Design Blitz-krieg Bop

I never realized all that goes into the advertisements, signs, and billboards in Fredericksburg before undertaking the DesignBlitz this week. I went on a journey through all parts of town, searching for different mediums to individually represent four design elements. There were many options, but the clearest examples I could find include a movie poster, a billboard, an advertising sign, and the name of a retailer on the side of its store. I figured that it would be most effective to choose elements to represent from all that my journey exposed, instead of setting out to search for certain ones. This method worked very well!

This first element that I will identify, symbolism, is ideally used on a movie poster for the Disney movie, “Tomorrowland”. I had never heard of the movie before spying the poster, so it was a perfect chance to test the effectiveness of the symbolism. The poster contains no title or words to describe the movie. It only possesses a giant “T” and a symbol above it. I felt as if I was guessing the answer to a “One Story/Four Icons” assignment! It helped tremendously that the symbol above the “T” is widely recognized, as related to futuristic times and science. In fact, it is used in the television show, “Jimmy Neutron”, which I am very familiar with, from my childhood.  It represents the complex idea of scientific advancement in the future. Although I prefer to have the name of  the movie on the poster, I was able predict the basic plot of the movie, just based on the symbolism. Therefore, it was fairly effective.

Blitz Symbol

The second concept, typography, is abundant in most advertisements. I saw a lot of examples that used type in an interesting way. However, this one example, not only uses it in an intriguing way, it also uses typography to relay a deeper meaning. The name of the company, “Businets”, already conveys that it is a business that helps with networking. However, this company’s use of typography on the billboard also stresses the letters “i” and “t” in the title of the company by making them yellow, significantly larger, and in lower case instead of all caps. These two letters together are an acronym for “information technology”, thereby highlighting a specific area of expertise.  Even if a person driving by did not know of the company, the typography of the company’s name, as well as, the differing font sizes, yellow and white color combination, and use of capitalization and italics combine to convey what the company is all about.

Blitz Typography

Proportion, a third design element, is a very powerful tool. It is used to establish visual weight and relate the scale of one object to another. In this example, the “and That!” name on the sign stresses the word “That”, as it is larger in proportion to the word above it and has a capital “T” at the beginning and a tall exclamation point at the end. This design guides viewers in how to read the words, to accent the word in larger proportion. This company chooses to continue this trend with the announcement of a  “Clearance Event”, with the word “Event” being larger in proportion to  the word “Clearance”, drawing attention to the fact that an Event is much larger than, say, a “one-day sale”. The concept of proportion in this example conveys the message that shoppers will find all kinds of products in their store, including this “and That!”, as well as, deals worthy of an “event”.

Blitz Proportion

For the design element,  balance, I could not have found a more perfect example than the White House Black Market company name on the side of its building. The first two words are separated from the last two words by a vertical line, stressing balance on either side of the line and directing the reader as to which two words go together. In addition, the words “White” and “Black” contain the same number of letters (5) creating symmetry, and the words “House” and “Market” are approximately symmetrical, as well. The visual weight of each set of words is almost completely equal on either side of the line. It creates a sense of organization, which is fitting since the store sells professional clothing.

Blitz Balance

 

Going on this DesignBlitz, I gained a better understanding of the thought that goes into creating graphic design of all types. Who knew Fredericksburg could be so graphically diverse?

Did You Notice That?

When watching a comedy like “The Big Lebowski”, one does not think of it as a particularly noir-type film. The humor and cursing call attention away from the environment and film design. However, once I got into the mindset of thinking like a designer, it was fairly easy to pick out the Los Angeles built environment and how it frames the noir style. After looking at several pieces over the past few weeks in ds106, it is clear that certain design aspects are common throughout the noir style.

Filmed in 1997, “The Big Lebowski” is an ideal film to exemplify the classic built environment in Los Angeles in the 1990’s. Unlike the current portrayal of this big city in film and advertisements as clean and shiny, it is quite the opposite. The Dude’s apartment, in particular, is filled with dirty toilets, half-ripped and old wallpaper, and chipped doorways. This trend is repeated in places like the bowling alley. Another noticeable element of Los Angeles environment is the limited space in between buildings, if there is any space at all, since many stores are connected in a commercial strip. All of the stores have large, bright, rectangular signs above them and bars on the windows, as well. When viewing a line of houses, there is minimal space in between, and the houses tend to be short with flats roofs and a single porch light. These typical L.A. aspects of that time period convey noir style.

Space, a design element that I never really noticed before, is very specific in how it frames the design and style of noir. The closeness between buildings, as described above, creates a continuous and unified feeling of one cityscape, a classic noir trope, and enhances the urban feel. This minimal amount of space, when viewed straight on, also creates dark alley-like spaces in between the houses. These scenes are typical of the noir style. Space also frames noir style in doorways. There is a certain length in between the top of the door and the light on top that creates a typical, triangular shadow enveloping the entire doorway. Space is also obvious within buildings. All of the houses have crowded rooms with a lot of furniture. This spatial design creates an abundance of shadows that fill the room and cover the characters’ faces. Space plays a crucial role in portraying the darkness and eeriness of noir.

Although “The Big Lebowski” is set in Los Angeles in the 1990’s, it is obvious that some noir design elements are common throughout the noir styles regardless of time and place. For example, urban decay buildings cover noir streets, with defined shadows outside of them. Also common on these buildings, are randomly placed neon-light signs. When slightly lit, noir roads are commonly cracked and bumpy. More often, however, the highways are long and dark with no street lights, so one can barely see the road. Another noir design element is single bulb lights placed over signs and doorways. These aspects of film design are common in all noir film.

Film design, including spatiality, use of shadows, and building design, is crucial to the portrayal of a plot. Each of these elements greatly contributes to the overall effect of the movie on the viewer and its noir style.

This Canon Explodes…With Ideas!

Massimo Vignelli is a man of much knowledge and opinion about the world of graphic design. In his short booklet, “The Vignelli Canon”, he outlines several key principles to this area of study that are relevant to ds106, but also creating anything of visual merit. After reading this work, I realized that I agree with all of Vignelli’s points about the importance of certain graphic principles, except for one. Perhaps, it is the current time period and access to new technology that leads me to disagree with him, as most work is done on the computer nowadays.

There is obviously true value in Vignelli’s booklet. He begins by laying out what he believes are the three most important aspects of design, and I could not agree more. The first, semantics, focuses on the meaning of a work. He constitutes that design without semantics is shallow. It is easy to agree with his proposal that in the contemporary world, it is hard to find true forms of vernacular communication. This is because vulgarity is gaining popularity and is polluting and degrading our environment. The second, syntactics, revolves around all of the visual aspects of design including structure, grid, typefaces, text, illustrations, and more. Syntax is valued based on its continuity. The final aspect, pragmatics, is based on understanding. A work is wasted effort and useless if it does not achieve clarity that results in the conveyance of meaning.

In addition to Vignelli’s three crucial areas of design, an overwhelming theme of this booklet is that “design is one”. This concept may be hard to digest at the surface, but Vignelli develops it by describing the syntactical elements of design and the importance of their ability to all work together in unity. The key behind achieving this is realizing that every detail is crucial because the result is the sum of all of these details. It seems simple enough, as most are familiar with the idea that the whole is the sums of its parts. Vignelli stresses several elements that add to the overall impact of design. Paper size, scale, grid, texture, color, white space, and several more must be carefully considered when creating a work, as, if they are used correctly, they can achieve powerful expression, relay a message, prevent meaningless placement of objects, symbolize, and identify mood.

I agree with all of Vignell’s points mentioned thus far, because they are still relevant today. Although he did most of his graphic design on paper, these principles greatly apply to computer-generated graphics, as well. The one concept that Vignelli discredits is typeface. Here lies a bone of contention, in my opinion. He believes that the abundant amount of typefaces, being invented by so many different sources, is nothing but visual pollution. According to him, there are only a few that are of value. Maybe it is the gigantic presence of technology in today’s world, but I see value in all typefaces. I have certainly used a wide variety of them over the years and feel they greatly enhance graphic design.

One of Vignelli’s main points of the booklet is that only one person is responsible for every detail of a work. That person is the designer. He loves that part of design, and I wholeheartedly agree.

Did You Hear That?

When I first thought of audio as it relates to film, video, and noir, the types of sounds that came to mind were loud gun shots, screams, sirens, and voice-over narration. Although sound effects are crucial elements, there is so much more to audio in storytelling. I learned this through the resources that we watched, read, and listened to this week. Audio is used for a variety of purposes. In general, it creates mood and feeling, sets the pace of a scene, and conveys the setting and atmosphere, just to name a few. More specifically, in noir, it creates the sense of eeriness and tension, as well as, contributes to the fast-paced chase scenes and slow-paced conversation scenes that are so common in this type of film.

It is clear that sound drives stories in many ways. Just think about it: how would Jerry ever know that Tom was sneaking up behind him without the suspenseful background music and distinct footsteps? How could Spider-Man ever fight the bad guys if, perhaps, “Hey There, Delilah” was playing rather than hard-core, head-banging rock music? Sound, in all of its forms, including background music and sound effects, gives a story character and can completely change its meaning. This is perfectly exemplified in the two different openings for “Touch of Evil”. In the first, the background music is fully comprised of high-pitched trumpets and swing-dancing type music that automatically sets the mood as exciting, at ease, and quite frankly, fun! The street sounds are highlighted to create light-hearted chaos. The sounds of laughs, whistles, goats, cars, etc. all contribute to the excitement of street life in this opening for the film. Check it out:

On the other hand, the second opening is the exact same scene, but is conveyed completely different simply due to audio. The background music is still filled with the sound of trumpets, but they are played in a much lower tone and joined by a quick-paced drum beat. This combination creates a feeling of being “on a mission” and frighteningly rushed. The street sounds described above are more muffled in this opening, as the focus is on the intense music, as it is pacing the characters’ walk through the street. This is the case, except for time of crises, such as the explosion at the end. As the explosion was not included in the first selection, it completely transforms the audio of the scene. The background music is muted and the film becomes filled with new and amplified street sounds of screams, ambulance and police sirens, and burning fire. It appears like a whole new scene:

It is an understatement to say that sound drives stories, because it, in fact, steers it. It is audio, alone, that changes the scenes, as everything else is the same. In the first example, it steers it in the direction of light-heartedness and exciting street life. However, in the second, it turns toward tension and a chaotic, rushed walk. It is evident from comparing and contrasting these two examples how much sound affects story lines .

The impact of audio on mood and atmosphere is remarkable. The resource, “The Ambience of Film Noir- Soundscapes, Design, and Mood”, conveys this impact, as it outlines the purposes of sound in noir, specific elements of noir soundscapes, and how noir particularly uses sound to create mood. Besides being solely developed to suggest mood and setting, sound also adds the “appropriate ‘beat’ to the ‘pace’ of screen presentation”. For example, the sound of a drum is faint in the first example above, but it is significantly louder and faster in the second, creating the fast-paced feeling. Footsteps, in particular, are one of noir’s key sonic motifs. They structure sequences with their beat and tempo. On one extreme, they portray drama in a typical noir foot chase. One the other end, they convey a different type of drama, as one character may be trying to silently sneak up on another. Changes in tempo and pace are also utilized to mark scene transitions.

The “ambience” of noir is fabricated through the conscious placement of sound effects, as well. Certain elements are accented to relay the typical noir narratives of desire, adventure, danger, etc. As exemplified in the examples above, these elements can often be city or street sounds. The outside city frequently intrudes sonically in noir film.  Sound and its “feeling” permit an audience to share the tense experience of urban cityscapes that is noir. In order to truly see the impact of sound on mood and atmosphere, I researched some examples and found the following video, the sole purpose of which is to show the power of sound.

The final resource that we had at our disposal this week was DS106 Radio. At first, I was unsure of how it could contribute to the ideas behind this post. However, it followed through, as it shows the features of sound in action. I participated in the “The Maltese Falcon” “tweet-along” and noticed many interesting aspects of audio. It was fairly easy to do so, as my senses were isolated to only hearing, since it was a radio show. It was clear that the background music heightened during more suspenseful parts. Also, the music faded in and faded out several times to transition between reality and flashback and between new scenes. Sounds effects contributed to these transitions. For example, the door often opened and closed to signal a new scene. Although I am a huge fan of film, DS106 Radio showed me that sound is the driving force behind most story lines and visuals are not necessary for me to enjoy the plot. In fact, it was a pleasant break from the usual letting my imagination wander during “The Maltese Falcon”. Throughout all of the selections this week, one thing is clear: Audio is a crucial element of media, as it often determines what direction a work goes in and how the audience portrays it, not just provide a sound effect here and there.

 

And We’re Live With DS106 Radio…

The first idea that comes to mind, for a DS106 Radio show, is based on the classic noir characters that we developed. Groups could be formed according to the possibility for intriguing interaction between the fictional characters. For example, an ideal group would include a hard-boiled detective, mafia member, and femme fatale from the same time period. I chose this grouping because of the story plot that I am already developing in my mind for a radio show starring my character, Julia James. Another group could include a chanteuse, jerk with a heart of gold, and dirty cop, as the possibilities for exciting entertainment are abundant. Our characters would provide the inspiration for the plots of noir- themed short stories, which we would compose as groups, by applying our newly developed noir knowledge and skills, such as the inclusion of sound effects and noir-themed background music. Each student would assume the role of his or her character during recording, with other roles, such as narration and music/sound effects application, being equally distributed among group members. I feel that this would be a fun and creative way to incorporate what we are learning, while also providing great radio entertainment.

Another idea is to explore the soundtracks of film noir through the decades. Each group would be responsible for watching a movie chosen from a list that spans the decades and then researching the artist/artists behind the music. The recording of each radio show would be formatted in such a way as to include background information about the artist/artists, as well as, audio clips from the soundtrack. At the conclusion of the show, the group members would participate in an informal discussion, during which they could give their personal opinions about the effectiveness (or not) of the music in creating a noir-like feel, comment on specific feelings that the music invokes at certain points in the plot, and make suggestions for any changes to the music (different artists, songs, placement, length, etc.) that they feel could have enhanced the movie from a viewer’s standpoint. It would be interesting to learn more about noir music artists, listen to their music, as well as, hear the different opinions of ds106 students through these shows.

They Looked Like Noir, But Now I’m Sure!

Shifting from last week’s focus of reading noir to this week’s focus on watching noir was interesting. The elements of noir in the films are basically the same as in the readings, but their presentation in cinema is more clear. In my personal opinion, I think film is the best venue to showcase noir in its entirety. I chose to watch “Killer’s Kiss” and “Chinatown” (featured on Netflix). These movies vary distinctly in their plots and cinematography and also successfully portray certain tropes and visual elements of noir.

Of the two, “Killer’s Kiss” is probably the most point blank example of noir, given its black-and-white look and suspenseful feel. This film is shot from a variety of different angles and contains dramatic shadows in almost every scene. In addition, it is almost entirely set at night, with many scenes shot within an urban nightscape, a classic noir element. Although this particular film is not my cup of tea, due to its slow plot and the fact that I am just not that into 1950’s films, I cannot deny that it is pure noir genius. The theme of getting out of town, the murders, police presence, several chases, and violence all exhibit film noir. Plus, it is filmed in such a way that conveys darkness and suspense.

Noir elements: alcohol, smoking, and the Venetian blind effect
Noir elements: alcohol, smoking, and the Venetian blind effect
Noir elements: unusual camera angle and dim lighting
Noir elements: unusual camera angle and dim lighting
Classic noir nightscape
Classic noir nightscape

“Chinatown” takes a complete 180 degree turn from “Killer’s Kiss”, granted it is filmed almost two decades later, in 1974. It sort of feels like a combination between what is considered classic noir and what is now considered neo-noir. It is a color film that contains almost as many shadows, if not more, than “Killer’s Kiss” and has a huge focus on the presence of water, which is a major noir trope. The off-kilter and unusual camera angles are what grasped my attention the most. They vary from over-the-shoulder shots and looking through binoculars and car windows, to reflections in a side-view car mirror and a camera lens. The huge presence of smoking in this film, as most indoor scenes are filled with smoke clouds, provides another noir trope. I enjoyed the plot of this film more, even though there were many dull moments, because it kept building up and left me shocked at some parts. I also enjoyed being able to view Jack Nicholson as a young actor, as he made the film very convincing.

Venetian blind effect
Venetian blind effect
Noir elements: unusual camera angle and nightscape
Noir elements: unusual camera angle and nightscape

 

This assignment alone has led me to one important conclusion. The conclusion is that I prefer modern noir over classic noir.  Although neither film was shot in the twenty-first century, I enjoyed “Chinatown’s” visual noir elements and the way it was filmed with the various camera angles and distinct shadows more. The film captures the sense of noir without being shot basically in the dark, unlike “Killer’s Kiss”. Despite my personal preference, both films are ideal examples of film noir and truly furthered my understanding of what it means to visually capture noir.

Crikey, I’ve Spotted Noir in this Safari!

This week’s photo safari took me near and far, high and low, and it even took me to a cat (Note: I am allergic to cats, so this was a big step). As soon as I saw the list of noir elements, I knew exactly which five I wanted to capture with my phone’s camera. Check them out:

1) Dramatic use of distinct shadows

IMG_0112

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FullSizeRender-8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) Lighting from one side

FullSizeRender-9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) Off-kilter or unusual camera angle/framing

IMG_0147

 

 

 

 

 

 

4) The “Venetian blind” effect

FullSizeRender-7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5) A Noir Cat

FullSizeRender-10

Photogra-me!

When you hear the name, Kendall Parker, the first thing that comes to mind is professional photographer….NOT! I hate to sound like a typical teenage girl, but looking back at my camera roll, majority of my photos are either selfies (no, I am not conceited) or pictures with my family and friends. My photos are iPhone shots, as I don’t even own an actual camera. I must admit that, in the past, I have made the occasional attempt to get the lighting just right and edit photos with a filter, but that is the extent of my photography prowess. The most I have ever learned about specific approaches to photography was during my senior year photo shoot, but I have yet to put them into practice. Since I have entered college, the frequency of which I take photos has decreased, due to time constraints.  Generally, I do not aim for a particular feeling or meaning when taking photos, but I definitely look for it when viewing professionally taken shots. I agree that it is important to convey the proper feeling or meaning to the audience because it is difficult to make the transition from a 3-dimensional world to a 2-dimensional photo, as noted by Jason Eskenazi in his video, Storytelling and Visual Literacy.

After reading and viewing the resources provided, I took away a few key points that will aid me in improving my photos and approach the process differently, as well. The first is to “get picky” and be selective with what is included in each frame. Everything that is in a photo should have a purpose, so it is crucial to include and not include the right things. Another element that is included throughout the resources is the importance of depth. Looking for far and near in a shot helps in the transformation of the 3-dimensional world because it takes away from the “flatness” of the photo. I had never considered this idea before, but when looking back at my photos, I can absolutely tell a difference between those taken against a flat background and those taken when other things are happening in the background. The depth adds a sense of reality to the picture. Taking photos with a different perspective is another piece of advice that I intend to heed when taking my next photos. When reading about it, I immediately dropped to the floor and started to look at things from that point of view (I was at home so no one could see me do this, just so you know). It was incredible how unique everything looked, and now I understand the value of using different perspectives, which will improve my photos tremendously! Another technique that I find particularly useful is to anticipate moments to capture. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen something happen and wished that I could get my phone out in time to take a photo of it. By staying alert for these moments, I will be able to increase the quality of my photos in the sense that they have a deeper meaning.

Let me give you a scenario to really explain my understanding of these new techniques. Setting the scene to a college graduation, I would begin by “getting picky” and eliminating the objects that have no meaning in my photo, such as a random person’s limb on the edge of the frame or a part of a sign that cannot be fully read. Next, I would focus on depth and looking for an angle that could include several graduates in the near part of the frame and perhaps the graduation stage or another group of graduates in the far section of the frame. Changing perspectives would enhance photos greatly in this setting. By simply standing on a chair or kneeling down, I can transform the way the frame looks. The final step would be increasing my anticipation of moments. At a graduation for example, these moments would include a student receiving their diploma, their parent’s reaction right when it happens, a group of friends meeting each other after the ceremony, and the caps flying in the air, just to name a few. These techniques have altered the way I approach photography forever. I want my photos to convey the most meaning and feeling possible…even if they are only for Instagram. :)

No happy endings? Noir you kidding me?

The question of “what is noir?” cannot be answered in just one concrete, full-proof definition. This is evident strictly from the four readings that I explored this week. Although “The Postman Always Rings Twice”“The Killers”“The Shadow”, and “Debris” all vary in form, setting, plot, and many other elements; there are certain commonalities that begin to emerge as characteristics of noir as a whole.

Tropes

Some tropes that surface in these readings include overall darkness and night time, murder plots, and name calling, sexism, and prejudice. In the first murder attempt of Nick Papadakis in James M. Cain’s “The Postman Always Rings Twice”, it is already set at night, but on top of it all, the lights go out in the house, due to a cat stepping on the fuse box, followed by a typical gunshot-sounding bang that was the blowing of the fuse. This darkness leads to much ambiguity in the plot, as Cora is unsure of whether Nick sees her strike him and the police officer is initially skeptical of the power going out.  “The Killers”, by Ernest Hemingway, is completely written in a night time urban setting, as Nick walks through the dark streets under arc lights when going to and returning from his visit to Ole Andreson’s house. The presence of darkness is immediately evident in the title of my next reading, “The Shadow”. That title alone is typical of the noir concept of darkness. In addition, the main characters spend the night at a mansion throughout the thick of the plot. Emily’s interaction with the Campbell son is laced with darkness in “Debris”. When the man comes by the house, it is described as almost “entirely dark” inside the kitchen, and at the time when Emily shoots him, it notes her lack of flashlight. Despite the varying methods of creating dimly lit scenes, they are common in each of the four examples that I read this week.

Crime is typical of every noir piece, and in these four in particular, murder seems to be the overwhelming choice of the authors. Cora and Frank make two attempts to murder Nick, the first of which was planned by the infamous Femme Fatale, Cora Papadakis. Femme Fatales are another trope typical in noir pieces, but out of my choices this week, Cora is the only one. Hemingway’s work also contains a murder plot, in which Al and Max plan to kill Ole Andreson when and if he comes into the restaurant to eat, which he typically does. Between the four main characters of “The Shadow”, there are a few murder plans and actual executions. Due to Corvet’s initial death threat towards Dubrille, Martan, and Evans, they attempt to counter it when they think he is coming after them. Dubrille goes on to actually kill who he thinks is Corvet, but who is actually Martan exacting his own personal revenge. In turn, Martan kills Dubrille at the same time. Kevin Hardcastle’s “Debris” also revolves around several murders, including those of two women killed by the Campbell son and the Campbell son’s murder, carried out by Emily. Whether successful or not, murder plots are clearly a recurring trope in noir.

Name calling, sexism, and prejudice command the first two readings that I chose. In “The Postman Always Rings Twice”, Nick Papadakis is commonly referred to as “the Greek” and Cora takes strides to make sure that Frank does not think she is Mexican, because apparently, being a “Mex” is an extreme negative. The dialogue of “The Killers” is covered with sexist and racial slurs. The grown men working in the restaurant, repeatedly called “boy” as a name of inferiority, are also told that they would make a good wife someday and are considered “girl friends”. In addition, Sam, the cook, is constantly referred to as the “n” word by Al and Max.

Writing Style

When reading these examples of noir, one cannot help but notice the enormous amount of dialogue that constitutes this style. It practically makes up majority of every work that I read this week. Within this dialogue, it is becoming apparent that slang is typically used to represent the time period in which the noir piece was written and to give personality to the characters. For the most part, it seems that the sections that were not dialogue were typically made up of in-depth, physical descriptions of everything from the scenery and weather, to the way people dress and their body features. The use of adjectives is abundant in noir, to the point that I could practically see the characters and scenes that the authors were describing in my mind.

Themes

Two major themes jumped out of these readings. The first, the overwhelming desire to escape or get out of town, is best illustrated by “The Postman Always Rings Twice”. Frank, being a born drifter and gypsy, only settles down in one place because of his love for Cora. However, from the very beginning he begs her to run away with him and just live on the road like he used to do. She likes the idea at first, but soon realizes that she would hate that lifestyle because she is used to the best clothes, the best cars, and wealth in general. Even after Nick is dead, Frank still attempts to get Cora to leave town with him because of the Greek ghost that he sees following him around. Frank wants to leave Cora’s old life behind, including her deceased husband, their business, and their house. Cora cannot stand this idea and that leads Frank to escape on the road for a week with another woman. “The Killers” also features the need for escape through Nick. After talking with Ole Andreson and realizing that he cannot stand the thought of the man just waiting around to be killed and knowing that Al and Max are going to kill him, Nick expresses his need to get out of that town and presumably does so. Escape and the longing for it laces the past of the four main characters of “The Shadow”; Corvet, Dubrille, Martan, and Evans. The main confrontation of the plot revolves around the betrayal between the men over their escape, whether it was over accusations of cheating Corvet out of his water supply during their escape, ratting him out to the police after their escape, or betraying Martan when he tried to escape alone. The desire to escape their past situation on Devil’s Island led to the eventual confrontation that developed throughout “The Shadow”. The second theme, betrayal, is included in a variety of ways depending on the piece of noir. For example, in Cain’s work, Cora and Frank both betray Nick by having an affair and they betray each other when put against one another during the police investigation. Although their betrayal of each other does not have a direct consequence due to the solid lawyer that they had working for them, it leads to mistrust in their relationship. “The Killers” includes the thematic element of betrayal through a more indirect avenue, as Nick and George speculate that Al and Max are trying to kill Ole Andreson because he betrayed, or double-crossed, someone in Chicago. As indicated in the discussion of the previous theme, there is a series of betrayals in “The Shadow”. Corvet thinks that the other men betrayed him by drinking his share of the water during their escape; one of them actually betrays Corvet to the police, sending him back to Devil’s Island after they escape; and Dubrille betrays Martan when Martan attempts to escape the island alone. These themes can and do apply to many different noir plots.

 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the noir pieces for this week. The only one that was sort of a let-down was “The Killers”, and that is simply because it was rather anticlimactic and did not live up to its title since no one was actually killed. The suspense and dramatic tendencies of the noir style keep me reading and on the edge of my seat. I could not help but get emotionally attached to the characters due to their in-depth descriptions. And that is precisely why I felt utter shock when Cora died, for example. Even though noir comes with the disclaimer of “no happy endings”, I still find myself wanting one, and that is one of the reasons why I enjoyed reading these selections this week.

 

Please let me introduce myself…

Hello everyone,

My name is Kendall Parker, and I am a freshman at the University of Mary Washington.  I plan to major in political science and represent the University as a student-athlete on the Women’s Basketball team. Professor Groom sealed my decision to take Digital Storytelling when he spoke about it to my Freshman Seminar class last semester. I am extremely excited to begin my first online class and believe that our multimodal introductions will be the perfect way to get to know one another and display our social media lives.

As you can see on my original blog site, kendallparker.com, I am a huge fan of quotes, as I truly believe there is a quote for everything. There was no better way for me to introduce myself via my new Twitter account than to share a quote that represents my mindset for this semester and life in general.

I decided to give my “beautiful” singing voice (as I like to believe it is) a rest for my SoundCloud introduction. Using the powerful, and extremely accurate, lyrics of Taylor Swift’s song, “Shake it Off”, I chose to dictate some of my favorite words from one of my favorite artists.

Since basketball is the third priority in my life, only behind family and academics, I decided to introduce myself to YouTube by making a video that documents my basketball career thus far.

My final introduction, or “flicktroduction” if you will, displays me in my element, playing basketball for the University of Mary Washington, surrounded by family, friends, and fans. Although you cannot see my face, playing basketball for me is more about the name on the front of the jersey than my name on the roster.

Flicktroduction

Well, that’s all folks! I cannot wait to learn about everyone else!