Not all of my entries here are going to be mulling over lifted posts from the .org forums from years back, but I’m finding a lot from then that’s causing me to think about things from different angles, and I’m loving it. This post in particular was really interesting:
SQ asks this question from the editor’s perspective, but it got me thinking…what about from the viewer’s perspective? Why don’t we ever consider it the other way ’round? On the .org we always approach our questions from the viewpoint of the one making the video; this goes for 90% of the questions asked and the discussions generated. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, and in fact is the most natural approach we can take. But it’s interesting that the only time we consider anything from a viewer’s perspective is when it’s time to execute judgment. The rest of the time, we are the editor, asking trite questions like, “Why do you edit?”, and offering up assertions such as “Editing does X and Y for me” for the purpose of discussion.
I’ve heard people get frustrated at the lack of response to the effort they put into a video, but this instance with SQ above might be the first time I’ve ever seen someone complain about a person’s motivation for watching it. It resonates with me, but perhaps not in the way the SQ of 2003 would have anticipated, or liked. It made me reconsider why I watch videos at all.
When was the last time you actually asked yourself, “Why do I watch AMVs?”
Just take a minute to think about that, in case you are an editor AND viewer of AMVs…why do you watch them? The answer, I think, reveals not only something about who you are as an anime and/or music fan, but I think it can help inform you as an editor. You can learn something useful about yourself from the viewpoint of the editor, if you take the time to consider this question from the viewer’s vantage point.
To wit: back in 2012, CodeZTM interviewed Chiikaboom in a Lip Flapper thread. A couple years prior to this there had been some “drama” whereby Chii had basically given the middle finger to the .org and moved over to YouTube, for her own reasons. Code was asking Chii about the reasoning behind this in the interview. Her response is lengthy, but the takeaway point (for our purposes) is here:
“[On the .org] its a lot less about the anime, and more focused on the editing perspective. A lot of people edit with anime they havent even seen just because the footage looks nice. Imo that totally takes the point out of making amvs for me. It feels like anime has just become stock footage now… its no longer about being an anime fan and embracing that, its about wanting to be a video editor, or an artist. I guess theres nothing wrong with that if thats what you like to do, but I guess it kinda feels like people like me are isolated out. And then theres those awkward moments when an editor edits a kick ass vid using an anime you love, and you’re like ‘OMG HELLS YEAH SOUL EATER YAYYY’ and the editor is just like ‘i havent even seen the show i just edited with it lol’. Ummm.”
She answered Code’s question from an editor’s standpoint (unsurprisingly), but it reveals something, I think, about why she watches AMVs at all. For Chii, it’s not about the editing, it’s not about the effects, she enjoys watching AMVs for the source footage (and presumably music) being used.
One of the most annoying things I hear people say in the AMV community is to “just make the video for yourself”. I’m guilty of saying this too, lots of times. Thing is, I don’t think in the history of AMVs there’s ever been a video released to the public that has ever been made 100% for the editor in question. If it was, it would never have been made available for everyone else to download and judge. Every editor craves, even if just a little, that feedback from the viewer. We can’t remove ourselves completely from our audience; if we could, we would have no need of an audience to begin with. We’d all make our videos and keep them to ourselves and there would be no community.
And then, from the other side, as the viewers, we are the consumers of the product, so to speak. We are the judge and jury in terms of not only how good a particular video is, but if one is even worth watching. For myself, you can put all the effort and time you want into a video, but if your anime source is Naruto and the song is by Limp Bizkit, I will not download it. Like it or not, for most of us it doesn’t matter how much effort you put into something; when there are tens of thousands of videos to choose from at any given point, I’m going to naturally gravitate towards those that have an anime and/or music choice that I like.
We as a community on the .org have become so enamored of the editing side of things, that I think we often neglect what it means to actually watch a video, and to think about why we watch in the first place. Most of us got started because we saw a video and thought, “Hey, that’s cool, I wanna do that!” and then we did. Whatever your motivation for editing, at the core I would suggest that we share a common motivation for watching: We love anime, and we love music, and smashing the two together can result in some pretty neat things. We shouldn’t need anything more than that.