6 Weeks in the (New Media) Zone: A Production Journal

Hello, all!

As you may know, I’m currently pursuing an MFA in Documentary Media at Ryerson University. Oh, you didn’t? Whoops…well, there you go 😛

So, the Spring/Summer semester just ended a couple weeks ago. It was a production-oriented semester, meaning that  depending on what format each of our thesis projects will take (photo exhibition, new media installation, or film – or perhaps any combination of the three), we’re encouraged to veer towards the course that will help us move closer to that goal. As a budding filmmaker, I naturally enrolled for Film Production, but as someone insanely curious about the possibilities of new media, I also decided to audit the New Media production class. It was taught by Dafydd Hughes, a guy who seems to literally know everything about everything coding/computer related (no exaggeration!) as well as an equally ridiculous amount of knowledge about sound and sound design. He’s also a musician. Which is also really cool.

Now, I entered this class knowing very little about what we were getting into. As much as I love technology, I tend to love it the way I love cars. I point googly-eyed from a distance and say, “Ooh, shiny!” whenever it does something cool. So suffice to say, over the six weeks of the course, my mind kept getting regularly blown. This was basically my stock expression about twice a week:

So what I’ve got lined up for the next few posts is a production journal of sorts, to keep track of what I’ve learned for future reference, and also to document what I thought about it (See above gif for refresher).

The course was extremely hands on, which is great, but which means my notes from the actual classes are brief and somewhat illegible when I made the mistake of writing by hand (oh poor naive me, thinking I could still read my own longhand…tsk, tsk…) However, I did have other notes wisely typed up in word documents on my lappy, so those form the basis of my memory looking back on this course. (William Gibson wasn’t joking about this whole prosthetic memory thing…how soon can I get it embedded in my brain? Kidding, Johnny Depp…I’m kidding  :P)

To give a brief overview, things we covered in this course included basic coding (learning what HTML and CSS are and what they do, because believe me – I needed to know!), a guest lecture on interactive/video game documentaries by the good folk at Helios Labs, experiments with sound and sound editing, creating personal websites hosted on a server (Ryerson’s, in this case), learning how to modify WordPress themes and plugins to fit our needs, content creation, and working with Arduinos –  which was apparently slightly off topic but SO.MUCH.FUN!

And so it begins!