Author Archives: tabularasa


When starting to read these pieces, it seemed completely foreign to me. Firstly I don’t play Halo and the idea of creating a film using videogame characters seemed a bit absurd. Not that I didn’t think videogames lacked the potential to be turned into movies (since we have examples like Laura Croft, Silent Hill, and…Resident Evil, though I wasn’t a fan of that last one), but the thought of doing it within the confines of a virtual world seemed hard. There are some games with exceptionally intricate and vast worlds but the limitations on the characters and their actions seems the greater difficulty. The enlightening part within the FAQ was just how much time and money Machinima can save in the production of a film/episode. While animation has progressed from being hand drawn frame by frame to some digital rendering, moving to ready made 3D videogames seems like it would hinder the creative process. If you don’t collaborate directly with the videogame producers, you are left to deal with a handful of limitations. People most likely will have to become inovative because of this, but it is likely that lots of the merit from these Machinima works will have to come from the script. Another key limitation I think exists is that representations of humans within videogames are not realistic yet to create believeable portrayals. There still remains an alien factor while watching these 3D characters in situations going past their roles within their respective games. I don’t think it would qualify as Machinima, but the only example I’ve seen where I think videogame characters had sucessfuly translated into film was “Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children“. I don’t think Machinima can produce great works of art…or anything beyond comedy just yet. Will be interesting to see how it develops in the future.

Sophie Book

Here’s my book on the Chris Anderson’s “The Long Tail”.

Fan this fan that

The central groups this weeks readings concered was fan club. Jenkins first piece pointed out the movement from large entertainment companies controling the movie industry, towards a world where the everyday person armed with a digital camera rules. There’s a feeling backed by the fan community that in taking the power into their own hands, they are able to really develop and evolve the medium as an art form. The key example Jenkins sites as a catylyst is “Star Wars”. Before notions like “intellectual property” and ownership rights, creative reworkings of epics through oral tradition were quite prevalent. Instead of fans observing quietly from a distance, they are becoming “active participants within the current media revolution, seeing their cultural products as an important aspect of the digital cinema movement.” The proliferation of these fan based works greater expands the points of entry for people to buy into something, creating an “entertainment supersystem.” This participatory culture is aided by current technologies and software which increase the ease of transporting. The dilema between whether fans should have ownership rights over whatever they make, or if these should ultimately belong to the original creators of the material they borrowed from, brings us back into the troubles of fair use and copyright.

An idea that was expanded upon in Jenkins “Harry Potter” piece was the one where fan web sites creates a space that helps “enable a sharing of technical advice; and trading such information helps to improve the overall quality of work within the community.”   It sparks the idea that regardless of a persons degree or education they can be admirable in a field of work solely through their prowess. Fan communities are an environment where everyone can display their work without having corporate backing or special connections. Fan culture promotes specialized growth in their respective areas. My personal favorite example that was mentioned was that of fansub groups for anime and Japanese drama shows. Using existing works as “creative scaffolding” and for inspiration, people are able to explore mediums and continue their development. While the methods fans take in creating their works may not be approved by “professional” educational institutions in their fields, there is still merit within them.

Also unrelated

Lets hope this video embed works this time.


I’m sort of obsessed with this song right now. The creators of the song are a musical duo called N.A.S.A (North America, South America) and they basically go around collaborating with a bunch of different artist and making amazing pieces of music. I like to think of them as a western counterpart to Asia’s m-flo (also very worth checking out). While I love the song the video itself is quite fetching. Turns out the makers of the video are a trio of creative warriors (what they reffer to themselves as), that I’ve been following for some time, named Three Legged Legs. They have a bunch of other wonderful animated clips if you’re up for some eye candy.

Signs of Fear and Loathing

hmm didn’t get a reply from my group members (Nathan & Zach) so guess I’ll just post one of our videos…the other will be posted shortly? Signs + Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas = Signs of Fear and Loathing. Creative, aren’t we ;] Anyways enjoy! (edit: My video didn’t get pulled by youtube but for some reason isn’t working here anymore, so click the link instead)


Testing it out

I’m going to take advantage of our nifty new buttons and start the embeding. These are all gems that weren’t able to go viral because they don’t fit in with the limited types of videos that the youtube community acknowledges. I realize there are videos with even less views than these, but I still think they are very under appreciated.





A friend recently posted a link on facebook to an article titled “Early soy diet may protect against breast cancer“. Overall the piece has a positive tone, but it lacking in that comprehensive of support. This made me remember years ago when there was a scare over soy products possibly causing homosexuality in children. Having grown up on soy milk and consuming lots of tofu throughout my life, I went to investigate futher.

Talks about the estrogens found within soy

The articles I found, were in complete contrast to the one my friend posted. Breast cancer was not really mentioned, but a host of problems soy can cause were. Over abundant estrogen levels, thyroid problems, and stunted maturation are some that they mentioned. Think it’s sort of late for any of us to know any of this since we’re past puberty, but still might be good to be mindful of.


The first part of Sullivan’s article identifies the reason why I initially thought having a blog for a class was peculiar. He mentions that “the online form rewarded a colloquial, unfinished tone”, “brevity and immediacy”, as well as pointing out the diaristic feel of blogs. Because of the impulsive nature of blogging, they can be more accident-prone, but I think the spontaneity of posting makes the writing stay closer to the actual thoughts and feelings of the blogger at the time.

He goes on to explain the libratory feeling of being able to post without the approval of people like editors. This definitely allows for freer speech and a greater diversity of voices to be heard, but blogging is not a faultless form. With the vastness of the web, there is no guarantee that a blogger will be heard. Even if someone is to view your blog, the inherent laziness of the Internet user will likely cause you to reap no feedback. A large number of bloggers simply write about their personal lives, usually garnering an audience composed of just friends. For blogs of a more political or critical nature, readers would probably tend to look for a reliable/corporate source. For anything outside of spreading cool/funny/interesting finds on the Internet, I don’t believe the blog is a good form. You may find some dialogue between heated comment posters, but this is hardly encouraged by the medium. Sullivan’s referral to the writer and reader being connected in a link liken to “friendship” is hard to believe. I do agree however that there is more power for the reader to respond to an authors writing, than in anything physical printed text. This doesn’t mean the blogger has any motive to respond though. There are many facets online where users have unreasonable trust for each other, but I don’t think trust increases the validity people feel in blogs.

Rosen’s piece is centered around a three sphere diagram. There is the Sphere of Consensus, Sphere of Legitimate Controversy, and the Sphere of Deviance. This basically is dealing with who comprises the mainstream voice, who is viewed as radicals and untrustworthy, and the grey areas inbetween. Assuming to be in any of these spheres entails having a certain view point. “The closer they think they are to the unquestioned core of consensus, the more plausible it is to present a single view as the only view” Whoever is on the “inside” group will be the ones that establish where the ground of consensus is. He states how previous to the age of blogging, dissidents to these overarching mainstream media views were “atomized”, but now are able to find each other and congregate over the internet. There was some uneasiness on whethere “what is on the internet is closer to “real public opinion” than what is in the mainstream media.” Personally I don’t think you can establish either as what the majority of people feel. People with the “same” stance on a certain subject will have a multitude of variation between each others viewpoint. Rosen cites Raymond William’s words, “There are in fact no masses; there are only ways of seeing people as masses.

The third piece by Clay Shirky helped to solidify somewhat what the presence of blogging means for the passing age of newspapers. With the passing of anything, those who were used to it will be fearful of what will come after. He states how things within our age need to be optimized for the digital age, and how this digitization of news is rendering the newspaper less useful than it once was. “The incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public — has stopped being a problem.”

Long Tail

Chris Anderson points out that this digital age has presented “an entirely new economic model for the media and entertainment industries”, which should promt the fields to reform away from old models based on economic scarcity.

He cites that the physical world puts two dramatic limitations on our entertainment. Firstly being the need to find local audiences, and secondly the constraints of physics itself. In the physical world of scarcity, a store has only so much space and funds to hold a limited stock of products. “Retailers will carry only content that can generate sufficient demand to earn its keep.” While there may not be high demands for certain items in a given area, this is not to say that the demand for them does not exist.

Anderson refers to these restrained market models with “hit-driven economics”. This has created “an age without enough room to carry everything for everybody”. The world on online distribution and retail is “a world of abundance.”

A model based on scarcity cause us to assume that “only hits deserve to exist”, in an effort to increase revenue and lower opportunity cost. However executives at iTunes, Amazon, and Netflix, have discovered that “misses usually make money” as well. The digital world has reduced the difference between a “hit” and a “miss” to simply different entries in a database. Both are equally worthy of being carried.

According the Amazon statistics “the market for books that are not even sold in the average bookstore is larger than the market for those that are.” These large, previously ignored markets, are something that industries should start investing in.

Andersons lays out two rules for companies willing to “get over the economics of scarcity” and profit off the Long Tail market. Rule one is to make everything available. The industries need to embrace niches because there will always be an audience for them. Documentaries and foreign films are two things Anderson mentions that have a large demand, but little availability. He wants us to throw away our “estimates of demand” and just “thoughtlessly” make all products available for purchase.

Jumping back to the notion of the digital world not being constrained as heavily as the physical world, he introduces rule two: “Cut the price in half. Now lower it.” In regards to the music business he states “If it clearly costs less for a record label to deliver a song online, with no packaging, manufacturing, distribution, or shelf space overheads, why shouldn’t the price be less, too?” Songs on iTunes should be 79 cents, not 99. We should be basing “price according to digital costs, not physical ones” for digitally run markets.

The last of his rules is for the industries to help people find what they want. In an effort to harness the Long Tail market, he shows how industries are using recommendation sytems to cater to a users needs.



Nathan (njs12008) and I did a podcast on music mash ups, as well as trying to make one of our own. We’ll let the medium speak for itself. Enjoy!

Songs used for producing this:

“Four Seasons” by Vivaldi

“Love Don’t Cry ft. Crystal Kay” by m-flo

“Let Me Think About It” by Ida Corr

“Heart Break ft. Annie and Jesse Boykins III” by Mickey Factz

“Body and Soul ft. Benny Goodman” by Artie Shaw