MediMasks

I am familiar with video editing and many different programs to do so. The technical aspect of this medium was not a hurtle for me but conveying a message without being concrete was difficult with this medium. In writing classes, we often hear “show don’t tell,” in video we automatically show and use the sound and images in order to tell. Because I was not allowed to use text, the mashup only allowed me to show and not tell. Showing and not telling added to the noise. Noise, according to Sean Hall, is the “distortion or alteration in the meaning or method of transmission of a message” (41). The mashup is made of noise entirely. There were times when I was composing this video that even I was not sure what I was conveying. I think the largest obstacle I face (and I’m not sure I even overcame it) was creating meaning through the use of familiar material. If I use a word in my writing its context only exists within my story, but if I use a clip in my mashup it’s context exists both in its original context, the context I intend to create in my mashup, and the context which the viewer perceives the clip in.

mashup-shot

I used Wondershare Video Editor to create this mashup. I have used this program many times before. Many of the clips I used came from movies which I own. I used Microsoft Expressions and the Microsoft Expressions Encoder to record the clips which made obtaining the clips very easy. I downloaded a few clips, but mostly just recorded what I needed. As usual, cutting and trimming the clips took a while because there are so many source (13 total, not including the music).

Most of the changes occurred shortly after showing my mashup to people. I would ask “Do you get it,” they would shake their heads, and I would go back to the computer and try to think of a better way to assemble it. I do that for my writing as well. It takes much longer to revise a video because it requires the use of more or different content. When I revise my writing, I just need to revise my writing. At most, revising my writing requires paper, writing utensils, and an idea; my mashup on the other hand, requires an idea, knowledge of video editing software, a method of downloading or recording material, knowledge of where to find the material, and a computer that won’t freeze constantly.

mashup-shotMy mashup begins with a clip of the blood filled elevator (0:00) from The Shining. The overflow of blood is meant to be a symbol for the overwhelming nature of a panic attack. I could not possibly stop all of the blood flowing from the elevator and in the same respect I often cannot stop my panic attacks once the figurative door has been opened. The clip after the elevator depicts Jack Nicholson’s character from The Shining walking down a hallway (0:03). The stalking motion is meant to symbolize the paranoia which often occurs at the beginning of panic attacks. The jump cuts, removing seconds from the clip to create a frantic feeling, add drama to the clip as well as structurally forcing the clip to react to the beat of the music. A panned shot of medications (0:05) is followed by portions of the Girl Interrupted trailer (0:06). The setting of the hospital and gestures, such as dancing around and glaring through a closing door, set the mood for mental health. In the Girl Interrupted clip, some patients are listless and just sit in chairs; others are very active and fight against orderlies. One patient glares directly into the camera and shuts the door, which displays a sign that reads “POSTED NO TRESPASSINGmashup-shot.” The look on the patient’s face makes her appear threatening. Similarly, the look on Jack Nicholson’s face as he knocks on the door is also threatening (0:09). The gesture of knocking on the door and the crazed look on Jack Nicholson’s face work with the earlier scene of Jack stalking down the hallway to create a symbol of paranoia and insanity. (0:12) The next clip shows Jim Carrey putting on the mask but immediately taking it off; his face is shocked and confused. He does not appear to enjoy the way the mask made him felt. This is a common reaction to taking psychotropic medication for the first time, because the body needs time to adjust in order to mask the symptoms of panic disorder. The rejection of the mask also represents the inner struggle many people face when making the decision to start taking medication. It is common to try medication only to stop it shortly after. (0:13) Masks are always juxtaposed near clips of doctors or medication. It is my intention to connect these ideas because doctors can help patients develop methods of their own to mask the symptoms of panic disorder or they can prescribe medication. Masks and medication are synonyms in this mashup. They serve the same purpose of covering something up. When Jim Carrey puts the mask on (0:17), color returns to the mashup.

mashup-shotThe structural change from grayscale to color is meant to indicate the difference between being on and off medication. Clips in color (0:18-0:47) show people dancing intermixed with clips of medication. In order to keep the mask on, to keep dancing, the medication must be constant. Psychotropic medication must remain at a constant level in a person’s system in order to remain effective. When the mask comes off (0:47), the color goes away and all the clips which follow are in grayscale. I chose to put the clips in grayscale because I believe the contrast in black and white adds to the drama depicted in the clips and also gives the clips the feeling of the unfamiliar.

When the mask comes off, when the medication is no longer in the system, the clips return to grayscale. The beating heart (0:48) is symbol for the elevated heart rate which happens during panic attacks. The clips depicting Jack Nicholson chopping down the door is meant to symbolize part of the fight or flight response in the brain which remains hyperactive during a panic attack. My intention is that all the clips in grayscale show the viewer something frightening. The clips from Catherine (0:50) showing a large, angry monster chasing a couple is meant to scare the audience. The monster is also meant to reference the often irrational paranoia which is experienced during a panic attack. Even when the fears are disproven (like looking in the closet and seeing no one is in there) sometimes those suffering from an attack will continue to believe the delusion. Masks coming off (0:53) frequently appear in the grayscale portions of the mashup. The repetition is meant mashup-shotto reiterate the idea that the medication is no longer in the system; the mask is no longer on. The next clips shows a man on the ceiling seeing himself on the couch (0:53). The gesture of seeing himself is meant to be scary and acts as a metaphor for the unfamiliar feeling regarding your body and surroundings during a strong attack. Eventually the clips return to color when the mask comes back on but not before short clips show monsters representing irrational fear (0:58), patients in an asylum dancing and fighting orderlies (0:59), Wynona Ryder refusing medications (0:56), lungs quickly intake air as a symbol for hyperventilation (1:03), Wynona Ryder is thrown into a tub to symbolize the feeling of suffocation (1:09), someone struggle in the midst of dirty water symbolizes the overwhelming helplessness of a panic attack (1:12), and a possessed sheet wraps around someone sleeping in the bed showing not only something to be afraid of, but something which came on quickly, was unstoppable, and represents how constricted the body feels during an attack.

mashup-shotWhen the mask comes back on (1:33) the clips of dancing are mixed with masks which are not pleasant. People wearing masks in this section (1:33-2:05) are dangerous. People with masks on are shown in grainy clips, which adds to the drama of the piece, are lighting things on fire, and are waving weapons in the air. The same clips from the first grayscale section are then repeated (2:05-2:51) until the mask goes back on.

This time when the mask returns, the clips remain in color. Originally, the difference between grayscale and color was structural choice to denote the difference being on medication and off medication, respectively. When the mask goes back on (2:51) and the colors remain in the following clips, it is showing that the medication, and the reliance on medication, is no longer working.

 

Music: “Disturbia” by Rhianna

Catherine Stage 8 – Boss ??? [Gold – Normal]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHuMp0GCl5o

Girl Interrupted Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BHHUBZf7y4

Here’s Jonny! – The Shining (5/5) Movie CLIP (1980) HD

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDpipB4yehk&list=PL0FF36A84512D5EEF&src_vid=CMbI7DmLCNI&feature=iv&annotation_id=annotation_149695

How a Normal Heart Pumps Blood

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA0Wb3gc4mE

Lungs and Breathing – 3D medical animation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zi4thNp15qg

The Apparition – trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkmzXVwLtH0

The Purge: Anarchy – trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzFCDqKE4yA

The Shining Elevator of Blood

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7049WVfSanM&list=PL559D8B8FAB4A1C41

Some Like It Hot

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

The Mask

The Man in the Iron Mask

Phantom of the Opera

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About Jessica M Tuckerman, MA

A super nerdy YA-fangirl. Blogger at BookedAllNight.wordpress.com and at JMTuckerman.com. My current collection of paper includes: AS in Psychology, BA Writing Arts (Creative Writing, New Media Writing and Publication, New Media Production), MA Writing, MFA Writing for Children and YA (in progress).

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