seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)
[personal profile] seekingferret
Title: Feasting and Dancing
Fandom: Star Wars Original Trilogy
Vidder: seekingferret
Song: "This Year" by the Mountain Goats
Content Notes: Canonical Major Character Death, Violence, Child Abuse
Length: 3:40
Responsible for the lack of consistent title block from vid to vid: seekingferret
Summary Ready for the bad things to come.
Created For: [personal profile] niyalune [community profile] equinox_exchange Spring 2017
Originally posted: Here to AO3




I was looking to do something with Skywalker family angst, per [personal profile] niyalune's request. It was kind of a tossup between the song I ended up choosing, "This Year" by the Mountain goats, and fun.'s "Carry On"- both songs about just putting your shoulder to the wheel and enduring pain and loss and sadness to hopefully get to the good stuff you're not entirely certain is around the corner. Ultimately the evil stepfather stuff in "This Year" carried the day- I was talking to [livejournal.com profile] allandaros and he commented on how, of all the fictional characters with daddy issues, Luke and Leia's daddy issues are perhaps the most legit- their daddy is actually a genocidal maniac. If anyone deserves the right to bitch about his daddy issues, it's Luke Skywalker. And yet... "This Year" is a brutal song, but it's also a self-mocking song. The narrator, looking back on his teenage years, knows to some level that the abuse was not his fault, but he also knows that as a teenager he was a stupid teenager. The absurdity of "I am going to make it through this year if it kills me" anchors the song, and then Darnielle piles on ironies like "I was seventeen years young" and "twin high maintenance machines" (I reversed the polarity of that one back to literal for double irony points by making the Falcon and Luke's X-Wing the high maintenance machines ferrying around their high maintenance pilots). This is a vid about how Luke is a ridiculous child who turns into a hero in spite of having a hell of a lot stacked against him.

This vid was harder to figure out than "Science Fiction Double Feature"- the lyric matches less obvious, the narrative trickier. I had to do the opening thirty seconds four times, over the course of two weeks, before I had it down. At first I had a much longer whomping Luke section at the start where I played out, over the instrumental prelude, each of a series of terrible things happening to Luke- the dianoga attack, the wampa attack, crashing his airspeeder, etc... It didn't work- the whole thing was too slow and repetitive and the story I was telling didn't really start way for too long, so I had to cut back the instrumental prelude, trim back all the whomping of Luke into a much more economical narrative, and get into "I broke free on a Saturday morning" and Luke's actual agency much quicker and the section started to gel. Then I stalled out for a month, before finishing the remaining two minutes in about a week. I think I needed to stew on the vid to decide how to pace it, when Vader would reappear and which moments told the story. I also considered for a while whether Leia's daddy issues belonged- ultimately I decided that the song didn't have the narrative density to support those dual narratives, but that's a question that to some degree still lingers for me as a what-if. There are a couple of places in the song that seem like natural places to introduce a new perspective, but I am less certain that there are natural places to conclude the second narrative. I could see introducing the torture droid scene from ANH, I could see Leia running full-steam ahead, blaster locked and loaded, in the mid sections, but I couldn't see how the ending of the Leia narrative looked. She never gets to confront her father the way Luke does.

I hit "there will be dancing and feasting in Jerusalem next year" and really struggled with what to do after that. It's an obvious lyrical match for the end of RotJ- Luke triumphant, having escaped/surmounted his father's shadow. But if I do that jump, how does the vid continue? How do I work my way back to the final chorus, and then to the thirty seconds of instrumental coda that follow the last chorus? I jokingly told [personal profile] sanguinity I was thinking of just stopping there- Luke celebrates with his new family over the final chorus, then thirty seconds of credits. But it was an unsatisfying solution, so what I ended up doing was switching mid-chorus from the RotJ celebration to Luke's final battle, as if to say that the celebration still lies in the future, he's still fighting for his soul and his father's soul, and the abuse is something he'll carry even after the celebration. Even though it was forced by the song and not my original plan, I think it worked out better than if I'd ended the song with Luke's pure, unambiguous triumph. There is an integrity as a vidder in trusting the song you've committed to- if it truly is the right song, it will teach you how to vid to it, nudge you into new understandings of the characters. And if it's the wrong song, well, then you add it to the ever-growing scrap heap of failed vid ideas.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-02 10:37 pm (UTC)
niyalune: (Default)
From: [personal profile] niyalune
Thank you again for both vids, and for writing up your thoughts - it's always so interesting to get a glimpse into a vidder's process for making a particular vid.

I agree that the ending works very well like this, with cutting back to the confrontation with Vader. It's just so important narratively and emotionally. And the lyrics do mention "next year", after all, so the flashforward doesn't feel out of place. I particularly love the clip that you ended the vid on, btw!

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-22 08:07 pm (UTC)
lokifan: black Converse against a black background (Default)
From: [personal profile] lokifan
"This Year" is a brutal song, but it's also a self-mocking song. The narrator, looking back on his teenage years, knows to some level that the abuse was not his fault, but he also knows that as a teenager he was a stupid teenager.

I love the way you put that! I think it's a big part of why that song is so scream-along-to-able, actually. "I played video games in a drunken haze... hurt my knuckles punching the machines." Also this video gave me a massive rush of affection for Luke so I think it definitely did its job on silly-teenager-suffers-through-to-becomes-hero :)

I missed Leia in this but I absolutely see the lack of conclusion - Leia's got hero moments with Vader but her last heroic stand is somewhere totally different! And I did enjoy you casting Han as Cathy :D

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