Multimedia for Social Change


Amanda’s Semester Reflection
December 19, 2009, 3:36 pm
Filed under: Reflections

Multimedia for Social Change has been one of the most unique and applicable classes I have taken in my major. I knew this class was going to be different after the first day, when we were given sticky notes and the opportunity to help shape our syllabus. I loved that we all had a say  in shaping the class and I think it worked out really well. I also liked that the class was split up into two parts, it gave us a chance to not only learn about the different types of social change but also gain the skills in how to make multimedia.
In the first half of the class I really enjoyed the lecture on games for change. Susanna Ruiz shared valuable insight on how games can be used to promote social change. I also found the card exercise to be really helpful in getting our creative juices flowing. Multimedia literacies, entertainment education and youth media were also very interesting topics we discussed. The only problem I had is that I felt like there wasn’t enough time to actually learn about these many different topics we discussed. It felt rushed.

The skills part of the class was very helpful. Prezi and slideshare were two online tools that I didn’t know about beforehand and prove to be very helpful.

I highly recommend this class to other students who are interested in taking what we learn in other COMM classes and putting it into action. My suggestion is that there is only one class and people really try to come on time so we can all be on the same page.

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Video Presentation
December 3, 2009, 11:37 am
Filed under: Reflections

Yesterday Sylvia and I went to KIWA to teach them the simple basics of video editing. We had a lot of problems finding good video editing software, but yesterday I happened to stumble upon a free software called VideoPad. While it lacks many capabilities compared to Final Cut and Adobe Premiere, VideoPad turned out to be the perfect tool for KIWA. it is extremely simple, quick, and doesn’t require as much HD space as the other programs.

We gave them some sample videos and images to work with and we went through a brief overview: how to split clips, how to add background music, how to make titles, transitions, etc. They seemed pretty enthusiastic about learning and received the instructions. The greatest setback was that all of their computers are slow and are running on low memory. So Syl and I suggested that they purchase an external hardrive for any video content they make. We also showed them how to post on youtube.

Overall it was a successful meeting and we hope that they can really use these skills to help gain visibility and attract more people to their campaigns.



Games for Social Change
November 19, 2009, 2:07 pm
Filed under: Reflections

This week I spent sometime checking out the different resources under “Games for Change”. I found all the sites to be quite entertaining, and I even learned a few things while I played the games.

The first game, “Darfur Is Dying”, had me pick a villager and attempt to fetch water from the well while hiding from the janjaweed. It was interesting, and actually even a little scary. When they would come close in their trucks I thought “Oh no! is this rock big enough for me to hide under??” Turned out it was. While that simulation was nothing compared to what real people in Darfur have to struggle through, it helped give me a different perspective.

The second game site was called Molleindustria. Those games are outrageous. Instead of using a game to evoke empathy like the darfur one, these games are rediculous parodies of domineering institutions. For example, in the McDonald’s game I was required to make the most money I could by tearing down forests, injecting cows with hormones, and doing things to make the customers think my company was more noble than it was. I didn’t even try playing “Pedopriest”. I found these games to be more educational than emotional. It was an interesting tactic.

Finally, I got really involved in playing a game on the last site, where I was required to try and make a living for a struggling African village family. I had the options of buying crops, tools, and livestock. And try to sell them at the end of the year for money. I started out with something minimal, like 40 bucks. What frusterated me was that everytime it looked like I was earning enough money to purchase a cow, some disaster would happen, like a drought or corrupt laws or robbers or disease, and there went my money. Not to mention my family started dying because I didn’t have enough money for medicine, so I had to tell some of them to leave. Overall it showed me the deep and debilitating effects of poverty. I thought this game resonated with me the most.

Overall, I think that if they are employed the right way, games have the potential of having great influence on social change.



Entertainment Education
November 12, 2009, 11:44 am
Filed under: Reflections

So since Sylvia gave an update of what happened at KIWA, I’d like to talk a little bit about entertainment education and why I advocated for this subject.

When I was a freshman, Miguel Sabido, one of the authors of our assigned reading, Entertainment Education and Social Change, came into my Effects of Mass Media class and started talking about using entertainment to educate large audiences. Now up until that point, we were learning in this class all about the negative effects that mass media has had on society, with desensitization to violence, the hypersexualization in younger girls, it was fascinating but all rather depressing. When Dr. Sabido came in, he talked about how he created a Mexican soap opera where the main characters went back to school to finish their education. Not only was the show a hit, but it was recorded that over 1 million people decided to go back to school after following this series. I thought “WOW, that’s powerful! I want to do that!”

After that I have not ceased to look into how entertaining media can be used to influence. While solely educational media has its value, it only attracts people who are interested in seeking out the information. Entertainment, on the other hand, is sought out by everyone, even if they are not necessarily interested in the subject matter. That’s why I think this field has so much potential, it can reach large audiences, change lives, and be profitable at the same time!

I posted a couple of related links on the wiki. One is a short video that was produced by an independent company. Although they may not necessarily work for a non-profit or advocate for workers rights on weekends, their entertaining piece says a lot about immigrant workers and gets others to think in their shoes.

The other video I shared is a clip of Kami, a muppet from the South African version of Sesame Street. Due to the huge levels of HIV/AIDS in South Africa, the producers decided to make Kami a kid muppet with HIV. She teaches kids to not be afraid of other kids with HIV and to accept them.

Unfortunately, most forms of entertainment education occur overseas. Hopefully the US can find a way to incorporate this powerful concept into our entertainment system.



KIWA update: interviews
November 5, 2009, 12:12 pm
Filed under: Reflections

Yesterday Sylvia and I headed back to Koreatown to do some interviews with the KIWA staff. Overall the interview session went really well. We heard from four different staff members who each talked for about 5-7 minutes. We came prepared with a list of general questions for them. We found that these were good starter questions to get them thinking but the real valuable soundbites came when we improvised with some more personal questions. In this way they opened their hearts to us a little by talking about why KIWA is so important to them, why they do this as a living, and why workers rights matter. As of now, we plan on taking these interviews and chopping them up and mixing them up, picking out the most powerful sentences and stories they told and putting the soundbites to music and images. We also filmed some shots of Koreatown on the way back that we might incorporate into the video.

Some technical difficulties: One problem we had was that it took a while to set up the equipment we checked out from the IML. Not only was the microphone out of batteries, but the tripod’s legs were loose and wouldn’t stay put. Also the sound from the mic was coming through only one of my headphones for a majority of the time, hopefully that was a headphone issue and not a mic problem. Now we know to check all this stuff out and make sure everything’s in order BEFORE we go on location!

Another issue is the ever elusive Mr. “YK”. There seems to be a mis-communication problem. For some reason, YK thinks that wordpress costs money, and that by building this blog we will be charging KIWA. Joyce talked to him on the phone while we were there. He agreed to put a link on the website, but not to let us host the blog from KIWAs website. Joyce is going to try to explain to him better the situation, but for now we are going to go ahead with plan B.

Overall, we are on schedule and things are going well. This week we plan to start putting together this video and start setting up the blog, even if we still haven’t gotten FTP access.



KIWA Update
October 29, 2009, 1:53 pm
Filed under: Reflections

So yesterday we finally met with Joyce, hurray! And we worked out a lot of the concerns we were having on both sides:

Joyce notified us that the Korean ITS guy–we’ll call him “YK”, said that it would be fine to set up a subdirectory, although he wasn’t sure if that was the best solution. We talked this over and came to the conclusion that YK wasn’t fully informed on what we were trying to accomplish. So Joyce agreed to fill him in some more and then see what his final response is.

After that we spent a good amount of time cranking out the dates. We pushed a few things back a week but things are looking good.

As for the overall goal, Joyce was initially concerned that because the blog would be on a different site than the news updates it would make communication more difficult. However, we started to talk to her about the idea of having a campaign specific blog and she really liked that idea.

After that I searched their computer database for some more pictures and movie clips. Overall it was a very successful meeting.



KIWA Update
October 21, 2009, 4:23 pm
Filed under: Reflections

Our project is almost ready to be put into action! KIWA is just as excited as we are. However, their three main concerns were:

1. If everything can be completed in 2 months (both blog and video)

2. Getting ahold of their IT guy

3. Getting video software for their team

After reading Sasha’s responses and suggestions, we have come up with the following solutions:

1. Start both parts of the project concurrently, but specifically focus on the video production until we get the clear for installing wordpress on the server.

2. If the IT guy is not able to host the blog on the KIWA official website, then we could make the blog for specific campaigns (instead of a general overview) with a link to it. Another alternative is to host the blog on another server, like wordpress.com

3. Look for popular video editing software downloads online, or look into free and open source solutions.

In addition, we need to really focus on setting up workshop times with KIWA. Sylvia and I have planned to meet with Joyce primarily on Wednesdays, but we are still waiting to hear about what days would work for the whole organization.

This coming week we plan on meeting up with Joyce, finalizing dates, and getting our hands on some video footage!