8 February 2010

First I want to make sure that you saw the end to the “Green Mile”

Next, I want you to take this short test, as promised, on the movie.

How far did you get with your substitute in the documentary “Digital Nation”?

How many people have set up Google accounts so that you can use Google docs?

Here is a program called Webspiration, which you can access from any computer. http://mywebspiration.com/ . First you have to sign into the program; that’s simple. You’ll click on new outline icon and label the dialogue box: “writing an essay or article or review.”

At the top of Webspiration, you’ll see a series of icons. The first icon turns your outline into a mind map. Later on you might want to start your writing by working in a mind map. But that’s for later.  By clicking on this icon you switch between mind maps and outlines. Neat. The next icon just creates the next level, an idea equal to the idea above it. We can discuss this.

The icon immediately to the right creates an idea a level below it, an idea contained within the first idea. So for example, the first line might be ice cream, and the idea below it might be ice cream cones. Or a flavor of ice cream. The arrows to the side of the icon allow you to move the ideas to the left or to the right. All you need to do to rearrange ideas is to drag them up or down on the outline. (Purpose: to develop the tools to structure writing, to easily rearrange ideas and their order, to spark new ideas by rearranging old ideas, and to first see the big picture before leaping off into the vast white space of the page… Or in this case the computer screen.)

Really, all we have to do for starters is to create a list, to use the outline as a list. Later we’ll break that list up into our topic sentences, and you will see your ideas flow from them. All that will come from this list.

Now that we’ve created our Webspiration page, I want to talk about sentences. In fact I want to cut sentences down to size. My first two absolute demands for any sentences you write is that they start with a capital letter and end with a period.

Rule one — keep your sentences simple. Don’t get elaborate. Not at first. The more direct you are, the stronger your sentence will be. Remember, you have your outline to rely on as a roadmap.  (Purpose: simple sentences solve complex problems. Simple sentences usually, automatically, employ the active voice. Supported by the outline, the writer knows where he or she is going. Simple sentences are the foundation on which complex sentences are built. By alternating complex sentences and simple sentences the writer’s work takes on a rhythm not only leads to graceful writing but also helps the readers understanding.)

The key here is that Webspiration is a collaborative program, and when you’re working in media more often than not you will be involved in collaborations, working in groups of people.

Let’s see if we can use Webspiration to work out the creative process involved in a movie like “The Green Mile.” (Purpose: to prepare the way for this class to begin laying out media projects which they can complete in class, or through actual presentations.)

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