Living the Dream (Ds106 Final Project)

Living the DreamPoster

In a world where magical ponies roam free over the land and soar through the blue, cloudless skies, one speedy pegasus strives to be better than the rest. This is a story of blood, sweat, tears, ambition, and a mare’s determination to become the next legendary Wonderbolt, a protector and athlete of the skies. Amber E. May presents “Living the Dream” a Rainbow Dash story.

This is a story about how a blue pegasus named Rainbow Dash grew up constantly dreaming about becoming the next Wonderbolt, which is a team of pegasus ponies who train day and night to protect the skies of Ponyville. (They’re sort of like the Air Force.) Rainbow has trained her whole life, honing her speed and agility skills in preparation for the moment when the Wonderbolts finally recognize her. This video outlines the training she has undergone and it highlights some of her finer adventures. It includes a scene of her as a young filly performing the very first Sonic Rainboom in Equestrian history. However the video also shows a few of her slip-ups, proving that nopony is perfect.This pony has sadly been told countless times that she wasn’t going to become anything in life and that she should give up on her dream. Despite the endless bullying and putdowns though, she kept training in her air obstacle courses until she finally went down in history by saving ponies from an accident during the young flyers competition; also winning the competition in the process.  She was even praised by the Wonderbolts for her bravery and quick thinking. This video is only the beginning of Rainbow Dash living her dream.

This video was made in Final Cut Pro in a little over a week. Of course what one notices first is the immense amount of effects. If I named all of them, it would take up this whole post, but the main ones I used were the “Ultra Wide Screen” effect, color filter, “bad film” filter, desaturated filter, and the multiple screen effect. There were also places where I was able to fit up to 4 different video clips in the same viewing field. To do this I just make each separate video screen smaller. Another noticeable thing is the overlays and how they are used to simultaneously show 2 separate occurrences. At around 1:38 these overlays are used to act as Rainbow Dash’s thoughts as she’s performing the Sonic Rainboom; thoughts of her intensive training and the ponies who said she couldnt accomplish anything. I used all of these effects 1. to make the video as explosive and exuberant as possible and 2. to match Rainbow Dash’s quick paced personality. The music, entitled “The Wonderbolts Take Flight”, adds to this effect because it is meant to remind people of a high speed race. The music also plays a role in the timing and type of effects that should be used (a good example is at 2:04 when DJ-Pon3 is DJing and the music keeps her on beat. Another one is at 4:09 where Fluttershy’s eyes are dizzied after watching Rainbow fly in circles.) The song for the end credits is meant to further show Rainbow Dash’s passion for wanting to join the Wonderbolts. It is the solo she sang during the song “At the Gala” from episode 26.

This video is an example of a mashup because it is a combination of many episodes of My Little Pony and it includes a song from another source. As I said in last week’s post, I’d been creating remixes and mashups for years without even knowing it, and now that I realized it, I started using this media to focus on telling stories and evoking emotions from them. I feel like the emotion one should exhibit while watching this is support and empathy; wanting to cheer on the eager pony as we see her fight the odds. All of this emotion is brought out from just music, video, and special effects. It’s truly amazing what editing can make a person feel at that moment.

If this video doesn’t show you how badly Rainbow wants to be the best of them all I don’t know what will. She has spent her whole life preparing for the moment where the crowds will cheer when she soars overhead. I think she beyond deserves everyone’s recognition! This is a great capstone for Ds106 because it pretty much wraps up what we’ve been learning all semester; that you dont need words on a page to tell a story.

Artificial Intelligence

In an age where artificial intelligence is becoming more and more prominent, we must become weary of those who walk among us. Who is real, and who is a machine? As the decades go by, it will become more difficult to answer this question. Your best friend could be a cyborg and you would never know.

(My blog makes the image seem like it’s squished together. Right click it and choose “View Image” to see the right proportions.)

Artificial Intelligence

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

This activity was done for the “For the Remix” assignment. I made this image using a portrait from Jonathan Worth’s website, Creative Commons images of a metal skull and bar code, and GIMP. First I turned the whole image’s color to a silvery-blue to try to mimic the dramatic lighting found in a Terminator movie or something. Then I selected half of his face, cut it away, and pasted it as a new layer. Making it a new layer allowed me to freely rotate the piece without messing up the rest of the face. When I rotated it, I wanted it to look like half of his face was breaking open like a pinata to reveal his metal skull.

The skull was another layer in itself and it was was moved to fit directly under the face layer. The problem I had with this was that the skull was an image that faced directly forward while the face was turned at an angle. I tried to fix this by slightly warping the skull to turn it a bit. The red eye inside the skull was done with a series of fuzzy brushes and Gaussian blurs (to add the glow) Meanwhile the other eye was red to show that there was also a red light behind that part of the face too.  Finally, I added the bar code to his forehead to show that he is just a product; an android that could be bought at an AI industry. (this layer’s opacity had to be turned down to make it look like it was naturally printed into is forehead.)

I had ALOT of fun making this and I was impressed with how it turned out. My first idea was to open his head and inside there was going to be the inside of an apple, symbolizing knowledge. But that would’ve been too easy and I went with something much cooler. I mean, would you rather have a fruit for a brain or an advanced piece of technology that could grant you the power to do unimaginable things? Yeah, I thought so.

Let’s Analyze “Pulp Fiction”!

I LOVE Tarantino’s movies! He always seems to know what camera effects to use at just the right moments to enhance the scene.  I chose to analyze a famous scene from the movie Pulp Fiction where the two main characters and their hostage are in a car debating. I’m going to take notes as I’m watching the clip so I can jot them down as soon as I notice something, so I apologize in advance that this will not be in paragraph form.

Step 1: Watching Without Listening

1. According to Roger Ebert, things in the foreground are more important than what’s in the background. Which is why Marvin, in the back seat, is blurred out when the 2 important guys are talking in the front. Also in the front, the dominant individual is on the right while the “sidekick” is on the left.

2. In the beginning, the camera doesn’t pay attention to who’s talking, but only the expressions given off by Jules; showing how he doesn’t have much interest in what Vincent is saying to him. This also functions as the scene’s Establishing Shot (according to the Top 20 Cinematic Techniques video), showing where this scene is going to play out rather than jumping straight into the characters’ argument. I noticed Tarantino does this a lot in his movies; he sets the stage before focusing on the characters’ interactions.  After this moment, the camera begins to cut between whomever is talking.

3. When Marvin starts talking at 0:49, the camera is still blurry, probably implying that he’s still not invited into Vincent and Jules’ conversation. However, after he’s done speaking, the camera cuts to Marvin’s point of view from the backseat, but not the direct POV through his eyes.  This makes the audience seem like an invisible character next to Marvin in the backseat, watching this play out from a different perspective. Even though Vincent is clearly talking to Marvin now, we still don’t get to see him in the shot for the rest of the scene. Probably showing how he’s still not important enough in that scene to get his own screen time.

4. I guess the cut to the back window as the blood covers it is a way to show the gruesomeness, STILL without showing Marvin. He just wasn’t meant to be in this scene, yet he’s extremely important.

5. After the blood explosion, both Vincent and Jules are being showed in the shot at the same time, showing how theyre both imporant at the moment. However Jules seems to be more dominant in the shot because the camera is shot from his side of the car. Imagine of this moment was shot through the front windshield of the car. This would put Vincent and Jules on equal levels. Tarantino didn’t want this because Jules is clearly the boss between the two. I also noticed that Vincent is more blurred out in the background, not as much as Marvin was, but just enough to show that Jules in the foreground is more important.

Step 2: Listening Without Watching

1. The soothing sound of the car driving along the road was the first thing I noticed. The sound sort of puts us in the car with them. Despite the fact that they’re arguing, the sound of the car is still sort of relaxing.

2. Tarantino likes to keep things as natural as possible in his movies, which is why during average-human-scenario scenes like these, he doesn’t add any additional background music or unnecessary sound effects. If these were added to this shot, the meaning might be changed or the scene would be dictated by the sounds. Plus you can already feel the heat between the two without music telling us “this is a heated argument.”

3. The dialogue seems like just an average human conversation that escalated a bit too much. Vincent was so involved in the conversation that he wasn’t paying attention to his gun. I’m trying to imagine this scene as if I hadn’t already seen the movie. If i were just listening to it as an audio drama, I wouldn’tve known why a random gun went off if Vincent hadn’t said what happened. Speaking of the way he said it, I found it hilarious that he said” Aw, I shot Marvin in the face…”all casually, as if he didn’t just SHOOT SOMEONE IN THE FACE!

4. The atmosphere in the car changed from heated arguing to panic after Marvin got shot. Without even being there, the audience can feel how frantic the characters feel just by how the dialogue is layered on top of one other, sentences being cut off and shouting.

Step 3: Watching and Listening!

1. Tarantino uses the audio dialogue and the camera shots to keep us at the center of the action in the car without even being there.

2. Huh…I didnt notice this before. The speaking dialogue is so clear, as if it was recorded in another, more enclosed location other than in the car. I know if I tried to record myself talking in my car, I would still get some kind of background noise and my voice wouldn’t be heard as easily.

3. At 0:33 Vincent looks directly at Jules to confront him head on, after he’d been looking forward and away from him the whole time. He does this to show his seriousness in the topic. Meanwhile Jules doesn’t once turn to look at him. This isn’t because he’s busy driving (because he later turns to look at him after Marvin was shot) but it’s because he had no intent to change his mind on the matter. His decision was final.

4. At 0:52 Vincent does the turn again to talk to Marvin just as he did when he got serious about Jules’ responses. He ends up sounding alot more serious during those 2 turns in this scene.

5. Now we finally see Jules look at something other than the road at 1:00 (see, told you he was just ignoring Vincent’s glance earlier!) He looks at the back seat multiple times, as his voice gets louder and louder, clearly more concerned about what just happened than what they were discussing before.

Maaann, this couldve all been avoided if Marvin had an opinion. Oh well.

I never noticed how much went into this scene, and if I did I was probably not consciously aware of it. Tarantino clearly takes all aspects of perspective and audio into account when he creates these legacies, and he tries to make each scene a slice-of-life scenario; things that could happen to any average person.

Storytelling Within the Web Assignment: How Cynics See UMW

Do you know anyone on campus who aaaallways has something negative to say about the school? In some cases what they say is true, but most of the time they just need something to complain about in front of their friends. It gets annoying. Wouldn’t it be simpler to transfer if you dont like the university? Apparently that concept is too complicated.

I created the How Cynics See UMW page by taking the original UMW homepage and editing the text to what is usually negatively said about the campus; “There’s no parties here!” “The food service here sucks!” ect. I do agree with a few of these, such as the small amount of diversity and the fact that our school’s slogan is cheesy, but I don’t complain about these aspects every waking moment! For the most part, I wouldn’t have selected any other college to attend.

Here’s the original UMW homepage

Picture 4

And here’s how cynics see it
Picture 1

I was unable to change the UMW logo and slogan just by typing over the text because the whole space was an image. This was the only place on the site where I had to use GIMP, since everything else was a basic editable text area.

Check out the main page to see the text a bit clearer. And for pete’s sake, don’t turn into one of these people!! People like these make the school more unbearable than what they actually claim.

The Family Dinner (Multipersonality Assignment ****)

Hooooo boy, this was a fun one!! I’ve heard of arguing with yourself, but this is ridiculous. This was made for the Multipersonality audio assignment. I made this by using multiple tracks in Garageband and by coming up with voices that suited the sort of “average family” trope where the snobby child refuses to eat his veggies, the mom gets upset, and the father could care less what’s going on. I’ve seriously been watching waaayy too many cartoons. Anyone else think I sound like Louis Griffon from Family Guy?

This scenario reminded me of what my family went through when I was younger; my little brother was the stubborn one who wouldnt eat his greens, and me and him would cause mischief at the table. We’d end up getting sent to our rooms afterward…Good times!

Passage of Time


Time doesn’t stand still; therefore none of us are the same people we once were. We have sufficiently grown wiser throughout life, starting from the day we spoke our first words, to as recent as the end of last semester. Whenever something unpleasant happens in life, you may wish to go back and stop the occurrence from happening and never have to experience the indescribable anguish. But would you ever wonder how such revisitation would effect you in the future? If you had never touched that scorching hot skillet as a child, how would you have experienced the pain of being burned and learned from it?  If that narcissistic douchebag  ex-boyfriend had never dumped you your senior year of high school, how would you have later met the person who really taught you what it meant to be in a meaningful relationship? Since we are humans who are susceptible to making mistakes, the most we can do is learn from them and construct ourselves into better individuals. Wisdom comes with the passage of time, but only to those who are willing to learn from their mistakes.

In the image, Present Amber (the only one in color) is sitting as if she were looking out a window and watching all of her old stories play out from afar. She anxiously wants to warn them about some of the impending tribulations that they are about to undergo and what they could do to prepare for such struggles. However, she is aware that if she does tell them, she herself will never be the same. All of the experiences she’d undergone, good and bad, would never had happened to her, and she would be as naïve as her infant self. After that point, she may as well not exist anymore because she isn’t the person she once was (represented by her fading away.)

This image was made for the 9 Lives visual assignment. I made this image in GIMP by cutting out photos of myself from different time periods, the one in color being the most recent. Rather than leaving all of the past photos separated, I decided to integrate them into 1 moment in time. I borrowed the park image to provide a place for the Ambers to take a group photo.

Park Image Source:

Park Image License:

DS106 Radio Bumper!

Best with headphones!!


Woah, this assignment was so fun that I started it immediately after it was assigned. I’d grown up listening to different radio stations (mainly the ones my parents and older sister played in the car,) and I would pay attention, not just to the songs, but to the commercials and promos; so much so that I began copying the ads word for word (driving my mom crazy.)

I created this bumper using Garageband, which is a program that comes with Mac computers, and all of the sounds were from the built-in sound library. I based the bumper after the general radio stations that say their station’s name like 3 or more times, sample a clip from one of their shows, and offer to connect with the audience online. There were 8 tracks total, each one having a different audio output or distortion. I also layered the recordings over one another to reduce the time in between. Radio stations do this to get as much time into their promo as possible since they only get maybe 15-20 seconds. The best way to learn the format of radio commercials is by listening to all the commercials whenever they come on (and not turn to a different station!)

Picture 3