Monday, April 12, 2010

What makes a toy popular? (Bonus Question)

I. Observation or Discovery is made

Have you ever wondered what makes a toy popular vs. unpopular? Why were cowboys and hula hoops popular back in the 1950s? Why were the Smurfs, Mario Brothers, He-man, and Thunder Cats popular when I was a kid? Often around Christmas time I will go on black Friday with some of my friends and wonder why that certain toy is the favorite this holiday season. I will never forget when the tickle me Elmo came out and everyone had to have one. They were selling on eBay for like $500. Then after Christmas was over they had flooded the market with them and I even found some on discount. My own personal opinion is that I would have just told my kid that the Easter Bunny would bring it. The elves just couldn't keep up with the orders. LOL ha ha ha That is ridiculous in my opinion to pay that amount for a toy. However, people were paying that amount just to make their kids happy on Christmas Day. A movie that relates to this idea is a movie called "Jingle All the Way" with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad. Have you ever seen it? It is about two guys fighting over one toy that they want to buy for their kid for Christmas. So what makes something popular? What made Tickle Me Elmo so popular? Why wasn't it tickle me Kermit the frog or tickle me Snoopy??? What makes Elmo so popular with kids? How could a little furry red monster from Sesame Street cause so much frustration? As a new media student about to graduate and about to go into the real world I would like to explore this topic for my own sake. Perhaps one day I might invent the next popular thing? Who knows right?

II. A Question(s) is asked based on that Observation or Discovery

What makes a toy popular?

III. How does this question(s) validate as being a "Month Long Question"?

My original question was "What makes something popular?". Steve had suggested to me that this is a huge topic. I agree! So I rephrased the question to be "What makes a toy popular?". I am a big kid at heart. I think narrowing down the topic a bit will help here. For me this question is a bonus question that I would like to explore along with my other 3 Month Long Questions. This question validates as being a "Month Long Question" because I think the topic is so wide range. Yet I feel my question is simple enough that I have directed my question towards the toy market industry. My question stimulates thinking and I feel it can't be really answered right away. Often the toy that was popular last year is totally different from this year's popular toy. I think for my own purposes I want to explore this question as to understand how to create something that the majority of people out there might find appealing. As Steve said in class one time if there is a market out there for it; Why not do it? One example he gave in class was to have a kid's social network. I mean adults have Facebook and MySpace. Why not have a kid friendly social network that parents could moderate? Why just look at the cell phone! For some they didn't even know they needed it until they had it. My thinking is if I can better understand what makes a toy popular for example it might help me in the new media world to design something that is more user friendly and something that catches one's eye. Why do you have a desire to need something or want something? What makes something appeal to a child during the holiday season?

IV. Where has this Observation or Discovery been?

According to an article titled "The Most Popular Toys of the last 100 years" found at gives the scoop at where toys have been in the last 100 years. The article claims that some of the most popular toys are actually very old and traditional. My thought is that yes Raggedy Ann and Andy Dolls are or were popular, but what made them popular? Perhaps in further research I will find that answer. According to the article it claims that some 4000 BC that chess was popular and yo-yos started out being made of stone.

The article mentions the popular board game Monopoly. I believe that this is still a popular game today. I believe it started during the times of the "Great Depression" when people could barely afford anything. Sort of like what we went through in 2009 and we are still slowly but surely coming out of a recession. So here is a thought does something become popular based on the conditions of society? If the "Great Depression" had never happened would Monopoly for example still be as popular as it is today or would have something else replaced it?

The article mentions Crayons as being something that is popular with the kids. I think it was popular when I was a kid. I think in a way most kids have a need to let out their creativity. Kids often are very imaginative. When you get to be an adult you sometimes loose that imaginative ability.

Mr. Potato Head was created during the 1950s. My mom told me that Mr. Potato Head was popular when she was a kid. It started out that Mr. Potato Head was created by using a real life potato. Today Mr. Potato Head is made of plastic.

In my observation there are many toys that have evolved through time. A few examples right away that I notice is toys like Mickey Mouse and the Barbie doll. Why is that some toys still remain popular today as they were back then? Then here is another question. Why is that some toys have their 15 minutes of fame and then die out fairly quickly? I have noticed that Beanie Babies for example were once very popular and now they are not so much. You can find them fairly cheaply.

Why is that when you mention a certain toy that some toys are found to be dated? What I mean by that is when you think of the 1980s, the era I grew up as a child, you may associate the Cabbage Patch Kid Dolls with the 1980s decade. To further prove that if you will notice that according to it states "A nationwide public vote selects Cabbage Patch Kids as one of 15 stamps commerating the 1980’s in the U.S. Postal Service’s Celebrate The Century stamp program. " So why was the Cabbage Patch Dolls popular back in the 1980s and not a hot thing now? An article entitled "Whatever Happened To Cabbage Patch Dolls? " located at suggests it might be that people like the thrill of the hunt. If something is rare and hard to find they will want it. If something is flooded with the market and can be found anywhere they will not want it. So could that be the case with the Tickle me Elmo doll? Was it because the Tickle me Elmo doll was rare and hard to find and that is what made it so popular? Did the producers of the toy purposely not make enough just so everyone would want one?

V. Where is this Observation or Discovery at present day?

An article located at by Stevanne Auerbach called "What Makes a Good Toy?" written fairly recently back in 2000, but could still be applied to the present suggests the parents are the ones who pick out the toys. The article suggests that a parent will often question a toy in how it will develop their child's skill level. Naturally parents want what is best for their child. We often think of what the child wants. This article suggests what the parents want for their children. This puts a whole new spin on the idea of what makes a toy popular. Could it be that what makes a toy popular is what a parent decides? However you will hear many times of kids saying mommy or daddy I want that toy. I know I told my mom many times that I wanted Snake Mountain from the series He-man back in the 1980s. On Christmas morning Santa brought it for me. This toy did not stimulate learning for me or did it?

VI. Where do you see this Observation or Discovery moving towards?

A funny article I found was about one's view of how might the future be several thousands of years from now in terms of popularity with toys. The article can be found at
The article suggests that we will become simpler. Popular toys will go back to early things of the past. Children will like dolls made out of rags and old socks. This may prove to be true. I have heard of children being bought fancy toys only to discover that they would much prefer a card board box to play with. He describes a world that reminds me of the movie Terminator. Life will be more precious as it will be harder to have children due to radiation. Kind of scary if you think about it. I am hoping that this is not our future, but could very well be a possibility.

I think this futuristic idea reminds me of an idea I had thought about earlier. You remember how I talked about the game of Monopoly being created in hard times. You know people did not really have the money to be going out so they stayed home and played board games. So my question is does what is going within society affect what is popular in terms of popular toys for children?

VII. What are your opinions about the subject matter?

I am trying to remember back when I was a child. Why did I like a certain toy? I remember all my friends had Micro Machines. Do you remember those? I found it interesting reading some of the history on Micro Machines. The history of Micro Machines can be found at I remember wanting some Micro Machines because all my friends had them. I got them as a birthday gift one year. I even liked the play sets so that I could drive my cars through the miniature cities. I remember I use to like to trade them back and forth with my friends. I like the old cars and my best friend in 4th grade liked the motor bikes. So we traded. It was fun! It would be something I would bring over when I would spend the night. Could it be that what everyone else has makes a toy popular? However, what started the craze of Micro Machines? If everyone else has them, who started the trend here? Could it be advertising them was the key to success? Was it the gimmick of the guy talking really really fast about the Micro Machines a catchy a commercial that caused little boys, like me, to want these?

Advertising could very well be one theory as to why a particular toy is popular. However, before the invention of TV and the magazine what did they do? On the same note, I would imagine that there were toys out there that were advertised but never caught on. In other words, the toy line was a big flop. Also, what about those toys that were never made? I found an article that was kind of interesting talking about toys from the 1980s that were never made. The article suggests that in the 1980s that the toy market was more controlled. Check the site out at

Have you ever noticed toy companies never seem to make enough of the bad guy? Later, collectors of toys find the bad guy to be the most popular vs. when the toys first came out the good guy was popular. One toy line that seems to be true with that statement is the Star Wars Series. The original Darth Vader from the 1970s seems to be popular now a days. However, I have been told that they produced more of the Luke Skywalker characters because the good guy was often found to be the most popular. I am a Disney collector myself and an eBay seller at that. I have noticed in my own observation that the villains are the most popular. Seems like evil fascinates people. Good guys seem to be boring. The bad guys are more interesting. I have heard of movie actors saying that they would rather play a bad character vs. a good character because it is more fun. Are the bad guys more fun? Toys are about playing right?

VIII. Can you back up any of your thoughts?

So what is the best answer here? I think you have to be a trendsetter to know what makes a toy popular. I viewed a video once through eBay talking about the Christmas rush and it in fact told me that you have to notice trends. They created the video for eBay Sellers like me who wanted to get a jump start to my inventory for the Christmas season. What she had told me in the video is that you need to start looking at Back to School items. Meaning take a look at what characters appear on backpacks and folders. Then go back and see what is left over. What seems to be out of stock in most cases? Usually what is popular during the Back to School Season is what is going to be popular for Christmas. Not always, but is a very good start.

I think you also have to be a visionary. One who can for see the future. Someone who is a custom to change and thinking outside the box. Someone who is not happy with the way things are now and wants to make a change. Which is very much what we are doing for this class. I would say it is one who asks the question. We are designers of mediated experiences. We are designers or artist, at least most of us are. :) One article that I read that might prove this idea is called "How to Be a Trendsetter" located at

What inventions would make the process of finding a job easier?

I. Observation or Discovery is made

In my 3rd question I would like to write about the process of finding a job. Is there an easier way? Wouldn't it be nice if your dream job would be handed to you on a silver platter? But, that is not reality. Finding a job seems to be a full time job in itself. My mind begins to ponder. There must be an easier way to find a job. It can be very discouraging in this economy finding a new job. In my observations, it seems to be these days all about building relationships with other people. As a society I am noticing that we are becoming a social networking society. Especially with the invention of social networking sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and MySpace. An old phrase comes to my mind when searching for a job. "It is not what you know, but it is who you know". To some degree, in my opinion, this is very true. People land jobs everyday by meeting the right people through networking. Although, from various people I have asked claim that networking for them is not always easy. Beth Haggenjos, our Career Advisor at IUPUI, has taken it upon herself to try to do that very thing for us. She helps us with the networking process. But, is there something else we can be doing? What is the best way to find a job? Sure there are job sources for finding a job like Career Builder and Even IUPUI has their own job site As I approach my graduation date I begin to wonder; How do I network?, What is the easiest way to find a job?, How do I get from point A to point B?, How do I reach my dream job?, What does it take to get into a job I love doing?, How can I make myself stand out?, etc. But, what is the core question I am asking here? I think the best way to ask this question is to just be very straight forward. What inventions would make the process of finding a job easier?

II. A Question(s) is asked based on that Observation or Discovery

What inventions would make the process of finding a job easier?

I am defining the term "easier" as inventions or ideas that might make the job process easier than it is now. Inventions that might take the frustrations out of finding a job. Something that gets you where you want to be in a heartbeat.

III. How does this question(s) validate as being a "Month Long Question"?

I think this question validates as being a month long question because there is no black and white answer here. What maybe one person's idea of easier might be more difficult for another? It is hard telling what the future may hold for the job searching process. It is my job with this question to find out what new inventions or ideas maybe might be coming out in the near future to help with the process of finding a job. I intend to explore this idea and see where it takes me.

IV. Where has this Observation or Discovery been?

The finding a job process now has not changed much other than methods of technology. The newspaper was one way that people would usually find a job before the internet. Now with the invention of the internet people have job sites like Career Builder and that they can located and find a job. People often did not travel much. Now with the invention of the airplane people travel all over the world in a short amount of time. However, before this invention took place people did not have the means to travel. Many people stayed in the same place that they grew up. For example someone in California would probably not apply for a job in New York as it is today. I am not saying there were not a few here and there that make take on that adventure. It just was not heard of for people to travel distances. Many people got jobs in their local towns or cities. Mostly you would hear about a job through word of mouth or by the newspaper. There would be application fees. You would have to type your resume on a typewriter and mail it in through the US Postal Service. Radio and TV were considered too expensive to advertise jobs. The newspaper was the way to go. I found an interesting article that explains more in detail what the job process was like in the 20th Century. You can find that website by going to the following link.

V. Where is this Observation or Discovery at present day?

In today's market is all about showing what you can do and building relationships with people. I always thought it was just New Media people or computer people that had to build portfolio websites. This is not the case anymore! Everyone or at least the majority of people need a portfolio website to demonstrate their skills. Visuals and Photos seem to be attractive and are just what employers maybe looking for. Many employers do not even take the time to look at resumes. Most of the time you get the job by knowing someone within the company. Take for example myself. I am going to be a teacher for a Day Camp this summer. I would never have known about the job if it had not been for my co-worker at my weekend job. She had worked there the previous summer. I applied for the job and I got it.

Cool Web Link

Of course what I am seeing today is that we are in fact a social networking society. In class Steve always told us that things are becoming more blurred. That it use to be that things were more clearly defined. In terms of being called now a "social networking society" the lines between home life and the work life are blurred. Often in the office world people will sneak onto Facebook or twitter to talk to friends they have outside of work. Often I have heard about co-workers becoming Facebook friends and socializing outside of work. I have recently done this myself. I am currently staying in touch with co-workers by means of social networking on-line. A great website I found on-line talks about all of this. Check it out at

VI. Where do you see this Observation or Discovery moving towards?

The concept of finding a job appears to be all on-line anymore. This is to continue in future years to come. Today over half of employers are recruiting people every day on-line. Companies are no longer waiting for resumes. Employers are actively searching for employees as well as employees are searching for employers. I found this concept very interesting. One article in particular talks about where the process of finding a job is moving towards.

The link is located at

According to this article people of today are becoming more and more tech savvy. Which means that most people know how to surf the web and check email. This opens the doors into the way we search for jobs. Everything can be virtually found on-line anymore.

As said before many companies are now turning towards the internet to search for possible candidates for jobs in which they wish to fill. What is important now is to market yourself. Many employers are using Google or other tools on the net and locating people that fit the criteria in which they are looking for. So in a since when trying to find a job you are now advertising yourself to companies. You are showing your skills and what you are into. The term that this article uses is java beans. If say an employer in Atlanta, Georgia wanted to find someone who knew something about java beans all they would have to do is a search. The article explains that 6 candidates show up. It is assumed that there are probably a lot more than 6 people in Atlanta, Georgia that know something about java beans. However the 6 candidates know something most people do not know. They know how to market themselves. I read a very good article talking and explaining about all of this.

Again the link to the article in which I found is located at

VII. What are your opinions about the subject matter?

Virtually anything can be found on-line these days. This would also include finding a job. I predict that society will invent easier and more efficient ways of connecting the employees with employers and vice versa. However, how will society do that? What inventions might be developed to make the job process easier in terms of being more efficient?

Wouldn't it be great if there was one centralized location that most people could go to in finding a job? I am finding society is searching for ways to make things more fun and less boring. For example, it use to be people were very strict with the way in which writing is composed. However, now with the invention of social networking sites and blogging people are not worried about spelling or grammar errors as much. As long as people are getting what you are trying to say people seem to be fine with it. At least in my observations and when I question others this seems to be the case. I mean they are still important, but not as much as they once were in society.

My prediction is that the process of finding a job will be much like a dating service. You will set up a profile with telling the employer who you are and what you are about. You will be able to show your skills. It seems that people are already doing this by way of web portfolios. However, many people do not want to take the time to set up their own websites. Many are not skilled in this area, but find a need to have one. Much of what is on-line now seems really crowded and text based. Would it be better to have visuals? Maybe photos of you and your skills. Most people these days seem to be visual people or ones who have a photographic memory. I know at my internship with the Federation, my supervisors described this to me. They are visual learners or remember things by way of pictures. Having a profile that employers could look at would be one step in making the job process easier. Many people find love every day and have fun with it by using on-line dating services. Why not do the same for finding a job?

I found some of the history of dating on-line sites to be quite appealing. They describe a transition of where we have been and where we are going. It is expected that finding a mate will be as easy as picking out a sofa at the store. All possible prospects will be laid out for you. Then you are free to meet up with that person and see if that person is a good fit for you through the process of elimination.

Most of which I find is that before the internet people had a need to connect with one another. One old source they used and that we still use today is the newspaper. People would put personal ads and respond by way of the newspaper. It use to be if you used these types of services you were considered desperate to find a mate. Now I think that has changed. In fact, it has become the norm when looking for a mate. You see the ads or advertisements such as eHarmony on TV. I found that one of the first dating sites was called and These sites were created by the same person back in the mid 1990s. The movie "You Got Mail" with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan actually changed the views of society in the matting process. The movie "You Got Mail" was actually a remake of an older movie. At least this is what I have heard. However, in that movie they would write letters. This is how my mom and dad met. It use to be that women were given the names and addresses of service men serving in the military. The men and women would exchange letters and get to know one another much like we do today with on-line dating services.

Much like a dating site, people only want a temporary profile up until they find what they need. In the case of a dating website people are searching for love. When they find the person that they want to spend the rest of their life with or find a person in which they want to steadily date, often times people will delete their profiles. People when searching for love can search for a mate by categories. They can search for a mate by eye color or by age now. They can select body types and characteristics they are looking for in a person. Basically, they are cutting to the chase. They are searching for the exact person that they might be interested in. They also might not know who they are interested in. They can also just freely search people and reply to those who interest them.

I predict that this maybe the best route in searching for a job in the work place as well. People could set up a temporary profile of their job skills. Employers could make a profile explaining the jobs that are available and people they are looking for in terms of filling the position. Both are looking for a cheaper route to take in landing a job or finding the person to fill the position.

Something that I found while researching is that there are literally companies out there that market Dating Software so that you could create your own dating website. I wonder if you could use the Dating Software package and turn that into a Finding a Job site??? Meaning people could set up their profiles as either a business or an individual and they could find each other.

VIII. Can you back up any of your thoughts?

As I was researching to back up my thoughts earlier I came across a much different idea. Take a look at this site called Job search 2010. It has a new way of thinking about the future of job searching. Check it out at

From what I have found on the net many people instead of finding a job will create their own businesses. It is happening now and is predicted to happen more often in the future. So here is a new concept. Remember mom and pop places? Perhaps they are on their way back. The economy I think has caused a lot of problems recently and a lot of people are out of work. Many older people are taking jobs at McDonalds that were once considered to be teenage jobs.

To prove this idea I read an interesting article entitled "Do Small Businesses Care More About Their Customers Than the Big Guys?". Which maybe proving that people would much rather do business with a small business than a monopoly. Remember how we were talking about how society has become more of a social networking society? Well if more and more people are upset with larger companies and prefer small businesses perhaps the future of searching for a job is not actually searching for a job. Perhaps the future of searching for a job is to create one. Read this article "Do Small Businesses Care More About Their Customers Than the Big Guys?". I find it very interesting. The article can be found at

Who or what should censor our children’s films?

I. Observation or Discovery is made

When referring to Disney Animated Movies, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is considered a “G-Rated” movie for kids. Yet, there are some horrible scenes in my opinion that are not suitable for children. You might have seen several G-Rated movies yourself that contain language, violence, themes, and images that are not considered acceptable for children.

II. A Question(s) is asked based on that Observation or Discovery

Who or what should censor our children’s films?

III. How does this question(s) validate as being a "Month Long Question"?

I have been working with Steve on redefining this question. I am finally happy with where this question is leading. My original questions were; 1) What is the rating system based on? 2) How does one determine what is a G Rated Movie verses a PG-13 Rated Movie? Furthermore, is there a MIC Technology that would allow automated censorship by computer and a pre-determined set of guidelines rather than human observers who could fail in their duties? These are all fine questions to ask, but what is the big picture here? What am I really trying to ask with this subject matter? Steve replied to me and said; "Is it possible not simply to edit a movie to make it “Safe” but, rather, is it possible to write a movie (or a song, or a novel, etc.) using software with only a little bit of some human “steering."" Which lead me to asking the real question here. "Who or what should censor our children's films?"

How does this validate as being a month long question you ask? It validates as a month long question here because there is no specific answer or at least an answer you can give right away. Everyone has his or her own opinions as what is considered a G-Rated Movie verses a PG-13 Movie. The root of the core of this question is pretty much almost everyone is in favor of censoring our children's films. However, "Who or what should censor our children's films?" is the key question here. I plan to have my own thoughts about this topic and question the subject matter that I am researching. Who knows what I might read that might convince me or change my opinion or vice versa. I am ready for the challenge here! I am ready to explore these areas. I feel that this is a month long question as there is no indefinite answer you can give right away as there are many possibilities or ideas people have of the censorship of children's films. I talk about Disney films specifically, but it could be any children's films. I plan to explore this and see where it takes me.

IV. Where has this Observation or Discovery been?

I found it interesting that before the MPAA rating system, as it is today, there was the Hays Code. The Hays Code was put into place during the 1930s. 1930s based films that come to my mind are Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind in 1939. The MPAA's film ratings system was started on November 1, 1968. As I was reading the webpage at Wikipedia it claims that all through history parents have had a need to distinguish films for their children. In 1984 the films Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Gremlins were in controversy. As parents claimed that the movies were very gory for kids to watch. They were originally rated as PG movies, but later classified as PG-13 movies. Hence, the PG-13 rating was put into play.

For more details please have a look at the following site.

Another article I read says that the MPAA was actually started in 1922. Movie ratings are determined by 10 board members who view each film. So you are telling me that the whole fate of movie ratings rest on 10 initial people. How can 10 people decide the fate of my child's future? In recent years movie makers have been in a dispute about rating systems. Basically it all leads to money and profits. NC-17 is not permitted in most theaters. Why you ask? Kids and Teenagers represent a huge amount of people who actually go to the movies a pay for a movie ticket. Well their parents might pay for their movie ticket, but that is not the point. The point is it is all about maximizing profits. If you take the young population out of the equation you are going to lose money. I found the article to be interesting. Please see for yourself.

V. Where is this Observation or Discovery at present day?

Steve has been a big help on this question. He had recommended to me to look at something called the Motion Picture Association of America to better understanding rating scales. In my discovery I found a very unique site that just explains the bases for rating scales.

According to the article presented on, it explains that the parents are actually the ones who rate the movies. An independent Board of parents that have no affiliation with the movie business decide what is appropriate for children. Movie ratings allow parents to make up their own minds in what would be best suitable for their children. Movie ratings however are not movie critics. They do not tell you if the movie is good or bad. Movie ratings only provide whether or not a movie is best suited for children or more for adults. They warn parents of sensitive content. MPAA believes that movie makers should have the freedom to produce whatever movies they would like. However, parents should have the authority to decide whether or not a movie is deemed appropriate. Movie ratings actually accomplish both goals. They provide information to parents to warn them about inappropriate movies and allow filmmakers the freedom to create movies.

This site actually lead me to another site called It actually explains what each type of rating means and what you should be aware of when choosing a movie for yourself and/or for your children.







VI. Where do you see this Observation or Discovery moving towards?

So where are we going with movie ratings? What will movie ratings be like in the future? One such article I found amusing. The article questions movie ratings. The author of the article Sex, Violence, or Stupidity - The Future of Movie Ratings located at points out some interesting things. One such thing is that society seems to fuzz out or censor nudity. Yet, violence seems to be no big deal anymore. Shouldn't violence be also fuzzed out or censored? Isn't violence just as bad? He makes a comment about which is better for your kids to see nudity or someone cutting someone's throat open? So that leads me back to my original question "Who or what should censor our children’s films?".

VII. What are your opinions about the subject matter?

My feelings about the subject matter are that the movie rating systems should not be determined by the fate of only 10 people. They should instead be reviewed by many people. I would say at least 100 - 500 people. To me that would make much better since and may create a more accurate reflection of what the true rating of a film must be. My feeling is how do they determine the winners of the Grammies or the Oscars? How about the People's Choice Award?

When I did a little research for Grammies or Grammy Awards I found out that song writers and singers enter their work on-line. Then once the work has been submitted, experts from the recording industry review them. Only five acts can be nominated for each category.

When I did a little research for Oscars I found that directors vote for directors and writers vote for writers. This might be a bad concept or bad example when it comes to voting on Movie Ratings. In the case of the Movie Rating System, it is determined by parents who have no affliction with the movie business.

The People's Choice Award might be a better way of thinking in terms of voting for Movie Ratings. According to my research the show has been held annually since 1975 and is aired on CBS Television Station. The awards are voted on by the general public.

For my own example, The People's Choice Award might be a better example of how the Movie Ratings should be voted upon. I would say we should let the general public decide what is deemed appropriate for children.

So my next question is how do we do that?

My answer is how about the internet? How about we allow the general public access to watch the movie and determine for themselves if the movie is suitable for children.

However another thought accrued in my mind. Movie Makers are trying to make a profit. The whole purpose of producing a movie is to get people to watch the film for money. So how is that going to work?

My thought process would be how about a much larger board to decide the fate of Movie Ratings. Also how about having people all across the country decide. Which another thought occurred to me. How do we determine the president of the United States? We have the Electoral College and Electoral votes in which determine the fate of who wins the Presidency. In other words we have a point system and representatives "us" who vote to decide the major majority.

My thought would be how about having a small board of people from different states and having them decide as a group what in fact a movie should be rated. Then that group from each of the 50 states would submit their ballots on-line. Then MPAA I feel could make more of an accurate decision in what determines the rating of a certain movie.

After further research I encountered a program called ClearPlay. What the program basically does is takes R-rated movies for example and makes them G-rated or at least PG-rated. At least from what I understand. It allows parents to be able to select what is appropriate vs. what is not appropriate for their children. The DVD will then automatically speed forward through inappropriate scenes and the viewer won't even know they are gone. Filters are added and updated daily for new movies that are released. Basically the program automatically takes those parts out or scenes that are not suitable for children. In many cases parents have been doing this and not even knowing it. If they play a movie and find a certain scene inappropriate then they may stop the film or fast forward to a different scene. The only problem with this is in some movies it may all be inappropriate and you may lose the story line. So as you can see there are disadvantages and advantages about everything, but this maybe a start in the right direction. Perhaps the same technique could very well be applied to movies in a movie theater.

This concept or idea reminds me of when movies are edited to fit the time segment on TV. In most cases, some movies that are shown on TV are not the full versions of the movie. Rather, they have been edited to fit the time slot.

Another Idea might be that film makers need to come up with different versions of their movies. Maybe a version that is a little less intense and for people who like action develop a more intense film. I found the article to be pretty cool.

At any rate check the article out at

VIII. Can you back up any of your thoughts?

Basically what I wanted to prove here is that there is a problem with our Movie Rating System and perhaps we ought to consider changing it to meet the arguments of today.

To back up my thoughts about Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame take a look at this review written by Janet Maslin in 1996. What I want you to take a look at is this first paragraph. I did not write this. This is what Janet had to say.

"Having explored so many other avenues in the world of animation, Disney tries something new: self-parody. Or so it often seems during "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," the latest and most uncertain of Disney's animated efforts, with its manic mood swings and cloying, none-too-cuddly hero. In a film that bears conspicuous, eager resemblances to other recent Disney hits, the film makers' Herculean work is overshadowed by a Sisyphean problem. There's just no way to delight children with a feel-good version of this story."

Article can be found at

To further prove my point at least that Movie Rating Systems seem to be corrupt check out this website "Are MPAA Movie Ratings Obsolete?"

In that article it explains that sex is always voted to be an NC-17 rated movie. Violence is only considered to be R rated. So that brings up yet some more questions. Why is it that seeing body parts is considered absolutely forbidden to see by children and that violence is considered ok with some adult supervision? Shouldn't violence be considered just as forbidden as nudity? Many are claiming that the rating system is out of date for a 21st century audience. I agree completely.

According to the article, "Beware of the Movie Rating System" located at claims that the Walt Disney Company is not following the word of God. That many of their characters follow pagan traditions. Subject matter such as witches, demons, sorcerers, spells, genies and goblins are found to be inappropriate by many Christian families.

Now in my own personal opinion I would not have a problem with this. I find Disney for the most part to be fun, imaginative, and magical. I would think in most cases Disney is ok for children to watch. However, in the case of some Disney films like Hunchback of Notre Dame I beg to differ. Therefore, the idea here is this. Everyone has their own ideas of what is considered appropriate. So what is the best solution here?

I think the best solution here is to allow the general public to decide the rating systems somehow and by increasing the number of board members who view these types of films. Secondly, I think the concept of having different versions or edited versions by a software program maybe a great idea to suit everyone's needs.

What does the future hold for Disney Animation?

I. Observation or Discovery is made

In my observation, it seems that more and more CGI Animated films are being released since the debut of Walt Disney's Toy Story movie in 1995. Toy Story has changed the face of animation. Up until that point we didn't really have any movies that were full-length animated motion pictures using exclusively all CGI technology. Throughout history the Walt Disney Company has made some Revolutionary changes in terms of how we think about animation.

II. A Question(s) is asked based on that Observation or Discovery

What does the future hold for Disney Animation?

III. How does this question(s) validate as being a "Month Long Question"?

This class is about asking the question, rather than the answer. This class is about making the discovery. This question is very straightforward and I think it really more or less describes exactly what I was going for here. It really doesn't matter which animation is "better" or "valuable". The fact of the matter is this is happening as we speak! CGI is happening right now! What is next? Kind of like what is the next Twitter? This is asking I think what is the next CGI? So I think the better question to ask is; "What future things should we expect from Disney Animation?" or rather simply put; "What does the future hold for Disney Animation?" There are thousands of websites talking about the future of Disney Animation. I plan to research a few of them and see where that goes. Which means it could play into easily as saying this is a "Month Long Question" indefinitely. The question in fact in my opinion can never be completely or fully answered. "Why you ask?" Because the future is ongoing. The ideas and thoughts we have now about Disney Animation or about anything really will change as time moves forward. I really think I have made a break through with this question. I feel really good about this question! I hope you do too! Disney has been always something that has fascinated me ever since I was a kid. Steve had told us to write something that we feel very passionate about and that is what I am doing.

IV. Where has this Observation or Discovery been?

Steamboat Willie was one of the first animated shorts featuring Mickey Mouse that I can remember. When I researched it I found out that the Steamboat Willie classic was actually released on November 18, 1928. It was actually the third animated feature with Mickey Mouse. Somehow I thought it was the first. According to Wikipedia there were two others before this one. They were Plane Crazy (released six months earlier) and The Gallopin' Gaucho. Snow White was actually the first FULL length animated feature, but until then Disney created animated shorts like Steamboat Willie. To read more about Steamboat Willie go to

V. Where is this Observation or Discovery at present day?

As you know this summer Toy Story 3 is coming out! In my observations I have noticed if a Disney Animated movie does well they often will come out with sequels. This is the case with Toy Story. It was the original CGI animated classic. They are introducing the character Ken to add to Barbie from Toy Story 2 which I think is cool. So what next a bug's life 2? Monsters, Inc. 2??? Cars 2??? Could very well be a possibility.

According to Disney's Future Animated Projects website I was right! They are coming out with a Cars sequel! Ten cartoons are supposed to be released by the year 2012. Toy Story 3 I already knew was coming out this summer in 2010. Something called "The Bear and the Bow" will be coming out through Pixar. I have never heard of this fairytale before. They also will be releasing something called "newt".

VI. Where do you see this Observation or Discovery moving towards?

Reference Link

I made a very interesting discovery today. I found out that Disney is going to produce a new animated fairytale movie called "Rapunzel". It looks as though it is more 2D then 3D or CGI, but that they plan on using the computer and or CGI technology to help with the film. The film that came out last year was called Princess and the Frog. I find this very interesting. Could it be that Disney if finally realizing that they should not totally do away with traditional cartooning? Traditional in a sense like all the other Disney Princess films such as Snow White, Cinderella, Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast. In recent years I have been kind of upset at Disney for producing only CGI films it seems. I always like the more traditional 2D animated films that I grew up with when I was kid. I am wondering what the future holds for 2D animated films. Could it be that they are not on their way out? Could it be that maybe they will not be as many as there were before, but that Disney will still produce them for future generations to come? This sets a whole new way of thinking for me in the aspect of the future for Disney Animation.

VII. What are your opinions about the subject matter?

My own personal prediction of the future of Disney Animation will be that from CGI they will move in on the next best thing. I feel as though Holographic movie making will be the next dimension in animated films as well. Can you imagine seeing Snow White for example as a real life 3D animated character that walks around like she is real in your living room? This is what I am for seeing in the future. If you will take a look at past blogs of mine you will see that I have already done some research in by way of Holographic technology. Please locate my blog entitled "Could Holographic Video be the next Twitter?”. No longer is what you see in Star Wars Science Fiction. It could very well be actual real technology we will be using someday. In fact, experiments are already taking place in this technology.

VIII. Can you back up any of your thoughts?

There is an interesting video on YouTube about Claymation Animation using Holographic Technology. Check this out!

As I was searching for Holographic Technology I came across an interesting site that pretty much sums things up. It is called Holographic Video and is located at . It says that Holographic technology is likely to come out in the next 5 years or so. Prototypes are still being made and experiments are being created in laboratories of this technology.

CNN created a Hologram out of a newscaster named Jessica. I guess through different camera angles and cameras talking to each other they are able to produce these forms or images. I ran across this video on YouTube. Check it out!

Here is another related link to a video on YouTube of the same nature

How it works

Here is something funny! This video is a make believe commercial to buy your holograms. Say you have a loved one that cannot be there or that they are gone. Now you can enjoy people beyond the grave. Sounds farfetched now, or is it? With the way technology is going. Could this funny video actually be a reality some day? Check this video out!

David Kelley had a further thought about this concept. He had told me to look up Augmented Reality. I had never heard of it before. Perhaps this might be the future for Disney Animation. When I looked up Augmented Reality at Wikipedia it states that Augmented Reality combines real and virtual together, is interactive in real time, and is registered in 3D. Basically to give you an example of what that means is this. If you watch football on TV you will notice that the football players and field are real. However, the yellow "first down" lines, which are drawn over the image by computers, are not real. This is the virtual reality element that blends in with actual reality. To find out more go to

Rick's 8 Step Month Long Question Outline Model

I truthfully feel that a month long question is not about answering it in one month. It is about making a discovery or observation and asking a question in the area that you feel most passionate about. That question leads into other questions and so on. I have come up with an outline that I plan to use when asking all of my month long questions. I intend to follow that structure as that is something that works for me. As Steve told us in class what works for one person, may not work for another. Steve is also right we are not in undergrad anymore. We are graduate students. We should set our own rules here. This is what I plan to do.

Rick's 8 Step Month Long Question Outline Model

I. Observation or Discovery is made
II. A Question(s) is asked based on that Observation or Discovery
III. How does this question(s) validate as being a "Month Long Question"?
IV. Where has this Observation or Discovery been?
V. Where is this Observation or Discovery at present day?
VI. Where do you see this Observation or Discovery moving towards?
VII. What are your opinions about the subject matter?
VIII. Can you back up any of your thoughts?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Month Long Question Ideas

Disney Animation

1. It seems that CGI (Computer Animation) has taken over. For example Toy Story 3 is coming out this summer. Toy Story was one of the first computer animated movies of its kind and since then more animated films have followed. Is CGI Animation (Computer Animation) better than traditional cartooning? Is traditional cartooning valuable? Is it just a thing of the past? Is traditional cartooning on its way out?

2. When referring to Disney Animated Movies, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is considered a “G-Rated” movie for kids. Yet, there are some horrible scenes in my opinion that are not suitable for children for example. You might have seen several G-Rated movies yourself that contain language, violence, themes, and images that are not considered acceptable for children. Therefore, one must ask the following: 1) What is the rating system based on? 2) How does one determine what is a G Rated Movie verses a PG-13 Rated Movie? Furthermore, is there a MIC Technology that would allow automated censorship by computer and a pre-determined set of guidelines rather than human observers who could fail in their duties?

Finding a Job

1. How will finding a job of mediated experiences be easier and/or harder in the future? Is there a way to make the finding a job process easier and what would that be?

2. Is it people who define the job or does the job “being designers of mediated experiences” define us?

3. One of my favorite shows on TV is “Undercover Boss” that comes on Sunday Evenings. The point to the show is for CEOs to see the truth in what goes on behind the scenes of their companies. Is society loosing touch with people or human interaction? If so, is there a mediated experience that we could develop in order to fix this problem? OR Is developing mediated experiences such as Facebook the problem? Are we all plugged into the internet and loosing site of more traditional forms of communication? OR Do we define being plugged into the internet as a new way of life and communicating?

Future Technologies

1. As things are rapidly changing each day there seems to be a new set of rules for things; Is there an easier way to learn future technologies?

2. In today’s world there seems to be a lot of different gadgets doing a lot of different things. Where do we draw the line? How do we juggle all of these gadgets to suit our needs? How does one pre-determine what is the appropriate gadget for he or she? What are consumers of today looking for and what will they be wanting in the future? Where is technology going in
terms of advancement?

Mediated Experiences / Pop Culture

1. What defines a Mediated Experience and could virtually anything be considered a mediated experience?

2. In terms of pop culture and mediated experiences what makes an idea or fad cool and/or popular? What makes something catch on fairly quickly?