Become A Master Editor In Just 7 Minutes, Advice from Hitchcock

Ever spent hours collecting material for a video presentation, then to realize it will take another three hours or more to cut out unnecessary footage.  Alfred Hitchcock offers a seven-minute video on how to become a master in editing. He explains that there is much more to cutting, it goes much deeper and there are different cinematic approaches to consider when producing the perfect “final version” of a film. If you’d like to behold more of the editing prowess Hitchcock commanded, visit Open Cultures collection of 20 Free Alfred Hitchcock Movies Online.

Visual Outlines By Famous Writers

As a writer, metaphors and plots come to mind at random moments. I have to grab anything around me to write them down or else by the time I sit down and write, I have forgetten. Stacks of napkins and sticky notes is how I strategize my next story idea. How do famous writers plan their next novel? Open Culture reveals how popular writers visually outline their novels. One piece of advice to future authors, instead of staring at a blank page grab a writing utensil and start planning wherever and however. Remember, “Every great novel—or at least every finished novel—needs a plan.


Source: Open Culture

From Open Culture: A Simpler Way to Interpret Information

Because of the immense amount of information and data in this digital age, new ways of presenting and organizing information have developed in the past few years. This has been dubbed, “data visualization.” A new PBS series has turned attention to this form of presenting information, exploring how good design – from “scientific visualization to pop infographics – is more important than ever. The goal of creating information we can visualize is to help designers – and even those without a mind for design – conceptualize what they’re looking at and interpreting. The overall message to take from the video is: the simpler the better.


Source: Open Culture

Webcomics in the Writing Classroom

Ayun Halliday over at Open Culture recently wrote about “The Rise of Webcomics,” featuring the PBS Off Book series of the same name. While Halliday is a fierce “paper loyalist” and comic lover, she’s started to notice that some of her favorite paper-based comics actually got their start on the internet.

The PBS Off Book video is worth the watch. At just over 7 minutes it offers a short history of the webcomic genre and its place alongside Marvel/DC superhero comics, newspaper comic strips, and zines (yay!). The video interviewees note that there’s no gatekeeper in publishing webcomics – no editor, no deadline. As such, the path from creator to audience is more direct and more intimate. For example, Sam Brown, the Exploding Dog creator, uses direct audience suggestions to create his comics. They email him, he creates a comic from that idea.

Also with webcomics, there’s no limit to what a “page” can be. With comic books and graphic novels, artists are limited by the size of the typical page; and with newspaper comics, a certain number of panels. But with webcomics, pages can scroll seemingly forever or contain just a brief image or word, or even contain animations or engage the audience to click to move the story forward. Homestuck, a webcomic by Andrew Hussie, is an example of this with well over 6000 pages so far.

What I especially love about the popularity of webcomics is the potential they create for writing assignments, large and small. And not being able to draw is not a good excuse for not assigning webcomics as text and genre because as MSU DRPW alum Franny Howes* argues, “Not making comics because you think you can’t draw is like not writing because you think you can’t spell.” With this in mind the webcomic is a valid genre for our writing classrooms.

*Be sure to check out Franny’s webcomic, Oh Shit, I’m in Grad School.

From Open Culture: How the 808 Drum Machine Changed Music

Open Culture recently delved into the history of the Roland TR-808 rhythm machine, or the 808 Drum Machine. Released in late 1980, many musicians did not like it at first as the sound was too synthetic and did not sound like any natural noise you could create yourself. Some described it as, “so bad it was good,” and despite its artificiality, its noises began popping up in records such as 1982’s “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye and Whitney Houston’s, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”

Nelson George, author and director of the short film, All Hail the Beat, explains that “the 808 has remained a vital element in much of the pop music since the 1980’s, in genres like hip hop, techno, and house.” Drum machines since the creation of the 808 have mimicked the features of this first one, and it has subsequently changed the tune of pop music.

All Hail The Beat | Nelson George from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.

From Open Culture: An Illustrated Guide to Getting Your Ph.D

It started when computer science professor Matthew Might from the University of Utah had to explain year after year to a new group of students what a Ph.D was. He said, “It’s hard to describe it in words, so I used pictures.” Open Culture posted an article with these pictures, going through step-by-step the levels of education a student receives, starting with an empty circle that stands for, “all of human knowledge,” going through elementary school all the way to a Ph.D after you’ve “pushed the boundaries” of your knowledge. For visual learners and those who don’t know exactly what a Ph.D is, it helps make a little more sense.

Elementary School knowledge – Matt Might’s, “What is a Ph.D?” in pictures.

Masters degree knowledge – Matt Might’s, “What is a Ph.D?” in pictures. 

Ph.D degree knowledge – Matt Might’s, “What is a Ph.D?” in pictures.