End of DS106 Ceremony

Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the annual End of Ds106 Ceremony! I’m your host Amber E. May and I am happy to kick off this celebration! There’s a very large crowd of cheering fans and members of Ds106 gathered outside of the celebration hall and they’re ready to see some action! Tonight we’re going to look back at the good, the bad, the ugly, and the memorable triumphs of these past 15 weeks.

The Ds106 Hall of Fame

The red carpet has been rolled out and the paparazzi has readied their cameras and microphones! Just rolling up to the End of Ds106 Ceremony in a stretch limousine are the assignments from the Hall of Fame. These 6 assignments have demonstrated brilliant creativity, thought provoking concepts, and exquisitely crafted details that made them stand out from all the rest this semester.

The first work out of the limousine is the fashionable “Passage of Time” photo assignment, from the Design category. This assignment was done for the 9 Lives visual assignment during design week. This image really stuck out in the crowd because it wasnt just a picture of a bunch of Ambers together, but it was also a picture of the many successes and struggles that have made these Ambers into the people they are. Photo design week was all about using photos to convey messages, and this one really takes the cake!

Stepping out of the limo next is the lovely Ds106 Radio Bumper, striking a pose with every step! This assignment really gave Ds106 a voice during audio week with it’s audio filters, rockin’ background music, and Talky Tina impression! This bumper did a great job advertising the innovative Ds106 Radio and really kept the show rollin!

Next up is another rambunctious audio assignment called “The Family Dinner” which was created for the Multipersonality audio assignment. In this there is a fed up mother trying desperately to get her 2 kids, Kayla and Derrek, to behave at the dinner table, while her husband Harold doesn’t do much to help the situation. Oh wow! And Derrek even brought a pizza to the ceremony…but his mother doesn’t look too thrilled.

Oooo…the next assignment out of the limo is a bit of a grumpy one entitled “How Cynics See UMW.” where the front page of UMW’s website was transformed into how a cynical student would see the school. Although this assignment during Web week was a bit negative, it still provided some good insight to those stereotypical cynics of the university. The ones who always need something to complain about to look like an expert in front of their friends. It is currently mocking our red carpet…moving on.

We’re getting down to the wire and we’re down to our 5th individual in the Hall of Fame. This assignment was called “Let’s Analyze Pulp Fiction” and it REALLY outdid itself during Video week. This was where we had to study a scene from our favorite movie by first listening to it, watching it, and then watching while listening. What made this assignment so astounding was that it was able to provide a highly detailed analyzation for a clip that was only a minute and 30 seconds! How intense is that! It definitely earned its place in the Hall of Fame and the crowd is going wild as it struts down the aisle!

Now our final, most recent, Hall of Fame member steps out of the vehicle with its red bionic eye shining brightly and its metal skull shining in the spotlight. Everyone give it up for “Artificial Inteligence”, the remix created for the “For the Remix” assignment! This assignment took alot of work and attention detail to deliver its message about the existence of cyborgs and technological advancement. This work of art was acknowledged by Worth himself, which gave it many kudos getting itself into the Hall of Fame.

Artificial Intelligence

There you have it! The distinguished role models of the Hall of Fame!

 Contribution to DS106
Reporter: Excuse me, Miss May. Can we get an interview about how you contributed to the Ds106 community?

Oh well of course! Despite how much work I had to do for the class, I still took the time to acknowledge that there were other students creating brilliant works of art and working together to make Ds106 the best it could be. I made many comments on different blogs throughout the semester providing useful advice, learning a thing or 2 myself, or just simply admiring the hard work they put into their assignments. I think more than doing this I blew up #ds106 on twitter providing updates to my assignment status or providing the occasional goofy comment. I created 2 tutorials, 2 daily create challenges , and 2 actual assignments throughout the semester (but I sadly dont remember which daily creates I made or when I made them. I think both of them were audio assignments.) Oh! And let’s not forget the big radio show project during midterms! I never ceased to assist my group with the mixing and audio effects during our radio show, Digital Dynamite! With our powers combined and 2 weeks of confusion, our show really ended up being dynamite! What can I say? I like helping people out if I possess some knowledge about how to solve their problems.

Advice For New Students

And now let’s turn to our special guest of the evening, Twilight Sparkle! She apparently has some advice for the future Ds106 students. Tune into the video below for her advice.

Thank you Twilight! Hopefully her advice will be of aid to some of the new students.

Created Tutorials/ Assignments/ Daily Creates

Now let’s turn our attention to some of the material created for the fans. The created tutorials and assignments were already summarized twice in 3 different blog posts. Check out the tutorials and the assignments here so I won’t sound like a broken record to you all!
It’s funny how at the beginning of the semester a majority of us thought that we had to do every single Daily Create. It was a HUGE load off our backs when we were told that we only had to do 3 every week! It’s been so long since I’ve done them that I really don’t remember which ones I did. I think some of the best I did were at the beginning of the semester when I actually had the time and energy to put some effort into them. Some of my best ones I think were “The Rude Blue Screen of Death”, “Retitle a Movie”, and “The Daydreaming Window”. And of course we cant forget the week we did the Daily Create Story where we had to string together 3 daily creates and have them tell a story. Mine was about the existence of aliens. (Yes I’m still waiting for them!)

 Final Project

And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for and the ultimate capstone to a great semester in Ds106! Everyone has made their way into the ceremony hall to view this life changing work. There have been 3 sneak peeks to this marvelous within the last 2 weeks about the production and it is now time for it to be unveiled for everyone in tonight’s audience. Without further adieu, Amber E. May Productions proudly presents “Living the Dream” A Rainbow Dash Story!

MARVELOUS! Truly marvelous! The crowd cant get enough of this outstanding film! To see more about how this wonderful story was produced, visit this BLOG POST. All I can say is that this video sums up the real meaning of digital storytelling; using media to create stories rather than linear words.

That’s about it for tonight’s End of DS106 Ceremony. I’m your host Amber E. May and I bid you a fond farewell! We’ll see you again next year!

Final Summary

It’s hard to believe that all of the faces in this class started out struggling in Bootcamp. But look at us now! We’ve been able to put our heads together to make this the best semester of Ds106 ever! Out of all 3 of my years at UMW, this is honestly one of the best classes I’ve had because the assignments made me feel “at home.” I’ve been doing these sorts of projects for fun and leisure since I was in middle school, and just being in a class that has allowed me to continue creating media and even learning more about it has been a dream for me. The one thing I was worried about when I first started the course was that I would fall behind in the blog posts. I’m a very VERY slow writer, and even this post itself has taken me 2 and a half days to write. To combat this weakness, something I’ve learned to do was complete all of the blogs as soon as possible, but create the actual media for the blogs later (as I’m writing the blogs, I’m usually half way done with the actual photo or video, therefore I already know what to write about it.) Just like Twilight in the video above, I am terrified of being late on an assignment and I tend to stress out if something is not done. Likewise, I end up stressing out if I try to do all of the work at once. This class has taught me how to take my time and not try to do a weeks worth of assignments in one day. I mean, if everything is due Sunday and I try to finish everything on the previous Tuesday, of course I’m going to burn out! These are just some of the smaller lessons ive picked up, but there is one thing about this course that has really changed me…

I suck at math, I’m a horrible writer, biology creeps me out, chemistry is too analytical, political science makes me snore, psychology makes me depressed, and history doesn’t keep my attention. At first I thought that there would never be a major for me, and I almost gave up on college. But then I discovered the Digital Media Studies major and it was love at first sight. This class has reminded me why I chose to be this major. I could see myself doing these sorts of projects for the rest of my life, and when I do them, I feel happy that I have ability to accomplish things in a way that I enjoy. Digital Media is my life, and Ds106 has helped me reaffirm this.

Thanks yall, and I hope to see you doing great things in the future! #Ds106 #4life!

Time to Mix it UP! (Weeks 13 & 14 Remix and Mashup)

Can’t….feel my fingers anymore…been remixing and mashing SO much these past 2 weeks! On top of studying for final exams and doing final projects for other classes, I think these have been the busiest 2 weeks of the entire semester. But I got through them with all of the assignments done in time, and I even had some extra leeway time to put effort into them! I bet Youtube is sick of my uploads and having to give me all these copyright notices by now, but all these uploads were for a good purpose; EDUCATION! Since I pretty much summed up everything I did in the blog posts for these assignments, I think I’ll just list them here to spare anymore excessive finger injury.

Remix the Vacation (Alan’s Trip to Mars) Blog Post
This assignment was hilarious because I got to send the professor to another planet. I hope my ticket to Mars comes in the mail soon. I need a vacation!

Recycle the Media Assignment Blog Post

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! This was where I took everyone’s unneeded junk media and turned it into a work of art. It’s a media party and everyone’s invited!

“Post-Photographic Portrait” Challenge Blog Post

This assignment was one of the funnest ones since I got to turn a man into a machine. I was so happy when Jonathan Worth himself liked it! :)

Countrify Yourself! (Remix Generator Assignment)

I had to take an a capella song and somehow countrify it according to the remix generator. I had this song stuck in my head all night even though I came up with the horrible lyrics in like 2 minutes!

Remixed Album Cover (3 stars)

This was the first remix assignment I did. I created a parody of the Gorillaz album cover “Demon Days” by using characters from the show “Death Note.” I think the Death Note crew would make an awesome metal band.

Vocal Instrumental Mashup (3 stars)

For this remix assignment I took the vocals of one song and mashed them up with the instrumental of another song to create a totally new song. Couldn’t even tell it was a mashup really since both songs sound extremely similar!

Final Project Idea Blog Post
This is my final project idea to create a 4 minute tribute to my favorite pony, Rainbow Dash. It’s gonna have alot of awesome effects, transitions, and clips of her being spectacular.  I’m sure she’d be proud if she saw it.

Remix vs. Mashup

According to Webster’s dictionary, a “remix” is defined as “a variant of an original recording (as of a song) made by rearranging or adding to the original.” I discovered the meaning of the word this week, without looking up the definition, and how it slightly differs from a mashup. My definition of remixing is altering preexisting content and transforming it into a new piece of media with a different message. This could be done with any sort of content; such as photos, music, and videos. The image below is a remix of Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”. This is only one of MANY remixes since the painting is so well known. Although the characters in the picture change throughout each of the remixes, the message of the famous portrait still remains the same in a sense that the individual in the center is meant to be the most important and is the main focus.


A mashup is very similar in the sense that it still an alteration of some form of media. However, what makes a mashup different from a remix is that it needs at least one other piece of media to create something new. This could be done without changing the content itself and just adding something else to it. An example of this one of my favorite videos called “Cant Touch Mormon Jesus” where the author mashed up an animated video about Mormonism and the MC Hammer song “Can’t Touch This.” What makes this a legendary mashup is the fact that not only is the video clip matched to music, but the voices in the clip also sync with the music, as if the narrator was rapping to the beat. “Stop! Mormon time!”

A remix and a mashup follow similar concepts in that they are a transformation of preexisting material, but what makes them different is the fact that one of them is a transformation of itself without the aid of any other media element.
Whew…I thought I would never get through these 2 weeks, but I made it through with one extra paddle to sail with. I learned now that the videos I’d been making since I was younger were really mashups, and I’d actually been crafting stories by creating them; stories about ghosts were turned into music videos, stories about serious topics were lipsynced with funny audio ect. Remixes and mashups can be used to convey messages that are different than what was intended in the original media clip. This can have the power to change a person’s feelings about a situation; just as I discussed in a previous post about political mashups being able to make an individual see a candidate differently. I feel there are endless possibilities to give meaning to a lifeless work.

The Amber E. May Variety Picture Show! (Weeks 11 & 12 Making Movies)


It’s MOVIE TIME! These last 2 weeks have been very busy, but in the end all 7 of the videos I made gave me something to show for the hard work! Everyone line up at the box office, grab your tickets, grab your concessions, and find a seat in the theater, because without further adieu, I present the Amber E. May Variety Picture Show!

“Charlie’s Great Escape” (Foley Assignment)

I brought the original FOLEY ASSIGNMENT back to life by not only adding sound effects, but also background music and credits! I had it tell an entirely new message by including these new features. Instead of a theme of fear, the scene now comes off as comedic; like sort of a Bugs Bunny episode. Because this was originally a silent film, there could be a multitude of possibilities if one were to re-create the scene with sounds and music.  Check out the post for “Charlie’s Great Escape” HERE!


“La La La” Animated Dance Party (A.M.V. ****)

And now the first video assignment I successfully created, the “La La La” Animated Dance Party! Out of all my videos, I think this one took the most work. Finding all the anime clips that could sync with the lyrics of the song was tedious. There’s hundreds of animes out there, but I had to figure out which select few could work in the video. Sure enough I found them, and it was one big party! Check out the post for “La La La” Animated Dance Party HERE!

Winnie the Pooh Sings “Mad World” (Music Video

And now the 2nd video of the Video Assignment trilogy. This one was one of my favorites because it completely destroyed everyone’s childhood image of the loveable Winnie the Pooh. It features the bear extremely depressed about losing his best friend Christopher Robin (Christopher isn’t dead, he’s litterally lost somewhere!) He has completely given up hope and now views life in a negative manner. Check out the dramatic adventures of “Pooh’s Mad World” HERE!

Epic Instrument Woman! (Viral Video Reenactment ***)

It is now time for the EPIC part of the Variety Picture Show. Think your eyes can handle the epicness of this magnitude? Introducing the one woman show, Epic Instrument Woman! With the power of her saxophone, clarinet, and flute skills, this brave woman eagerly brings good music and joy to a lifeless world! If you feel your eyes are worthy, check out the post for Epic Instrument Woman HERE! This woman is on FIRE!

Reverse Rip (Play it Backwards Jack! *)

And now it’s intermission time for the picture show. As you’re stretching your legs and talking about how amazing the show is to your neighbor, this video is rolling on the screen. It’s a video of me ripping a piece of paper…but in reverse! Wooooo special effects! I ended up making this in 10min because I was bored. Dont let the shortness fool you! This actually represents the deep manefestations that currently exist in our world and the fact that we must mend them! …okay so maybe I made that up… Check out the intermission “Reverse Rip” video HERE!

Caesar the Tough Puppy! (What Do Pets Think About **)

And now for the Sci-fi portion of the Picture Show! Ever think about what our loving pets think about? Well I have developed a high tech camera that can pick up the thoughts of any animal and convert them to English! Wooooo Science! The test subject of the video is my dog Caesar when he was just an energetic troublesome puppy. Now I know I must be cautious around him because he’s ALWAYS plotting to take over the world one dog house at a time! Check out the thoughts of “Caesar the Tough Puppy” HERE!


Caesar is Rude! (5 Second Film **)

And now as the final act of the Amber E. May Variety Picture Show, we bring back the roughest toughest dog in Virginia, Caesar! As you can see in the video, he’s past his puppy stage and is now in his emo teen years where he feels the need to ignore anyone who doesn’t understand him. This sort of gives the Picture Show a tear-jerking conclusion where the audience feels for the parents of this socially anxious pup. Check out the rude canine’s quest to find out who he is HERE!


And so concludes exciting tale of Amber E. May’s Variety Picture Show! The audience are now on their feet clapping and cheering for the greatness they just saw. A lot of work was put into this magnificent show, from voice acting to the video and audio editing behind the scenes. There were some struggles with deciding what video projects could possibly be done within a reasonable amount of time. At first I had planned to do the “Lip-sync Your Favorite Song” assignment but this week hit me with so many other projects for different classes that I would’ve never got around to it in time.

It felt nice being able to dust off my video editing after years of not really doing anything with it. As I said before, I used to make videos like these all the time in grade school. As I was making the Animated Dance Party video, I felt a hit of nostalgia because it reminded me of middle school where me and my friends were obsessed with Anime and AMV’s (anime music videos) on Youtube. Come to think of it, back then Youtube didnt have a high standard for video editing as it does now. Right now audiences expect flashy effects, expensive cameras, and movie worthy plot lines in all the videos they watch. Whereas in 2005 you could’ve uploaded a slideshow with music in the background and it would’ve been an instant hit. I sort of miss those days, but this only shows that more and more people have taken an interest in video editing than there were 8yrs ago.

Anyway, now that the Variety show is over, I have to start thinking about an even bigger show, one that will have audiences cheering on their feet for days! I will start thinking about it next week, but until then, watch your step as you’re walking out of the theater, some kids spilled a huge load of popcorn and gummy fish.


Grab your popcorn! It’s Movie Time! (Week 10: How to Read Movies)

3-2-1 ACTION! It’s time to start thinking visually, but not with photos this time, but with the magic of video!  This week we analyzed different camera techniques used in movies and how they have the power to turn an ordinary dialogue exchange into a stunning movie scene. Next week is gonna be fun because we get to utilize what we’d learned this week and translate the knowledge into our own videos. Although I’m an audio-lover 4life, there was a point in my life where I’d created videos every other week.

Any Video Experience?

I’d been video editing since I was 12, first using Windows Movie Maker as a video editing program. I made little music videos using different cartoons and uploaded them to my first Youtube account. However, due to copyright infringement, Youtube shut down the account taking all of my videos with it. :( That really sucked, but I ended up creating a new account and continuing to create videos, just cutting down on how much copyrighted material I used. Once I started college, I ended up getting a Mac computer with no Windows Movie Maker on it and I panicked. I discovered a glorious video editing program for Mac called Final Cut Pro from one of my buddies. This was WAY harder to use than WMM, but most of the structures were the same; it had a timeline editor, filter effects, and different export options for video sharing. I’d been using this program since then. I usually dont have the time to create videos like the ones I used to make anymore, but now I have a reason to! BRING IT ON!

The 3 Time Analyze

The movie I chose to review was Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino. I watched the scene where Vincent accidentally shoots Marvin in the back of the car. First I watched the scene without the audio on, second I listened to just the audio, and finally I watched and listened at the same time to see how much the camera and sound played a part in the scene. Clearly they both made made a huge difference. Check out the “3 Time Analyze” post here!



Further Analyzing (Pulp Fiction Facts and Montage)

This post was dedicated to Pulp Fiction as a whole rather than just one scene. I gave 3 facts about the movie, proved that it could be a Crime-Thriller-Comedy film through tropes, and created a montage demonstrating the 3 facts. I used Final Cut Pro and a few video clips of the movie to create the montage. Check out the somewhat long post here!

Youtube Makes Politics Fun (Youtube Genre)

Who would ever think that Mitt Romney could actually be an entertaining human being? Well, with the power of a little video editing and Youtube, he can unwillingly become a mainstream celebrity. This week I discussed how Youtube has a genre that makes politics entertaining and even funny. On the class Youtube Genre document I called this genre “Funny/Entertaining Politics.”  If taken seriously enough, these videos have the  power to influence an individual’s view of the politician. Check out this funny informative post here!


 Daily Creates

This week I did the 2 Daily Creates “Buried Treasure” and “Greatest Gift Recieved.” For the Buried Treasure one, I took a picture of a giant, dark pit in the ground and imagined it was the world’s oldest tar pit. In this very pit, a few dinosaurs were unfortunate enough to fall in and never swim their way out. For some reason, this pit reminded me of something out of the movie Jurassic Park, and I think it would be a great place to shoot a dinosaur movie! For the 2nd one, I drew a picture of the greatest birthday gift I had ever received, a 1 week vacation on the Disney Cruise Ship. This 1 week ended up being a week and 3 days because our ship was stuck out in the middle of the ocean due to a hurricane slamming our port in Florida. Hey, my family wasn’t complaining though; it was 3 extra days for free! Sounds like the best birthday present ever, right? Well it is…..untilll……FLYING DINOSAURS SHOW UP AND ATTACK THE SHIP!!

Jurassic Tar Pit

Best Present Ever Recieved

Potential Video Assignments

Anyone ever notice how Gary Jules in the song “Mad World” sounds ALOT like Winnie the Pooh? I made the connection when I first heard the song, but never got around to making a video for it. Until now! For one of my video assignments I’m planning to do the “Music Video” challenge. I’ll be using a scene from the movie “Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin” when poor Pooh is depressed about losing Christopher Robin and he sings a sad song about it. I found this scene fitting because it is the ONLY time in the Winnie the Pooh franchise that you’ll see him this upset about something, which also sort of goes with Gary Jules’ depressing song. I plan to use Final Cut Pro to align the clips from the movie together and also add the music. I dont know if I’ll be able to make the video with the whole song since I’m sure that I’ll run out of sad footage and I’d end up having to desperately reuse footage. I’ll use enough of the song to get the main message across; that Jules is secretly Winnie the Pooh in disguise.

Picture 2

In my other video assignment I plan to be the lead singer of a boy band and have no shame. In other words, I’m gonna have some fun with the “Lip Synch Your Favorite Song” challenge! For this one I want to “sing” one of my favorite songs since I was a kid, Nsync’s “For the Girl Who Has Everything.” Nsync and Backstreet Boys were me and my sister’s favorite bands and we would always take turns singing the songs when we were little. I think she’ll get a good kick out of me lip syncing the song when I do it! :)
Instead of Final Cut Pro like I’m using in the first assignment, I have to use IMovie because I sadly don’t know how to record from a webcam through Final Cut. I’m going to play the real song in the background as I sing along with it, and then when I save it, I’m going to remove the audio of me singing and replace it with the actual song; uploading the mp3 to IMovie and attaching it to the video. Actually, I despise IMovie, so I might just record the webcam video with it and THEN switch to Final Cut to do the editing. Nsync will have a new member, the young heartthrob Amber May! I’m gonna LOVE this!

Next week I’m gonna make some daring dives into the video editing pool and hopefully not drown. I’ve got a floaty on each arm to help me through the dangerous waters though; one being Final Cut Pro and the other IMovie (though the IMovie float seems to be a bit deflated…) So lights, camera, ACTION! It’s time for me to become the next Tarantino!

Woo-Hoo! Didnt Get Trapped in the Web! (Week 9: Stories in/of the Web)

At the beginning of the week I didn’t really understand the phrase “Stories of the Web” and I thought it meant videos or books on the web. Silly thought.  Now I sort of understand the phrase more. It refers to stories told through the different interactions and processes of the web, not just a linear story found on one platform; in other words using a web as a tool for storytelling.

Blog Comment Narratives

For this assignment I wanted my fictional character to be an EXTREMELY energetic kitten who loves exploring and getting herself into trouble in the process. The name of my character was Ditzy Spazz, and she pounced across 5 different Ds106 blogs: Hello Brittany, ampersanddragon, Waiting for the Spark, my own in response to another character, and Above the Clouds. There wasn’t much interaction with my character, so I tried to interact with others to purposely drive them up a wall.
This kitten is based off of my young niece, who likes to always question the things around her and explore new places. Sometimes she runs into trouble though, which her mom always has to get her out of…


Web Assignments

I thought these would be tough at first because they involved using HTML (which I’d had horrible experiences with last year.) But these assignments were less about programming and more about structuring, making them ALOT easier to handle! The 2 Web Assignments I did were “Youtube It Your Way” and “Horrible Website Translation“. the 1st one was my favorite because I love birds!

My Group’s Radio Show

I pretty much summed this up in last weeks weekly post. After hearing it on the air this week, this was actually the first time I fully listened to it without seeing the audio tracks running in front of me. The quality came out better than I thought! The transitions and bumpers really locked the stories together and gave the audience a break between story parts. I’m glad we gave Nancy’s idea a shot by spliting the stories into 2 parts so it wasn’t just a dry run of people talking for 5min each. This helped my short attention span too.  I’m glad I got to have some radio experience before the summer when I do the real deal live!

Check out the Digital Dynamite Radio Show here!

Recycle Your Media!

Everything is useful in Ds106! Even the pieces of media that don’t make the cut! This post is to honor 4 of the ones who auditioned for a few assignments, but just were incomparable to the winners. I am not allowed to link or embed them, but rest assured they’ve been sent to the dropbox and they may be seen in the future of Ds106!

ConvergingLines- This one I ended up finding AFTER the 20 minute photoblitz window. Couldnt use it because my 20min were up and it wouldnt’ve counted. This was a good example of converging lines on campus.

RhythmDesignBlitz- This one was part of the Designblitz. I didnt use it because I found it boring. It was just a shadow casted on some stairs, supposedly representing rhythm.

BlueSkyPhotoblitz-  This again was for the photoblitz. It was a picture of the blue sky through a few tree branches. I actually had no clue what element I was searching for when I took this shot. I just took as many pictures as possible hoping they would satisfy one of the directions. Guess it never did.

Fountain-This one was such a nice picture that I didn’t want to throw it away. Actually…I didnt even plan to use this one in an assignment. I just happened to take it while I was walking around thinking it looked neat.

Daily Create Story

I used the Daily Creates “License Plate,” “Why Aliens Exist,”and “Waiting” to write a story about waiting for the alien invasion.

Check out my alien conspiracy story HERE!

This week seemed muuuchh shorter than last week because last week was 2  weeks combined. It felt so weird not having to record anything this whole week, but that’s just a side effect of Audio Withdrawal Syndrome. Now it is time for my brain to switch gears into Web Storytelling Mode.

“Is it over yet?”: Moar Audio and Radio Show (Weeks 7 & 8)

Zzzzz…..huh…Oh! I’m sorry! These 3 weeks have been so long that I’d been forgetting to sleep. Between tackling the radio show and……no wait, it was JUST the radio show that got me this exhausted. The other assignments these past weeks weren’t as difficult, and they gave me a chance to play with my favorite toy, Garageband!

Audio Assignments

I’d forgotten that I’d even done these 7 points of Audio Assignments. They were SO fun that I wish I had the time to do all of them! The ones I chose to do were “A Capella With Yourself,” which was 3 points, and “Multipersonality,” which was 4 points. I don’t think I could pick a favorite out of the 2 of these since both of them were down my interest alley. I created the A Capella assignment myself, since I felt that it made sense to have at least 1 singing assignment for an audio themed week. Again, LOVED making these!

Daily Creates


6 Daily Creates, huh? I had to go back and check if I actually did 6 of them since I’d done a few extra over Spring Break. Turns out I did, and they were:

Origami Post-it note (http://www.flickr.com/photos/63506605@N08/8511032425/)

“The “y”-less Paragraph” (http://tdc.ds106.us/writings/writing-a-paragraph-without-this-vowel-impossible/)

“The Daydreaming Window” (http://www.flickr.com/photos/63506605@N08/8522171546/)

“My Day in 2 Songs (http://tdc.ds106.us/writings/wow-my-day-was-productive/)

“Underwater Dodgeball” (http://tdc.ds106.us/writings/under-water-dodgeball/)

“How to be a Superhero” (http://tdc.ds106.us/writings/so-you-wanna-be-a-superhero-heres-a-few-tips-on-where-to-start/)

The Daydreaming Window was my favorite of all these because I’m a huge fan of sunrises and sunsets. It features me in my room opening the curtain for a morning look at my neighborhood. When I was younger, I would always sit at this window with my Sally-Sue doll, pretending I could fly like a bird. Silly dream, yes.

Radio Show

We’ve only had this project for 3 weeks, and yet it seems like 3 months. Aside from initially being unable to agree on a topic, the major struggle we had was trying to figure out do-able meeting times that all 5 of us could make. There was always 1 or 2 of us who couldn’t make it to meetings because of class or work.
Being a person who likes to do things on her own, ending the first week still not knowing what topic we were doing shattered me to pieces and had me desperate to do any topic anyone wanted. I thought this assignment was going to be easy, but it took more work than I expected.

I KNOW Cogdog told us not to do any work during Spring Break…but I was soooo worried that we weren’t going to finish the show that I recorded my bumper, commercial, and half of my story over the break. It’s my perfectionist side that keeps me awake at night…..

In the end we somehow managed to make it work and got everything stable before Sunday. Once everything was straightened out, our show came out pretty well. I think the main lesson that was supposed to be learned from this assignment was how to work together as a team.

Our radio show is called “Digital Dynamite” and our topic was “What Makes You Dynamite?” To be dynamite means to be a driven individual with a passion that originated from a spark they’d had in their lives. In the show, the 4 of us spoke about our passions and where our sparks came from. I discovered that I was working with some really talented girls! From sewing, to fancy writing, to foreign languages, these girls gave meaning to the word “dynamite.”

The role I played in this assignment was to try to keep everyone level-headed during the time of confusion  collect everyone’s audio stories, commercials, and bumpers and place them into one audio file and create the final mixdown for the show. Since we all took on roles based on what we were good at, I provided audio help to whomever needed it. Some of the group members needed help with music and sound effects, so I added themes to their stories that seemed suitable for their topics during mixdown. All of the music and sound effects used were from Garageband.  We decided our commercials and bumpers by majority rule. We ended up selecting Nancy’s bumper, my bumper,_Chelsea’s commercial and my commercial.

I could say this statement 10,000 times and it still wouldnt be enough: I’m glad the show is over and I can now have part of my life back!!

These 3 weeks have been a GREAT deal of work, more than what we’ve ever done in the class so far. I took a major step out of my comfort zone by working with others to create something successful, and I would say we were very successful! I honestly didn’t think we could do it, and I almost decided to make my own project, however we made it to the end all in one piece although I think I lost an arm or 2 during Spring Break.  Although teamwork and collaboration are very good life skills to have, I kinda still prefer to work on my own to prevent a hurricane sized headache and tears of stress again.

Me: Audio, I still love you, but I think we should…I dunno…break-up for a bit.
Audio: Oh…I get it, Amber. There’s someone else..
Me: No! There’s no one else!…it’s just that…I need my personal space, and you’ve sorta been breathing my air for a while. I want you in my life, but not 24/7, ya know?
Audio: I see. But we can still be friends right…?
Me: Of course, Audio! I still love you after all, I just don’t want to see your ugly face for a while. :)
Audio: …..

Week 6: Design, Design, and More Design

Last week I was in the ocean on a photography ship, but this week the ship landed on the shores of an undiscovered place. Me and my crew disembarked and named this place Design Island. We scavenged the land and encountered strange creatures as we explored the jungles. We took notes of our encounters in safari journals and shared them with each other, discussing what we learned. We are now recapping our first week in this intimidating, but beautiful island.

Design Safari

We learned about the elements of what makes a certain design effective. We then captured these elements in places where they occur in everyday life. I ended up finding examples about Balance, Typography, Unity and Rhythm. Go check out my dangerous safari adventure!


Design Assignments

These were a pretty cool way to utilize what we learned in the Design Safari. All of my design assignments were created in GIMP (since It’s the design platform I’m most familiar with) The ones I did were a mix of 3-star assignments, 4-star assignments, and I think there was a required 2-star one in there somewhere. However I REFUSED to touch any of the 1-star ones. Although 1-star assignments would’ve been easy to complete within a few min, I would feel like I wasn’t being challenged enough.

With that said, check out the ones I completed and explained how I made!

>DS106 Propaganda
>One Story/ Four Icons (Answer at the bottom of this Weekly Summary)
>PSA Billboard
>MLP Trading Card (This one was my absolute favorite and is now in my “Best Pictures” photoset!)
>Really Reality TV

Daily Creates

My daily creates this week were

>Sunday: Take a Picture of Something You Made
>Tuesday: If You Could Be Any Pastry…
>Thursday: Fondest Memory
>Friday: Caption a Photo to Make it Say the Opposite

I don’t really remember doing these…I’ve been so busy working on all of the design assignments for this week. Maybe I dont remember them because they all took 15min or less. Oh well, they’re still really fun to do! I think my favorite is the photo of the Bologna and Cheese Croissants because they were delicious! My 2nd favorite is the caption photo of the dog wanting to go for a walk in the park. I took a random Creative Commons image and added something that a dog looking that snazzy would never say. I used a caption creator from a site called  Frabz.com to give me the basic meme font.

I'm Ready

Radio Show Progress

At the beginning of the week our radio show group was a bit scattered and we had no idea what sort of show to do. We were scrambling to find a reasonable time to get our group together, and we ended up creating a Google Doc to share our ideas on paper. The first thing we successfully came up with was our show’s title, Digital Dynamite. Currently we are trying to unanimously decide on a logo to use for the broadcast. We ended up narrowing it down to 2 logos:

Ugh! They were both so good that it was hard for even me to decide! However, in the end there was one more logo design that was thrown into the mix, and this one was a keeper.

This logo was a combination of the 4 designs we all submitted. It’s simple, but still has a bang to it!

Our show’s topic is called “What Makes You Dynamite” and it’s going to ask each one of us what makes us “dynamite,” discussing that time when we felt inspired to do or be something; the fire to keep us following our dreams. This topic is in its embryonic stage and may change when we start hearing from other team members.

And so ends Chapter 6 of the DS106 novel. Just like last week, I went around to the other blogs to see how everyone was stacking up to graphic design. By the looks of things, it looked like everyone had a good handle on the assignments. I’ll admit, this week was pretty sweet because of all the Gimping, but it also seemed longer than normal. Sometimes I would think I was finished with everything, until I’d realize that I forgot to do an extra Design Assignment or haven’t finished a Safari.  I’ve said this once before, but the checklist is my absolute best friend every week! Now that I’m looking at the checklist again, it was actually shorter this week than last week. Huh…then why did this week take so long? Maybe it was because I’ve been constantly doing midterm papers for other classes. I’m so glad that Spring Break is around the corner! I’m running on 35% brain power…

“Why Cant I Hold All These Photos!” Week 5: Photography

Captain’s Log…I’ve been sailing on the S.S.DS106 for 5 weeks now. So far so good. My crew continues to remain productive through these weekly storms, and no one has given up yet. This week for sure I thought we were going to have someone jump overboard because of the treacherous Photography Typhoon, but alas, all of the sailors stood their ground and fought through. This is why the crew is composed of only the most dedicated individuals who keep moving forward, no matter how rough the waters get.

This week I waved good-bye to my beloved audio week and shyly said hello to photography. At the beginning of the week I was worried because I felt that my digital camera wasn’t up to professional standards. But thanks to the following tips I learned from the storyfy collection, I learned that I didn’t need a professional camera to take beautiful pictures.

Tips that Helped Me This Week

1. Take your camera EVERYWHERE You Go! (http://www.photoble.com/photography-tips-tricks/tips-to-become-a-better-photographer)
Seriously, you’ll never know when you’ll stumble on something great as you’re walking to and from class. As I was walking to the dining hall, I saw this young deer grazing and was thinking “Man, I wish I had my camera. Oh wait! I do have it.” I would’ve never caught the picture below if I didn’t have it on me  DSCN0214

2.Explore Different Angles (http://www.brighthub.com/multimedia/photography/articles/952.aspx)

Taking photos at an angle is better in most cases than taking them head on. It adds a whole new perspective on life. The image below was taken in my room at my parent’s house. …I dont know what sort of label to give this image, all I know is that I like it.


3. It’s All About Light and Contrast (http://darcynorman.net/2008/12/20/on-following-the-light/)

I think this tip helped me the most because it made me think about what a photograph is in the first place. The article explains how “Photography literally means “the process of drawing with light”,” not just taking pictures of random people and things. So I decided that anything could be considered a great photograph if the lighting gives it a stunning effect.I took this picture on a foggy day near one of UMW’s bus stops. In this photo, the eye is instantly drawn to the brightest street lamp.  Street

Photoblitz Assignment

This was pretty fun! I ignored everyone’s strange looks as I strolled around Campus Walk snapping only the best shots! Found Here!

I really enjoyed this assignment because it reminded me of a scavenger hunt, which I’m usually a pro at! I ended up getting weird looks from people within those 20 minutes because I had walked around the whole area at least 5 times searching for the perfect locations. Great photographers don’t give a duck if they get stared at, as long as they get the perfect shot!

 Daily Creates

I now don’t spend as much time on Daily Creates as I did in Week 1; spending only about 10-15 minutes on them. The 3 I did this week were: “A drawing of a place I’ve been, but never want to go back to,” “A picture of something new and shiny,” and “Cut something up and piece it back together.”

This is a drawing of my old high school. I couldn’t wait to graduate, and I do NOT want to go back there! These halls contained so much drama that you’d always get sucked into it without even trying!
A place I NEVER want to return to......

Crispy, red apples! Shiny AND new! Don’t mind if I do.

Crunchy,Shiny, and New

In this picture I cut a piece of paper in half and then folded them back into each other in the shape of a ninja star (or what you call a “shuriken”) I used to make these alot in middle school because I was obsessed with an anime called Naruto.


Photoset of Best Shots

Check out the best of the best here!

Visual Assignments

This week we also had to do 10 stars worth of Visual Assignments. These ended being much more fun than the Daily Creates, and I started and completed most of them on Sunday! The ones I did were all 2 stars and here they are!

Makeup Your Pet

Valentines Day Caption Challenge
Cropped Signs
DSCN0335 smaller

Optical Illusion

9 Lives

I think out of all 5 of these, Makeup Your Pet was my favorite because I made my dad angry for turning the dog into a drag queen! Priceless!

Comment Groups

As usual my comment group continues to shine with unimaginable Ds106 wisdom. It’s fun sharing advice with those who need it. I commented on Sarah’s Color Splash assignment giving her some advice about colorizing her photos in GIMP instead of a limited phone app. This advice ended up becoming a graphic tutorial for the rest of the class.

I learned this week that taking a picture does not just mean lifting the camera and shooting willy-nilly. You have to have some idea of what you want to capture in your photo to make it stand out.  Sure this week taught me a lot of interesting facts about photography and optimizing photos, but I’m kind of glad it’s over. Between the photoblitzing and visual assignments, I’m pooped! I did however enjoy seeing others creativity this week when they tackled their photo assignments and shared them on Twitter. These people never cease to amaze me. Oh! And I also forgot to mention that we selected our Radio Show groups this week! My wonderful group is composed of Nancy, Chelsea, Jennifer, Watkins, and myself and together we are…..uh….we’re still trying to decide on a name…(I myself really like the name “Digital Dynamite“) Oh well! We’ll figure it out!

Weekly Summary: Audio Week!

Once again, I forget what week it is…I think it’s week 4….It’s so easy to lose track of time while in this class since the weeks tend to fly by. I may not know what numeric week this was, but I DO know that it was my favorite week thus far, AUDIO WEEK!

Cohosting on DS106 Radio

First of all, I LOVED cohosting on Ds106 Radio with Nancy on Monday! I was a bit scared of being live on the air where anything could happen, but I calmed myself down enough to speak clearly. We had the chance to share our experiences with ds106 thus far; our favorite assignments, our weaknesses, our strengths, our interactions with other students, and our complaints. There were approximately 10 people listening to us, and I learned how a good amount of DS106 students were not even in Virginia, or in this country for that matter! I found the special guest, Grant Potter (inventor of DS106 Radio), to be very informative in the discussion about how audio could be a huge part of digital storytelling. He really knew his stuff! During the discussion on digital stories within videogames, I explained how when we play videogames the game’s environment is not the only thing that governs our gameplay experience, but also the atmosphere of the room we’re playing in could also contribute. For example, playing sinister games like (Amnesia) in a brightly lit classroom is not the same as playing it alone in your apartment at night. It was so much fun to not only join in on a topic that sparked my interests, but to also get my feet wet experiencing what it’s like to be live on the air. This summer I am going to be an intern at the Q94 radio station in Richmond producing and editing radio commercials, but I may also have the chance to be live on the air with the station in the future. I was glad that I had this opportunity with Ds106 Radio, but the only part of our broadcast that I was disappointed at was the horrible timing of my apartment’s fire drill that caused me to miss the rest of the show! I re-listened l to it eventually, but man I wish I coulda been there!

Picture 3

Ira Glass and Jad Abumrad

Since this week was the intro to audio storytelling, it was very appropriate to first learn about the building blocks of an amazing story. I watched radio gurus, Ira Glass and Jad Abumrad, explain their views on audio storytelling. Glass’ video leaned more toward the structure of the story and creating it while Abumrad spoke more of connecting with the audience and painting mental pictures together. I felt that both of these men knew what they were talking about and obviously had enough radio experience under their belts to lead others in the right direction.

 This American Life: “Getting Away With It”

After watching Glass and Abumrad’s videos and had acquired an idea of how radio stories are structured, I began listening to the audio story “Getting Away With It” featured on This American Life. As I listened I mentally noted the radio techniques being used to bring the story to life. I felt bad that I couldn’t apply the techniques to the last story in the episode because I just couldn’t get into it.

Radio Bumper and 5 Sound Story

These assignments were single-handedly the best this semester (so far at least) and I really enjoyed doing them. The Radio Bumper was my favorite of the two because it gave me some practice producing radio commercials, which, as I stated before, I plan to be doing this summer. I created this by mimicking the structure of of my hometown’s radio bumpers. I threw in the random Tiny Tina line (which I voiced) because it was previously being discussed on Ds106 Radio on Monday, to the point where she somehow appeared on Twitter to haunt us.

The Sound Story assignment confused me at first because I had no idea that the content had to be new material. At first I used a sound story that I had created last year for a Umw video contest (which didn’t win, sadly) that contained 19 sounds relating to the life of a Umw student. When I learned that I had to make something new, I created a story recounting me trying to learn how to play an instrument when I was younger. This one only had 5 sounds as opposed to the previous 19.

Daily Creates

Acrostic Poem with Article of Clothing
Too Late

Hum First Memory
Retitle a Movie

This one was my favorite this week.



Another week, another week of amazing projects done by the DS106 prodigies. I take the comments that have been posted my blog to the heart because they address how I have the potential to be something great later in life. (I wont let you all down!) Overall I had a blast this week with audio! I’ve trained myself to be completely calm and collected when in front of a microphone, so much so that now it just comes naturally to not be embarrassed by my deep, boyish voice. There were more assignments than last week, but I didn’t care because they were based on hobbies that I do almost every day. The only negative thing that I could come up with is the fact that the Daily Creates are becoming more of a “rush job.”I don’t know…I used to love Daily Creates at first, but now stacking them on top of other things we’re supposed to do throughout the week, plus the assignments we’re doing in our other classes, is making them more tedious. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy creating things like these, but I wish I had the time to spend more time on them and make them a bit more elaborate; like the ones I created the first week. I could do SO much more with them!

And so ends the DS Weekly Hurricane (this is the name I’ve come up with because the assignments roll in like ferocious storms at the beginning of the week and die off at the end, leaving a beautiful sunbeam of accomplishment.)

Week 3: I Haven’t Seen the Sun in Days…

What week is this again…week 3? Man time flies! It seems like it was only the first week of Bootcamp! This week was a mouthful, literally (see 5-picture story), and we all got a chance to learn new things about the endless aspects of Digital Storytelling. First of all, I had to figure out a way to put into words what Digital Storytelling was. This is actually more complicated than it sounds because it’s hard to define what we see and take for granted every day. (It’s like trying to describe what “sweet” tastes like. Impossible!) However, I feel that I came up with a successful definition that even gained cogdog’s seal of approval!

The Shape of Stories Assignment

The 2nd thing we learned was how basic stories are commonly structured. Using the brilliant mind of Kurt Vonnegut and his “Shape of Stories” method, I constructed a story arc using an episode of My Little Pony entitled “Sonic Rainboom.”After creating one of these, I started to realize that A LOT of movies and books use these same mechanics to structure their plots. I don’t know whether it is a good thing that I realized this or a bad thing, since I’ll never be surprised at how a story ends anymore…

Previous DS106 Students’ Projects

Tuesday was a time to pay tribute to our DS106 Ancestors by looking back at their final projects. This group was incredibly talented and motivated to provide their viewpoints on digital story telling! I skimmed through each of their final projects and admired how eager they were to display their visions. My favorite in particular was Kiersten’s Toy Story Mashup which sent me on a major nostalgia trip.

Daily Creates

And now the fun stuff! THE DAILY CREATES! I seriously love doing these every week because they give me a chance to take a break from boring 6 page papers to do something that I love to do; be creative. This week I did 4: The 5 Star Breakfast, The Rude Blue Screen of Death, My New Invention, and  My Biggest Fear. The 5 Star Breakfast consisted of my usual breakfast, burnt toast with a Poptart and water. When you have a class at 9am on the other side of campus, you don’t really have time to eat a fancy, gourmet, bacon and egg filled, continental breakfast. This is college; where healthy meals are scarce and homework is plenty! My version of the Blue Screen of Death is a  error message that clearly hates the computer it’s running on…and the user running it. My New Invention was inspired by an episode of Jimmy Neutron where Jimmy used this pocket sized storage cube to store everything. This would be a nifty device because it would never run out of space, so one could shove a convertible into it and still have room for a Hummer. Finally, my biggest fear is a bit unusual. Since I was younger, I’ve always been afraid of these harmless floating objects, to the point where when we had to work with them in elementary school, I would pretend to be sick to leave class. Even in college, these objects scare me more than spiders. I cant even look at this video without cringing a bit…. Oh no! I was busy having so much fun with these Daily Creates that I forgot my paper is due on Canvas soon! Ugh!

Picture 3

The next assignment was to compile 5 photos and create a story with them. Since I uploaded my own photo set, I had to tell my story only with pictures and no text. This is a key part of digital storytelling because it is using photos on an electronic medium to convey a message rather than reading a linear explanation. It allows the reader to mentally create their own stories using only the information given to them. I’m not going to explain what my photo set means, I’ll leave you to figure it out, or you can create your own story using them! I’ll just tell you that it is based on a true story of deep regret and anguish.

Comment Groups

Finally, all of us were placed into comment groups to analyze and provide feedback on each others blogs. I enjoy this system because it gives us a chance to have our material reviewed by fellow students who are learning about the topics at the same pace. I found some of the comments I received on my posts to be extremely helpful since some of them inspired me to change a few things on my layout. Likewise, I was able to offer some advice on ways to improve one’s design, such as making it easily navegatable so potential employers wont have to waste time figuring out who’s blog they’re reading and what their website’s theme is. I feel so honored to be in a class with so many creative people!

In the end there was a good amount of tasks to perform this week, so much so that if it weren’t for the “Weekly Summary Checklist” on the course blog, I’d be a lost puppy right now. But once you know the list of things you must complete, and if you can get them done early, you’ll get some downtime to add extra things to your blog and even make a few more Daily Creates for fun! I learned some new functions on Twitter that I can now use to my advantage, and I started dusting off my Skype. Speaking of Skype, next week is the week where I co-host on the DS106 Show . I’m excited and terrified at the same time since I’ve never discussed anything live before, and I cant edit out anything if I mess up. The most I can do is give it my all and attempt to feel confident about the topic. Week 4 is around the corner with a baseball bat, but I’ll be ready with an Ak-47!