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Silly Media in Narrative Space

I don’t have to explain often what a meme image or animated GIF is; we see them flying in social media, we reach for ones to express a reaction or an emotion.

But for some time I’ve suggested there is a space to subvert the usual, throw-away and just-repeat-what-exists aspect this media for serious or perhaps narrative purpose.

See a conference talk I made out of this topic!

For your final Net Mirror Story Concepts we are asking you to use this typical form of media differently, to weave it into your narrative.

In the last session, we reviewed that extracting of small portions of film as an animated GIF– for your project, the task is to use this as a means of suggesting/showing how your imagined surveillance technology might work. The same approach for using giphy to isolate a scene from a Screening Surveillance film can be used to make a GIF from any video.

In my ongoing demos, I am dealing with the Anonymous creatures in Google Docs that are taking over my writing. They animals are in control.

This was my Story Treatment for last week’s Net Mirror Writers’ Room:

I am so lost in my narrative I imagine that there really is a typing wombat! This is maybe not super technical, but it is my story. In my narrative, this would be woven into the flow of my writing. In the next segment, maybe I am trying to gain control back of my resume.

Wombat GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

We are also asking you to make meme images a part of the narrative too. There are hundreds or more tools to do this, it’s mainly putting text atop an image, and you are welcome too to create them in any image editing software.

When we teach Memes in NetNarr, we typically use the imgflip memegenerator. Like most meme making tools, they offer you a lot of popular based images to use, but you can also upload any image to build a meme image.

For details on this process, see some of our previous activities; again, the steps are the same even though these were for different types of assignments:

For your story concept, we are asking you to go beyond the simple, typical meme, and create a series of four or more that might represent a conversation or inner dialogue in your story.

You can use any graphics software/site/app to make these, you will just need to create them as image files you can eventually add to he publishing site. For a really simple tool to add text to images, meme style and more, try PicFont https://picfont.com/

That was how I made this conversation:

This is not the most scintillating dialogue, but it’s just a demo.

Play with the form.

The very last thing we’d like you to include is a true meme image, one that uses a commonly used image and message type (maybe it will be Oprah Everybody Gets a Car or Batman Slapping Robin), but bend it to be the cliff hanger for your plot or a closing commentary.

Tp dp this, use imgflip memegenerator (or another) to find the meme’s “name” and research it on the Know Your Meme Database. This will help understand the meme’s origin and way it is used. This was the approach for the Memes That Meme Themself assignment.

So I might try the Distracted Boyfriend because it’s so versatile.

Hopefully by experimenting with this media forms, and creating your own content, you can expand the media limits of just writing to be writing with Silly Media.


Image Credit

Meme image generated from Grandma Finds the Internet.

Alan Levine

By Alan Levine

An early 90s builder of the web and blogging, Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling, photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He has been a part of NetNarr since 2017.

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