Monday, April 23, 2012

CYOA Week 5: Responses

This Must Be The Place

With the exception of PRIME, I found an overall theme of isolation in these pieces.  The three men featured in HILL, COFFER and BYUN all lived by themselves in isolated situations, whether they be on the outskirts of a city or within the city itself.  After thinking about this, I found myself missing the "why" of the pieces.  They acted as great snapshots of life, but aside from a brief mention of feeling unfulfilled the filmmakers didn't seek out more information about why these men chose to live the way they did.

I thought the music worked well most of the pieces.  With HILL, I felt like the shots and background noise did enough to establish the feeling of the piece, and the music felt a bit intrusive.  With BYUN, the earliest piece, music seemed to be really integral to the piece.  Perhaps the filmmakers strategy has changed in regards to the role of music in their pieces over the past year.  I think it sometimes served to manipulate the feelings of the listener, especially in PRIME, but it seemed okay in these pieces.  I saw them more as art than hard journalism.

Because the pieces are up on Vimeo, I'm inclined to identify the intended audience as younger people.  The pieces also used current music.  On the other hand, the people featured were middle aged or older, so that could be an audience too.  Whether or not the display platform reaches the intended audience is up in the air.

The Most Dangerous Gamer

I know nothing about video games, but I wanted to read this piece.  Part of what made the profile so fascinating is Jon Blow's take on gaming as a way to approach philosophical ideas.  The plot lines of his games differ from what I think of when I hear the words "video game," and that really drew me into the text.  The article's author, Taylor Clark, did a good job of weaving in descriptions of the game to give the reader a good look into Blow's mind.  I also thought the video feature posted online was a nice touch.

Blow has an intriguing character.  I think Clark did a good job of balancing his more offputting thoughts with his complicated background.  Blow sometimes came off as self-important and isolating--he doesn't seem to have a lot of friends, but clearly his life goal isn't to make them.  Sometimes, though, we caught a glimpse of a lonely past that could have led to his present attitudes.  I do think Clark used a bit of manipulation in presenting Blow's personality, especially as he shows more of Blow's lonely past as he moves through the story.  I pitied him, but I didn't know if I should or if Clark thought I should.

Overall I thought it was a great piece on video games.  It seems like it could appeal to a wide audience, both those who game and those who don't.  It made me really want to play Braid and The Witness.


  1. Maggie, I agree that it seemed to be more art than hard journalism. There were times in PRIME that I questioned if they had been staged in any way, even if loosely. I want to re-watch that one to see what manipulation they had with the diner noises into the video. All of these videos remind me of our upcoming multimedia projects soon because the shots were always still. If they were moving, they moved in straight, ventricle lines and at a very slow pace. It was like zooming in and out of moving spat shots with audio over it.

  2. Maggie, I wondering how you felt about the movies in relation to our upcoming a/v project, as well as future radio pieces. It made me rethink how I felt about journalism versus art, like in the case of radiolab. By the way, I feel like this was featured on radiolab at some point. I feel the destinction between aestetics and journalism is important for the creator to be upfront about. I also agree that the humans bring the story to the places.