I'm starting to think about the paper I'm writing
for Film and Film Culture
--no actual reading or writing yet, just some back-burner pondering. This post is sort of a warm-up for beginning that paper; I want to try to articulate a few general thoughts about TV and movie vids. I'm particularly interested in the reasons that vidders make (and viewers watch) TV and movie vids, and in the conditions that govern viewer responses to them.( TV and movie vids )( context & accessibility )( Vogue )
Looking back over this post, it occurs to me that the real distinction might not be between TV and movie vids but between vids for source texts that have extensive and elaborated fannish activity and source texts that have smaller or less active fandoms (which also allows for change over time as shows gain fans or go off the air and the popularity of a particular movie explodes and then wanes)--a distinction that maps only partially and incompletely onto the TV/movie difference.
I should mention, too, that I know I'm oversimplifying by categorizing possible audiences into "fannish vidwatchers" and "nonfannish viewers." There are plenty of fans who just don't get vids, and plenty of others who come to like them eventually but take a while to get there; and there are people who aren't involved in media fandom but who know quite a bit about other aspects of remix culture; and there are people who aren't in fandom but whom we might describe as proto-fannish: they may not know much about fandom, but they're savvy readers of media texts, and when shown vids (especially vids for shows they like) they grasp the concept and understand the appeal pretty quickly. So we've actually got... not so much a continuum as a graph where X = fannish tendencies and Y = interest in DIY video, and individual people may be anywhere on that grid.
Which makes me think about Jason Mittell's thoughts on "Vogue" and Scooby Road
, which I haven't engaged at all in this post. Mittell claims that Scooby Road
is a better introduction to vidding than "Vogue" for someone who's an "outsider," who isn't, to use a phrase he borrows from Luminosity, a "contextual fan," but in fact his post suggests that Scooby Road
works for him precisely because it enables him to position himself as an insider and to be a contextual fan: he knows Buffy, he loves Abbey Road
, he's found a vid that celebrates things he's already inclined to celebrate. And that speaks, I think, to the way that fandom is a matter not just of seeing in similar (or at least related) ways, but of wanting similar (or at least related) things. Mittell dismisses most of the vids on Kristina Busse's list of recommended vids
, saying that they left him "underwhelmed," which is fair; I've been underwhelmed by plenty of vids, and I love
vids, plus, while I think most of the vids Busse recommends are terrific (at least the ones I've seen), I have reservations about some of them as intro material for non-fans. But I think that it's a little disingenuous to suggest that Scooby Road
a better introduction to vidding than "Vogue" (or many of the other vids on Busse's list); it was better for Mittell, it might have been better for me had I not already been sold on vids, but that's hardly a definitive sample. As a counter-example, I think of a proto-fannish colleague of mine who would, I suspect, find Scooby Road
profoundly boring because she isn't interested in Buffy and isn't a Beatles fan, but who took to sockkpuppett
's Highlander vid "Ability to Swing" like a duck to water because she is 100% on board with the premise that Duncan's hotness should be celebrated.
Which brings us back, once again, to the balance of context and content.