Last week, the musical duo of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, best known as Daft Punk
, released Random Access Memories
, their first studio album in 8 years.
I think that their music is really special and has played a big role in influencing the direction of both pop music and dance music over the past decade, but that's a discussion for another time. What I'm more interested in is discussing what they mean to us, us
being anime fans, otaku, Internet people, media consumers/remixers, etc. They've had a strong presence in our culture for a long time now...
-they have always pushed the creative envelope with their music videos
, playing no small part in helping to establish music videos as legitimate works of art
and daring to take bigger risks
and have more fun with them than any of their peers, even in the pre-Youtube age when MTV didn't know what to do with them.
-their collaboration with Toei Animation and Leiji Matsumoto, the feature-length Interstella 5555
, which introduced the band to countless anime fans and vice versa, is one of the best anime films and pop/rock musicals of all time and forever linked them to anime culture (if you don't spot Daft Punk cosplayers
at your next convention, that's not a good sign).
-the sci-fi themes in their music, mythos, and personas helped make dance music friendly for geek culture, which served to set us years ahead of everyone else when it came to appreciating rave, electro, disco, etc. "EDM"? Oh please.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that Daft Punk are one of the most creative acts of the last 20 years, making music that's somehow goofy, cool, and
smart at the same time, while using visual media in more imaginative ways than almost anyone else to channel the sort of creative vision that, if you're reading this right now, should be right up your alley. Their music is accessible, fun, high-energy, epic in scale and emotion and should lend itself perfectly to what it is that we're all here to do: making AMVs.
Four years ago, ngsilver
must have come to the same conclusion, starting a thread in the Multi-Editor Projects forum for an MEP focused on the music of Daft Punk. But this would be more than your average artist-specific MEP. Daft Punk Rules the Nation
would use a condensed mix of the tracks appearing on Daft Punk's 2007 live album, Alive 2007
, bringing together all the duo's best music into one mix. Furthermore, the MEP would be played at conventions during con dances, projected onto screens as the audience danced to the music. ngsilver encouraged editors to use high-quality footage and eye-catching graphics and effects: sure, the bar was set high but it was nothing that the Org couldn't handle, right?
The biggest downfall of any MEP is usually a lack of leadership on the part of its coordinator. ngsilver was not going to fall into this trap. He not only detailed the specific requirements and expectations he had for each editor's contributions in the forum thread, but went the extra mile and actually created an amazing website devoted to it
, where participants could download audio files and find further information about the project. He had a vision for a truly great MEP and was more than willing to put in the work necessary to make it happen. This extended from his helpful website to the attention he gave to the thread on the forum and all the responses he gave to interested parties about it. And there were lots
of people interested in participating. At first, anyway.
Follow the thread
and you'll see lots of editors chiming in, claiming tracks, and promising to turn in betas. But less than a year later, the project had yielded very few completed segments. A year and a half later, almost no further progress had been made. 6/28 tracks were finished, with 2 editors having finished beta versions of their segments. 11 editors had joined and submitted nothing at all. Meanwhile, the announcement of a Groove Coverage-themed MEP met with fantastic fanfare and was completed in just about a year's time. And we're now on the fourth Cascada MEP (the fifth if you count "A Very Cascadathon Christmas").
So I want to ask a couple of questions. The first of which being, does the Org agree that Daft Punk sucks
and Cascada and Groove Coverage are making better music? Music that's more fun to edit to? Music that you'd rather see in an AMV? Maybe you think these questions aren't fair, and maybe they're not, but at the end of the day, the results of the long-running experiment in taste that is this site/forum has produced some curious results and I'm interested in understanding the reasoning behind them. Do you like their music or just think of them as characters in masks? You know, except they're robots
instead of whatever it is the dudes in Slipknot are supposed to be.
So far I've talked a lot about Daft Punk, but maybe they're not the reason why this MEP failed to take off at all. So then, what was? Here's a few possible reasons and the obvious rebuttals to them:
1) This MEP was unorganized and the coordinator did a poor job of running it.
-- I've already detailed the exhaustive efforts that ngsilver put into the project and the lengths he went to in thoroughly communicating with everyone involved, so obviously this wasn't the case.
2) ngsilver was in over his head and didn't know what he was doing.
-- This guy is possibly the most knowledgeable person on this site and more dedicated to preserving and curating the efforts of the AMV community than almost anyone else. So this doesn't hold any water, either.
3) Too many limitations were placed on the project.
-- Initially, this AMV had very strict technical standards, or at least goals, but eventually they were more or less dropped in the hopes that someday, the video could actually be finished. ngsilver even accepted my contribution, which, in hindsight, violated almost every technical standard that he'd initially set*
. What started out as a 720p-only project is now accepting almost anything (so long as the submitted videos are widescreen). However, finishing the MEP according to his specifications would be a lot easier today than it was four years ago; that high-quality footage is surely more widely-available now than it was back then.
4. No one likes taking part in MEPs anymore.
-- I actually wonder if there's something to this. Most MEPs struggle to get off the ground, but the excitement surrounding contests here is greater than ever, to the point where they're pretty much taking up everyone's time, even at the expense of people making their own original AMVs. Do people get more excited over competition -- even if it means banging out something short, rushed, and often incomplete -- than the idea of working together on something (what a quaint idea!) that could turn out really great?
I want to apologize if I sound like I'm bitching and moaning about this, I really did want to keep this thread positive and inclusive. I just don't understand why this project didn't work out and I get a little agitated when I think about it. And I've felt this way for a while now and wanted to start this thread for a long time. And I hope I didn't fuck it up, because my ultimate purpose in writing all of this is to see if maybe, just maybe, we could somehow revive and finally finish this project.
I have not talked to ngsilver about this and he doesn't know I'm starting this trhead. Even though I corresponded with him some time back in sending him my clip for this, we haven't talked since then and we certainly don't know know each other or anything. I do get the sense that he's tired of dealing with it all but I shouldn't put words in his mouth so if he drops by this thread, I hope that he sticks around long enough to post a reply of his own thoughts. In the meantime, what do you think about all this?Does this sound like a good idea for an MEP?Would you be interested in joining it?Were you a part of it before when it was first announced? What were the reasons that you dropped out or didn't submit clips?
I know I'm not a big name around here or anything**
but I hope that you'll still give thconsiderationModerators/admins: please don't move this thread into the MEP subforum, this is as much about the state of the Org and MEPs in general as it is about this project in particular. Plus, threads die in there.*
My contribution from back then really sucked and was put together with a great deal more enthusiasm than actual skill. I'm sure that ngsilver would love it if someone else sent in a higher-quality/better-edited clip using track 7
of the mix
For whatever it's worth, I've been here in one form or another since 2002 and watched this place go through pretty much everything since then. I've written lots of opinions and donated before (and will donate again). I know that doesn't mean shit but, you know, I care about this place, the community, "AMV culture," whatever. Just don't think that I'm some asshole or anything like that.