Guess What?!

This assignment was just to die for! As soon as I spotted the “Name that Book!” prompt, I knew that starting my own book club would come in handy one of these days, and today was that day! It states:

For this assignment, use the app Vine to visually create a book title. Find objects, landmarks, or think of some other creative way to verbally or physically represent a book title. Then record them in quick succession using the app. Then upload the video and have your classmates guess the book title!

This assignment is worth 3 points.

This past week in the “Jewel” Book Club we began a novel about law: my absolute favorite subject! Boy, if I could have gone to Harvard, I would be the best lawyer out there these days. However, what’s the saying? Should’ve, could’ve, would’ve? I guess that’s all I can say because I don’t see it ever happening now, since both of my jobs are so demanding. Anyways, enough about me and on to the book title. I found the perfect three pictures to represent this novel. They include a car (I’m not telling which type), a suited man, and a gavel. I wasn’t sure how to use the whole Vine app since I just set it up. (By the way, follow me! My Vine is Jewel James! :) ) And because I have gotten so familiar with iMovie on my laptop this week, I decided to import the pictures into that, each of them being 2 seconds. And what is a Vine without background music?! (Or so I hear, since I really don’t know!) I found the perfect intense music to go along with this intense novel. Have I given you enough hints yet? Check out the Vine below, and then I’ll give you the answer…maybe!

Any guesses?

Well, since I am such a kind and generous person, I will give you the answer. It’s the “Lincoln Lawyer”, sillies! I had so much fun making this Vine and cannot wait to show it to all my girls next Wednesday when we meet for book club again.

Jewel out.

The Decision Heard Around the (DS106) World

For the final unit of this course, I have decided to reunite with Sylvia Stone, Edie Waz, and Margaret Pinault; my best friend, cousin, and grandmother, respectively.  Together, we are the “MaNOIRpulators”. After meeting up at Edie’s bar a few weeks ago, we just knew we had to reconnect. The world would be lost without us. Let’s face it, this agency will be one that DS106 will never forget. Whatever the task, I have faith that these powerful women and I will complete it with class and ease.


Jewel out.

On the Go From Radio to Video!

This week in DS106, we made an evolution from radio to video. As much as I loved the radio portion, video has taken over the 21st century and, therefore, is very familiar. We began the week by wrapping up the playing of radio shows on DS106 Radio, and I decided to tune in to “Get a Clue”. My review of the show is very positive, because it is a great show that is well thought out and executed beautifully. Once again, my favorite part of this process was the tweet-along, as I love interacting with my fellow ds106’ers and professors. Below are some of my tweets from that night:

The next task allowed us to reflect on the past few weeks of creating and listening to our radio show. As we moved into video this week, it was nice to look back on the extensive process of producing the show and also the experience of listening to it with our peers. Reflecting on our radio show creation in a post, allowed me to relive the enjoyment and pride of what we accomplished!

The Daily Creates were an enormous amount of fun this week. I began by creating a video trailer for a character that represents a feeling. Puz Ling (puzzling…get it?) cannot find a place where he fits in…or can he? Puz is one of my greatest cartoon creations! :) The next prompt that I decided to complete was capturing an artistic blur in a photo. I snapped a picture of a plant and the colors blend wonderfully.

It's a plant, I swear!

The next assignment was probably the most time consuming. However, I am very proud of the final outcome. We were required to create a video essay for a film, by analyzing and applying the principles that we learned about in Roger Ebert’s “How To Read A Movie” and three videos of our choice. I chose “Examples of Editing Techniques”, “Camera Angles and Techniques”, and “Hitchcock Loves Bikinis”. Having never watched an Alfred Hitchcock movie before, I decided to view the film, “Notorious”, and he certainly did not disappoint. I was able to apply a lot of Ebert principles about dominance to the scene I chose, and a few points about cinematic techniques from the videos. I thoroughly enjoyed “reading” this movie from an analytical perspective. Check it out:

Out of the three options available this week, I chose the first and completed at least eight stars of video assignments, with four relating to my character and someone else’s. The first assignment that grabbed my attention was the “High School Memories” video. My mom has been working on a scrapbook from high school for me, so I was inspired to go back and look at all of the pictures that I have. This assignment allowed me to make something that I will always treasure! It turns out that… “I lived”!

The assignment that I chose to fulfill the character requirement is unique, compared to the usual approach that I take. I decided to not assume Julia James’ persona, but instead, to look back at all of the work that I did with my character and showcase it in the “Show Off” assignment. I collaborated with Brianne Comden to make a joint video about our characters. Some of the pieces involve both Julia and Margaret, as we established them as granddaughter and grandmother in our radio show.

Capping off the week, we had to create a character category on our blogs and submit it to the DS106 website. Luckily, I already had a “Julia ‘Jewel’ James” category, so all I had to do was submit it.

Although it was not a requirement, I went ahead and commented on a few of my peer’s pieces. I commented on Phoenix’s post, Fatale’s post, Amanda’s post, and Brianna’s post.

I think it is fairly safe to say that my transition from radio to video was problem-free, and some great art was created during the process!

#ds106 #4life


“Don’t Be Such A Show-Off”….Too Late!

I took a different approach to the interactive character assignment this week. Rather than assuming the role of Julia James, I decided it was time to show off some of the work I have created, with her in mind. This provided a perfect opportunity to work with Brianne Comden, as we collaborated to make a joint video that showcases some of our favorite noir character creations. The assignment, “Show Off” states:

So you’ve come to the end of the season of DS106 (yes the season, because DS106 is #4life) and you want to showcase your work! Go through all of the work you did for DS106 and showcase it as you see fit with audio and video.  Ideally this will combine your audio, visual, design, and video.  Show us what you’re most proud of and display it in an awesome way!

This assignment is worth 4 points.

Brianne’s character, Margaret Pinault, was established as Julia’s grandmother in our radio show, so the past week we collaborated on a Google History Map Assignment. She also created a pop quiz about our two characters. It was great to be able to include our own personal works and works that feature both characters for this assignment. It was also refreshing to look back at all of the work that I have done while developing Julia’s character, because her backstory has just grown so much since the beginning of the semester. Completing this video will showcase her growth, as well as her grandmother’s, which is the ultimate goal.

I created this assignment using iMovie. I imported pictures (some screenshots) and sound clips from our favorite assignments into a scrapbook theme. In my opinion, this theme gives it a feel of fondly looking back on the assignments, as one would look back at a scrapbook of memories. For the background music, I played a jazz song, representing “noir”. I hope you like it! :)

“Notorious” B.I.G. (Movie)

A major part of this week’s assignment was to create a video essay for a movie that was included on a list that the professors provided. Considering that I have always wanted to watch an Alfred Hitchcock film, I chose “Notorious”. Preceding the viewing, we were required to read Roger Ebert’s “How to Read a Movie” and watch three videos that include cinematic techniques. The three videos that I chose were “Examples of Editing Techniques”, “Camera Angles and Techniques”, and “Hitchcock Loves Bikinis”. I thought the latter would be useful because of my choice to watch Hitchcock’s film. However, it did not provide me with a lot of help for the video essay that I constructed. This assignment is a variation off of the Video Essay assignment in the Assignment Bank. It states:

For this assignment you need to select several scenes from your favorite film (or one of your favorites), and edit them together and comment on some of the filmic elements of the scenes? Why do you like these scenes? What strikes you about them? What makes them good cinema? Is there a subtext at work in this film? In short, construct an essayistic commentary on the scenes as a narrator explaining to your audience what you find important about the scene, and why. What’s more, what do the details you have pinpointed say about the film more generally.

However, for this variation, we were only required to select one scene. I chose my scene carefully, to make sure that I could apply a large portion of Ebert’s article to the visual quality of it. After viewing the entire film and making note of a few scenes that caught my eye, I made the final decision to analyze the scene of Alicia Huberman and Devlin conversing on the morning of her hangover, about a job that he wants her to do for the police, spying on Nazis. I chose this scene because its camera angles mimic a lot of the points that Ebert makes in his article about dominance. Plus, it has a very unique 180 degree turn of the camera that really intrigues me. The video proceeds with interesting camera angles and jump cuts (mentioned in the “Examples of Editing Techniques” video) from Alicia to Devlin.

I created this video essay in iMovie, after downloading “Notorious”, in its entirety, from YouTube (using 4K Video Downloader) and trimming out my chosen scene (using MPEG Streamclip). I input voice-overs for my commentary. It was rewarding to “read” the film, because I felt like a true film critic. Rather than just watching the film for fun, I took an educational approach and found crucial elements that make this scene work the way it is intended. Check out what I mean, below:

A Walk Down Memory Lane!

Although I graduated from high school just last year, it seems like a long time ago! My years at Stafford High School were pretty great, despite the many, many hours that I spent on homework and studying for AP and Honors classes. Four years of varsity basketball, combined with awesome friends, provided an outlet for the stress of schoolwork. Thank goodness! You may catch a small glimpse of what my high school years were like, if you watch the video that I created as part of my Assignment Bank choices this week. One of the video assignments, titled “High School Memories”, encourages the creation of a video to remember those years. The prompt states:

It’s time to relive your high school memories. Create a video that will take you back to your days of high school and those times that you may have forgotten. We all have them, so why not document them and share them with the world. Add videos, pictures, and audio that will relate to your story. Have fun reminiscing your high school days. Never forget those memories and times.

This assignment is worth 4.5 points.

My creative juices started to flow the moment I began browsing through the multitude of pictures on my old laptop, which I used during high school. (Who’s got time to transfer photos these days?!) I want to make a video that highlights my academic and athletic achievements and shows my biggest obstacle, but also includes my friends and social side. The process began with choosing my favorite photos of basketball games, homecoming court, proms, senior activities, my senior photos, graduation,  and special times with friends, as well as, a photo collage that included my Grandma, Granddad, and myself. You might ask, ” How does that collage fit into a high school memories theme?”  The answer…It represents the biggest challenge that I had to face during those years. You see, my Grandma, who I love very much and was extremely close to, passed away suddenly, after returning home from one of my senior year basketball games.  :( Needless to say, it was devastating, depressing, and the hardest thing that I have ever had to deal with in my life, much less during high school. She was a special lady, and I will always remember the love and support that she showered me with every day she was alive! This video will be a way to share her with the world!

In addition to photos, videos are also a required element. I came across three videos, which are great memories of high school that I want to share. One is of me running up the same steps as Sylvester Stallone did as “Rocky”, which I accomplished while traveling with my summer AAU basketball team. Another is of my best friend and teammate and myself dunking on a short basketball goal, after a summer’s day workout at a park. Additionally, the third is of a game-winning three-pointer that I netted (sort of a buzzer-beater, but not really, because the other team had one more short possession), which helped our team advance to the Regional Tournament.

The final required component of the compilation video is to add audio. This took a little time to decide upon. I wanted to include a song with lyrics that would go with my photos and videos, but also have a special meaning to me. I reached out to Google for help finding inspirational songs, but while searching it dawned on me that the song my principal sung at our graduation ceremony would be perfect. So… “I Lived”, by OneRepublic, is the background music.

As the material chosen is all on my old Hewlett Packard laptop, I figured that it would be easier to create the video on it as well. It was back to Windows Live Movie Maker, which is fitting since it was the program I used for high school video assignments! I began by titling my video under the Home tab, using the “Title” option. Then, I added the photos and videos, one-by-one, in random order, which took a considerable amount of time, as I failed to copy my favorites into a separate folder. (Note to self for next time!) This was done by using the “Add videos and photos” option under the Home tab. Then, I added the music using the “Add music” option under the Home tab and decided I would make the video as long as the song. There were a few photos that I wanted to add text to, which I accomplished by using the “Caption” option under the Home tab. Then, while under the Animations tab, I applied individual transitions for each photo and video, to add some visual appeal. The final and painstakingly long process was to move the photos and videos, by clicking on them and dragging them, to a place in the song that best fit the lyrics. I also had to adjust their duration time to coordinate as well. After I had the video just the way I wanted it, I published it as a movie and uploaded it to YouTube. I hope you enjoy my walk down memory lane as much as I did! What a great assignment! :)



And That’s a Wrap, Folks!

Radio is a medium that I never thought I would enjoy as much as I did. Not only did I love listening to our group’s final project on the radio, the process of making it was so satisfying. There is nothing that gives me more pride now, than lining up sound effects in the correct order to make it sound like a real-life scene. (Okay, maybe there are some things that go above that, but it really is fun and rewarding.) As a listener of the show, I was so nervous leading up to its premier, because I just wanted everyone else to love the outcome as much as we do. There was so much work that went into every aspect of the show, as I’m sure  it did with everyone’s, that I honestly think I would have been heart-broken if people hated it! Haha! When the show started playing, there were several technical difficulties, as other parts of the radio were playing over top of it, so of course I was freaking out a little bit. However, they finally got it working right, and it was smooth sailing from there. The viewers that I interact with on Twitter all had positive feedback for the show, which was great to see. The most exciting tweets were the ones from the professors, because they know how to use the technical jargon to make us feel like we really accomplished something great! Although I was nervous, at first, I truly enjoyed listening to the show on DS106 Radio and interacting with other listeners during the show.

If there was one thing that I wish could have been done differently, it would have been to start the audio editing earlier. However, this was not possible because three of the four people in our group, myself included, were all playing in the CAC Women’s Basketball Championship and took an unplanned overnight trip to Salisbury, Maryland, during the weekend the radio show was due. However, we are  big advocates for “no excuses”, so we worked on it as much as we could at the hotel and on the bus and pulled an all day, into the night, work session on Sunday. The intricacies of audio editing are time-consuming but extremely rewarding when everything comes together.  The finished product is something of which we are extremely proud!

As I have stated previously, I received a lot of satisfaction in lining up the sound effects in Audacity to have them flow together like one big, happy radio show. That was absolutely my favorite part. It was my job to put all of the sound clips together after everyone sent me their dialogue parts, so it was just me and my computer against the world! I spent about eight hours straight just putting the show together, and it was worth every second. I also really enjoyed the brainstorming process, as bouncing ideas off of everyone was very beneficial in the storyline development. All of my group members had awesome ideas, and we were unstoppable when we put them all together. Although it was rewarding, audio editing was probably the hardest part of the project, as well. There were many frustrating moments, because of how intricate sounds are and how even the tiniest movement of a clip can make a scene sound completely disconnected. It was also difficult to schedule meeting times with the four of us having different schedules, so we did most of the voice recording separately. However, I think we made it work very well!

For future DS106 students, I suggest an early start, group recording, and having fun with it! Definitely start the brainstorming process earlier on in the week! It takes more time than one would think to consider each character’s back story and fabricate a way for them to interact in a way that maintains consistency. Also, since audio editing is also time-consuming, it won’t seem so bad if it is done a little at a time. Since we did most of our recording separately, we had to edit the clips and and put them together along with the sound effects. This is exactly why I suggest recording as a group on one computer, so that you will not have to add this step to the process. My final tip is to have fun! It is important to be proud of your final product, so put a lot of work into it, and you will get a lot out of it!

I Didn’t Just Get A Clue, I Got A Lot of Clues!

Tuning in to “Get a Clue” this week was definitely an experience! The Twitter buzz about Lawrence Spitler surely did not disappoint! In order to describe my personal experience while listening to this show, I would have to say that one of my favorite parts was trying to figure out who killed him and another was feeling like I was interacting with the show in a way. It kept me on my toes for sure!

Speaking from a technical standpoint, my absolute favorite part of the show is the dialogue. The use of so much slang and curse words gives it a realistic and raw feeling that just screams “noir”. One can tell that the creators put a lot of effort into script writing, as each word and line are well thought out. The sound elements flow well, as they propel the dialogue and vice versa. From the very beginning, the suspenseful music captures the listener’s attention and never lets it go, as the music strategically transitions when the character monologues change. I think this adds organization to the show, because each character’s monologue has its own background music to associate with it. The written dialogue is brought to life by the voice actors. At times, it seems like some of the voices are a little drowned out by the music and effects, but their voice inflections truly convey the emotions and seriousness of the plot. The sound effects truly stand out, from the angelic sound introducing one of the women, to the loud police sirens.

The only note that I would make about this otherwise great show is that I found myself wanting a little more interaction between the characters. Don’t get me wrong, I love the monologues, because they provide a solid background for the women’s relationships with Lawrence and establish the premise of the plot. However, I think some direct dialogue between the characters would add even more depth to “Get a Clue”. That being said, I absolutely love the show and think that everyone did a superb job in writing and producing it.

Puz Ling and Blurred Lines (or Plants)

The Daily Creates for this week may be described in one word: awesome! I had the most fun creating my first one, and the next one was super easy. I loved the outcomes! For this week, we only had to complete two assignments.

The first assignment that I chose to complete is a video about a feeling turned into a character. The feeling that I chose is “puzzled”. I thoroughly enjoyed creating my character, Puz Ling.  He is represented by a puzzle piece and goes on a journey, in search of some place where he “fits in”. In this trailer, Puz goes to a zoo, a house, and also tries to ride a train. However, he does not fit in anywhere. Poor Puz! At the end of the trailer, he thinks he finds somewhere that he belongs, but you will just have to wait and see!

For my second Daily Create, I captured artistic blur in a photo. I decided to take a photo of a plant in a vase that is in my home. Since my darn iPhone 6 is just so advanced, it was hard to get a blurry photo. Don’t you just hate technological evolution?! Therefore, I used my friend’s iPhone 5, and luckily, I was able to capture the perfect photo. Check it out!

It's a plant, I swear!

I really enjoyed this week’s Daily Creates! See you on the flip side!

Eight is Great, Let’s Create!

We went back to the basics this week with the typical assignment bank prompts, daily creates, and a few other posts. It was a nice return after the two weeks of radio show work, although I enjoyed doing that tremendously. Speaking of radio shows, our first task for this week was to listen in to a radio show other than our own, tweet along with it, and then write a review. Since my group’s show, “MaNOIRpulators”, aired on Wednesday, that is when I chose to tune in. After listening to our show, “Dead Silence” was aired, and it was so refreshing to listen to another group’s take on noir radio shows. The group did a great job with its suspenseful and twisted plot, and I really enjoyed the experience of listening to it as a whole. In addition to the written review, part of this experience was tweeting along with my peers, so check out a few of my tweets:

Our next task was to get IN[SPIRE]ed!  All of my fellow DS106’ers do great work, and I found four great examples to add to the website submissions. Emily, July, Kathy, and Brian all inspired me this week with their newspaper design, radio bumper, photo digitization, and photoshopped image, respectively. Not only do they motivate me to keep putting the maximum effort into the work that I am doing, they motivate me to think outside the box when doing so!

The Assignment Bank was back this week, and I was able to explore the category Web for the first time. Two out of the three of my assignments this week were from that category. The first prompt that I chose was the “Design an Invoice”, and I created a fictitious invoice for one of my peer’s characters, Victoire Absinthe, as she hired Julia James to get rid of her husband. Julia charges her for a number of items and tasks, including surveillance and travel expenses.

Invoice Photo

The second assignment that I chose to complete is the “You’re A Pinteresting Character” prompt. Since my radio show group established my character, Julia, as Aubrey Howland’s character, Edie Waz’s, cousin, I thought it would be great if they created a joint Pinterest board to display their favorite things. 10 pins relate to Julia, while 10 relate to Edie. They touch on all aspects of their lives, including beauty, fashion, and drinking. Below is a snapshot of the top of the board:

Pinterest board


I collaborated with my great friend, Brianne Comden, for my final Assignment Bank prompt, “Google History Maps Story”. Since Julia is Margaret Pinault’s (Brianne’s character) granddaughter, we decided to base the story off of a visit to Julia’s grandmother’s grave, which is really a cover for a “business” trip to France. It is quite a sketchy and interesting story, so check it out!

Our next task was the one that took the least amount of time, but I  think it will be very useful in the future of this class. We were required to create Gmail and Twitter accounts for our characters! I found this assignment to be fun, because I was able to expand Julia James’ social media world and really allow her to interact with other characters in DS106. Her Gmail is and her Twitter handle is @OneBrightJewel.

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 10.28.17 PM


Our commenting assignment from the past two weeks was repeated again this week, as we were required to comment on ten of our peers’ pieces. I am glad it was, because I love going back and viewing so many great works of art that amaze me each week. I commented on Tyler’s post, Barbara’s post, AdventuresOfM’s post, Lauren’s post, Spencer’s post, Brianne’s post, WildWoodBlog’s post, Landon’s post, Kayleigh’s post, and hungryMax’s post. I really enjoyed all of these assignments, and hope I was able to brighten their days with my comments!

The options for daily creativity were abundant this week. There were so many great prompts that I wish I had time to do more! However, the three that I chose are three that I am very proud of. My Daily Creates include the display of many sides of myself in photography, an abstract drawing of my favorite moment from the past week (Watching Netflix, of course!), and a video of things that make me laugh out loud.

The Many Sides of Kendall!

Binge Watching is an Addiction

Well, that’s all folks! Week 8 was great, and I’m sure week 9 will be divine!

#ds106 #4life