Narrative As Technology

Creating Oneself In Media

 

Assignment 1

Who Are You, and how does technology affect your answer?

Part I

Write two or three paragraphs narrating an event from your past in which you acted out of character. There are no limits on subject matter—it can be funny, sad, or anything in between, so long as it depicts a moment when you and others were surprised by your out-of-character behavior. Pretend you are describing it to your mother in a letter.

Write a revised version of the event you narrated, another letter. Pretend you are describing it to a very close friend -- or girlfriend/boyfriend (indicate which).

Insert this scene in your autobiography (fictional or true); you can leave it in letter form or rewrite it in the first- or third-person. Make an outline of the total autobiography, indicating where in it this scene will appear.

Bring these parts of the assignment, written or typed on paper, to class.

Answer the following questions in an additional paragraph that you post:

    • Compare the out-of-character narratives you wrote. In what ways does the real-life experience change?
    • In what ways does a published account have to be different from a letter?
    • Does the "you" described in each differ?

Part II

Now imagine that your scenario will be made into a short film. Storyboard it. Bring your storyboard to class.

In what ways does a published account have to be different from a letter? a printed publication different from a film? List differences, and bring that list to class.

Part III

Imagine that you want to post what you wrote on line, on an autobiographical web site -- a site that tells the whole story of your life. Draw a site map of what would go where: what on the first page of the site, what on subsidiary pages, showing how the pages would be linked. Would you add pictures? What colors would you use in designing the page, what fonts and graphics?

In what ways does a published account have to be different from a letter? a printed publication different from a web site? List differences, and bring that list to class.

Part IV

Write a three- to five-page, double-spaced, typed essay answering the following questions:

      • In what ways have these technologies (letter-writing, story-writing [be it fiction or non-fiction], film-making, web-site production) necessitated changes in your story?
      • In what ways are you (the "you" in your story, in all its forms) a construct—a kind of fictional character?
      • Who writes this character—you, your audience, the medium in which it is produced, narrative structure itself, or all of the above?

 

 

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