Thursday, February 26, 2015

Visual Rhetorical Analysis Purpose Statement and Design Plan

The purpose of my visual rhetorical analysis paper is to evaluate the visual strategies used in movie posters for Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University. As I was looking at the posters, they are almost identical even though there was a twelve year gap between the movie releases. I am using the medium of an essay that includes the images of the poster to express my argument. The posters will be placed within the essay, so the audience can easily connect the image with the text. Both of the movies were comedies that appealed to the children and family audiences. The audience for my essay will be those who have an interest in the movies being discussed as well and those who the advertising for the movie targets. It will allow my audience to identify the strategies used to appeal to them as well as show that they continued to have their effect regardless of the time period. This paper will help me make a scholarly evaluation of the expression of the posters and clearly show them to my audience. I chose the Monsters movies because they appeal to my peers and I enjoy them. The first film, Monsters, Inc., was released early in our childhood. The prequel was released at the end of our childhood as we were transitioning to become adults, marking the end of a generation essentially. With this in mind the context of my paper will show that the same strategies are continually used throughout generations and it will also allow me to appeal to a broader audience considering the large gap between the two movies release dates. My paper will be the best medium for expressing my information and argument because it allows me to express my ideas through words and support my observations with the images alongside the text.
Purpose: The essay is analyzing the use of visual strategies to catch the reader’s attention. I am analyzing the posters from the Monsters movies, Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University. These are one of many topics I could have chosen from. The posters that I will be using to make my argument show how the advertising for both of the movies was nearly identical and still proved effective even though the movies were released more than ten years apart.
Medium: I will be expressing my argument through an academic essay that incorporates both my own words and the images of the movie posters that I will be referring to throughout the argument. By incorporating the images into the text the reader will be able to more easily connect the words to the images. I will try to add in the images as seamlessly as possible allowing the words to continue around the image as if it is a part of the essay itself.
Ethos: I will be able to prove my credibility by providing links to the website that I used to get access to these images. The website was recommended by my professor, and therefore is considered a credible source. I have also see both Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University so I feel I am qualified to analyze the posters because I can connect them to the actual story.
Pathos:  I will be able to appeal to my audience’s emotions by recognizing the emotional appeals made in the posters. I will bring these strategies to the audience’s attention and discuss how they are used to effectively elicit a response from the viewer. I will also be able to stir up some form of nostalgia from my audience, especially if they have seen both movies or simply remember when they were released.
Logos: My argument is calling the reader to notice the strategies used in visual appeals. By doing so, I am giving my audience the tools to analyze other images and advertisements that they come across. I have selected two pairs of images that are nearly identical for advertising both movies and one that have the same concept but a difference execution. This will allow me to clearly display my argument using the strategy of comparing and contrasting.
Arrangement: The essay will be arranged in standard, academic essay format. I will write in paragraphs that allow me to fully develop my argument through words. The paper itself should be able to stand on its own. I will be adding in the images that are being discussed in the paragraphs alongside my writing to allow the reader to make that strong connection and to provide extra support to my written argument. I am going to add my images along the left margin so they can be viewed as a part of the paper when being read left to right.
Testing: Upon the completion of my essay and the addition of the images to the paper, I will have my rough draft. I will have one or two of my peers read my rough draft and give me feedback on how to better develop my argument. I would preferably have a peer that is in my class and aware of the assignment guidelines be one of those who views my draft, along with an outside source allowing me two different perspectives. I feel this will give me the best constructive criticism and allow me to make the changes to have the strongest argument possible.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Poster Analysis

I chose to analyze the poster for Crazy Stupid Love. I believe this movie came out with in the last five years,  between 2010 and 2015. The actors in it are currently popular in modern films, and the furniture and clothing in the picture is more modern looking. I think it is a romantic comedy. The title alone lets me make this inference, along with the actors that were selected that are typically in films of the same genre. The pose of the characters on the poster reflect some form of romantic scene as well with the man laying on the couch looking at the woman that has her high-heeled foot up on the table. The background of the image is blurred so the viewer focuses on the man and the woman's leg. The other colors are neutral, including tans and blacks, to bring more attention to the man's facial expression. The title is in white and stands out against the darker background. The head shots of the actors also stand out because they are all in front of different backgrounds on their own, drawing the eye of the view to each actors picture individually and allowing them to read the actors from left to right as they would with words. The visual path begins at Steve Carell's face and trails down the leg of the woman to the title located at the center of the poster. The path then continues downward to the pictures of the actors in the movie starting at the left with Steve Carell's image and traveling to the right ending with the picture of Kevin Bacon. The page then continues further down the poster to the date of release, July 29th, because the white print contrasts with the black background. The designers "ask" the audience to view the poster through this path because it draws their attention in and directs it in a specific fashion showing the things they want the audience to see in the order of importance and to spark interest. The audience will be more interested in the title and those who are in the movie before they are interested in the release date. The poster is used to draw in an audience through almost a sexual undertone through the image that is used and how it is related to the title especially the word "love". Once the audience is hooked, they see the rest of the important elements.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Photo Essay

Photo Essay Purpose Statement and Design Plan

Purpose Statement

The purpose of my photo essay it to show the changes that occur within a family unit over time both physically/biologically and through the development of personality. This will be based off of my own family. The best possible outcome of the communication would be for the audience to reflect on their own journey as a family and how personal events in their own life impacted them. The worst possible outcome would be if people did not take the chance to reflect and simply took the photo essay as a form of insight into my personal life. My communication will change the situation in which I make the communication by allowing the reader to have the chance at self-reflection and insight. This will be best expressed through the medium of photographs on a PowerPoint presentation to allow me to adequately communicate the changes that occur visually and to lead the audience down a journey to the final result, the family today.  The pictures will be photographs of photographs. This allows me to make the pictures my own and still use pictures from the past that I was not able to take myself. The audience will be my peers in class as well as those who have an interest into heredity and psychology. I want to have my audience question whether or not they have made similar progressions over time, and if it brought them closer as a family. Those who do come from different familial backgrounds than myself can compare and contrast my upbringing with their own. They can look at how we are similar and how we are different. I want my audience members to take into account that the question of nature versus nurture really does draw on the aspects of development. If a member of the audience comes from a family of divorce, that may have played a role in the development of their character. I want my audience to be able to use my family as merely an example and take the chance to look at their own upbringing with new eyes. The will be able to not only see the biological progression, but I plan to incorporate forms or psychological and personality development as well. The context is a progression of life itself because all of my family members are at different ages and different stages in their life. The communication will take place in class as well as on my blog, so my pictures and argument need to be able to stand alone when I am not there to advocate for them. My audience should be able to expect an expanse of information that depicts the changes both physically and psychologically of my own family members that can be related to people of similar ages and social circumstances ranging from ages eleven to fifty.  

Design Plan

Purpose: Throughout life, people go through many stages or phases. Who someone is as a child is who they are as an adult, unless there has been some significant form of trauma that has happened to them. I want to show my audience through photographs that as a person grows their personality only deepens, it does not drastically change. I want my audience to reflect on themselves and determine how their personality and upbringing has shaped them as a person, allowing them to become who they are today. Looking at picture from my family when they were younger and pictures of them now will show that their personality is captured in the photographs and they do not differ much. It is an insight to one story of the upbringing of children in a middle class Chicago suburb and how it affected those children and their personalities. They may have changed physically, but their true personality will always be intact. This goes along with the psychological idea of nature versus nurture. The environment that we grew up in certainly shaped up to be the people we are today, but our natural qualities have set us apart from each other as well.
Medium: I am using photographs and photographs of photographs to express my message. The photographs will depict certain personality traits that represent each member of the family adequately. These pictures will be accompanied with a narrative that explains how each member’s personality has grown with them throughout the years that I have known them. Finding pictures that accurately represented my family’s key personality traits proved to be more difficult than I thought, but I believe that when they are presented as a cohesive group they will be very effective. I will present these pictures using the Microsoft PowerPoint program allowing the images to be shown together and to flow seamlessly from slide to slide to tell my story effectively. I want to use a background on my PowerPoint that displays the journey that I am trying to display. I also want to find a font that draws the reader’s attention and makes them connect the caption with the picture easily.
Ethos: I will be able to prove my credibility by making references to big names in psychology. This will draw the interest of those of the audience who are members of the psychological community or have an interest in it. I also can draw accurate conclusions from the photographs because I know my subjects very well. This makes me a credible source to my audience because I am a first generation source, having interacted with my subjects on a daily basis for many years.
Pathos: I will be able to appeal to my audiences emotions through my pictures because there is a certain sentimental aspect to my project. As a reader, you can sense the emotions that are captured in the photographs. I hope to accurately represent each of my subjects and allow their personality to shine through the picture to the audience. My intention is for the audience to reflect on their own personality and question if they really are the same person they were many years ago. I am thinking of putting the pictures in black and white or a hue that expresses the emotion in the picture to draw in the reader. In the pictures of pictures I am also thinking about blurring out the background that is not a part of the intended photo to draw in the reader’s focus. I also want to use a font that appeals to the emotional side of the reader.
Logos: My argument is asking the reader if a person can truly change. It will require some self-reflection on the reader’s part. By comparing and contrasting my family and their changes throughout the years, I will provide the audience with examples of how the changes can occur and how a person can stay the same. I am even going to provide my own self-reflection as an example. The captions and narrative that accompanies the picture will work as an aid to help the reader see the changes at work. I will be making at least five comparisons, hopefully providing enough examples to express the purpose of my photo essay. My arranging the pictures in chronological order on each slide I hope to provide a strong, clear argument.
Arrangement: I am planning to have at least eight slides in my presentation. I have not yet finalized all of the pictures that I will be using, but I will have at least six individual subjects and then analyze my family as a whole and other familial relationships. I will have at least two pictures per slide. One will be an older picture of the subject and one will be a more recent picture. Ideally I would like three pictures to show the progression, but for some of my examples that is not possible. I will start with my parents because that is where our family begins, then progress through our family in the order of which we were born. After I have shown each of my subjects I will show some of the relationships in our family. This will represent the nature and nurture aspects of my arguments and help the audience get a better idea of the personalities of my subjects.
Testing: After I have completed my slideshow I will show it to my friends that are not in our class and do not know the exact description of the project. My friends have met each member of my family to tell if the pictures accurately represent them. They will also be able to tell me if I am portraying the message that I am intending to. I will also show the slide show to one of my peers from class. They will have an understanding of the assignment and be able to provide constructive criticism to help me reach my intended result before I turn in my final draft. 

Photo Essay Reflection

The Photo Essay took me a lot more time than I had expected. After I overcame my technological difficulties everything seemed to fall into place. I was originally overwhelmed with the assignment, but the more work I put into it, the easier it became.  I am happy with my final results. My pictures of pictures turned out well and helped validate the argument I am making. I attempted to show a progression throughout each family member’s life, and I believe I did that to the best of my abilities using the resources available to me. I did have some limitations due to the PowerPoint software. I tried to use a template that would allow each individual picture to come to the front of the screen while keeping multiple pictures on the slide, but I could not get it to work with the picture files I was using and resorted to a more basic template. The audience can now view all of the pictures on one slide. I do not feel this took away from my argument, it just allowed me to present it in a different, and less isolated perspective. I believe that my photo essay accurately displays the argument I am trying to make. I believe it can be relevant to everyone. It does allow my audience to view my family as an example to compare their own upbringing to. Whether they come from a similar lifestyle as I do or if it is something completely different, it will elicit a reaction from the viewer to reflect. The question of nature versus nurture has troubled psychologists for centuries, but I believe that it is a combination of the two that really shapes the personalities of the people in the world. In reality, nature and nurture cannot truly be separated, but work cohesively to help develop the personality throughout childhood.