Monday, June 15, 2009

Because it's interesting

First things first, just got an email to inform us p-grads that our results will be online on Monday 22! *stressss* I'm fairly sure I passed every module but I'd love one more distinction (I only have the one I got in Production and Design last semester). Not that it really matters but it's nice and would be a nice way to finish.

I'm definitely not going to get a distinction (that's above 70 here in the UK, weird) in my dissertation because 1) I've hardly been working on it, 2) it's not the most interesting subject in the world (at least, not to me but how much is natural interest and how much I'm biased by dread... I don't know) and 3) at the pace I'm going, I'll be pulling crazy all-nighters which means it'll be decent but riddled with typos.

It's ok. I just need a passing grade and then I out of Academia for a looooooooooong time. THANK GOD!

But speaking of the dissertation, I've been doing a bit of reading and I'm finding Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture really interesting. It's available for free online (under a Creative Commons licence of course :) ) and well worth a read. It's also very easy to follow rather than uber academic so never mind if your brain isn't wired for sesquipedalian prose, mine ain't either. It's been relatively easy finding good sources for pro-CC arguments but I can't seem to find the anti-CC arguments unless they are cited in pro-CC literature. Any help would be welcome...

One of the interesting things (to me anyway) that Lessig mentions is how Doujinshi culture works. Doujinshi are manga created by the average Japanese Joe, some of who have amazing artistic skills but nevermind that, that are sort of like fanfic but for manga. The rules are that your doujin cannot be a mere copy of a manga, it has to add something. Legally, it's copyright infringement but the reality is that the trade and sale of doujinshi is a huge market and there are very few cases where copyright holders sue. Part of the reason for this is that doujinshi helps manga's commercial success in Japan.

So, would derivatives such as fanfic help literature sell better?

My opinion is that for some genres such as Science-Fiction, Fantasy and Crime (Adult and YA versions of all), it probably would. This are genres that already have quite a lot of fanfic going so I'd say that shows there's community interest in getting involved and manipulating the lit. If you'd encourage that to go in certain directions, it could produce interesting results. I need to think more about this...
But I don't think it would help sell more memoirs or chick lit... I could be wrong of course but I just don't see it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

the update

So I haven't posted in forever. So sorry, got caught up in stuff.
First, the semester is FINALLY OVER! Thank all the Gods Humanity has ever worshipped! It was seriously starting to get long and exhausting. But we did learn an aweful lot like, I don't like to work in a team :p We spent a whole day watching everyone's presentations which was really interesting. I only had a very small idea of what everyone was doing so I was really surprised by how good everyone else's projects were.

That said, I thought some of them really weren't viable if it had been a proposal for real. But the ideas behind it were really intriguing. We don't know yet which group has the best proposal. I have no idea when we'll be told but I sure hope it's us in Education :D I think we had a very solid proposal. Maybe not the most exciting but in the real world, it's usually the safest option that makes it. Sad but true.

I think my favourite idea was the Trade Fiction division. They were going to do a range of lit in translation but they would translate best-selling novels from other countries rather than literary fiction which is what most commonly gets translated. It's a great idea but I thought it wasn't very realistic. It demanded a very high investment and the risk would have been really high. Still, I would have loved it if someone did that. Also, their presentation was really funny.

We're now in Dissertation/Major Project time but I have done very little work which is making me very stressed which makes me procrastinate even more. Not a good combination. I wish I had picked a Major Project rather than a dissertation. The schedule is more obvious :) Some people on the course are doing real projects for real publishers as in making actual books that are actually going to be sold in bookshops. It's scary but it sounds so awesome too and you have resources and money to do it. I would recommend to future students that they take one of these on (they are usually advertised by lecturers or they come and give a bit of a presentation and take CVs and stuff). I didn't go for it because I thought it was beyond my abilities but I wish I had now. It also counts as awesome work experience and looks amazing on the ol' CV.

I keep forgetting that the dissertation needs to be bound so I have actually a bit less time than the deadline. I really should be working harder :(