tishaturk: (professional geek)
In Media Res has just hosted a week's worth of posts about vids and visual storytelling; I got to write about [livejournal.com profile] obsessive24's Friday Night Lights vid "New Slang." If you haven't seen the vid, I highly recommend it whether or not you've seen the show; it's a master class in storytelling.

In case you're interested, here are the rest of the week's posts:

I had real trouble picking a vid to write about; there are so many wonderful narrative vids! And I had even more trouble keeping myself to ~350 words; I could do a whole [livejournal.com profile] vid_commentary post about "New Slang" or any of the other vids I was considering.

One of the things I was thinking about as I wrote was the argument I've made before that "the extent to which a song is a narrative by itself is one of the things that most strongly affects our perception of narrative as a vid genre: if the song tells a story, that helps us (forces us?) to interpret the images as a story." I still think this is true, but "New Slang" reminds me that there are exceptions to nearly any generalization about vidding. As I said in the IMR post, I don't think the lyrics of "New Slang" are doing very much narrative work at all; it's all in the visuals and in the way [livejournal.com profile] obsessive24 uses the song's musical structure. It helps to know the show, of course, but as I rewatched the vid I was struck by how much of the careful establishing work from the show--who these characters are, what their relationships are--is borrowed and condensed in the vid in a way that makes it really easy to follow. I think it helps, too, that this is fundamentally a relationship vid; we're all sufficiently trained in the visual conventions of representing relationships that those elements of the vid are relatively easy to parse.
tishaturk: (TV: Buffy)
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 is necessarily 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 [livejournal.com profile] 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.


tishaturk: (Default)
Tisha Turk

November 2016

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