The Hard Lessons of Amateur Film-Making


Portfolio Part 2 ALC708 (674 words)

As I sit here here obsessively watching and re-watching my ALC708 video, there is an increasing sense of anxiety and frustration. Background noise, bad lighting, awkward dialogue… there is so much that I would change or re-do if I had the chance (i.e. the time.) But, given it is the first movie I’ve made I think I’ll just have to come to terms with it and keep in mind the lessons that I have learnt.

When approaching this assessment task I chose to keep it simple. It was the first movie I had made and I knew there would be mistakes. I opted for the simple strategy of- ‘talk to the camera, cut to text with audio’. This seemed a good way to interweave the scholarly aspects of the presentation by providing quotes from my resources. Retrospectively, I would have included more images for the backdrop of my audio clips, as it gets a little boring staring at text on a black screen. I did include one creative commons image, and I think it provided a more interesting visual backdrop. I also would not have spoken out loud the year of the reference I was reading, as it was provided in the text on the screen and sounds awkward.

Deciding what information to include in my video was difficult. I had chosen Anonymous as my topic weeks ago, and thought this was a narrow enough sub-topic of digital activism. After researching Anonymous it became clear I had to further narrow the topic, as there was so much interesting information about them. I decided to focus on the question “has Anonymous effected any social or political change?” I approached this topic by giving a brief history of Anonymous and their cyber-tactics, looking at who they have gone after, and exploring what hacktivists are actually trying to achieve through their chosen form of activism. Reviewing the material, I would have liked to include more examples of Anonymous’ activities, particularly when discussing their cyber tactics. Unfortunately, I was limited by timing.

The most difficult part of the whole assignment, hands-down, was filming. It took me two hours to get a minute-and-a-half clip of me explaining the history of 4-Chan and the rise of Anonymous. I made the terrible decision to ignore what I have known since high school, which is to never ever write a polished performance. Due to my nervousness about creating a video, I decided to script my dialogue, and this caused a lot of dramas. Anytime I forgot my next sentence, or fumbled over a word, I was completely lost and had to start again. Even when I did manage to complete a take, my presentation was stiff, without my usual flow. Next time there will be no scripts allowed.

Editing was surprisingly easy, and even a little bit fun. But what I did discover in editing were all the little things that I did not notice when filming… like background noise *cringe*, or hair shadowing my eye. If I had more time I would re-film and re-record these clips to get a better sound quality and visual. That was the final lesson, and one that Adam was badgering us about since the very beginning… to give myself the time to fix mistakes. However, life being life, and university being chaotically crammed with assessments as usual, I was denied that luxury.

Despite these issues, I am happy overall with my first attempt at making a video. I would have liked the time to improve the audio and visual quality of the film, but I think the content I chose to include is good, and that the editing and sound effects work well. Filming was my biggest downfall in the production of the video, with a lot of rooky errors. This task has taught me a lot, and next time I make a film I will have a much better method for going about it.

But go on, get out there, watch my film and decide for yourself.


Creative Commons material:

Image ‘Old Computer‘ by Jeff Dray, Flickr, CC-BY-SA 2.0


Caldwell, T. (2015), Hacktivism Goes Hardcore, Network Security. May 2015, Issue 5, Pp 12-17.

Collister, S. (2014)  Abstract Hactivism as a Model for Postanarchist Organizing, Ephemera: Theory & Politics in Organization, Nov 2014, Vol 14, Issue 4, Pp 765-779.

Dewey, J. PhD. (2013) Hacktivism, Salem Press Encyclopedia.

Purdy, E. (2015), Anonymous (Group), Salem Press Biographical Encyclopedia.

Wood, C. (2015) Unmasking Hacktivism, Government Technology, Sept 2015, Vol. 28, Issue 6, Pp 14-18.


Broader Digital Engagement:

Since Portfolio Part 1 I have maintained my digital engagement with the unit hashtags #ALC203 and #ALC708 on my twitter account. I have also continued creating blog posts about unit material. I have increased my digital engagement with SoundCloud by contributing to unit discussions. I have happily attained my fifth Tiffit Badge and wear it with pride…metaphorically. (Next time Adam, I think you need to create actual physical badges.)

(69 words)


Author: jscamilleri

I write fantasy, graphic novels, and young adult fiction.

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