I Put You There

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Title: I Put You There
Creator: Laura Shapiro and Lithiumdoll
Date: 2006
Format: digital vid
Genre: metavid
Fandom: BtVS
Footage: BtVS, original animated footage
URL: streaming version with closed caption at DotSub; Download at Laura Shapiro's site

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This vid was released at Vividcon 2006, closing the Premieres show. In it, an animated fangirl sings of her love for Giles and her ability to capture him--and engage him--through her own imagination and creativity vis a vis vidding. Laura Shapiro came up with the concept, and Lithiumdoll created the animations and did the editing. The vid is frequently cited in discussions of meta vids, and was shown at the DIY Video Summit. In the summer of 2013, the vid was selected to be part of the vidding segment in the New York Museum of the Moving Image exhibition "Cut Up".


"In the context of a collection about metalepsis, a discussion of vidding might begin with "I Put You There" by Laura Shapiro and LithiumDoll, a particularly relevant contribution to the emerging canon of metavids—vids about vidding and the female fan community itself. In "I Put You There," the vidders create an original animated fangirl character who literally draws herself into the narrative of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and specifically into a relationship with the character Giles—and who at the same time brings Giles into her story: "You're in this here song with me, 'cause I put you there."

"I Put You There" is thus notably different from many if not most other instances of metalepsis. While the transgression of the boundary between story world and real world is familiar, this transgression is engineered not by the show's writers or directors but by two of its viewers, and the animated 'real world' is as obviously constructed as the live-action story world. We have, then, multiple boundaries and transgressions: not just the boundary between narrative and reality, but an even more complicated set of boundaries between creators and consumers. The vid becomes a space in which the vidders use metalepsis to transform themselves—and, by extension, all fangirls—from audience into authors.

For although the vid focuses on a single show and character, it is clearly intended—and has been widely received within the vidding community—as universal; it represents "a kind of love every fangirl knows," as Laura Shapiro writes in her description of the vid. "I Put You There" can therefore be understood as a specific instance of metalepsis that has resonated with vidders and vidwatchers in part because it literalizes the ways in which all vids are to some degree metaleptic: they enable viewers to intervene in the story, to have their way with the narrative."[1]

"Video artists Laura Shapiro and Lithiumdoll took footage from the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other sources to create a new narrative about a female fan‘s love for the character of Rupert Giles (played by Anthony Stewart Head). Using animation and creative editing, they added their new character to existing Buffy footage. They titled the resulting work I Put You There; the "I" was the fan-author, and the "you" was Giles. The narrator, who stands in for fans of many stripes, claims control over the original text. The video enacts and comments on fans‘ propensity to appropriate and rework existing texts. I Put You There is part of a long tradition of reworking mass media productions as a way of talking back to popular culture using its own highly persuasive images. Here, the form is known as "vidding" or "fan video."[2]