Forms of Fandom: Part Seven – 3-D Close Up of My Mind

This ongoing series looks at the various ways people get involved in fandom. This issue, we’re looking at fanvids.

So, here we are again, dear Wanderers, back looking at the forms that fandom can take. Last issue we talked about the fun that is cosplay – and I hope some of you are busy planning your costumes for convention season, it’s coming up quicker than you think – so we need to think of another area to look at. Well, I was meant to talk about fan videos last time, but my video making program threw a hissy fit and refused to work so I couldn’t do that. Well, it’s still throwing a hissy fit but the show must go on! On with the show! On with the- yeah, alright, I’ll stop. I’m just trying to fill my word count anyway. [Really? I hadn’t noticed. -Ed.]

So! Fan videos. Well, as the name suggests they are videos made by fans, often to celebrate their fandom. Most common types of fan videos are shipping – that is showing support for a particular pairing – videos. And even then this explanation is far too on the side of simplistic and yet I’m struggling for the words to describe the process fully. For some people, it starts with an idea, for some it starts with a song, but when it’s done, and done well? It’s a beautiful creation of visual art, that deserves to be watched and rewatched.

But how to get the awesome across to you? Right, if you’re involved in any fandom whatsoever, you’ll have come across that one song. The one song that seems to sum up your character in every single way, and is just perfect for them. A fan vidder – to use the term – would think the same thing about that song. So then they’d get clips of the character, and put them together to fit the music. Et voila, a music video featuring that one song about the character its perfect for and that’s pretty much the basis of a fan vid.

Yeah, I know, I make it sound ridiculously simple, but when you get down to the essentials of it, fan vidding is just, really, another form of visual fan based media, it’s fan art in video format. Why shouldn’t it be simple at the heart of it? That’s not to say that all videos made by fan will be simple little clips playing to music. Remember, I called this stuff visual art for a reason, and when I call stuff visual art, you’d better believe that I damn well mean what I say. When it comes to fan vidding, there are some sheer geniuses out there, who can take the unlikeliest of mixes and making something so amazing it’s just hard to tear your eyes away from your YouTube screen. Yeah, that’s the thing, most fan vids are on YouTube. Go search for your favourite show just now, see if there’s anything. I can wait. I’ll just sit here and have some of my lovely cup of tea. What? You’ve looked? Oh good, then you’ll have seen what I meant. Guess I’ll have to finish my tea later.

So, yes, as you’ll have seen there is a wide range in the quality (and quantity) of fan vids any particular fandom can have. Animated fan videos are another category all together and those who can edit two separate animated movies together to look like they are from the same media have my full and utter respect because that stuff is hard people, my movie maker refuses to let me do it, the little brat that it is. I’m partial to a good AMV – Animated Music Video, or Anime Music Video since the term is usually used when referring to fan videos of cartoons of japanese origin – and yes, I just called anime cartoons. Beautifully animated, respectful to their audience, and aimed at older age groups than our usual assumption for cartoons, but they’re still cartoons. And I see any respect you had for me as a writer dying with that statement, so I’ll try to remember what my point was in the first place. Oh yes, now I remember. AMV’s are a personal favourite of mine because of the amount of effort that needs to go into them.

That’s not saying that effort doesn’t go into all fan videos. In fact, even a very basic video can take a while to make, and requires a great deal of patience and care on the maker’s part. Effort is always a requirement when a fan plans to do anything to celebrate anything about their fandom of choice. For fan videos, well, you can’t really go into them half hearted. Tracking down all the necessary clips can be hard enough, but editing the song of choice to make it fit the length of video you want? That can be a trial. And then there’s the sound levels, and sometimes, just dealing with bratty movie makers. Which throw brat fits, freeze on you, refuse to work, and then close without letting you save any of the work you’d spent the past hour carefully doing and – – I’m fine. I just …. I have issues with my brat of a movie maker.

But yes! Overall vid making is an enjoyable experience – bratty video making programs aside – and they are visually rewarding and an enjoyable way to spend a few minutes. Take a break, and go check out a few!

Z McAspurren (wants to go and watch vids now)

We’ll be bringing this series to an end next issue with a look at a few other types of fandom. At least, that’s the plan. Watch this space!

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