After going through this piece and understanding the central idea regarding the complex and nuanced interactions language and visuals can have in a multi-media argument, I will introduce and discuss their prompt for developing their own multimedia argument (as you can see in the assignment Popular Culture multi-media Argument Prompt.docx, it is very similar to their argument essay prompt Popular Culture Argument Prompt.docx, though I've expanded the possible topics by eliminating the quote from the other prompt. My thought is that they will already have a strong direction to head because they've been thinking about this topic already, so they can really focus on using the multimedia tools and learning how to use them).
I want to encourage the students to try using video (I will show them Microsoft Movie Maker, a free download for Windows; while I won't spend too much time teaching how to use the software, I'll talk through some basics so the students get a sense of its simplicity), because it is such a prolific tool now, and explain that the evaluation will be done using the same rubric as their written argument, with the focus being on the argument itself. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to explain what rhetorical strategies they were trying to accomplish through their visuals--all of this is to let them know they will not be penalized for taking a risk and learning a new skill. This will be a challenge, because while I want to encourage the video use, I also don't want to discourage a student who really wants to explore comics or some other medium.
I will also list on the board some strategies for approaching this, starting with writing a "script" (I will point to the script of the Clint Eastwood Halftime commercial and the Paul Harvey speech as models of length), and story-boarding the visual part (I will define this) to both get a sense of organization and what visuals they will want to use as evidence or as enhancement of the script. These discussions will help them develop their ideas and narrow down their strategies.
Tomorrow we will revisit a number of short videos we watched earlier in the semester as models, looking at the different approaches and uses of language and visual, then take a good chunk of time consulting to kick-start the project.
What are the various ways words and images work together to relay a comic’s message? Identify at least two different relationships Paul uses and describe how they work together to relay his idea.
Prior to looking at the writing prompt for this homework assignment I had not given much thought to how words and images work together to relay a comic’s message. My initial understanding of a comic was that it simply was artwork that used words to most often times relay a funny story or message. To me, a comic was something that was easy to read and required minimum thought. Little did I know how complex comics can really be!
As I began to read Scott McClouds’ “Show and Tell” he brought up an interesting point: “We all started out like this didn’t we? [Referring to the little boy depicted with the robot and airplane] Using words and images interchangeably. It didn’t really matter which we used so long as it worked” (139). As I was reflecting on this statement I realized that it is especially true for little children. I soon began to further reflect on the fact that comic writers make specific choices as they are creating their comics; they might want to put more pictures to visual draw the reader into a specific emotion, feature, expression, etc., or, they might want to put more words in to heavily describe a specific description of something that a picture would not be able to do. While reading I found it extremely interesting that McCloud made a bold statement when he said, “words and pictures in combination may not be my definition of comics, but the combination has had tremendous influence on its growth…as a result – and despite its many other potential uses – comics have become firmly identified with the art of storytelling” (152). After pondering on this thought for a while longer I realized that comics are… essentially stories! Maybe that is one of the reasons why young children are so eager to read comics – because they are in all reality stories! It’s interesting to me that I had never thought of a comic before as a story – I now am able to look back and wonder why didn’t I think that? I think the best answer to that is because my purpose for reading was to read something that was fun and easy. In now reading comics in this class for I can see that my purpose has shifted due to the fact that I am reading this comic because it is an assignment. In having this new purpose I am able to take a whole new look and perspective on the role of comics and the specific rhetorical choices comic writers make in their creation of their own comics in regards to word and picture usage! Ultimately, I am grateful to have this new perspective!
In specifically looking Paul’s comics in the “The Ride Together” on page 101 Paul does not use a lot of words within the boxes of his comic. Instead of using words, Paul is able to rely on the pictures to do all of the metaphorical “talking” for him! In the pictures readers are able to see Paul and his friend unscrew the Exit sign at his school and switch it with others. Paul visually expresses this incident clearly and therefore has no specific need to have to account for it through the use of words.
To me, I like a comic that is more picture dense than word dense because I sometimes feel bogged down by comics with lots of words such as the second box on page 102, in which Paul wrote 14 lines of text within one tiny comic box. In these 14 lines of text Paul very clearly explains how one of the characters spent her day. Due to the fact that Paul’s main point within this particular comic box is to explain the day of this particular character he cannot do that with a picture, and therefore must rely on his use of words.
In sum, I think Paul’s chapters are excellent examples of comics that rely on pictures and words that further help readers to understand his overall message of each comic chapter and each comic frame.
All quotes are taken from Scott McCloud’s “Show and Tell”.