Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Q Cue Queue Que

BLOG: Que the Lights
AUTHOR: Xavier Burgin a.k.a. Xay B., college student at University of Alabama

The first time I pulled this site up, the first thing that ran through my head was "Oh my god, why the hell is this header image so big?" The second thought was equally critical and went something like this "What the hell is a 'Que'? It's spelled 'Queue' or 'Cue,' depending on your meaning, but I don't think I've ever seen 'Que' before."

Xay never explains why he made his header image so big that it pushes all of his content below the fold on my screen (and I'm at a 1650x1080 resolution -- there's really no excuse for it), but he does address the whole Que thing. I guess. (Sorry, I'm still not okay with it, and I think that you'll see why shortly.) Which leads me into my first substantive concern with the content of this blog. Unless you are involved in or interested in the greek life at the University of Alabama, much of the subject matter on this site is going to fly over your head or under your crotch or around your big fat gut, or somewhere unintended. Even when I was a young man in my late teens and early twenties, the allure of greek life completely eluded me. So, although I get that many young people love to have a place where they belong and all of that, I still felt as though I was standing off to the side observing rituals of a group that I could (and in truth, would) never be a part of.

Frat life aside, Xay is an aspiring filmmaker and photographer. Que the Lights is meant to serve as his online portfolio. This is an area I was hoping to find some commonality of experience. I've never studied, but I have been dabbling in the visual arts, photography, and aspects of film for years, primarily as a screenwriter, but also in the realm of some light directorial work. I was actually looking forward to reviewing this site, big ass header aside. I love short artistic student films. Generally.

So, my next biggest complaint is that there aren't more of these films. Instead, he spends an inordinate amount of time talking about what he's working on, or what he's interested in and why, but this writing comes off like a required school assignment. So, I want to go back to the films now...

I like watching the technical growth. Sure, not all were to my liking. The advertisements for frat events weren't really meant for me. Nor were the rap duels. But the films that told a story showed promise. And I would be very interested in seeing where this goes.

His photography is pretty amazing too. He does a lot of photographing people, something that I am not very good at. I feel that in order to photograph a person, really capture the essence of that person, you have to establish a very intimate bond with him/her. That intimacy is clearly on display in his photographs of people. My only quibble with the photography content is that his photography posts had way too many photos. They swiftly became overwhelming, diluting their individual impact. A lightbox style gallery that shows just one image at a time would be a much more suitable showcase for this work.

To tell the truth, the best part of Xay's filmmaking is the visual aspect. Sound sometimes was lacking, story sometimes vague or obtuse, could have used a bit less generosity in the editing process, but the visuals were almost always striking. Xay, if you were to ask me, I'd say focus on cinematography. I really think you have a gift there.

So, about the blog. What could you be doing better?

  • Edit your writing. I know, I say that almost every time. But in this case, you have interesting ideas, but too often a word selection is enough off the mark to yank me right out of reader mode and into red-pen wielding editor mode.
  • Shrink the header image.  It should be 1/3 the height it is. Or less.
  • If you are serious about using this site as your portfolio, remember that a lot of folks who you want to see your work and look on it favorably won't be in your fraternity and so won't know what "Roo to the people" (or "Roo the people" as you say about 1/3 of the time) is supposed to mean. I still don't. I assume that this is not a statement of love for the offspring of Kanga in Winnie-the-Pooh. Correct?
  • Your use of tabs is confusing. The top row works, where it serves as an entry point to a page on your blog about that topic, but the second row? I was annoyed that clicking on those took me out of the blog to an external site without really warning me that was going to happen. It would be clearer if you were to use the YouTube logo or something instead of a tab.
Okay, that's enough for today.

Four stars for your photos.

And three stars for your completed videos.

And zero stars for your writing, which should have been two, but my inner editor redacted two. Sorry. It happens.


  1. Seriously, I really do not give a shit about greek life in fucking Alabama. People live in Alabama? I thought it was a myth.

  2. I come here for blood and I get an unplanned trip to a site full of emo student films. No...wait, it's more like my car came alive and hates me so it ejected my body the roof for no reason other than it could. Now my car mocks my injury and grief.

  3. Shiner -- as much as I hate the Crimson Tide, I must affirm that "people" do indeed live there.

  4. From reading alot of the other submissions I was expecting much worse, but I'm glad I got a lot of constructive criticism from you on my work.

    If you don't mind (and I understand because this is your time) I'd like get some more information from you to make the website sleek in comparison to what it is now.

    If that's alright let me know and I'll send you my email address or vice versa.

  5. I only scrolled down past the header because I read this post. I couldn't get any further than scrolling before I hit backspace.

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Grow a pair.