For fandom Tuesday, I want to explore my favorite type of fan practice: vidding as such this post will include several fan vids. Throughout my late teens and early 20s, I have spent many nights browsing Youtube, watching all types of fan vids. I have even made a few myself, learning video editing software such as Sony Vegas and IMovie just so I could take clips of my favorite films and television shows and make fan para-texts, illustrating tributes to my favorite characters and fictional relationships. This is how I got involved in film in the first place; fan vids have opened up a whole new career for me.
What Are Vids?
Some of you may be wondering, exactly what purpose do vids serve? The answer boils down to a simple examination of para-texts, themselves. As I’ve discussed before, para-texts are designed to extend the pleasure of initial exposure to the source text. A fan vid is a special type of para-text, at least regarding area of film culture, because they (like film) illicit emotion, also known as the ‘feels,’ via the same medium as the film apparatus.
Whereas fan art focuses on the pictorial image (an image that is stationary), and fan-fiction is aligned with from literary studies and composition, fan vids rely on the moving image and sound.
The creation of a fan vid follows the same creation of a film; it depends upon separate elements, clips, being fused together to create a new whole. Each vid is set to some type of music, either a popular song or background music meant to heighten the tension provided in dialogue samples. A times, vidders use text to help the viewer understand what is happening. The meaning derived from the original source text is altered to create a new meaning.
A study of fan vids demonstrates how fans both engage and reinterpret the source text. Obviously, fan vids come more naturally to fandoms that originate from film, movies or television shows, or have film adaptations since the clips are more readily available. However, fans can (and often do) vid fandoms that have no cinematic version such as books, comics, and video games.
6 Main Types of Vids
*None of the examples are mine. Please visit the Youtube channels provided to learn more about the authors and their works*
1.) Extensions of the Narrative
These type of vids are designed to embellish the source text, adding an interpretation of the events that came before or after the central story. Consider the example below: this vid focuses on the Rebellion of George RR Martin’s A Song Of Fire and Ice and HBO’s hugely successful adaptation, A Game Of Thrones. Anyone familiar with the book or the series will tell know that every event happening the in central story is a result of Robert Baratheon’s Rebellion against the Mad King.
However, the Rebellion is only alluded to in brief scenes of dialogue in the main story. This vidder decided to create a para-text devoted to the story that is not told in the main text, using clips from various films and television shows, the vidder fan casted younger versions of the main characters of the series and explored how events might have unfolded. These are usually the most creative and most difficult vids to make as it involves using clips that are completely separate from the source text; in this case there is little to no footage from a Game Of Thrones.
2.) Character Studies
This type is largely self explanatory; it involves taking one character (whether it be a protagonist or antagonist) and exploring their psychological depths. The example below belongs to the Hannibal fandom; the vid explores the main character of Will Graham and focuses on the scenes that illustrate his fragmented state of mind and downward spiral in season one. Character Studies are actually my favorite type of fan vid. These vids usually use lyrical songs that mirror the character’s internal state; in this case, it’s Linkin Park’s “Crawling in my Skin.”
3.) Representations of the Mythos
These vids are representation in nature; they don’t offer a new interpretation of the source text so much as they offer a summary of the source text. The example vid comes from a the ABC drama, Once Upon a Time and merely showcases all the ways in which the show reinterprets classic fairy-tales. It’s a preview of what the show has to offer the viewer, allowing them to see the characters that make up this drama. These vids also just show off the editing skills of the vidder.
4.) Parody (aka crack-vids)
Like the character study vids, these types of vids are self-explanatory. These vids either highlight the humor of the source text or provide a parody of the source text; they are aimed at one goal: instilling laughter in the viewer. The vid below comes from the CW show, Supernatural. Though humor is large part of the show, the drama largely falls into the horror and melodrama genre. This show is not a comedy, but the vid suggests otherwise.
5.) Emphasis on a Theme
Perhaps, my second favorite type of vid, these vids compile scenes of a source text that illustrate a single theme. Such themes usually are emphasized by a single line of dialogue, and thus, the entire vid is centered around illustrating the importance of such dialogue. These vids are least likely to use lyrical music. The vid below belongs to Sherlock; it emphasizes a statement made by the main character’s brother regarding the complicated personality of Sherlock, himself. This is not exactly a character study because it doesn’t focus on how the Sherlock sees himself but how the audience is meant to see him.
6.) Character Romance (Shipping Vids)
The most popular type of fan vid is the vid dedicated to character romance. Shipping Vids are found throughout all fandoms; it is another means for fans to voice their couple of choice in the narrative. These romances can chronicle the actual love story in a narrative such as the example below. The vid is dedicated to the romance between Damon and Elena from The Vampire Diaries; it simply records their onscreen journey as a couple, emphasizing how they fell in love and how powerful that love is.
Vidders, however, often choose to showcase a romance that is not canon;they manipulate clips in order to create a love story between characters who are not romantically linked in the source text. These vids create the ‘what if’ scenario between two characters who have different sexual orientations or may not have even shared screen time together.