Motion Design, Animation, Storytelling, Content Design
Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premiere, Digital Camera
What problem am I trying to address? What do I want people to do or feel after watching this video?
I wanted to focus on eliminating gender violence across all genders. Through this PSA, I wanted to bring awareness to this issue while also providing an avenue to a solution. To achieve this goal, I decided to focus on rape culture. Rape culture is an environment that normalizes and trivializes sexual assault and abuse through attitudes, behaviors, language, and media. There are a lot of aspects to rape culture, but I focused on the role of language and conversation in propagating sexual assault. Within this language, there are a few categories that I have identified: victim blaming, objectifying women, cat-calling, social gender norms, sex as power, and justifying talk. Through my video, I want to bring to light how this language is learned and why it is wrong. I want to show people that they might be part of the problem without even knowing it.
What can I learn from people who have experienced this? What can I learn from people who participate in this behavior?
Through interviews, research, and personal experience I gained insight into how this experience affects people.
Some examples of how it felt:
–People throwing words at you
–The words stick with you and never go away
–It changes how you see yourself
–Unsafe and scared in public
–People are constantly looking at you
Views from people who participate in this behavior believe:
–The victims are imagining it
–The victims are asking for it
–The victims should feel lucky
–They are complimenting the victims
How this affects people long term:
–Lowers self esteem
–Flashbacks to prior experience
How do I visualize these emotions?
Here are some storyboards of some preliminary concepts.
What did I learn from ideating?
From these storyboards, I found that there is power in words. I moved towards using words as the main visual for this video. For my next prototypes, I thought about questions such as: How can I use words to incite reflection? How can I make people confront these words? From here I came up with the idea to put text in the physical environment.
I conducted an experiment where I printed out phrases used during street harassment at a scale of 10ft x 10ft. I taped this paper to a staircase in the front of campus and observed people as they were forced to walk up it.
(This 10ft x 10ft print is actually ~150 pieces of tabloid paper carefully cut and taped together. The process of tiling these papers took way longer than I'd like to admit, but it was free to me and a testament to the effectiveness of scrappy prototyping. Also - after all of that work, it started raining as I was doing the experiment.)
What did doing this experiment teach me? What did playing the videos of this experiment to my peers teach me?
I learned a lot from this prototype. I found that seeing words in the environment is powerful. Although some people walked right by this, many people were forced to confront the words in a way that they don't normally do. Additionally, I learned a lot from hearing people's reactions. It gave validity to the issue and added a personal layer.
Unfortunately, I did not have the resources to this at a larger scale or with better materials. If I did, I would have liked to try this in a more public space and find a way to attach the words to the ground using something that is see through to make the words more connected to the environment.
How can I use what I have learned from all of my iterations and bring those lessons into a new form?
Moving into the digital space, I used the strengths from my last experiment and built on them to create an impactful story. I aimed to find a way to juxtapose language and behavior because the comparison of those two aspects proved powerful in the last piece. In addition, I wanted to add a personal layer to give validity to the issue and help create a personal connection.
To begin this next stage, I crafted a narrative that would be spoken over the piece.
People say these are just words.
Words that are merely observations, compliments, facts.
They say this is just a reality of living.
A reality of the choices we make about our clothes, about our behavior, about our partners.
Imagine a word that could make someone feel small, helpless, scared.
To the point where they live their whole life in fear. Fear of these words that pile one on top of the other until it’s all too heavy to handle. Fear of these words that could lead to something more. Always on guard feeling like everyone’s eyes are on them constantly.
Thinking, what can this word do next?
Then, I iterated on the visual style and the balance between video and words. I aimed for something that felt personal, serious, intense, and impactful.
From this project I learned a lot from ideating quickly and broadly. I challenged myself to take an idea and see how many different forms it could take and then learn from each of those forms. One of my favorite parts of this project was creating the large scale type and watching people interact with it. It was a scary experience having to interact with people as they read the vulgar words, but it taught me a lot about how powerful words really are. I love the direction that I ended up taking the project and its final form, but I would to get a chance to do some more large scale environmental typography in the future.