Monthly Archives: December 2013


Hi everyone,

I hope your exams are finishing up smoothly.  I have begun receiving projects in person and via my box and things are looking really great!  I will be IN MY OFFICE (HUM OFFICE BLDG 400) from NOON TODAY until about 2pm if you need to hand in your work in person.  Remember, you can put it in my box (#45 on the first floor of the office bldg) anytime before noon.  As I’ve requested before, because of the large amount of mail (mostly 101 portfolios) please send me a quick email letting me know you submitted your work to the box.  Digital submissions (and final blog projects) can be submitted by 8am TOMORROW to my email.  GOOD LUCK!



Some notes in response to questions

A few of you have asked questions that others might be thinking about, so I decided to respond as a blog post.

If your work is digital, you can submit it digitally.  Please consider the form and organization of such a submission.  In other words, avoid sending me a bunch of poorly named files via email without any instruction about how they should be arranged.  If your work is small (a DVD in a case or a flash drive) you can submit it to my box (use the inter-campus envelopes and clearly include your name).  I have just been informed that the mail room is quite busy with an influx of 101 portfolios, so just to be safe, please send me an email if you drop your project in my box, that way I will know to look for it.  If your project contains larger elements (a poster or some other material instantiation) you need to organize a time to hand it to me personally.  I will be on campus tomorrow from about 10am until mid afternoon.  I will also likely be on campus on Friday at some point.  It is your responsibility to make sure I have your work by noon on Saturday.

I understand the limitations of technology and access to it.  I made a concerted attempt to give you more ‘production’ time than in most English courses precisely because I understand that everyone doesn’t have the same access outside of class time.  That said, the resources are there if you make an effort (Gambrell, Thomas Cooper, and Free Trials).  A question was posed concerning whether your promotional material might be designed in other programs than the Adobe Illustrator we engaged in class.  An extension of this is whether you can edit your film on something other than Premiere Pro.  I hope over the duration of the semester you got a reasonable explanation about why a knowledge of these programs (as opposed to simpler programs like iMovie or Word or PowerPoint) is useful going forward.  Also, I hope I never implied that interesting work couldn’t be produced with most any program.  It absolutely can and absolutely is, a lot.  So use the available tools.  If you feel more comfortable with one program or another, use it.  I would suggest however that you discuss the tools you use in your reflection.  If you use Word to design a poster, I hope you will understand that it isn’t the most professional option.  I am interested in your experience with the production of this material, so I hope that you will use part of your reflection to carefully and thoroughly consider the limitations of your choice of tools.



To get started, compose a short blog entry giving a reaction to the Truffant quote above, an update of your progress, and a freeze frame from your film.  If you haven’t learned how to grab a frame easily in Premiere Pro, HERE is a good overview.  PS…freeze frames can be a super useful visual component in your reflection text or promotion/branding material.  In other words, refer to a freeze frame from the film when reflecting on a certain portion of the production.  (Say that three times fast!)

As promised, today will be a workday.  Work on your projects, ask questions.  Before you leave, hand in your Response #3 (or make sure it is emailed to me).

If you need some music for your film (or just like cool websites) check LOOPTRACKS.  It strikes me that the legal status/ownership of the composition a user might create in a site like this is very questionable.  However, using this music (that you create after messing around with this site and recording it somehow) will almost certainly be MORE legal than using Jay-Z.

A note on music.  I’ve noticed a lot of copyrighted music in your drafts.  To reiterate: it’s OK (every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief) and (probably) legal under Fair Use statutes for this assignment.  Having said that, the stipulation I placed on using copyrighted material is that you attempt to get permission.  Write an email at least and include the attempt in your reflection.  In professional media organizations, there are whole departments dedicated to attaining copyright permission and avoiding legal issues.  As in other parts of your production, I’m not expecting you to do the work of a whole department, but you need to consider it (and then demonstrate to me that you have considered it).  The easiest way to get around this issue is to use open source material.  Mine the local music scene.  Pappa Jazz is a good source of local stuff.  There are also many online sources of free music.  The biggest is ARCHIVE.ORG.  It takes time to wade through the myriad (and of questionable quality) tracks that are available, but you should be able to find something.  If a copyrighted song is key to your film, figure out the publisher and write them a letter.  You’ll sometimes be surprised at how easy it is to get permission.

Here is my letter to the Charles Mingus foundation to ask for permission (feel free to use this as a template).


My name is Brian Harmon and I am a PhD candidate in Rhetoric and Composition at The University of South Carolina.  I took part in a class this semester called The Trial of Othello…an interdisciplinary experiment in how to teach literature differently.  Our class teamed with an acting class and the law school to conduct a mock trial of Othello.  We, of course read the text carefully and combined our reading with critical theory.  Part of the class was responsible for recording and archiving the trial and we would like to use a Mingus piece for the project.  I hope it goes without saying that this is not a money making venture, rather a pedagogical exercise.  We are considering both Track A (Solo Dancer) and Track C (Group Dancers) from “The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady”.  As this is a school project, we are confident that this is clearly ‘Fair Use’ but, we are hoping to underscore the importance of copyright awareness by approaching The Jazz Workshop for official permission.  Is there a standard form you use to license the Mingus catalog?  If you have any questions, or if you would like to see a draft of what we have in mind, please let me know.  Thanks so much for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind Regards,

Brian Harmon

Here is Sue Mingus’ (Charles’ widow and executor of the foundation) response (3 hours later):

Sounds interesting….go right ahead!

–Sue Mingus
(would love to see a draft)
I hope it goes without saying the level of excitement in our team was very high when we got this response.  It is a big, mean corporate world in many ways, but there are also real people in control of the reigns occasionally and to ask is just the right (and legal) thing to do.  If you need a release form, check HERE.  I have also added some generic forms to the class Dropbox.


Our exam time is Saturday, December 14, 12:30pm.  We will not meet for the exam.  If you are handing in material objects larger than what will easily fit in my box, you need to hand it to me in person.  I will be in my office throughout the week by appointment (also, arrange a time if you need some editing help or have questions) and at the exam time on Saturday until 1pm.  I will begin grading your work on Sunday morning, so I’ll extend the deadline for digital submissions until then…8am Sunday December 15, 2013.
I need the following from each of you by then.
1. A link to your finalized class blog.  This should be added as a comment to harmon460(dot)wordpress on the ‘Final Blog’ page.
2. Your Final Project including:
An object documentary.  This can be a link to a (working and public) youtube/vimeo page, a DVD, or a flash drive (with a stamped envelope if you need it back).
Some kind of promotion or branding.  This doesn’t necessarily need to be printed (or printed at size), digital submission will be fine (make sure the files are easily navigable and clear).
A reflection of the process This should be a reflexive, multimodal object.  I can imagine digital and material versions of this part of the assignment.