Vid it

Have you heard of vidding?

Buy the DVDs of your favorite TV show or movie. Get a kickass piece of music. Load up some software. And put together diverse images and brief clips to make a music video. Chart your love for a character or relationship, explore a theme or arc. Express your connection to the show.

Tell your own story about the story that you love. To music that you love. How cool is that?

We have the technology these days to allow pretty much anyone with a computer to respond to art if they choose — by blogging, creating fan websites and community, mashing up, posting fan fiction, costuming, vidding. I love this. What joy, to be able to respond to what moves us.

Although I’m a writer, I don’t find my kicks in fan fiction even when it involves characters or stories that I love. My heart belongs to mashups and vidding, and when I think of responding to someone else’s art, it almost always involves music. I think I love these forms so much because they give me indirect access to something I yearn to do directly, but cannot. I can play music well enough, but I’m not a musician. I’m not an artist. But if I cannot create my own music, I can still choose to create something original and meaningful (to me) with someone else’s music.

Some feel that using images and music in this way is stealing. And technically, in fact, it is. But although I am a hedgehog (very prickly) about many aspects of nicking someone else’s art (see this, for example), in the case of using art to respond to art, well, I’m all for it. Nicola talked recently about fan fiction, and I agree with her — we should all be free to play. We should all be free to show our joy. We shouldn’t steal unpublished work, and we shouldn’t steal the financial benefits of published work. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. Any artist who believes they can maintain total control over every comma or pixel or note of their work is dreaming — and so why would anyone start that fight over a three-minute music video that does nothing but show love?

This is the best vid I know of, made by y-fish. It uses clips from Firefly and Serenity, and the song “Defying Gravity” from the Broadway show Wicked. I think it’s great. If you like it, let her know.

(And if you visit y-fish’s LiveJournal, be sure to note that the first comment on this vid is from Joss Whedon, the creator (along with Tim Minear) of Firefly and Serenity, who is totally non-grumpy about this use of his work. About this love.)

I wish there were a way to respond like this to a novel or short story. Imagine. Wow. If someone did something like this in response to my work, I would cry like a baby and count myself blessed.

5 thoughts on “Vid it”

  1. When Dangerous Space came in the mail I read hungrily, but I couldn’t continue to read that month. Too much life crashing around my head meant I was already too washed through by feelings to feel more! Later when I went back to read more, I found after each story I didn’t want to journal or describe reactions. I painted instead. In response to your stories, I reached for movement with watercolors across a clean white page. Weeks later I looked at those pages in a pile and then added a few words with ink, ran the letterforms right through the colors, whatever occurred to me as I revisited your stories through my painted responses.

    It’s not vidding. Seems almost embarrassingly old-fashioned somehow, except quiet doesn’t really feel like quiet to me until there’s no electricity involved, and I do savor what rises into quiet. I felt kind of monk-like, dabbing color, bent over words with a bottle of ink and nib pen, enjoying savoring my responses my own way, exploring those images and emotions that entered my life through the pages you created.

    It’s amazing where and how art travels, isn’t it?

  2. Well, I’m officially crying like a baby.

    Sometimes I think that all I want from my art is to touch the deepest parts of myself. And sometimes I think all I want is to touch other people deeply in some way. But perhaps it’s that I want to… resonate, maybe? Reverberate? That’s how I think of vidding, and that’s certainly how I think of what you’ve described.

    This is so lovely, Jean. Thank you. I really appreciate it.

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