Vividcon/Vividcon 2010

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Home from vacation and Vividcon, which was, to understate the case, amazing. Met some incredible people, broke a shoelace on my boot (before I got to wear them!), watched incredible vids, bonded with several types of alcohol, and became a twitter addict." ~seperis
"I have to confess I was a little bit cynical at the beginning about all the earnest 'we want you to have a good time' messages, but I quickly realised that it was entirely genuine and not the cult-like drink-the-koolaid phenomenon it had seemed like online. (Or possibly I just drank it! If so it's the happiest cult I've ever been a part of!)"~bop_radar
In particular, in light of the accessibility concerns that were raised this year just a few weeks before the event, I was impressed by the concom's ability to turn on a dime and make changes to help address many of the needs that were identified. There's sure to be more conversation about all of this, and probably more work on the part of the concom and volunteers to implement any changes they decide on, but I think they're off to a great start."~laura shapiro
cover of 2010 program, Doctor Who theme

Overview

elynross served as con chair for the last year before turning over the reins to renenet in 2011. The convention again sold out in 16 minutes.[1]Attendees began to use twitter in increasing numbers to communicate during the convention.[2] A significant amount of debate took place in the weeks preceding the convention that revealed a growing schism between attendees who saw Vividcon as a platform for social justice and those who saw it as a place to celebrate the art of vidding.[3] Those who felt it was possible to have both, often found themselves drowned out or forced to pick sides.

As one attendee argued: "I think this is the real reason why there's been so much ever-increasing strife in the community recently: That it's the manifestation of a core disagreement about vidding, what it should be, and how the convention should or shouldn't reflect that. As the voice and presence of the new segment grows, so does the drama, as these core ideals clash. I think most people have already taken sides, either vocally or otherwise, and that the rift is growing year after year. Even issues (like the current one) that only seem peripherally related to this rift are turning into massively divisive Events because of it."[4]

The Background

The two main issues debated in the weeks prior to Vividcon 2010 fell within the rubric of “accessibility,” both in terms of accessibility to convention programming for attendees with physical and mental disabilities as well as for those fans looking for warnings for the content of the convention programming. These issues had been raised shortly after Vividcon 2009, although little public discussion had taken place since then. [5]

The Debate

The debate began shortly after Vividcon released its “VividCon Background and Policies!” The convention’s accessibility policies had always been informal as Vividcon was a small fan run event, numbering around 140 attendees. However, possibly in response to the 2009 criticisms, the organizers attempted to codify what had been their accessibility and warnings policies for the past 8 years[6] While the initial response was positive, criticisms were quickly raised both as to the wording of the policy statement as well as to the content of the policies themselves. At least one disability blogger emailed suggestions to the concom as to how they could improve both the wording and the content of the policy.[7] (See list of links below for more details). However, because the discussions ranged over multiple blogging services, it was often difficult to identify a consensus for concrete suggestions for improvement that the convention organizers could implement.

"As elynross indicated in her initial announcement, VividCon welcomes comments and feedback on the VividCon Background and Policies statement. We would like to express our gratitude to those who have taken the time to make a comment or write to us about their concerns. We are aware of a small number of conversations happening in non-vividcon public posts, but if there is a publicly viewable conversation happening in your journal or blog or elsewhere that you think we ought to be aware of as we undertake this policy review, we would appreciate you dropping a link to it in comments here or emailing it to access@vividcon.com, please. We take the issues that have been raised very seriously, and we want to know what's being discussed so we can use that information to improve the VividCon Background and Policies statement."[8]

In an attempt to help shape the wide ranging discussions into something that the convention could use, astolat, a former Vividcon convention chair, offered to host an informal discussion in her blog, although she stressed the discussion was informal only and would not be setting policy.[9] While the moderated debate did lead to numerous concrete suggestions, it also revealed that some fans critiquing the convention had never attended Vividcon – or in fact any convention – and lacked background on the mechanics of organizing a small, all volunteer, fan run convention.[10] This led to occasional mis-communication between various parties with one side expressing confusion over what they saw as impractical suggestions and the other expressing unhappiness with what they saw as active resistance to their suggestions.[11] An additional complicating factor was that some of the suggestions (ex. That the convention post warnings for every vid prior to the convention) were difficult to implement given the short time frame.[12]

Further information about the debates and the specific issues discussed can be found here. The issues presented were complex and the discussion far ranging and scattered. This list is meant to offer a representative sample but cannot summarize the entirety of the debate. Additional links welcomed.

Links (listed in chronological order)

The Outcome

Even given the short time frame the convention was able to implement some of the suggested accessibility suggestions:

  • Volunteers were made available during registration and during the Friday night mixer to help those with mobility issues navigate the crowded spaces
  • A pathway was set aside in the atrium to enable those with mobility issues to move freely between the con suite and event rooms
  • Those with mobility issues could be seated a few minutes earlier during the premiere vid show on Saturday

Other suggestions that were not implemented until the following year (2011)

  • Turning the hotel public restrooms into gender neutral bathrooms (this required the convention to negotiate with the hotel)
  • Providing individualized warnings on the vids shows at the convention upon request

Suggestions that, as of 2011, have not yet been implemented

  • Providing sign language interpreters for panels or requiring that the convention create closed captions for vids

Programming: Panels

An attendee, anoel took extensive panel notes that can be found here[23] Kass did the same.[24]

  • Structure Redux. Moderator: Dualbunny. A larger scale re-imagining of the Structure panel I presented a couple of years ago, this time with more vidders! Featured panelists will be covering a number of topics, including any personal structure "crutches" or favorite structuring tips and approaches, their preferences regarding song structure (along with song choice) and how it affects their vids, what structural devices they notice most in watching other vidders' vids, as well as ideas on how to branch out and try new techniques. Audience participation and input will be encouraged, with plans for a question period towards the end. Panel notes are here.[25]
icons based on the meme that was used as the structure for the 2010 Vid Review panel: "Watch All The Vids!". Icons by xenakis
  • Vid Review. Moderators: astolat and flrenze. One attendee's notes are here.[26]
  • Indepth Vid Review. Moderators: hollywoodgrrl and nc. An opportunity to examine specific vids from the Premieres show in greater detail, from both vidding and viewing perspectives.
  • In Soviet Russia, Vid Edits You. Moderators: hollywoodgrrl. Step into this panel and you'll enter Film School 101. You'll be introduced to Sergei Eisenstein, Lev Kuleshov, and the history of Soviet Montage Theory. Then we'll move on to looking at practical examples of these theories in film, followed by a close analysis of a vid or two which masters them. The point is to show that whether we do it consciously or subconsciously, our instincts as vidders come from a very specific and legitimate place. Discussion will follow.
  • Paging Dr. Vidder: Fixing Shows. Moderators: millylicious. This panel will discuss the reworking of show narratives, highlighting underlying logics the show has failed to properly deliver, expanding on set facts to better put in perspective or make sense of a character's actions, etc. The various means by which this can be and has been achieved, audience response, and motivations will also be discussed.
  • Vidding as Choreography. Moderator: Deepa D. While vids have been described as "visual essays" and narratives that literary methods of analysis can be applied to, the fundamental characteristic of vidding is arranging bodies, whether in motion or stillness, to music. This is also one of the fundamental definitions of dance, and in their approach to their art, vidders are at least as close to cinematic choreographers as to directors. The choreographic techniques found in vidding can be compared with both the narrative dance traditions of Bharatanatyam and Ballet, and the abstract post-modern dance and movement theater aesthetics. Critical lenses from dance studies can prove a useful frame in analyzing vids and understanding how movement is infused with meaning. We will panel look at examples of vids, both ones that use what is traditionally called "dance" and ones that don't, to see how the discourse around dance can be applied to vidding.
  • Concrit. Moderators: lydiabell and jarrow. Get constructive criticism on your vids! Vids were submitted ahead of time, and made available online so people who are interested in attending the panel can view them and make some notes. This panel will differ from VidReview in that it will be explicitly for the benefit of the vidders.
  • Defining Viddability. Moderator: dragonchic. This panel will delve into what exactly makes a source "viddable." What are the primary factors used to determine viddability in terms of both aesthetics and narrative content, and how might their relative importance vary between projects? What are some tricks for dealing with source that presents challenges in either area, such as a lack of dramatic movement or a confusing narrative structure? And how large a consideration should a source's inherent viddability play in deciding whether to attempt a vid anyway?
  • Race and Representation in Vidding. Moderators: talitha78 and Deepa D. Visual markers of racial, ethnic, and cultural identity are inscribed on the bodies vidders use to tell their stories. What are the political and social implications of the choices that vidders make? What narratives of resistance and subversion can be told, and what stereotypes and oppressions get perpetuated? How do the racial and cultural dynamics within fandom affect vidding and its creators? How can we analyze vids through anti-racist, anti-orientalist, post-colonial, and subaltern studies lenses? From a vidder's technical standpoint: what are the editorial and creative issues you need to take into consideration when vidding characters of color? What implication do music and song choice have? Is there a different approach when you're vidding a character not of your own cultural or ethnic background, and what guidelines or mental reminders have proven useful to you? Paired with the Race and Representation in Vidding vidshow.
  • Vid Reading Practicum. Moderators: heresluck and renenet. Practicum: an exercise involving practical experience as well as theoretical study. Two vid watchers-one familiar with a vid's source material, the other not-lead a roomful of participants in watching and discussing a pre selected vid in detail. (In other words: a live, interactive, vid-reading episode of the here's luck and renenet show™.)
  • Motion. Moderator: cherryice. An aesthetics panel on motion and movement, including approaches and techniques. At what point can we differentiate motion and movement used stylistically from that which is incorporated into the fabric of the narrative? We'lllook at using smaller, unobtrusive movement to create continuity and unify a vid versus the use of larger "impact" moment at musical or narrative crescendos, flowing movement versus the deliberately jarring, and creating internal rhythms as a complement or counterpoint to music and storytelling.
  • Teaching With Vids. Moderator: blacksquirrel. Come hear about the moderator's experiences as a college professor who has been putting together a vidshow to go along with her classes for the last couple of years. Learn how she thought about organizing a vidshow for academic purposes and how she incorporates a vidshow within her courses.

Programming: Vidshows

After Morgan Dawn had provided informal vid show playlists with the help of many other volunteers for 6 years, Vividcon began offering linkable spreadsheets after the convention to allow non-attendees a chance to watch the vids shown at the convention. The lists below were collated by par avion.

  • "Auction"[27]Vids made to order by and for the brave and generous souls who participated in this year's vid auction.
  • "Challenge: Self-Portrait."[28] A double-blind show, in which vidders respond anonymously to our challenge. Vids will be both shown and discussed in the show. This year's challenge was to make a vid on the theme of self-portrait.
  • "Club Vivid."[29] VJ: AbsoluteDestiny
  • "History: Pre-VividCon Faves." [30] Here is a selection of just a few of the many excellent vids made in a world before VividCon--the kind of vids that made astolat & co. come up with the crazy idea to start a convention where it was all vids, all the time. I didn't actually watch any of these vids until 2004 or later, so I remain very grateful to VividCon, and previous VJs, for continuing to showcase these vids and allowing me to learn more about the history of our artform. VJ: par avion.
  • "I Blame the Patriarchy."[31] Patriarchy is not a he, a them or an us; it's a system we all participate in. This show will construct a view of "The Man" through vids that explicitly critique or otherwise highlight issues of individual and institutional systems of oppression enforced by our patriarchal society. Women fight to have a voice, misogynist narratives must be revised and reconstructed, sons begin to follow in their fathers' violent footsteps, economic disadvantage destroys futures, and wars erupt on foreign soil. We blame the patriarchy. Note: the VJs feel that some vids in this vidshow may contain triggering content. VJs: sweetestdrain and fan_eunice.
  • "Identity."[32] What makes a person who they are? From where does one's sense of self derive? Is it how you see yourself? How others see you? How vulnerable is identity to loss or damage? This vidshow will explore identities found, lost, questioned, affirmed, stolen, battered, bruised, constructed, and deconstructed. VJ: renenet.
  • "Nearly New - Part 1 and Part 2[33] Short on time to watch vids? Miss your favorite con this year? This is the place to catch up: vids in all genres that have premiered in the past year online or at other cons. VJs: Cassandra and hafital.
  • "Newbies Rock."[34] In 2007, this vidshow featured early work by shati, cherryice, jarrow, hollywoodgrrl, Greensilver...don't you want to see who we'll find this time? Note: the VJ feels that some vids in this vidshow may contain triggering content. VJ: Laura Shapiro. Examples: Bad Romance, Merlin vid by Nuarity.
  • "Non-Attending Premieres."[35] A showcase of premiering vids from vidders who couldn't make it here in person. VJs: Seah and Margie.
  • "O Canada."[36] VJs: millylicious and Deathisyourart. Celebrating the best of what Canada has to offer; its shows, movies, stars, and so much more. This vidshow aims to put the spotlight on Canada being its Canadian self, exploring what makes it tick (hint: some of it involves sticks and a puck), what makes it awesome, and what makes it unique. Note: the VJs feel that some vids in this vidshow may contain triggering content.
  • "Premieres."[37] Vids that are making their debut at VividCon. VJs: Carol S. and Melina.
  • "Race and Representation in Vidding."[38] Visual markers of racial, ethnic, and cultural identity are inscribed on the bodies vidders use to tell their stories. What are the political and social implications of the choices that vidders make? What narratives of resistance and subversion can be told, and what stereotypes and oppressions get perpetuated? How do the racial and cultural dynamics within fandom affect vidding and its creators? How can we analyze vids through anti-racist, anti-orientalist, post-colonial, and subaltern studies lenses? From a vidder's technical standpoint: what are the editorial and creative issues you need to take into consideration when vidding characters of color? What implication do music and song choice have? Is there a different approach when you're vidding a character not of your own cultural or ethnic background, and what guidelines or mental reminders have proven useful to you? Paired with panel. Note: the VJs feel that some vids in this vidshow may contain triggering content. VJs: talitha78 and Deepa D.
  • "Sexuality."[39] Like it says on the label, a show made up of vids about sex. VJ: Cassandra. Examples: Need, a Merlin vid by newkidfan.
  • "Unusual Point of View."[40] And now for a different perspective. VJ: Greensilver.
  • "We're Here, We're Queer."[41] Celebrating characters whose identities are more than just subtext, this show will look at the many differing ways that LGBT/queer/trans* characters are represented in TV and film, and how fans interact with and reinterpret those representations. Expect fandoms big and small, and as many genres as we can squeeze into the slot. Note: the VJ feels that some vids in this vidshow may contain triggering content. VJ: such heights.

Con reports, Convention Posts, Panel Notes and Vid Recs

Notable premiering vids

Twitter

(#vividcon), (#clubvivid)

References

  1. "We hit 100 in the first minute; it took 16 minutes to get the next 40 by flummery dated March 14, 2010.
  2. Morgan Dawn reported: "People used Twitter during the convention, to sometimes amusing results (aka, “IM LOCKED OUT OF MY ROOM” was my favorite tweet. I do not use/read twitter but made an exception to search for #vividcon tweets during the convention" from "Vividcon or How 140 Vidders In One Place Have The Power To Change The Earth's Rotation" dated August 9, 2010; locked post quoted with permission. harriet-spy had a different take on the twittering:"One less harmonious note: I must say that I was a little disappointed by the obnoxious twittering going on during and about the Sunday panels by people who were actually in the room but preferred the modern equivalent of sniggering loudly behind their hands to engagement. There are few things more unwelcoming than for some newbie who got up their courage to say something during, e.g., Vid Review to look at the #vividcon hashtag afterwards and find contemporaneous remarks about other people's "dumb opinions." And it's unpleasant to read for other people, too. I'm sad that this is the kind of thing that apparently can't safely be left to people's discretion." Back from VVC!; Webcite.
  3. As always, the term "social justice fan" is relative and not entirely accepted through the media fandom community (reference link). The terms "Transformational" fans (fans whose primary interest is not so much the source material as it is a tool for subverting gender and other paradigms) vs. "affirmational" fans (fans who just loved a series or book) are sometimes used, with varying degrees of reception. For a critique of the terms see the fail-fandomanon thread transformative vs affirmational dated November 23, 2011 (now offline). See also Affirmational vs Transformational is a distancing mechanism; reference link (dated November 23, 2011).
  4. bradcpu's The Vividcon Schism dated July 1, 2010;WebCite.
  5. See Laura Shapiro's post Vividcon 2009: Some observations about race, gender, and accessibility; WebCite. See also bop-radar's follow-on post On inclusion and exclusion in vidding fandom: personal reflections, dated August 20, 2009; WebCite. While accessibility took the main stage during the 2010 debates, gender and race continued to be topics of interest. Laura Shapiro had attended Vivivdcon multiple times. Bob Radar did not attend Vividcon until 2010.
  6. While the original accessibility statement, posted June 25, 2010, has been replaced with the updated one, the announcement of the policy read:"Introducing the shiny, very much expanded VividCon Background and Policies! We realized that many of our newer attendees were unfamiliar with VividCon’s roots and culture, and we felt it was past time to try and clarify and document some of our unspoken policies. We welcome comments and feedback." VividCon 2010 Progress Report #1; WebCite.
  7. See For those nervous about Vividcon dated June 26, 2014.
  8. renenet's post regarding our VividCon Background and Policies statement, dated June 27, 2010; WebCite.
  9. astolat’s vividcon open policy suggestion, dated July 2, 2010 and vividcon open policy, complete new draft , dated July 3, 2010. WebCites for astolat’s open policy suggestion and vividcon open policy, complete new draft.
  10. Much of these discussions took place in astolat’s two “Open Policy Suggestion” posts, linked on this page. During these discussions participants learned that Vividcon convention programming is held in a few small rooms located on one floor, the majority of social events take place in private hotel rooms, and the convention requires a volunteer commitment from over 60% of its attendees in order to host the basic panels, vid shows, convention suite, dance and other programming. This, many felt, imposed real world, practical limitations on what the convention could provide in terms of accessibility and a customized convention experience. For a counter argument that Vividcon's resources are limited see Disability, fandom, and me: Here's your place, live in it, or the VVC storm, dated July 1, 2010; WebCite) and musefools: I am neither a vidder nor a person who attends cons…but I was an event planner dated July 2, 2010;WebCite. And of course, not all the critical voices were non-attendees (see Laura Shapiro’s posts, also cited on this page).
  11. See questions about overcoming the lack of city sidewalks and wedging open hotel fire doors (WebCite), the possibility of offering customized sound volume controls for each vid show (WebCite) and whether seeing eye dogs are treated differently than wheelchairs (WebCite). Others feel that these were - and are --totally reasonable and legitimate discussions to be having.
  12. Over 220 vids are typically shown at Vividcon each year. Some are publicly available, some have never been made available online and were created decades earlier by vidders who have gafiated or are now dead and some are premiering and are being shown at the first time. In order for warnings to be created for each vid, volunteers would have to digitize and/or distribute the vids, other volunteers would have watch every vid prior to the event and then apply consistent rating and warning standards (that had yet to be developed). A final set of volunteers would be needed to compile the list of warnings and make them available to attendees. While this process was put in place in 2011, it was difficult for the convention to develop and implement it in the weeks before the 2010 convention. This did not stop non-attending fans from asking vidders to volunteer information about their premiering vids in order to compile lists of vids with triggers. As an added complication to the warnings debate, some vidders and attendees indicated that they would stop participating in the event if the convention required that vidders supply mandatory warnings; WebCite and WebCite. Some of these and other objections cane be read in the link list above.
  13. WebCite for DW post and LJ post.
  14. WebCite for jmtorres’s Two conversations that are only partly related
  15. WebCite for thuviaptarth’s VVC links
  16. WebCite for vom-marlowe’s Disability, fandom, and me: Here's your place, live in it, or the VVC storm.
  17. WebCite for astolat’s open policy suggestion and vividcon open policy, complete new draft .
  18. WebCite for thuviaptarth’s What I'd like to see as the VVC trigger warnings policy (update)
  19. Archive link.
  20. archive link
  21. WebCite for beccatoria ‘s post in the warning: equivocation thread.
  22. Archive link.
  23. WebCite for anoel's panel notes.
  24. WebCite for kass post.
  25. WebCite for Structure Redux panel notes.
  26. WebCite for anoel's Vid review panel notes.
  27. WebCite for Auction..
  28. WebCite for Challenge: Self-Portrait."
  29. WebCite for Club Vivid.
  30. WebCite for History.
  31. WebCite for I Blame the Patriarchy.
  32. WebCite for Identity.
  33. WebCite for Nearly New Part 1 and Part 2.
  34. WebCite for newbies Rock.
  35. WebCite for Non-Attending Premieres.
  36. WebCite for O Canada.
  37. WebCite for Premieres.
  38. WebCite for Race and Representation in Vidding.
  39. WebCite for Sexuality.
  40. WebCite for Unusual Point of View.
  41. WebCite for We're Here, We're Queer..
  42. WebCite for bradcpu's premiere vid musings.
  43. WebCites for sdwolfpup's Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 and 4.
  44. WebCite for destina's Vividcon vid recs: 31 vids, many and varied fandoms
  45. archive link
  46. WebCite for cesperanza's Now or Never Quick VVC Report!.
  47. WebCite.
  48. WebCite for mlyn's Vid Recs!
  49. WebCite for such-heights's Vividcon Convention report
  50. WebCite for amnisias's Post VVC blues & fatigue... .
  51. WebCite for serrico's Vid Recs.
  52. WebCite.
  53. WebCite for damned-colonial's VVC report.
  54. WebCite for jarrow's Vividcon 2010
  55. WebCite for harriet-spy's Some quick VVC recs
  56. WebCite for seperis's 2010: vidding as language.
  57. WebCite for VVC Premiere Show
  58. WebCite.
  59. WebCite for shoshanna's Vividcon con report (fragmentary, but long)
  60. WebCite for braver-creature's Vividcon 2010: Con Report, Like Oh My God! (Pt 1)
  61. WebCite for pipsqueaky's let's live it up.
  62. WebcIte for VVC Themed Show & Non-Attending Premieres .
  63. WebCite for bradcpu's Part 1 and Vividcon 2010 report part 2 + con posts/recs roundup.
  64. WebCite for Club Vivid and Challenge vids.
  65. WebCites for bop-radar's reports Part I, Part II, and Part III.