Video Essay

Group Video Essay Assignment

Multiple Deadlines (see below)

In class, we’ve seen a number of remixes and fan vids that make a compelling argument.  As Virginia Kuhn notes in her essay “The Rhetoric of Remix,” remixes can be viewed “as a digital utterance expressed across the registers of the verbal, the aural, and the visual […] thus, remix is a form of digital argument that is crucial to the functioning of a vital public sphere.”

For this assignment, you will form groups of 4-5 and collaboratively create an argumentative video essay that comments on some element of new media and/or digital culture that we’ve discussed in class:

  • The old/new media dichotomy
  • Cyborgs
  • Intelligence
  • Surveillance
  • Transmedia Storytelling
  • Archives
  • Copyright Law and/or Piracy
  • Remix Culture

You should approach this assignment as you might a term paper for this course: you need to collaboratively hone in on an argument and spend some time planning how to most effectively execute that argument…albeit in an audiovisual form.  Instead of creating a conversation between your readings and textual analysis, here you’ll be creating a critical dialogue between the audio and images you select.  Think about how you might create resonant moments, or interesting juxtapositions between the audio, image, and text in order to articulate a claim.

This is a wonderful opportunity to get creative, consider the power of alternative modes of argumentation, and get more comfortable manipulating media to comment on media.  With all of that said, this will be a labor-intensive project, so budget your time and divide your labor accordingly.

To begin this process…

Step 1: Select a group/sign up via the wiki I’ve set up on Blackboard [3/30 by 8pm]

  • Sign in to Blackboard and in the left sidebar, click “Tools” then “Wikis”
  • If you don’t select a group by the deadline, I will assign you to a group

Step 2: Collaboratively formulate your argument [4/6 by 8pm]

  • Pick a broad topic we’ve discussed in class from the list above
  • Collectively decide what position you would like your video to argue. This argument might evolve as you work, but you need to have a strong enough sense of it going in so that you can begin cultivating materials that relate to it (video clips, music, images, text, scripted voiceover, etc.)
  • You will articulate your argument, and your plan for executing it, in a co-authored blog post [due 4/6 by 8pm].  This post should be 300-500 words, and must also include:
  1. At least one quote from one of our readings that will serve as inspiration for your video’s argument
  2. An embedded example of a remix video that is similar (either in tone, aesthetic or commentary) to the type of remix you’re planning, and some engagement with why this video is effective in making an audiovisual argument or commentary.

Step 3: Select your audiovisual evidence and create your video

  • See the tools list provided by politicalremixvideo as a starting point.  If you plan on pulling clips from YouTube, you might try using Video DownloadHelper.
  • Take detailed notes on which clips (and, specifically, which sections of the those clips) you might want to use. Just as you might choose between two or three quotes from an article when attempting to support a point in an essay, you may need to weigh the power of multiple images when crafting your video.
  • You should “storyboard” or create a rough draft of your video essay/remix video before you begin editing.
  • At various stages of the editing process, even if one person is doing the bulk of the hands-on editing, the group as a whole should screen rough cuts (or “drafts”) and collectively discuss how the video might be improved.  In other words, even if you break up the labor in your group to “pre-production duties” (conceptualization, research, scripting, etc.) and “production” duties  (sourcing and editing video, working on the style and tone), the whole group needs to be involved in each stage of the process.

Step 4: Submit video and personal contribution statement

  • Upload your group’s video to YouTube and email me the link [4/20 by 8pm]
  • Email me 1 paragraph detailing what you contributed to the group and who worked on what elements of the video.


  • All videos must be between 2-5 min long
  • You can work within any remix “genre” or style that you like (video essay, fan video, audio dub, parody, fake trailer, etc.) but you should have a clear conception of why that particular style is most effective form for conveying your argument.
  • You will be graded based on this videorubric.


  • Sunday, 3/30 by 8pm: Sign up for group through wiki on Blackboard
  • Sunday, 4/6 by 8pm: Upload co-authored blog post that briefly summarizes what your remix video team is attempting to argue and how you plan to execute that argument to course blog (approx 300-500 words).
  • Sunday 4/20 by 8pm: Upload your finished video to YouTube/email me the link.
  • Sunday, 4/20 by 8pm: Email me 1 paragraph describing your personal contributions to the video essay
  • Tuesday, 4/22-Tuesday, 4/29: In-class video screenings and discussion

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