Tackling the issue of harassment is never easy, as the people who you are trying reach with your message to are the ones are most likely to dismiss it. This is an even greater problem when dealing with a community that has a reputation of being pretty cynical.
This is why my directorial vision is to frame the message in our documentary, and the education that we intend to pass on, in a palatable way. Because we are presenting an argument (more accuracy a counter argument), the type of documentary we’re making is Expository.
To get a better idea of this I watched a number of video blogs on people discussing similar issues ( Anita Sarkeesian, and Jimquisition from The Escapist in particular), as well as other Expository documentaries.
The need for humour, in some form, became apparent pretty quickly. Having written on the topic before, the rest of my group agreed that the tone of sarcasm and cynical humour was actually very effective because it enables us to talk about the issues without lecturing, or sounding like we are over reacting, something that’s often used to dismiss this issue when it’s raised.
By knowing what arguments people use against women who complain about harassment from other gamers, I feel that with our documentary we will be able to point out the issues with these arguments in a way that is easier to digest by the peoples who attitudes need to change.
Innovative sound design is critical to Just a Game’s entertainment value and success. It holds a key ability to engage the audience enough to listen to our argument and remain interested throughout the film without being overwhelmed or too critical. Running in conjunction with visual style and narrative, it will provide much assistance to our sarcasm and cynical humour approach.
It’s important to note that the specifics on sound design remain flexible however the main foundations are currently in place. A cinematic orchestral style will be used for our peak moments. There are a few tracks I’ve chosen that have a naive, childish style which can be used for example once we’ve interviewed people that have a bias against our argument.
I’ve located royal free reproductions of classic gamer soundtracks and effects, and am also hoping to remix one of these classic songs myself using Abelton Live software.
Sound levels presumptuously will be quite sporadic during the film, but will remain constant. Because of the assumed levels of constant sound, I hope to use dramatic moments of silence to reinforce key issues in our debate.
Overall our stylistic approach of fast paced information will rely heavily on an adventurous, dramatic, playful and condescending tone.
Approach to Visual Style
Our approach to ‘Just a game’ is quite unique in that we will be using the argumentative techniques of satire and cynicism against the male gamers who harass females online. My goal is to compliment this approach with visual elements. We will be implementing a range of segments, including re-enactments, vox-pops, interviews, and perhaps even some in game footage.
Though we are dealing with a very serious issue, we still wish to be somewhat creative with our use of technical elements. We want to emulate the atmospheres known to video gamers through our artistic style. There are two avenues we can take in this approach, in what I will call the violent video games route, or the family video games route. In the interest of satire, it may be effective to implement the latter approach. By family video games, I mean games (such as Zelda) that are characterized visually by colourful and bright environments. Replicating such colour schemes in our documentary will hopefully highlight the dichotomy between the inviting natures of games with the (sometimes) offensive communities whom play them. It should be noted that the colours are not washed-out, just very true. Which brings me to my next point concerning what camera we will be using to film. Personally, if we wish to continue down this route, it will be favorable to use a DSLR (especially canon) which are known for capturing the vibrancy of colours unlike the university camera can.
Movement is another avenue we can exploit video game style. Ideally, I want to use a steadicam following the subjects and keeping them in the centre of the frame. This can be carried over into the interviews also, keeping the subjects in the centre of the frame in a seated interview, or even conduct interviews doing something active (like walking, whilst playing the games, etc).
– sound design
‘Just a Game’ is not a traditionally made film, nor will it be a traditionally viewed film. For what happens behind the scenes often seems to be reproduced on it. Therefore, the conventional role of a producer, as to what we have learnt here at RMIT, may be irrelevant at times to the process of this production. Currently, the way we are going to make the documentary will be a collage of ideas and devices, so thus is my work. Still, I already have many ideas on what my role here is and the best ways to help support my group and the project.
Considering that Ruby Mountford ignited the drive and vision of ‘Just a Game,’ I feel my purpose is to be her left hand woman. Ruby personally asked me to work as her manager and to help her keep the film process organised. As well as orchestrating the crew when needed, I imagine this will include helping Ruby at moments of high stress in whatever way possible, so that she can stay focussed as the creative thinker.
Already this has included making timelines for group work, keeping the dialogue flowing about meetings, submissions and the project in whole, as well as checking how the rest of the group is going. To be honest though, the level of self-awareness and organisation of all individual members means there is little work for me in these areas.
Another, more practical, task for me is contacting people whose music, youtube video and other copy write material we want to use. This includes making sure that the video content creators who Ruby is sourcing send her a message via her Tumbler saying it is fine for us to represent them and to use the footage they have filmed and submitted. I have also already started a list of works I would like the rights to use and have began on the voyage of agreement with the owners.
As we collect our material, I will keep track of all footage and information. For example, I will back up all work and material on my hard drive weekly, or whenever it seems pertinent.
All the above may appear ambiguous, but that is only because so is the work. All in all, my main role will be to remain alert and plugged in to ‘Just a Game’ in whatever way it may need an administrator.
One of our main aims of Just A Game is to make it accessible for everyone and not alienate viewers with our subject matter. When you’re trying to highlight an issue that portrays a gender in a negative light, it’s difficult to connect with that group. We want to emphasise to our audience that misogyny within the gaming culture is not a reflection of a gender as a whole, but a minority within that gender who do not represent every gamer. However, the size of the group should not detract from the severity of the issue, rather it is the loudness of the group which makes this issue so important.
So how do you go about trying to appeal to both genders and communicate our message without trying to turn it into a male vs female argument? We came to the conclusion that satire is the way to do this.
“Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody’s face but their own.” – Jonathan Swift.
We believe that nowadays one of the easiest ways to force people to acknowledge that something is “wrong” is to poke fun at it. We laugh with the satirist forerunners such as The Chasers or Jon Stewart because they joke about important social, economic or moral issues in a confronting way, which forces us to reflect internally on what they’re really trying to point out. Although we’re not trying to be as abrasive as them, we like the way they can coerce their audiences into reflecting on their own lives and wider society. Many seem to respond well to satire because not only is it humorous when it’s pulled off well, but also a wonderful tool of communication.
Furthermore, we believe that almost anyone will be interested in our documentary, judging by the reaction and feedback we’ve been receiving from our peers. Sexism and misogyny is an issue that affects both genders, across all demographics and experienced by the young and old.
when I did ask for video submissions there was of course one person who felt the need to suggest i was overreacting in the most condescending tone possible, as well as throw in a rape joke for good measure, but I feel nowadays you can hardly be called a feminist unless someone has belittled your problems and made a sexist joke. It’s something you can tick off your checklist on your way to the weekly bra bonfire, because that is something that feminists totally do in real life.
I have been thinking quite a bit about what kind of documentary we want to achieve visually. As we are focusing on gaming, I think we can be quite creative in our approach to the issue. This of course is not supposed to detract from the overall meaningfulness of the documentary. Quite the contrary, hopefully, it should enhance the effectiveness of the message. Ideally, I want to emulate the style embraced by video games. By this I am specifically referring to two features;
1. The Vibrant colour scheme.
2. The center framed subject.
The beautiful colour schemes often featured in family friendly games is something that we gamers know and expect. Rather than describe it to you, just look at the below image for yourselves to get the idea…
‘Zelda; the Ocarina of Time’ features such landscapes, which personally I find make the game more appealing. As technology becomes more sophisticated, so too does the quality of digitized environments in video games. I would like to capture this beauty in our documentary, not only to reflect games themselves, but also as a subtle reference to the irony of online harassment, as inviting natures of games is (sometimes) plagued by the offensive communities whom play them. In a similar way, we are showing the beauty of fillm, whilst discussing a very serious and dark matter.
It is only natural for video games to have their subjects always in the center of frame (aside from a few exceptions of course). The camera always seems to follow the subject from a certain distance away which is unchanging despite the characters motions. This technique is universally understood as one that belongs to video games, and it is something that we can easily adopt into our own documentary. Here is an example of a video game that is implementing the style. But Here is a an extract from Raging Bull, which also uses the technique. I noticed in the scene that it almost seems surreal, obviously trying to capture Deniro’s characters emotional experience of the boxing match. I feel that this not-quite-reality is reminiscent of video games, and therefore a technique that we could use ourselves.
Holding out how things /should/ be.
Mostly signal boosting, but I do have a little story to share.
The only time I was in a game and no one on mic was harassed for their gender was in TF2 with a friend. She would play medic and would work out a good medic-soldier combo or medic-heavy combo to attack with. Sometimes go nuts on pyro while yelling out quick commands if she saw a good opportunity. I did not hear any comments about her being female during our time playing. People either listened or not.
I know this is currently a rare occurrence. I’ve been given trash before for being female and playing games, and it is out-numbered by how many times I’ve met someone that didn’t care that I was a female and just cared that I also played games. I’ve also seen and heard females of all ages get put down for playing games. The little story is just to be a little gem in the sea of trash.
writing down ideas for narration. Here’s one; very rough form of a joke but could be funny? With editing and polishing and the like?
The industry continues to use mostly male protagonists and objectify women and many gamers feel women should stay away from video games, and often harass them.
But which came first?
It’s like the chicken and the egg, where the chicken happens to be a multi billion dollar industry made up of mostly guys and the egg is made up of thousands of guys who think shouting Tits or GTFO is a suitable response to a woman wanting to be part of their team.
And neither this chicken nor this egg has the decency to be delicious foodstuffs. In fact, to push the metaphor even further, you could say they’re both pretty rotten.
first video submission!
So far the post I made asking for submissions has been liked and reblogged over 200 times, and I’ve had a few people message me about what they should talk about.
Exciting! and a bit intimidating.