Made by Sienna Stritter, Jeffrey Bradley, Janine Louie and Jan Martinez

Create an interactive electronic media performance that frames stereotypical teenage relationships in a comedic light.

Created: November 19th, 2015



We created a short multimedia sketch that incorporated live actors and pre-recorded video. Our two actors were playing the roles of high school students and the video documented their cell phone screens during a texting conversation between them. In the sketch, a girl named Sarah is nervously texting her classmate, Brad, in hopes that he will ask her to homecoming. Brad is rather indifferent and apathetic towards both Sarah and the idea of going to homecoming. He ends up asking Sarah’s friend, Emma, to the dance, which breaks Sarah’s heart.

On stage, our two actors pretended to text while supplementing the performance by using their body language and facial expressions to convey emotion – Sarah was nervous, eager, and excited to be texting with Brad, but he was bored, distracted, and not very enthusiastic.

To create the video, we used QuickTime to record the screens of two iPhones. We edited the raw videos in Adobe Premier, adding sound effects and background music from Youtube.

Final Video: https://drive.google.com/a/andrew.cmu.edu/file/d/0B-uoAoMaSoCFcE90eFpwWHg0SnM/view?usp=sharing 



Our project attempts to put a comedic spin on high school relationships. We grossly perpetuate stereotypes about both teenage girls and boys, as Sarah is anxious and overly eager to gain attention and approval from Brad, who acts tough and like he doesn’t care.

One of the big ideas behind the project that we originally wanted to exploit was that what you convey over text message often doesn’t tell the whole story. Brad has no idea that Sarah is so nervous and spends time drafting and deleting messages before she sends them. Sarah believes Brad is “working out” when in reality, he’s playing Doodle Jump on his phone while eating a cookie. And, of course, Brad has no clue that he has broken Sarah’s heart or that she is sobbing when she learns from Emma that Brad asked her.

Overall, we wanted to explore how technology influences communication and, more specifically, how digital communication influences relationships. In the media performance, we juxtaposed the digital component of Sarah and Brad’s interaction with their real life experiences to show the dichotomy between what is texted and what is experienced. 



When we were looking for project ideas, we looked at the media art piece Emoticam by Dan Dakamoto and thought it would be interesting to further delve into the difference between what we type and what we are really feeling. A scenario that we felt really captured this difference between text and meaning, would be two people in a relationship texting. We eventually narrowed our scope to a girl, Sarah, nervously texting her crush, Brad, while hoping he will take her to homecoming.

With this scenario in mind, we decided we wanted to do a comedic performance so we looked into texting stereotypes that would be prevalent in such a scenario. Buzzfeed has several videos that outline this difference between the text being sent and the meaning hidden in the text. We took these stereotypes and exaggerated them for the performance.

Emoticam: http://www.emoticam.net/
Buzzfeed Videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57XrxCwsuAw & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSIVhcWvV6A 



Our first idea was to choreograph a dance to music while projecting various images but decided against this since none of us had any experience dancing. We then thought about converting a silent film into a live performance, i.e. we project words onto a screen and interact with projected objects. However, while we were looking at projects or inspiration, we saw Emoticam and decided to do a performance about texting in a relationship. We originally wanted to catalogue a relationship over a span of weeks but realized we wouldn't be able to accomplish it in 4 minutes. So we instead focused on a girl and a boy just starting to text with the girl hoping the guy asks her to homecoming.

We started by writing a script which ended up being 3 1/2 pages which we edited down to 1 1/2 by condensing and cutting scenes. We then filmed it using QuickTime Player which allows Macbooks to record the screens of connected iPhones. We took the videos into Adobe Premiere and put them next to each other, cut unnecessary breaks, cut out the audio, and then sped up the texting scenes x2 and other scenes x1.5. 

We were going to keep the video silent but thought that the performance would not feel right without some background music and the texting sounds. So, we grabbed the message received sound and a song that we thought would run in the background without being distracting. We adjusted the levels of the audio in Premiere and then added a fade to the sound at the end. 

Script: https://docs.google.com/a/andrew.cmu.edu/document/d/1tljoVEPfMJEo3B2qR4s_7LrkAf79atjJHlKQ0La9fXY/edit?usp=sharing

Unedited Videos: https://drive.google.com/a/andrew.cmu.edu/folderview?id=0B-uoAoMaSoCFbFp1TnpqeUNrSGM&usp=sharing 



It all started on a warm, sunny day in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Four students started brainstorming ideas that would fit the requirements of this assignment. After throwing around ideas including live music, a silent film-inspired short, and wrestling; Kevin came around and knocked some sense into them. Helping them focus on one particular subject that they were interested in exploring, the difference  between what is intended and what is sent via text message, they got to work. The script practically wrote itself, with each student having equal input. While Jeff and Jan were democratically volunteered to act, Sienna, Jeff, and Janine texted and recorded the video, allowing all off us to edit the video and add sound to it.



This project was an interesting one. Most, if not all, of us have been through similar phases in our teenage life. We grew up in an age of texting and social media, although to a slightly lesser extent than what it has become now. We've had crushes, we've been rejected, we've tried to impress someone by pretending to work out. And as cringe-worthy a lot of those moments might seem, they make for great comedy. Being able to look at those moments of our life, poke at it, and laugh, is part of the human experience. I think it's great that we can all laugh in the common knowledge that we've all been there. We've all been Sarah. We've all been Brad. And we've all been Emma as well.  

In this project, we learned script writing, how to record video of an iPhone Screen, and various effects in Premiere, such as holding frames, add key frames to audio, and speeding up various clips. 

We feel that we accomplished our goal, however we feel we could have done more. Our final project could have been more finessed and we wished we had spent more time practicing the acting part of the performance. In the current iteration, the video is more the star, but had we had more time we wish the actors could have been the main focus and been able to interact with the video better. 



Grip Slips by Joe McCready: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPDTGRwnWr4

iPhone text received sound effect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Sur-KDNcDA

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Create an interactive electronic media performance that frames stereotypical teenage relationships in a comedic light.