This I Believe…was dreadful

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August 27, 2012

Today I explored different ‘how to’ videos on YouTube on how to make a movie. Considering the fact that I have never attempted making a movie on any program I literally am starting from scratch. Since I own a PC I have decided to use Windows Movie Maker and I found this helpful guy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sdte6mxMZzg). Through his YouTube channel I learned the basics of Movie Maker but I learned that I still had a lot of exploring to do. However his video did teach me how to ‘cut’ a video, add audio, and record my own voice. Now that I have SOME familiarity with a movie making program, I feel more comfortable with picking a topic.

Now how am I supposed to pick a topic? There are a lot of things that I believe in, but I am really trying to avoid making this video cheesy. To explore what I am interested in I started browsing through my facebook pictures. I figured pictures reflecting what I have done throughout my life would give me a hint of what I believe in. After my first few pictures I instantly knew what I wanted to do my video on – I believe in EXPLORING!

August 28, 2012

Initially when thinking of the idea of exploring I was thinking more along the lines of travelling. However, as I started saving all my facebook pictures that I wanted to use I realized that there is a lot more than travelling that I believe in. For example you can explore new types of food, new methods of transport or even new types of music. So I’ve decided that in my movie I’m going to discuss exploring in a broader sense.

August 29, 2012

Today I started making my video. I think I want the beginning of my movie to start off with an airplane taking off. The video that I liked the most from YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYITVxa7yPU) was taken from the view of a passenger. Then I started scrolling through my iTunes to see what songs I have about ‘exploring’ and I chose See the World by the Kooks. However when I lined the song up with the video I decided that most people won’t know that song and be able to relate to it so I decided to use I’ve Been Everywhere by Johnny Cash.

After I got my introduction all figured out I couldn’t quite decide on what order I should place my pictures. So today I started actually writing my essay. The biggest dilemma I faced was what sort of tone I wanted to create. I don’t think I want to be serious or sappy but it is always really hard to be funny. It is sort of a hit or miss situation. The tone I have adopted right now is comedic but I don’t know if I want to keep it.

August 31, 2012

As I was working on my movie today I started NOT liking my topic. I felt like it was too vague and hard to encompass. I might still stick with it in the end since I have already done quite a bit of work on it but I am also exploring other topics. Another idea that crossed my mind was ‘I believe in empowering sex workers in India.’ This might sound a little random but I did a high school research paper on sex workers in India and it really interested me. If I were to pick this topic I want to make sure that I’m clear in what I am supporting. I don’t necessarily support prostitution but I believe that everyone should be granted their basic human rights and empowered to have options. I will continue exploring this topic and see how it works out.

September 2, 2012

Today I officially decided that I am switching my topic to ‘I believe in empowering sex workers in India.’ I really liked my previous idea but I was having a really hard time writing an essay  about it. Now moving on to my new topic – I have already done all the research and written a paper on the topic so now I am just going to have to cut down my four THOUSAND word essay into a 500 word essay.

September 3, 2012

One thing I really wanted to do, when assigned this project, was use my own pictures. I didn’t like the idea of using pictures from Google that had no direct connection to me. However, I do not have any personal pictures concerning my topic so Google it is. I finished writing my essay and so now I am just finding pictures that match my words. The purpose of this video is to get people to think, empathize, and act on the issue.

Essay

The sex industry is one of the largest businesses in the world today. To many who are impoverished, the selling of their body provides a source of income in order to feed their families and themselves. Since this business requires no resources, other than human bodies, it is one that is prevalent in every region of the world. India has the second largest number of sex workers in the world. The sex industry is massive in India for several reasons: poverty, overpopulation, globalization, and the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Once these women and children are engaged in the sex industry, whether it is by choice or force, in a society where they aren’t respected or protected by the law, they are made vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, violence, and stigma.

Empowerment begins with education and education provides options. Although prostitution is not illegal in India, the sex workers are not protected by the law. Instead, they are abused and tortured by legal forced. Such criminalization and localized police raids in red-light districts have been linked to a decrease in condom use as the resulting scarcity of customers forces impoverished sex workers to agree to abusive or unsafe sex in order to support themselves.

Another big problem sex workers in India face is social stigma and discrimination. In several cases sex workers are chastised by their neighbors and are being forced to move out of their villages. Even worse, their kids aren’t allowed into the local schools simply because of their mother’s occupation. Discrimination prevents them from entering other livelihood options which results in them being limited to two livelihood options– working as a sex worker and begging. Thus, even if the women wanted to leave the sex industry, they couldn’t because they would not be accepted, not only by society but also by their families.

My name is Saba Rewald and I believe in Empowering Sex Workers in India

BOLD – Not in the Video

September 9, 2012

The project is ‘due’ in TWO days but no biggie, I just have to put a WHOLE video together. Luckily I have already somewhat learned how to use Movie Maker. The first thing I want to incorporate in my video is the testimony of a sex worker from this YouTube clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jc6be7NvJWg starting from 9:03. I feel as if personal experiences move people more than any words that I could say. Next, I started organizing all the pictures I have gathered to match up with the words of my essay (this wasn’t too hard). After my pictures were dragged into Movie Maker (MM) I recorded myself on MM itself. In order to get the transitions to pace with my words I had to adjust the length of some images and add a few more. Overall, things seem to be coming together.

September 10, 2012

After watching my video again I decided that I didn’t like just hearing my voice. I picked the song Thistle and Weeds by Mumford and Sons to create an eerie atmosphere and enhance the seriousness of the issue. The only problem is sometimes the music takes away from my voice and I do not know how to edit that. Anyway, all I have left is the credits and learning how to save my WHOLE project as a video file itself.

September 19, 2012

I decided to do the credits on a Word document and ‘publish’ my video as it is so…here you go! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ-9S_1kssw&feature=youtu.be

Works Cited – I would like my students to use the latest MLA format

All of my images were either personal or found on Creative Commons except for…

Works Cited

2011. Photograph. Beirut Night Life, Beirut.

Beyond the Barbed Wire: Sex Workers in India Help Fight Sex Trafficking. Dir. Divinity33372. YouTube. YouTube, 27 June 2011. Web. 26 Sept. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jc6be7NvJWg&gt;.

Since I have already published my video I am not sure how to reopen it and add a ‘Credits’ slide.

Parallel Composition

Having two elements to this ‘essay’ really changed the tone of the writing. When simply writing a paper, students are generally encouraged to use very formal language, not to use personal pronouns and so on. However, when you know this essay has to be turned into a video you want to make it entertaining which alters the tone and formality of the paper. Also I think in an attempt to make it entertaining, students may divert from the actual assignment and miss the content aspect of things. Furthermore, by making it a parallel composition students are allowed to work off of a range of stimuli. This broadens ideas, creativity and areas of interest. By being able to integrate several different aspects to portray something (other than just simply words), students may be led to further develop/express concepts that maybe wouldn’t make sense if it is just solely written out. Overall the idea of making a movie that parallels with an essay allows room for creativity but may take away from the discipline of writing a paper (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).

Switch up the Mood

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Switch up the Mood

 

Assignment Details

Color, lighting, saturation, contrast, and many other factors all play in to taking a decent photo and making it fabulous. This assignment is to change the mood or tone of a photograph by altering the contrast, brightness, hue, saturation, exposure, etc. You do not have to change all of those things about the photo, but you can if you would like to. Experiment. Don’t be afraid to take it to the extremes, and don’t be afraid to be subtle. Familiarize yourself with your editing software, whether it’s Photoshop, GIMP, Picnik, or any number of other editing platforms. Most of all, enjoy what you are doing!
Personally, I have messed with these elements of a picture but never on a photo-editing program. Word has been sufficient enough for me in terms of changing the ‘mood’ of a picture. However, since this class/assignment is about trying something new, I downloaded GIMP. Honestly, I cannot say exactly the steps I went through in order to edit this picture. This experience was a bunch of clicking around, messing up, starting over, getting frustrated, and finally producing my final product. I can’t say that I had a specific goal in mind on how I wanted the picture to look but I definitely was aiming to make it look different and maybe cooler. Through this experience I KIND OF familiarized myself with GIMP and successfully came out with a finished product.

Paying Attention to My Own Attention

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In doing the ‘experiment’ of paying attention to my own attention span while reading Net Smart, I learned that I am not very good at paying attention. Thirty dense pages of analytical evaluations on studies of our attention span shouldn’t be too hard to read, right? Nope. It only took me a total of 48 hours broken up by eating, sleeping, texting, facebook-ing, and other extremely important elements in my life. At moments, I would try to force myself to completely focus on the reading but my attention only lasted for ten minutes. According to my data sheet, I remained the most focused at the beginning of my reading sessions. As time progressed I got more and more distracted by my anxiety to finish so I started skimming and skipping. In line with what Rheingold states about our ability to stay focused, I feel as if I am a part of the internet generation that has become lazy and almost lost the ability to ‘search’ instead of ‘surf.’

However, Rheingold did clarify that distractions in and of themselves aren’t always negative. He states that if it weren’t for distractions “we wouldn’t hear the taxicab when stepping off the curb (pg 43).” The issue comes to play when we don’t know how to train ourselves to ignore unnecessary distraction when trying to accomplish a specific goal (in this case, finishing the chapter).

My biggest ‘distraction’ when reading Rheingold’s chapter on attention was definitely the urge to respond to a text/email/facebook post or anything related to social media. Even though I was aware that I needed to try to control my ability to get distracted I still felt this STRONG urge to check my phone whenever it vibrated.  Rheingold refers to this as an ADDICTION and refers to a study that biologically explains my obsession over checking my phone. Apparently a hormone called dopamine is released whenever there is a stimuli to respond to which explains my bodies urge to check my phone whenever it vibrated. This hormone is released for ALL stimuli but since social media is SO present in our lives these days it is clearly prevalent when our phones vibrate.

Although the human race seems to be slowly losing the ability to PAY ATTENTION there is still hope for all of us. Just as if we would go to soccer practice to get better at soccer, we can also do “simple exercises [to] increase our attention agility (pg 62).” On top of these exercises, the key to maintaining our ability to pay attention is mindfulness which involves being aware of paying attention on purpose (64). Maybe since there were fewer distractions ‘back in the day’ paying attention wasn’t so hard. However now that we are surrounded by distractions we need to ‘work harder’ or be more mindful of paying attention. Alongside more distractions comes more effort into paying attention!