Unpacking Videos

Unboxing videos for abstract concepts
an exercise from #SelfieClass at USC

We’ve all seen those inexplicably popular unboxing videos. You know, the ones where the kid opens the box of Kinder Eggs and then proceeds to unwrap and reveal the contents in each one. Well, let’s try that — not with little consumer toys — but with an abstract concept.

But instead of unboxing, let’s call it: Unpacking

Unpacking is that term we use to name the process of explaining an idea not by simplifying, but by examining its complexity. Unlike defining which tends to stabilize meaning, unpacking explores the nuances of meaning, opens the notion up for discussion and deeper perusal.


Here’s a sample unpacking video I made, exploring White privilege.

Yes, I know it’s very short. But here’s the basic idea:

White Privilege:

It shows up at my door even though I didn’t order (or pay for) it. When I open the box, I can’t see it but put it on anyway, but when someone tries to take it, I get angry.

Now try to make your own unpacking video. It doesn’t have to be long (obviously). Under a minute, even under 30 seconds is fine.

The simplest version would be 2 shots: Opening the box and reaction shot. But see where inspiration takes you.

Then write a description of the shots that narrates the images and action of the video.

The goal is to develop a better understanding the term by performing it — or really, your reaction to it.

Here are some terms to choose from or you can propose your own:

Homphily
Privilege
Symbolic ethnicity
Performativity
Representation
White Flight
Heteronormativity
Double Consciousness
Remediation

I made the original version of the movie as a vine, but you can use whichever platform you prefer.

Here’s an example of an unboxing video for reference.

Mark C. Marino teaches writing at the University of Southern California.

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