Mean Notebook

For the Why So Serious assignment I decided to mash up two of my favorite Rachael McAdams movies, The Notebook and Mean Girls. I thought this juxtaposition would be interesting because Rachael plays such different characters in these two movies. Her mothers are also very different as one tries to be like her daughter, while the other tries to tell her daughter what to do. Can you tell which is which?

The toughest part of this assignment was finding two scenes that would work together. Once I did some research on Youtube and found the two I liked, I downloaded the videos using and a Google extension called Backtick that allows downloading into MP3s. I edited in Movie Maker by trimming the audio and video clips to points where they would match (Getting Regina’s like to match Ali’s head turn was a personal win!) and saved the video to an MP4.

Here is a screenshot of the edit.

Mean Notebook



Charlie and the Lion Perform the Circus Jig

Here is my new take on Charlie’s story! When watching the final clip, once I was able to get the audio to line up, it reminded me of a dance. I decided to base my new take on the story as if Charlie and the Lion were competitive dancers on Dancing with the Stars. I used a clip from the show for the intro and and a piece of audio from another clip for the conclusion and saved them using and a google chrome extension called Backtick. I edited the video in Microsoft Movie Maker and compiled the audio in Audacity. Here is a screenshot of the video editing.

Charlie Chaplin

I also decided to show you my Audacity edits as this is where I pieced together the various Foley clips. I ended up using clips from Dr. Levine, Mariana Fumes, lhampson23, cbedross1, cwyrough, and Kaitlyn Crotty.

I then added the music soundtrack (Bushwick Tarantella), and the soundbyte at the end from the show.  and I had to do all of the sound editing in Audacity because Movie Maker limits the user to only being able to layer one audio sound over a video, and it took a while to line everything up.

Chaplin Audio

It was much more difficult than I originally anticipated, but I am happy with the result!

Playoff Sound Off

Since basketball has infiltrated our house once more this spring in the realm of the NBA playoffs, I decided to dedicate my second audio assignment of the week to the Washington Wizards who, though by a thread, are a part of the playoffs this year.

I interviewed Randy Wittman about the Wizards’ chances in the playoffs and his plans once the season is over. I gathered some intelligence from this Washington Post article to prepare for the interview.

I recorded this directly into SoundCloud and uploaded the file to embed into this blog. I compiled the songs from Youtube clips. I cued up the part of the songs I wanted to use and had them ready to go as I recorded. There is a bit of a delay as I was moving between screens, so I might perhaps have printed out the questions so I wouldn’t have to go back and forth. Here is a list of the questions and songs I chose.

Q. The Wizards are playing the Chicago Bulls tomorrow at 7pm. Are you excited for this match up?

A. I’m so excited!

Q. How do you think Nene will address Joakim Noah’s powerful moves?

A. We’ve not yet lost all our graces.

Q. How would you describe the Chicago Bulls?

A. Physical, physical.  

Q. What is your biggest motivation in winning this match up?

A. All I’m asking, is for a little respect.

Q. Do you think the Wizards can make it all the way?

A. You may say I’m a dreamer.

Q. What are your plans for after the playoffs?

A. Everybody knows, a little place called Kokomo. 

This assignment was a great way to work on pulling audio together. These songs really have no connection to each other, but as part of a story really work quite well together!



Saturday in the Park with a Lion

This assignment was to add a soundtrack to a 30 second clip of the Charlie Chaplin film The Circus using the Foley technique. Since I was born in April, my segment was 01:31-01:30.

To begin, I took the assignment description advice and made a list of every action item that would require a sound. Here’s what I came up with:

  • Dog growling
  • Shhhh sound
  • “Open the door, quick!” (My translation)
  • Gasp as woman faints
  • Scratch of the head
  • Sound of food falling on the ground
  • Lion yawning
  • Sound of food falling
  • Food crate falling
  • Bang as Charlie hits the back of the cage
  • Heavy breathing as the lion comes close

I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to incorporate all of these sound elements, so I walked through it a couple times in my head to see which made sense. I then gathered my sound creation elements and experimented with how the sounds interacted and practiced switching between them quickly.

My husband thought I was going crazy for a second, and walked over to see what was going on. I took that as an opportunity to get him involved as my Foley partner.

Here’s the final product.

Now that you’ve heard the track, I can give away my secrets. This is my makeshift Foley studio.


Let’s walk through the sound elements once more.

  • Dog growling (dragging the glass canister across the burlap table cloth)
  • Shhhh sound (my husband)
  • “Open the door, quick!” (my husband)
  • Gasp as woman faints (myself)
  • Scratch of the head (scratching the burlap table cloth)
  • Sound of food falling on the ground (throwing the grains into the stainless steel mixing bowl)
  • Lion yawning (my husband)
  • Sound of food falling (throwing the grains into the stainless steel mixing bowl)
  • Food crate falling (dropping the mixing bowl on the table)
  • Bang as Charlie hits the back of the cage (me banging on the table)
  • Heavy breathing as the lion comes close (my husband)

I recorded the sounds directly into SoundCloud and then embedded the sound clip into this blog. I was surprised at how simple the sounds were to create without fancy equipment or a “studio,” although I did realize why this is usually a multiple person job, it’s hard to move that quickly between sounds!

Hear Sally Run

To complete this first assignment for the week, I decided to start with the story before exploring the sounds. I thought about a story that I wanted to convey through sound, and wanted to incorporate something that everyone could relate to. I thought about how I am often running from work to meet friends for dinner and the obstacles I often face along the way. I then built a story spine around that concept.

Once upon a time, Sally worked as a administrative assistant in Washington, DC. 

Every Tuesday she met her friends for dinner across town. 

But one day Sally realized that she was running late and had to rush to make it on time for dinner. 

Because of that, she quickly closed her computer and grabbed her keys to go, but the phone rang one last time. 

Because of that, she had to run to catch her train. 

Until finally, she made it onto the train and was able to relax on her way to dinner.

And ever since then, she set an alarm to remind herself to start getting packed up on time on Tuesdays.

Once I decided on the story, I began exploring sounds that might fit in this story.

I began my audio story with the sound of a busy office, then overlapped the sound of a gasp as Sally realized the time. I then added in the sound of Sally grabbing her keys to go, but then the phone ringing and her answering. I then included the sound of Sally running down the hall to catch the metro.  I layered the sound of a metro station with the sound of a metro announcement (I could only find the old WMATA announcement in audio file). Finally I added in a sigh of relief from Sally as she sat back and listened to some music in her headphones.

I saved the files as I downloaded them to a folder on my computer and was able to drag the files right into Audacity for editing. I renamed the files once they were in Audacity so I could better track them. After that, it was pretty easy to cut and paste the pieces of audio I wanted across the one minute clip. Many of the sound files were longer than I needed for this project, so I simply cut the length I did not need. I added in a face out effect to the longer sounds for a smoother transition. I then exported the project into an MP3 for uploading onto SoundCloud and embedding into this post.

Hear Sally Run

This was my first time using Audacity and I found it relatively easy to pick up. I would like to continue to learn more about the sound effects available through the program and find unique ways to use them to add depth to my tracks.

In a Flash

For my second Design Assignment of the week, I decided to tackle Word. I love using color and images as symbols, so I knew this would be a challenge for me. I tried creating something around the word “Sunshine” in the spring time theme of my blog, but discovered very quickly why most of the previous examples of this assignment were created around longer words. Longer words, or phrases, make for a larger canvas, as you have more letters to work with. I finally decided on “Lightning Bolt” keeping in the weather motif.



After I decided on my word, I did a quick Google search for Lightning Bolt for some shape inspiration. I then used PowerPoint for my design. I created three shapes without any borders or fill color and typed “light” in one of the shapes, “ning” in the second shape, and “bolt” in the third. I wanted to use a sans serif font with a wider look and settled on Verdana When looking at examples of a lightning bolt, I noticed that the two ends of the bolt taper off, so I created this effect by re-sizing each of the letters to gradually grow larger and smaller at each end. Because these were shapes, I was able to adjust the angle of the images to fit into on another and create the final shape. Once I achieved the look I was going for by moving the pieces around one another, I grouped the shapes and saved as a JPEG to embed in this blog.

While it made for a great subject of this assignment, I hope we don’t see any of these any time soon!

Fourth Time’s the Charm

For my first Design Assignment I decided to do the One Story / Four Icons challenge. I think the hardest part of this assignment was deciding which movie to use! I love movies and love the idea of taking a new approach to classics in society, so I knew I wanted to choose an old classic movie (hint #1) in order to modernize it through the use of solid color icons. Once I decided on the movie, I went back and forth on how to represent it. Did I want my icons to demonstrate various plot sections of the movie? Did I want them to represent characters in the movie? I ultimately decided that the point of the assignment was to represent the essence of the movie, so I decided to go with themes and elements of the movie that have stood the test of time (hint #2), in other words, what you would draw when trying to represent the movie in a game of Pictionary.


I used Flat Icon for all of my images and chose the Mask, CatTypewriter, and Present icons for the assignment. I downloaded these images for free, and inserted them into a PowerPoint slide for editing. I re-sized the images so that they were all the same height and width for symmetry, and aligned them so they fell on the same line. I spaced them out using the “distribute horizontally” tool so that they were evenly spread. I then put a border around them, added in elements of color (hint #3) by layering shapes behind the images, and grouped the images all together. I then selected the grouping and saved as an jpeg image for embedding into this post. I may have been a little too obvious in my design, but I was having way too much fun with colors and themes.

Happy guessing!

I Love It When It Rains Quotes

I love it when it rains quotes


For my second visual assignment of the week, I decided to complete the Illustrating Odd Auto-completes challenge. When I Googled “I love…”  I didn’t come up with much. I continued to add to the search until I came across “I love it when it rains quotes.” I thought it strange at first and tried to imagine quotes raining.

auto complete

I then realized what the auto-complete really meant was “‘I love it when it rains’ quotes.” In the spirit of this fun-spirited class, I decided to take the auto-complete literally for the purposes of this assignment. Thus, my image of it literally raining quotes.

For this assignment I utilized the Pixlr online editor. As I mentioned in the previous assignment post, I found it more user friendly than Photoshop, but had the same re-sizing issue.  I suppose it made sense for the quotes to be partial in each of the rain drops, as we can imagine them wrapping around the rain drop, but I would have liked to figure out how to re-size. Another issue I had with the online tool was the lack of accuracy in the eraser tool. In PowerPoint you can crop images to a shape which was what I originally wanted to do. In using the eraser tool in Pixlr, I had a hard time getting a sharp edge. I also used the blur tool to give the effect of rain on the images of the quotes.

The rain image was pulled from the Karlaslayouts and the quote images were pulled from the Pinterest Quotes page.

Balloon in the Mirror

Baloon in the mirror

I completed the Chimeratic Composition assignment as one of my visual assignments for the week. I’ve titled the above image “Balloon in the Mirror.” It was inspired by the thought that sometimes when we’re headed for rough times, we can sometimes take a moment to think back to simpler times.

I used the Pixlr online editor to create the image from the three images below. I used the cropping tool and eraser tool and layered my images one by one. The three base images I used are below. The image of the mirror and the girls with balloons were taken by me on my iPhone. The last one of the dark and apocalyptic sky was taken by my father from his balcony in Wichita, Kansas. I attempted using Photoshop but found the online editor much more user friendly. There were some difficulties in that tool as well as I could not figure out how to re-size the images once they were uploaded to the tool. I would have liked to have all three balloons in the mirror reflection, but could not re-size the image and had to make due with the one balloon.   2013-09-01 16.28.27  2013-06-27 22.00.27

Heart Healthy

For the review of a commercial as a short film story, I chose the heart warming commercial about a girl who just wants everyone to be healthy.

When looking at the shape of the story from the perspective of the daughter in the commercial, I suppose it starts off low as she is worried about her dad’s health, but then quickly moves up as she discovers a solution in pouring the Cheerios over her father’s heart. One could argue that the story ends on a happy note as she believes she has healed her father’s heart. On the other hand, the father probably didn’t see the ending as happily ever after as he likely had to clean up the mess that was made.

There is a very clear storyline in this commercial. Once upon a time there was a little girl. Every day, she was worried for her father’s heart health. One day she realized that Cheerios could be the solution to her father’s health issues. Because of that, she asks her mother if Cheerios can really help the heart. Because of that, her mother reads the health benefits of Cheerios. Until finally we find the father awaking from a nap with a pile of Cheerios on his chest.

The element of surprise comes from the fact that we assumed the daughter would be serving her father Cheerios to eat, not pouring them on his heart! As the viewer, we empathize with the daughter as we all want our loved ones heart healthy. I was left with a feeling of admiration for the daughter as she was determined to keep her father healthy.

When looking at the story in 5 second increments, we see how the story plays out, and can get a closer glimpse into the mind of the daughter.

  1. (0:00 – 0:05) A woman is working at her kitchen counter. The camera angle shifts to show a young girl with curly hair bringing a box of cheerios and placing them on the table where her mom is sitting. She says “Mom?” and her mom replies “Yes honey” and looks up from her writing.
  2. (0:06 – 0:10) The daughter explains “Dad told me that cheerios are good for your heart, is that true?” The camera shifts back and forth between the mom and girl. The girl looks confused and concerned. The mom replies “It says here…” while looking at the Cheerios box.
  3. (0:11 – 0:15) The mom then proceeds to read the nutritional information from the box. The girl lifts the box from the table and smiles at her mom.
  4. (0:16 – 0:20) The girl then runs out of the kitchen while the camera shifts back and forth from her running, to her mom looking confused.
  5. (0:21 – 0:25) The scene then moves to the dad on a couch in the living room asleep. He has a huge pile of Cheerios on his chest. He is startled awake and as he raises up, the Cheerios slowly fall to the ground and he appears confused.
  6. (0:26 – 0:30) The screen then shifts to a yellow screen with the word “Love” displayed in the classic Cheerios font. Cheerios fall across the screen. We hear the dad calling out “Jen!” as the Cheerios jingle plays as the commercial ends.