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Digital Writing- week 1. SNAPSHOT OF MY LIFE.

This is the post excerpt.

Born 9/10/91 in Ballarat to a loving family who had a massive fight over my first name (Jack won out over Graham, but i and everyone who knows me aside from them uses Donnie. So, i guess i won)

I finished school in 09, and drifted in and out of life like the  Jack Kerouac disciple I’ve always wanted to be, but with the lack of guts to follow it all the way though.

I found myself in a really dark place and ended up enrolling in Uni after a question was asked me by a therapist at Head-space. One that that changed things for me”well, why don’t you?”

With that i enrolled in June of 2014 and have been doing this ever since. Its been a long hard road, but one I’m glad to be driving straight on the road, instead of crashing into the ditch i was going to end up in.

 

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WEEK 12-THE END IS HERE

Well. after 12 weeks that have felt like 50 (commentary on the world, not the class) we have finally made it the end of it all. From wanting to quit the class because i was in a state of confusion (I’m always like this to be fair, but this was far worse) But i got past it and I’ve really fallen in love with the class. Its been a great learning experience from hypertext to soundscapes to empathy games, and everything in between, i’ve learnt a ton and I’m glad i stuck with it.

Now, we come to the last week of blog posts, this time its about digital writing as a concept and what we as writers should do to get ourselves out there for the world to see (expose yourselves to the world, just not indecently) Kirstie Taylor’s article about building a brad really helped to put it into perspective and helped me further understand what this week is about.

“As a writer, it’s important to create the same personal branding for yourself. Whether your goal is to land clients or build an audience, having a personal brand is essential to the process. It doesn’t matter if the content you write is posted under your name or a company’s, a personal brand extends far beyond the words you put into the world”.

We have to promote yourselves and our work in order to become anything bigger than our current selves in this world, even if we feel weird doing it. It’s one of the best ways to get exposure from the world and make money if that’s what you want. Like the writer Eva who makes 10 thousand dollars from her work. That’s tremendous and shows the power of self-promotion when done correctly.  The article also speaks about connecting to your audience which i think is a massive part of it all as well. Its all well and good to put yourselves out there, but if you don’t have a fan-base that cares for your works it all for nothing.  Nothing is the last thing you want, so you need to find your niche and build it from there.

One of the other things that really stood out to me was the section about starting your own website as way to show the world who you are. I see now that with this blog that i have a tiny way of getting myself out there to show everyone what i, and my writing is all about it. So, i really loved this article as its helped further open my eyes, and i think all writers could benefit from reading it.

So, we’ve come to end of my blog posts for Digital Writing. I’ve been on a hell of a trip over the last 12 weeks and Its been awesome and awful all wrapped into one. I think the biggest thing I’ve learnt is that i can adapt my writing to fit new ideas that I’ve come across this semester, be it using soundscapes or remediation’s. It might take me a while to really understand it all, but once i get there i can make a good accounting of myself. I’m happy about that.

So, thank you for taking the time to read this and give me feedback. Love you all

Peace.

 

Works Cited:

Not completed: 'Why It’s Important To Build A Personal Brand As A Writer And how to get started building one' Kirstie Taylor

WEEK 9 EMPATHY GAMES

I’m sorry for this being 48hrs late, my laptop had no empathy for my plight, and i only got it working this morning. So, lets start. As has been the theme of this class since week 1, i sit hear writing about a concept and idea I’ve never heard of before. (just goes to show we’re always learning, despite the weird world we find ourselves in) Empathy games.

“A new generation of games is confronting players with real human issues. Things like depression, alcoholism, bullying, terminal illness or suicide. Often very personal stories that have touched and shaped the life of the designer. Some have labeled these games -or experiences- ‘empathy games’. Maybe for lack of a better classification, or maybe because that’s exactly what they are.” Its a sign of a truly great piece where you can begin to understand what is being said and what they’re trying to convey within a few words.

I started to flash back to a game i played nearly a decade ago LA Noire (second time I’ve written about this. Might be time for a replay), a Rockstar games production where you played a police officer solving crimes in the 40’s. The biggest part of the game is having to interview people and try to work out if they’re lying, holding a little back, or are telling the truth. You need to look at both the clues, and the person’s face. You need to read it and see if they’re showing signs of having a soul and being empathetic, or if they’re a bad hombre. Its a lot of fun but also maddening as hell when you get it wrong, and satisfying when you get it correct. It also teaches us empathy as sometimes the person you arrested is actually innocent and we the player know it, but the rules of the mission state we have no other choice. Its incredibly unique, and looking back it really opened my eyes to how even in a game we can find ourselves becoming better people.

I also wanted to briefly speak about “Thank you for playing” I pressed play expecting to learn about a game and just leave it at that. Instead, i found myself crying at a father trying his best to make sense of having a child with an illness. It really opened my eyes further to the power and beauty behind empathy games and how special they can be when done right. It also showed the father’s plight of spending more time on the game than with his son, which is the last thing he wanted. It broke my heart to see how angry and sad he was, but it also gave me a weird glimmer of hope they he would spend more time with his boy. A beautiful heartbreaking story. An Empathy Game if you will.

Peace.

 

Works cited: Bartelson, Eric. “An increasing number of developers is creating games with a focus on empathy. Is this a new game genre?” Control 500: Game Development Stories. http://ctrl500.com/developers-corner/empathy-games-%E2%80%A2-fighting-tears/

WEEK 8 SOUNDSCAPE IS THE WORD OF THE DAY

8 weeks in and here we are with a new word I’ve never heard of. Although, i heard about it last week in the readings,  but actually using it makes it real and therefore it now is.

“Soundscapes define communities—their boundaries, their actors, their geographic intricacies, and industries. They arise through the interactions between external and internal forces within a community. The things that make the soundscape of a place different from any other place in the world are soundmarks. The soundmark of your home may be a small fountain bubbling away in the corner of your living room, or the tinkle of a wind chime in your backyard. You like these sounds because they make you feel a certain way, and now they color everyone else’s impression of the sonic environment of your personal space”.

That description blew my mind as it put everything into perspective in terms of how important sound it to our lives, and how it was going to to shape my story.  I started watching YouTube videos on how to edit everything together and after getting my head around how to add in the sounds you want, and how to edit it so it all goes together, i ready to give it a shot. I looked for sounds of war (which is all encompassing, so i had to really be picky about my choices) guns were a must, as were planes and bombs going off to show how much was happening at any one time, but i still felt i needed something more. Something would truly give me the hook i needed.

https://freesound.org/people/RepDac3/sounds/477754/

This harrowing sound of a man dying before our ears as he calls out for his mother who will never hear him, was the kick in the guts the story needed. I knew using it was going to be hard because it going to make the listener want to shut it off. Which now that I’ve gotten feedback that someone wanted to help the man, i now realise it worked even better than i could have hoped.

That ends my first trip into soundscapes. It won’t be my last as i see how powerful they can be, and how my final assessment can the heartbreaking tale i hope to tell.

Thanks for reading my rambling.

Peace.

 

Works cited:

Completed: The Sound of Life: What Is a Soundscape? Marinna Guzy

https://freesound.org/people/RepDac3/sounds/477754/

Week 7 – Automediality

Here i sit on another X-Day updating my blog about what I’ve learnt, and once again a major part will be on a new word. Automediality. The red line underneath it would suggest its not a real world and therefore and my confusion is justified (which would be nice, but alas not meant to be) After going over the readings i discovered it essentially means a type of writing and life that transcends the normal scope of writing and instead exists in a digital space,. I.e, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, blogs (like this great one you’re reading right now. See, i have the power to write whatever i want and no one can stop me)

That’s the power and potential problems that lie within this mode of writing. I can say and do whatever i please and almost no one can tell what is truth and what i lie, its a fantastic tool to become something bigger and better than myself (i don’t do it on Facebook, but on some discords I’m on i do, because these are people all around the world that I’ll never meet, so its fine) but its not actually fine, its actually a really bad thing and leaves me to ponder if i should stop doing it, and just be myself.

Its bought up a lot of things i never considered or thought about before, and while it was hard to think about all those things, I’m glad i did.

I’ll be back next week to talk about Soundscapes…sounds like a Sci-Fi show. Lets find out.

Week-Something. Hypertext

The last 2 weeks of lockdown have slowly melted my brain to the point where i didn’t even want to look at anything to do with Uni (unless, its a pass mark for the entire semester. Is that a thing? Can we make it so?) I digress. After biting the bullet and looking at what this week entailed i found myself enjoying learning about everything this week, and coming up with ideas for my twine game/story. Learning that Hypertext is another version of the choose your own adventure stories (i might have known it before this, in fact, I’m sure i did, but it felt new. Everything is new these days) Once i learnt about that and remembered reading stories from when i was a kid, i put myself to work on writing mine.

I new i was going to use the narrative i remediated back in week 3, i just needed to work out how i was going to do it. I decided to take the choose your own adventure idea and turn that into two narratives taking place throughout the story, and how in the end they would come together. Sadly, I’m still new to twine and i didn’t link all of them together, so it fell short. However, I’m watching YouTube videos on how to link everything and make sure it all flows, and i feel a lot more confident for future Twine games.

Thank you for reading more of my ramblings in these very weird times. I hope we can all choose the next adventure of the world not going to hell in a hand basket thanks to a mate of Dracula.

Peace.

WEEK 5. What the hell is Twine?

Over the last week I’ve been mulling over dropping the course, as with everything going on in the world and this course not being what I’m used to, i felt it was best to quit. However, i got my grades for the last month and now i feel like i can keep going, or, at least give it a shot and see what happens.

When i saw the title of Twine Game, i was incredibly confused, which seems like the theme for me and this class. But i went over the readings and got a better understanding of it, i realised its a weird hybrid of the video games i love, along with the writing i also love. It felt like having two old friends meet for the first time and having them bond right away. Re-reading the history of games was a trip in a couple of different ways. The first was just being taken back to the start of the genre with the graph

Its an incredible look at how massive and all encompassing the genre is and how influential its become. That influence is seen throughout so many genre, and after really looking into Twine, i can see how its worked for that. Twine is like an kids adventure game of clicking open a box and clicking more and more until you find a hidden treasure inside one of the clicks. Twine works in the same way where you click hyperlinks and find a story within the story. Its a really fantastic concept at play, and one i look forward to playing around with. Granted, I’m not sure of the story i will tell with it, but given how free and open it is, i’m ready mess around with it and see where i end up. It could be a horror story, or adventure, or something not even in my mind right now. Its an unknown story with an unknown destination. I love and fear it.

 

Ending up in unknown places seems to be the theme of this week. So in saying that, enjoy the break and I’ll see you soon.

The Well Man

“Three weeks after the well ran dry, I fed a man to the hogs.

The kitchen faucet drip had stopped. It had been a metronome companion, marking solitary kitchen chores, mending, morning coffee. I held the empty kettle, twisting both knobs. The tap spat, then nothing. I listened to a faint hiss where there should have been water.

The well was dry.

I’d been alone the whole time Sawyer was away. I’d kept up our place. The animals were healthy. I had sows with piglets to sell. There were no weeds in the garden. I’d done the repairs just like he would’ve if he hadn’t been on the state corrections road crew, saying “yes, sir,” and “no, sir,” to guards who thought he was lower than the dirt on their boots.

A big red X on the Sears calendar marked every day for four years.  January this year, I flipped almost to the back of the new calendar and drew a big red circle around Sawyer’s coming home day. Back then, I counted months until the circle.

The well was dry. Sawyer’s voice told me to call a man out. I could mend fences, unsqueak hinges, put up a season’s worth of canning, but I could not find water on my own. I could not dig a new well.

I called a man out who could find water for cheap, dig a new well. He was passing through on his way west. He was guaranteed to bring back the watery pulse of sound in the kitchen until Sawyer would come home and fill the room with a voice in my ear saying, “I’ve missed you, my girl.” He’d never have to say “yes, sir,” or “no, sir,” again.

For three weeks I waited for the well man. I drove the Ford into town to buy water. I filled the bed with five-gallon jugs, drove home slowly on the rutted dirt roads. I conserved water. I stood in the tub and bathed with a teacup and water heated in the kettle. I told the vegetables to drink slowly, sending them thoughts of soaking deluges after the well man came. I told the hogs to drink slowly, letting them drink their fill. I stroked the dog’s fur, whispering that I would walk into town barefoot and carry water by hand if she wanted more.

When the well man arrived at sunrise, there were only two red Xs left to draw on the Sears calendar. The man had a horse in a dented trailer. I was on the porch with the dog. He led the horse into the dirt of the yard, called out that he spoke to God through the horse. God showed the horse water, and the well man would dig the following day. The dog whined.

The man yelled into the horse’s ear. He slapped her face with a forked branch, an old west divining rod. The horse’s eyes bulged, showing their whites. She didn’t move. “God,” the man bellowed into the horse’s other ear. “God directs you to water!” He slapped her face again, barking, “God shows you water!”

The horse was still until she was not. She stepped away from the man who was brandishing his rod, looking skyward. In a breath, the horse’s back leg struck out. The man fell, exhaling his God in a furious rush of air as he landed in the dirt. Neither moved. The man’s forehead was a deep, crushed crater. The dog and I backed into the house. I inhaled, exhaled, watching the man and the horse through the screen door for an eternity. The man was still.

I couldn’t drop this in Sawyer’s lap. He couldn’t know there was any more trouble than driving into town when the well ran dry. I couldn’t let him come home to a dead drifter, a pack of lawmen sniffing around our property who’d look down on him when he was a free man. Everyone in the county already knew he’d been away. I had secrets on this land, too.

The horse walked toward the house, stopping at the porch. She knickered, tossed her head, blinked at me. I was not afraid. I stepped onto the porch, extended my palm, crooned small noises to say I have a different God, now you do too. She sniffed my palm. I stroked her forehead, whispering, “I will be the one to find the water now.”

I led the horse into the barn, thankful for the empty stall Sawyer always said he’d use one day. I stroked her nose again, didn’t think of the extra water I’d need. The hogs grunted as I passed. I was grateful the well man had arrived before breakfast.

I’d kept Sawyer’s ax sharpened, kept the woodstove going for four winters by myself. I’d gotten good at cutting pieces to fit the stove. The hogs would be like the hungry woodstove that disappears my labors into smoke, heat, ash.

I took my dress off. There wasn’t enough water to wash this away until I went to town again. I could burn my underthings when I was done. The ax was light in my hand, fierce and focused. I did not stop. I had Sawyer’s coming home day to think about.

I was splattered, half-naked, sweating with the exertion reserved for filling woodstoves or bellies. The hogs will not be hungry for dinner. I will give them extra water tonight, and I will not tell them to drink slowly. Now, I would walk barefoot into town and carry water by hand if they wanted more.

I drove the well man’s truck into the barn. He was only passing through. I will know what to do with it before Sawyer comes home. The animals do not have the language to say the well man was here. The well man and I will keep this one a secret”

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Week 3- Multimodality

I returned to class after two weeks of being sick in bed with an eye infection, and i see a brand new word, multimodality. Fair to say, i thought my eye was playing up on me again and I’d be back in bed. But i soon learned that it basically means when it uses more than one mode to tell a story. What are these modes you ask (you did ask, right?)

Visual (What we can see)

linguistic (what we can hear

Gestural (like a Scorsese movie)

Spacial  (very topical right now)

Oral (also very topical as everyone is speaking at once)

Each one is an incredibly important component on its own, but when bought together it creates something with even more meaning and purpose (there’s that word again. Might have to change the blog to Donnie’s Purpose) Take a movie for example, they use all of these in a the space of one scene and thousands of times throughout an entire film. Once you can see the modes in a film, you’ll be able to notice them everywhere and how they shape and create something.

We also learnt about Remediation, Remix and Attribution. Remediation is when one mode is adapted into another (book to film being the most famous example) Remix is when one mode is fused  with another (A piece of music on its own to being paired with the visuals of a film). Attribution is when we give the copyright holder the credit they deserve, and we don’t just steal from them without a care in the world.

We also had to do a test of sorts where we answered questions on the meanings of the different terms and modes etc. It was really helpful for someone who has been MIA for two weeks as it helped get me right back to speed.

The biggest thing that really captured my attention this week was the telling of a story with just pictures. I’ve done something similar in writing experiments, but its been two years, and I’m rusty to say the least. So, being forced to work out what pictures will tell the story in a way that can be understood right away was scary as hell, but also a great way to get the brain working.

My next post will be the pictures, i hope you enjoy and are able to understand it. At the very least you can laugh at how far i missed the mark (like a Saints player going for a set shot)

 

Week 2- Data as a Symbolic form

This week we learnt and covered databases and archives in the media.

When looking over the PowerPoint and readings for week 2 i found myself overwhelmed and worried i wouldn’t be able to fully grasp it (especially, as i haven’t been well, so the thought of trying to decipher things like a WW2 telecommunications officer, nearly broke me) But then i read Lev Manovich’s piece and it struck a cord right away with video games and how a symbolic form can come from them in a way very few thought possible. I love video games so much and they’ve helped get through some really bad times, and i always felt there was more to them and over the years with the ever changing and growing narrative based games, that feeling has only grown more. One quote from Lev really summed it up for me.

” It is this task which makes the player experience the game as
a narrative. Everything which happens to her in a game, all the characters and objects
she encounters either take her closer to achieving the goal or further away from it. Thus,
in contrast to the CD-ROM and Web databases, which always appear arbitrary since the
user knows that additional material could have been added without in any way modifying the logic of the database, in a game, from a user’s point of view, all the elements are motivated”

See, the majority of people don’t view video games as anything more than mindless violence like GTA that rots our brains and causes some of us to do awful things in real life, and while that has happened in some cases, most of us use them for a different purpose and with a different motivation behind it. It cab be a means of escaping our world and entering one where we can live and act in a world like no other, and where the narrative can make or break us emotionally. Take Red Dead Redemption for example, everything we do is for a reason and never without motivation and purpose behind it. That can range from helping a NPC for karma or just because its a nice thing to do, or robbing a store for food to live, or robbing a person because they offended you by laughing at your horse, nothing is without purpose. The same can be said for a game like LA Noir where you had to solve crimes and decide if someone was lying to you (this is where the meme “X for doubt” comes from) the motivation and purpose we had was for a good and noble purpose, further showing there’s more good than bad to be found in video games.

Purpose is found in all the different forms we covered in week 2, and it shows that regardless of what one we look at our care about, there is a purpose and reason behind it. What that is, is up to the user to decide and interpret, and that’s a symbolic form of its own.

Reference: Manovich, L (1998). Database as a Symbolic Form. Retrieved from Manovich: http://manovich.net/content/04-projects/022-database-as-a-symbolic -form/19_article_1998.pdf