Everything I made in this class was a mistake.
Not to say that I don’t think I made anything worthwhile. I just didn’t mean to take this class. I had to take Writing for Media in order to take any other media production classes and it was full on my enrollment day, so being the dumb freshman that I am, I just randomly signed up for this class. I didn’t check with my advisor or anything. I figured it would be kind of the same thing. I didn’t even pay attention to the fact that it was a 300 class and I was supposed to be taking 100 or 200. I skipped orientation because I figured I could just wing it.
And then I got there and everything was way different than I thought it would be. I honestly thought we would just be practicing writing for an online blog—which we did, but that wasn’t the half of it.
We made videos about other people—people who’s stories needed to be told. We had to learn about filming, story-boarding, and editing in a rapid pace. And, even worse, we had to do it in a group. From this project, I learned a ton of technical skill I’m sure will help me in the future. It also taught me that I can indeed work in a group and survive, and that maybe I should give them more of a chance.
Then, we were tasked at making a recovery story. I chose to document my grandmother’s house, and I’m still not sure if I regret that decision. Not that it wasn’t fun, but that I’m afraid I’m going to be haunted. That taught me photo editing and storytelling skills that I’m sure will be useful to me. I also learned that I shouldn’t be hesitant to go down into dark basements. Maybe a little hesitant, but not super. If I hadn’t gone into the spooky house’s basement, I wouldn’t have gotten a cool picture of a printing press.
Eventually came the sound project, which may be my favorite. I liked that one because it brought to light a medium that people usually write off as “lesser than” as far as entertainment goes—podcasts. Podcasts are cool and interesting and underrated by the general public. That taught me about sound, and how much of what I hear really determine what I feel. It also taught me that I shouldn’t hate the sound of my own voice. Especially now that I know how to use Audacity and can make it sound better.
Finally we have the remix project, which as a premise itself was difficult. I knew it was coming, but I took up until the very last day, the day our proposals were due, to decide what I was doing. To find some semblance of meaning in a bunch of unrelated works by different, inexperienced authors was a daunting task. But, inspiration struck, and I wove the most poetic lines from our blog posts into a statement on documentation and contradictions. If you like it and you’re in my class, pat yourself on the back—they’re your words.
Really, that’s what this class was about. Even when we made these projects, we were contributing to the mass archive of the world, remixing old information, bringing new information to light. It’s a huge amount of power that the individual holds these days—to be able to manipulate fact through all of these channels and project something new into the world. And yet, nothing is absolute. We can document what we want in whatever ways we desire, but we never have the final say. The same things can be remixed and rewritten, photographed, recorded in audio and video a thousand times over—but we will never get the full picture.
But I suppose that’s for the best. If we had the full picture from the very beginning, there would be no reason to remix and rewrite. There would be no reason to create content at all. The series of questions that inspire us as humans to create and convey a message would be answered with immediate gratification, and we would remain immobile, all-knowing, with the same grayscale perception. To document is to try to make something absolute, to establish as fact—but it also allows information to be revisited. Like typing a paper then reading it back and finding an error—even the document is subject to change. To record is to allow for questioning. The series of questions that inspire us as humans to create and convey a message, to which we’ll never get a complete answer.
So no, we’ll never get the full picture.
But maybe we don’t need it.