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Alan Carroll Media

This is my blog. There are many like it but this one is mine.

Procrastination

Procrastination is something I struggle with on a daily basis. I believe it comes from a need for instant gratification rather than putting the work in to achieve something. I have a lot of assignments that I need to be working on (this blog included) but I find it difficult to focus on one thing for too long.

Procrastination is the bane of my existence. Interestingly, that phrase comes from the middle english word ‘bana’ meaning slayer. It is often used in conjunction with plant names, such as wolfsbane, which is a highly poisonous flower that has garnered a great deal of notoriety in mythology as a deterrent against werewolves. The concept of the werewolf in Western and Northern Europe is strongly influenced by the role of the wolf in Germanic paganism, the most well documented form of which is Norse mythology…

Sorry, I’m getting a little off topic. Where was I? Yes, procrastination. It can be very frustrating when I’m trying to get work done and my mind starts to wander. You could be researching aspects of online bullying and, two hours later, find yourself reading about the nutritional value of naan bread

I think procrastination is a human trait and not necessarily indicative of technology’s impact on us. Though it doesn’t help. If I didn’t have the internet, I’d probably get a lot more done. Then again, I also probably wouldn’t know that Julius Ceasar was once kidnapped by pirates.

Bitcoin

Digital payments aren’t something that is alien to a large percentage of the population. Credit and debit cards are being used more and more over cash. Even payments made electronically are becoming the norm. Services like Apple Pay and Google Wallet allow customers to pay using NFC by passing their phones over card machines.

It’s not that far a leap to a future where all currency is digital. I think the question is one of security. Or, at least, the perception of security. More and more news stories are cropping up about hackings and network security that serve to scare the public out of trusting technology.

I, Phone

cyborg

ˈsʌɪbɔːɡ/
noun
  1. a fictional or hypothetical person whose physical abilities are extended beyond normal human limitations by mechanical elements built into the body.

Each of us has access to, literally, a world of information at our fingertips through the use of a piece of technology that, for a good percentage of us, is rarely off our person. We augment our use of this technology through wearable accessories, such as smart watches or bluetooth headsets. We are interconnected at a level that is unprecedented in human history. All thanks to technological enhancements.

We offload a lot of our minds to these devices, also. We no longer engage our minds to figure out the answers to questions when we can just Google it. We photograph everything and store it to be recalled later so that our memories remain accessible 24/7, saved on an external drive. We can contact practically anyone on the planet, instantaneously, by speaking their name out loud.

It could be considered that the dominance of mobile technologies throughout our everyday lives has brought us ever closer to a world where humans are no longer considered 100% organic.

Planning to develop, personally

I have spent a great deal of my life not knowing what I wanted to do. I left school and went straight into working in my father’s shop, selling carpets and furniture. I hated it! I hated every second of it, but, I didn’t know what else I could do.

I suppose the main thing holding me back was fear. Fear of failure. Fear of opening myself up to new experiences. Fear of judgement. Probably my biggest fear was that college would be just like school and I hated school too, so I never pursued it.

I first became interested in editing when I came across a movie retrospective video on youtube. The actual video is blocked for copyright reasons but here is another from the same user.

I really connected with the combination of music and visuals to create a certain mood. I decided to teach myself how to edit like that. I became obsessed with fan created music videos based on tv shows and eventually got around to creating some of my own.

I feel like this is a career I would like to enter and would thrive in.

Strengths

I have decent enough skills with editing software. They’re not perfect but, I am highly motivated to learn what I can about it.

Weaknesses

Time management. This is my main issue. With college work, it’s not so bad because I have solid deadlines to meet. For personal tasks, where I have no one watching over me, things tend to get out of control.

Opportunities

Completing this degree will give me an advantage in the industry. The reason I chose multimedia instead of film was to have a range of skills not just in film.

Threats

I tend to lack self-confidence. I can feel as though, pursuing creative endeavours are not the best use of my time and could be spent dong something more ‘productive’. I’m not entirely sure where this thought process comes from.

As for what comes next, right now, my next goal is to finish this college year with a high quality project to display at Fís. This is what’s occupying my mind at the moment.

Over the summer, I’m hoping to secure a job to replenish my funds and keep my mind active. In my down time, because I haven’t had much hands on experience with editing software this year, I’m going to create a few more videos that I have ideas for.

I am planning on returning for fourth year. Since the majority of the work involved will be theory based, I will be teaching myself how to use additional software packages that editors are expected to know, such as After Effects and Speedgrade.

Also, I’m going to put myself out there more. Not just professionally but socially. I have a tendency to seclude myself.

After fourth year, hopefully I’ll have made some connections within the industry that will help me secure a job.

Bye-bye, WiFi

Reading the introduction to the book Deep Work by Cal Newport, I started to imagine myself actually engaging in the suggestions he puts forward.

Newport examines the notion that we, as a society, have become much shallower in our working lives. Our attention is spread too thinly across many different distractions such as social media, email etc. The counter to this is what Newport describes as “Deep Work”. Shutting off all external distractions and focusing completely on the task at hand. No email, no Facebook, nothing else other than the work in front of him.

I was envisioning myself going home this evening and shutting off the wifi, leaving my laptop closed and actually focusing on reading the rest of the book. I got to the end of the excerpt that was provided for us and felt as though a weight had been lifted off of my chest. Even just imagining myself disconnecting from the constant deluge of information from the internet and focusing purely on just one thing, made me feel more relaxed than I’ve felt in the past few weeks leading up to the end of the college year.

I have often toyed with the idea of “going off the grid” so to speak. Taking a break from the internet and seeing what kind of person I become when the need for another “hit” of information dies down. I feel like boredom is something that has become too easily staved off by picking up my phone and browsing Facebook for the third time that hour. I could be engaging in something far more involved and beneficial, like reading a book, learning a new skill or creating something of my own.

I think this practice will definitely be a part of my routine in the future.

Copyright and Copywrong

We watched the documentary RIP! A Remix Manifesto and I found it to be quite interesting and thought provoking.

Copyright law exists to help protect the livelihoods of creators and ensure that they are properly reimbursed and credited for the work that they did. The application of these laws falls apart in this modern age of instantaneous communication and file sharing. Many would argue that, if I buy a song and download it to my device, I now own that song and am free to use it however I want. I could cut it up, remix it or use it in a project I’m working on.

However, this isn’t the case. In 2012, a news story circulated that involved a legal battle between Bruce Willis and Apple over the right to bequeath his digital music collection to his daughter after he died. The story turned out to be fake but it did spark the discussion of ownership of digital media.

According to Apple’s terms of service (which of course, you’ve all read) songs purchased on the iTunes platform are not then owned by you. You are essentially renting them. This means that when the contract expires (when you die), transferring the media to another person is, technically, illegal.

 

Personal development plan

Right now, my next goal is to finish this college year with a high quality project to display at Fís. This is what’s occupying my mind at the moment.

Over the summer, I’m getting in touch with various media companies to promote my skills and hopefully get some experience in the workplace.

I am planning on returning for fourth year if I don’t have a job in the media industry. Over the year, I will be teaching myself how to use additional software packages that editors are expected to know, such as After Effects and Speedgrade.

 

Stoicism

Watching this video on stoicism, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the old parental argument towards their child who won’t eat their vegetables. “There are starving children in Africa who would love a hot meal like that.” The argument that there are people in the world who are worse off than you and you should be grateful for what you do have is, on the surface, a noble one.

But, I feel that this thought process can lead to a sort of stagnation. The belief that anger at the world is unjustified because you aren’t entitled to anything in this life. What if Rosa Parks had said to herself “I should be grateful I even have enough money to ride the bus.” and decided to move to the back seat. What if Margaret Gaj had considered herself lucky that she had a loving husband and family and not helped found the Irish Women’s Liberation Movement.

It seems to me that being unhappy with the status quo and making moves to change it is what drives social progress. Stoicisms argues that the status quo is out of your control and attempting to change it is selfish and greedy.

I still won’t eat my vegetables though.

Fandom-onium

Most young girls have a certain band or celebrity that they’re obsessed with. Growing up in the nineties, I saw a fair few come and go. Five, Backstreet Boys, 911. Even my sister had a poster of East 17 up on her wall.

Watching the Channel 4 documentary Crazy About One Direction, made me feel uncomfortable. On the surface, One directioners may seem like just another fandom going weak at the knees over the latest pop band. However, this generation of fans have something that previous generations did not, connectivity.

The evolution of social media has made connecting with celebrities, seemingly, much easier. This, in turn has made it feel almost like a personal affront if your favourite celebrity does not engage with you. Especially to a young mind that hasn’t known any alternative

 

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