Samson Seligson – Reginald Rodgers – Semester Recap

Introduction:

Reginald Rogers is a Trans-media story. It is an episodic series using written words, images, and video. It is written and developed by Samson Seligson (me) and Renae Cumberbatch. Much of the story is through the assistance and consultation of Michael Smith. Much thanks to him.

And thanks to Dwayne Pierre for his dedication to his role as James Junior and helping us out when we needed an extra hand.

The story is about a Member of a distinguished historical society, Reginald Rodgers of RuPHS, who seemingly gets fired by his overbearing boss James Junior for creating a fake history about a man named Horace Hunt who through minor actions saved the world multiple times. According to Rodgers the proof was destroyed in a freak fire accident, but it soon becomes clear that Junior was to blame, and is obviously trying to undermine years of Rodgers’ work.

Now Rodgers makes it his duty to prove that Hunt existed by any means necessary, while Junior makes it his duty to destroy whatever evidence Rodgers once had. Even if that means going into the past and killing Hunt himself.

 

Characters:

Reginald Rodgers– Portrayed by: Samson Seligson

  • The name Reginald Rodgers was conceived with the aid of Alaisia Laureano. The base task of making the decision, was to choose two similar and nerdy sounding names.

Quinn McKenzie– Portrayed by: Renae Cumberbatch

  • Created by Renae, the name was meant to express knowledge, nobility, and righteousness.

James Junior– Portrayed by: Dwayne Pierre

  • It just sounded cool.

Horace Hunt– Unknown

  • A play on the name Forrest Gump, the project was originally titled “Gumpy,” because when I (Samson Seligson) first developed the idea for this project in my mind, the project was going to be a simple life and times of “Gumpy.” Gumpy was this guy who, using myself as the model, would be placed in all kinds of famous mid-1900s situations through the magic of Photoshop and green screening.

 

Context for Story:

Tumblr Website: http://reginaldrodgers.tumblr.com/

  1. 7 posts from October 1st. Most posts are solely and/or include written words explaining how the story continues. The website is a public forum where outsiders can follow the story and share elements of the story to a larger audience.
  2. This was the first major element of the project to change my original project ideas, to what it became over 4 months later.

 

Works Completed:

Photoshopped Documents:

  1. “The Ruph Life” (Element REMOVED):
    1. Faux newspaper article by Reginald Rodgers explaining the beginning of the story.
    2. Originally created with a photo counterpart, this blog post was changed to fit a changing story and therefore we had to scrap the image.
    3. How I created the image of a fake newspaper article. Using a photo of my hand holding a peace of paper tightly as a model, once the article was completed I used the Puppet Warp tool on Photoshop to bend the page in the same manner. Then using simple image adjustment techniques I gave it an old brown paper look.
    4. “The Letter:”
      1. Photo is found footage in a Google search for “wooden door.”
      2. The hand and Letter image was green-screened using green paper. The green was subsequently removed in Photoshop, and a mild color correction and feather was applied to the layer to make it seem natural to the warm backlighting of the background layer.
      3. It was used as a twofold catalyst for our story. It was first used to introduce the idea that Rodgers would be able to go back in time with a time machine and meet Horace Hunt in person and prove his existence and how he saved the world. It was also used in a secondary way in the story to introduce a new character, who would later become Rodgers’ partner, Quinn McKenzie. She writes him this letter, included with time machine schematics, because she believes in his cause and because she knows that Ex-Boss James junior is up to something with his own Time Machine.
      4. “Temporal Modificator Schematic:”
        1. This was a sketch rendering of the Devon Tread 1 wristwatch, with minor changes to be used as a portable time machine, where the wearer of the item would need to run 20 mph to achieve temporal modification. (Similar to the 88 Mph of the Delorian in Back to the Future)
        2. Originally it was meant to be printed in 3D and used in the second video “Back to England.” But unfortunately the our 3D printer was out of service.
        3. It would later be exchanged for a gold-necklace that would be wrapped around Rodgers and McKenzie’s hands. (Similar to the Time Turner used by Hermione Granger in Harry Potter Prisoner of Azkaban)
        4. “Security Cam:”
          1. This was a 4 part Photoshop job First adding ourselves to a bar scene through green-screening, then adding TV scan bars and desaturating, then adding security cam time and channel stamp, and finally highlighting the heads.
          2. This was used in the story when Reginald Rodgers and Quinn McKenzie unexpectedly cross paths in a bar after the latter was sent. It gave them a chance to discuss a game plan. They decide that they will steal the top-secret time machine, which James Junior is constructing. Unbeknownst to them, Junior is creating the machine to return to 1955 and to get rid of Horace Hunt.

 

Videos:

  1. “Catching James Junior:”
    1. The first video of three (technically two) depicting Rodgers and McKenzie’s race against time to catch Junior before he completes his machine. Unfortunately as they get to his secret lab he punches 1955 into his number pad and disappears in flashes of smoke and fire.
    2. The scenes of Rodgers and McKenzie running were shot in a York College hallway, staircase, and Library basement, while the James Junior scene was shot in the CT studio, using a the Panasonic Lumix mirrorless camera and a tripod.
    3. Juniors lab and costume were made up using completely random equipment from the “building and hacking” classroom. His Time Machine is an outdated Sony TV camera. At one point you are able to see the name Sony, but in the next shot the name is covered.
    4. The smoke and disappearing effect was achieved by layering a luma-keyed smoke bomb (found on YouTube) over Junior laughing. As the smoke rises the layer is scaled out until the smoke covers the screen, at that point the clip of junior is switched with a shot of an empty couch.
    5. Originally the effect planned for the disappearing Junior was going to be the Star Trek Transporter effect, but due to lack of footage the disappearing affect could only be achieved by covering the screen (in this case with smoke) and changing the clips.

     

  2. “Back to England – Part 1:” (Version 1)- Explained in #3
  3. “Back to England – Full”– (WARNING: Spoiler Alert)  —  This video would be the final created project put together during the fall semester. It begins by recapping all of the previous elements of the story (even though it doesn’t quite explain what really happened in the story). It then continues where the story left off. Junior had gone into the past, now using a “temporal modificator” of their own, Rodgers and McKenzie go back to 1955. They realize that Juniors plan is stop Hunt from introducing the game scrabble to J.W. Spear the owner of a large gaming company. (Explained in the post: “He Got Away”). They go the company and meet with the president, who of course is Junior himself. — The video ends with a photo of Junior in a room with random white people and famous black celebrities from the 20th and 21st century with text on the bottom saying “James Junior – July 4th, 1955”. This is a slightly comical play off of the final scene in The Original “The Shining” 1980, where the line “You’ve always been the caretaker” comes to life and  Jack Torrence (Jack Nicholson) is revealed as being in the 1921 picture of the July 4th ball. I left room for interpretation.

Process:

Tools I used:

Photoshop

  • I definitely used Photoshop the most of all the tools. If it weren’t for a picture element that would be posted to Tumblr, it would be for a picture with one or a number of layers for use in one of the two videos.

Premiere

  • The two videos that I produced were developed using Adobe premiere as the video editing software.

After Effects

  • AE was used solely for its Keylight color key generator. Nearly all of the green screen keying was done using Keylight since it is a stronger keying generator than the standard color key in premiere.

Google Images

  • Many times I would use Google images to find anything from faces and every day items to full screen backgrounds to use behind or with green-screened actors.

YouTube

  • The worlds cheapest library of Adobe tutorials and found footage, such as the 1940s England video background used when Rodgers and McKenzie see the game company in “Back to England”.

Lumix Camera & Tripod

  • Used to capture footage for video and photo shoots for most photo projects and both video projects.

Green Screens

  • To give the illusion that either the characters were in some other place (other than York College), or to make it easier to select an item when photoshopping.

Props

  • To give life to certain scenes such as Junior’s secret lab in “Catching James Junior.”

 

Expectations and Revelations:

The projects did not necessarily work the way I wanted or not the way I wanted. They just happened differently than initially anticipated. Since the majority of the Final project was writing, much of what I had in mind at the outset of the semester was either scrapped or heavily altered. Therefore, I would say that the preparation before the semester was a foundation for the work that would be done this semester, and as the semester moved along elements were developed and of course the story came to life around those pieces of writing.

It would be nearly halfway through the semester that the storyline began to have serious cohesion. Before that the story line included vague characters with no real life and vague ideas for elements to create the story with.

 

Contributions:

As I said before the heaviest part of the project in all was the writing. When Renae joined me in late September/ early October, we decided that she would do as much writing as she could, while I would do the majority of the element development (hey, that rhymed!)

That’s not to say that we did things separately. In fact, just about every Monday and Friday, at least 2 hrs would be dedicated to working on and developing further whatever trans-media element we were working on at the time, and developing the story just a little bit further.

 

Reflections:

If you want to see where this all began, you have to go back to a couple of posts that I made a semester ago in portfolio class. I started making these Photoshop documents where I would be a fake sports personality called “The Wimp.” I created a story around him and how he became the wimp and he would never win anything if he didn’t stop being a wimp.

Anyways that turned into an attempt to develop a character like Forrest Gump, who moves through the mid-1900s in this historical fiction world.

Over the summer the characters changed, the story changed, and soon it became a story about some guy who’s name sounds like Forrest Gump, Horace Hunt, who lived at the same time as Forrest Gump, but nobody has ever seen him. Now it became my job to create clues as to how to find him.

That didn’t last very long, because before I knew it the story had changed again. Now it became a story about a guy who had already figured out the secret of Horace Hunt, but the work got destroyed, gets fired from his job, and he has to find new ways of proving his existence.

And that is basically the development from the “Plan” to the “Actuality.”

After all the semesters work, I learned to never settle on something right away, always give it more thought, because the moment you settle on a story idea, a better one shows up the next moment, and sometimes you cant go back. So its better to work on the writing until you have something quite tangible and workable before you being the production.

And that’s what I think I would have done differently. Had I known the direction I would’ve ended up going in even a little earlier, I don’t know that I would have began the story the way I did. In fact I may not have ever ended up doing a trans-media project. I like the video work we ended up doing late in the semester.

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