it explores how we as a society perceive the poor, homeless, and the rich based on our morals, backgrounds, and experiences.
In the background of all my clips I choose the song “Royals” to play because it a song Lorde wrote about how she did not agree or feel like she fit in with the extravagant lifestyle of the rich and famous. I think it perfectly portrays the gap between the poor, and even average citizens, with those who have more money than they know what to do with.