On inclusion and exclusion in vidding fandom: personal reflections

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Title: On inclusion and exclusion in vidding fandom: personal reflections
Creator: bop radar
Date(s): August 20, 2009
Medium: online
External Links: On inclusion and exclusion in vidding fandom: personal reflections; Archive for page one; page two; Archive for page two; page three; Archive for page three
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

On inclusion and exclusion in vidding fandom: personal reflections is a post by bop radar.

This post references Vividcon 2009: Some observations about race, gender, and accessibility.

Topics Discussed

  • fandom inclusion and exclusion
  • AMV
  • vidding as a medium and vidding as a fandom
  • BNFs
  • "LiveJournal-centric vidding" vs other vidding traditions
  • the female history of fanvids
  • race and privilege
  • an example of the tightrope fans walk when commenting in someone else's journal with a difference of opinion, specifically if one is considered a BNF
  • failing better
  • fannish mentoring
  • some Vividcon history
  • feedback and concrit
  • is it too hot in Chicago during August?

Excerpts from the Essay

I've been composing this post in my head for a long, long time. Months. But it's come to a head for several reasons. I've held back from making it because I thought it was just 'my' issue and because I have a great deal of love and respect for the Livejournal/VVC-centred vidding commmunity/fandom, both as a whole and the individuals who make it up.

The specific trigger for this post is laurashapiro's post on race, gender and accessibility--my thanks to her for making it, even if I don't agree with all that is said. While my post is not specifically about race or gender, it touches on both issues. It is. however, deeply personal, and I'm aware of that. This is my own personal view and I don't expect anyone to agree with me.

I've become increasingly uncomfortable about the politics of inclusion and exclusion within the community, and specifically at Vividcon. You might say I have no right to speak about Vividcon because I have never attended. That is true. I am told it is wonderful, and I believe that. I am told everyone is lovely. I believe that. That doesn't stop the institution being problematic.

These are my five things I wish that LJ/VVC-based fandom would remember. I use 'we' in this post, throughout, because for better or worse and whether other people accept me or not I consider myself part of this community and I am as much of the problem as anyone else.
1. We're not the only vidding tradition. We may be the oldest and the 'original' and I have hushed on this subject out of respect for that. I love the tradition! I'm a woman, I'm a slash fan (at least at times), I love the history. But there are a lot of other vidding communities out there.


2. Vidding is by its nature a privileged act. It costs money to vid. Sorry, but it does. Even if you pirate everything you need access to some basic hardware--either through your own money or through a family member or friend. That means most of the citizens of this world do not have the opportunity to exercise the privilege we do.


3. We're not all women. In LJ/VVC we tend to be women. But that's not the case in other communities!


4. We're not all in the US. This one has the biggest consequences for me personally. And perhaps for that reason (we're all biased!) if I had to name the biggest blindness of this fandom it would be geography. Closely followed by language. I understand that most people in the community are in the US, but would it pay people to stop and check sometimes before assuming that?


5.Stop pretending to a diversity we don't have. It's admirable to encourage diversity, but often I find the efforts to do so--like this year's Vividcon theme--tokenistic and embarrassing. We're not inclusive!


On popularity, criticism and the fannish middle ground I should acknowledge that this fandom is the most wank-free fandom I have ever been in. *glances at Smallville and BSG* Mostly people are super-polite and careful to avoid upsetting people. However there also seem to be a lot of unspoken, unacknowledged politics.


What can we do? The only person I can really speak for here is myself, and I've been trying to define for myself what I can personally do to make a difference. This is the list I've come up with: 1. Stop deifying people. [snipped] 2. Speak up even if it makes you unpopular. [snipped] 3. Be generous with your time and attention. [snipped]

4. Don't assume.

Excerpts from the First Page of Comments to This Post (total: 511)

Seeing and reading this post made me want to cheer so I wanted to drop a quick line. I have been thinking about inclusion in/exclusion from the vidding community since before I started vidding and talking about it privately for a year now, but I never would have been brave enough to make this post because I don't feel qualified or accepted enough to comment on vidding fandom. And I blamed this feeling on myself for quite awhile, chalked it up to being intimidated and insecure, and that's part of it, but the root of the whole thing is that the entire structure of the vidding community is set up to make you feel like you don't have anything to offer until you're no longer a newbie (and I have no idea when that is!) I think a lot of people in this community don't WANT newbies because they don't want people who value different things changing any of the "standards" that have been set by a few big names + consensus. Whatever the professed feelings of individual vidders, this is the feeling I get from the collective community. Which is what it is, all communities are exclusionary to some degree, but you call yourself and are perceived as "the vidding community" so I think the fact that people who make and enjoy vids feel like they can't/don't know how to/don't want to enter it highly problematic. (I'll work on using the collective "we". :D) And it has a very specific idea of itself and is very closed to anyone who doesn't subscribe to that view, and even closed to people who may actually subscribe to it but have to prove themselves so somehow first. Like you, I don't know where that glass ceiling is (since I, personally, feel nowhere near it) but I can feel that it's there. I find it very much reflective of my feelings on all this that while I think this entire post is incredibly brave, I thought the most controversial thing you said was that meta dense vids that demand intelligence and engagement are rare in the context of post about VVC. I may be off base here, but I always got the feeling that most people believe this is where those vids ARE (and thus that they rarely exist in other contexts).
bop radar:
I feel that one fundamental acknowledgment that needs to be made is that in being non-fandom-specific Vividcon (and the community centring on it) promotes vids that aren't TOO fandom-y (or only fandom-y in the largest more popular fandoms) so everyone can 'get' them. Vids that play well to someone with peripheral knowledge of a show but don't say anything new to people that know it intimately. There are some vids that are THE SHIT in their own fandoms: get pages and pages of comments, because they really capture that zeigeist and match the perfect song to the perfect ship, for instance. They may not even get a nod from the vidding community elite because either they don't know about them or they see them as being too .. I'm not even sure what the word is... but specific to that fandom at that place in time. What's so wrong about making a vid that pleases your audience? I think a lot of times people don't stop and think that there is a difference between making vids for the vidding community and making vids for a specific fandom. Or making ones for two or three of your friends that have a really specific kink! How can you say those latter vids aren't successful or 'good' if they make your audience euphorically happy?
sherrold :
For a vid to show at vividcon, someone has to show it. For Premieres, Club Vivid and Nearly New (and that's 7+ hours), the vidder submits it. For the other shows, people can recommend vids -- and generally I get an underwhelming amount of recs, so when I'm VJ'ing a show, I'm likely to go with the vids I know. (And yeah, I watch around, but it's a big internet out there.) Volunteer to VJ shows (and if you live in Australia, I bet if you asked, Elyn would let you VJ with someone who was going to be there); recommend vids to shows once they're announced. The main impediments are things like time and attention and inertia.
FYI, I so totally would let non-attendees compose shows! We do that already with Non-attending Premieres, which specifically has a non-attending member order the playlist. I would love to have even more breadth of variety and fandoms at VVC, and pull in more vids that are new to a lot of people. VJing is intimidating, and then there's the aftermath of "did they like it? Did I do a good job?" I myself am very wary of doing so, and when I do, I work hard to make the show something other than "vids by my friends." But Sandy is right, one of the places we fail (or people fail us?) is in getting suggestions for the shows. I'd really love it if more people sent in suggestions.
And I want to thank you for your part in the post-con conversation; it's been enlightening for me, in ways that I think will strengthen VVC, and have shown how many (from my POV) misconceptions and misunderstandings there are about the con, as well as simply how we are perceived, and possibly why those perceptions are out there. For instance, it just never occurred to me that so many people in vidding these days have never known a fannish time when VVC wasn't there, and don't know that when we started, it was The Place to Show Vids, because we didn't really have streaming vids, people were really just beginning to do a lot of hosting and dloading of vids, and if you wanted to see vids, you either had to know someone who had/made them, or go to a con. Very different world! *g*
bop radar:
it just never occurred to me that so many people in vidding these days have never known a fannish time when VVC wasn't there *nods* I had to educate myself about it when I started a few years ago. It seemed like it had been there forever. New vidders may also be completely confused about why older vidders have locked sites or don't stream their vids. I know why, historically, but nowadays that comes across as elitist. Not to me personally, but I have had conversations with newer vidders along these lines where I had to explain that those older vidders didn't mean it that way at ALL.
Yeah, the "to lock or not" convo was hashed and rehashed years ago. For some older vidders, they don't even have most of their vids in digital form, which is another barrier. Some don't vid anymore, and others are out there, but not necessarily as well known, if only because some of them may only make one or two vids a year. It's fabulous that the younger/newer fans feel so comfortable with putting their vids out there, but there is a definite generation gap with those whose fannish experience started out almost entirely underground. *g*
I recc'ed a number of "the SHIT in their own fandom" vids this year (not mine) for the themed shows and not one of them got picked so I feel like a lot of the VJ's picked what they knew. To me, that resulted in a lot of vids looking the same.
Speaking for the meta vidshow, there were a few vids I did not like, but used them in the vidshow because they fit and I'd hoped would generate discussion. If I VJed the show according to my tastes, it would have been a far, far, far different vidshow.
You know, the more I think about it, the more I think this is largely the issue re: this particular kind of exclusiveness. There's a difference between vidding as a medium and vidding as a fandom. It often seems like in the VVC-centered vidding community (the vidding "fandom"), vidding has become largely a way to talk to other vidders, and the source is almost like the medium, rather than the real point. Does that make any sense? The source is chosen for the way it can be used to say a particular thing to other vidders in a way that most everyone can grasp on an initial viewing so people can talk about the narrative, the form, the editing, the methods--but not necessarily to primarily focus on the insights the vid gave into the source.

Whereas with vids that rely heavily on knowledge of a source, vidding is really merely the medium, chosen rather than, say, fic for the way it allows certain things to be said in a certain way to other fans. But the real point is insight about the source. These are obviously hugely broad general categories and I don't think either way is better or worse and obviously there's lot of room for both, infinite combinations, and for vids doing entirely different things. And many of these kinds of canon-based vids don't work at a con, and obviously it makes sense that they don't. But I hate the implication/unspoken assumption that this means they are a lesser form of vid.

I don't see vidding as a point in and of itself, nor do I see it as a way to engage with a specific community of cool people, though I can see how it could be both of those things and be awesome. For me, it's a way of engaging with something I love and a way of talking to other people who love it too. And mostly I am simply thrilled when I make a vid (I made a vid!) and people I do or don't know from that fandom get it and like it--that's what it's for. I do and will vid for myself and will continue to vid whatever I want whether three people watch or 100 people watch; that's absolutely not what any of this is about.
bop radar:
I'll share a dream of mine: I dream of an online convention, where any vidders can participate, no matter where they live. But then I think: ok, but what about language? how do we get the word out there? how do we understand one another? It's so hard. I admit it is an idealised world that doesn't exist.
It's an almost entirely different world these days than when VVC started in 2002. You have fandom on LJ, Youtube, embedded streaming, every fandom has its own vidding-specific comms, everything is spread out and disconnected in some ways and FABULOUS. So many fans have only experienced fandom and vidding the way it exists now, and don't even know what it is they aren't seeing/getting/understanding about how things got here, and that is leading to at least some of the misunderstandings and very different perceptions of things....When VVC started in 2002, it was the place to show vids, and it developed out of a tradition where the place people usually showed and saw vids were at cons, in single vidshows. Vid tapes were mailed around, so you could see them, but you had to know someone who had them, first. LJ was in its infancy, and fandom hadn't yet moved to it in such great numbers. We were mostly on mailing lists, and mostly "segregated" by fandoms.

VVC was one of the first places where it didn't matter what fandom you were vidding, whether your vid had a het relationship or a slash one (some folks at slash cons felt only slash vids should air, Media West segregated slash vids into a late-night ghetto), whether it was a more thinky living room vid, or a con vid intended to be enjoyed by an audience and "gotten" in one viewing. And yes, it was representative of a growing fanbase for vids as vids, not just vids of whatever particular fandom you were in.

Mind you, most of us still love seeing "our" people from "our" shows in vids; there are always trends of more popular fandoms at VVC, in themed shows and in Premieres. But fandom has changed a lot in the last 8 years, vidding fandom has grown and changed with it, and so has VVC. Clearly we have more changing to do, and comments like yours are really helpful in letting me see both my own assumptions and preconceptions, and where we aren't communicating our policies and such as clearly as we need to.
bop radar:
So I really don't mean most of this as a reflection on the con. And I don't mean to say the con should change or anything. People adore it and have done so for many years! I think being fans of vidding as vidding is awesome, but I think the fact that that is the primary shared language tends to drift into a certain way of talking or thinking about vids that takes on an air of authority simply by virtue of the fact that VVC and the surrounding community is just the largest and loudest and most cohesive voice speaking about vidding (in my little neck of the woods). I realize there's a huge amount of diversity of opinion within that community, but I think it does exude a commonality of opinion on a lot of default vidding norms. Which again I don't lay at the feet of the con or the people involved; it's at the feet of all of us who perhaps haven't unpacked a lot of assumptions. Most people (including me) accept it on unspoken terms laid out by participants who've been going for years and which perhaps they don't even realize they're setting. Vidding is bigger now and VVC is not all things to all vidders, and that's totally fine. Perhaps VVC and the surrounding fandom is just not for me, and that's okay and that doesn't mean I'm not a vidder. I know that sounds stupid but I couldn't have made this statement last week. :)
I think that vidding has grown so much in the last 10 years, and the people who've come in in just the last few are in an entirely different space than those of us who've watched it turn into its own fandom over those 10+ years. We're experiencing the same kind of growing pains that happened with fanfiction, and they'll happen again, and again, and again. Our very own little generation gap!...I think it's very hard to look at any community and see that it is valued by people you respect, and realize that maybe it isn't for you, and not feel that somehow the problem is you.

The problem is not you, or what you do, or how you do it. We (fans) are often too prone to speak our preferences as absolute judgments, and it's hard for many of us to wrestle our own insecurities down enough to say hey, maybe I don't need to measure myself by someone else's preferences, whether that's those of another individual, or a community.

And thank you, too, for making that distinction about whether it's necessarily about VVC, or not. It's about both, but it doesn't really mean anyone is right, or wrong.
As things change, in any area, some people will want to continue to privilege what they like best, and it's going to definitely come across like this. Like the comments about Youtube vidders -- all I could think was that it's just like how some people used to view and talk about anyone with an AOL address. AOL was one of the first really user friendly services, and led to an explosion of participation online. It opened things up, and broke open areas that had previously been reserved for people who had access in other, more exclusive ways. In the same way, Youtube has made accessing and sharing video content available to anyone, not just those with their own websites, or the technical expertise to host their own content. And yes, in both cases, the explosion led to more noise, simply because there were more people. But it also leads to higher signal -- it can just take more work to ferret it out.
diarmi :
Thank you for expressing something I think a lot lately but wouldn't find right words for. I noticed this moving from one fandom community here to LJ - I've been using word "fanvidding" before and right now only "vidding" and sometimes I'm all confused trying to explain what I'm doing to people outside the fandom, I use both and I just thought about it recently that maybe this is something in the source why I feel so uncomfortable. For me making vids is about being fan of the show or characters, expressing my feelings towards them and being more active part of community in this way (since I'm not very verbal and don't have abilities to do this in reviews except of squeeing "I love this show" lol).) I remember first seeing a vidding comm icon with this sentence "Vidding is my fandom", I was "No, I have my fandom, I just like to make vids for it" then I had a phase "Wow, it's really great", right now I really don't know...
THANK YOU. For me, US-centricity is is already an uncomfortable, frustrating and largely unacknowledged issue within the wider LJ-based media fandom, which I am not sure how to address -- being involved in fraught discussions and/or wank makes me lose sleep at night, so I tend to shut myself up a lot instead. And this general problem is made worse by the fact that VVC, as the central hub of this particular subset of vidding fandom, is physically based in the US, for all the reasons you name.
This is so true, and I'm not sure how many US-based fans even realise how much it colours almost every aspect of online fandom. I'm certain some of them do, but considering how much these things happen, or how often the same things are said to non-US fans, a hell of a lot just don't realise. It can be something as minor as being on the other side of the world when a good discussion or chat is ongoing and being unable to participate because you're asleep or at work. Or being constantly spoiled because we are never going to get everyone over there to realise that some of us just need a few hours to download and watch the show. We're no longer stuck in the days where we had to wait for the show to crawl its way out here or for a fandom friend to send a tape over, but sadly, even an hour after broadcast people are posting uncut spoilers (or, hilariously, spoiler cuts that are spoilers themselves). And a lot of people just say "Well, stay off the net, then!" which, hey, nice. We're talking about inclusion and exclusion here, remember? I'm all for keeping my head low when something's aired that I really don't want ruined, but if I did that for every show, I'd rarely be online.
0mindthegap0 :
I.... I really love this post. Especially acknowledging that there are now many different communities out there and many more subfactions of those. Youtube is a great big sprawling treasure trove, and I suspect one of the main reasons it's looked down on by many traditionalists is because it's so big. Being easily accessible goes directly against the traditional 'cloak and dagger' approach of hiding away from mainstream attention. Either way of going about your vidding is perfectly fine, but that doesn't make one more valid than the other.

Aesthetically, there seems to be one very large community on youtube which has its own particular style (I'm bad at describing these things, but you probably know what I'm talking about), and a different way of approaching and coding the text. Learning how to 'read' the creative output from a different culture can be difficult. And because of the sheer wealth of vids there, the quality of each one can be extremely hit and miss, and it can be intimidatingly scary to navigate through it all. One thing about the VVC community staying small-ish is that you can still keep tabs on everyone fairly easily.

That said, I really would love to see more recs from other communities from you. A lot of us don't have the bravery/determination to nose around that far.

The privilege and racefail that will continue to make this community prolematic is something I also feel uncomfortable talking about most of the time. This corner of fandom's been extremely active in that sort of conversation lately thanks to That Incident earlier this year, but it still rubs me the wrong way to see a community that is vastly very white speaking with such an air of authority.

Yes, making the effort to educate yourself on and discuss privilege is a good thing, but I've felt like my opinion wouldn't matter so much because I am not as well educated as the people leading the discussion. I'm probably in a better position through personal experience to have a pretty good idea, but there is an elaborate terminology being used which can alienate the very people we're discussing like special fucking snowflakes. It's a discussion being very often led from a place of privilege. Have a hard look at your own community before criticising your tv shows for making the same mistakes.
...there's not one big youtube vidding community like there is one LJ vidding community it's divided into lots of small coms (amv makers, sports highlights makers, trailer makers...) so I don't think we can talk about one aesthetic. Unlike in LJ though I think the male/female ratio is close to 50/50. Also on average feedback is not as detailed and articulate as it is on LJ.
0mindthegap0 :
Certainly I agree that there is a different aesthetic on YouTube. One I sometimes find 'better' for some types of vids, to be honest.

It's definitely better for AUs and a lot of crossovers. I can get really blown away by so many people's colour work and extensive masking, for example, which you just don't see so much here.

These are perfectly valid form of vidding, and I've noticed some talk In Other Places recently about dismissing streaming vids that are visually flashy as less worthy. This is one view on the subject, but to categorically say what makes a 'good' vid mainly just shows what that person wants themself in a vid. A lot of that seemed to boil down to whether you approach it from a writer's perspective or a visual arts perspective, but obviously that's still grossly oversimplifying.

I watch a lot of Asian cinema (Korean martial arts movies and Bollywood epics being two of my favourite genres), but I hesitate to vid them because they aren't my culture. I still don't know if that is right or wrong.

Obviously it's a sensitive issue and everyone has their own opinions, and I'm Only Speaking For Myself, but I find that the people who are the most concerned about cultural appropriation are the least likely to commit appropriation!fail. If you have the knowledge of and passion for a genre, then I certainly don't mind, but again it's really one of those YMMV things.

What's much more problematic is intentionally trying to 'cram in' people of colour to up your Diversity Cred. Especially since that's kind of grossly oversimplifying all nonwhite people into the same category mentally. The only other non-western media I've been exposed to growing up are latin american novelas - they are deeply racist too, but in different ways and for different reasons. Bollywood works similarly from what (very very) little I know of it.
bop radar:
grossly oversimplifying all nonwhite people into the same category mentally Yeah... seriously, that shit really winds me up! It's such an American thing, isn't it? I mean I know it happens a lot of other places too but I have encountered it so much more online, in this very American fannish space than anywhere else. And yes, absolutely, there are racial, social and gender issues in texts from other cultures too. But fandom has made me so painfully aware of race in a 'ohhh, look this thing is NOT WHITE' kind of way. Not in a good way! When I get fed up I tend to retreat into reading and movies where I happily engage with other cultures without making an issue out of them.
I know that I need to work on my own bias against youtube, so thank you for bringing that up. For most of what you have written here I can do nothing but nod along. *nods* Being a non-vidder I had to carve out my own little corner to play in, and it took me a while before I decided that I was part of the community whether anyone agreed with me or not. Both my vid communities were about encouraging open dialogue about vids, but the constructive-criticism issue is a tricky one for several reasons: social niceties, the possibility of defensive wank occurring (usually from friends of the vidder), even just a misunderstanding of what is actually constructive versus destructive, etc... And vidders, like anyone else, have the right to tailor their online experience as they see fit. Perhaps we just need a few more spaces encouraging dissection and open dialogue, as well as more and varied individuals talking honestly about vids (both the positive and the negative) in their own journals?
I vid for living room audiences and I was completely startled to find that this was looked down on as a secondary or inferior audience.

Um....what? This doesn't even make sense to me. Is the primary desirable audience a group of fangirls sitting in a room at Vivid Con? If so....huh? I guess now I know why you're my favorite vidder. ;) Seriously, can you explain the thinking to me? Because I don't even get it.

(Also, why is it called Vivid Con when Vivid is a major pr0n company? That has always confused me. LOL.)

Anyway, as someone who keeps wanting to make vids (and made XF vids back in VCR days), I applaud you, and think it's sad that it requires courage (which you have surely shown) just to express an opinion about something, especially when, FWIW, your opinion seems obvious and common sensical to an outsider.
What I can do is say that for some people at VVC who are longtime participants in con vidshows (dating back for 20+ years for some folks), it's recognized that there are some vids that play better to an audience, for whatever reason, than they may on individual or living room vidding, and some that may not play as well in an audience setting, but may work better and better with repeated viewing. As a definition or way of distinguishing between types, it's not a matter of one being better than the other, in any universal sense (ie, it's not trying to say All con vids are better/worse, or All living room vids ditto, etc.)

But as usual, when any kind of distinction is made, some people will prefer one type over another, and some people will decide one type is Better than another, and when you start throwing around terms like layers and subtlety and complexity and comedy and meta and such, some people are going to end up speaking as if their view is absolute. It's kind of like the impression I get that a lot of people think dark-toned fanfiction is inherently edgier and More Important than non-dark and/or humorous fanfiction. No, they're just different, with different (albeit overlapping) audiences, different styles, different tones.

Mostly, for some, it's been a shorthand to distinguish between vids that may be more WYSIWYG (not to say there aren't possible layers and complexity), and vids that may be more layered and complex, that can be overwhelming in a single viewing. For some, this is inherently a value statement, for others of us, not so much.

One crucial difference, particularly with regard to comedy vids, is timing, and this is something that came up in VVC Vid Review this year. If you're sitting alone in your living room, watching a vid, it's a v. different experience to sitting in a larger audience, where reactions build on those of other people, and something as simple as leaving time after a joke/comic shot for reaction before moving on to another shot can make a huge difference. The timing might seem off, watched solo, but seem perfect when watched in a group. It's an aspect I'd never thought about.
As I remember it, and whoa, this makes me feel so old, but I'm pretty sure the initial goal was to make a pun on VCR. In fact, I'm pretty sure the name was "Vivid Constructed Realities"--i.e VCR (in fact, the Vividcon LLC may yet be named that). Hence Vividcon--and of course, within two years, the VCR was a dodo technology. *G*
The original organization name was indeed "Vivid Constructed Realities"; when astolat turned it into a legal LLC (which I believe happened after the first con, when it was clear we'd do a second one), she changed the name for what I assume are legal reasons. But the whole thing was a play on VCR, because in 2002, that's how we distributed vids. That's why the con llama has a videotape under his paw, too.

It's sort of staggering to realize that by *one year later*, vid distribution had switched to DVDs. We were one year off the cusp.

(It's all in Fanlore. *G*) (Well, not the original name thing. But the switch from tapes to DVDs. Because it really showcased how fast things were changing in those early days.)
I think the issue of con vids vs. living room vids is actually significantly less relevant to the way people approach premiering vids now than it used to be. Vids that seek to work specifically for con audiences are most often comedy vids, lighthearted vids, or very broad recruiter vids, and there isn't much of that in the premiering vidshows these days. (Every year the VVC Premieres VJs say, "please send us your comedy vids! Pleeeease!" Which maybe finally paid off this year, as it felt like there were more comedy vids this year than in recent years.)

I think that a lot, if not most, of the vidders I know who submit to VVC realize their vids have to have a shelf life beyond the vidshow. For my part, I don't think I've ever really considered how a vid is going to play to a con audience vs. an audience of one; the vids are going to be around on the con DVDs just about forever (at least, "forever" in fannish terms), so if they only work in the vidshow, I've succeeded for a couple minutes and then failed indefinitely.

As for this: Well I've been told I couldn't possibly tell whether a Club Vivid vid was good or bad because I haven't been IN THE ROOM DANCING.

Seriously, someone said that to you? The truth of the matter is that most of the people dancing at Club Vivid don't see the vids. It's a crowded room and the screens aren't particularly elevated, and if you're on the dance floor, you have just the tiniest shot in hell of actually seeing what it is you're dancing to. I watched the Club Vivid vids on DVD last night and most of them I was seeing for the first time - and I think that's true for most people who dance at CV. And hey, a lot of people don't dance at all, and just go to hang out and watch the vids. The vids are made to be danced to, sure, but no one has to dance to them to get something out of them.
Is there an unspoken rule that if you submit to Vividcon you should be prepared for any sort of criticism?

Well, yes. And no. Let me try to explain my point of view on this. I've been attending VVC since year one, and in the first few years, it became very clear to me that this was an environment where if you show a vid, you will hear it discussed openly in the hallways, in room parties, in group vid dissections after shows in rooms, and at vid review. And by 'discussed', I mean you will hear how people loved it, why they hated it, why it didn't work for them, what they took away from it, why it failed for them. This discussion really is not for the vidder. It does not actually matter if the vidder is present, nearby, or at the con at all. This is discussion by and for the community, discussion about the thing we love, and vidders need to be prepared for that. It is a tradition going back all the way to the start of the con. It's what the con is about, from my perspective. The first vid review I attended, not all the vids were discussed. Only about five or ten, and those vids were taken apart and examined with a fine tooth comb, and I wanted desperately to make the kind of vid someone would want to discuss that way, whether they liked it, or not. I don't think this should change. I think these kinds of open discussions should continue, and I think vidders should put on a nice thick skin and get ready for it. And perhaps you are right - that should be made clearer by those who do attend the con and who are used to it.

However. Lately, I have noticed a trend toward lack of honesty or lack of crit in online discussion of vids and at VVC - ie, only positive things are said, and people seem shocked! and appalled! when something negative is said. This is actually a pronounced shift *away* from how it used to be in the vidding community ten years ago. I prefer it the way it used to be. Nowadays, I find posts with mixed reviews of vids refreshing, because they are no longer the norm, and I frankly think that's a shame. I think there are a number of vidders out there who need to hear and see a different perspective on what they are creating, so they don't become insular in their groups of friends who think their vids are wonderful. It raises the bar.
I'm a viewer, not a vidder, but I hang out mostly at AMV, though I also watch YouTube vids and LJ vids. I see them as very distinct communities - to me, AMV and LJ are as separate now as slash and yaoi fandoms used to be 10+ years ago. Entirely different cultures, and AMV vidders even show at different cons, like Japan Expo. If I had to point out specific differences, I'd say that LJ vidding fandom is US-centric (AMV is international, you can't assume English as a first language) and that the AMV starting definition of 'vid' is generally more broad, so that things like trailers and lipsynching are well populated subgenres there. Even the tech side is different, lots of MP4s at AMV as opposed to the DIVX stranglehold over LJ vid fandom.
I'm a viewer too, who started out in anime fandom. What struck me about the vidding community when I first ran across it was that it was seemed like such a narrow subset of people - nearly all women, mostly US based, focused heavily on a certain group of fandoms. And they all seemed to know each other. While there are certain major competitions and definitely big names in the AMV community, it always felt like a bigger, broader, kind of free-for-all activity that anyone could do (even in the early days, all you needed was two VCRs and a lot of patience). Every major con had a little competition, so there were more opportunities to participate. Back in the good old days of scouring P2P apps for AMVs, you often had no idea where the vids were coming from, who had made them, or even what the source material was. It was a great way to preview new or unfamiliar shows. And a lot of influence came the international anarchy of the fansub culture. People were already listening to L'Arc en Ciel and Yoko Kanno from the anime OPs and EDs, so language was never much of a barrier. Someone using Ramnstein or Bjork or Utada Hikaru could be American or German or Japanese.
1) Just to add to what Destina said: Vividcon's Vid Review panels and commitment to criticism/analysis predates Vividcon itself--it may have started at Escapade, or even before--and it mainly derives from art reviews (if anyone went to art school) or writing workshops, if you know that model, where the writer/vidder/artist must say silent and people discuss the work as honestly (even bluntly) as they can. In most other fannish spaces, most people--yes, even VVC attendees!--subscribe to a "if you haven't got anything nice to say" philosophy--but Vividcon is really kind of special and I have to say, it's probably my favorite thing in the whole con. You learn SO MUCH--or I have, anyway. The level of analysis is sometimes really breathtaking. FWIW, I have rarely heard a negative opinion go unchallenged in vid review: a person might say, "This really doesn't work for me for a, b, and c," and 95 percent of the time there'll be an argument (in the good sense, i.e. "Oh, that didn't bother me at all, because BLAH," or "Oh, I totally don't see it that way." or "But you're missing X".) Negative comments are, however, 10x as loud as positive ones, and you're unlikely in that situation to get ten times as much praise for your vid, so obv. that can be hard if your vid wasn't liked (or worse, if people were silent on it: believe it or not, the worst thing is typically the vid that nobody mentions, because there IS such a discussion culture there. It's like, wow, you didn't think there was anything there even to talk about, or you don't think anyone will have anything nice to say at all.)

2) While I'm blathering, I feel really divided about your call for mentoring, because while I have always thought that mentoring is a good idea--and that's how it used to be, you couldn't even GET to vids or vidding without a mentor to tell you where to send away for them--the lack of mentoring nowadays is partly a reaction to the recognition of your other points: that there ISN'T a single vidding community, and so who's supposed to mentor who? It could come off as patronizing, too, unless its tied to a specific thing like Vividcon, where I supposed you could argue that people who've gone before could at least name the specific assumptions, like the art review model, that underlie the con.

3) While I totally see that there are different communities, I'm not sure I think all vids are doing the same thing; okay, I'll go further and say that I don't think all vids are doing the same thing, but I'm conservative like that. An AMV and a live action vid aren't just two vids using different sources; IMO they're different animals, though there are increasingly crossovers and pinching of techniques on both sides. I think different kinds of vids value different things, and therefore that successful vids in each of the genres look different: from an AMV perspective, for instance, most live action vids are insufficiently spectacular; from a media fannish perspective, many amvs have insufficient story/argument. Again, I know that mine is a relatively conservative position--I don't feel like anyone else has to subscribe to it--but I do at least want to articulate it.
I just want to quickly touch on your 1) about concrit. I am speaking just for myself here, so please don't take it as a general view or something. Criticism where you say "a, b, c didn't work for me because" are all valid comments and you should accept those. I love such comments as it makes me aware of other people's views about something. I love discussing different views as well. By seeing things from different viewpoints, you grow. However, the way I have experienced it is that lately, when criticism is voiced publically (and I do mean here on LJ), most of the time it isn't of that kind anymore. It's the hurtful kind that offers no concrit whatsoever but comes down to a "you are too stupid to vid, so just don't do it anymore". In the case of VVC, it seems to me that when you entered your vid, you automatically gave a blanket permission to be harassed and diminished if a person didn't like your vid without that person even offering any kind of concrit at all. Comments phrased like "I don't like your music choice, so your vid is total shit" is nothing but hurtful. I know everyone has a right to their own opinion, and I certainly respect that, but in the end it's the tone that makes the music.
I think one thing that really comes out of this discussion for me is that no one thinks of themselves as the "top of the food chain", so to speak. I know certain circles describe certain people as BNVs, but that description differs so widely depending on who you're talking to, even when you're speaking in respect of one community, e.g. LJ. One particular example that really jumped out at me, for example, and I really hope the vidder doesn't mind me singling her out like this, is that I love and adore lim's work and think she is just the most awesome vidder and I would totally classify her as a BNV. So then to read her comment about how she feels like she's not a "Real Vidder" and operates on the margins of the community? That was a bit of a O_O moment. So I completely agree with what you said, about admitting that you might have status in other people's eyes whether you agree or not, and maybe changing your tone of delivery accordingly so you don't come off like the big knowledge person. By the same token, I do think it's also important to remember that people who one person thinks of as "having status" are probably not the same people that another person thinks of as "having status". That's why Chasa's comment (above or below? I get confused by the threads :P) really resonated with me. At the end of the day, it really feels like we're all just little insecure people clinging to each other in little clumps going "who's got status? Not us."
Well, the examples you gave I would still consider concrit. They don't attack the vidder personally which is something I felt was happening a lot on several different instances made in *public* review posts that came in response to VVC. It is just natural that when you watch vids in a big setting with other people, you get to talking about it. Been there myself during several fandom cons. But at least in the instance of these cons, it's sort of like, what happens there stays there. Or at least people keep it behind closed doors. I've been vidding for over 5 years, and in those 5 years I received loads of concrit (bless those people who spoke up and said something in a nice way) and only once received something that just plain attacked me as a person. In 5 years. Post-VVC, I have received quite a few personal attacks for my Premiere vid. Not because of the subject or the fandom, but because of my unconventional way of editing. So if you look at that, it does make you wonder whether you give a blanket permission to be open for personal attacks if you submit your vid to VVC. And what is sad is that in these posts, basically everyone who vidded a little different or who chose a song the watcher didn't like received a "critique" that either boiled down to "you are too stupid to vid" or "your vid is shit". Maybe it is just in the nature of these people to be like that, I don't know that. I want to believe it isn't as that would make me very sad. I would like to believe that these people just haven't learned how to word concrit because yes, you need to learn that as well as to avoid such problems.
morgan dawn:
there was this one year where the reviewers didn't know about this show called Supernatural. so they reviewed the 4 SPN vids in a group saying something like: 'wow, a lot of burning women on the ceiling . Yech. Moving on...' I was crushed. surely I deserve an individual review of how my burning women looked lamer than someone elses.
This was TOTALLY ME, and fwiw, I stand by this response: that was the first year of SPN. Those of us (many at the time) who'd never seen the show, saw four vids of muddy brown-gray footage all of which featured: a) a burning woman on the ceiling, b) a car with one headlight c) a car driving past a woman in a nurse's outfit and d) a fourth clip I can't even remember. And one vid was acbd, the next was bcda, the next was--and Lum and I did review that year, and were just totally BUH. I don't think we said anything was bad, but we were totally like, "We are out of our depth here, so you people tell US what you thought." Which most people in the audience couldn't either. In hindsight, having seen some of those vids again, I could now make distinctions--poor Killa also had a terrific vid in that group, as I remember. But at the time, we didn't have enough context.
I agree that ' narrative' vids, 'argument vids' and 'non-narrative' vids are all different genres of vids. As a viewer, I enjoy them all equally when done well. I can't speak to LJ community's bias against non-narrative vids, but it is untrue to say that AMV viewers dismiss 'insufficiently spectacular' vids, or that AMV does not have a strong tradition of narrative and argument vids. It is widely acknowledged on AMV that there are many different vid genres. In that sense, AMV is very diverse. Some viewers of AMV are techheads, some are into 'moe' and squeeful, and/or appreciate a strongly narrative character vid, or ship vid, meta or effects, karaoke vids, trailers, lip sync vids, story vids with text speech bubbled onto the vid etc etc. Certainly, AMV does also have a subgenre of 'non-narrative' vids, where the vidder chooses some insane techno track of 180 bpms and no lyrics for the sole purpose of creating an effects/editing supernova. But heck, even the AMV Viewers Awards has a category for 'Best Vid Without Effects' because there is a basic understanding that vids have different aims and intentions, and should be judged in the context of their intention. There is no 'One True Way' on AMV, just as there is no 'One True Way' on YouTube.
bop radar:
of all the vid 'communities' I watch vids in, LJ derides fannishness in vids more than any other, only certain prescribed forms of fannishness are allowed, I'd like to frame this and stick it in my original post! I covered so much so quickly, but that's something I passionately agree with and am really uncomfortable about. I often find it strange that fannishness in vids is derided when ... what are we all but fans? I recently found out that there is a genre known as 'fannish squee' within (some parts of) the vidding community on LJ. My immediate reaction was: what the?! o.O I totally didn't get what it meant. Aren't we ALL fannish? Aren't we all encouraging the squee? Whether it's meta-based thinky squee or visceral, action-based dance-y squee, or slash squee or shipper squee... I've had the term explained to me now. Basically I think it means 'vids whose main purpose is to celebrate something' (a fandom, a character). I love those vids! I got this creeping feeling though as soon as I heard them labelled that they're actually looked down on... :(
Quick reply for now: I'd admit a terminology change but I stick with my basic point. I called it "media fannish" in response to the claim somewhere above that "vidder" is now too general a term, but I wouldn't call it "LJ-fandom" because the vidding group/aesthetic/etc I mean to designate LONG predates LJ and lots of its members/associates still are not on LJ. I am talking about a fairly coherent group of folk who have been vidding, on and off LJ, for a long time, and who have the same diversity (narrative, livingroom, squeeful, ship, comic, meta, effects) as I know exists in AMV also. That being said, I do think general values of, say, AMV and [this group] are different, and "Best Vid Without Effects" doesn't change my mind about that--historically, MOST [of the other kind of] vids didn't have effects, effects weren't even on the radar. There has been cross pollination in the last decade which means that we are all much more cohesive as a community, but look at DAICON 1981 and a Kandy Fong vid of the same time and you'll see, like the woolly mammoth and the dinosaur, two very different beasts, IMO. And I can still tell a live-action vidder who's come out of anime within ten seconds of the vid....But to clarify: my comment was that I can tell a live-action vidder who's come out of anime, and its not simply a matter of narrative, or technical expertise, or effects (though it is all of these) but its also the way they tend to treat the image of the human form as animated, or literally, to animate the human form through editing in the vids, when animated bodies move differently than 3D flesh and blood bodies. There's a different--I want to try to say this without jargon--but if you think about it almost as dance, animated bodies move differently in space than "human" bodies. It's about how anime vidders handle the footage. Meanwhile, I also have to say, that your notes in your recs of "wow, this vid was made in 2003!" like its the stone-age, makes me giggle. I'm routinely still enjoying vids made in the 1980s and 1990s, and a fairly large number of vids shown at VVC were made in that time frame. I was lucky enough to see dokidoki's history of anime show, but anime's emphasis on newness of tech (as opposed to consistency of tradition) is another big cultural difference: Vlad told me that they've tried to do anime history shows, but amv fans get bored and tune out. Not to mention that according to Vlad, who helps run them, anime vidshows can have 6,000 people at them! You'll have forgive me for wanting to preserve our tiny little female-dominated live-action vid tradition, which sits somewhere between political remix video (PRV) (male-dominated) and AMV.
I find it frustrating that that space only exists at VVC ... I do find it a bit problematic that only VVC vids are treated this way.

Trust me, you are not alone in this frustration, and every year I hear people at VVC talk about how they wish these kinds of conversations could go on all year long. And... we can do this. Anyone can. But our overall fannish environment seems to have evolved to where people seldom do, maybe because it feels like every time you say anything less than positive, you get jumped on for it, so it's HARD. And often feels thankless, and why would we want to put ourselves through that?

With the VVC vids, lots of people are (to an extent) watching and reviewing this particular block of vids at more or less one time, and maybe (consciously or not) it feels like there's courage in numbers? Whereas as individual vids debut online, people are less likely to speak up and say negative things, even with the context of a positive review, because it's out there all on its own.

We reap what we sow, and what we've apparently sown is an environment where there really isn't much critical discussion of fanworks, period (and by critical, I mean the analysis, not whether it's positive or negative). So post-VVC stands out as an exception.

FWIW, with regard to the idea of concrit, constructive criticism, that inherently (to me) seems to imply that it's for the creator of the fanwork. VVC Vid Review, and (for me, again) by extension the reviews coming out of VVC, are discussions of the vids among vidfans, both vidders and non-vidders. While they can be feedback, if the vidder sees or hears the comments, they aren't really intended for the vidder, anymore than book reviews and discussions are intended for the authors.
morgan dawn:
"Claim your place in the community! I really like this advice. along with the realization that this is a community and the issues of inclusion and communication are not unique to just LJ and/or VVC. And last, that the responsibility/power to change is not just in the hands of the concom (frankly how could they 'influence' what people say or or do at or after the convention like some may be implying). That rests in our hands.

I think you should repost this (or a shorter version) again before the next VVC. We should be encouraging each other to take active steps. the fact that VVC continues to bring in new vidders to run the panels and VJ the shows will help along this path. but - as you point out - we each individually need to take thoughtful steps to make this into the community we want to have. while there is a huge amount of online and in person mentoring going on - I want to see more of that.

ps. re submitting your vid to VVC = "Is there an unspoken rule that if you submit to Vividcon you should be prepared for any sort of criticism?" . I'd look at this from a practical perspective. How each vid review is handled at the convention varies and it is left up to the vid reviewer. they announce their 'strategy' before they start.

what happens after the convention - well that has nothing to do with the convention or its submission rules. that has to do with real life. and it has to do with how we as a community handle giving and receiving feedback. so I'd shift this part of the conversation away from unspoken rules of submitting vids to VVC and more towards community approaches to feedback and concrit online and offline.
morgan dawn:
if you’re looking for a formal program [for mentoring] - there isn’t one. We’re fans after all and we don’t like people telling us what to do. But I know I was mentored when I started digital vidding by a vidder who I did not know and who did not know me. She had seen one of my vids and suggested we meet. From there she taught me how to vid on a computer helping me make the transition from VCR vidder to digital vidder.

Because I can only speak for myself this is what I did next: I mentored others. I am still am mentoring as best I can. When I worked on the Bascon vid shows I tried to include at least 30%-40% vids by new vidders. I would scan the vids being posted in the vidding LJ and would write to the vidders and ask them to submit their vids. Most did not know how to encode to DVD or what a vid show was - so I worked with them. I also wrote guides on what to expect when submitting your vid to a vid show – and how to pick a vid show that matched your vid and the need to set your expectations of the audience response. These guides are posted in the vidding community and I repost them every few years. The decentralized nature of livejournal hampers the flow of this information so I want to make a plea for us all to repost key info about vidding resources. Join forums and bulletin boards where non-LJ vidders hang out (ex. BAM Video Vault has 5000 members. The vidding world is huge and we need to reach out and haul more of us into the same virtual room

But back to mentoring in our LJ community: I find if you want help/mentoring you have to ask -and keep asking. Offering to help is the best way to start. Ex. Pharis, a vidder I did not know, contacted Laura and myself and said: I want to learn to vid. I love your Due South vid Wonder of Birds. Can I teach myself how to vid by remastering your vid using the new DVD source? And boom - now she is getting help with editing/encoding and we’re getting a shiny new vid. Very smart lady – I wouldn’t have come up with this idea. There are other ways to help-volunteer to run a vidding contest. Volunteer to help tag posts in the vidding LJ community. Start making connections and people will respond back.

I’ve often wanted to see a more ‘formal’ mentoring program, but after moderating the vidding LJ community for a while – there a lot of people who suggest but few people who are willing to organize and take the lead. So this may be an area you and others can make a difference (in terms of organization and effort – bringing in new vidders and then working with an established vidder who can hook them up with more experienced vidders). Because I see a need for two types of mentoring: general mentoring in the vidding LJ community and then Vividcon specific mentoring. I loved the fact that there was a newbie thread about ‘attending your first VVC what to expect’ this year and I raised this during the VVC feedback panel.
morgan dawn:
what happens at the convention and what happens after the convention are two different things. The ‘formal’ vid reviewers at the convention explain their method before they start the review. They often have not decided on how they're going to handle the vids because each vid show is different in terms of types of vids. So if you’re attending the convention and are at the vid review…then you’ll be given a heads up. (Which speaking from personal experience never seems to be enough when it is your vid being picked apart. Nothing can prepare you for that until you've gone through it a few times). What we do as a community after the convention is another topic. And frankly what people say and do at the convention in hallways and room parties – again this falls into community discussion and feedback so I am being careful to focus on the things we (you and I and others) can do/influence for change and things we can realistically ask the convention to do or control.
...VVC Vid Review developed almost directly out of Vid Review at Escapade, a long-time slash convention held in California in February. And when we started, there really wasn't a "vidding fandom," the way there is now, and there definitely wasn't the fannish presence on LJ, in 2002. In part, we've still been operating on old lines that we clearly need to refresh and update.

When we started, it was because vidding as we knew it then (live action, predominantly female, media-based) had limited venues, which mostly meant vidshows at various cons. Tied into it was a desire to have someplace where every type of vid (het, gen, slash, living room, con, meta, whatever fandom) was welcome, and not ghettoized, and a place to talk all things vidding. The people who started it felt it was time, that vidding had reached a tipping point where it could support its own con.

Obviously, things have changed a lot since then, and while VVC has changed with it, there's clearly more we have to do. I think this year is its own tipping point, because there are so many vidding fans now who have never been in fandom without a VividCon, and there are so many preconceptions and assumptions that haven't had a check on them for a while.
Re: The AMV community, in my experience LJ/VVC vidders are more open to including AMVers than AMVers are to reaching out to live-action vidders. A few AMVs played at Club Vivid, and while there were a couple rumblings of complaint, most attendees seemed to embrace and enjoy them. For my part, I premiered an AMV at CVV last year and received a mostly positive reaction. Thanks to the proliferation of vidding across the internet, and the rise of sites like YouTube, there is much more crossover than before, but I don't think the divide between the two is easily crossed, nor is one party more at fault than the other.

I *do* think the elitism towards YouTube and other non-VVC vidding communities is a problem. The vidorama kerfluffle illustrated that. Beyond the (understandable) anger regarding homophobia and the problematic grouping of slash with incest, rape, and other forms of sexual assault, there seemed to be an undercurrent of, "Who are these people anyways and what right do THEY have to judge vids?" As a vidder who runs an award site and met a lot of vidding friends through the awards circuit, it was discouraging to read all of the bashing towards those sites that occurred and the refusal of some people to acknowledge that they do have a place in the overall vidding community that cannot be filled by LJ institutions.

I think this also speaks to the perceived gender gap. I was introduced to vidding through AMV and video game vids, which are primarily made by males, so I was honestly quite surprised to find that vidding was supposedly a great female tradition. Similarly, I know of off-LJ vidding communities, especially those geared towards movie vidding, that are primarily male. Among "superhero vidders" I am actually one of the few well-known females and often get mistaken for a guy, despite my (off-LJ) username. VVC may be primarily female, but vidding as a whole is probably more evenly-split, so we really shouldn't be surprised to see more men taking an interest in attending.

And THANK YOU for speaking to the resources needed to vid in the first place. Yes, WMM and iMovie are free, but a lot of computers don't have the processing power to run them easily. I know the computer I had in high school didn't, which is why I didn't start vidding until I got a shiny new laptop in college. The barriers to entry are much lower than they've been in the past, but they still exist, and some people seem to be oblivious to that.

In fact, some people seem to resent vidding becoming any more accessible. I've certainly seen that in the rants about YouTube and how "just anyone" can make a vid and put it online nowadays. And sometimes when newbies ask for help or shortcuts for something like clipping, a few people respond in a patronizing manner, saying "VIDDING IS HARD" and they should get used to it or not even bother. I try to be as nice as possible and respond to newbie posts in vidding or vidding_tech whenever I can help, but it's definitely something I need to work on.
The AMV community, in my experience LJ/VVC vidders are more open to including AMVers than AMVers are to reaching out to live-action vidders.

I probably watch more on AMV than anywhere else (I'm a viewer not a vidder!) :) and found your comment really interesting.

I suspect some of the lack of reach out is simply antipathy towards the source material. AMV isn't into Western live action source, and LJ vid fandom is mostly for people who vid Western TV shows, sometimes films. And vice versa. So GitSP might have rad editing. . . but if you don't care about Ghost in the Shell or anime source, then there's little reason to watch it. :)

Some of my favourite vids are LJ vids, and I think both communities have good and bad points, but re inclusion: If I squint at both, I'd say that AMV is basically upfront about its lack of diversity ("anime music videos"), but LJ vid fandom does have this weird tendency to speak of itself as 'vid fandom', despite being only a small section of the market.
I agree with your points regarding popularity and how certain people become big names while other don't, but I think that's an inevitable result of any creative endeavor and not necessarily something that can be "fixed." While I don't think any BNVs are undeserving of the title, I do know there are lots of criminally underappreciated vidders that are probably never going to really break out, regardless of how good their vids are, for the reasons you mentioned. For my part, I know I could raise my profile substantially just by changing the fandoms I vid (see: Intergalactic Friends) but, well, that's not what I want to vid. I am okay with the consequences but I can see how it would be discouraging to others, especially if they are not fortunate enough to have a close group of vidding friends.
If you have that time and know-how you are probably of a certain social class.

Err, I'll add some ??? about here... as in you just went *completely* over my head and I'm 5'8". {g}

You can make anything about race/class but my *emphasis* was monetary, and I say that as a person coming from a low income family. Though, my mom was fairly happy being a farmer's daughter in rural Japan with something that may have been the equivalent of a high school education. We all worked our way to savings, while my dad joined the military to further his education. Sure we're still lower class but public libraries existed when I couldn't afford my own computer and my brother taught me the fine art of how to 'dumpster dive' through garbage. {chuckle} That's how I got supplies for my high school science project, which I got a good grade. :-)

Creativity is not necessarily suppressed because of your race/class/income... You find workarounds.
I'll bite. Vidding costs me. For sure. I have to have a computer that can play the software. I have to pay for internet access. Those are two expenditures.

I got my first set of DVDs from the library. I finally was able to obtain avis online after awhile. But then my HD was too small. A kind friend clipped eps into smaller chunks for me and would upload/email them to me. I would later clip them specifically for the timeline. I made my second vid that way and pushed my computer's HD capacity right to its limit. It's a decent vid too.

So I made a vid for almost for free. It pushed me to the limits of my own creativity. Yes, I did it but it was very, very difficult. And I had other resources. A source to find avis without buying DVDs and a kind friend who e-mailed me clips small enough for my HD to hold.

But even that 'free' vid cost me. I was already paying for the computer and internet but it's still a cost. Maybe some can't pay even that. Some people might be reading this from school or work or the public library. Later on, I saved and bought vidding software and received an external HD as a gift. But even knowing what to buy or where to dl takes resources. Not monetary resources but it goes hand in hand to me. It can be done but it's just harder when making the vid is already hard. It's so much easier to spending more time being creative about the vid, rather than being creative about how to make the vid and not spend a cent. Or not go over the computer's HD. Or not have WMM crash and lose everything.

Why is is hard to say that this hobby costs money and that's a privilege that you and I enjoy? I can admit that. I can also admit that vidding is hard work (that I love) and having more money means one can make it easier. And sometimes prettier.

So I agree. It can be done. And I like my 'free' vid very much. But I like the things that make vidding easier too so I can just play. And having those things is a privilege. That's all I mean here. I hope you don't feel I'm attacking you here. That's not my intent. But I'm not sure why we (not just you and me but the greater LJ 'we') can't just acknowledge that money makes things easier. And some of us have more of it than others. I include myself in this too.
I almost think that a defining characteristic of a vidder is that you think you're not a Real Vidder. :) I'm always telling people I'm not a real vidder, not really, not like those girls over there.

I...I do hear what you're saying. I've said and thought a lot of it before, myself. But it's useful, maybe, to know that this stuff is all...it's only as real as you make it.

Vidding is a privileged activity, yes, and it's an indulgence. You can do whatever you like. All this stuff? In crowds, out crowds, rules, genres--it's optional. It might not feel optional but it's a totally self-created reality and you can recreate it zackly as you like. You can vid whatever you like and watch whatever you like and nobody can stop you.


I vid exactly as I please. Life is too short. Maybe it's easy for me to say that because my vids are often quite popular, but maybe they are popular because they're not trying to be. WHO KNOWS.

It's pretty unlikely that I'll ever go to VVC, because I just don't have that kind of life, omg! I haven't been on holiday since I was 18! I hang out on LJ, yeah, but also on Youtube, since 2006, and it doesn't seem to affect my "cred". Maybe it does! Maybe everyone's like, man, that lim is such a TUBEY BOOR. But fuck that noise! I'd be fecked for my Chuck/Blair or Bleighton if I didn't Tube it. I also hang out on loony Jane Austen forums where everyone uses their real names and publishes their fanfiction on Amazon, haha! Honestly, LJ and VVC is only as central as you make it.

You could think that VVC is marginalising some vidders by excluding certain ways of vidding, or you could think that VVC is marginalising itself. There is no particular reason why it should work one way or another. I think that people who say zoetrope's vids aren't vids, or who call my vids experimental when I am totally mainstream (for my fandom), make themselves irrelevant to my vidding experience. That's okay--I expect I am pretty much irrelevant to theirs. ALTHOUGH CLEARLY I AM BITTER. I think it's fine to be a mite bitter every now and again. *hangs grudges in giant display case*

But ultimately, you know, VVC is a big party set up by a lot of friends with a hobby in common. It's not an institution handed down from on high. It sounds amazing fun! But we can make our own fun--that's how fandom works. It's not finished--we build it here, now, together.

Is this comment really smug? I feel like it is, but I mean it omg. I've been where you are! Come towards the light!
I agree with the wide majority of this post, though I would like to point one thing first - it feels as though you're putting the wide majority of VVC attendee into the same group. From my past experience of posting about these same issues (and people's response to them, weither in private or publicly), my discussions with other people (at VVC and online) and other things I'm not sure I can discuss here, a good majority of the people feel the exact way you do. However, the voice that is heard comes from a more vocal group of people that is limited to a small number of individuals. And to be frank, being a second-year VVC attendee, I'm not comfortable being put in the same bag, because I've been very honest to everyone about how my opinion differs.
This is a very interesting post that, ironically given the entire point of it, I'm not entirely sure I'm cut out to comment on since I don't really consider myself a very well integrated part of the vidding community. I have overcome my daft fear of acknowledging myself as a "vidder" but...well perhaps that's the point of both your post and my comment.

I don't feel particularly qualified to comment on the culture of vidding fandom, the PoC issues, the pat on the back issues, the issues of concrit (which insofar as I've seen them have been pretty much the same as they are in other creative endeavours like fic or graphics-based stuff). I would say, in passing, that while I think broadening one's horizons is always good and discrimination against any other vidding group as qualitatively less worthy based solely on release format is a bad thing, there's nothing actually wrong with owning the fact that LJ has its own subculture. It's different to YouTube or AMV or fanedit.org. That's okay. In fact, that leads nicely into the one big point I wanted to make:

Vidding as a "fandom" is, in my opinion, a really artifical definition. No one talks about "fic" fandom, for instance. But because there are fewer vidders, there is a tendency to amalgamate. The vidding community seems (from my limited perspective) to value diversity in source when vidding. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I do think it comes from the idea of "vidding" as a fandom when no one really thinks of "writing" as a fandom.

From my own perspective as someone whose vidding is very heavily skewed toward one fandom - BSG - this means that while I have had the occasional vid I feel crossed-over into the vidding scene at large, in general, it passes me by.

I think it might be worth noting that there are vidding communities within most major fandoms (although they are smaller), and then there is also vidding as a fandom. I very much consider myself a part of the BSG vidding community and feel comfortable identifying as such, but don't really feel I have as much claim to say I am part of the vidding community at large? It's a big fish/little fish/some kind of sized pond thing? And VVC doesn't even represent the entirety of vidding on LJ? In addition to that, I have some issues with the culture, the perception of it being cliquey which I've always held my tongue on, again convinced it was my issue, my paranoia, that I wasn't making the "right" sort of vids, etc. *waves at you!*

Which (to get to the point!) I think might explain some of the movement toward "blockbuster" vids in VVC? Or use of more popular source? It's hard to make a thinky meta vid if your fandom is based around the medium rather than the canon, which is also a very unusual situation in fandom which, by definition, is usually assumed to be based around a shared canon.

I also have some thoughts on vidding as a privileged act. I do agree with you but I think it's becoming less and less so when taken in the context of the LJ community in general. The number of people with computers that can run WMM or iMovie are increasing and all of my most popular vids were made on WMM. I'm not trying to argue against your point that we need to be aware of our own privileges, I'm just not all that sure we're that much more privileged than the LJ crowd in general.

My main point here is that there is a simultaneous idea of privilege that surrounds vidding that doesn't need to. There's a defacto "Oh, I could never make a vid!" reaction from many who are perfectly capable of doing so and are just intimidated by the software and/or the community. This is certainly something I try to speak out against whenever I get the opportunity. It's just a matter of getting into a fistfight with your editing program and refusing to give up. (Which again, this basically agrees with your points, just from a slightly different perspective).
Well, we don't tend to talk about it that way, but reading and writing fic is the bulk of media fandom.

Well, yes, absolutely! Writing is EVERYWHERE in fandom! But there are soooo many writers that to amalgamate them all into a single fandom would be silly, and certainly if one introduces oneself as a Harry Potter fic writer, no one's going to think, "Oh, that person's in fic fandom!" while the same isn't necessarily true in vidding.

My only point was that as you say about slash fans and vid fans, at a certain point, yes, you're a fan of the genre or the medium above the canon, but more frequently you're a fan of that genre or medium in a particular fandom. The problem being that vidders are rarer and hence there's not always enough diversity to support that.

But also, that's becoming less and less true as vidding becomes more accessible?

Also I'm glad you enjoyed hearing my story? Um, I'm not really sure what "generation" I'm in (though the three year mark is interesting and I hadn't heard it before?) but if it helps, I first started vidding (badly) in 2005. I vidded infrequently and without any real contact with a wider community of vidders until 2008 and I've probably been actively vidding on a level I think is...less bad for about 18 months now. Although I was an avid vid-watcher for years before I ever picked up a vidding program.
It's interesting that so many people seem to believe everyone else is having a better time or holds more status. I did have a peer group at one point, not on lj, but it has gradually disintegrated It kind of feels like the vidding community is all smoke and mirrors, which makes me a little sad. See my comment about academic terminology was where I thought I might have caused offence. I don't think I phrased it well. I enjoy the intellectual talk that surrounds vidding and fandom. I do remember when I was a newbie that the language surrounding vidding seemed so opaque. There's technical terms, legal terms, terminology borrowed from film theory and music theory as well as terms used within fan cultures more generally and socio-political terminology. I felt like I was looking things up every five minutes. (My partner has a sociology degree and she never talks like that). You can also add into this the seemingly strange fascination with llamas and the "elitist bitch" icons and various other peculiar in-jokes and it all adds up to an environment that doesn't feel very welcoming to new people. It's great to see that there has been a move to explain some of these as a result of this post. (Bonus-I finally get to know about the llamas.)
Well... I'd just ask people to keep in mind that any one (or even two) people saying things like that can be 1) wrong, so wrong, and 2) not representative of VVC as a con, or as a whole. I do think a lot of the misunderstanding comes in part from the separation between those for whom VVC was the first major place to see and show vids, and those for whom Youtube/streaming video/etc. have always been pretty easily available. It makes a huge difference.
I think a lot of the confusion (dare I say, wank?) of late arises from VVC's implicit claims to have or want a broad mandate that it's not structured to carry out in practice. A lot of this is very well intentioned -- of course we are supposed to work toward diversity and inclusivity, right? But I think what that means would become clearer if VVC were positioned as *A* vidding con (representing a defined aesthetic and background) rather than as *THE* vidding con. So that's the subtext of my call for MOAR CONS and other vidding-centric events, because I think proliferation (rather than trying to scale the ONE con) would support more diversity as a whole. Although it's not like I'm volunteering to organize one!
I don't believe that we consciously have claimed or wanted this kind of mandate, but I do think that the perception that we might evolved naturally, since at its institution, VVC was about the only place where vidders could collectively view and show any kind of vid (of their primary tradition) without some types being ghettoized or complained about (which happened to both slash and het vids). Pre-Youtube, pre-LJ fandom in any large way, pre-easily accessible streaming video, when many people still relied on dial-up, it was something in its early years that wasn't available elsewhere, and that fairly easily led to upcoming vidders&fans, who had other options easily available, wondering what the big deal was. *g* Up to this year, I've wondered if there were interest enough to support multiple vidcons; now I'm hoping that other people will take the initiative and they'll start springing up all over! And then we'll see how it all goes. That would be awesome.
you're saying that vidding is evenly split gender wise and then use anime as one of the examples. Does AMV actually call itself vidding? If it does I'll entirely retract my comment. If, however, vidding is a shorthand for fanvidding and as such defines live action media fandom (with media not meaning all things that are media but as in Media West etc. the old self definition of those 70s fan fic zine and slide shows to music etc fans) then are we really saying 50/50?

Because yes, more guys are vidding but even when I look around on YouTube etc those that I'd think of as vids (in the live action media fandom the other part of fanfic etc sense), then women/girls still seem awfully in the majority.

But that goes along with a definitional issue that cesperanza brought up above. Because I read a comment like rsvenbell's celebrating the AMV community and I read supacat suggesting that AMV is as much about analysis as about the spectacle, and I'm thinking (and yes, I'm conflating several qualities as ascribed to AMV here, inclusing the inclusivity and diversity as well as their ability to analyze and interpret in the same way and same intensity as fanvids do), how can AMV both include any type of song regardless of lyrics and be just as interested in analysis and interpretation and not about the flashy? Because seriously, if you vid Rammstein because you think the song is cool, i think there may be some really unsettling connotations arise in the lyrics that are hard to judge if you're not a German native speaker! And I kinda get the feeling that the typical "vidder" might not embrace that, less because she doesn't think Rammstein's fun or doesn't want to be international and more because lyrics matter!

now all of that presupposes, of course, that you define vidding a certain way and think that there's a particular way of engagement with media that came out of a female driven fan response via fan creativity such as fanfic and latter vids that are about pleasure and affect but also about commenting on and analyzing the source texts.

Oh..and I'm so sorry I'm rambling all over the place...I just...I think you have incredibly important points here in re to diversity and all, and (like Laura) I'm actually am very much in favor of including more fan focused vidders who may be not all that interested in vids for vids' sake but who make these great and innovative vids. But I'm also a taxonomist at heart, and I do think that we need to distinguish between different forms of remix culture...machinima is not AMV is not media fannish live action vidding. And we still haven't figured out where to put the Sims 2 Harry Potter music vids :)
I personally don't think that the majority of mock trailers, for example, are vids. I would not define sports highlights as vids (and yes, I know there are some made by vidders, but I bet you you could tell the difference!) Fan studies is all but bifurcated between sports fan studies and media fan studies, and one reason is that the modes of engagement are fundamentally different for the most part (as is their acceptance in mainstream culture!). There's a lot of gendering that has long gone on in terms of satire and humor getting accepted and the more emotionally invested analytic engagement being belittled or actively discouraged by the industry itself.

Even nowadays, the commercially sponsored fan creativity encourages certain modes of engagement (action and spectacle) while discouraging others (emotional and character development). Both the SPN trailer competition and, to an even larger extent, the BSG vid competition have really driven that home, and the gender proportions there were fascinating (esp in the BSG one). That is a really long way of saying, not only were there very clear reasons for women to foreground the genderedness of their community when vidding started (as in live action media fandom 70s creative endeavors bladibla) but that there are real reasons today for maybe not being as eager to make it all the same.

That being said, yes, the demographics are changing. Yes, more guys are making vids. I'm still very uncertain to say that we're at 50/50, esp. given the overwhelming component of shipping and slasher vids that seem to be more made by girls/women. But I am not sure that welcoming a larger demographics and different influences is quite the same as making every type of remix all vidding and declaring this historically female art form all gender equal/neutral/whatever...
I wasn't talking specifically about mock trailers but all types of fanmade trailers (some of which are very serious and look professional). You are being very selective in your definition of what constitutes a vid. To me if you manipulate and rearrange video shots (from any source) to create a new work that's vidding. Whether your vid is trying to make a point or is just made for sheer entertainment value is gonna define what kind of vid it is but it's a vid regardless.

You seem to be worried that males are going to re-appropriate vidding and it's problematic just like when people are worried about men talking too much at VVC or that they will try to "take over". I understand that we still live in a mysoginistic society and women will get defensive about men intruding their space but this borderline paranoid behavior is not the solution.

Also when you say vidding is historically female I have a problem with that because (like it was said below) there is no definite starting point of vidding, some people may have been doing it on their own long before Kandy Fong. I understand the need for women to have their own creative space where they won't be ignored or discrimated against (especially given the socio-cultural context of the 70's) but that doesn't mean they were the first to practice this art form.

We have historians and we luckily have many of the documents, and we have many eyewitnesses left. So, if you can show me all these men writing fanfic and starting to vid, I'll gladly concede this point. Until then, but that doesn't mean they were the first to practice this art form. is mere conjecture on your part.

As for the rest. We probably must agree to disagree. I find the appropriation of historically female spaces problematic and you find my concern problematic. I do not consider myself borderline paranoid (what was that thing about them really out to get you?) but you just declared me to be.

Finally, we do not agree on what constitutes vidding. For me not any "manipulat[ion] and rearrange[ment] [of] video shots (from any source) to create a new work" is vidding. And I may be in the minority now or soon. And I'll deal with that when I get to it. Terms change. People now feel happy to call a 123 word story a drabble. At this point in time I find it useful to distinguish between different communities and different approaches to media remixes. You do not. I worry about historically female spaces getting destroyed or overtaken. You do not. I might be glad that you do not feel that any concern is necessary (if you're female) or seriously condescended to (if you're male). As it stands, I don't think we can get to any agreement (though I'd be very excited if you found televisual media engagement and manipulation coming out of fannish spaces that preceded Kandy's work!)
I know what historians and documents and eyewitnesses say but I also know that a lot of people (male and female) started vidding without being aware of the community or that it was practiced by other people. So is it possible that some people started vidding before Kandy Fong? Is it possble that some of these people were men? Yes.

I didn't declare you borderline paranoid I said this behavior (worrying about men taking over) was borderline paranoid. Some people were concerned about men coming to the con because on previous occasions some men supposedly tried to dominate. Replace "men" with any other group and you'll see what's wrong.

I do find it useful to distinguish between different communities and different approaches to media remixes but only when it comes to classifying vids and vidders. However I will not pretend that a vid has to be emotionally engaging or analytical or have some kind of character development to be called a vid.
Is it possible? Yes. Is it probable? No. We not only would more than likely have documents, eyewitnesses, etc, there also really wasn't the same *need* for others to do what they were doing. There may indeed be queer counterreadings of media sources, but gay and lesbian studies is pretty damn good in tracing and documenting its history. Really, why would a middle aged straight while man sit down and rewrite the source text? THEY WERE MADE FOR HIM!

In fact, we know the fannish engagements of those dudes. They made fan films and wrote scripts and are people like Joss Whedon and Russell T. Davies now. (There's actually some interesting work done on Doctor Who's fan franchises and BNF status etc.) Example: MFU fandom. A friend of mine has been a member and studying them and writing about them for about 20 years. Thing is: there are about 50% men. And they write very little (I'm not sure there's much of a vidding culture though with the new DVDs that might change!)--when they write they often don't share because they are scripts to be sent in, not potlatch style passed on.

Replace "men" with any other group and you'll see what's wrong. See, and I don't think so. Straight folks, white folks, abled folks, cis folks... Nope, not seeing a problem here. If I as a straight person enter a GLTB space, I expect myself to be respectful and listen, not dominate, not explain how I'm queer at heart and that they just need to change their self definition to include me. I try not to dominate the conversation and not to EXPLAIN to everyone queer studies 101. [I wasn't at VVC, but I was at a con earlier this month that is predominantly female and yes, a guy stood up, declared he'd never read any slash and found it icky but then proceeded for a good 5-10 minutes to explain to us girls how real men talk!]

I feel like we're not going to come to any agreement here, and I'm not sure we need to. Apparently AMV cons have thousands of participants. VVC just raised its limit from 100 to 150. And as Bop Radar comments, it shouldn't be the center. There should be many different types of vidding and remixing and whatever cons. And just like with any fannish term, we'll never fully agree on definitional issues. Get 5 slashers in a room and ask them to define slash and gen and omg proper characterization :)

In a way, I'm not really all that invested in what we call that thing of ours. I do want to be careful, though, to not have our history erased (as in your oh, but there could have been all these men making their own stuff and noone knew and noone can find them but how dare we claim we did it first!) and to not be told that a safe space needs to accommodate the majority (culturally, not in this space clearly) even if it makes us uncomfortable!
bop radar:
I feel I need to defend my experience with male vidders, which has been only in the online world but has been entirely positive and not silencing at ALL, the opposite. I've found them incredibly respectful of the fact that LJ fandom is female-centric, they sometimes nervously express anxiety about that and about finding a way to fit in and they're grateful for any acceptance they find. They listen, they respond, they give generously of their time to the community and they are anti-patriarchy too. I know what you are saying about the source text being written for them, but that assumes all white males are the same. They're not. Some will be more or less satisfied with the source, and it may have started as a female act (I personally agree with you that it did and will until someone proves otherwise) but it's one they find they have a use for as well.

Aside: expressing the source in a different way is legitimate too! It doesn't have to 'talk back' in a critical way, imho.

I would just like to say again: I don't think a safe space has to accommodate anyone! VVC opted to be open to men. Their choice. If they want the guys to act a certain way while there, they can lay down some ground rules. Then men can decide whether they're happy with that or not.
I think this discussion is eliding the point of catheyxs's argument. The issue isn't a word per se, but a concept - a particular form of setting media clips to music that descends from Kandy Fong, is predominantly female, and carries with it a particularly female aesthetic. Not that we're a monolith, of course, but there are trends (emphasis on slash, focus on relationships, eroticization of male vulnerability, etc). It's a particular form that remixes popular culture in a way that appeals to the female id, possibly to the gay id, in a way that mainstream popular culture doesn't.

If you insist that this particular form - genre, if you will - has no boundaries and is just like every other possibility of putting clips to music, then inevitably what happens is that the values and aesthetics of a historically oppressed subculture get erased - again. If you change the meaning of the words we use to define ourselves, you literally make it impossible to talk about purselves separately.

And cathexys believes - and I agree - that it is valuable both as a matter of aesthetics and as a matter of politics to preserve a sense of this individual separate tradition. It isn't about whether other forms are better or worse - it's about recognizing there's a difference. Because it's useful to recognize there's a difference, it's useful to recognize a particular tradition of reshaping male/heterosexual narratives to suit female tastes.
I don't know what words to use - I tend to think of trailers separately, and AMV separately, and I actually think of music video separately, and I'd put it all under remix broadly, I suppose. And of course, no one can "control" words other people use. But the argument you and balistik seem to be making suggests that there's no use to having a separate category. And I disagree - I think it is a useful separate category.
But saying only this tradition of vidding can use this word is like saying only rock bands can call what they do music. I'm all for using fanvid as the general word and then use other terms to accurately describe what kind of vid we're talking about.
But the problem is there isn't another word for this particular tradition, and there are lots of words for other traditions. So when the argument is about taking away the one word we have (let's say, fanvid) - and simulaneously arguing, as you've done upthread, that Kandy Fong wasn't the first, other people (men) were doing it too, and that the similarities are more important than the differences - it looks like an argument about erasing the difference, rather than an argument about claiming a particular word.
In fanfic we actually saw the clash of book fandom and media fandom writers in areas like LOTR and age of sail where the genealogy showed... (In fact, I think the same was true for music fandoms as all the early OTW bandom debates showed). In fact, I'm feeling a bit like I'm back there. Yes, literally, vidding is creating vids. And yes, maybe a smaller group shouldn't have used that term to define themselves. But the definitional debates collapse with taxonomy debates where the (small?) group's trying to define itself against a larger one and gets told again and again that everyone's all the same... Hmmm... bad analogy?
how can AMV both include any type of song regardless of lyrics and be just as interested in analysis and interpretation and not about the flashy?

If this is a genuine question, I'll bite.

The answer is twofold

1) because there are many different AMV styles, traditions and subgenres, and AMVs are judged according to their intention. Thus, if the intent of the AMV is to be highly conceptual, then it will use an appropriate musical track, and garner analysis. If the intention of the vid is to be a flashy, then it will choose a flashy song and be flashy. Both are perfectly fine. It's all fine. Crazy-ass AMVs way outside your definition of 'vid' (below) are fine. The more different types of AMVs the better.


2) AMV is not a monolingual community. J-fandoms across the board are less mired in English, fans tend to have at least passing familiarity with Japanese because they are fannish about Japanese source. Ditto C-fandoms and K-fandoms. Add in the fact that there are a lot of non-English Europeans and Asians making AMVs. One Rammstein AMV I can think of was vidded by a German guy. Astonishingly, he could understand the lyrics. I suppose he just assumed that if English speakers wanted to grok his vid they would make an effort to understand the lyrics (just as English vidders assume non-English speakers will do when they vid to English songs). And they mostly did, because J-fans are generally comfortable working past a language barrier, they don't go 'foreign language, does not compute?!?' and shut down, because they are used to foreign language source (Japanese).

Paradox explained.
What a wonderful, complex, and diverse community you have! So, why the need given that you are more varied and so much larger and have a really sound infrastructure--why the need to colonize this small tiny space that happens to be female dominated and yes US and UK show mostly based and thus English speaking primarily? Why not just let those crazy cat ladies who seem to be too enamored with cop buddies and low budget sf shows do our thing and live and let live?
I'm less well-read in this topic than some people, but I don't see the AMV world having *any* interest in colonizing the media fandom vidding space. I see a definitional argument, for sure, tied in with some (male?) defensiveness about who did what first. But I don't see AMV fans interested in even joining, let alone taking over, the communities and cons that are centered on the media fannish vidding tradition.
bop radar:
I don't see the AMV world having *any* interest in colonizing the media fandom vidding space.

Er... no, I relly don't think they do. They don't care. REALLY. The people that might care are people who have moved from AMV into other forms of vidding and who happen to admire vidders in 'this' corner of vidding. Also, I'm sorry, this conversation is annoying me, because it contradicts what I see the Vividcon comcon organisers like elynross saying... that they are looking for more diversity. Make up your minds! Be exclusive, stick to your own little friendship circles, keep it women-only, you have absolutely the right to do any of that! But it seems like the community at large (not necessarily the con iteself) can't decide whether it wants that or it wants new creative blood and energy.

There is no colonisation going on. There are just vidders (and I use that term broadly, sorry, I will continue doing so) stumbling around trying to find other like-minded people wherever they happen to be, and coming smack up against strange, insular community politics.
And I am in no way shape or form associated with VVC. Heck, I'm not even a vidder. I am interested in fannish history and invested in the concept of having a history of our own, and I am interested (at times too much) in trying to define and connect content and environment so to speak.

With that quotation, of course, we're back at the definitional thing. What is a vid? What are vidders?

And I know that AMV vidders are totally happy to let us be just like "we" are not all crazy cat ladies :) There are young and old and women and men and trans and yes, even foreign nationals. Too few of those just like there are too few vidders of color, but that's what the original post was all about. I'm actually very much in agreement with all of the things bop radar describes (well, except maybe for the gender thing :). I agree that we need to be aware of these various privileges. i'm just stuck on the everyone who remixes is making vids and thus you should make room at your table and change the structure of your space to accommodate them. If a guy makes a fanvid (as there are quite a few and quite amazingly so!) then most certainly! But I do reserve the right to get uncomfortable when definitions get widened to threaten to erase the accomplishments and genealogy of women and the meeting space they've set up in VVC.... I'll happily sit in and share the history of female creative erasure starting with the English novel and going through Machinima dudes claiming to have invented vidding in the nineties. There's a long history of female erasure and female self closeting but also female desires and expressions thereof needing to be contained. There's a history of female art forms being considered less worthy (craft vs art) and female labor not being reimbursed. Female remix culture and fan works tends to be freely shared whereas male remix culture often works its way into financially lucrative jobs (think Machinima and fan films).
My modernist tendencies to categorize and be prescriptive are one of my big faults, and they're merging here with a real feminist issue for me, which is not pretty, I admit!

I agree that there should be a way to talk about all of the above and we can call it remixing or vidding--there also, however, needs to be a term for distinguishing a particular approach and its associated history--and I actually like that term to be inclusive. There are tons of vids on YT etc that I'd totally call vids, that come from the same sentiment, out of that same space, and may indeed have been influenced by having seen vids like the ones we tend to talk about when we shorthand with VVC.

It's a bit like fanfic and slash...it's both a simple description but it can also encompass a particular community and set of commonalities...

So...I don't think I'm even disagreeing with you. Except maybe where I am :)
I don't want to jump in and restart a conversation that's run its course, but just reading over this, I wanted to throw in one thought that I think is missing from this conversation about definitions. I completely understand how this particular vidding tradition developed and why it is important. I've only been vidding for about a year and one of the things I enjoy most about it is altering a source for my own female gaze, emphasizing female perspectives, and calling out a source on its gender issues when it fails. You'd think I'd fit squarely within this tradition, wouldn't you? But all this protecting of the space and exclusivity, which I understand is a response to legitimate concerns, excludes people (women) who legitimately could have a voice, and dare I say, a stake in it and prevents them from really feeling like they can enter it. That is, by purposefully trying so hard to maintain other walls, you are also maintaining unintended walls that put off people who pretty much largely agree with you but are waved off at the pass before they can even get that far. You're excluding more perspectives WITHIN your tradition (yes, we may be newer but we do consider ourselves part of your tradition and have been influenced by that tradition) than you think and I just think it's something that people need to be aware of when they do it.
But nobody is maintaining a wall. No one is telling other people not to play, no one is telling men not to play. To the extent that there's a sense that LJ vidding fandom is exclusive, that's a different issue and cathexys above already said that she thinks that's wrong. I've emphasized that it's not a question of better or worse and that there's obvious evidence of cross pollination. The problem is when people insist - as others have done up thread - that it's all one thing, all video to music, and broaden the words we are currently using to define a particular tradition.
bop radar:
I am telling you [giandujakiss] that by coming in here, as someone with a lot of status in the community (and this goes for cathexys and ces as well) and trying to move this discussion into one about definitions, rather than one about inclusion and exclusion you are making ME feel excluded. If you can't see that then you've missed the point of my post.
Okay, I won't continue to comment in your journal, then. I apologize.