no memory whatsoever
Twitter is useful. It hurts to say that.
Changing my org password was harsh. I couldn't remember the old one. Luckily I was still signed in on the main page, so I changed my password there. Then I used that to change it again on the forum (twice) until I got to one I would remember for a while. But now I'm wondering...if I hadn't been logged in on the main page, would I have been stuck on that "change your password" forum page forever? There was no option to have a new one sent to my email address. And I only know the emails of two people on the org, both of whom are currently inactive. It was disturbing for about two minutes there.
Now I'm wondering when the heck I last changed my or password, and why I didn't have it jotted down on the password cheat-sheet tacked to my wall. I know better than that. ^^;
Satori! ...Or not.
I was scrolling back through GeneralAmv looking for a thread I could swear used to be in there, when I ran across this thread:
I missed that thread when it came out. After reading the blog it linked to, I realize it explains my shift in hobbies perfectly. I'm a little ashamed of myself now. I didn't even notice what I was doing or why. o.O
I started with fanfiction. It was easy, but few writers were good, especially for the pairings I wrote for. I thought I was good and fans assured me I was. Eventually I actually did get good enough to realize my early works were crap. I had to work a lot harder to please myself. My fans still praised as much as always, and I had no trouble getting new fans as my favorite pairings shifted. But it was no longer easy for me, so I had to put more effort in to get that grin of self satisfaction that I was carving a place for myself in the hobby (fanfiction in general) and the fandoms (specific pairings). When I first attended yaoi-con and people in the GW room came up to me afterward as if I were famous, I blushed my fool head off and felt guilty for churning out crap to them. I was a sham. I looked ahead and realized I was never going to be good enough at this to justify all the effort I put into it. I was ready to jump ship.
That's when the org gave me a donut and my mom gave me a computer with a dvd drive. I dove right into amvs. Again, it was easy and although quite a few people were doing them, almost no one was doing them for slash pairings. I had my own audience of fanfic readers to target my vids toward, and most of them had never seen an amv and certainly wouldn't be seeing any by anyone but me for those pairings. I knew I wasn't good, but for my own little niche audience, I was the only thing they could get and that was better than nothing. Eventually I actually did get good enough to realize my early works were crap. Sound familiar? When I swept the amv contest at yaoi-con, I blushed my fool head off and felt guilty for churning out crap at them. I was a sham. I started turning to editors as my audience, and while that helped me improve a little, it also meant no matter how hard I tried, I was still coming up short. I looked ahead and realized I was never going to be good enough at this to justify all the effort I put into it. I was ready to jump ship.
That's when I realized no one was ever going to scanlate the doujinshi I had bought at yaoi-con. None of the scanlation groups would touch the pairings I liked. As with fanfiction and vids, the only way to get things with those pairings was to do it myself. I dove into that open market, taught myself Japanese, and started buying and scanlating djs full-time. It was easy, and while there were plenty of scanlation groups active, none of them were doing the pairings I did. Once again, I called to my fanfic readers, my loyal ready-made audience, and got mad props. They said I was good and I thought so too. The fact that there was little to compare my work to, for those pairings, helped a lot. Eventually I actually did get good enough to realize my early works were crap. Google found out about me, and I ended up at the top of any search for "yaoi doujinshi scanlations". I password locked half the pages on my site and I still couldn't get it to move off that front page. The "real" scanlators were ranting about me as if my mere existence was tarnishing the entire hobby. I looked ahead and realized I was never going to be good enough at this to justify all the effort I put into it. I was ready to jump ship. But...
And here is where I broke the pattern. There is a very clear plateau when it comes to scanlations and I hit it. My Japanese continues to get better and I continue to get better at redrawing sound effects. But otherwise, I'm up there with any of the "professional" groups around. The same groups who used to complain about me now ask me to do projects for them. And unlike everyone else, I can work fast because I do it all myself. And, unlike fanfiction or amvs, there's a belief among fans that only special people can learn to translate things. That's total BS and I've told them that, but the idea of teaching yourself a new language is too daunting for them to even try. It remains an elite hobby that few people do, and fewer do well. And since I still focus on less popular pairings, I have my own little niche fandom within the niche hobby of scanlations. Is it any wonder I stayed in the hobby for so long? I found a place where I could get mad props for little effort. Even the "manga scanlation guild" can't touch me because I only do doujinshi. Hah.
But I got bored. That's the only thing about my progression through hobbies that doesn't fit the blog. I left my little scanlation pedestal where I was guaranteed kudos for minimal effort and went back to fanfiction, where I have to try harder than ever and still worry that a year from now I'll look back on yesterday's work and call it crap. I'm still leery of amvs, but the desire to make them is stronger than ever. If going back to fanfiction is masochistic, then making amvs is like stabbing myself in the foot. Repeatedly. And then jumping up and down on it.
The problem is that you don't create anything when you do scanlations. Yeah, I get to be a little creative when it comes to sound effects, and it's fun having my own site to archive my own stuff, and running my own little lj group and making cute little twitter announcements, and having strangers email me for access to my own private place on the net. I love the fact that every single NaruSasu fan I talk to recognizes my name. But I'm just reformatting someone else's story so fans can read it. True, the books I do will probably never be read if I don't do them, so I am adding something new that no one else could add to the fandom. But a hardcore fan could pay another scanlator to do that book and the finished project wouldn't look much different from mine. It's not enough to know that only I *would* have done that project. I want to know that only I *could* have done it. And that's what I get from fanfiction and amvs, that's what I'm missing. It's that little kid's voice I used to hear at the end of tv shows saying "I made this."
Does that mean I've finally overcome that need for specialness, for otaku-points? I wasn't aware that I was shifting hobbies to find the most praise for minimum effort, but in retrospect that's sure what it looks like I was I doing. I thought I was quitting because I wasn't good enough and never would be. I was looking for a place where I could excel, not because everyone else sucks, but because I could get good enough to be on par with others. I called myself a professional dabbler (note that I didn't even mention my brief foray into fanart). Never great, but not claiming to be. Now I have to wonder how much of my dissatisfaction was really because I sucked and always would suck, and how much was because it was just no fun being mediocre when I could hop somewhere else and be considered great. Was I a fanwhore all along and in denial about it? Maybe.
Or maybe I'm just trying to justify the fact that I'm playing with fics and vids when I should be answering password requests and translating projects for my collaborators. Feeling obligated makes it a chore and that's no fun. I'm not getting paid, so why should I have to work so much? Blegh. Writing fics few people will read and working on vids that may never make it off my computer - now that's fun.
Yes, I'm just playing hooky. Take this entire entry with a grain of salt. I don't care why I really shifted hobbies, whether I was a fanwhore in denial or just restless and sick of sucking so much. One thing I know for sure is that I was lazy and still am. Like Norman said, hobbies should be a way to pass the time, not fill it. Jobs are for filling time, that's why you get paid to do them. I want to pass my time having fun. ^_^
I swear, posting on the org these days is like posting on a religious forum where half the people have just "found God" and are eager to "save" everyone they see. I know some of us take this very seriously, this is their life or whatever. But for the rest of us this is just a hobby. It's a way to pass time, not a mission in life. Take some of the recent threads and delete "amv" from them. Don't they sound like something that should be posted in an "out-there" section, possibly on a completely different forum? I understand that people have dramatic life-altering experiences or realizations and they want to spread "the word". But don't turn the org into your own personal church. The org has enough issues without that.
I know I have difficulty with preachers. Blame my youth. I church-hopped for years and got to know all sorts. Now I like to prepare myself before I go anywhere near them because I know my nature is to attack the hypocrisy they all seem to inevitably practice. No matter what religion it is, there are blatant flaws that they selectively close their eyes to and it drives me nuts. Seeing that sort of thing here on the org is also driving me nuts. If I wanted a preacher to rant at me, I'd go to a church with a reasonable quiet-voiced one who doesn't trigger my attack reflex. Brainwashing never worked on me, but if someone has to try, he should at least do it politely.
I am editing and loving it, but the forum is stomach-churning at the moment. I hope this movement is short-lived.
Then and Now
I got into amvs in college and editing became one of my main hobbies. Any time I had a few hours to burn, I'd churn out a vid. I never thought about the hobby as a whole or even the amv community itself. It was as if I had just discovered finger painting and was covering my walls. The more I did, the more I liked it. I wanted to fill all that empty space. That was 2003 and amvs were the best thing since sliced bread.
In the 2004 I had a chance to attend Yaoi-con and decided to make some vids for their amv contest. Winning an award was the last thing on my mind. I was still in the 'finger-painting' mindset where I just wanted to see those home-made creations of mine up on a big screen. The moment I saw them larger-than-life, I think reality set in. What looked so great on my computer sucked on the big screen. But most of the vids in that contest sucked even worse. I got called up three or four times during the award ceremony and by the end I felt sick to my stomach. I was a fraud. People stared at me like they were wondering who the hell I was. It was horrible.
In 2005 I put out even more vids since I get better with practice. I was determined to try again and have something to submit that actually deserved to win. I put a lot more time into the op exchange here, trying to get better. That year I submitted two vids that remain the best I've ever done. And I stayed home so that I wouldn't have to deal the stares if I won. The vids were a fan-animated vid and Ego Trip. The first one bombed, which broke my heart a little, but the second one won an award, just as I had expected it to. I made it to be a fanfavorite and that's just what it was. I proved something to myself that year, that I wasn't a fraud after all. Unfortunately, Ego Trip also became a minor convention troll. People submitted it to other amv contests without my knowledge and it ended up being shown to entire audiences of people. That was way too much exposure and pressure.
In 2006 I was on my way out. I couldn't do effects, so I lost touch with the org editors as if I were still in the stone age watching them blast off into space. Each new project was bittersweet. I still enjoyed editing, and I loved watching my new vids as much as my old ones, but I cringed at the thought of posting the finished products. I did submit vids to Yaoi-con that year, and I attended expecting them to lose. One of them won something, which was a little awkward, but the rest were average. There was serious competition that year, with even the bad vids having effects I couldn't do. I didn't enjoy any amvs shown during that contest except my own, which the crowd didn't enjoy. I was submitting GW and YYH to a contest full of Loveless and that Oran show I never bothered to watch. It was just the effects, it was the anime. I felt a complete disconnect, a generation gap, and my motivation to be a part of that community pretty much fizzled out. I didn't like the new anime those kids liked, I liked the old stuff they sniffed their noses at. I didn't like brain-frying speed and flash, I liked to see the anime footage. I didn't belong in that room with those people.
After that I was working full time with little left for hobbies. I knew throwing together a vid in the three hours of free time I had over the weekends would mean an automatically bad vid, so I didn't bother. I still watched new vids occasionally, but I rarely found ones I liked. Too flashy and fast for my eyes so they were headache inducing, too many new anime I'd never heard of so I missed the point, and the only vids I could actually enjoy were humor vids. I felt old.
Last year I got back into watching anime and amvs thanks to my nieces. They're young, very young. They're so young that they don't like the fast flashy effect-ridden vids I dislike - because they can't see them or follow them any more than I can. They prefer slower vids with eyecandy shots of familiar characters, action scenes of their favorite fights, stories they can follow while singing along with the lyrics of the songs. We watched all my old favorites and they loved them as much as I do. Because they're innocent and naive. They don't know that effectless vids are lazy and plain and thus boring and bad. They don't distinguish a crossfade from a straight cut. They're story oriented, more about the way the lyrics and footage mesh than about beat sync and perfect compression. They're anime fans who enjoy watching their favorite anime scenes set to their favorite songs. They brought back all that finger-painting excitement I had in 2003 and made me want to put my favorite anime footage to music again.
These days I'm dying to edit. I'm still jaded as hell about competition and community and expectations. Not to mention technology, which has advanced so far in the last few years that I won't even kid myself about my chances of "catching up". But the urge is there, with tons of ideas every time I get in my car and pop in a cd. The problem is I don't have time to edit. I scanlate now, and I have obligations in that hobby that I can't just set aside while I churn out a few vids. When I do get a chance to open up a timeline, I sit there watching the footage I already have over and over, laying on a few new clips, doing a couple tweaks, and then I have to go to bed so I can get up in time for work. ^^;
Why did it have to be Godix?
I didn't know about Godix.
I missed the thread.
I was reading it, thinking "this sucks" and "Who's left? Otohiko?" and "He never got to be a mod."
Then I saw Flint post and my eyes got all teary and my throat tightened up.
He replaced EarthCurrent for me, as the crusty guy I looked for to reassure me that yes, this was still the org however much it might have changed. Then, at some point, we actually started talking. After a while, he was my only friend left on the org. No matter how long I stayed away, he'd be there when I got back. It wasn't about amvs anymore.
I've been coming back, looking around, and then leaving again without realizing what was missing. Everyone who said the org wouldn't be the same without him was right. The org isn't about amvs anymore, not to me. It was about the community, those few people who've been around the entire time, and the one or two I actually made a connection to. Without them, there's no point.
I'll have to start over for real. This is just an amv site now. I still like amvs enough to toy with the idea of getting knee deep in the hobby again. But I won't view the org any differently than I do fanfiction.net - it's just where I go to post my fanworks. without a personal connection, investment, it's nothing special.
Of course I feel sorry for his friends and family, but being an honest and selfish person, I feel more sorry for myself. I wasn't watching out for this, so it's like being hit upside the head with a baseball bat. Fuck. This sucks.
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