First up Saturday morning was bananainpyjamas's panel on Defining Viddability. I liked that she opened with saying that probably there was nothing that was inherently unviddable but that there were degrees of sources that were difficult to work with. There was a good sense of humour in the room for this panel I think--probably because it was mildly cathartic to discuss source that gives us headaches. I'm pretty determined when I want to vid something (I've been know to crop around subtitles!) but it was definitely interesting (and reassuring) to hear people discuss ways to work with particular issues in source.
I was really looking forward to the sexuality show (not because I'm a perv, I swear!) and was not disappointed. I found it to be one of the most well put together shows of the whole con--the range of material shown was fascinating. While there was definitely lots of mindblowing hotness, I really got all meta-brain about it and would have loved to discuss the show afterwards (I might write a post about it--there was a lot to unpack about what constitutes eroticism, how specific that can be, how heavily problematicised it is in Western culture, where lines of comfort and discomfort get crossed, etc). Fabulous quality of vids as well.
For lunch, a bunch of us brought food up to morgandawn's room. We chatted a bit about vid shows and how they are put together. I was still very much on a learning curve with working out an approach to viewing so many vids so quickly, and finding that I didn't have time to enter emotionally deeply into them as I would at home, but it's certainly true that you really notice the VJing--shifts in tone can be either jarring or feel natural. Like sometimes you need a mood lifter vid after something heavy, other times it feels odd. I think in the sexuality show, contrast in the order of the vids was part of what was interesting for me.
Anyway, as you can probably tell from the above ramble, I was far more in my own head on Saturday, freed up from social anxiety. I think I was possibly quieter, but only because I was absorbing everything thoroughly, and trying to keep some emotional reserves for premieres (which proved wise!).
I did rather OD on vids on Saturday though. But there were so many good shows on it was hard to turn down. I'm a sucker for Unusual POV vids, so I couldn't pass that up--again that's something I'd have liked discussion of--what makes an unusual POV work, how do you 'sell' it to your audience?
Then the unmissable Newbies Rock show. I've been a fan of this show, run by laurashapiro, for several years--the calibre of vids she finds are amazing and it's always exciting to find vidders you don't know yet. It's like that moment when you take a chance on downloading something (at least in the days before YouTube) and open it up to find a little treasure inside! Except en masse! Also newbies totally deserve more credit (and less preachy 'don't make mistakes' bullshit, ahem). Vidding is an evolving medium, and watching the work of vidders that are new to me almost invariably opens up new windows of possiblity in my mind. Inspiration yay!
It was definitely time to take a vid break after that, and thankfully cherryice's Motion panel was next. I have to admit, I was really nervous about this, because I thought I might attend and come out feeling like a complete failure as a vidder. I have my own relationship with motion that I think is rather different from some other vidders. I have worked hard to develop my use of motion after receiving anon feedback about it over a year ago, but quite frankly I still feel sometimes like I'm working in the dark trying to guess what other people want. It's not that I'm unhappy with the motion in my vids, but I get that it doesn't cut it with other people (also went through some major breakthroughs about it as the con because of course the bigger screen can sustain a lot more motion that the laptop, where I'm used to viewing vids). Anyway, I shouldn't have worried at all because cherryice was an enthusiastic, charismatic and entertaining speaker who didn't make anybody feel like an idiot. *wipes brow in relief* In reality I really related to a lot of what was discussed and felt like one of the things I walked away with was that there are many ways to work with motion, not just one right way--but a lot of it is about really tuning in to the music and watching specifically with motion in mind. Not so hard after all!
I felt like I should go to the Town Hall but it was up against the We're Here, We're Queer show, and frankly by this stage I was working out that 'shoulds' weren't happy making for me and that following my instincts was definitely a better way to navigate Vividcon, so I headed off to the vid show and it ROCKED and I'm so glad I went. It felt very celebratory which was a lovely way to end the day. There was a lot of poignancy but also some pure escapist joy.
There was a bit of drifty time after this as everyone was pretty tired and seemed to have vanished for food or snoozes. DC and I kind of floated around the con hotel aimlessly like tumbleweeds for a while before a group of us gathered to get all SRS BZNS about queuing for premieres. I wasn't nervous but there was also no way I could eat before premieres--waaaaaaaay too excited.
Thanks to the determination of bradcpu, wistful_fever, bananainpyjamas et al, we were first in line for premieres. The whole vibe pre-show was really fun. seperis and svmadelyn brought along a lifesize poster of Edward Cullen for people to have their photo taken with and much hilarity ensued, though I got majorly distracted by the fact that absolutedestiny was talking to bradcpu beside me. I unashamedly eavesdropped and it was a pleasure to hear absolutedestiny talk about his vidding--very inspiring.
Everyone was totally buzzing with the excitement (and nerves), and I had to keep explaining that I wasn't that nervous about my premiere. I'd gone with the policy of making something I really wanted to see and I'd been far, FAR more worried about being accepted socially at the con than about how my artistic output would go down. Having vidded privately for months I know I can live without feedback. :) That said, I did get a teeeenie bit nervous about how some of my newfound friends would like my vid, but I figured if they really disliked hot Oliver being hot then I should disown them. :p *totally kidding of course*
Through some wonderful luck, I managed to score a frontrow seat (I waited to see if other people would take it! I did!!) beside bananainpyjamas and jarrow. It was almost too good to be true!
I planned not to talk specific vids in this con report but it's really hard not to in this section because it was all about the specific vids. To try and recapture the overall feeling of the show, I would say I found the following things incredible:
- the overall noise from the room after each vid--vids showed at both ends and since we were in a front row we were waaaaay down one end, so there was almost an echo effect from the cheers at the other end
- the feeling of sitting beside or near a friend whose vid is showing and feeling them tense but then also their happy hum of energy when they feel people getting into their vid. That's really special. I constantly wanted to turn round and hug people or call out to them but I tried really really hard to control myself and obey all the rules. I did scream my lungs out at the end of many vids though. And I had a hard time controlling my fidgety foot or hand tapping when I got really into something. (Not responding physically was one of the hardest things for me in an awful lot of vid sessions--at home I'm free to flail around or seat dance as much as I want!)
- the frantic running around both in the break and at the end of the show as you try to find everyone and tell them how amazing their vid was, which is (I found) alternated with standing there kind of dumbstruck thinking 'wow, that was some GOOD SHIT' and unable to say anything for a bit. Which makes the first part tricky!
Seeing a vid of mine play at Vividcon has been a dream of mine for so many years I sort of couldn't understand that it was really happening. Then I got all grinny and happy about it halfway through and hoped no one could see in the dark. The crowd seemed into it (they seemed into everything) and my beloved friends around me were all SUPER nice and congratulatory about it, and very loyal with their 'whooos!'. Hearing the cheers at the end was kind of like a tidal wave of warm energy washing over me. It was sort of SO nice I blanked out about it.
I *do* remember sisabet fighting her way through the crowd to find me at the end of the show and high five me for Smallville representation! bananainpyjamas and I had been eagerly awaiting her vid (Clark/Lois! In Premieres!!!) and were of course not disappointed. Since I'm a newbie compared to sisabet it felt like one of those amazing 'we're all one!!' con moments to be all wheeeeee, SMALLVILLE REPRESENT! together (also it is a crying shame that we did not get more time together at the con). I also got huggy congrats from dualbunny, and if I'd stopped for one second to think about how trippy it was to be getting congrats in person from such amazing vidders I'd probably have got all shy again, but by this stage of the con everyone was just people to me. I know many con goers talk about Club Vivid creating a sense of everyone being friends, but for me that happened at Premieres. It just felt like everyone was celebrating every vid. Giving someone's vid time and attention (whether at home or in a hushed room with 100 people) is a gift and it felt really special to share that.
I needed to decompress after that and I also felt it was definitely my time to give a bit back to other people, so bananainpyjamas and I ran pizza duty while other people went to Vid Karaoke. It was also cool to hang out with her post-premieres and collectively come down from the whole thing.
By this time actual hunger had set in so scoffing pizza and organising a rewatch of Club Vivid vids was on the cards. There was also a somewhat-hampered-by-technology attempt to video chat with non-attendees. I felt a massive wave of sympathy for the people in question and flashbacked to years past sitting alone on my sofa at home watching the premiere posts go up and clicking refresh on my friends page and feeling very Eeyore-esque. *queue the violins* I had to snap out of that or I would have cried. At least they had people trying to chat to them, I guess?
I had my own attempt to talk to people outside the con (by now the rest of the world felt light years away) when I rang home and imparted a whole lot of superlative adjectives and not much else. I'm sure the gist my boyfriend got was: Alive. Happy.
Unfortunately sleep deprivation was finally catching up on me (probably a sign that I'd relaxed) and I had to bail before we'd got far into Club Vivid, which was a pity seeing as I'd missed most of it first time around. *facepalm* I did however find it comforting to think that I'd have so much joy to explore when I got home (and that is true!). I crashed into bed again in the wee hours of the morning.
I remember breakfast being fun and relaxed and less hungover this time around. By now I felt completely comfortable ambling down and plonking down with whoever I could find until the coffee kicked in. I honestly wasn't sure what to expect from Sunday, seeing as I felt like nothing could outdo the night before, so I was kind of chilled and open to whatever happened.
I had debated about whether to go to Vid Review or not, having heard various stories about it. In the end I went out of curiosity, figuring I could bail if it got boring or annoying. We'd been well warned that it was definitely NOT for the vidder but by some strange turn of luck I got completely spoiled rotten with positive feedback for my vid. It probably helped that it was first up in the first group of vids. I was at first a little bemused that it was viewed as accessible (there's a lot of character meta in there if you want it) but in retrospect I see why. Anyway, after the first two comments I kind of blanked out because it was embarrassing and I have an inability to process positive feedback, but I'm nonetheless very flattered and very grateful. More interesting to me were the comments about other people's vids--some of them were surprising to me, but for the most part the comments were positive (I gather this has been different in other years). I debated about whether to stick my hand up and talk but I generally felt that I'd prefer to give my feedback to the vidders in person even if it took me ages to do so (I guess that many years of conditioning as a vid viewer online are hard to shake!). There were a couple of times, I'll admit, when a vid I liked a lot got critical feedback I really disagreed with when my hand flew up in the air near involuntarily. But I whipped it back down on it and sat on it, remembering that I can get awfully defensive on behalf of people/things I like, and that no one (me included) needed the angst. While I think it's a really interesting tradition, and it was really quite exciting to hear vids discussed so openly, I also think anything said at vid review should be taken with a grain of salt--you only hear a couple of voices about each vid and ultimately your vid is playing to (possible) hundreds. That's my take, but it was still interesting.
Lunch had suprise elements for cherryice's birthday (I've mentioned how amazing kuwdora and wistful_fever are, haven't I?). I also got to have brief but well needed Friday Night Lights squee with heresluck and kassrachel who had both turned in amazing vids for the show for premieres. It felt brilliant to share show love in PERSON for once. Again, the time flew chattering to people and before I knew it the afternoon program had begun.
I had no idea what to expect of In Depth Vid Review, I must admit--but it turned out to be great fun, especially as they chose two of the most enjoyable vids of the con: Citihall and I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked. As someone who knows Smallville inside out and upside down, I found it fascinating to listen to outsiders discuss sisabet's vid--a real insight into how vids translate without context. In many ways people got all the right messages, but I did break at one point and stuck my hand up to explain a little (a very bare minimum) about the resonance of some of the vid for those of us with more show/canon knowledge. It's totally a vid that works on both levels though.
The review of bradcpu's vid was very celebratory and it seemed like a lot of people had identified with it and what it had to say about fandom and television culture generally. Again, fascinating to hear what people to say.
The event of the day I was most excited for was the Challenge show because I'd peeked in my program and thought it looked very promising, and also because the theme this year was really intriguing. I was NOT disappointed. I will break my 'don't discuss specific vids yet' rule a little to say that two of the vids made me cry and I had to fight my way through the crowd at the end to hurl myself at jarrow for opening up my BSG-broken-heart. It was an absolutely FASCINATING session in terms of audience reaction because there were some big shocks in there (and some divisive content) and we got to talk about the vids after they aired. Loved it, loved it, loved it, will be reccing and discussing in more depth EVEN IF PEOPLE ARE BORED OF IT ALREADY I DO NOT CARE.
After that came the auction vids and then calls from the public (which is a big public brainstorm session about the con). I was all behind that in theory but actually found myself very tired and with little to say, and the room was terribly hot and I was already in 'con gooooooooood' brain and just wanted a little nap. So I bailed at some point, but was there long enough to hear akemi47 speak up on behalf of YouTube vidders (WHOO!).
I think instead of the little nap I ended up in Outback Steakhouse because I'd somehow managed to survive the whole con without entering its doors before and my friends were determined that I should not escape. I was, after all, curious to see this strange concept (steakhouses are American phenomena in Australia--we do have them but they're considered American restaurants). The waiter was at least very honest in saying that the only Australian thing on the menu was 'this New Zealand lamb' ...
He did avow that the restaurant was 'Australian themed' though it certainly wasn't an Australia I recognised. I was also disconcerted by the burger named after my hometown, Melbourne, which came with the blurb 'as big as the name implies'. Is there something about Melbourne I've missed all these years?! *completely confused*
I was also introduced to the trippy onion starter thing, which looks like a spaceship, does not in any way resemble a vegetable or make you cry, but rather tastes warm and delicious (but rather messy). American food proving surprising was a theme of my longer trip.
There were lots of other groups of vidders in the Outback so I flitted around a bit chatting to people and drifted back to the hotel with dualbunny who asked if I'd be around online more now. It was probably the first time I'd stopped to ask myself that question but found with delight that the answer was 'definitely'. It was this and other conversations towards the end of the con that made me realise how much my anxieties had truly evaporated and vanished.
Tragically, I had to miss the True Blood party that night (which went OFF! I could hear it down the hall!) to make important phonecalls, but then settled down for premieres rewatch with kuwdora, wistful_fever, bradcpu, milly, bananainpyjamas and many others who flitted in and out. kuwdora also insisted that I be introduced to the con tradition of badfic readings in the atrium. I found I could only take a little at a time before they caused me to run away in terror. One piece read by deejay had particularly startling errors of syntax and the sort of leaps of logic that five year olds excel at.
Back in Room 232 things turned rather loud somehow. Honestly, I do not remember how exactly. Except that it involved cee_m being very funny. There weren't that many of us by this stage--I think just wistful_fever (who finally had her own clothes back, her luggage having turned up, and thus allowing me to discover that we share a love of canary yellow happy-making clothes), kuwdora (for whom I got to repay CVV favours by fetching much water), bananainpyjamas, cee_m (regailing us with many amusing DragonCon anecdotes) and radixiscat and dualbunny who had (foolishly?) dropped in. At some point hotel security knocked on the door and asked us to keep it down a bit, but we didn't think all that much of it seeing as how we were just talking. *dimly recalls radixiscat making 'well you are actually a LEEEEEETLE loud* body language in the background* I blame the laughing not the talking. cee_m is hysterical, kuwdora and I were both high and giggly, and dualbunny (it turns out) giggles at EVERYTHING--it's adorable! Evidently this mutual frivolity resulted in such a wall of sound that the next thing we knew the security guy was back and being Much More Serious and asking to see the room owners.
wistful_fever vanished briefly and then returned saying 'guys, we have to leave. Like. Leave the hotel leave'. Of course in the cold light of morning it was obvious that this was a scare tactic to get us to shut up, but at the time I was all 'they can't kick my friends out on the street!' and dashed outside to talk to the guy, who was rapidly retreating up the corridor bitching on his walkie talkie about us. wistful_fever and bananainpyjamas (who probably, after all, also wanted some sleep!) placated him with assurances that "we" (i.e. us noisy giggly infiltrators) would shush up or at least move to the atrium area. We fled up the hall, still giggling, and burst in on jarrow and f1renze to tell the story. We were all outraged that we'd got booted for just talking, but they were kind of Stony Face about it since apparently THEY could hear us from several rooms away.
And so we ended up where all wayward con attendees end up at 2am in the morning (it seems)... the con atrium, where seperis and svmadelyn were holding court with epic badfic readings. Truly I have never heard the like. O.O It must be said that I was mesmerised by Madelyn's capacity for this (she is the MASTER), but I was equally fascinated by the novel contributions of hapex_legomena and others.
A lot of shhhhhing continued and it took a little time to work out that we were not being shushed because we were on the verge of being booted out of the hotel, but because people really wanted to hear the badfic properly. There was really no describing it. I'll just say that if you have a very visual mind and a suggestive subconscious, badfic reading is possibly NOT the best thing to do right before you go to sleep. *shudders*
However, I was definitely glad I was there for cee_m's reinactment of Twilight, assisted by Edward banner and a very enthusiastic Bella in the form of kuwdora.
When we finally reached badfic satiety (it was hard by this stage--fatigue that made it hard to move was in hand to hand combat with the will to scrub one's brain out), I walked kuwdora to her room and stumbled back to my own bed, thinking beeeeeeeeeeed, I have seen so little of you! *crash*
I thus didn't have a chance to think about the fact that that was IT, it was all OVER, until the morning. I did have the foresight to get up early though and I sat in the foyer pretty much staking it out so I'd get to say goodbye to people. This was both good and bad, as I got to have more chats including comforting tencel with tim tams when her flight got cancelled, and talking to laurashapiro again (we saw too little of each other at the con) and elynross and the_shoshanna, but I also got all teared up saying goodbye to people. talitha78 was taking me off to the Field Museum, which I was super excited about (thank goodness) so by 10 I was farewell hugging everyone, getting last minute photos (and advice from jarrow) and then sobbing briefly before pulling myself together.
such_heights joined talitha78 and I at the Field Museum and we had a wonderful time exploring (it really is the classic American museum in my mind!) and after that I was incredibly lucky to go stay with talitha78, who is the WORLD'S BEST HOST and who created a total haven in her house for me to decompress post-con and generally rest and try very hard not to get sick or in any way depressed. We had a really lovely couple of days together, including some more vid watching and a lot of wonderful conversations, and I got to go to the Art Institute (INCREDIBLE) and have Chicago style pizza with serenography and svmadelyn. Before I knew it I was up before the crack of dawn and once again saying farewell and trying terribly hard not to be sad, and on a plane to New York.
Did it really happen? I still catch myself wondering that sometimes. *happy-sad smile*
I promise any future words on Vividcon will be more concise. *vows*