For the final performance we played the video clips on the screen while Micaela and I narrated the video. I played the sort of salesman and Micaela played a girl who uses the product, Kommon Cents, that we were advertiseing. Each clip could be changed using the space bar of Bozzy's computer. This gave me the ability to control the performance because I could regulate the speed, and I didn't have to rush. Therefore, I had time to interact with Micaela and the audience. The primary goal of this performance was comedy. We knew that the best ways we would achieve that is through making the video funny and interacting with the audience in a funny manner. Tyler was instrumental in making the video funny. He played the character who was not using "Kommon Cents" and he essentially had to make a fool out of himself on camera. We spent long hours working with Tyler on his facial expressions in the video and how we could make this character the funniest it could be. Tyler also had to enter the performance mid way as if he was late because he wasn't using "Kommon Cents" and he had to match the character of his live character to the one he played in the video. Tyler did an amazing job at this task making the performance very funny.
We were tasked with creating a performance that had both a recorded and live aspect. In addition we had to include both an epic failure as well as success. Furthermore, this piece had to be informative and be presented in a “how-to” fashion. Our group were all inexperienced with performance and that is where our first idea stemmed. We wanted to create a “how-to" video on, how to act. We believed that three under qualified people attempting to producing and exemplify how one is supposed to act would add a comedic tone and would ultimately be a success. We began by researching key traits needed when acting or preforming. After we established a few traits, we began to pick a scene that we would implement reenactments focusing on each key trait. We chose the “I am your father” scene from Star Wars. The scene reenactments were particularly weak and not what we intended after a week into our studio. We understood that changing our idea halfway through the studio could be considered reckless, however we felt that our new idea was much stronger and could be executed well. Our idea was a "how to” on winning X-factor. Our plan was to have recorded auditions and we would judge them live in front of the audience. We began by watching X-factor videos and how the judges reacted to the contestants; we took notes and began developing a script for our live performance. Simultaneously, we began auditions. We asked the contestants to stand in front of a green screen and sing a song of their chose. We later took all these clipped and laid it in front of an X-factor background. We presented the video to the audience and concluded by presenting an award and introducing a Segway to the next act to help with flow.
Our project was an instructional video on how to be dope. We interviewed about two dozen NuVu affiliates (students and teachers) with four questions:
1. What does "being dope" mean?
2. Can you offer any concrete examples of dopeness?
3. How can one become dope?
4. Are you dope?
From there, we created supplementary material, like an interactive flowchart and a diagram showing the difference between Dope and Nope. The combination of interview and live performance demonstrates the evolution of our understanding of dopeness. The video's premise was for Sophia's and my character—students at VuNu, NuVu's sister school—to help Abbie's character in becoming dope, and it resulted in a deeper knowledge of our fellow students and the nuances of fitting in and being dope.
The inspiration for our project started when we were given the task to create an instructional video. We knew that we wanted to take a mundane task that we do everyday and make it comical. So in a sense we wanted to create an instructional video on something that would not normally need an instructional video, thus adding comedic value to the performance. We were also inspired by infomercials and, along with that, the contrast of saturation and the use of split screen that is commonly present in these videos. At first, we thought that it would be comical to make a video of how to make breakfast, because it would be easy to think of funny tasks to mess up, such as putting a banana in a toaster, burning toast or not fully cooking the eggs. Because the inspiration behind messing up these tasks was almost always tiredness, we decided that there would be much more material in our performance if we broadened our topic to How To Have a Perfect Morning.
We began the process by brainstorming ideas for our instructional video. We eventually came to the conclusion that we knew we wanted to do a video on how to have a good morning and get to school on time. We then came to the conclusion that we wanted the video to be a split screen account of two peoples mornings. One person would be having a poor morning while another person would be having a great morning. We chose Tyler to have the bad morning and Micaela to have the good morning. We filmed their respective mornings by filming each task that one undergoes in the morning. These tasks included, waking up, getting dressed, brushing teeth, making breakfast, and getting to school on time. After filming the tasks for both of the actors we put the footage into a video software, Izadora. After successfully creating the patch we then came up with the idea that we should make our video into an advertisement for a product that would magically make your morning better, thus adding comedic value to the performance. We came up with the hypothetical product, “Kommon Cents” that is a bracelet that we designed on Rhino that would magically make one have a successful morning. We then rewrote the script according to the this product. After rehearsing it once where I narrated the video alone we found that there was a lot of awkward silences between the clips. In order to combat this we decided to make the performance an interview between me and Micaela and there is going to be an empty chair in order to accentuate the fact that Tyler is absent because he is not using Kommon Cents. Thus creating a comedic feel to the performance. This allows for an informal feel to the performance because their is a certain interactive quality that the performance now has with the audience.
During this studio we did not have to make iterations like we have had to in the past, but we did have to make many edits to the video that we made and script we wrote. When we started the project it took us a while to come up with an idea that we all liked and thought would come out to be a nice final product. At first we struggled with understanding how to use Isadora and how the flowcharts on the program work. While using Isadora software we had to make decisions having to do with what we wanted the video to look like. We tested various effects until we found ones that we felt would make the video look better when presented. After working with Bozzy,our video came out very nicely. The next piece of the project that we as a group struggled with was how to make the performance fluent. As we kept rehearsing we as well as our coaches felt that the script made the performance a little awkward and also that having one character up on stage didn’t help our performance come to life. With that observation, we decided against the script and to make the live portion of the performance improvised. We also decided to add a second character to the live portion of the performance to help make the connection between the video and the live performance stronger.
Our project was part of a studio-wide performance and film piece. Each group was given an open-ended "recipe" of sorts—one overarching message or instruction, one live component, one epic failure, and one epic success—and it was up to all of us to determine how each project would connect. Our group chose to teach NuVu how to be dope, and examine dopeness in general. The storyboards we made on the first day of work started with a shot of Abi, introducing her as a not-dope person and the general idea of the film. We wanted to start with a dramatic introduction of dopeness as a commodity that can be attained from a certain look or personality, to then contrast that with the more accurate definition of simply being and loving yourself. We knew we wanted to film interviews of NuVu students and their opinion from the beginning, to make the video more personal and relatable. We asked four questions: 1) What does "being dope" mean? 2) Can you offer any concrete examples of dopeness (e.g. clothes, aesthetics, people at NuVu, celebrities)? 3) How can someone become dope? 4) Are you dope?
The interviews formed the brunt of our research and we received a range of answers, from superficial and funny to insightful and inspiring. For our live components, we planned on our live commentary and supplementary material in between interviews: an animated, interactive flowchart designed to flippantly answer what an individual needs to do to attain dopeness; and a chart demonstrating specific instances of dope and not-dope things (affectionately referred to as Dope vs. Nope). After gathering all of our interview footage, we developed the greater context for our performance: VuNu, The Ingenuity School. As NuVu's sister school, Julie and Sophie (Jules and Sophia's characters) were part of the Youth Culture studio, and assigned with finding out what exactly it means to be dope. We also helped Abbie (Abi) in understanding dopeness. With this context in mind, we edited and compiled our footage question by question, animated the interactive flowchart, and designed and constructed a logo for VuNu. After writing a rough script and presenting our mostly-finished performance to our studio, we received a lot of helpful feedback which boiled down to making the videos much shorter and making the questions and the evolution of our perspective on dope clearer and more distinct. As a result, each interview question went from over 2.5 minutes to under 1.5 minutes, and we gradually made the insightful answers more prevalent (and the superficial answers less so) as the questions progressed, which made it a lot clearer. For our final performance, we put all of our videos and extra material into a software called Isadora, which allowed us to control the flow of our cues smoothly.
Jules wrote a short, mostly satirical academic essay further exploring dopeness, and handed out copies to the audience before our final live performance—that essay is attached.