One way to get a
deeper understanding of interdisciplinarity is to play with examples
integrate multiple elements to create a seamless whole, like a music
Print out a copy of this worksheet and write your answers in the right
hand column. Bring the completed worksheet with you to class on
a look at this very short animated video, featuring Blit Wizbok. You
learn more about that making of this video by looking at the Alien
Song FAQ, on Victor Navone's website.
Watch it a couple of times, and then go on to the exercises below
1: Why is this video funny?
Make a list
the reasons why this video is funny.
What moments in the clip make you laugh? Why?
2: Take it apart, part one
Watch the video again, but without the sound. Make a list of the visual elements (specific details about what the character looks like, how s/he moves, the setting) that you notice.
Now take a look at my annotations (click on the little green icons to read my comments). Did I notice anything you didn't? What did I miss?
3: Take it apart, part two
Now focus on the sound. In order to understand how sound affects the meaning of a video, it helps both to hear the song without seeing the images and to hear different versions of the song.
First, listen a couple of times to the Gloria Gaynor version of the song. What do you notice about her musical style? How would you describe the instrumentation? What about her voice?
Now, listen to the remake of the song by Cake. What differences stand out? How do those differences affect your sense of the "voice" of the song - that is, the "I" who is singing it?
Try one more: a cha cha version from Fire, a collection of songs for ballroom dancing.
4: Take it apart, part three
Part of what makes a video work is the story it tells. "Story" works on two levels -- the events in the video itself and the events that the song refers to.
Let's start with the video. What is Blit doing in this video? What happens? Why does the video end by killing him, and why did the animator choose to kill him with a mirror ball?
What about the story told by the song? Who is Blit singing to? What event does the song respond to? What message does Blit want to convey to his audience? Here, it may help to look at the song's lyrics.
5: How do the pieces fit?
According to humor theorists (yes, there are actually people who make their living thinking about how humor works), part of what makes anything funny is that its elements violate our expectations, including expectations set up by one part of the joke.
With that in mind, think about how the various parts of this video work together to create humor. How do the visual style and sound quality interact with the story?
Let me suggest a place to start: How does the timing of Blit's "accident" with the mirror ball contribute to the humor of the video?