hazelk: (vidding)
So Vividcon has happened. I haven’t watched ALL THE VIDS or even downloaded them but there is one I’d like to talk about.

On the Prowl by [livejournal.com profile] sisabet and [livejournal.com profile] sweetestdrain

Peeping Tara or this vid has ALL THE PAIN )
hazelk: (Default)
Having been following the open policy revision process being hosted by [personal profile] astolat and read a large number of other people's posts and comments about warnings and VVC accessibility I think my current, entirely non-authoritative and not very original position is this:

People at risk of being triggered by vids and requesting warnings are grown ups. They are perfectly aware that vidder or VVC or VJ supplied summaries of potentially triggering content are just someone else’s judgements. They don’t guarantee safety but they would make the con more navigable and feel more hospitable. An explicit warnings policy, however imperfect and far from comprehensive a guide it produces/makes available, also at some level acknowledges that they exist, they are visible.

People at risk of being triggered by vids who are not asking for warnings or are arguing against some of the more pro-warning policies are also grown ups. There may be different reasons for their stance but at least in some cases it may be that they have evolved strategies for balancing the risks that rely on convincing themselves that they don’t need to trust other people who are not them to figure out what they need to know. A very in your face pro-warning culture may make the attitude required to do this more difficult to maintain. Where the message one person gets from content notes and checklists is “you are seen” for someone else it might be “ you are being watched (over).”

I think compromise is possible and that several of the suggested models for the new warnings policy could achieve it, the main thing being that warnings/content information need to be kept as separate as possible from other types of information about the con that people might want to access. The need to make the con accessible to warning averse people would place certain restrictions on where information could be made available. For example, warnings should not be integrated in the programme notes or embedded in vids but could be supplied on separate printouts. Lists of which vids and or vidshows vidders, VJ’s or the concom consider may contain specified potential triggers would ideally be collated in one central place that can be linked to but (on request) not copied and pasted into unlocked journal posts. Private correspondence with the concom or VJs should be encouraged but with, if logistically possible, a way for individual attendees to opt out of being e-mailed about whether they need such information. And so on and so on.
hazelk: (Default)
There’s a post I’ve thought about making several times but my thoughts on the issues always start out chaotic and unfocused and by the time I’ve thought them into line the moment has passed. It’s a post about ablism/disablism and language, about the rights and wrongs of using words like blind and deaf and retarded and lame and autistic (the one I have a personal stake in) and crazy and crippled for anything other than as value-neutral descriptions of the literal condition.

Obviously using these words as playground taunts is wrong. It’s all too easy when first coming across the issue to feel spuriously virtuous that one would never dream of using ‘retard’ or ‘cripple’ as personal insults. One is too nice for that. Equally spuriously, some of the words are part of other people’s vernacular. I wouldn’t say something was lame without major irony tags because I’m not an American teenager. Which I suppose brings up one of the reasons there is resistance to being made to reconsider the use of such words. Vernaculars are part of how people, particularly marginalized people, define themselves and being told to redefine yourself never goes well.

But it’s not only the young or the less privileged who cling to their vernaculars. Metaphorical language, which can act as a vernacular of erudition, includes formulations such as “He was blind to the consequences and deaf to protesting voices.” Or “the economy is crippled, the situation is crazy, Gordon Brown’s behaviour is quasi-autistic.” The argument is that these metaphors and comparisons are intended as pejoratives and, particularly to someone with the non-metaphorical condition, carry the strong implication that the condition itself is a sign of moral failing. I get that and also that these phrases are clichés, used to give an impression of style but not specific enough to add anything meaningful to the description. I get it. But then I get confused by my actual response to the one example that ought to trouble me personally.

“Gordon Brown’s behaviour is quasi-autistic” is annoying but not because it feels like my children are being insulted. Possibly because despite his failings as a party leader I still have a fondness for Brown (for not being Blair), it might be different if I’d seen the description applied to Bush. Also because I find it hard to think of “autistic” as an insult. Autistic is a word for my children and the other children at their school, it’s a word that conjures faces. It’s not a bogeyman word or a “there but for the grace of god” word but something familiar and embraced. And if anyone uses it as insult in their hearing, I will kill them with my brain.

No, Gordon Brown’s alleged autism is annoying because it’s obviously inaccurate and betrays a basic ignorance of the condition on the part of the alleger. It comes back to the niceness thing in a way. I don’t want journalists to stop calling politicians autistic or bipolar or schizophrenic because they don’t want to hurt my feelings or other people’s feelings (although I can’t really speak for other people, not even for my own children). I want them to stop casually throwing out such labels because they recognize that they’re misleading. I want those words to have faces. When it comes down to it, I think it’s a very good thing to make people think about language but I think it’s a means to an end and not an end in itself.

On fanfic

Jan. 3rd, 2009 12:37 pm
hazelk: (Default)
Some thoughts about fic in response to a now friendslocked discussion of the relative merits of Buffy S8 and Buffy fanfic.

I used to read a lot of fic. There’s the usual 90% of everything is crap factor (and sometimes crap is exactly what you’re looking for) but I’ve certainly read fic that was more literary than S8. More poetic, more stylish, more funny and more disturbing (in both good and bad senses of the word). Having said that I think if I had to pinpoint a difference between all of those fics and S8 it would be is that S8 doesn’t feel safe. This is of course entirely subjective but I think I can justify it in a number of ways some of which apply specifically to Buffy fanfic (and me as a reader) and some to fanfic in general.

The specific reasons have to do not with literary qualities but with medium and community. BtVS was TV series and TV is a visual medium. Not that the dialogue wasn’t distinctive and important but it wasn’t (for me) the main thing. For evidence I’d offer the success of episodes like Hush and The Body which do without the trademark dialogue but also the experience of watching large swathes of the series with the sound off for vidding purposes and having it still feel like Buffy in a way that reading the scripts doesn’t. What reading the scripts does feel like is reading Buffy fandom, which on the interwebs is very much a text based medium. Fanfic is not only text based but a direct product of fandom and fandom conversations. I think it’s that and being myself a participant in those conversations that can makes fic appealing but also gives it a safety factor. I know these writers, not personally perhaps but what their positions are on fannish issues and where they fit within the various subcultures in a much more detailed and insider way than I know Joss Whedon or any of the comic writers. Even with a new writer it rarely takes long to figure out their fannish influences, where they’re coming from, where they fit. Plots may twist but although the specifics of the twist are not predictable the point of it almost always feels familiar, the snark is never a boondog or so you convince yourself to maintain social order. Published writers and their original stories can be predictable too but I don’t know them, they don’t know me and that outsider quality changes the nature of the contract between us.

The general reason is that, for me as a reader, fic’s relationship to its source text almost automatically acts as a filter between it and world. The most terrible things can happen or be touched in fanfic but because there’s always the source text to refer them to they don’t feel as real. I don’t get that sense of distance between the same characters and similar events in the original stories. Where there’s no fictional precedent it feels more as if you’re being exposed directly to the author’s naked brain or less grossly their experience of the world. Not always a good thing or even an interesting thing but naked brains are never entirely safe.
hazelk: (Default)
There are phrases that stick in the mind in spite or maybe because of not knowing quite what they refer to when you first stumble across them. “Women in Refrigerators” is one that crops up relatively quickly when browsing around comics fandom in a spirit of idle curiosity. Thanks to the wonders of google it then only takes a few clicks to hit the mother lode, a 1999 web page started by Gail Simone as a list of “superheroines who have been either depowered, raped, or cut up and stuck in the refrigerator.” The refrigerator was literal and belonged to one “Green Lantern.” The woman was his girlfriend.

Read more... )
hazelk: (Default)
Someone on [livejournal.com profile] metafandom made a post about finding it difficult toget vids and parts of the subsequent discussion turned to accounts of ‘why we vid’ or why vids make sense. This would have been my contribution except that it got too rambly and off-topic.

A while ago the ipod was playing an old Joni Michell song from her jazzy experimental era. Hejira to be precise, it’s the title song of the eponymous album with the picture of her dressed like a crow, the open road visible behind/through her on the front cover and a similarly, desaturated shot of a frozen river on the back. So I was doing the washing up and singing along when I caught myself making up pictures to match the music. Very literal ones, very tied to the lyrics – for the line “there’s a man and a woman sitting on the rock” for example, I’d zoom in to the far bank of the river from the back cover to reveal, yes, a man and a woman sitting on a rock. The thing is, it also reminded me that I do this all the time with music and always have. Joni and I go back a long way and I think that particular image has been coming to mind ever since I first heard the song back in the days before I’d ever seen a fanvid or for that matter a music video - it was pre-MTV. So OK there was the one Queen did for Bohemian Rhapsody but that was about the only precedent. Still, even without the MTV experience growing up the idea of music being associated with images or narratives was hardly foreign. Movies and music go together like two very mixy things and most of my favourite movies are musicals. Sure dance sequences aren’t just a visual response to music and they don’t all tell stories but the idea that they might would be intuitive to any ballet fan.

I think visually, I solve genetic problems by conjuring up pictures, I read books and run mini-movies as I process the words, I listen to music and it evokes serial images and words set to music have even more power. They get caught in the crevices of your mind, sometimes I finds myself thinking in song lyrics, like an adult-onset form of echolia. All of which is to say that vidding, both making vids and reading them, seems an intuitively natural process. It feels right even while I’m not very good at it.

The original post was in response to [livejournal.com profile] lim’s new Harry Potter vid In exchange for all your tomorrows to House of the Rising Sun so while in a tl;dr mood, for illustrative purposes here’s the thoughts I had on it after obsessively watching it for most of this afternoon.

Watch the vid first, it’s much better than the exegesis )
hazelk: (buffies)
This is what I wrote for the [livejournal.com profile] buffyversemeta metathon

Title: Reader, I destroyed him.

Summary: The special treatment of girl’s stories in BtVS

Source texts: All of BtVS including the S8 comic issues 1-4. AtS S1 The Prodigal, S3 Lullaby, S4 Inside Out and S5 Damage

Word count: 2642

Notes: The original prompt was [livejournal.com profile] azdak’s "People are gonna die. Girls are gonna die." (Buffy, S7). Examine the special status of "girls" in the Buffyverse. The quote made me think of how the vulnerability of the potentials seems to contradict the series’ original mission statement about subverting passive female stereotypes. I went from there to thinking about the many ways in which the series did do that (the subversion thing) and how in that sense girl’s stories really do have a special status in the ‘verse. So it’s not entirely unrelated to the original topic even though if I were marking me, I think I’d fail.

Reader, I destroyed him. )


Jul. 18th, 2007 03:00 pm
hazelk: (Default)
An article in Tuesday’s Guardian talking about how the possibility of gene therapy for various forms of congenital blindness raises issues about ‘disability’ and identity.

Do I want my sight back?

From physical to political blindness a whole series of recent posts on colour blindness and racial stereotyping in the UK and other places outside the US springing off from debates over Martha’s storyline in the most recent season of Dr. Who.

helpful hint for the colorblind: BE LESS BLIND

Racism on an international scale

In which our heroine explains to Doctor Who fans about "Mammy" in Britain

I feel rather humbled by the net effect of reading all the discussions. I understand the arguments against colour blindness not being the ultimate ideal to strive for in a world where race does matter. Intellectually I agree with them but completely missed the racial implications of spoilers for DW S3/29 )

Meanwhile less contentious politically and having little to do with vision at any frequency [livejournal.com profile] peasant_’s Buffy metathon continues to generate some thought-provoking essays. Personal favourites include:

Through a glass darkly by [livejournal.com profile] 2maggie2 on Faith and Buffy mirroring each other.

You need to learn by [livejournal.com profile] peasant_ herself on Giles in season 7.

Vampires Amidst the Community by [livejournal.com profile] dlgood on the role of the state in dealing with the supernatural.

Are you ready to be strong? by [livejournal.com profile] icemink comparing Joyce and Darla as mother figures.
hazelk: (Default)
This season has certainly inspired much thought and looking back it’s difficult to argue that that wasn’t intended. Other people have pointed out the recurrent themes of power in naming (the Shakespeare Code) or seeing (Blink) a thing, of hope and the will to survive and how the latter can be both a virtue and the most (im)mortal of sins. I still think all the threads never quite ravelled for several reasons that in the end boil down to two things.

Read more )
hazelk: (Default)
So catching up with the weekend papers at last a review of Barbara Gowdy’s new novel Helpless about a paedophile reminded me of the whole still-puttering-on ‘responsible writing’ debate.

The novel throws up many issues. Such dubious territory, for example, should arguably not be navigated in what is essentially entertainment. But, on the other hand, the prose masterpiece that is Lolita would never have been written without considerable boundary-breaking. Helpless, however, is more reminiscent of Stephen King than of Nabokov. There's a strange sense here that Gowdy has both held back and stepped too far. Being propelled through this skilful but unpleasant page-turner leaves the reader with a distinct feeling of being stalked.

It was a perfectly standard broadsheet piece on a book the reviewer found mildly disturbing but not without merit. You could find similarly measured book/TV/movie reviews all over LJ yet expressing the same kind of tempered reservations about a piece of fanfic is nigh on impossible. It can be done but it isn’t *done* or when it is the consequences can be kerfuffles like the one that recently swept SGA fandom on race. So people may feel such reservations but don’t speak them because the default with LJ comments is to take criticism personally. You can try to depersonalise as [livejournal.com profile] heatherly did by emphasising her expert status but it doesn’t really work. Fandom provides a safe space for writing and for squee and both of those are hard in the other places so it’s good that they exist but it’s not a safe space for criticism or counter speech and that can be problematic. But I’m not sure how it could be otherwise.

Speaking of squee though I also caught up with the latest Dr. Who )
hazelk: (Default)
Possibly the most disturbing aspect of deletegate was seeing the crazy rightwingers be smart, getting a response where bona fide child protection groups had failed. Although as shutting down potential evidence of paedophile activity wouldn’t be the response those groups would actually want I suppose the lesson is more that evil is easier.

Still back to normal fannish service. A few days ago whedonesque linked to a really neat close reading of Flooded. My only quibble with it would be that Flooded is not uniquely blueprinty for the rest of season 6, I think the same sort of analysis could be done for any of the first 7 episodes. I’m not dedicated enough to do that but as a lazier alternative here’s some brief thoughts on Life Serial reheated from a recent TATF re-watch.

Read more... )
hazelk: (Default)
Not being much of a fic person I haven’t really weighed in on the whole FanLib thing but this response by the CEO to criticism hosted in Henry Jenkins’s blog was interesting. It does sound as if rather than hoping to become the fanfic equivalent of YouTube what FanLib are attempting to create is more the fictive counterpart to American Idol with the web site playing the role of the early ‘freak show’ rounds of the contest. Given the current popularity of all manner of talent shows it may well end up being successful on its own terms but be no more or less likely than the TV versions to discover writers/stories with real star quality.

The whole thing does seem to presuppose that fanfic writers have essentially the same motivations as Idol contestants, individual celebrity, fame and fortune. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but writers on LJ don’t give the impression of being there primarily for the competition.

We are pattern-finding and story-telling animals. It’s what we do. We take the real world and turn it into narratives and symbols so our brains can manipulate them more easily.

I don’t write stories in my head to any great extent, I find patterns and chop them into ever finer messes but for those to whom stories come naturally it makes sense that fanfic would be both a way to ‘talk’ about them or function as a form of narrative jamming, taking a storyline for a walk as it were.

Speaking of fanfic but more specifically (and based on a sample size of two) does anyone get the impression that fic!Buffy is a more womanly woman than she was on the show? Emotionally intelligent but otherwise not that bright? Joss’s Buffy can have a hard, quite abstract edge to her thinking. Her first line in the first comic has her philosophising about the world not individual inhabitants of it and she’s as capable as Giles or Wesley of understanding the big picture, that there may only be bad choices that Willow may still be evil. The main difference between her and the Watchers is where she draws the line between a necessary evil and a convenient one.
hazelk: (bsg)
Been reflecting on [livejournal.com profile] rahirah’s post on mothers, or the lack thereof, in fanfic and fantasy. I don’t read enough of either to pronounce on the topic but her main point has the ring of truth. In both forms children tend to be used as symbolic devices rather than to represent motherhood as actual mothers experience it. Someone in the comments raised BSG as a possible counter example, which I’d like to explore.

Read more )
hazelk: (Default)
So are the comics canon? Joss, more than other show runners perhaps, is the auteur type. The one thing that units the seven seasons of Buffy is his editorial control over the final product. His influences, the writers, actors, budget and network censorship levels were continually changing but the final word on the published story was always his. It would seem reasonable in this instance to think of a Joss-led and sanctioned continuation of the story as just that, a new season rather than a new series, the comics as part of the same continuous canon rather than a separate new canon of their own, but people don’t. The reasons given for not doing so are multifarious but generally come down to pointing out one or other component of the first seven seasons that won’t be present for the eighth. I don’t think it’s that simple though.

When I was younger and more evil one of my favourite pub wind-ups was to try and convince people that Manchester United didn’t exist. The club was founded in 1878. Since then it’s changed managers, players, coaches, ground, owners, even the name. In 1958 over half the team got wiped out in the Munich air-crash and it had to be re-built from scratch and Bobby Charlton. There’s absolutely nothing left of the original team in the current one. Not a single molecule. Despite that I always, always lost those arguments.

I think stories are like football teams, the fannish mind has an innate capacity to perceive unity, to believe in the existence of one big canonical whole however much the individual components change. As long as there’s something to connect each step in the process to the next, fans can happily ignore all kinds of incremental changes, of cast, of writing staff, of genre. On AtS the only member of the original cast to survive by the end was the titular character, on Dr Who such changeshave become integral to the entire concept. None of the S1 BtVS writers apart from Joss were still on board by S7, on both The West Wing and Due South the show runner ran but the show went on. As to changes of format Buffy wouldn’t be Buffy if it weren’t regularly playing with different forms. Episodes from The Zeppo to Intervention have the characters acting in exaggeratedly dumb or over the top fashion for comic effect but fans still recognize their favourites and incorporate their actions into the overall narrative. If form is so important is the musical less canonical than the other episodes?

I think differentiating canon from non-canon isn’t a strictly scientific process, I suspect it has more to do with the Mulderesque factor of wanting to believe than being objectively able to. The biggest single obstacle to the comics being accepted isn’t anything to do with comicness versus TVness or Jossness versus SMGness, it’s simply that it’s now nearly three years since the canon was declared closed and the willingness to suspend disbelief and engage the fannish capacity for seeing continuity no matter what is no longer unconditional. Joss may declare them canon and clearly has as good an understanding of the meaning of the term as the next fanboy made good but he’s also basing his acceptance on a good deal more evidence than the rest of us. He’s seen the next however many installments, he knows where the story’s headed and where it’s going to end. We don’t.
hazelk: (Default)
I re-watched Children of Men this weekend, something I’d actually been putting off doing for a while. I loved this movie the first time around but now I have a vid idea for it I was afraid of that getting in the way. Instead of just appreciating it, with half my mind I’d be hanging over it like a vulture looking for bits and chunks of usable footage. Fortunately, it didn’t work out quite like that, I got caught up in the story just like the first time only more observantly (I think I was also worried that it wasn’t going to stand up to my initial impressions but if anything it was better, thematically and visually it’s an incredibly tight piece and the way it uses music is just inspired).

It did make me think about fannishness and how it affects the experience of art. In many ways non-fannish things are simpler, the relationship between you and the creator of the art is quite straightforward. It’s very easy to become immersed in the experience because it’s impersonal, a chance encounter between two strangers, no strings attached. With fannish things the relationship between creator and fans is more like family, a family of adolescent children struggling to become adults in their own right. It’s dynamic, very personal and inherently unstable. Some fandoms, SGA seems to one, have come to an amicable agreement with their source texts, the fans have grown up and left to start their own homes. They call in every so often but are more likely to argue amongst themselves. Others, X-files perhaps, have had such a cataclysmic falling out with their parents that they’re are no longer even on speaking terms. And then there’s BtVS fandom, a large unruly clan famous for constant internecine wars that had just begun to settle down when the Jossfather decided to hold a big drunken re-union in comic form. Fist-fights are already threatening to break out on the lawn.
hazelk: (sellack)
Classification is a big thing in biology. It’s about much more than the convenience of having a searchable name for every species, the process of naming is an analytical tool for working out evolutionary histories. When phlya get re-assigned it’s in recognition of the fact that some enormous body of evidence and deep reasoned argument has finally convinced the community that fruit flies and threadworms had a common ancestor several million less years ago than we’d previously thought. Really if ‘creation scientists' were doing the job they claim to be doing they should out there re-naming all the animals not wilfully misinterpreting the second law of thermodynamics.

But this post is actually about vids. A while back when iMeem started being used by vidders there was a run of posts in the forum about whether ‘book/fic trailers’ (slide shows set to music to advertise fanfic) could be counted as vids. Subsequently [livejournal.com profile] the_reel hosted a debate about whether two ‘vids’ that had been put up for review that consisted entirely of ‘vidder’ filmed material made as a homage to a show or a movie counted as vids. In both cases a number of different ways to classify vids versus non-vids came up. Some were based on content, self-filmed material could be excluded although a certain amount of non-media source was acceptable. Others, especially those thinking in terms of what they might be prepared to review rather than just watch, used process as a determining factor. Original film requires directing rather than purely editing skills, slideshows rely on Photoshop to manipulate images rather then standard video editing programmes and lack all the cues from internal and external motion used to interpret conventional live-action vids. A third group used history and community based arguments, for example that because the first ‘vid’ is often said to be a K/S slideshow, other slideshows should count too. Or should count because they arose from within the same slash community or (this is me extrapolating) were made by vidders as extensions of their previously more conventional work.

Really this post is about [livejournal.com profile] lim’s new vid, Us. Which is a thing of beauty and artistry to be sure but is it a vid or an art animation or something else entirely? Does it matter? Not really, a whale is just as awesome whether you call it a fish or a mammal but biologists would argue the point all the same.

Us has media content in abundance but where does the source stop and the filters and effects take on their own life as original animations? It just highlights the continuum that exits along the special effects axis, from editing to directing with no clear-cut cut-off points when one becomes the other. It’s also interesting how the pencil-like effects obscuring the original source work much better as a metaphor for what fic writers often seem to do – overlaying and overwriting the original story with their own whereas I tend to think of vidding as illuminating aspects of the original, making it clearer. But this vid isn’t about the source stories but the story ’we’ made about ‘us’ and about that the clarity is frightening.

Using history as the determinant things get even more interesting, the vid *is* a history, a virtual cladogram, so surely that counts. And if it does, does that mean that vidding has reached the decadent state of being its own subject and is about to disappear up its own fundament? BBC4 had a 90 minute special on last night called The Reichenbach Falls, which turned out to one of those fictions about being a fictional character and specifically the crime writer’s dilemma. To a non-writer it came across as ultimately a little self-indulgent, all me, look at me, this is what I do. That’s where the community aspect of fandom makes it fundamentally different perhaps. Not about Me but about Us.
hazelk: (sellack)
Finishing this vid is getting to be like the paradox of the tortoise and Achilles, chasing after the endpoint by way of an infinite number of ever-decreasing increments. Things change when the timeline is full, instead of a series of more and less cool parts hung on to a framework it becomes a whole thing and the parts start to need to talk to one another, change one and the entire meaning shifts. Which reminds me of the thing that the people who make the vids that make you want to make vids always talk about. Intent, every clip needs a reason to be and to be there. So I struggle with the difference between reasons and rationalisations but also come to realise that intent applies not just to individual clips but to the vid as a whole, the gestalt if you like. And that’s more difficult because at least individual clips are discrete things, visual objects, but gestalt is a more abstract quantity and if you can’t see it how are you to judge its intentfulness or otherwise?

Walter Murch, among many other insights, had a way of dealing with the vast amount of footage he needed to edit by selecting a series of stills each of which was supposed to represent a particular section of the film. This was much more than just an aide d’catalogue because the very act of selecting that representative still would force him to identify the heart of the scene in question. So can this be applied to vids or at least to good vids? Not to say that a good vid is like a high concept movie and reducible to a single tag line,

“The Grapes of Wrath in Outer Space!”

but that a good vid has a certain coherence, an identifiable heart.

So thinking about it and because I’m on a BSG roll take Lum’s “More than Human,” I think the central image there could be that drop of Sharon’s blood falling at the end. Violence tangled up with sex and blood is identity, Cylon or human. Or here’s luck’s “New Frontier.” This is more difficult because there are images that I love in that vid like the spinning brain and the clip of Mal contemplating River’s sleeping body after the bar incident but trying to be objective I think the key image has to be the one on Haven, the turning point when Mal makes the decision to fight.

Does my “Babies” vid have a central image yet? Well there’s the rub, I think it does or it did when it started and it was a clip of Kobol hanging whole in the sky all blue and pregnant (pun intended) with possibility. At the moment, however, that actual clip has been taken off the time line, although there are other clips that allude to it. It’s a sort of absent protagonist (I mentioned the rationalisation thing didn’t I)? The other problem is that, in the making, the vid has started to deconstruct itself and acquired a much angrier, more radical feminist ending. If that planet is still the central image, it’s rotten to the core. Hmm.
hazelk: (sellack)
There are some notable exceptions but most vids are made to songs with words. Hardly surprising given that media fandom is so overwhelmingly verbal and popular music abhors the instrumental. Words are seductive and although meaning is ultimately dependent on musical context (Patsy Cline implies a very different kind of Crazy than Beyonce) it’s easy to forget that when vidding. It’s always tempting to use the lyric as a script and give too much weight to isolated lines or even single words when deciding on what footage to use.

The helplessly literal approach to clip choice is effective in comic vids precisely because of the potential for throwing up incongruous images but that doesn’t mean literalism can’t also be used for dramatic effect. Some of my favourite vids are very lyrics driven. [livejournal.com profile] sdwolfpup’s Fix you for instance.

The first half of the vid uses each line of the song to introduce a different character, Apollo is “so tired he can’t sleep”, Tyroll is on the verge of having “tears run down his face,” Adama is gazing at the photograph of the son he’s “lost and can’t replace” and so on. The scenes follow from the lines of the song not from each other but it works wonderfully because at this point what the song is doing overall is setting a scene not telling a story. Each line describes a different item on a list, within the overall context of the song they’re supposed to be isolated, not to flow from each other. Moreover the imagery is not word for word literal rather each character’s emotional state matches that of the line as a whole. It does become word for word though, by the final verse. To, “Lights will guide you home” there’s a clip of cylon ships as lights flickering on in the sky, then one of them moving purposefully across the screen (guiding), then a shot of New Caprica to “home.” Here the literalism works because it’s become abundantly clear by now that the vid is using Chris Martin’s lyric in a deeply ironic fashion “Fix you” in the sense of genocide, concentration camps and divine love.

Another example of how literal image-to-word matching can be exploited for non-comic purposes would be Lum’s Come together, the introductory track on Scooby Road. The song gives the overall impression of being about Lennon in his yippie prophet phase exhorting people to to unite behind him. “Come together” is the perfect message for a vid focussing on Restless and its wider implications but the protagonist of Buffy is not some long-haired, holy-roller, later-day Beatle figure. The vid needs to emphasise the idea powering the refrain but somehow play down the image invoked by the verses. It does this (I think) by ignoring sentence structure to match clips to random words hair, roller, joker, knee. Our John’s image shatters and the whole show becomes a surreal puzzle, much as the dreams in the original episode were.


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May 2012



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