Wild Animals in Captivity Reflection 1 & 2

Reflection 1:

I am a proud Apple user and Mac owner, and because of that I found this project to be fairly simple from a technological standpoint. I am familiar with iMovie, the video software that automatically comes on Mac computers, which helped me a lot. I have used it previously for fun and pleasure, and that only made this experience easier for me. From the time this project was assigned, I watched my classmate’s struggle trying to get familiar with the different video software’s that they had to download onto their computers that weren’t Macs, and I am extremely thankful that wasn’t me.

Creating this video mashup taught me a lot about organization and time management. I found it was easy to find videos that were about my topic, but the hardest part was putting them in a certain order so that it would convey a specific message. I thought it would be nearly impossible to create a video without words or text that would have a strong meaning, but I did it. The order in which I placed my different video clips is what allowed the viewer to interpret it the way that he or she did.

This experience relates to traditional writing for one main reason: the message the video mashup sends. Although there is no physical writing included in the mashup video besides the credits, the viewer creates their own understanding of it through watching. Writing has to do with expressing thoughts, and that is what my video mashup does.

Personally, I really liked this assignment. I loved working with the technology that is provided for me on my Mac. First, I liked the fact that I could convey whatever kind of message I wanted to about a certain topic, and I could do that by organizing various clips a certain way. Second, if I didn’t like a part of a clip I could cut it out and only use the part that I did like. Third, I think that the music I added had a huge effect on the overall video. I feel that the music I added went well with the video clips because of the lyrics and the beat of the song. Lastly, I am proud of my finished video mashup, and I like showing it to friends and family.

Although this project was highly stressful in the beginning, I am happy with the outcome. The hardest part for me was picking a topic that I am passionate about. I find it fascinating that I am capable of making a video mashup like this with barely any experience in the digital video field, but I feel that I did a worthy job with it. Like I said before, I believe that working on my Mac made this video mashup assignment a lot easier for me because it is so simple and self-explanatory, which is why I enjoyed creating it so much.

Reflection 2:

I chose to do my video mashup on a topic that I feel extremely passionate about: wild animals in captivity for performance purposes. After the movie “Blackfish” came out is when I realized I would never go to the circus or SeaWorld ever again. What these places do to the animals to get them to perform is inhumane, and my intention is to get viewers to realize this.

I used our class textbook, written by Sean Hall, This Means This, This Means That: A User’s Guide to Semiotics, in order to relate different semiotic theories to my video mashup. The theories I integrated were: metonym, ideal and real, contrast, appearance and reality, and gesture. I also integrated a few terms we learned in class: intertextualty, juxtaposition, and montage.

I used juxtaposition by showing the different animals in the wild versus being kept in captivity. There is a huge difference of what they do when they are in the two different locations.

I used montage by adding different clips from Blackfish and a variety of other clips that I found on the Internet. The video mashup itself is a montage.

I used intertextuality in my video mashup by showing animals in real life clips hurting their trainers, but also in cartoon clips. I feel that showing more than one situation about this behavior will help the viewer understand how common it is.

The first semiotic theory I integrated is metonym. I did this specifically at the end when I showed two different clips of medical staff taking people away, and then I zoomed in on a trainer with an oxygen mask on.

The second semiotic theory I integrated is ideal and real. Because the animals perform so well, it almost seems like it is natural and “ideal”, but the “realness” is that nothing about it is normal. The animal’s only act this way because of the cruelty and abuse they will face if they don’t.

The third semiotic theory I integrated is appearance and reality. It appears that the animals are performing and having fun while doing it, but in reality, they are not. Sometimes animals rebel during shows and don’t do what they are told, which results in punishment.

The fourth semiotic theory I integrated is contrast. I showed this by showing different animals in the wild versus in captivity. I also integrated it by showing some people protesting the circus and SeaWorld, but then also showing people who were having fun at the circus and SeaWorld.

The fifth and last semiotic theory I integrated is gesture. I showed this by showing the trainers smacking the animals. The gesture is a mean one, and it really gets the message across that trainers hurt the animals they are working with in order to get them to listen.

In the very beginning of my video mashup, I showed a variety of different animals being abused by their trainers. I made these clips move fast so that viewers can see the intensity of them. I put these in my video mashup so that people could see how often it happens and what the trainers have to do to get the animals to perform. It is everything but natural.

Towards the middle of my mashup, I showed clips of different animals in the wild so that people could see them in their natural habitat. I let these videos play for a few seconds each so people could see what these animals naturally do when they are left alone in the wild.

At the end of my mashup, I showed three clips that moved very fast and that went with the most intense part of the song. These were clips of trainers who were injured because of the animals. The message I am trying to send here is that if we stop making these animals that are supposed to be in the wild into circus and SeaWorld acts, this can be avoided.

In conclusion, the purpose of my video mashup was to show viewers the cruelty that performance animals face. I used intertextuality, juxtaposition, montage, and other semiotics theories to show this. There is nothing natural about these animals acting this way, which is why they shouldn’t have to.

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