Final Project: Podcast Reflection

This final project allowed for the most creativity in a class assignment in our COMM 232 course yet. Given that the format of the assignment was only to make an effective podcast, the freedom we had in choosing the topic made the completing of the assignment exciting rather than stressful. Overall, our group collaborated together very nicely, and we created a product that we are all proud of. The podcast is an educational survey of current Marvel Comics character film rights controversies, a subject which every group member was interested in given our mutual passion for Marvel comics and movies.

To listen to this podcast, click here.

Strengths

Sarah, Alyssa, and Brittney made a good team for this project because of their mutual knowledge and interest in Marvel comics and films. The combined enthusiasm of the group made the project fun instead of a chore, and thus easier to accomplish in general. Sarah’s and Brittney’s writing skills combined with Alyssa’s video editing experience allowed for the group to collaborate and contribute in some way to the project besides speaking into the recorder.

Research

The research that went into this project was not difficult, although it was a bit extensive. All information used in the recording was found online, compiled from numerous articles on the topic. An article on CheatSheet was the inspiration for the topic, and a source used by the entire group because it lays out all of the characters that Marvel-Disney wants to get back that we talk about in the podcast. Brittney used these articles as sources about 20th Century Fox, Alyssa used these articles to talk about the X-Men and the Maximovs, and Sarah used these articles to finish the discussion with Sony and the fight for Spiderman.

Besides the articles, we approached film studies professor Dr. Nichols for an interview to get a clearer perspective on the situation from a leading academic voice. Dr. Nichols also explained the importance of diversity and representation in Marvel comics and films, which helped Alyssa develop her research about the Maximovs.

Writing

As a group, we mapped out how the discussion would pan out—who would talk about Sony, Fox, and X-Men, who would speak in what order, and where we would include segments from Dr. Nichols’ interview. The order is Brittney, Alyssa, and Sarah, with Dr. Nichols opening the discussion by defining film rights and helping Alyssa’s argument.

Each person wrote their own segment for the recording portion of the project, and we collaborated by proof-reading each other’s work and editing our own portions to better fit these pieces together into the whole.

Recording

We rented a high-quality USB microphone from the Trible library and recorded the podcast in Sarah’s apartment to ensure good sound quality given the number of people using the audio booths in the library. The interview with Dr. Nichols, however, was recorded on an iPhone 6 given that it was more convenient for Dr. Nichols to record in his office. The recordings were saved to Alyssa’s laptop and edited using Audacity software.

Editing

Alyssa put in the most work with editing the recordings to finish the podcast. She used her laptop and Audacity to record everyone’s segments individually, before splicing them together and cutting out awkward pauses and “um”s. Brittney and Sarah helped find the background music that was royalty free (from BenSound.com), which Alyssa strategically manipulated to increase during transitions and decrease during actual speaking time.

Challenges

Most of the project went smoothly for our group because we worked well together, but there were certain setbacks that we had to ponder how to solve for a while before we could continue. First, Dr. Nichols’ interview was an enormous 15-minutes, and it was difficult to pick out what information we wanted to keep and what we couldn’t use.

Second, we initially wanted to record in the audio booths in the library, but they were occupied by others and were too loud to record. It took a bit of negotiating before we settled on where and when we could all have time to record someplace else—that being Sarah’s apartment.

Third, recording and editing the pieces of recordings together was very tedious and took a lot of time. Not only this, but initially the recording was around 8 minutes, and too long even before adding in Dr. Nichols’ interview. Shaving down our recording time meant we had to rerecord everything to make it all fit.

Conclusion

This project was completed as a team effort by a group of people that were very excited to work together. The success of the group is based on a mutual respect for each other and interest in the project; for example, Sarah did the principle research, Brittney helped edit and advise on the readings and recordings, and Alyssa edited everything together. Each person contributed with their personal strengths, and complimented each other’s weaknesses

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