Thoughts on Podcasting [VEDA #1]

Context: I got to write and host on a class podcast titled The Web We Weave in an episode centering around Tony Zhou’s Every Frame a Painting. This is a reflection on what I learned from this experience.

Preparing for this podcast was definitely one of the more nerve-wracking parts of my life. I felt as if I needed to prove to myself that I was capable of being in charge of such an episode, of being able to take the stage with my voice after hiding behind the written word for so long.

Photo credit to: https://singingmachine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/stage-fright.jpg

When looking for material to address Every Frame a Painting, I went through first some of the series entries before poking around Vimeo to find every episode of the series uploaded there, before turning to Tony Zhou’s Patreon for EFAP, which offers alternate versions of the episodes for educational use (at a price), and then to Twitter and Reddit, both forums that I used quite often. Showing these different resources to my partner, we both made our own observations. As I watched Zhou interact with his followers and advise them on how to critique the works that had impacted them, I saw how viewer-audience participation worked its way into Zhou’s new media and how it allowed him to continue participating himself despite how long it had been since the series had updated.

I was not initially exceedingly familiar with Every Frame a Painting, nor was my partner Kevin. However, I was familiar with the YouTube scene and personalities like the Nerdwriter, so when we sat down to plan out the episode, we each brought our own impressions on the series and our own contexts (Kevin had previous experience with the Soul Pancake episode of The Web We Weave). Kevin pitched questions to me while I did my best to answer them, and I would then in turn bring up different topics of conversation (such as the Reddit AMA mentioned in the episode and the idea of Tony Zhou perpetuating the participatory culture with his work). Collaboration was more than integral in making this episode what it was. It was also more than reassuring to have someone who was so confident on board and had faith in my work. We worked on applying Every Frame a Painting to the terminology we had covered in class and we put it all into one Google Doc entry.

The document was interesting because it was far more fragmentary and incomplete- when writing for another mode, because it relied much more on my voice and the natural chemistry I had with the co-producer, I found that it was both challenging to not fall back and write out whole monologues or answers to questions without stifling the conversation, and recording became difficult because I found myself worrying that my co-host would feel cramped or cut off. It was difficult to not be overwhelmingly self-aware of everything. This did help my rhetorical composition in the end and I think it’s made me more adaptable than I was before.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/24/Rubber_bands.jpg
Flexible like a rubber band!

The process also felt much faster and immediate than writing, say, this reflection or another blog post or article, which takes me a lot more time. It also felt natural to go faster than with my previous work. While structuring the argument and conversation was both very much the same, it also felt different because I had someone else to bounce off and interact with. In a way, it was like having another person alternating the argument paragraphs- similar arguments that still differed in subtle ways.

I’ve learned that I need to work on my timing- we went over by a lot and editing involved cutting out a lot of material and it was a struggle to finish the episode in time while balancing other obligations. I need to work on my self-confidence as I was exceedingly nervous during the episode, and I think that it is evident that while I eased up as time went along, I still have a long way to go.

But given the chance to work on a similar project? I’d jump at the opportunity.

Why I Don’t Write Editorials Anymore

To be clear, things haven’t changed. After all this time, I’m still a very opinionated individual.

It’s true, I don’t write that many editorials anymore- some of the more political “Dear Kath” letters were the closest things to op-ed articles that I’ve written for awhile. But it’s not because I don’t hold opinions on current events (or just in general) anymore.

It’s also not because I’m tired of writing editorials- although admittedly, I’ve grown wary of the single-minded focus with which I immersed myself in opinion articles for several years.

The main reason that I don’t write editorials nowadays is because of the general atmosphere and environment I currently live in. We live in an over-saturation of opinions and misinformation. Everyone talks over one another and drowns each other out. Note too, that this is a world of acidic (and at times toxic) negativity. I feel like that in such an environment, my acerbic, cutting analyses do not serve to be an entirely positive influence. I like to think I’m fighting a good fight and trying to be a voice of reason. However, I think the impact of editorials are still limited.

I look at the streamers and YouTubers- the new media stars and I admire how they help people with their content- by making them laugh and making them feel less alone in the world. Sure, some will say that their content is disposable and silly, but it doesn’t change the impact that they’ve made on thousands or millions of people. And it’s so fucking beautiful.

That is my greatest wish- more than anything else- to bring joy with all my work, no matter what form it may take.

-D

(P.S.- I had to write this editorial though. It was a response to another article that desperately needed to be rebuked. I might write a supplement on this next.)

 

The Freedom of Expression

Entry #2 – February 19, 2017

Dear Kath,

A question that’s been plaguing me as of late concerns where the line is when it comes to the freedom of expression that has been granted to us.

See, last year, I would not have even considered the idea that there is a line to be crossed. I wrote about my frustrations concerning the lack of freedom of expression when it comes to opinions held by a minority on my college campus, and my editorials often expressed those opinions and argued towards an absolute free speech that should be unchecked and unregulated by anyone or anything.

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I didn’t say that, motherfuckers. (Photo credit here)

I quoted Voltaire like any pretentious pseudo-Ivy League Student would. You know that quote that everyone uses- “I don’t agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” (Funnily enough, Voltaire never actually said that. Does that make us university students look more pretentious? It certainly makes me feel that way.)

I still stand by this statement, but at times, I do question it.

There is an answer to my question, of course.

The minute free speech becomes an issue is when the speech is crafted to hurt others.

Last year, when I wrote my grievances about the limitations that political correctness placed upon my freedom of expression and when I wrote about how the reactions to the chalk graffiti on my college campus were blown out of proportion, I confess that was out of line and that I remained insensitive to the legitimate fears of the people (which have only grown in light of our new president). I was in the wrong, and I hurt them, even if that wasn’t my intent.

I own that mistake and apologize for it.

I revisit these thoughts in light of the recent drama surrounding Pewdiepie and the anti-semitic accusations against him. I see that his content has hurt others, and I see him paying for his mistakes. But I also see that his content was taken out of context and manipulated. So it makes me think.

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This is the face of an antisemite (and this is sarcasm). (Photo credits here)

So perhaps I should amend my question. How big of a role does context play? What do we do with free speech when the intent was not malicious? Does the message matter more than the intent, and what does one do when the original message is twisted out of existence or disappears completely?

But that’s a question that I don’t really know how to answer, so I shall leave that for you and for others to decide.

Thanks for listening.

-D

Idea Debts

Something I’ve been thinking on recently was summed up really well in this essay by Satchbag’s Goods. As a matter of fact, I’ve really been looking up to his work- it’s thoughtful and witty and his videography is beautiful. It’s really inspired me creatively.

But I worry that my inspiration is creating a rut as I struggle to live up to my sources of inspiration. I don’t want to be one of those “aspiring” writers who just left without doing anything, and with this YouTube thing that I’m developing, I refuse to just leave it behind.

So right now, I’m still voraciously reading and watching, but I do so with caution. But I’m almost holding off a bit on continuing that consumption until my plans for all these different projects have solidified.

(It’s just as well. My schoolwork is starting to flow in a lot more liberally, so of course I’ll also need to devote more time to that as well. Oh joy of joys.)

So yeah. That’s where I am right now creatively.

Confessions and Forward

It’s been a long week, but here I am again with another update.

So the project I was stuck on- I’m not ditching it per se, but I think I’m scaling back. I’m just going to create what I CAN to be the very best of my ability.

So enough vague talk- I’m going to be straight with you guys. I’m working on some material for YouTube. Some comedic, some serious- I’d say a pretty even mix of both. I’ll be re-editing and adapting some of my old blog material for release, and I’m actually going to see if I can’t film one thing tomorrow night. Originally, I was going for an episodic series, but writer’s block has got me scaling back. I’m just trying to keep it simple, you know? I think one-shot videos can have just as good an effect (if not greater because the narrative or argument isn’t spread across multiple parts).

It’s been an interesting challenge, actually. I don’t really write for a visual medium- and my previous forays into YouTube were really just silly improvisations that were a lot of fun to do- and while this is a tad bit more organized, I can assure you- it’s just as much fun and it’s something I love doing.

With that being said, I’ve been thinking a lot and I’ve reached a conclusion about The Oddity Writer.

I think I’ve taken some missteps with it, and I should apologize to you all.

As I’ve discussed before, there’s a bit of a stigma with putting up work on the Internet, and I’ve had to face that with my parents, and on occasion, my friends. And as a result, I’ve struggled to do this blog justice without the usual stories and articles I normally supplied. And as a result, I’ve failed to show this place the proper respect it deserves.

Well, no more of that.

It’s time to get down to business. Throw my back into it. I’m going to go through the old posts, remove what was lacking, try to organize everything. So if the site’s a bit of a mess over the next two weeks or so, my apologies. But until then, you can expect that I’ll be working on stuff that I’m proud of this time.

And I’m going to dive back into the blogs that have flourished into my absence. I’m always talking about how I appreciate every one of you guys. It’s time I put my money where my mouth is and express it and connect with you all.

I’ve missed this endeavor. And it’s good to dive back into it again.

Well then.

Time to begin.

Breaking the Mold

So what am I working on right now?

Well, I’m planning out my next YouTube video and forming vague ideas in my mind for my next big project after I finish writing this story.

Personally, I’m still going to the gym, but I’m still also working to restore my focus and just… get a better sense of self. Because I can be a really serious person, and I do want to tone that back a bit- find some more levity in my life.

And you know, I really enjoy working on getting these little sketches together- there’s a whole lotta silliness to it that doesn’t normally pop up in my life.

But anyways.

I expect you’ll start to see more poetry pop up here (probably with my thoughts on the literary form scattered throughout the blog as well.) Anyways.

I’m off to develop characters and jokes and such. See you all tomorrow!

 

Concrete and Traction

This is the first (of hopefully very few times) that you will see my face.

I’ve been considering this Project for Self-Improvement for awhile and I’m really looking forward to settling it in motion. I want to be the best version of myself again, and now I’m taking steps to become that person again. So thank you for sticking with me thus far and for reading as I start this new journey once more.

Maelstrom

I’m back. Again.

It’s been… what, three weeks or so since my last update? Sorry about that. My real life has been uber busy and everything has kicked into high gear. So! Here’s what’s been going on since I left.

1.) I was off exploring a few new things and ideas that I always wanted to try. 

This writing project that I’ve been documenting for ages slowed progress to a crawl again, and I was so completely blocked up and frustrated that I couldn’t take it anymore. So I felt that I needed to take a step back. So I decided, on the fly, to maybe work on a few sketch comedies. My friends and I started tossing around a few ideas and a week ago, until finally my friend Angie and I came together to do one test sketch, where she struggled to boil a pot of water.

I’m actually quite happy with how it turned out considering my lack of experience with video editing, but I dunno! Let me know what you guys think. Any and all feedback is welcome. I’m also working on another silly little project in my spare time in order to get better at Photoshop. It’s a fan project that will probably eventually end up on Tumblr, so that’s always fun.

2.) But I also did this because I wanted to branch out. Yeah, I wanted to advance skills that might come in handy and because I was having fun, but I’ve also been considering fallback careers in case writing is not the thing that I was meant to do, and it’s led me to realize how much I’m actually missing and what I should do. So yes, this is one such expansion, but I also need to do a lot of research. You know, go hunting for the right fit.

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3.) But I haven’t stopped writing. I think I might have made a breakthrough on this main project of mine, so I’m eager to get back to it when I can. And I’ve also been working with a college publication for the summer on a fellowship, and so far, I’ve produced one article with the next one on its way this week (hopefully). I’ll be sharing those later on in the week.

4.) Oh, because I’m not planning on leaving this blog alone again. Because I’ve still got a lot of work to do, and a lot of improvements to make to myself, and I intend to hold myself accountable to them. I hope you like what I’ve got in store.

And all of that starts today.

What Am I Doing?

1. Writing comedy skits- ideas have been slow and gradually all my ideas start slowly turning towards a more serious darker bend than I expect. I know that I’m half-decent at that, I just have to get myself to expand. There’s also this really complex character that I’d like to work out and use for the sketch.

I don’t like many manga, but this one- Bakuman about creating manga is meta and rather cool. It’s an interesting look into the industry. (Source: Pinterest)

2. Filming and Video Editing- it seems like a practical skill and considering all the work I do with writing and some of the silly stuff I’ve done recently, it sounds like something I might want to try out. The problem is that my computer is dead and I am being forced to wait until July for a computer that has the capabilities that I require. Until then, I am satisfying myself with messing around with a camera I have.

God, film has so much soul- but we all use hard drives and disks nowadays 😛 (Oh, and digital files and YouTube. Wish I could actually see a reel like this once.) But this is cool.

3. Starting a Tumblr! A lot of fan stuff for the stuff that interests me is on Tumblr, and I’d love to interact more with people. I think what I end up doing over there will be more experimental. I’m probably gonna start with some photo editing or something else- it’s gonna be new, whatever it is. You can actually read that first post now over here.

But anyways, I’m off to get ready for tomorrow- the new day! Thank you all so much for your comments, your likes and supports! I hope to see you all tomorrow. 🙂