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Limitations On The Creative Vidding Process? - Morgan Dawn Livejournal:The Here And Now
The Here And Now
Limitations On The Creative Vidding Process?
As many of us approach our vidding deadlines and get ready for the upcoming Vividcon convention, it sparked some thoughts on the limitations of fannish video making.

We often express frustration as vidders that we have an idea of a vid - or the images for the vid itself - in our minds, but the clips aren't there. Or the song, lyrics and music do not work. This is something I have often gone through - and I know it is not a unique experience to many vidders.

But it occurred to me today that some of these frustrations also occur in the written realm where writers remark that language does not have the right words to express their thoughts or feelings. Because no matter how beautiful a language, it can fail to capture what is in the heart and mind.

This is where poetry comes in. Because poetry is an attempt to define the indefinable - the juxtaposition and combination of words in such a way (often outside grammatical structure) in order to capture a thought or a feeling that prose alone cannot express. (Let's skip the part where we point out that there are many forms of poetry - some more concrete and prose like than the rest).

So when I start to feel trapped by the medium of expression - I often will look at a vid as if it were a poem and try to free myself of my perceived limitations. Perhaps snip clips in such a way in order to reshape their meaning. Perhaps let go the literal interpretation of the lyrics (or in some case, let's toss out the lyrics altogether) in order to allow the images to speak independently of the lyrics. Or grab a few images from outside the show in order to highlight a broader perspective. Or, like a haiku, stay strictly within a limited set of images from the show, but use those limited images in a tightly controlled way to heighten their effect (ex. the repeat of an image over and over).

But whatever a vidder chooses, the exact method used to manipulate the medium is not as important to this discussion as the attempt to break loose from the medium and allow the story or the mood or the idea behind the vid to shine through. Videos will always be imperfect - but that is what makes them noteworthy and unique. No one will ever put down your thoughts/vision/stories in exactly the same way (clip thieves and plagiarists excluded) that you do. And like poetry, whether you are successful in reaching and tapping into someone else's mind will always be highly subjective. So to me, vidding is like casting a bottle of my thoughts and feelings into the ocean. It is matter of faith that it will be found and read and understood.

Of course, perhaps I am being too serious about this. Maybe the Hokey Pokey is really what it's all about.


10 comments or Leave a comment
boniblithe From: boniblithe Date: July 27th, 2004 02:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love your analogy of vid = poem. Some of the most jarring moments in vids, for me, are when I'm watching all swept along in the imagery and then the vidder tries to jam some narrative in there, something that on the surface fits the lyric or whatever but in the overall flow of things, just jangles all wrong, loses the mood, the idea, the clarity by trying to tell a story with too many images or too many cuts instead of letting my brain fill in the blanks.
morgandawn From: morgandawn Date: July 27th, 2004 03:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
yes, and what I found most amusing was that the clips I was so sure were so poetic were jarring to some. And the jarring clips (mutter, mutter, have to shove some damn clip into this spot) have elicited the strongest positive reaction from people.

So like poetry - it must operate on a meta or subliminal level. Only I don't know if people are being told to buy my brand of Doritos or run to the nearest McDonald's instead.
stewardess From: stewardess Date: July 27th, 2004 04:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Interesting. When you get stuck creatively, no matter what the medium, trying to get out of the medium does help. Whenever I get stuck, and I've heard many other people express it the same way, it's because what I'm trying to say isn't clear to me yet. So I have to work on making it clear to myself, and then the images or words or music to express it will come almost naturally.

The best bit of writing advice I have found was from Ross Macdonald, who wrote, "You can find the words to say anything." And when you start to think about that, you realize your problem is that you don't know what you are saying. *g*

Another thing that helps is framing it as an explanation, which is why collaborative work is so wonderful. It forces you to express what you are trying to accomplish clearly to another person. Sometimes when I'm stuck I imagine I am trying to explain the scene to someone over the phone.

morgandawn From: morgandawn Date: July 27th, 2004 05:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
excellent points. The give and take of collaboration really pushes some vids into new territory. because if you're still at the pre-verbal stage, the vid may end up going nowhere.
From: sockkpuppett Date: July 27th, 2004 05:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I often will look at a vid as if it were a poem and try to free myself of my perceived limitations. Perhaps snip clips in such a way in order to reshape their meaning. Perhaps let go the literal interpretation of the lyrics (or in some case, let's toss out the lyrics altogether) in order to allow the images to speak independently of the lyrics.

I wouldn't have thought to put it this way, but this is what I do when I'm stuck. Actually even when I'm not stuck. I go into a vid with an idea, and, in order for the vid to work, I have to allow the idea to evolve. I joke and say that I "throw clips up there to see if they stick," but what I'm really doing is letting my subconscious run with the vid. When I do this, the ideas sort themselves out. That's what I mean when I say I'm in "vid farr" -- I'm not consciously fretting over it anymore; I'm letting it run on its own. I aim for vid farr every time I make a vid. It's like *crack*.

Even if the Hokey Pokey is what it's all about, there's no reason to sell it short. :)
morgandawn From: morgandawn Date: July 27th, 2004 05:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
LOL. Come dance the Hockey Pockey with me at Club Vivid. It will become our new vid mascot song.
mystic_savage From: mystic_savage Date: July 27th, 2004 05:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
And there are many different kinds of poetry that attempt to do different things. There are imagists, epic poets, ode writers, and then just those poets (like Marianne Moore) who like to play with words as puzzle pieces. Great analogy!
gattagrigia From: gattagrigia Date: July 28th, 2004 04:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hail the minds that think alike, and the ideas that come round again!

Back in the mists of time (1993 to be exact), there was an attempt at a vidder's newsletter called Rainbow Noise (mailed! with a stamp! on paper!), for which I wrote an article about vids as audio-visual poetry. A version was also included in MC2 or MC3, I think.

Herewith were my thoughts on

"Audio/Visual Poetry

Music videos pulled me into fandom. I watched a series of Blake's 7 songvids produced by MVD, and became intrigued with the characters and plotlines. Some of them did not make much sense. I eventually collected the 52 hours of B7, and now the B7 songvids not only make sense, they make poetry.

Traditional poetry has the capacity to illuminate a Truth via the intersection of word-meaning and word-sound that comprise the poem. Songvids can do the same, adding a music layer, a visual layer, and a story layer to the rhythm and meaning of the words of a song. This multi-dimensional junction can provide a shortcut for a viewer about characters or storylines of a particular program."

Now that I've been exposed to so much more than I'd seen then, sometimes I can forgo the words, and I still get poetry - a very satisfying shortcut to some emotional nexus in my psyche.

Looking forward to seeing you at VVC!

morgandawn From: morgandawn Date: July 29th, 2004 03:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love it! I also think you touched on a key issue: that the more you read (or the more vids you watch), the more abstract you allow yourself to become. I watch myself 'training' or illustrating vids to new viwers - it is like a coded language.

am so glad you'll be at the con. I wish Tina was coming - then we could do poetry readings with music vids playing against the wall. We's stand, all clad in black, with the audience watching us with languid eyes as they sipped expresso. A counterpoint to Club Vivid.

Yeats set to one of Lum's Angel vids.......

heresluck From: heresluck Date: August 6th, 2004 05:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
...the more you read (or the more vids you watch), the more abstract you allow yourself to become.

I hadn't thought of it this way, but yeah, this makes sense -- I know I've certainly evolved away from a slavish devotion to literal narratives (if not literal clip choices per se) and am slowly becoming more comfortable with making (as well as watching) vids that work in different ways.
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