Some Videographic Updates

25Sep22

I just returned from a truly exceptional conference: The Theory and Practice of the Video Essay at University of Massachusetts – Amherst. Not only was there the simple joy of attending my first in-person conference in three years, but it was best type of conference: a single-stream of presentations that help to connect and build a community around a shared set of interests. The quality of the presentations were stellar, and the resulting conversations were similarly fantastic. I knew many people in attendance, mostly spanning years of participation in the Scholarship in Sound & Image workshop (hopefully returning in June 2023 – more info on that soon!), and there were many others whom I knew only through online interactions or enjoying their videos from afar. Kudos to organizers Barbara Zecchi & Daniel Pope for making it happen!

I was invited to give one of the keynote presentations at the conference, and I framed my talk around the question “What is a Videographic Book?” I spent much of it discussing my vision for the Lever Press series Videographic Books, which resulted in many people sharing their ideas with me for excellent book-length projects! Naturally I also discussed my own videographic book project, “The Chemistry of Character in Breaking Bad” – I showed a draft of the book’s videographic introduction (which is not yet ready to publish on its own), and debuted the newest video from the book: “Recording Bad.”

One of the key contexts that I discussed regarding this video was its process of origination: unlike many of the chapters in the book, I did not anticipate doing a video on this topic. Instead it emerged as an interesting element while rewatching the series in Adobe Premiere in 2019 – I created a folder for clips involving recordings, and let the idea simmer in the background as I worked on other chapters. I knew I wanted to do a video that featured me directly addressing the camera, mimicking a style fairly common in YouTube video essays, so this seemed like the ideal subject matter to tackle. But I didn’t have much direction on the overall design and point of the piece—until I was struck by a different set of experiences speaking directly into cameras during the pandemic.

As always, feedback is welcomed, especially if there are issues or questions that seem important to address in the written commentary accompanying this somewhat oblique chapter.

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