Jerry Chifari -Visual- Invisible Sleep
With this experiment, I took a poem I had written and thought of ways I could visually represent each stanza. My original idea was to use color as a way to show progression, from cheery hues to murky. Then I thought of applying imagery to the background, but it ended up looking distracting with the color and text. I moved it on to the side and found it worked better, then altered the brightness on each of each one individually, according to each stanza. I then played with the idea of animating each one, but that too turned out to be distracting and confusing. I decided to stick with a still image, with the font going along with it, the reading becoming as hard as the narrator's struggles.


Jerry Chifari -Audio- Nyarlathotep
I wanted to do something that involves a narrative, like an audio book. I looked into public domain short fiction and found H.P. Lovecraft's Nyarlathotep. There is both a poem and a short story version, but I decided to go with the short story because I wanted my voice to set a tone and tell a broader story. I incorporated a compelling range of sound effects - I decided to use the beginning of a classical piece called Gioachino Rossini's William Tell Overture to set the mood of the narrative, then moving on to background sound effects and ambient noise as the storyteller becomes involved with Nyarlathotep. I used both my own audio recordings and freely available public domain sounds to put this work together. For the final paragraph, I tried to make the events seem otherwordly by distorting test audio I made with the recorder. I attempted to make all supplementary sounds audible but unable to drown out the main speech - I thus had to achieve a balance between carefully making each additional sound work but not going overboard.

Jerry Chifari -Hypertext- Miyazaki Films
I've originally wanted to produce something from a flash perspective or a blog one. I had a hard time formulating concrete ideas, however. When our MSA Hypertext Presentation focused on Prezi, I was intrigued at the simple and loose yet creative and open-ended interface. I looked into Prezi.com and found that one could "Prezi-fy" already established PowerPoint slides. At that point, I decided that my experiment would dabble into this conversion so I could see firsthand the advantages of Prezi over PowerPoint. I modified my slides for conversion into Prezi. I then cut out a central image with Photoshop so I can use it as a main focus or a "hub" where the slides surround it. My initial idea was for the slides to outline the photo, but it then came to my attention that it seemed disorganized. I changed this with a "table of contents" of sorts so it's harder for followers to get lost, and to pick up the presentation in any specific group to cater to a non-linear approach. The presentation can thus be viewed in both the linear motion PowerPoint users are familiar with as well as a newer, dynamic approach.

Jerry Chifari -Social Media- I reject your reality and substitute my own!
As a Social Media experiment, I wanted to do something involving Facebook since I'm most familiar with it. My first idea was akin to a chain letter, but then I remembered that this was essentially done by Six Degrees of Separation. I then thought of revisiting roleplay writing, since it has been a long time since I have personally participated in that. A group of friends and I have agreed to generate new public profiles for the purpose of experimentation. Some of us thought of existing characters, while others (like myself, Justice Abandon) have thought of their character on the spot or even changed theirs after initially creating it. I gave everyone complete freedom over their original character, and decided to allow every active member to post at least one wall topic. We all decided on a time to start, and focused on in-character activity for a few hours. As a medium, Facebook did work, though it became unruly at times. The biggest hurdle was that it was rather tough to coordinate. Leaving the group chat box open on the side did somewhat remedy this, since we were discussing the discussion behind the scenes (both in character and out of character). However, that in itself got confusing since we had multiple posts on two threads at one point, and I had to refresh my page often. Individual profiles helped us to get a feel for everyone's character; however, perhaps in part of this elaborate possibility, character interaction also sometimes extended beyond the group and into profile walls, friends lists and a note. For the most part, we did not try to do much of a storyline or narrative, but we simply acted as our characters would having been drawn together (some of us learning our characters' personalities along the way). To give signals for everyone involved, I (as myself, the host) only made basic opening and closing topics during those few hours. For what it is worth, I would say it is successful; the general census among my friends is that they all had much fun and would almost do this again were it not for finals week (some characters still continue to make posts), and one of my friends (playing Alexander Faustus) even said he enjoyed building his character so much that he wishes to reuse it later for one of his pet projects. All in all, everyone had a good time, even if it was a tad chaotic.

Jerry Chifari -Final- Devil CupId (original text here)
For my Final project, I've decided to revisit the audio experiment. I had some other ideas at the time, but I originally went with Lovecraft to go for a sort of audio book approach. This time, I wanted to do something slightly different. I wanted to see if I can take more of a radio drama spin on it. For this purpose, I've decided to use a short story of mine. The story is about a boy of high school age who copes with his feelings with an avatar taking the form of a cupid on his shoulders - which could in reality be either a supernatural force or an extension of his innermost desires. I provided the sole narrative voice in this piece, tuning the other major characters (ie. the cupid and the love interest) with Audacity. The idea I chose to do that is due to the fact that the two vocal characters are very closely tied to the main character: the cupid is likely his id, and the female lead is his perceived significant other. The cupid in particular was difficult to voice, as I tried to subtly make his voice lower as time goes on, as well as go from a more suave tone to a more sinister one towards the end (which I believe may have unfortunately gotten lost in the audio filter). I was originally going to naturally alter the narrator's voice as well since he's clearly younger, but I remembered that the character is relatively dry and cynical beyond his years, so I simply used my normal speaking voice (not that his personality resembles my own). Unlike the original audio experiment, I took a slightly different work ethic to it - instead of doing each segment by paragraph and merging them together, I decided to use one take as a "master take" and then edit my mistakes individually (sometimes redoing whole sentences to prevent the spoken work from sounding out of place), as well as do alternate takes for parts that I didn't feel reach sufficient quality. Again, I've used public domain sound effects and material I've personally recorded. Instead of a music track, I went for a more moodier range of sound effects. For example, the beginning of the story uses a wind sample before going into flashback - this same sample returns when this familiar setting returns later in the story. However, I decided to keep silence when it comes to the cupid's actions, leading the audience to decide for themselves whether or not he is really there, as well as times when the main character is generally supposed to be sneaking around. While it is the same basic idea, this piece is also much longer and based on my own original work, so it was a fun pleasure to come up with ideas for it. I may even revisit the idea again if I revise the story.

Closing
Going into this class, I was not sure precisely what to expect; I chose the course because it sounded interesting and stood out as something new and exciting. I appreciated the class format of focusing on experiments and presentations, as it gave us a lot of personal freedom with our own designs. I went with the final project based on the experiment that appealed to me the most, but that is not to say I did not learn anything from looking at the other three projects. Each media aspect reaches out to different audiences, so it is versatile for the digital writer to be well-versed in all forms. Overall, I felt like the class was a very good, hands-on learning experience that I won't forget, as it has taught me that patience and trial and error each enrich the creator's artistic senses.