Volume 1, Issue 26: Exercise II (A Special Request)

Let's Begin the New Year By Passing the Mic to Podcast Listeners

Now that 2021 is nearly upon us, I’ve started truly reflecting on this past year, or, at least, some aspects of the past year. I’m currently in the process of updating the podcasts’s website (www.thevideoessay.com) and just added the first four abstract trailers I have received (so far) as part of the “homework” listeners were assigned earlier this year. How far we’ve come.

For those unfamiliar with what I’m referring to, beginning in April, in the midst of the pandemic, listeners of The Video Essay Podcast were assigned the five core videographic exercises developed by Christian Keathley, Jason Mittell, and Catherine Grant for the Scholarship in Sound & Image Workshop at Middlebury College. All of the exercises are outlined at length in their open-access, online book, The Videographic Essay: Practice & Pedagogy. I reflected on assigning the exercises in this newsletter back in August.

Anyway, as I was updating the website, I got kind of emotional thinking about the process and the (nearly) final result. Listeners thus far have made a combined 68 videos. (You can watch them all here.) That’s truly an incredible achievement, especially given the circumstances under which listeners were creating the videos. When these exercises are assigned at the Scholarship in Sound & Image Workshop, participants are all together in one room creating the exercises, and are doing so with a group of workshop facilitators nearby to answer any and all questions. And after each exercises is created, participants discuss their videos as one large group and in small group settings. The present situation we find ourselves in, obviously, could not be more different.

One of the goals of this podcast is to encourage listeners to make videographic criticism of their own, especially if they have never made a video before. And so, I figured what better way to begin 2021 than by passing the podcast microphone to listeners, and specifically listeners who made videographic exercises?!

Here’s what I’m thinking:

If you made at least one exercise, record a roughly 3- to 6-minute audio reflection and send it to me by January 22, 2021 (NEW DEADLINE). You can record this on your cell phone, on a microphone, on your computer — whatever works for you! The main question I would like you to answer is:

What did you learn from the process of creating one or more of the videographic exercises?

Also, in your audio reflection, feel free to answer one or more of these questions too:

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to create a video for the first time?

Was there a videographic exercise made by someone else that you particularly enjoyed? What did you like about it? Why did you find it compelling? Has it made you think about a media object(s) in a new way?

Or, if you want to help me out:

What would you like to see the podcast look like in 2021? Who would you like to see as a guest? Are there any topics you’d like to see discussed, either by me, a guest, or by a panel of guests? What should future homework assignments look like?

Send your audio files to willdigravio@gmail.com by, again, January 22 (NEW DEADLINE), and I will edit them all together into an episode later that month. If you can’t fit the file in an email, consider using a service like WeTransfer. And be sure to briefly introduce yourself at some point in the audio recording, preferably at the beginning.

I’m really looking forward to hearing what you all have to say! If you have any questions, please let me know. And please don’t be shy about contributing.

Thank you!

All the best,


P.S. A more standard newsletter will be released early next week! But in the meantime, enjoy the abstract trailers I have received thus far: