Isolating Plots

This is the part of this course where we hope will devise a speculative fiction of your own.

We’ve watched two of the three films in the Screening Surveillance series and this week are asking you to look at other audio, video, and interactive examples in the Net Mirror Library.

Where might you draw as a surveillance technology that you might extrapolate just being a bit more extreme? The things we saw in Frames was a few steps up from surveillance cameras and in Blaxites, it stemmed from smart phones and tracking devices like exercise bands.

A starting point might be a common technology in your life now or a work, study, or interaction experience. What if there was a more sinister surveillance aspect to these things?

I had that moment before our last class when I got a message from my car reminding me it had not been started in a few days. And today, I had one of those times in shared Google docs where there was an unknown entity inside my document.

These are rather small, but I can see quite easily a narrative thread stemming from these.

See if you can come up with a short list of your own that might play out as a plot. Just stretch your imagination.

GIF a Screening Surveillance Scene

You’ve seen animated GIFs right? Where do they come from? Of course, THE INTERNET.

Why just share them when you can make your own?

I hope we might do this as an in class activity, but just in case we do not, it’s left here for something to explore.

Being being fun to do, we can use the GIF creation tool from Giphy that let you use YouTube videos as the source, and your job is to pick a segment that is less than 10 seconds long to loop.

If giphy does not work for you, other sites that do the same thing include:

The act of doing this forces you to look carefully at a much longer piece of video, and identify a key scene or action. For this activity, we ask that you try this on one (or both) of the Screening Surveillance films we have watched.

Find a scene that might have changed the entire plot if a person made a different choice. Or look for scenes where the plot would be different if the technology worked differently.

The caption you add can provide commentary or suggest the dialogue action you have changed (in your imagination).

For example, what if there was friendly banter in the elevator scene from Frames?

Frames GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

And what if the doctor in Blaxites cared more about his patient, Jai, then being a servant of the medical business?

Netmirror GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

These do not make likely better films, but the act of narrowing in on key scenes can help you think about the turns plots can make.

If you want to try this out, see the instructions provided in GIF a Key Scene of a Screening Surveillance Film in the NetNarr Make Bank.

Image Credit

Pixabay image by gagnonm1993

By Prof Alan

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

One reply on “Isolating Plots”

Great GIF tool. Lots of creative NRG being created. Who was the anonymous hamster? Can “they” do that? How’d it get there? I have questions.

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