Update:「Week 3」+ Analysis

Again, I recommend more 80s Japanese music to listen to as you read: this one in particular struck a chord of tender nostalgia. I’ve listened to something similar as a kid, but every time I hum the tune I remember to my mom, she cannot place the song. It’ll take me a few days to remember the tune myself. Regardless, this kind of music is like elevator music but with words. And I mean that in the best way possible.

This one is from Tatsuro Yamashita called “Whispering Sea.” It actually came out in 1978, but this release with Mahi Mahi Rider from the old KIKI radio station of Honolulu (which is now FOX Sports) was done in 1984. I have a lot of family in Hawai’i, and having spent some time there in 2018, I can imagine listening to that on a cassette as I walk near the beach. In fact, listening to this song on my way to class made me feel like a protagonist. Do you find that your favorite songs make you feel like a main character?

Anyways, enough with the rambling. One thing I made sure to implement this week was Google Keep. It’s the Google version of a notes app, so I can access it on my computer and my phone. I used a checklist of the assignments and crossed them off as I went. Another thing I did recently was watch Back to the Future (1985), which was really fun. Certainly worth re-watching: especially with friends. I’m discussing it in my story analysis. Hoping to draw some inspiration from it in my future assignments as well!

A screenshot of Google Keep.

Challenges this week again included time management. Even though I did start on Monday, I spread myself too thin and worked a bit on all of my assignments at once, which was overwhelming and not very effective. However, little ideas would keep popping up for each that I couldn’t deny. I also had a bit too much fun with the Daily Creates, the one for today taking me hours. The fact that I’ve been cast in the play doesn’t help. This early start is still progress, though, so I hope I can complete all assignments with enough time to sleep on them next week.

I only finished three assignments with a total of 8 stars, though I like to think that I put enough effort and meaning into each of them to collectively amount to something close to 12 stars. They were all assignments that I enjoyed, and even though there aren’t any more writing weeks, I hope to write more since it is probably my favorite creative medium. A bit off-topic, but it was neat to see how I was featured in Professor Bond’s Week 2 Reflection. His responses to my ideas, especially on perfection, were meaningful. I am here, able to “write it up, say what we were trying to do, how we tried, where we think it went wrong, what we could have done differently, and evaluate what we learned for our efforts.”

For the story analysis, I was very happy to read about hypertext fiction. As I’ve established in Week 1, I’m a huge fan of interactive fiction, and it brought me back to the mid-late 2000s when I was first exposed to hypertext works. I’ve used Inky to write a few stories of my own that revolve around the same concept of clicking on words to progress in a story. If you’d like to read further on my thoughts of interactive fiction (including hypertext), please consider reading this report I wrote last semester (or my final project). I enjoy how Szumer discussed video games as a form of interactive storytelling, and that “we often get ‘a million-dollar game with a five-dollar script’” as people prioritize graphics and game mechanics over the story, which is absolutely my favorite part of any video game. I’ve been playing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt lately, and I agonize over my story choices far more than my lack of virtual combat skills.

This week, I’ve decided to analyze Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future (1985) using Kurt Vonnegut’s method of visualizing stories. One could argue that it looks something like this (a la cafe napkin):

Though, of course, it follows a more general story pattern that involves an overall increase in fortune:

BttF should probably be exaggerated more than what I drew, though the movie’s whimsical yet thrilling nature kept me from leaping to either extreme. Of course, his family’s complete 180 in fortune is notable but Marty McFly doesn’t seem to dwell on it all too much. BttF is a great story to analyze because many of the situations are hilariously ambiguous and produces an interesting waver mid-plot. It was great to see how the curve was not as simple as the basic plots outlined by Vonnegut. Even though the second video doesn’t apply quite as much to this aspect of fictional storytelling, I really enjoyed the concept of us – people – making up the machine. The system learns from people drawing connections, for a mere Google search suggestion tells all.

Here are my materials, please check them out:

Update:「Week 2」

Enjoy a picture of my cat that I used for my Daily Create! Here is some mood music. To enjoy while you read:

This week was very hard. (Who on Earth let a sophomore like me sign up for a senior-level course?) I vastly underestimated the amount of time I had, though I’m glad I could at least touch base with They Lived (1988). I hope to go more in-depth about the film’s psychology and more with next week’s writing theme, for I feel like I express myself best with words. I’m borrowing my roommate’s Hulu account to re-watch the film – haven’t watched that movie in years! It will be a great refresher. I’m also much happier about my blog’s layout now that I have personalized it a bit more, and I am eager to work on the home page.

One thing that got me through the week was 80s Japanese music. I have trouble concentrating when I listen to words with lyrics, though I was starting to get tired of chillhop. Therefore, what else to listen to than music with words that I do not understand? Mariya Takeuchi and Tatsuro Yamashita have taken me through hours of homework: they are taking me through this post now. Foreign oldies are a true gem!

A struggle I had was that my blog posts say that they are posted on January 25th when I absolutely posted them on the 24th. I never set a posting delay, and I’m thinking my blog should be in the correct time zone. In my time clutter, I found myself spending too much time on digital image editing when I probably could’ve done something similarly effective with less effort. Perfectionism isn’t always the answer.

I managed to complete 2/4 Daily Creates and 2/3 Assignments. As an artistic person, I knew that I would have fun doing the assignments, yet I let myself succumb to stress and try to finish them last-minute. I pride myself on being meticulous – especially being an Honors student – though I put too much time in other homework. I pledge to start on my assignments earlier since I truly enjoyed doing them, and like my other courses, Digital Storytelling needs to be a class I let myself love. Though if you couldn’t tell from my other posts, I’m already falling in love with this new creative outlet.

What I learned this week: Many things are not what they seem. I can be a hero. It is easy to forget about what is ‘invisible’. And like the aliens in They Live, digital images and arts are all around me: I just can’t see them.

Please check out my Daily Create and Assignment posts at the bottom of this one. ^_^

Sincerely,

Sterling

Update:「Week 1」

Week 1 was, as one can expect by the time I have posted this, harder than expected. It certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone to record my voice and my face, though it was a change I was willing to make – as well as creating public accounts. Growing up with an IT Security Officer as a father, I’ve always been taught to use aliases and to lock down my information so that no one can ever witness it. However, as a Theatre major, it is now time that I begin releasing more information about myself so that I can attract others to my portfolio. I also have a passion for the theme and several 80s-related aspects I plan to discuss in future posts. I look forward to customizing my new social media and formatting my blog to read easily and attractively!

One challenge I came across involved my Instagram account: I created a “finsta” in high school labelled with my alias for this class (sincerelysterling). I lost the password, as well as the password for the e-mail account it was attached to. No other accounts were attached to it for recovery, so I will likely have to either communicate with Google or ‘give up,’ which isn’t too hard when it comes to old content. I opted to go with my Twitter handle as my username on my new Instagram (@sincerelysterls) instead. It also took me a little bit to understand the tags, too, so my posts may not have been attached to the main course site correctly. I will link both my Introduction and my 80s posts below just in case (or if you’d like to know more about me):

Here is my introduction!
And here are my thoughts on the 80s!