A Different Kind of Love Song
March 20, 2015 10:22 PM   Subscribe

Fannish vidding, as a creative practice, goes back more than 30 years, to the early days of Star Trek fandom, when people made slide shows set to music. Things are more complicated now. [Lim, Us]

The vid is a form that allows for both criticism [Giandujakiss, Origin Stories] and celebration [Bironic, Starships], sometimes in equal measure. The multi-fandom vid allows the vidder to extend that commentary out to entire genres or tropes used in many sources.

Some vids celebrate geeks of all kinds. [Giandujakiss, A Different Kind of Love Song]

Or a vidder can point out the plethora of homicidal robots we apparently face in the future. [Charmax, Seven Nation Army]

Compiling lots of triumphant moments can make you cheer. [Arefadedaway, One Girl Revolution] But the question of female agency in pop culture can be complicated as well. [Sisabet & Sweetestdrain, The Sellout]

And genre television is weird about women; for one thing, it has an unhealthy fascination with magical pregnancies. [Laura Shapiro, Stay Awake]

But of course, it's really all about the mens, after all: there is a price for being a woobie. [Thingswithwings, The Price] Although even Loki is just a victim of circumstance, and deserves our sympathy. [Laura Shapiro, Only a Lad]

The use of various sources can happen even within one storytelling universe, and it can blow you away with its technical prowess [Lim, Marvel], or provide some much-needed critical commentary on the political subtext [Thuvia Ptarth, Hey Ho].

Let's finish up with one of the most cheerful and happy vids around. It's kind of multi-fandom, depending on how you define it…

Previously, on Metafilter. Also previously. And previously. And previously. Oh, heck, just click the tag.
posted by suelac (25 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
I love The Price, it always makes me laugh. The single glittery tears,. Also a massive lim fan, even for source I'll never watch.

Flawless is the vid I've thought about the most in the past year, possibly because I have Disney age girls. I saw it as part of a brilliant vid show at Loncon3, which is also where I saw Soccer Practice .
posted by hfnuala at 2:22 AM on March 21, 2015 [10 favorites]

Holy crap hfnuala, that vid was amazing.
posted by Erasmouse at 4:01 AM on March 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh my god, HOW did I not see "Soccer Practice" and had to be linked to it via MeFi of all places?!

John Sheppard: alls we knows is he ain't straight.
posted by Mizu at 4:29 AM on March 21, 2015 [5 favorites]

As an outsider, I'm pretty lost as to what we're looking at here. It just seems to be a bunch of fan-made music videos featuring clips from various shows cut together with pop music, and I'm not getting these other layers that this post suggests are there. (Where is the "criticism" in the Origins clip, for instance?)

I'm not saying that there isn't more going on, just that coming at it cold like this it sure looks like those fan videos teenagers make about the eternal love of Bella and Edward. Can anybody offer some quickie context? (The "previously on Metafilter" links didn't cut it for me.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:41 AM on March 21, 2015

It's about the juxtaposition of the lyrics of the song with the clips on the screen, Ursula. When people talk about vids criticizing the source, they're often talking about the tension between those clips and the lyrics. For example a vid making the point that a source sure has a lot of women in vulnerable positions, it may choose a song highlighting that and juxtapose it with a whole lot of clips of women being vulnerable in the source.
posted by sciatrix at 4:49 AM on March 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


In 2003 I was the assistant stage manager for a "workshop" of a musical-in-progress - a bare-bones staging for potential backers. The musical in question was a "goth metal vampire love story" called The Bronx Casket Company; at the time, the biggest "names" associated with it were the composers and director; the cast was the usual round of young fresh-faced singers and dancers who maybe had gotten the occasional gig but were still unknowns. We did the thing, the creators went back to the drawing board, and everyone moved on. The band who did the music did invite some of the cast in to do studio versions of a few of the songs at one point, but that was it.

Here's the thing, though.

Our lead was Cote de Pablo, and a year or so after the show she'd moved to L.A. and got a role in the show NCIS, playing "Ziva David"; a Mossad agent working with the NCIS team. She was on the show for several years - long enough for a sort of "will they or won't they" unresolved romance to develop with her character and another. The fans shipped them. The fans loved them.

The fans found those studio recordings from the Bronx Casket Company.

And that is why there are now scores of Ziva-and-Tony fan vids set to the tune of the big torch song from a failed musical from 2003, which Cote always had to let me tie on a bit of her costume before she could go and sing in person during performances.

I came across some of those on YouTube (do a search for Cote and the phrase "I don't believe it any more") and it was unspeakably surreal.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:50 AM on March 21, 2015 [4 favorites]

It's about the juxtaposition of the lyrics of the song with the clips on the screen, Ursula.

I see, thanks. I guess it would help if these songs were immediately familiar to me. I was just like, "Eh, some pop tune, some rap thing," so the lyrics were just background chatter to me. But if I was like, "Oh, this is that song by so-and-so, and it's all about so-and-so," it would probably be a lot clearer how they were using it to comment on these shows.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:09 AM on March 21, 2015

Yeah, as a medium fanvids often (but not always) are informed by your knowledge of the subject material. The video tends to be more important to understanding than the music, in my experience. (Although you generally do need to be able to hear and parse the lyrics.) Multifandom vids are actually the least likely to rely on knowing the canon to say the message, because so many of them use so many source materials (see Starships, for example) that most of the audience can't be expected to know all of it.
posted by sciatrix at 5:19 AM on March 21, 2015

On a broader note--thanks for doing this, suelac! I find that it's a huge shame that people often focus on shipping vids when fanvids come up in broader discourse, because my experience is that it's the gen vids (including multifandom vids, which are invariably gen) which usually do the most interesting things with the medium. For example, this Criminal Minds vid focusing on the agency of female victims in the show... but also on just how many of them are female. (Warnings for violence against women.) Or this video by thingswithwings which focuses primarily on friendship between women in Community and Parks and Recreation, but grounds itself in the history of strong friendships between women in television. (Along with all the amazing works you linked yourself!)

And there were a couple of gen fanvids I saw during Festivids this year which have had me captivated for some time, about the public careers of Kristin Stewart and Nicki Minaj. I had not previously realized that fanvids would apply the same format to celebrity, but I was really interested to see the takes these vidders had on their work.
posted by sciatrix at 5:33 AM on March 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh hey, cool!

I didn't end up doing a festivids roundup this year, but I did cackle a bit when I saw that someone had vidded John Cage's 4'33" as a tribute to tiny fandoms.

I also tend to pay attention to Vividcon's output for good vidding-as-fandom vid.

And, just in case if anyone is wondering, making a good fanvid is really fucking difficult. Admittedly, I have no film background/training, but I have never felt the taste/capabilities gap as much as I did when I was trying to vid (it's also really consuming).

And - people complain about the change in fanfic fandom culture with the death of LJ, but I think it's even more obvious with fanvids, especially the multifandom vidding areas. Unless you already know who you're looking for, it is nearly impossible to separate the wheat from the chaff on youtube, it's harder to find recommendations, and tumblr's not great for watching videos in general. The vidders I follow on tumblr are largely vidders I found on LJ. Couple that with a change in internet browsing habits (more mobile internet browsing), and nothing makes me feel like an old fogey faster than talking about how vidding used to be.
posted by dinty_moore at 5:37 AM on March 21, 2015 [3 favorites]

Sciatrix - that Nicki Minaj one left me so conflicted, because on the one hand, it was very well done, and on the other hand, I couldn't parse the visual of one contemporary artist overlayed with the music of another. WEIRD.

Also weird - I have no issues with watching vids about older artists with contemporary music overlayed (I've seen a couple vids about the Beatles with non-beatles music). I don't even know.
posted by dinty_moore at 5:48 AM on March 21, 2015

I confess I sometimes binge on comics vids -- especially those that take a queer reading of canon moments to make subtext more obvious.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 7:37 AM on March 21, 2015

I really love this Doctor Who fanvid, set to Offenbach's "Infernal Galop." I think it does a great job of capturing the manic energy of Smith's Doctor and the intermittent delights of the fifth season.
posted by Ian A.T. at 8:01 AM on March 21, 2015 [3 favorites]

Where is the "criticism" in the Origins clip, for instance

Damnit, just lost my response.

I probably should have included a link to some commentary on "reading" vids. As sciatrix says, vids accrue meaning by the song choice and the lyrics, but also the POV of the vid (because POV is established in film just as it is in prose fiction), clip choices, the context of those clips in the source, their order, where the vidder cuts the clip, the speed of editing, and whether the vidder manipulates the clip by cropping, shifting it vertically or horizontally, adjusting the color or speed, or any number of other editing techniques available with current technology.

Origin Stories is about how the Buffyverse valorizes the Watchers and Spike (and by association the fans and produces of the show) for rape & violence against Slayers--particularly Slayers of color. The First Slayer (who was raped by a demon to get her power) was a woman of color; so was the Slayer Spike murdered to get his leather coat, which became emblematic of him. And the show really never deals with this tension, except tangentially, in the character of Robin Wood, who is the son of the Slayer Spike killed for her coat. Spike tried to rape Buffy onscreen, and raped and murdered countless other women, and yet the show redeems him and expects the viewer to accept that redemption without any actual repentence.

The young dark-haired woman with the blood striped down her face is a Slayer who went mad because of abuse she received from Spike, and she tried to avenge herself--but was taken down by people who should have had her back: basically the Patriarchy (Angel and the Watchers and the Slayers the Watchers control).

And that's why It's Nikki Wood's fucking coat is the tagline for the vid.

To be fair, the vid is about Spike, but really it's about the Patriarchy, as represented by Spike. Spike is the symptom, not the problem.

All that said: it took me a LONG time to figure out how to read vids. I think it's easier for people with film backgrounds than it is for the rest of us. I'm still not great at it, but I think it's brilliant what people can do, and I love it when people get to appreciate the creativity out there.
posted by suelac at 8:49 AM on March 21, 2015 [4 favorites]

Vogue - 300 (Luminosity) and ...on the dance floor (Sloane, Too Many Dicks on the Dance Floor/JJ Abrams' Star Trek) are critiques that (imo) don't require much context.

bironic's Starships is great, and equally good is jetpack_monkey's monochromatic remake.
posted by bettafish at 10:26 AM on March 21, 2015 [3 favorites]

I feel like Handlebars (Tenth Doctor vid) was the first vid I saw where I really got the critique - it's a source I know well matched with a great song. Then I discovered the vivid con community on lj and followed it to find more.

I agree with dingy_moore that as lj gets quieter, it becomes harder to find good recs - that's why the 2 vid panels I went to at Loncon were such a treat. (listings here.)

I was going to mention Women's Work, then I saw it was one of the previouslys.
posted by hfnuala at 11:03 AM on March 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Is that the Groundhog day clock showing up at the end of Lim's Marvel vid? Or did such a clock in appear somewhere in the Marvel movies and I missed it? I can't remember anything like that.
posted by Ashenmote at 11:19 AM on March 21, 2015

Stopping by to say how very, very much I love bironic's STARSHIPS. I think that's just a perfect multi-fandom vid.

I'll be checking out the others listed too though.
posted by Archer25 at 11:36 AM on March 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

hfnuala, Handlebars was the critique video I almost linked to! Love that one.
posted by bettafish at 1:26 PM on March 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Bironic's Starships still makes me smile just thinking about it.

That Hey Ho one was new to me though, so thanks for the post!
posted by tautological at 2:20 PM on March 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

This multifandom Space Girl video from 2011 works well as a companion piece to "Starships", I think.

(However, YouTube seems to have stuck it behind a "Sign in to confirm your age" wall, annoyingly for those without a login. I couldn't find a mirror elsewhere, sorry.)
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:41 PM on March 21, 2015

(However, YouTube seems to have stuck it behind a "Sign in to confirm your age" wall, annoyingly for those without a login. I couldn't find a mirror elsewhere, sorry.)
Pallas Athena, here's that youtube link modified so that doesn't require sign in (via).

This isn't quite the same as the above fanvids, but it's a music video that references the fan-made music videos that were all over early youtube, back from "when people made slide shows set to music." Gets the intro & outro screens right, takes a few seconds to get the joke: Harlem Shakes - Strictly Game
posted by neda at 3:02 PM on March 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Whenever I have to explain the concept of fanvids to someone I use this Star Trek/NIN one as an example.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 11:36 PM on March 21, 2015

I've taken to following some Dreamwidth communities and people for vid recommendations, especially the WisCon vid party, thingswithwings, chaila, such_heights, giandujakiss, thefourthvine, thuviaptarth, and other communities and people who have listed in their profiles interests like "vids" or "vidding". (I also rec stuff on my personal blog - link's in my MeFi profile.)

Some of my favorite multifandom fanvids: raven's "Landsailor", on engineering and infrastructure and building things, and giandujakiss's "Hourglass", on the pleasure of repetition with variation.

From last year's Festivids, by jetpack monkey, "The Ballad of Wesley Crusher" (the vidder's notes point out that young Wesley's fascination with exploration and discovery "gets translated into an adoration for Starfleet, which is exactly the wrong place for him").

And - for people who have already watched and enjoyed a lot of vids - have you seen Silent Fandoms by ghost_lingering? The thing dinty_moore linked to? Because wow!
posted by brainwane at 9:14 AM on March 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

I can't wait to watch these!

Also, if anyone hasn't seen the Star Trek (TOS) vid to Tik Tok, it's amazing and you should watch it.
posted by capricorn at 1:37 PM on March 26, 2015

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