Still Alive

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Title: Still Alive
Creator: Counteragent
Date: 19 October 2008
Format: digital vid
Length: 3:11 minutes
Genre: metavid
Fandom: Supernatural
Footage: Supernatural season 3; screenshots of fanart, lj posts, and a news article
URL: LJ post
screencap from vid, "Superantural Fic/Art/Vids" - celebrating fannish creativity

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Still Alive is a meta vid by the vidder counteragent.

Its summary is: A survey of (mostly S3) SPN fandom: Some wank, some politics, and a ton of awe-inspiring GENIUS.

It attempts to provide an overview of Supernatural fandom with a focus on Season Three.

Like many meta vids, Still Alive uses images of women from the show to represent fandom/fen. Is this case, most of the visuals on the show are taken out of context.

One way in which Still Alive is unusual, even as a meta vid, is in its heavy use of other fanworks as source material and as additional layer of commentary. The end of the vid has no original footage from the show at all--it is a fast-paced montage of fanworks, including meta posts and fanart. Still Alive also incorporates specific fic posts and one article about SPN fandom. All 70+ outside sources are credited at counteragent's bibliography.

Themes presented in Still Alive

  • Misogyny:
    • In-fandom fighting (often called "wank")
    • General annoyance at the limited portrayals of women and girls on the show
    • Specific references to fanworks that protest certain aspects of female characterization or visualization (another white nightgown?! another creepy little girl?!)
  • Political fanworks
  • The power of fandom to transform and expand the source/canon (reviving a dead character, giving smaller characters meatier roles, allowing Sam to save Dean from hell, turning men into women either literally or figuratively, Wincest and J2, extending the fannish experience past cancellation, etc.)
  • The community that fandom creates

Fandom Reactions

  • "I'm not in SPN fandom, so I'm sure I missed a lot of what was happening here, but from my outsider perspective this is fantastic. The music is perfect (I &hearts Jonathan Coulton so much) -- and I love the way it feels at once like a commentary on the show ("still alive" referencing the show's much-bruited violence against women) and a commentary on the fandom (TPTB may make mistakes / tear fannish hearts into pieces, but fannish squee is still alive) all at the same time. And I love the weaving-in of fan-created stuff -- art and stories and terminology and posts and so on."[1]
  • "What I absolutely adore about this is that it's clear that while we are watching the exact same show every week, we are watching it as a VERY different show, peering at it from the opposite angles, and yet I recognize so much of this - we all somehow pass by the same spots on this crazy fandom road."[2]
  • "This is a brilliant vid that works on so many levels. It is a mini meta commenting on the show and the best and worst fandom has to offer. Every time I see it I find a new nuance. Counter Agent has chosen the perfect music and mated it perfectly to amazing visuals. What particularly caught my attention is how it the vid uses the women of Supernatural both to illustrate various fan arguments and equally our adoration of the show. The use of various Devil's traps to symbolize fandom wank was a clever way to capture the fact our that our disagreements hold us back, not to mention the knock down drag out fights that sometimes occur. And how can I not love that Ruby's face shows up half the time when ever the phrase "I'm still Alive is used" pointing out that no matter how much the fandom may despise her, Kripke has a use for her. But I don't want to make you think that the vid is negative. To me its an celebration of how fandom's creativeness and collective brilliance triumphs over our internal struggles, the shows flaws (or not depending on your opinion), the ever looming worry of cancellation. The ending is an the upbeat note that suggests even when Supernatural is over the fandom will live on. Don't walk, run and watch. Who knows, you may even see yourself. It is a joy."[3]
  • " seems to me that the first half of the vid, which I read as more critical of both the show and fandom, particularly with regard to the treatment of female characters in both, is focused primarily on women. The second half of the vid, which I'd call the "fandom power" half, is almost solely focused on Sam and Dean (with a few spare shots for redeeming the narratives of women and characters of color). The last section of the vid is devoted to fanworks that reclaim and recontextualize the show, and it includes only works about the brothers. Thus, while the vid (and the fandom, as described by the vid) does criticize the treatment of women and characters of color on the show and is about fannish power more than the individual boys, the power of fandom is still largely portrayed as bonding over and reclaiming the white male narratives, and fandom (represented by the female characters) is still mostly shown as focusing its attention on the boys."[4]
  • "...I literally do not understand how a bunch of compelling images of the female characters of that show is supposed to make me feel all inspired about Sam/Dean, the fanworks at the end were this slap in the face of almost entirely uninterrupted maleness after all the images of women from canon. Now I feel like drawing some more Supernatural femslash, but I have less frustrating stuff to be fannish about. Speaking of which I really should give Nurse Jackie a go one of these days :) (EDIT: Like the others I can appreciate the vid as a celebration of a happy community of people creating something joyous from a problematic source. It's just that the emotional effect it has on me is very different from the one intended)."[5]

Screencap Gallery

In addition to using clips from the TV show Supernatural, the vid spends a significant amount of time illustrating the various facets of fandom's creativity. Below is a sampling of some of the over 70 stories, artwork, articles, essays and other fannish creations highlighted by the vid.

External Links


  1. ^ comment in the original vid announcement.
  2. ^ comment in the original vid announcement.
  3. ^ Meta Vid Recommendation in spn-heavymeta, dated October 23, 2008; [ WebCite.
  4. ^ Vids about fandom: How we interact vs. what we say, an 2011 essay by chaila for :Vids about fandom: How we interact vs. what we say."
  5. ^ comment in Vids about fandom: How we interact vs. what we say], an 2011 essay by chaila.