Behind the Scenes

 

behind-the-scenes

When having to analyze a piece of work it is easy to quickly judge what you think the meaning is. It seems easy to pick out the mistakes or trivial things that others have done but when analyzing yourself it’s a bit more scary. I wouldn’t say that I know how to write, actually far from that. I have a long way to go before I become the successful writer that I would like to be but I would say that over the course of creating this blog I have developed in some ways. I would like to say that through my writings I have successfully managed to use all of Aristotle’s Artistic Appeals in one way or another. I have used logic when I needed backbone to my analysis. I used ethos when I wanted to give credibility to a writer or creator. I also used pathos when I wanted to reach out to the audiences’ emotions.

By using these tools I have been able to make statements that are logical, thought provoking, and yet sensitive. Each analytical post that I have had to do for this class has not only taught me how to become better at analyzing a variety of things but has also taught me the importance of detail. When writing you are not only writing for others but writing so that you can better understand what you believe. By having to put my analytical essays on a blog it has forced me to be aware of who my audience is and what I am trying to share with them. I hope that through continued writing and exploration of written work I will be able to continue sharing with my fellow writers and bloggers.

Thanks for reading! I’d love to have some feedback from you!

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Spilling Kindness

With the growing availability to the Internet we are able to stay connected to a far greater amount and variation of people than before. This has been a great benefit in allowing people to communicate over long distance, share news, and advertise but it has also broadened the types of dangers and bullying that can occur. To name one, cyber bullying has greatly increased over the years. Because of this many organizations and companies have tried to bring about awareness of it and hopefully put a stop to it. One of the best ways to advertise is through commercials and that is what one company decided to do. During the 2014 super bowl Coca Cola decided to release a commercial to bring awareness to the hurt that the Internet can cause. Through their use of powerful imagery, catchy music, and a heartwarming message they were able to create an ad that not only sold an all time favorite drink but also promoted the power of kindness and encouragement.Coca-Cola_logo.svg

The first few seconds of an ad are the most important part of the entire commercial. If the beginning is not able to grab the audience’s attention then the ad has automatically failed in its purpose. An ad or commercial must create an atmosphere that reaches out to the audience with either the use of pathos, ethos, or logos as their foundation. The creators of the ad must also be aware of who the audience is and know how to relate it to them. The Coca Colas ad has laid heavily on the use of pathos as it starts with flashing images of hurtful messages, crying and screaming faces, and loud, strange noises. I believe this was done intentionally by Coca Cola to give the audience a scare. These images are examples of types of cyber bullying that go on; Facebook messages, texts, and videos. Social-Media-IconsThe strange and disturbing way it begins causes the viewer to wonder what the ad could be about as well as scaring them into hoping that the end will be better then the beginning. By having a slight fear factor at the beginning Coca Cola is able to hold the audience’s attention for longer then they would have if they had started out more calmly. They understood that in order to grab the attention of people enjoying the fun of the super bowl they needed something to shock the audience.

Transitions that happen during the ad are also very important. As soon as the scary beginning ends the ad jumps to a dark room filled with the brains of the Internet. The computer systems are lined up neatly but there seems to be a problem for in the center of the image is a man working on one of the systems. Coca Cola appears to be trying to make a connection between the problem of bullying and the computer problem being dealt with by the technician. However, while working the man makes a mistake by spilling the bottle of Coca Cola that he is drinking into one of the computers. The man jumps to try and stop it but it is too late. As the liquid spills into the body of the computer it sparks and, instead of frying it like it normally should, the soda enters into the electrical cords. As the Coke flows through the cables it enters into Internet systems, satellite dishes, and electronic devices everywhere.coca-cola-2015-super-bowl-xlix-a

Just like the Internet is worldwide and information can travel in the blink of an eye Coca Cola is trying to represent that with the liquid flowing through the cables. This also provides imagery for when an ad or picture or word is posted on social media that it doesn’t take long before it is known everywhere. Once on the Internet it does not simply remain on one particular location, it is shared and liked and commented on until everyone knows about it. One mistake or accident can cause happiness or hurt. I believe Coca Cola is hoping that the audience will realize that it is up to us to decide which one we become a part of.

Soon after this we begin to see the affects of the spill. It first meets a group of people playing video games and surfing the web, engrossed in only what is in front of them. Next it moves to a man watching a political argument, which is miraculously turned into a laugh between two friends. It then flows into a billboard next to a woman who appears to be having a terrible day. She is surprised by an encouraging meme that pops up on the billboard. The coke finally turns a hate message that a young boy on a bus has received into a kind affirmation. -d137c12aedfa9cdcAll of these changes are due to the Coca Cola, the magic drink. The one small accident done by the technician changed the way people were behaving. After looking at all the people affected one can see that they are from all different walks of life. Just like the Internet has made the word connected, coke has become a drink that people from all over have come to enjoy. Coca Cola uses this fact to suggest that the way we act and the kindness we share should also be universal. It is not unique to one place or people but available to everyone everywhere.

The music that plays in the background of any movie or ad is important, as it is what sets the mood. The song that starts as soon as the coke was spilled is a sweet but almost melancholy tune. Although the audience will most likely be paying attention to the images on the screen the words in the song play an important role in expressing the message of the commercial. hundred_waters_interview_2015The words go “Don’t let me show cruelty though I may make mistakes. Don’t let me show ugliness though I know I can hate. And don’t let me show evil though it might be all I take. Show me love, show me love, show me love.” When Coca Cola heard “Show Me Love” written by Hundred Waters they knew that it was just what their ad needed. This message is the backbone of what Coca Cola is trying to promote. The words flow along with the coke as it makes a change in each person. It also calls the audience to make a change in themselves.

Throughout the commercial it seems that Coca Cola with its signature red color is what is causing the miraculous change. If someone were to watch the commercial and not look any deeper then what is portrayed on the screen they may think that Coca Cola is trying to take the credit for causing people to become good but that doesn’t seem to be the underlying fact. Yes, Coca Cola is trying to sell their product as well as every other company that puts out an ad but they are also trying to encourage a positive change. Coca Cola is trying to tell their audience that if people spilled kindness around their social media and let it spread, what kind of atmosphere would that create? Two wrongs don’t make a right so instead of continuing this trend of hateful words and hurt we should try and build each other up. Coca Cola was very intentional about airing this commercial during the super bowl. They wanted to make sure that as many people as possible would be able to watch it. The more people, the more awareness, the more change. Being able to drink and share a Coca Cola is good but so is being able to share kindness with someone.

Check out the video and let me know what you think! You should look up some of their other commercials too and let me know which ones are you favorite. 🙂

Staying Chained or Breaking Free?

America. The land of the free and the home of the brave. A place where all are welcome, but only if we want you. America has always been a place of refuge to those looking for an escape. For generations people from all nations and religions have come to America for a better life, one where they can do as they please, be who they want to be, and succeed in life. However I would like to differ. Yes it is true that we have so much more freedom than many other parts of the world but is this freedom blinding us into a plastic type of lifestyle? In Katy Perry’s new hit single “Chained to the Rhythm” she addresses stereotypical behavior that now labels those who live in the United States. This so called freedom has now become a prison that separates us from the world, our friends and families, and even from ourselves.

Like most songs the title usually contains the main idea of what the song is going to promote or emphasize. Two_dancersWhen we automatically see the words “chained to the rhythm” it causes us to think of all the other songs that we have become addicted to because of their
catchy rhythm and tune. Just thinking of the word rhythm causes us to sway back and forth or tap our foot. We know that rhythm is what gives the song its life and pulls us along with the lyrics. It shapes the mood of the song. This titles purpose is to grab the listener’s attention as well as prepare them for the powerful message that she is about to present. Being intentional about word choice is very important when setting the stage for the rest of the song.

As the song begins her first starts with “living our lives through a lens, trapped in our white picket fence, like ornaments.” This alludes to ordinary people who are living life the way the advertisements tell us we should live, the typical American life. Just like the movies, we have nice houses with fences to separate neighbors. Everything is fancy, clean and fragile, just like ornaments. We start seeing the world through the “good life” lenses and we would rather not take them off. There is nothing wrong with having a nice life or enjoying nice things but when these things begin to pile up and form a wall around us it can become dangerous. We have finally put ourselves in an environment that we think is perfect and yet we are never truly satisfied. Once trapped into this stagnant lifestyle we find it harder and harder to make changes. Even if we are unsatisfied with our wonderful lives we would rather stay in our comfortable enclosures then step out and help someone. By lending a helping hand we may dirty our “white picket fence” or damage our ornamental selves.

As we move to the chorus we understand that this is the part that is repeated the most. This is done partly because it ties verses together but also because it contains a message that Katy wants the audience to remember, and how better to remember something then when it’s catchy. She states that we are so at ease with the way we are living that it like we are surrounded by a fake sense of protection, a “bubble.” And because of this we have trained ourselves into being unaware of the problems that are happening all around us. She then tells her listeners to “put your rose-coloil_fullxfull-727506425_fmhw.jpgred glasses on, and party on” this part is important in that it suggests that the simple act of throwing on some shades will allow you to go about your life as if nothing is wrong. She associates the putting on of these pretty colored glasses to that of making life a party. She continues to urge the listener into a mindset of celebration by telling them to increase to volume of the music and dance, and if that’s not enough she tells you to take a drink and then repeat the whole thing again. But here is where she adds the twist. She associates the music to a “distortion”, the dancing to the movement of a “zombie”, and the partying to our belief that we are “free” to do whatever we choose. This contradiction of ideas causes the listener o reevaluate the meaning.

It often seems that we ignore problems that are not directly affecting us. We think that if we pretend something is not there it will disappear. It’s similar to the childlike thinking that if you cover your face you disappear from their sight. Katy Perry’s second verse brings this claim to the table as she sings, “Are we tone deaf? Keep sweeping it under the mat, thought we could do better that that.” Enjoying life is not the problem it’s the fact that we have become obsessed with only taking care of ourselves. Katy Perry is calling us to listen to others’ stories and problems instead of pushing them aside because they aren’t our problems. When we pretend that an issue doesn’t exist we are not only hurting others but also hurting ourselves.

The bridge section of the song is where Katy has decided to include another voice. By adding Skip Marley’s part she is stating that she is not the only one that has these convictions; others share the ideas that she addresses. The bridge talks mostly about the government and the high officials that run it. It calls out those in power who instead of taking care of the people are feeding them lies instead. But Marley reminds us that the government as we know it is coming to an end. Times are changing and people are fed up with the injustices that are happening to them and those around them. The very last phrase of the bridge is “they woke up, the woke up the lions.” lead_960This phrase suggests that those who have been mistreated who have held our tongues will not be silent any longer. They will make their voices heard and it won’t be quiet but instead loud like a lion. It will be a roar. This association with lions also makes a connection with Katy’s very popular hit “Roar” which was released in 2013. The bridge not only ties the song together but also makes some very important points that are needed to give the song the power it has.

All of these parts added together make up the song but the main theme of it is being “chained to the rhythm”. As the audience listens this originally registers to how we are attracted and drawn to the way the song is, how the notes and instruments create an exciting tune that you can jam to. As you listen to each part of the song however you come to realize that the rhythm that she is speaking of has to do with how we live life. Is the way we are living and facing life chaining us into not being able to move forward and change? This is the question that Katy asks repeatedly throughout the verses.

By the end of the song Katy has returned to the chorus and then finishes by saying “it goes on and on and on.” This suggests that things will not change if we do not wish them to. We have to make our voices heard and stand up for those who don’t have a voice. If we don’t the cycle will continue forever. Katy’s song is not only fun to listen to but also gives the listener a choice to make; whether or not to be only a listener but also a speaker. We need to step out of this “rhythm” of life that we are all stuck in and change it.

I’ve included the song below. Check it out and let me know what you think! Is my analysis of the song correct or am I taking it out of proportion?

 

It’s Just an Illusion

The use of creative imagery has always played an important role in advertising. All types of companies and organizations use it. The fact that we are always in contact with ads is an important factor for these advertisers. One such organization that has used advertisements and visuals to promote their cause is the Salvation Army. The_Salvation_Army.svgUnlike many groups however they are not trying to sell products but sell idea instead. Their goal is selling ideas is so that they can continue to provide care to all who are suffering. In this particular advertisement, which is promoting the awareness of domestic abuse, created by the Salvation Army and their abuse shelter Care Haven they use popular imagery to create a dauntless statement that will grab the viewers attention as well as cause them to reevaluate their present perception of abuse.

The background of the image is a dark gray color. The creator has done this so that the focus of the picture will remain in the center. The whole ad is taken up with the body of a woman. To keep the woman the main focus they have also made the description of the ad simple and to the far right side of the image. This way when the audience looks at the ad their attention will be immediately drawn to the center. The woman who is modeling for the ad is lying on her side in the position often used when trying to show of the model’s figure or to advertise the clothing that the ad is trying to sell. She is a white woman with long, dirty blonde hair. The imagery that this provides us with is the stereotypical idea we often have of what a typical woman looks like. She is both elegant and attractive. Her nails are painted and she is wearing makeup. This suggests that she cares about her appearance and values how others see her. The appearance of the woman gives her credibility in the eyes of the viewer. By being well put together she lets the audience know that she is trustworthy, well kempt, and probably an overall good person.

When the viewer initially takes in the woman they see her as someone they can associate with. Whether she reminds them of themselves or a friend or relative she presents a familiar face. The beauty of the woman is quickly put aside however as the viewer’s attention is drawn to the dark spots that cover the woman’s body. The black and blue welts are spread out across the woman’s legs, face, and wrist. By placing the bruises in these specific places the ad is showing the locations of physical abuse usually done by a husband or partner. The bruise on her wrist represent the times when she was grabbed roughly on her arm, the bruises on her face for when she said something she wasn’t supposed to, and then the bruises on her legs from where she was kicked after being pushed to the floor. The creator has placed the bruises in spots where signs of abuse are most commonly found or spotted by others.

The second part of the ad that grabs the viewer’s attention next would have to be the dress that the woman is wearing. Due to the bruises all over the woman’s body you would think that she would try and cover them up but that is not the case here. The creator has intentionally dressed her in a figuring hugging, short length dress. However this isn’t just any normal dress. It is “The dress” that went viral in February of 2015. The reason for its fame came from the argument over whether the dress was black and blue or white and gold. The dispute went on for quite some time as each person saw the dress as a different color. The dress was thought to be an illusion but the original was finally declared to be black and blue by the owner.

The creator of this ad has used this Internet craze to tie it to the point of the ad. They are hoping that the stir that this dress caused would also cause a similar reaction with the ad. They want people to discuss and argue over whether or not abuse is something prevalent. Because only by arguing and discussing will there be any real conclusion. No solution can come if people are passive and choose not to argue over the “color.” The ad makes the connection between the dress and the abuse by saying “The only illusion is if you think it was her choice.” By stating this the Salvation Army is challenging the viewer to disagree with them. They don’t want the talk of abuse to just be whispers behind closed doors they want it to be spread all over the media, just like the dress, so that everyone can be apart of making a change. They want people to voice their opinions of abuse; whether they view it only as an illusion or if they are aware of the real colors.

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The woman in the image is looking straight at the viewer. The importance of eye contact is needed for this particular ad. They say that eyes are the windows to the soul and this is true as it as her eyes that draw people in. By having the sullen eyes meet the eyes of the audience the ad is able to make a connection between the two. This connection makes the ad more personal and connects the woman in the image to women the viewer may know personally. Although the look is somber it is not begging. It is as if she is not asking you to help her but instructing you to. She has decided that she can no longer wait for someone to notice her pain so she is reminding the audience that if they do not become aware of her situation soon it will be too late. Her abuse as well as that of many other women will not stop. Her demand is not one that makes people back away but instead holds them firm reminding them of their responsibility. Having this personal connection with the woman will stir the viewer into spending more time looking at the ad. With this they will find out its meaning and in the end hopefully agree with it.

By portraying a woman in a dress that was argued over as being either white and gold or black and blue the creator of the ad is asking the audience what they see on the woman. She happens to be wearing the dress in the colors white and gold but the bruises that cover her body are black and blue. This contrast includes both color sets that were argued over. The ad is asking the audience whether what they see is an illusion or if they can see the real thing; the real thing being that abuse does happen. The ad says that “one is 6 women are victims of abuse.” By adding statistics the Salvation Army can provide credibility to their claim. Abuse happens to a lot of women and we need to be on the lookout for it so that we can put an end to it. The ad is hoping that what they see will leave a disturbing image in their mind so in the future they can be aware of what happens to so many women. By creating a powerful message the Salvation Army along with Care Haven have been able to use something as trivial as an argument over a dress to bring awareness of abuse.
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Painting His Words

Art and language are often thought to live in separate worlds but if an individual is able to combine both he creates an atmosphere that brings together those who would have otherwise stayed apart. Charlie O’Shields does just that in his blog the Doodlewash. He has created an online journal where he can share his thoughts and artwork. He captures the simplicity of life with his bright watercolor pictures and insightful thoughts. His childlike openness makes him easy to respond to and makes a person feel as though they are having a one on one conversation with the blogger himself. Throughout his journal he seeks to connect with his readers through his thoughts and paintings.

A journal is a personal belonging that is not commonly shared with others. However Charlie has decided to share part of his journal with his readers. An important element of his blog is that each individual post is related to the main object in each of his painting. _32When he reminisces about when he had to use training wheels he painted a red bike with the training wheels. In his blog about fruit he portrays a full picture of all types of delicious looking fruit, such as a pineapple, grapes, and kiwis. This is very important, as it makes sure that not only adults are able to enjoy his blog but also children who cannot read yet. They are able to enjoy the bright and colorful pictures even if they do not know what the words are. For those who can read however will notice that the pictures are the focus of the text and this allows the reader to better understand the meaning behind Charlie’s thoughts by being able to visualize exactly what he is describing.

By sharing his thoughts with his readers Charlie invites them to respond. Each journal entry is three medium length paragraphs long. This allows the reader to read the thought without it becoming extensive and uninteresting. Throughout each paragraph he uses first person, which reminds his readers that he is a living human with a real life and real problems. People will be more inclined to respond to what he has written about if it is done in a way that is inviting and open. Charlie achieves this by talking about times when he would wake up on weekend mornings to a full plate of pancakes or how he loved to get packages in the mail if only he could pop all the bubble wrap that was inside. He creates the atmosphere of listening to a short story, a story that a friend would share with you.

One example of this connection is in his piece entitled “Training Wheels.” This blog envelops many of the aspects of Charlie’s creativity. He usually begins each post with a personal event that took place sometime in his childhood. This ranges from what he did, ate, played with, saw, and much more. In this particular post he begins by explaining how as a child he hated his training wheels and how hard he tried to get rid of them as soon as he possibly could. “The training wheels were embarrassing, and so I didn’t go very far on them back then.” He was envious of the other kids who didn’t need them. By including a glimpse into his childlike mind the reader is able to relate to him as someone who has once been young and filled with energy. He then goes on to express how he wished that he hadn’t taken his training wheels for granted and instead been thankful for them. By reflecting on his past thoughts he is able to explain how he now understands his childlike behavior: sometimes foolish and yet sometimes wise. He pulls out lessons he has learned during his transition from childhood to adulthood. His application of using training wheels even now reminds his readers of the importance of childhood and learning.

Charlie’s blog consists mainly of reminisces of times gone by and includes many stories from his childhood in his daily posts. His journal styled blog seems to almost be like a giant storybook full of coming of age experiences. In his “Something Fruity” post he includes many different facts about the types of fruit that he has included in his painting. His addition of knowledge makes the blog post not only fun to look at but also mind-boggling as the reader learns new things about everyday items. For example, “Apples are actually a member of the rose family, along with peaches and raspberries.” His inclusiveness of all things interesting and unique makes what could be a boring account something that the reader will look forward to.

Another important aspect of Charlie’s blog is the way he writes to his readers, encouraging them to discover things for themselves and to branch out and try new things. He demonstrates this in the blog, “A Bug’s View,” by reminding his audience that it is ok to wonder what our purpose is here on earth. He describes how he once thought that being a tiny insect would be fun and exciting and then later in life how it might possibly get him out of work and trouble. “The idea that one could be shrunk down to an impossibly small size for a brief period of time is enthralling.” Charlie often talks about how he struggled with not being a good enough artists. He was jealous of others and envied the works of other people. In manman-writing-in-journal-stock-photoy of his posts he admits this but then concludes with the fact that he is now ok with not being the best. He has learned that it is ok to be “small”. That it is ok to be afraid of what life is bringing and not knowing what tomorrow holds. He looks up to other artists and wants to learn from those who are better than him because he knows at that time he will truly grow. In fact he says “But I never get discouraged as I now realize they all have something to teach me.” He is the best he can be and all he can do is practice over and over again. Even if he isn’t a great artist now he can still admire and learn from the best without feeling like a failure.

He has worked with photography and drawing but he has found his true joy in being able to watercolor. He lets his readers know that he has never had patience for directions “I like to have fun in whatever I do, and for me, that usually means just jumping in and trying things without reading the manual first.” Ironically however he has provided his readers and fellow artists with a vast amount of art tutorials and art supply reviews. This shows that although one thing may not work for him it doesn’t mean it won’t help someone else out in the long run.

One other thing that he adds to his blog is his monthly art challenges. He not only wants his audience to enjoy his stories and paintings but he also wants them to take part in it themselves. His wish is for others to be able to express themselves through any type of medium. creativityHe only hopes that he can be of assistance in guiding them to discovering what type that is. As an artist he knows what it is like to be frustrated. Each of his posts allows the reader to get to know the author as someone who has known what it is like to feel like they aren’t good enough. Charlie doesn’t fear though. He knows his potential and he has faith that everyone that comes across his blog will find his own.

Charlie isn’t a glamorous writer. He doesn’t write just to fill up a page or try and make himself sound as though he knows it all. His writing is simple yet at times profound, pulling at the innermost parts of the readers mind. He writes trusting each person that reads his blog will feel as though they have gone through the same experience. He wants to build others up and share his love of language and art with everyone. As a writer he draws people to him by sharing things that matter most to him. As an artist he pulls people in by expressing himself through a medium that speaks without words. Throughout each picture and each story Charlie has made an effort to connect to people. He has encouraged creativity and togetherness through words and art. He has created a place where people can come to teach and to learn from each other.

Make sure to check out his work!

Cited Works
O’Shields, Charlie. “Training Wheels.” Doodlewash January 2017. Online. February 11, 2017. Available. https://doodlewash.com/2017/01/23/training-wheels/
O’Shields, Charlie. “Something Fruity.” Doodlewash February 2017. Online. February 11, 2017. Available. https://doodlewash.com/2017/02/04/something-fruity/
O’Shields, Charlie. “A Bug’s View.” Doodlewash February 2017. Online. February 12, 2017. Available. https://doodlewash.com/2017/02/02/a-bugs-view/