My Farm Animal Cruelty Mashup Video By Alexis Siatkowski

Reflection #1

When we first were given this assignment, I was fairly nervous because I have never really known how to properly use a computer, let alone have I ever worked in this medium before. It was very daunting, and unnerving to try and start this project since I had no idea where to begin; however, I am fortunate enough to have a highly intelligent little brother who wants to pursue filming and editing as a career, and thus he owns the best software and computer for this type of project. He was able to teach me how to properly use this software at a beginner’s level; this software is called Adobe Premiere CS6.

The very first step to creating my mashup was picking the topic, and for me, I knew that I wanted to make something about farm animal cruelty. With knowing that, I had a song in mind for my video; “Temple Grandin” by Andrew Jackson Jihad.

To start my mash-up, I began looking up certain videos online that I knew I would want to use in my final project. Every time I found a video that I knew would benefit my mashup, I used a program called iSky. iSky is a video converter which allows you to use different parts of youtube videos for free. Having my brother teach me how to use this program made my work a lot easier, and after my first draft of the mashup, I had a real idea of the types of videos I wanted to use in my final project.

After I found a video that I wanted to pull clips from, I would iSky to pull the videos from youtube into Adobe Premiere CS6. After finding most of the videos I wanted to use clips from, I had to start making them all the right size and resolution. This was hard for me because I had to make them all the same size and resolution. It was really time consuming, and took me several attempts to get it right. Finally, I was able to start cutting up the videos and extracting the specific scenes I wanted to use in creating my own video, and from there I began putting each video in a specific order to best portray the meaning I was trying to get across to my audience.

I can honestly say that I did not love doing this project. There were certain points in creating my mashup that I felt really overwhelmed, and that was with help from someone who really knows and understands the software and making videos. With that aside, I felt like this project helped strengthen me as a writer, because I was able to learn how to “write” in a new medium. I am able to express myself through creating these mashups and reaching a new audience, but before I can create my video, I have to have idea/point/story first. Doing this project felt similar to writing an extensive research paper; I had to do my research and planning before I could really start the final project. It really showed me that creating a video like a mashup requires just as much planning and thought as writing a paper or article.

Learning how to use this software and finally understanding the planning and work that goes into making a mashup, I feel like I am finally able to use this knowledge to further any traditional writing I do. I think I will be better able to organize my writing, and even use clips and sounds to create a mashup for inspiration and more ideas.

Reflection #2

As the class first began discussing this project and potential topics for the mashups, I knew immediately that I wanted to create a video mashup showcasing the cruelty farm animal’s experience. I chose this specific topic for several reasons, but mainly I wanted to show the general public (even if just our class sees my mashup) that not just domestic pets experience cruelty and torture. I wanted people to know that even though commercials and other people will say and assume because animals are on a farm, they are well cared for and happy, that is not always the case. Often time’s animals on farms are treated horribly and die never to know love or kindness. Knowing right away what topic I wanted to use for my mashup, I was able to start thinking of the different theories and ideas we have covered in class and how I could best apply them to my video mashup.

In my mashup, I chose to show intertextuality through using different clips from the popular TV show “Family Guy” in which the main character has an epic fight with a giant chicken, I also used old cartoon clips of chickens where bad things happen to them, but they are otherwise well cared for. In order for someone to understand the irony of these clips added to my video, one would have had to see those old cartoons. Using these clips in my video, I was able to show the public how lightly farm animal cruelty is taken .Next, I wanted to show juxtaposition through showing clips of little piglets being killed and tortured compared to the happy little piglets found in the cartoon clips, among other clips. Finally, I wanted to create a really meaningful and impactful montage. I saved my montage for towards the end of my mashup, and used to completely different videos. I used juxtaposition to create my montage, and used a video of a cow being sawed at with close up shots of the saw and a baby cartoon calf living a happy and innocent life. I used the video with the saw to contrast the sweet and innocent life of the calf, almost as if the saw was ending the idea of innocence and happiness for the baby cow.

I also used different semiotic theories throughout the mashup found in Sean Hall’s This Means This, This Means That. Listed below are the examples of the theories of semiotics used:

  1. Icon: At 1.07/2.59 there is a giant pig at a Walmart. This pig represents abused and beaten down pigs.
  2. Symbol: The clip with the hen having her mouth shut by the hand of someone else; .19/2.59. The chicken represents all farm animals being shut up and ignored.
  3. Sameness and Difference: The clips of the “Family Guy” chicken fight and the “Looneytoone” chicken both experiencing horrible physical pain, and both are animated cartoons, however they are different because in the “Family Guy” clips the harm coming to the chicken is done by a human hand, while in the “LooneyToones” cartoon, the harm being done a little more ridiculous and done by the hands of other animals, not people.
  4. Simile: For this specific theory, I couldn’t just find one exact moment in the mashup where this could be found, instead I found that it was throughout the entire movie; every clip of the animals in reality are showing that all of these animals are treated the same way, no matter what type of farm animal they really are.
  5. Truth and Falsity: The clips of the families eating happily and not paying attention to the world around them and how their dinner is treated; all of the clips containing their images and their dinners are commercials for bigger companies, such as Walmart, they are not real families.
  6. Synecdoche: At 1.41/2.59 there is a screaming goose, he is alone so he is seen as one/part, but he belongs to a flock of geese, which is the whole. This can be found in several different clips of the video.

Creating my own mashup gave me a much better understanding of the previously mentioned concepts we learned in class. I was able to create my own examples which made me look harder for them in the clips I chose to use.  In doing this, I know that I will now be able to use these concepts within my own writing, which will eternally make me a better writer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6fS6BtD9mY

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