Posts filed under ‘COM 540- Interactive Writing & Design’

Thoughts on Disney’s New Princess

Picture 5

When they’re little, most little girls and boys discover the magic that is a Disney movie. I know my little sister and I did. And inevitably, there would come a day when a group of little girls would have a conversation that goes something along the lines of this:

“Well I want to be a mermaid, so I’m Ariel.”

“My hair is blonde, so I’m Cinderella.”

“NO FAIR, my hair is blonde too. I want to be Cinderella.”

“You can be Sleeping Beauty.” [Because as we all know, no one can remember her actual name, Aurora.]

“I’m wearing yellow, so I’m going to be Belle!”

At this point all the little girls would turn to the black child waiting quietly.

“Well, Jasmine kind of looks like you…you can be her.”

And so it was.

That’s probably the reason I love Princess Jasmine to this day; she was everything I thought a Disney Princess should be and she looked kind of like me unlike all the others.

But today’s little girls don’t have to “settle” for Jasmine. With Disney’s new film opening this December, the first African-American princess will debut: Princess Tiana.

Picture 10

People (especially on the imdb movie boards) like to say that it doesn’t matter the race of the princess, but how would you feel growing up as a little girl and watching these movies with not one of these princesses looking like you?

What if your dream was to work at Disneyworld as one of the princesses? Do you REALLY think that would happen? They don’t flat out discriminate in the application process, but make it clear they are looking for “look-alikes”.

I’d like to think that this movie is a milestone for Disney, and before long maybe we’ll have a Latina princess and so on. So yay The Princess and the Frog and yay traditional, hand-drawn Disney animation!  The movie stills are GORGEOUS. Can’t wait to see it!

Picture 7

Thoughts? Agree? Disagree?


November 6, 2009 at 11:01 pm 4 comments

Analysis of Law Abiding Citizen

Movie Poster

Oh Gerard. Gerard, Gerard! Wait—don’t click off of the page, my Gerard Butler mooning is over…but my mooning over Law Abiding Citizen isn’t!

 If you don’t know what the movie is about or have not seen the trailer, read and check out the following…then go see it and come back because ahoy there be spoilers!


The Story
From After his wife and child are murdered by two criminals, Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) is informed that one of the murderers will be sentenced to death but the other one will get off because of his cooperation with the police. Shelton decides to take justice in his own hands, including getting revenge on the murderers as well as those in the system responsible for setting the one murderer free. District Attorney Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx), one of those who helped set the murderer free, tries to stop Shelton.

As an amateur screenwriter aspiring to play in the big leagues sometime in the near future, I pay a lot of attention to the plot, character development, storylines and dialogue in movies. I walk out the theater and mull over certain parts of the movie again and again, eventually looking up the film’s writer, and that’s just what happened with this film.

I sat there in the theater, not wanting the film to end, and as soon as it did I wanted to see it again.

I’ve been thinking about this movie since I saw it a couple a weeks ago, determined to find out as much as I could about the story and the man who wrote it, Kurt Wimmer (who wrote and directed Ultraviolet among other things).


Great! Excellent pacing. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, DYING to see what would happen next and how Clyde would pull something off. There were moments when the audience was COMPLETELY taken by surprise (many gasps and shrieks throughout the theater) and moments where we knew that something was going to happen and somewhat knew what, but didn’t know when and were filled with suspense. The ending made me squee in my seat (no, not pee, but “squee” which is a noise).

I thought the story was great, but one plot hole (from A prison would have many solitary confinement cells. Clyde would not know which one he would be put in (later) while he was doing the tunnel and trap door beforehand…

Who is the audience supposed to root for? Clyde or Rice? Who’s really the villain in this story? The film leaves it up to the individual to decide.

My thoughts? Both Clyde and Rice had their good and bad moments, but in my heart of hearts the only villains I can see are the ones who broke in at the beginning of the movie, setting everything into motion.

The break-in and subsequent eradication of Clyde’s family steadily transforms him into the man we know by the end of the film, and you know what, I can’t blame him. It might also be the fact that I find his cleverness and smartassness entertaining as all get out. I mean, he was doing bad things—okay, VERY bad things, but I (and many others in the theater) couldn’t help but cheer him on and call out “Oh snap!” at the screen.

I feel like Rice didn’t get as much development in the movie, as it was more Clyde’s story. But we’re supposed to assume that the man who had to miss his daughter’s recital at the beginning of the film is changed by having his own family threatened because he is present at her recital in the end of the film. I think a lot more could have been done to reinforce his growing realization of how much his family means to him.


Don’t just take my word for it, go see it for yourself!

November 5, 2009 at 2:20 am 15 comments

A Change in Blog Direction!

In case you didn’t know, or couldn’t tell from this blog, I am a creative. What do I mean by that? I love to write. I love crafts. I love to create things. I attempt to express myself visually in ways I see fit whether it be black and white photography or bellydancing.

Why am I telling you this? Because so far I feel that this blog has been really disjointed and not very representative of myself. And that’s going to change.

I’ve been trying “force” travel as my theme of choice like some of classmates in the iMedia program revolve around their passions of cinema and food. Travel is just one of my interests, and probably more of a secondary one. So now this blog is going to showcase creativity that I find interesting/feel needs to be brought to attention.

More than likely there will be a good deal of attention to screenwriters, because screenwriting and writing in general is probably this biggest passion I have, and NO ONE pays attention to screenwriters. With all of these movies we watch, people comment of the cinematography or the editing or the special effects, but what do you need before you can produce? A GOOD SCRIPT. I will also be looking at commercials and/or music videos and cool authors.

So, I apologize if that’s not your thing, but I do hope you’ll stay! Things are about to get a lot more interesting.

November 2, 2009 at 10:15 pm Leave a comment

Spreadable Media…Just What Is It?

Have you seen the JK Wedding Dance?  The T-Mobile Dance? Superbowl commercials like this 2009 Doritos one? Chances are you have…and probably more than once. These videos are prime examples of spreadable media.

Just what is spreadable media? In a nutshell, things like memes and viral marketing campaigns. Basically, media that gets adopted by society and transformed and spread to others.

The two main models of media dissemination are the “spreadable model” and the “stickiness model”. Spreadability stresses the part of consumers in transforming and circulating media content. It looks at how people come up with all kinds of new meanings and how they expose brands to new markets (ie: T-Mobile or Doritos to people who wouldn’t normally use or eat these things). This spreadable model assumes that transforming media and using it for one’s purposes adds value to the content. This model is the model of the present and future.

Stickiness is becoming a thing of the past; any company that wants to stay in business should change to the spreadability model because the stickiness model focuses on the producers of it as opposed to the consumers. Businesses in the sticky model often find the value in media by charging for it.

So, you want to make your own meme or viral video? Here are six characteristics that will push your media to the masses as determined by my group in today’s Theory & Analysis class; make your content:

  1. Entertaining – It doesn’t have to be funny because everyone’s humor is different, but amusing is good!
  2. Novelty – If something has been done a million times it’s no fun anymore. But if you’re the first person…or even the second or third, not too shabby.
  3. Relatable – People are more apt to remember things/pass them along if they can relate to something in the video.
  4. “Evergreen” – Can it stand the test of time?
  5. Adaptable – People can possibly replicate your content; make their own version.
  6. Discussable – People will want and be able to talk about your vid.

October 25, 2009 at 11:24 pm 1 comment

Select Tips and Tricks in Creating Your Informational and/or Multimedia Website

Five tips for creating your informational and/or multimedia website as discussed in my Interactive Writing & Design class:

  • Essentially, you can engage your audience in one of six ways: persuade them to do something (ex: a call to action, like signing a petition to get Wonderfalls back on the air); entertain them (make them laugh or amuse them); inform and educate them (create awareness about an issue and/or provide information); enable transactions (e-commerce!); and help create community by doing things like providing polls and forums.
  • Avoid cognitive overload. Don’t have too many choices on a page! The optimal number is 7 +/- 2 (5 should be the minimum, 9 should be the maximum).
  • Use concept maps on a site to help users orient themselves and allow them to find what they need quickly and without issue.
  • Give people an “easy out”; always allow them to undo something. How frustrating is it to be on a site and be filling out a form or survey and not being able to go back? Very! In the same vein, allow people a way to save their work if they have to leave and call it back up upon their return. It really sucks if you’re in the middle of filling something out but have to leave the computer or allow someone else to go on the computer and all the work you’ve done so far is erased.
  • Learn about your users! What do they want to get from your site? Looking at site analytics, keywords and referring websites will begin to tell you. Figure out their expertise, culture, and language; you can get this information by creating a poll or survey for your audience to complete.

Hope these tips help, and good luck in creating that website! If you need a couple more tips about optimizing your Internet presence, click here, or optimizing your blog readership, click here.

October 11, 2009 at 11:41 pm Leave a comment

Five Tips For Optimizing Your Blog Readership

This post piggybacks off of my previous one, but focuses on blogging. Today in my Theory and Audience Analysis class, a few of my classmates and I came up with this list of ways to get people reading your blog and then revisiting it time and time again.

The List
1. Make your blog a portal. That is, link it to other sites (as long as they are relevant to whatever you are talking about).  If people come to your site and find it useful to get information from other sites, they’ll come back to it! Examples of site thats pull this off: and .

2. Be informative–focus on the “why” and not the “what”. Why is this important? Why do we need to know this? Tell us before we ask! But remember, before posting anything from a source, check its credibility. The last thing any blogger wants is to find information from a random site and use it, only to find out it was written by his/her reader’s 13-year-old brother for a book report!

3. Short paragraphs and short media. No one wants to read a novel on their laptop screen! More than likely, if you write a ton, it will be skimmed over or not even read. Also, to keep it interesting, include relevant media…just don’t include every youtube video ever made on the subject. Finally, embed the media, so readers don’t click a link and navigate away from your page. That’s no good.

4. Update consistently. Let the reader know when you’ll have new material up!

5. Be entertaining. This one is a “duh!” but is forgotten. Sure some people come on the Internet to find information, but just as many are online to find some cure for their boredom. Give it to them! Drama, satire, conflict, it’s all at your disposal. Use it and get that fan base going!

Happy blogging!

October 7, 2009 at 11:48 pm 1 comment

Three Tips for Optimizing Your Internet Presence

This past week in my Interactive Writing and Design class, we continued readings in Be the Media. The focus of this week’s reading was the Internet chapter by David Mathison. The chapter talked about how to optimize your website to get lots of visitors and keep them returning. I found it very helpful because more than likely, sometime in the future I will probably be setting up some sort of business online, and everything in this chapter really helps you realize what you need to focus on. Here are three tips to help you out that I gathered from the chapter:

  • Optimize your Google Page Rank. Do this on-site by including a title for your site, using good keyword placement and density, using a site map, and using description meta tags. This should all be done in your the HTML of your website, because all of this “metadata” is what search engines read when pulling up websites.
  • Create an email list. Allow visitors to your website to subscribe to a newsletter or email list, but be sure to give them an easy way out. Nobody likes a spammer! Set up a privacy policy as well and post it on your site to let them know exactly what you will be doing with their information. When sending email messages, have an interesting subject line, make the email itself visually appealing and not boring. Maybe offer a freebie, discount or something of value in exchange for the newcomers’ names and email addresses. Also, ask family, friends and subscribers to recommend you to their family and friends. Make sure to include a thank you page!
  • Create a media room on your website. This part of your website is a virtual press kit, and you should fill it with samples of your work. You should include your biography and résumé, testimonials and/or endorsements, any awards you have won, etc.

Hope these tips help you! If you have your own tip you would like to add, please comment below!

October 4, 2009 at 11:45 pm 1 comment

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