Category Archives: Thoughts & Ideas

Digital Storytelling Assignment & Tutorial #2

The Healthy Vine Challenge


Create a Vine video that illustrates you cooking a complete meal! You must include a meat (or protein source, if you have a personal preference or dietary restriction), a veggie side, and a healthy side of your choice. Take two 2-second clips of the meal preparations, then one 2-second clip of the final product, in all its glory!

**Remember: This is only a 6-second video, so stick with capturing three separate 2-second long clips.

First, if you don’t already have the application, Vine, then download it on your smartphone or via

Next, follow the steps of the application’s tutorial. It will give you specific directions on how to record individual video segments. When you are ready to begin, make sure you are on the app’s camera setting.

When you are finished recording your clips, the finished product will be a back to back video of everything you taped! It’s a really fun way to capture the highlights of whatever you’re doing, wether you’re at a concert, a family dinner, or just sitting in your living room, Vine is a creative outlet for anyone with an appreciate for how new digital technologies make cinematography so much easier!!

Once you have your finished product, e-mail the video to yourself. If you have a smartphone, then the video will automatically be saved in your photos. If you don’t, then e-mail yourself the URL. That way, you can easily embed the video into a blog post.

In this post describe why you chose the ingredients that you did. Also, explain your thought process. Did you wing it? Did you follow a recipe? Had you made any of it before? How often do you cook healthy foods? Talk about whatever you want regarding your experience with the Healthy Vine Challenge. The catch is you can only use a maximum of 250 words. That’s a small amount of words for a thorough explanation, so choose your words selectively– just like you did with your ingredients ;). But above all, be creative!

Here is my response to the Healthy Vine Challenge:

My D.S. Assignment #2: The Healthy Vine Challenge

The inspiration behind this assignment can be attributed to my eclectic mother. As I begin my last week of summer classes (and college, for that matter!), she lovingly brought me down a random assortment of ingredients. She told me it may be cathartic to cook a nice, healthy meal for myself in order to to refuel my brain and restore my energy. The meal I prepared for my Healthy Vine Challenge included a salmon filet, corn on the cob, and cucumbers.


1. For the salmon, I marinated it with a mango salsa. Right before placing the filet into the pan, I rubbed both sides with ground peppercorn to make the outside crispy and delicious. Lastly, I let it cook for approximately 8 minutes.

2. For the corn, I boiled a large pot of water and simply boiled the full cobs. Once tender enough to eat, after about 4 minutes, I lightly salted and spread a tiny amount of organic margarine along the sides.

3. For the cucumber, I began by quartering it and covering the strips in olive oil. Then, I placed them on my electric grill. I flipped them several times, but let them grill for the majority of 5 minutes. Then, I drizzled balsamic vinaigrette and a pinch of kosher sea salt on them.

And my mother was right, it felt (and tasted) great! I had forgotten how much I love the process of cooking. It’s a truly calming and rewarding act.

My D.S. Assignment #1: Create A Pinterest Board Of Your Dream Vacation!

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My dream vacation involves visiting three countries in Southeast Asia. I have been long awaiting the day that I save up enough money waitressing to travel abroad after I graduate! My plan is to start off in Thailand, then travel to Vietnam next, and finish my vacation in Indonesia. I would most likely spend 3 weeks in each country. I pinned a variety of sights and activities that I want to conquer while on my dream vacation including, visiting the Pink Beach on Komodo Island in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia; eating authentic Vietnamese spring rolls and pho, and visit the highly praised Elephant Nature Park in northern Thailand.

In order to get the trip I want, I have to save up close to $5,000. Although the dollar is worth more than the currency used in the three aforementioned southeastern asian countries, travel expenses begin to accumulate. Airfare is the most expensive aspect (so book WAYYYY ahead of time), but attending certain park and other attractions can be pricey too. I would be backpacking and staying in hostels, so my accommodations would be relatively inexpensive. As for food, I am really looking forward to trying everything I can get my hands on. From street car vendors to glitzy restaurants, I want to try as many places as my budget will allow.

I will also need to get temporary holiday visas for each country, which I’ve heard is easy for Americans to receive. Unfortunately, that does not go both ways. For example, when I was in China last summer I spoke with several people who said it is extremely difficult for them to get visas to visit or vacation in the United States, which seems so unfair!

Look, Listen, and Analyze: The Joker Pencil Trick/Mob Scene


For this blog post, I decided to analyze a scene from The Dark Knight, more speficially, the scene when the Joker interrupts a mob meeting and dramatically shows them “a pencil trick” with very dark and dangerous connotations.

When I watched the clip without any audio: I noticed the camera angle was almost continuously moving. The camera followed behind the Joker when he approaches the mob meeting and you know it’s coming from behind him because the right side of the shot you can see his left shoulder and tufts of his greasy, curly hair. Like Ebert described, when the camera angle points upward, like it did when the Joker was standing directly in front of the mob, it alludes to an aura of dominance. The vast majority of the mob members were sitting down at this point, so the camera would pan between up shots of the joker speaking and downward shots of the mob sitting around a rectangular table.

I also observed a significant amount of close up shots of characters involved in this scene. It seemed that whoever was speaking had a steady shot on his face. The camera would pan back and forth between the Joker and different men in the mob who were speaking… asking questions perhaps? or maybe insulting him? Without audio, it became an educated guessing game. In order to make an educated guess as to what the dialogue was conveying, I relied mostly on the facial expressions and bodily gestures of the characters. The one African American mob member who the camera focused on several times had facial expressions of disgust and anger, while his bodily gestures included when he dramatically shot up out of his chair, most likely out of rage at whatever the Joker was saying. The other two mob members the camera focused on seemed irritated, yet amused by what the Joker was saying. Their faces displayed less anger and more confusion and annoyance– as if the Joker was wasting their time. The Joker’s close up shots were interesting as well. To me, it felt like the angle kept inching closer and closer to his face, illuminating the truly horrifying features of his facial appearance.
**When the camera was not focusing on a face, the shots were mobile, making the room they were in feel a lot larger than it probably was.

Another aspect of the scene that I noticed was when the Joker was pointing what appeared to be almost directly at the camera. In this case, we, as the audience, took the place of a character in the scene, giving the audience a “front row seat” to the action, if you will. Watching this scene without any audio further proves Ebert’s assertions that camera angle plays such a huge role in the overall effectiveness of a film that, in some instances, dialogue is not even a necessary aspect of a film for it to make sense and for the audience to understand what is happening in a given scene.

When I watched the clip without any visual: When simply listening the scene without any visuals, I found it much more difficult to analyze than when I viewed the clip without any sound. This might be because of my learning style, but either way, I came up with several observations. First, the deranged laughing at the beginning of the clip, I can only assume that signified his entrance into the room where the mob was having their meeting. The differences of the voices individualized each character. One man had a very deep, throaty voice. He sounded like he was a high up official of this mob group, especially since he felt comfortable confronting and threatening the Joker. The next voice I distinguished had a Russian or possibly Scandinavian accent, allowing me to understand this was a different member of the mob talking now. Later on we heard an Asian man speak, therefore, we know that this is a very diverse mob just from listening to their voices.

As for the Joker, his voice was the most distinguishable out of all of them. The Joker had a creepy, disfigured mouth which interrupted his pattern of speech several times. He also held a consistently calm tone the entire time, which was different than the mob members who spoke. Their voices gave off vibes of anger, confusion, and indifference. However, the Joker remained calm and utilized dark comedy to capture the attention of the men he was proposing his idea to. He even goes as far as to mock them a little bit, especially when he calls their mob meeting a “group therapy session.” Then, finally, we hear a swinging door slam and it can be inferred that the Joker left the room at that moment.

My conclusion of the sound/visual together: I thought listening and watching the scene individually gave me a greater understanding once I was able to watch the clip with both aspects cohesively. It put the scene in a more story telling format, but I still understood what was happening within the scene without requiring both audio and visual. My senses were heightened each time I viewed the clip, with my brain actively searching for features of the dialogue and cinematography that would give me clues as to what the expect. When I watched them together, I obviously felt more comfortable. I would prefer the films I watch to have both visual and audio, in order for audiences to gain access to the “full picture.” However, I thought this assignment was great because it forced me to critically think about what features of the dialogue and what features of the video stood out and illuminated how the plot would continue. It was actually very fun to do!

Ebert: “How To Read A Movie” via Q. Tarantino & S. Kubrick



To begin, I found Ebert’s descriptive of movement in cinematography to be very interesting. He explained how the movement of characters, in addition to the movement of camera angle, can infer both positive and negative connotations. A quote of his that I found very helpful was, “Right is more positive, left more negative. Movement to the right seems more favorable; to the left, less so. The future seems to live on the right, the past on the left. The top is dominant over the bottom. The foreground is stronger than the background.” To me, this expresses that the dominant character and/or focus of the shot is drastically effected by how to director chooses to execute the scene. Ebert says, “Extreme high angle shots make characters into pawns; low angles make them into gods.” Visually speaking, some of us may not even realize that position has any effect on how we perceive a certain situation in a film or TV show, but Ebert explains that there is a great deal more to it than relying on simple dialogue and acting to express dominance or a lack there of.

Brightness can also be a huge factor of influence, according to Ebert. He explains how brighter areas tend to be dominant over darker areas, but far from always. Ebert emphasizes that within certain contexts, you can seek the “dominant contrast,” which is the area the audience members are drawn toward. In one of my favorite quotes from this sections, Ebert says, “It can be as effective to go against intrinsic weightings as to follow them.”

The two short clips I watched were Tarantino // From Below and Kubrick // One-Point Perspective. I’ll begin with the Tarantino video… I thought this series of clips perfectly depicted how the position of the camera can 1) express a certain situation and 2) influence the audience via a change of perspective. In many of those clips, and because the video strongly suggests that these were all going to be Tarantino clips “shot from below,” the audience members are able to see from the direct perspective of a specific character OR the low lying camera angles assist in creating an aura of anticipation. It causes some of us to wonder… what are they looking at?! When the camera takes the place of the object or person the characters are looking at, it results in anticipation. Exactly what are these characters looking at? Sometimes you find out and sometimes you don’t. It all depends on the strategy of the directing crew.

The second clip I watched was the video on Kubrick’s obsession with one-point perspectives. I saw quite a few clips from The Shining in there, so I decided to re-watch a few other clips from that older film on YouTube. What I discovered was that often, the camera does move, but not in the traditional sense of following characters around. The camera will focus on image or perspective of a character and illustrates movement through zooming in and/or out on that perspective to achieve movement without compromising the powerful nature of the initial shot.

Both directors are simply genius in my humble opinion. My favorite movies of Tarantino’s include Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained, Inglorious Bastards, and Reservoir Dogs. My favorite works of Stanley Kubrick include The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, and Spartacus. I’m curious to know what my fellow bloggers deem their favorite Tarantino and Kubrick directed films!

Video Assignment #2: iPhone Product Review


I chose to do the product review video assignment because I do not think I can emphasize enough how important easy, instant, and engaging communication is to my generation these days. The plain and simple fact is: iPhone make life easier. I feel comfortable saying that for many reasons. They eliminate a wide range of chores and errands that would require substantially more effort and time. Instead of making the journey all the way to the bank to deposit money into my account, I can easily do that from the comfort of my bed or, in more urgent situations, I can transfer money into my checking account at the register at any given store.

Not to mention, the iPhone gives us immediate access to weather reports, sporting event scores, the news (I have the CNN app, which I LOVE), popular recipes, an on-the-go camera to capture any moment one may deem picture-worthy, etc.

In all honesty, the iPhone has changed my life. I have spent the majority of my life away from home. I went to boarding school during my teenage years and have lived in an off campus house for most of college. This means I do not get to see my family or my friends from my hometown on a regular basis. My iPhone has made it possible for me to keep in touch with friends and family members scattered all over the globe. When I was in Australia, an American-esqe mixing bowl of nationalities, I met friends that lived in Germany, France, Ireland, Japan, Spain, Italy, Dubai, and many other countries as well. Through iMessaging, Facebook messenger, and apps such as WhatsApp, I can easily communicate with them at any given time, for free! What seems like a $1.99 application, to me, is truly invaluable. I do not underestimate the significance of these methods of instant communication. How else would new media be so popular and possible?!

My Process:

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I used the MacBook PhotoBooth application to record my video. I then uploaded my recording to YouTube and properly embedded the URL into this post. I used a vibrant, colored tapestry as my background to give off an aura of modernization, like how the iPhone has modernized accessible and immediate communication between individuals and groups of individuals.

Daily Create #11: Cheer Up the Lonely Day


How To Make Any Day Better:
Eat a homemade bagel sandwich, play with a puppy, enjoy the beautiful summer weather with your best friends, and munch on the Thai Chicken Pizza from California Pizza Kitchen.

Today’s Daily Create assignment is: Cheer Up the Lonely Day
“Can you do that in one photo? It’s a real holiday for July 11 because we found it on the internet. Now do it.”

[ via ]

Thoughts: Classmates’ Blogs & Feedback

I have not really gotten much feedback on my posts. I got a response or two on daily creates I have made, but, for the most part, I’ve gotten very simple responses. Aside from the ones by my professor answering my questions, my comments have been lacking in usefulness. I would love to get some constructive feedback on my design and/or visual assignments! Please!!!

I admit, I have been bad at commenting on my peers’ posts. So far, I have been obsessed with improving my own! I am going to start being a more active member of the class. These first two weeks have been a lot of fun for me, mostly because I had LOVED setting up my own blog/website. Every time I log on I want to take it a few steps further. I have a lot of ideas that I want to pursue and I like to think of my blog as a work in constant progress.

Today, I commented on five or six blogs with some critiques and praise! It was actually very interesting to see the work of my classmates. Especially when we did the same assignments. I love comparing our creative processes! I also learned about a program called GIMP that is really great for photo editing through a classmates’ blog post. It was very helpful!

What I can say is that I definitely referred to other students’ blogs to see which assignments they decided to go and what they thought about said assignment. I was looking to do design assignments that seemed fun and an outlet for creativity. I was very excited with how my motivational poster turned out (Make sure to check out my Design Assignment #2)!

I also found it interesting to simply visit other students’ blogs, just to see how creative people got with their profiles. I love the ability to customize. I like having a picture of myself as a cover photo– I think it gives people a visual on the author of the blog, almost humanizing the blog for readers.