In the “Net Mirror”, we close our time together with the composition of speculative fiction(s) in order to help synthesize our complex feelings (anxieties ?) regarding our relationship with technology. Each story will grapple with the reality of our data-driven society and the omnipresence of data surveillance. In the process of building unique story concepts, we hope to confront the possible consequences of new technologies that are inherently shaping our lives.
In our last class meeting, I shared the plan for your Final Project for the Net Mirror: the development of both a “story treatment” and a “story concept” for our Net Mirror Story Collection. You have already developed a story treatment this past week, which is designed from a template that includes an image, a title, a plot synopsis, and credit.
In the coming two weeks you will develop further details in a “story concept” that will include the following elements:
A description of setting and accompanying imagery: Where is your story taking place? What mood does it capture? What’s the ambiance- natural light, dark alley, fluorescent offices? What are the furnishings, the objects that make it seem real? Think of the apartment, the coffee shop, the riverside scenes from Frames and the Jai’s home, the doctor’s office, the street scenes from Blaxites.
The setting is both the time and geographic location within a narrative, and it helps initiate the main backdrop and mood for a story. Elements of your setting may include culture, historical period, geography, and hour. When selecting multimodal artifacts or imagery to share a sense of your setting, look for specific visual/textual references that capture the aesthetic style of your story environment.
List the main characters in your story. Name them, describe their physical traits and age, describe their personalities, give them a back story. What are their strengths and flaws? What makes them memorable? What motivates them? What is their relationship to the main character? Consider in Frames the neighbors in the elevator, the people on the bus, the strangers in the park. Or from Blaxites, what are the characters of the doctor, Jai’s friend, the staff in the special center?
What happens in your story? A plot map or storyboard allows writers to visualize the key features and key moments in a narrative. Give an overview/outline of the events that unfold in your story. Highlight key decision moments in your story concept. Look for moments in other video stories that match key moments in your story development, that you might be able to use as reference points. Sketch out and describe the important (turning-point) moments of your story.
Your story concept will be written in a blog/journal style, but you will also be required to include at least the following media:
- Your story treatment (from the “Net Mirror” template)
- An overall metaphorical image to serve as a cover image for your concept
- A screenshot / exported image of your NetMirror Writers’ Room plot summary
- Five+ images of settings/scenes
- At least two tweets (they can be your own) that may be used as plot points in your story (these can be embedded into your published concept).
- At least one original created animated gif representing the surveillance technology in your story.
- At least four original (self-created) meme images playing out a dialogue scene in your story, plus one to leave as a teaser for what happens next.
Your to-do list:
This week, make some progress on your story concept by working on the setting, the characterization, and your plot map. Also, tinker with gif making and build up your selection of media to be inserted into your story concept (you can keep all of this development material in a google doc which serves as a draft space). Next week in class we will workshop your story concepts further by discussing how they are developing and offering feedback. Prof. Levine will also conduct a meme making workshop (similar to this week’s gif workshop), and we will go over the details of how to publish your piece in the Arganee Journal.
Your blog this week should be a brief reflection or progress report on how that development process is going.
Some dates to keep in mind:
On May 14 (our final class “hangout”) you will share your story concepts with each other in presentation-mode.
The submission of your final Net Mirror story will be published in the Arganee Journal, and this submission is formally due on Friday, May 15.
Your final self-assessment blog is the last submission for Net Mirror class and should be posted no later than Sunday, May 17.
Take care, and have a safe (and creative) week. Sincerely,