Even Grass Grows in the Cracks of the Sidewalk

Even Grass Grows in the Cracks of the Sidewalk


I originally chose the windowfarms website as one of my second storification assignment Upon visiting the website, I was happy to see that the window farming project had grown and matured to the point where they had a wall of links to online reviews, had formalized their design, and formed strategic partnerships with nurseries to feed into a more “businessy” operating model.  That said, I was also bit irked (though I understood the drivers) by story told by the website  From my three-years-later perspective, the story, as experienced through the website, read more like “Look how cool this thing is, here’s what people are saying, and here’s how you can BUY one yourself.” The message used to end with “and here’s how you BUILD one yourself.”

Production Process

I used the story spine framework to create a rough outline of what each part of the story was going to embody.  I expanded the story spine framework to allocate audio/visual components to that particular part of the story.  I used that story spine frame work to speak and record the narrative.  This recording would serve as the foundation for the flow of the story.  I laid out the images and video to the beat of my voice, so to speak.

Bits and Bobs

I roamed the city over the weekend, taking video and pictures of concrete, metal, asphalt and many, many fire escapes.  Something about fire escapes in this town fascinated me, especially the way the shadows and colors play against the backdrop of brick.  Ultimately, I  decided to not have a human character, rather, I went the route of the images of a 3D rendered man I found online.  That became “Bob,” my central character who would live the story of the audience excluded by the $179 price tag. I collected random images from the web and blended them along with some of the imagery and video that I took around town.

Everyone Loves Music

I decided to pull some mood into the story using a few hip hop tracks that tied to two sections of the story.  The first half of the story outlined the background and the challenge Bob faced. For this, I chose Tribe Called Quest’s “Everything is Fair (when you’re living in the city)” both for the meaning embedded in the chorus as well as the repetitive nature of the sound in the background.  In my ears, this set a tone of concrete monotony, mixed with struggle and resignation.  In the context of Vonnegut’s story shape, the car screech sound marked the low-point for the character, after which there was nothing but a positive trajectory for Bob.  Bob then continues down a path of realization and empowerment all to the backdrop of Nujabes’ “Feather,” a song that uses a feather as a metaphor for upward and positive trajectory, fluid in roll of a gentle hip hop beat.  Both songs worked well, playing in the background to the narrative and the imagery.

Storifying Blender

I blended the audio and visual content in the storifying blender that is VideoPad Video Editor.  I made use of the Fade in/Fade out features of the music tracks along with the Split tool to splice the sound bites.  This tool was also useful for cutting out miscues on my narrative recording. I used the Crossfade feature to create the transition between slides.  I used the Insert Text feature to create the opening title as well as the closing credits.  I made sure the first closing credit pointed the users to the actual website.

Story Spine & (Rough) Media Mapping

DIY Window Farming Story Spine

DIY Window Farming Story Spine

Media References


2 thoughts on “Even Grass Grows in the Cracks of the Sidewalk

  1. Congrats, it’s a story. Your production, and use of all the media definitely meets the specifications of the project, and shows clearly your skills learned and applied in the course. Likewise, the development of the idea and match to the story spine is well done.

    The one thing I might have an issue is the story of Bob seems not all that different from the woman who started it. It certainly does present the concept of window farming, but I might have hoped to maybe more of an explanation of how it works or how making one yourself works. The concept is fascinating. Basically Bob looked it up on the internet.

    Don’t worry, you get credit for completing the project as needed and produced a well done video, and documented the process perfectly. To me, the work you did on “It’s Not, It’s Me” felt more powerful and (maybe inferring) it was something that went deeper in you than Bob’s story.

    You’ve been a great student in this class and have done very well with all of the things it asked of you- I hope some of the things stay with you or find a way into other aspects of your work and life.

  2. I definitely agree that there is a resemblance to the creator’s original Youtube story, however, part of my critique of the website as it currently stands is that it’s missing that “birth story.” You would need to search Youtube for “windowfarms” to find that story. I was thinking that a the story should be a launching pad, if not an integral piece of the website so people could understand the story. That said, I suppose the story doesn’t change too much, rather, the to stories, “Birth of an idea/notion” and “How to and what to do,” are better off combined as chapters of a continuous book. Perhaps the website could start out with a pop-up of that video with the option to “Skip” (a feature Youtube uses for some of it’s sponsored videos). This way, people who come to the “store” knowing what they want can skip the annoying sales person at the door and go right to the goods, while people new to the idea, can pause for a little background story.

    I definitely put a bunch more of “me” in to the “it’s not you it’s me” piece, though to be honest that story had a little more time to marinate. The video assignment turned out to be the perfect grill upon which to cook that story.

    Thank you for the encouragement and patience throughout this course as I (and my fellow cohort) worked to bring our lessons to work and into our lives. I definitely feel like there is A LOT more that I can learn and tools that I’ll continue to master as I move forward through the rest of the program. I will definitely be revisiting different DS106 course exercises in the future!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s