Apr. 29th, 2017

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)
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.
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)
Title: Science Fiction Double Feature
Fandom: Star Wars A New Hope/ Star Wars The Force Awakens (geddit? It's a double feature!)
Vidder: seekingferret
Song: "Science Fiction Double Feature" by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
Content Notes: Canonical Major Character Death, Violence
Length: 2:29
Responsible for the lack of consistent title block from vid to vid: seekingferret
Summary A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, God said let there be lips. And there were, and they were good.
Created For: [personal profile] niyalune [community profile] equinox_exchange Spring 2017
Acknowledgements: thanks for [personal profile] thirdblindmouse for betaing!
Originally posted: here on AO3



My primary vid for Equinox was "Science Fiction Double Feature", a Star Wars fanvid to the Me First and the Gimme Gimmes punk cover of the opening song from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I'm really pleased with how it turned out, how it's informed both by the Star Wars fandom meta side and by the Rocky Horror fandom meta side as it tells a story about the cyclical nature of media franchises and scifi as a genre in general- the literal 'double feature' in my vid is A New Hope and The Force Awakens, the iconic original film that is itself a transparent remix of things like the classic Flash Gordon serials, and the awesome new remix of the original film.


So... my relationship with Rocky Horror is complex. I was first introduced to it at nerd camp, where a costumed performance of "Sweet Transvestite" was a Second Saturday ritual and where quite a few of the campers knew the callbacks by heart. Because of its association with nerd camp, and because my friends enjoyed it, I watched it with nerd camp friends several times in the years after we left nerd camp- it was a habitual part of our reunions.

My opinion on RHPS, as a film, is simple: I think it's terrible and I think once you get to the Floor Show it becomes unwatchably terrible. That said, it can be fun to watch the earlier parts with good friends, and some of the callbacks are amusing. And for a movie that I dislike, it has a lot of good memories attached to it.

And I do resonate with the opening song and with the movie's idea of looking back nostalgically at early 20th century B movie SF. Which, not coincidentally, is what Star Wars, released only 2 years after Rocky Horror, is also doing- though they're tonally completely different, they're nostalgic about the exact same movies! I make a lot of vids where I find some inexplicable and surprising connection between two disparate fandoms/memes/themes, but that's not what this is. This is a vid about the very real nostalgia that drove the creation of both Star Wars and Rocky Horror. And how that cycle of nostalgia has looped around to the point where, cashing in on nostalgia for Star Wars, JJ Abrams created The Force Awakens as a coherent, recognizable remix of Star Wars.

I'm super pleased with so many of the lyric matches- Han and Chewie as Fay Wray and King Kong, Obi Wan as the Invisible Man, BB-88 as the Tarantula, Threepio as Anne Francis in both verses, Peter Cushing's Tarkin as Dr. X (he was, of course, cast as Tarkin because he spent so many decades playing various creature builders in various B SF films), Vader and Kylo as the Androids Fighting, and wrapping up each verse with the cantina crew as Rocky Horror fandom itself, which is to say Star Wars fandom, a crew of wonderful weirdos united by our shared obsession with skiffy. The song maps to Star Wars incredibly easily, really.

At the end I threw in a joke based on one of the Rocky Horror callbacks, because it felt necessary to acknowledge that part of the fannish experience of Rocky Horror- a twist on the Fuck the Back Row/ Fuck the Front Row/ Fuck All the Rows! callback that ends instead "Fuck Kylo Ren!" Which I figure is something everyone in Star Wars fandom ought to be able to agree about.

The opening callback in the standard Rocky script begins "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away." There is, again, in the fandom a significant connection between Star Wars and Rocky Horror. In different ways they speak to the same things. To be honest as I was vidding and listening to the song over and over I kept hearing the callbacks in my head... I'm not sure there are any other conscious references to callbacks in the vid, beyond the Fuck the Back Row joke, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were subconscious ones, places where my lyric matches are informed as much by the fannish subtext of Rocky Horror as by the actual text of the song. Certainly I had great pause about how to vid the "Brad and Janet" lines not because of who Brad and Janet represent in the film, but because of what they represent in the fannish consciousness. Anyone I tagged as Janet would carry the 'slut' moniker with her, and, for example, I definitely did not want that anywhere near Princess Leia. But I also was hesitant about tagging a male character as Janet the slut because that kind of joke is at least potentially transphobic. So certainly the fannish consciousness of Rocky Horror shaped how I approached the vid.

I made the vid before [personal profile] niyalune posted their letter, and really before looking very closely at their journal, so I was relieved when I poked at their work to find their awesome Brooklyn 9-9 vid to The Time Warp, which signaled to me that I was in the right territory. In other meta thoughts, I was amused as hell when I opened my present and found that for the second exchange in a row, I both received and gave a vid with music by the same band- in Festivids it was They Might Be Giants, this time it was Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. Both are, I think, really vid-friendly bands. TMBG because they sing songs about specific things, which can provide better grounding for vidders than songs that are just about vague romantic feelings. And Me First because their uptempo covers can give a foothold to vidders who find the slower paced originals require too much support from the images.

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