What We Learned

With our video, we gained additional experience and confidence with visual story telling, concepting and storyboarding. The ability to bring stories to life is one of the most important skills in animation. Some of the additional technical skills we learned were: The camera zoom tool for both the Moon Hoax and Spanish War vignettes Animating separate assets in sync for the Spanish American War Adding explosions for the Spanish American War The puppet pin for character rigging the alien war of the worlds Text transitions for the Checking Your Sources vignette.

Next Steps

Inspired by the viral post “why liberals are wrong about trump.” https://extranewsfeed.com/why-liberals-are-wrong-about-trump-c865b12c72a7#.6frr9r756, we plan to release our video on social media as a fake news story. It would be funny and get our point across perfectly. People would have to think about the ways that they contribute to the virality of fake news, either by spreading it themselves or by ignoring it when they see it. We want to track this story to see how far it ultimately gets. It would be ironic if it were to go viral. Something about Trump getting impeached and Hillary finally becoming president would work well for a title. In terms of production, adding music or sound effects would be our next steps.

Putting it All Together

As per the final presentation, we compiled the historical vignettes and action steps into one final video.

Refining War of the Worlds

Since the mid-term presentation, we added audio and the first scene of Orson Wells in the Mercury theater to the War the Worlds Vignette. We wanted to quickly convey that it was the voice of Orson Wells coming through the radio.

Checking Your Sources

We wanted to conclude with actionable steps people can take to combat the issue, rather than just reminding people that the issue exists and providing a history. There is a lot to be weary of, especially now when people are bombarded with misinformation as soon as they open their social media pages. We wanted to give people quick ways to verify the stories they see.

  1. Check the URLs for accuracy,
    1. i.e. ABC.com.co is not ABC’s website
  2. Verify the author’s credentials,
    1. award-winning journalists are on LinkedIn.
  3. Look for corroborating sources.
    1. Multiple outlets report major events
  4. Read the whole article before sharing news
    1. Outlets sensationalize headlines to get clicks

The Spanish American War

For the Spanish-American War Vignette, we focused on one story that exemplified “yellow journalism” particularly well.  Yellow journalism is a term that originated in the 1890s and refers to sensationalized journalism with no basis in fact. It was rampant in this era with William Randolph Hearst and Joesph Pulitzer competing for readership.

Our vignette tells the story of Evangelina Cossío y Cisneros, a Cuban woman who was being held in jail by the Spanish. Hearst, wanting to stir up desire for an American intervention on behalf of the Cuban rebels, turned her into a sympathetic figure. He claimed his reporter to Cuba, Karl Decker, who was described as a “swashbuckling man of action,”  broke her out of her jail cell. In all actuality, Hearst negotiated her release by paying a bribe. Finding a way to portray the story through animation, was the more challenging than the technical aspects of the video.

Styling War of the Worlds

For war of the worlds, we decided to start with listeners of the radio broadcast being so scandalized by the reports that they literally fell out of their chairs. Segueing to their dream state imagining the the monsters destroying New York City. We had to mask a lot of images and import into After Effects. I was worried about making the fire, but found a plugin that looks realistic enough to fit with the style of our video.

Fake News Isn’t New

We’ve been researching the fake news problem and found that it goes back to Europe before Gutenberg’s press printed it’s page. In order to keep our sights focused on the problem within the United States we decided to limit our accounts to the ones occurring here. The order will be the Great Moon Hoax of 1835, false accounts in Cuba leading up to the Spanish-American War in the 1890’s, Orson Welles’War of the Worlds , the Weekly World News articles chronicling the adventures of Bat-Boy, and modern day debunked stories about Y2k scares, Balloon Boy, and Pizza-Gate.

Our timeline puts the first film being completed around the middle of the quarter with the subsequent two being completed by the end of Winter Quarter.

Our moodboard shows the style of imagery we plan on using as well as the newspaper backdrops the stories will be set in. Stories will start out as stills and transition to animations as the stories unfold.

ST Moodboard

Styling The Moon Hoax

For The Great Moon Hoax vignette, we wanted to set the tone, creating a comprehensive motion style that we could adapt for additional pieces. For the portion of this representing the fantastical moon creatures, we used an undulating gradient overlay that we plan on using for other videos  as an immediate visual identifier that will continue throughout. We will use a combination of narration, text and sound effects in addition to visuals to tell the story.

Storyboarding

Our video is dependent on a narrative of fake news being around longer than anyone living in 2017. To do this, we must get a baseline of viewers understanding that stories once passed off as journalistic truths are  in the modern understanding of things, easily disproved (I’m sure there are people who still think the sun revolves around Earth, but they’re not our target audience, those people are hopeless). In our storyboard we’ve outlined a few topics that we can animate in a way that is cheeky enough to entertain and absolutely  ridiculous to really force the point. We’ve trimmed down our narrative to three stories that get our point across: The Great Moon Hoax, War of the Worlds, and the Spanish-American War (which is a bit of an outlier, but it creates a segue into media as a means of political manipulation.)

The narrative would then follow up with tips and and things to watch when consuming news. No one wants to be a rube and this how you avoid being that garbage person that spreads lies to your social network.

Here’s our storyboard:

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