Storytelling in the Digital Age

Lesley Tye
February 10, 2015

This semester the Film Genres class is doing something different. As we are exploring New Genres in the Digital Age and as all of our content is actually digital the class has been created to be “blended,” meaning much of our classroom experience will be digital. This enables students to choose the order in which they move through the materials and gives them some flexibility as to how they use their class time. We will gather as a group fewer times throughout the semester, but hopefully make those gatherings more meaningful as the students share their discoveries and the progress on their work.

The first genre we are exploring is the Mash-Up. Students began by reading the articles Something Borrowed and Copywrong and watching the documentary Good Copy Bad Copy, all of which explore the complexities of the creative process and how things have continued to get more complicated in the age of digital art and commerce. The students then had to write a response on their film blog to all of these pieces and a list of questions. Check out the blog response by Jonathan Evans here. During our next meeting the students gathered in small groups to share some of their thoughts in a discussion, then as a full class we continued our conversation and looked at some other examples of appropriated work.

Next students are charged with taking a closer examination at copyright laws and “fair use” in order to decide if they think revisions would help some of the issues we’ve identified with work in the digital age. I’m looking forward to seeing the examples they find of fair use claims and copyright lawsuits that illustrate how these issues are tricky and sometimes puzzling. After their research, which includes looking at how other countries and industries handle intellectual property rights, the students will be building a wiki that includes their own take on copyright and fair use. They must also find mash-ups that they believe illustrate clear transformation of appropriated works. They’ll conclude this unit with the creation of their own mash-up or remix in a medium of their choosing.