Mental Illness Final Mash Up

This mash up video is a collection of videos, documentaries and commercials found on YouTube and other sites. The main message is to convey how our society views mental illness as uncontrollable psycho’s as something to be afraid of. In fact this is very untrue. Mental illness can range from depression and anxiety to schizophrenia and other sever personality disorders. Mental illness has always interested me since I watched a documentary done by Oprah Winfrey about a 9 year old girl with the worst case of schizophrenia disorder recorded in history. It was very interesting to see something so uncontrollable, and although the little girl did have aggressive tendencies, she was not endangering anyone else.

Working multiple forms of media presented many challenges, as I am not technically savvy. Downloading videos, as well us working with the Sony Vegas video editor software presented its own challenges while creating the video. The video editor was very difficult to navigate in the beginning, because I had already been used to iMovie for Macintosh products. I had to watch  countless YouTube instructional videos to teach myself how to specifically use the software. When selecting videos, I did something very similar to when writing. In order to start finding videos, I first made a brainstorming cloud and pulled out a few key terms when I thought of mental illness. I thought of some terms like feeling out of control, isolated, not being able to control your own thoughts or being hospitalized and put on medications. I thought of darkness, moodiness and hallucinations and decided to start brainstorming about what I could use to symbolize  that similarly to using a metaphor in writing. To be a metaphor for having mood swings I found a video of a sunny day turning into a storm that I sped up in the software to show a quick switch. To show out of control I found a video of a car spinning out and crashing.

Throughout the video, I used clips from Alice in Wonderland for several reasons. The whole movie is very trippy and almost seems drug induced to begin with . I used the video because it showed Alice falling down the rabbit hole to symbolize falling into ones subconscious and being trapped there. In short, Alice represented the individual, and wonderland represented her own mind, and being trapped there. I thought this metaphor worked  very well for content.

Using each of these videos that did not directly point to mental illness were a collection of metaphors and symbols that put forth a certain meaning, which is often used creative writing through language and metaphor. Often in creative writing, an author can describe a scene or experience that does not relate to the story other than through the meaning. I used this very popular technique in creative writing to help portray a certain feeling in my mash up video.

The specific video techniques used combined with the messages in the video are what makes mash ups so great. In my video, I used over 25 videos, using different parts of documentaries, YouTube videos or commercials to get my point across. Besides Alice in Wonderland, I used clips from a Movie called Donnie Darko very often throughout the video. This is where there was some intertext in the video came in. Donnie Darko is a movie about a boy with a mental illness that has a hallucination that is a giant bunny named Frank. Frank follows Donnie throughout his troubled life in the movie, until he reaches his breaking point. Even without the intertext of knowing the premise of Donnie Darko, the message from that is still possible to obtain because it was pretty obvious that Frank was something only Donnie could see, providing the assumption that he was an “imaginary friend.” In addition, there would need to be some background knowledge about the Black Swan, as well as the background song “Creep” by Radiohead. Although the lyrics such as “I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo. What the hell am I doing here? I don’t belong here” make the song sound like it is about a guy trying to get a girls attention, the real meaning behind it is about feeling isolated because you are differently viewed by society. I thought that was an interesting background for a track being put to a video about mental illness.

I took ideas from The Vocabulary of Comics by McCloud about symbols and icons to use other non-related videos to portray meaning. I played a few of the same clips to get across a substantial meaning from them.  The clips I played the most consistently were of a clock ticking, and Alice falling down the rabbit hole. The clock was a very conscious decision when playing it repeatedly every few seconds in black and white. When there is something cognitively wrong with a person’s brain, psychologists will call it a psychological tic, which involved anything abrupt, involuntary or persistent in someone’s psychical characteristics like a twitch. The tic of the clock was the most prominent use of a symbol in this mash up video, and represents the was society views mental illness as uncontrollable twitchy, and often uncontrollable human beings.

By Deanna Bertini


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