Jan Holevik's Rhetoric and Info Technology course was an intensive masterclass in Adobe Creative Cloud software. I read a ton of theory — and each week, instead of writing papers, I created video-reactions based on those readings.
But saying I completed one video week per video is a bit misleading. I was teaching two undergrad courses at the time, taking three classes, being a graduate student. The videos were usually made over the course of two nights. I do like working in pressure cookers though. Some of the videos turned out okay considering the constraints.
I rarely did my own filming. Instead, I concentrated on editing techniques — learning the software and cobbling together clips from open-source materials. For example, my short film, Threshold, uses public-domain NASA footage, some graphic design of my own, and royalty-free overlays.
I enjoy editing much more than filming. Working with the NASA footage was a pleasure. I also went outside of the Adobe Suite when necessary, using Microsoft Hyperlapse technology to speed up and stabilize the key frames.
Short Film // Nasa Footage
Much of the work done in Rhetoric and Info Tech was inspired by one-word prompts. Jan would present: THRESHOLD, TRIUMPH, or SPIN — which he then wanted realized through the medium of film. When given the prompt, TRIUMPH, I had in mind the idea for a political joint. But Jan asked me to create an upbeat, inspirational fake film trailer instead.
When I think inspirational, I think of this speech from Denzel Washington, on failing hard and falling forward. I built the trailer around Denzel's message.
Fake Movie Trailer
Churning the Content
I created 17 videos in Rhetotoric and Info Tech (a lot of which were garbage). Some were simple slideshows where I practiced audio mixing and narration.
Slow Kinetic Typography
Skepticism Sets In
The hardest part about creating these videos was discarding them after the week was up — beginning something new before the old projects were complete. Not long passed before I became skeptical of my own work. I began to question the quality of my output. I wanted to make something more minimal, something that could entertain without being flashy.
In the final weeks, I created a slow kinetic typography video. Protest came after reading Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death (which wasn't assigned in the class).
Postman reflects on the drawbacks of television culture, television's effect on society, and especially how entertainment harms public discourse. AOD is a prophetic book, and my protest video draws from its pages.