Overview of the introduction week:
Dear Students, there is just a single week to rest from your Term 2 deadline to the introduction week of Term 3. In the introduction week, Sean will give you a briefing of what’s expected in Term 3. However, you will need to be well prepared to start reporting for you Term 3 projects during the first reporting week of Term 3 (15th May). That means coming to the introduction week well prepared with the story pitch and concept that you will produce during Term 3. These introductory notes will help you come to the introduction week well prepared. Sean’s briefing on the introduction week will clarify and resolve any remaining questions you have about Term 3. I will also set aside a full day for wechat tutorials on the Wednesday of the introduction week so that I can speak with you about your Term 3 projects and help direct you forwards.
So you’ll need to know what you are going to do for your final Term 3 project before it starts. Do not come to the introduction week without or with a vague or inaccessible story pitch. Ideally, you will be taking forward one of your Term 2 stories in some way. Perhaps extending or broadening it, or taking it in a slightly different angle, or continuing the same essential story focus but producing the story in a new media form.
Only if both projects have really failed should you switch topics completely and if this is the case, you will need to start planning, researching and preparing early to catch up and be ready for Term 3 introduction week. On day one of the introduction
On day one of the introduction week, you will need to pitch your Term 3 stories in class with clarity. Sean will then give you some general pointers and some feedback on your ideas. On Day 2 your Term 2 second projects will be presented and critiqued so be ready to give a clear, concise 5-minute presentation. This should help you to understand both your strengths and weaknesses to help you develop further in Term 3. NOTE: A list of all student projects will be sent to you to on the 29th April for you to preview.
We hope that your Term 3 stories will be the stories you use to show future employers to land the job, freelance gig, or internship that drives the next step in your career. Think about what that next step is and make sure you work in that direction. There is no set formula for an online visual multimedia story. It’s your story and you’ll need to tell it in the way, format, and style that you think best. Of course, your tutors will be here to guide you through the process. By now you should well understand online visual storytelling and it’s many formats.
You can get some ideas here. https://multimediastories.contently.com/
FAQ’s for Term 3:
What do I need to prepare for the Term 3 introduction week?
For the intro week – 8th May – you will need to come to class at 10.am with a solid story pitch. (See and complete the first section of the project form). You’ll need to present your pitch in class. (5 mins per student). Please note your story needs to be MULTIMEDIA, VISUAL and ACCESSIBLE.
Your story needs to be ‘MULTIMEDIA’ in that it must combine two or more media forms. (photography, video, audio, text, graphics). At least one of your chosen media forms has to be VISUAL. (photography, video, audio, text, graphics). You could not, for example, combine only audio and text. You cannot, for example, combine only audio and text. Your chosen mediums will depend on your story and how you think best to tell that story.
Your story has to be ACCESSIBLE if you haven’t already secured access and access cannot easily be sought then you will need to embark on a different story. There is no time to waste setting up access that may never materialize. If access is any kind of an issue and you haven’t secured it do not pitch that story.
NOTE. You will also need a social engagement plan. Please note Andrea is doing this successfully in Term 2. By releasing short updates and teasing the audience into watching later work. Nathan also did this, not quite so successfully but still a good effort. So far I haven’t seen anyone else with any kind of social engagement plan. Perhaps I will be surprised when the projects are handed in on the deadline?
Can I spend the first two weeks of Term 3 figuring out and researching my story and trying to secure access?
Term 3 proper will commence on the 15th May. So this week can be used to do any final research and fixing before your reporting begins. By Week 2 you will need to begin ‘on the ground reporting’. There is simply no time to waste. Quality work takes time and energy. You will make mistakes and you will face unexpected challenges and problems during your reporting. (it’s never a smooth run). Only by starting the reporting process early and working consistently will you manage to overcome these challenges and be fully prepared for edit month. Note you have 10 reporting weeks and 4 editing weeks. Edit month is a critical final stage strictly for polishing and editing and making the work shine on your chosen platform. You will need to come to the second week of edit month with a high-quality rough draft on your URL. If you are still reporting and scrimp on the editing stage you are doing yourself and your work a disservice. It does take a full month of hard work to get longer form features to the professional stage expected for the MA. More details re-edit month to come soon. Sharron and Sean will be on hand in the classroom for selected days during the edit month to help you on an individual basis.
How many days am I expected to work?
Every project is unique we cannot dictate exactly how you spend or manage your own time. Interim deadlines will be set in place shortly and you will need to meet them if you want tutorial feedback and guidance. You’ll find them on the schedule.
There are some basic minimum requirements on time commitment and you’ll need to log your work time clearly in the diary section of the project form.
40 hours a week – You need to spend 40 hours a week reporting, editing, transcribing, experimenting with new tools or platforms, practicing new techniques, filming, interviewing etc. You will also, of course, need to keep reading and researching as you go along. You need to be ready to start actual on the ground practical reporting by the beginning of Term 3 Week 2.
DO NOT SPEND THE FIRST 2 WEEKS OF TERM RESEARCHING OR BUILDING ACCESS – ACCESS NEEDS TO BE SECURED WELL BEFORE AND PRELIMARY RESEARCH NEEDS TO BE COMPLETED BY THE 8TH MAY.
22 x 8-hour days ‘on the ground’ shooting and interviewing – Out of ten reporting weeks, we expect you to spend a minimum of 22 x 8-hour days ‘on the ground’ shooting and interviewing. Other days are for research, setting up interviews, practice, editing, working on your platform etc. Please highlight your 22 on the ground’ shooting and interviewing days in your diary by highlighting the text in RED.
How long does my video/text need to be? Quality, not quantity!!!
This question is nonsensical, as explained and demonstrated many times there are no set formulas for digital visual multimedia stories. Bear in mind, we are aiming to produce professional stories, just like you would see online at major media outlets. You will notice that few stories take longer to consume than 20 or 30 minutes – and in most cases, we believe this is a good guideline. Stories from start to finish should take no longer than 20 or 30 minutes to consume. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, some of your stories or projects may be much shorter and some much longer. We are absolutely open to exceptions but you must discuss these ideas with your tutors early on.
You should be aiming for quality, not quantity. We do not want to see ‘multimedia encyclopedias’ or ‘student looking projects’ we are looking for professional standard digital visual multimedia stories akin to those that you would see in international English-language media outlets. your stories will be engaging, have news value, be beautifully produced with a great user experience for your chosen target audience.
Caution: Don’t ask Sharron how many videos you should have or how long your video should be. Think of your project as a cohesive whole.
How do I get feedback as I go along? & Editing as you go along…
You will need to do some rough editing as you go along in the forms of transcribing and translating interviews, rough video, picture, text and graphic edits etc. You should as early as possible be working on your live platform URL. Of course, there will be placeholders for content – as you won’t have produced your actual real content but designing and playing with your layout and platform early on is critical. You should have some ideas about how you want your multimedia story to look and feel from the beginning. Playing with it online at all stages means that narrative flow and user experience will be part of your thinking from the beginning stages.
Why do I need to keep a diary and how do I use it?
As well as clearly logging your work days and hours, your diary is a place for you to reflect on your story, interviews, focus, practice, ethics your own journey, develop, ent and learning and anything related to your Term 3 project. Writing your thoughts down can bring clarity. These reflections will also be useful when writing your final dissertation.
When should I start thinking about my platform and final design and layout?
Digital visual multimedia stories are not a collection of media assets they are a combination of media assets selected to tell a specific story in a specific way. I simply can’t make the point any better than this brilliant post on Shorthand’s ‘The Craft’ blog.
“Too often, multimedia and/or interactivity becomes an afterthought. When a story is written, the absence of visual activity in the narrative may not become clear until later on, and a mission is undertaken to retrofit some multimedia to the story.
True visual storytelling places the layout and treatment at the heart and start of things – second only to the actual story itself.
So at the beginning of a project, everyone should come together – writers, editors, photographers, video journalists, data journalists – to get into the detail of the story, understand the resources available, and consider how best to tell the story across media.
Only then should anyone in that team embark on gathering the materials, and writing the text.”
Of course in your case, you are the team, or at most you’ll have one partner. However, the necessity to plan how you will tell and combine your mediums from the very beginning remains the same. If you don’t have a solid idea at what you ultimately want to achieve, you have little chance of success. Your story and details may change along the way, but the look and feel of your story will remain largely the same and should be considered from Day 1.
Can I use some of my Term 2 work in my Term 3 project?
Yes you can, you need to evolve, develop and extend your Term 2 work but you may incorporate your Term 2 reporting and visuals into your Term 3 work.
What happens if I fail Term 2?
Your final Term 2 stories will be marked during the week of the 8th May and preliminary grades with written feedback given back to you on or before the 15th May. Those grades will then be externally moderated and finalized at UoB exam boards in June. Should you fail by a small margin you will still commence to Term 3 with your peers, but you will need to make minor necessary changes and resubmit work on a refer status. Should you fail by a large margin you will need to make substantial changes and submit Term 2 again on a refer status in June 2017. You will be forced to defer submitting Term 3 modules until December 2017.
Can I hide the microphone?
Yes please – it’s time to get rid of that huge fluffy lavalier mics. It’s time to invest in a decent quality lav mic. (You can find them for under 300 RMB). Also, check the videos I have posted on Facebook to help you learn to either hide your microphones or make them less conspicuous.
Do you have any further questions at this stage? Please write to me in the group wechatI’ll I’ll answer them the best I can.