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


Being Human: A photo essay about the core of our emotion

I chose the Begin Human project because of my inspiration from other projects that look at the most basic aspects of human emotion. I knew this project would be challenging because of working with others. In addition, there is no way to predict an individual’s response to stimuli. I focused on 4 videos to look at aspects of human emotion. I showed a video that would trigger disgust and gore, I showed a video that would make people laugh, I showed a scary video and lastly I paired subjects who did not know each other and tried to make them nervous through asking them to interact with each other like a couple might.


While I showed friends and family stimuli, I photographed them with the Nikon D90, a DSLR, I purchased 5 years ago. In high school, I considered myself an amateur photographer, and had the honor of working in a photography studio. I used such high power and professional equipment because emotion can be apparent in the slightest tweak of an eyebrow. As humans, we pick up on what others are feeling through body language, which can greatly change our interpretation of someone’s feelings.  I used the white background to not distract from what was happening on their faces.  In that experience I was able to learn proper ways to photograph people with a lighting kit and a backdrop, being able to illuminate the eyes and main features. Since my experience in the studio, I have always struggled to work photographing people because, much like emotions, humans are unpredictable.

I further discovered this through the project. Some of the videos I showed that were intended to be funny, people cringed at. Some videos that were intended to be gross and gory, made people giggle. Often when I tried to make people feel awkward and uncomfortable, people would giggle and smile. This was because everyone interprets emotions differently, thus the purpose of my project.

By Deanna Bertini

Being Human

For my photo essay I want humans to be the main focus. I have always  taken an interest in Humans of New York, which is a catalog of inhabitants of New York City.  Human of New York focuses on the story behind the image and that there is more than meets the eye. The point of it all is to show a diverse amount of people, and find out their stories. I was also very inspired by a YouTube video called First Kiss that took 20 strangers and made them kiss for the first time on camera. That social experiment evoked a lot of emotion that was visible on film, which I found very interesting.

People are captivated by other humans, always interested in emotions and how people feel. Feelings are relatable which is why I plan to make that my focus for this photo essay. I have been very invested in photography my whole life, but there is one thing I have always struggled to capture: people. I am taking this opportunity to challenge myself in a new way, because it is very hard to capture peoples true emotions on film. An image can say a lot about an emotion without any back story, so this is what I plan on delving into during this project.

I will convert my apartment into a small studio for some time, and allow willing subjects to be photographed by myself. I will put them on a white backdrop, and photograph their face with my Nikon D90. I will not tell them what emotion they are being, however, will show an image or a video to them and record my findings. I have found a few YouTube videos that I can show to help evoke emotions, as well as create specific scenarios with inside information. For example, a friend of mine just broke up with her boyfriend. If I showed her a picture of her ex-boyfriend with another girl, what would come across her face? Would she be sad or angry? Perhaps jealous? I can also incorporate two individuals into certain photographs if I decide to explore how emotions are effected from person to person. Here are two examples of emotions I would like to induce but can be interpreted differently by the viewer.

This will be challenging because it requires proper timing and also working with others which can cause more error. However, I think this will be a great way to evoke emotion, while incorporating photography strategies and challenging myself.

A Societal View of Mental Illness

Mental illness is a topic people still have shown little acceptance for. Many often think of people with mental illness as crazy serial killers or with multiple personalities, having little self control.  I think the topic is very interesting, and an area which I would like to learn more about so I will be making a mashup video about how society views mental illness.  Below is the first 30 seconds of clips I will involve in the video.

photo (17)

Deanna Bertini

Scary Mary

Scary Mary Poppins is a remix video released on YouTube in 2006 by Christopher Rule and Nick Eckert. This 1:07 minute video portrays the original super nanny, Mary Poppins as a malevolent woman who made it her mission to capture Jane and Michael Banks. When the east wind blows, and the fog rolls in, she appears. Don’t be enchanted by her haunting lullaby and hide your children. This Prezi describes methods used in the video such as intertextuality, montage, juxtaposition, soundtrack, gesture and closure and how they contribute to the overall theme of the remix.


by Deanna Bertini


The Weather Outside Is Frightful, But Caroling Is Copyrightful.

Before you grab your warmest mittens, most spirited bells and sheet music, be sure to carefully choose this seasons melodies. When the time comes for figgy pudding, candy canes and a Santa Clause on every street corner, this Christmas “the best way to spread Christmas Cheer [by] singing loud for all to hear” (Elf, 2003) could get you into trouble.

Ever wonder why restaurants like Applebees or Fridays have their own birthday melodies? Well, it is not because they are bursting from the seams with creativity. Restaurants create their own birthday songs avoid paying to use the song “Happy Birthday.” Happy Birthday is a copyrighted song, which means any public forum where it is sung infringes on copyright laws if you were not given the right to use  that content.

Similar to the way “Happy Birthday” is copyrighted, certain Christmas songs also fall under this law. This is not the case for all songs, many in fact are public domain. This article Which popular Christmas songs are still protected by copyright? written by Chris Robley was posted by Shannon Morgan (@shannoncara) on Twitter, to give us some insight on the legalities of singing copyrighted songs when caroling.


Here are a few examples of copyrighted songs vs. public domain:

Public Domain


Deck the Halls Carol of the Bells
Jingle Bells Feliz Navidad
12 Days of Christmas Frost the Snowman
Silent Night Rudolf The Red Nose Reindeer


Like Happy Birthday, these Christmas Carols cannot be sung in public, at a business and even at a charity without the rights first being obtained and could result in being sued otherwise. Most Christmas songs have been remade time and time again because they are a classic genre that people only really spend 1 month out of the year listening too. For example, the song “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow,” originally recorded by Vaughn Monroe, is currently copyrighted but has had roughly 82 (legal) remakes by from artists like Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby to Blake Shelton and Lady Antebellum.

We understand that “the law grants an exclusive right to copy, sell, and perform a work of original authorship that has been fixed in a tangible medium” (Vaidhyanathan, 20) and only lasts for a limited time, but with the high volume of reproduction, why is it so important to keep Christmas songs from becoming public domain? Copyrights are to protect the creativity of an artist and make sure they get credit for what they have produced, but the truth is that people are violating copyright laws every day, possibly without even realizing. Below, this great display of Christmas spirit being in violation of copyright because the song being played in a public forum is not public domain.

            Getting a license is not that incredibly difficult, only costing approximately $28 per song to reproduce when the rights are purchased according to However, if carolers want to walk around singing Christmas songs without profit, why should it be such a big deal? If anything, carolers are extremely beneficial to  the original artist because they are promoting their work. In conclusion, free the Christmas songs!

by @deannabertini


Rebirth of Humanities

The humanities are not dying, but similar to how people, technology and the world evolves, the way humans perceive humanities is changing too. Kim Middleton, author of Remix Video and the Crisis of Humanities, wrote an article on this phenomenon discussing some of the main concerns scholars have about the changing humanities. Remix and mash up videos may be the way humanities change and conforms to the digital age. Jonathan McIntosh, a well known remix artist and producer of “Donald Duck Meets Glenn Beck” raises attention to the decline of employment in the American economy.

The video shows Donald Duck, a hard working citizen who loses his job and his home due to foreclosure. The video uses pop culture references illustrate a myriad of perspectives in relation to humanities. This downfall of income has resulted in many universities to cut the humanities including: language, theater and art. Without these subjects, schools are merely reduced to technical or professional schools without fostering the cognitive skills the humanities challenge. Rosemary Feal,  the Executive Director of the Modern Language Association, fought against eradicating humanities with little success, holding onto the idea that cultural skills and cognitive abilities would be lost without this education.

However,  with the incline of technology in the digital age, humanities will not becoming a lost art if eliminated from educational settings. People are being provided the same skills through digital mash ups and the interconnectivity of cultures through technology. “Donald Duck Meets Glenn Beck” today has over 2 million views, and was translated into 6 different language. This video not only speaks out to the economic crisis that resulted in the loss of humanities for some, but also how humanities can be incorporated into new, creative and inventive ways. The intertexuality actually makes us more superior learners, able to gain many perspectives and use different mediums, scaffolding to create a more complex and comprehensive understanding.

“It is a text that acquires meaning though its manifold social systems of circulation, and its cultures and subcultures, composed of knowledgeable community members who know what to do with it, and how to respond in a myriad of ways that add new layers of content to the video” (3.6).

Many, like Mark Bauerlein argue that the digital age is accountable for the decline of individual thought.  Many articles were released by individuals who believe technology is making us the least intelligent generation, relying on google to think for us and “they worry that we are losing what makes us fundamentally human” (2.2). The short clip below outlines a brief summary of Bauerlein’s belief and the teen response.

Technology has helped this generation shape what we understand about ourselves and others, and where we fit into this world with the potential we can offer. It has changed us both individually and on a cultural scale, but not because we are less intelligent. Because we became a generation who thinks and learns differently than the past and have learned to adapt with the times. We are innovators, creators and are able to apply the cognitive and cultural skills learned and combine our understandings with other means such as video, audio and text.

Discussed by Chuck Tryon, author of Reinventing Cinema: Movies in the age of media convergence, the audience has become an active part of production and can utilize our ideas through remixes, mash ups, or response videos like never before. This kind of engagement is very powerful and works in tandem with humanities in cognitive and cultural experiences. The humanities are simply being presented in different means than before, but that does not make the experience any less worthy or culturally rich. Digital humanities is all around us and becoming more sophisticated through cultural, social and personal implications. Instead of harping on the economic endangerment of humanities, we should begin to shift our focus to how we can learn and grow with digital humanities.

by @deannabertini