Documenting the vidders: A conversation with Bradcpu

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Documenting the vidders: A conversation with Bradcpu
Interviewer: Counteragent, edited by Francesca Coppa and Julie Levin Russo
Interviewee: Bradpcu
Date(s): 2012
Medium: online
Fandom(s): fandom, vidding
External Links: interview is here
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Contents

In 2012, Counteragent interviewed Bradpcu for an issue of Transformative Works and Cultures.

Some Excerpts

It started for me the same way that I suspect it has for many other vidders: hearing music and seeing clips from TV shows in my head, lining up with the music and lyrics of the song.

Back when Angel season 1 was airing, I remember watching the scene in the episode "Five By Five" in which Faith is dancing and fighting, and picturing that scene mixed with shots from her whole character arc to that song. The idea kept gnawing at me, and at one point I thought about looking into the cost of mixing equipment (the kind that was used at TV stations at the time) in order to make it. But the years went by, and it faded a bit.

In 2007, an online friend who, like me, was into writing Firefly fan fiction, suggested I give vidding a try. I had never even heard of vidding, much less seen a vid. She sent me software and instructions, and I literally followed her step-by-step e-mail for how to make a clip and place it in Windows Movie Maker, in order to make my first vid. Yeah, I made about 10 more in the next two months. This is your brain on vid farr.

I think I was three vids in before I ever watched a vid by someone else. I got a lot less awful after doing so. Imagine that.
I think meta vids are arguments, or statements, and like all such things, they invite agreement and disagreement (or confusion, if they're poorly made). And because they focus on subject matter and source material and people about which most of us are very very passionate, they invite very strong agreement and disagreement.

That's why I think meta vids that make their points in an especially effective, impactful way are among the most admirable of all fannish creations. They can be evocative and uniquely powerful. But using beloved images and actors and shows to make a statement to/about the audience can also be a risky thing. It can be easy for vids like that to come across as the vidder having warped the beloved images in order to use them in a selfish and insulting way.

I've watched a metavid before and felt angry and hurt because I felt the vidder took the images out of context specifically to make them seem socially reprehensible, while ignoring the clips within the same scenes that ruin the argument. Then I quietly listened to everyone react with "Wow, that show and everyone involved with it is the devil!" (Paraphrasing, but you get the idea. I hope.) I honestly hope no one has ever felt that way about one of my vids.
I've always found Firefly a bit bittersweet because, despite all of the joy surrounding the show and the fandom, it only lasted a half-season (plus a glorious but quite downbeat movie) and that Firefly—the one the fans all fell in love with—is never coming back. Not the way it was. So in a sense it's like celebrating a memory. When friends tell me they're about to watch Firefly for the first time, I always feel a mixture of envy and sympathy.
Remixers are pretty awesome, aren't they? While making "CITIHALL*," I remember certain other shows being renewed over cries of "NOOOooooOOOO!" from the shows' hardcore viewers—fan bases that had been propping up (and, some would say, having an influence on the canon) for years. I was somewhat baffled, both by the renewals and the reactions. Then those fan bases immediately went gaga once again over the shows once they returned to the air. I definitely do not claim to understand The TV Powers That Be or fandom. Sometimes they seem difficult to separate. Sure is fun to vid, though!
The gender divide is definitely something that's not easy to miss. I'm drawn to vid mostly female characters and 'ships, and the opposite is true for most of the people I've run across in vidding. Feminism and m/m slash are more popular topics among my vidder friends than TV shows or fandom itself. I certainly don't see any of that as a bad thing (!), it's just hard to miss the fact that I'm very clearly a minority in the community. There have been times when I've been in a group of vidders and they've made some angry, sweeping generalizations about men, specifically about men my age and my race and my sexuality, apparently without realizing I was even there. I suppose that's a compliment, now that I think about it, but at the time I just felt rather alone. Those situations have been the (very rare) exceptions, though. Through vidding, I've met some of the best friends of my life. And I've never felt as though I belong somewhere as much as I do here.