The AMV Documentary

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ZephyrStar
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The AMV Documentary

Post by ZephyrStar » Wed Oct 01, 2014 6:26 pm

So a couple of weeks ago at NDK, I was talking to CrackTheSky and Koopiskeva, they had had a conversation while on the plane, and they were like "hey man, someone should make a feature length AMV documentary." So they told me the idea, and I liked it. Now I know a few things have been made on the subject already, by various people, most notably Brad. We talked about it some more, and thought it would be really awesome to make something a bit longer, a bit bigger, and try to tell a much bigger story. I flew home from Colorado full of motivation.

I had been planning on getting a camera for another live action film project I've been working on for a long time, so I went ahead and pulled the trigger on a Canon 6D and a few lenses. I figured what the hell, I'll be able to get used to the camera, and practice interview technique, among other things. The camera arrived right before AWA, so I had barely any time at all to play with it before the con.

While at AWA, I did manage to get around 60gb of various footage and interviews, which I'm in the process of going through and archiving right now. I managed to interview a total of 5 editors, out of the some 40-50 that were there. That's bad. I was not prepared enough. There are a number of factors, but basically this is what I learned:

-We don't yet have a script. Have not yet decided how we want to structure the documentary, but we do know the end goal, which is to expose the general public or potential editors to the AMV community and tell our story, with minimal back-patting. We really want the doc to be about the hobby itself, people getting into the hobby, the fun people have with the hobby, and not about any specific editors. I'll be narrating the doc as if I were an outsider looking in. That said, I certainly do want to give credit where credit is due, so that's why I want to interview as many editors as possible to get the many different reasons we do what we do.
-I started with 25 interview questions, this is far too many for the number of people I want to ultimately get on film. I am going to reduce the number of questions down to about 5. The interviews I did shoot gave me really good insight into what questions got the best answers, so I will be creating a new interview question list.
-I had two batteries, which I had to try and alternate out. The only problem with that was running around between hotels and looking for wall sockets while in the VAT to charge batteries. I missed some important stuff because I did not have enough of them ready to go. Same with memory cards.
-I bought some lighting gear, and tried to light the press room, which had plain, gray walls. Interviews conducted in that room did not come out as well visually as I would have liked. Same with the audio, too much echo in the room (despite use of a pro recorder and strategic placement).
-Impromptu interviews with a couple of (drunk) editors ended up pretty good, though I got some hum of something mechanical in the background, so I'm going to have to probably re-shoot those next year.
-I wanted to set up one of my hotel rooms to be the interview room, but we stayed in the hotel across the street, so asking people to come across the street takes a bit too much time between interviews. With the number of people that I want to interview, I would need to have people ready to go so I can shoot them one right after the other.
-I also ran all over the con, filming everything, but managed to miss the majority of the Expo awards since I was not sure if I would have battery/card space to get the whole entire contest. Got the Pro awards, but they leave much to be desired visually since I was hand holding the camera (and had a really crappy tripod to work with).

Lessons learned/things to do next time:

-Will begin working on a script, hope to have that mostly done within a few months time.
-5-6 questions will be asked, and then one open ended "tell me a funny/life story about your involvement in AMVs," which should get some candid and funny responses.
-I will have a sign up sheet for anyone wanting to be interviewed, ahead of time, so they can expect it and prepare.
-Next year will get at least one hotel room in the con hotel, on one of the lower floors if possible to make the interview room more accessible. That way I can set up the interview space and leave it undisturbed all weekend, and can get people in any time they are available. Also should be able to work with sound better.
-I had ordered, but had not received at the time, a very nice fluid head tripod to use to get smooth pans. Will bring that with for awards ceremonies.
-I am thinking of doing this at other cons, specifically Sakuracon, NDK, and Momocon. Those are the ones I can afford (maybe).

Obviously, this will take a whole lot of work and time to put together.
That's where you can help.
Once I have a script written, I'll have gaps to fill.
I'm looking for people who:

-Are from all over the world
-Have decent video/sound equipment
-Can shoot their local con/ask their local editors questions
-Can get me the footage
-And probably a bunch of other things I might need help with

We're still in the early planning phases of this project, but I wanted to get a post out there and get this thread started.
If you think you might be interested, please get in touch with me.

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Re: The AMV Documentary

Post by seasons » Wed Oct 01, 2014 6:35 pm

I would watch the shit out of this film.

Really hope that you can get a couple of "1st generation" editors to participate (not going to drop specific names but I think you know a few that are probably on the wishlist) to show how far back this all goes. And I get the feeling that some of them don't want anything to do with the hobby anymore but maybe if they got an idea about how serious you are about it, they might reconsider.

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Re: The AMV Documentary

Post by BasharOfTheAges » Wed Oct 01, 2014 6:41 pm

Loved the idea when you proposed it. Best of luck with this.
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Re: The AMV Documentary

Post by hamstar138 » Wed Oct 01, 2014 6:46 pm

I might be able to help with this when Anime Boston comes around. If a couple of editors like Melichan and some others come I might be able to get interviews for you.
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Re: The AMV Documentary

Post by Kireblue » Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:12 pm

If you want to do this at MomoCon, I'll see what I can do to help you out. I might be able to secure a area for you to do this at. And I'll also be able to give you a early copy of the schedule in order for you to plan your recording times accordingly. When we get a little closer to the con, I'll also ask the head of our videography department if there is anything more that we could do.

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Re: The AMV Documentary

Post by Brad » Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:27 pm

As I'm sure you expected, I have opinions on this. But I will preface by saying, I wholeheartedly approve and want to see all progress.

You can take my thoughts with a heavy dose of salt by understanding that I've had a vision in my head of an AMV documentary for over 10 years. So understandably, when I think about the kind of doc I want to see, it lines up nicely with my original vision. That being said, hopefully my insights are helpful. If not, I completely understand.

I want to see a doc from the perspective of specific editors. I don't care who they are, but it should be a mix. I want characters. I want a story. What I don't want is "here's this hobby. here's a ton of people in the hobby. here's a ton of people's thoughts on this hobby." Having a wide range of talking heads CAN certainly work if your subject matter is either A) un-personal or B) historical. And it seems like that's the direction you want to take it. You want to place the subject matter in a non-personal context by not letting the audience really get to know anybody intimately. And, like I said, maybe that's fine. But for me, the sort of gold standard for the style of doc that I think would REALLY make the AMV story shine would be Indie Game: The Movie. In that, you're really following 3 stories in the same universe. The veteran who has a lot to say and gets very personal, the disenfranchised and struggling artist who is fighting both inner and outer demons, and the duo of rag-tag man-kids who show an adoration for the medium that translates into their art. We get to see them go through the process of their craft through both the highs and lows, culminating in a big event for each.

So, here's how I picture the AMV doc working. You choose 3 editors (either single editors or groups or whatever). You follow them for a long while. Like maybe a period of 4-5 months. I want to see somebody that's completely new to the process, somebody that's been around for a long time that people know, and maybe somebody in between. Each of them working on AMVs for a specific con, and talking about what they're going through. All of it culminating in them being AT the con and seeing what happens. Now, certainly, you'd sprinkle in little interviews with other editors either as B-Roll or as a way of magnifying what your characters are going through. Throw in some industry people to give the legal grey-area perspective. Talk to some people that used to be AMV editors that haven't been in the community for a long time and get their perspective. But the CORE of the film should be about the characters and their story.

Now, Brad, you're telling me that you want me to fly out and stay with some editors and film them editing for weeks at a time and get them to open up to me about their process and their insecurities and personal lives and hopes and fears and all that shit? There's no freaking way!

I never said any part of my idea was practical for a solo effort :o In fact its probably way too ambitious to really be worthwhile. But that is my idea nonetheless. I feel like it's the ideal way to expose the reality of the hobby. It's gotta be candid and personal. AMV editing is at it's core about personal expression after all. I know very well that for many people, AMVs are far more about the friendships/community, but that also boils down to the person. What those friendships mean to the individual. My main fear for the format you're talking about is that we simply won't get that individual touch. It seems like its going to be a showcase of a lot of disparate personalities and opinions, who happen to have a common interest.

I know I said it at the beginning but I'll reiterate, this is just my own view. I want you to do your thing and I really look forward to whatever you end up with. Soooo yeah! There it is. As always, crush it.
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Re: The AMV Documentary

Post by CrackTheSky » Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:28 pm

seasons wrote:I would watch the shit out of this film.
You could be in it. Just sayin' :awesome:

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Re: The AMV Documentary

Post by CrackTheSky » Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:33 pm

Brad wrote: B) historical.
At least in the conversations I was involved in, this seemed to be idea that motivated it in the first place, and this was kind of the foundation we were going to work off of. To make a documentary that followed the history of the hobby and showed the way it's changed over the last 15 years.

Also, credit where it's due: Tono_fyr was the one who brought this up to begin with, so I'm sure he'll want to be involved.

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Re: The AMV Documentary

Post by NepNep » Wed Oct 01, 2014 10:02 pm

I can't wait to see this when you are done. This is quite the big project you have taken on. It's a great idea
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Re: The AMV Documentary

Post by Shui » Thu Oct 02, 2014 2:07 am

I made a presentation about the History & Evolution of AMVs once. For this I learned a lot from other source already on the Web, and disappointingly found only stuff about American editors. (yeah it originated there but there are many editors also in Europe which have influenced the scene as a whole) So I tracked some of those European editors down, most notably the early German editors and Russians and asked them questions per Email. AboluteDestiny was an invaluable source too.

This thing you're doing goes into a similar direction though it looks like you focus more on editors than single AMVs. I would love to know what exactly you plan to portray in this documentary.
So I'll be deciding if I want to support that when the script is done.

I've got a 7D, experience with party Videos. none with Interviews but I'd like to give it a shot. Also Audio isn't a Problem for me since that's been a Hobby of mine for years.

I guess I could most definitely haunt down ze Germans, maybe the French. I've met people from Eastern Countries too - Polish editors and Czech ones. It might be stretch but I'd know how to get to them.
Maybe Nya herself would be interested, dunno.
Spoiler :
fucking stealing other poeples hard work and claiming it as your own, you guys should be ashemed

ppl fukin fuk spent years making those animes, blood sweat and spilt coffe stains drawing all day long just to get a title "animator: this GUY" and then those music ppl spend years learning to produce music, teams of so many hard working ppl just trying to get their stuff out there in the world then WHAT TEH FUK DO U GUYS DO? u fukin take the drawings, u fukin take the music, then u just slap it fukin together like its fukin nothing, then u make banners and og take credit for it fukin all like u fukin made shit goin amv contests actin liek ur teh fukin shit fukin sayin i amde this fukin liek if u fukin did fukin makin fukin the fukin fukin fukin fukin - MiyaDV (2014)

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Douggie
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Re: The AMV Documentary

Post by Douggie » Thu Oct 02, 2014 3:46 am

Get a a Kickstarter started to get some costs of travelling out of it.
Shui wrote:I made a presentation about the History & Evolution of AMVs once. For this I learned a lot from other source already on the Web, and disappointingly found only stuff about American editors. (yeah it originated there but there are many editors also in Europe which have influenced the scene as a whole) So I tracked some of those European editors down, most notably the early German editors and Russians and asked them questions per Email. AboluteDestiny was an invaluable source too.

This thing you're doing goes into a similar direction though it looks like you focus more on editors than single AMVs. I would love to know what exactly you plan to portray in this documentary.
So I'll be deciding if I want to support that when the script is done.

I've got a 7D, experience with party Videos. none with Interviews but I'd like to give it a shot. Also Audio isn't a Problem for me since that's been a Hobby of mine for years.

I guess I could most definitely haunt down ze Germans, maybe the French. I've met people from Eastern Countries too - Polish editors and Czech ones. It might be stretch buKickstarterhow to get to them.
Maybe Nya herself would be interested, dunno.
What about Dutch editors? ;)

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Re: The AMV Documentary

Post by Shui » Thu Oct 02, 2014 4:14 am

Douggie wrote:
What about Dutch editors? ;)
Insignificant :ying:

jk. I don't really know any apart from you, Nio and Kagacie, ofcourse I'd love to come to Amsterdam again in order to make an interview!
and :beer: :pizza: |:>

Also the Italians, I'm sure mirko could help me out :D mebbe it's possible to hit up Darsch or Okami.

People kickstart me so I can interview obsolete AMV editors all over Europe? :uhoh: can't see that happening - even if the costs aren't too high.
I plan to go to Japan Expo sometime anyways, and meet the germans at connichi. So these will be easy. Italy and Dutchland also is easy. Hell even Poland or Zcheck.
I don't know many russians though, dunno if EvilSpider would be chill and how much the travel would cost. :shrug:

Let's not forget about the British :asd: going to London isn't too expensive either.
Spoiler :
fucking stealing other poeples hard work and claiming it as your own, you guys should be ashemed

ppl fukin fuk spent years making those animes, blood sweat and spilt coffe stains drawing all day long just to get a title "animator: this GUY" and then those music ppl spend years learning to produce music, teams of so many hard working ppl just trying to get their stuff out there in the world then WHAT TEH FUK DO U GUYS DO? u fukin take the drawings, u fukin take the music, then u just slap it fukin together like its fukin nothing, then u make banners and og take credit for it fukin all like u fukin made shit goin amv contests actin liek ur teh fukin shit fukin sayin i amde this fukin liek if u fukin did fukin makin fukin the fukin fukin fukin fukin - MiyaDV (2014)

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Re: The AMV Documentary

Post by Radical_Yue » Thu Oct 02, 2014 11:15 am

I like Brad's idea but I also like the original idea Chris came up with.
Giving the documentary a focus like what Brad talked about is very appealing. I'm familiar with the movie he referenced while talking about it and I will say it was a good watch. Of course, if the subjects you choose to follow aren't interesting enough to carry almost 1/3 of a movie then you'll run into problems. And with so many unique editors out there it would be a bit difficult to select only a few subjects. On the topic of the movie itself, while I enjoyed it overall I actually found myself biasing against some of the games that were featured because I either just didn't like their creators or lost respect for them as the movie went on. Was it an interesting look into the industry and some of the people behind it? Very much so. However, watching some of these people that were chosen as subjects actually made me want to distance myself a bit from it. The way they behaved and some of their thought processes made me actually feel a bit ashamed to call myself a "gamer." This is a possible risk associated with giving a documentary like this such an intense focus.

However, based on the way Chris describes his current vision of the documentary it actually feels lacking major focus. Obviously without a proper script in order that is going to happen but I think you need a balance of "character" focus and open questioning.
While you're questioning the editors I imagine you'll be seeing certain subjects pop up while they discuss either how they got into it, what they enjoy about it, etc. Subjects such as contests (online/convention), Iron Editor, Non-US influence in AMVs, etc. I would prepare a list of these types of things that I would consider major in the hobby, decide on the best people to follow around for them, and then do just that. Concentrate small but longer sections on these certain aspects of the hobby and by following people around, give the audience something more to hook into and identify with than an incredibly large collection of editors just answering questions.
Because while getting as many editors and opinions in there as possible is a really cool goal, you need at least a couple people that the audience can "like", if you get what I mean. Hearing a ton of people talk about Iron Editor is fun and all, but following two editors before they face off, capturing the before, after, and all that they go through and feel would be a great experience for those that don't know what it's about.

I'm with Douggie and agree that you should do a Kickstarter or something along the lines to cover travel. Figure out the basic script and flow of the video, pick certain subjects to follow, and travel to cons.
If it was me, I would personally go in this order....

The rise of Kazaa/Limewire - Basic discussion about how AMVs first started spreading online.
AMV Contests (Convention) - Quite a few people had their first experience with AMVs from randomly wandering into the AMV contest at their local convention and decided they wanted to do it for themselves.
The Creation of the Org - People are discovering videos online and off, now a place for them all to congregate has been created.
AMV Panels/Iron Editor - The hobby has been given legs, people are finding others that are like them and now they're trying to drum up activity and gain additional attention.
European Influence - I would actually want to travel to Europe for this one. I would either hit up Japan Expo as the largest con or Connichi as the one with the largest amount of editors in attendance (possibly both). See if you can arrange some interviews with international editors to talk about some of the heavy hitters that really influenced the hobby. (AbsoluteDestiny, Tyler, Nostromo, etc.) I imagine that a large amount of the doc will be about US/Canadian editors so being able to capture at least part of what the European community has helped set in motion would not only be a great way to talk about how trends/styles changed and evolved based on popular editors, but it would help give the viewers a better idea of just how far this hobby has spread.
Online Contests/Growing Online Communities - With the hobby growing, spreading to different countries through Youtube, AMVNews, The Org, and more, online contests such as Big Contest, Akross, and even the little ones we run on the Org have become great ways for editors to meet, make some badass videos, and build friendships. The current online contests/other online communities are huge parts of what make the hobby what it is today. It would be a missed opportunity to not acknowledge the amazing videos and editors that have become well known thanks to these resources.
Finally, the editors - All of the previous topics really come down to this since at it's heart, AMVs are really about the community. This would allow you to go back to all the previous sections of the doc and give them a proper ending by showing what this is all about. The online friends meeting up, the finalists of contests congratulating each other on wins, the Iron Editors having drinks together after a stressful event, the glorious dancing of JCD, and all the rest. Tie up all the stories with a neat little bow and give it a happy ending.

And of course, let me know if you need anything :P I KNOW EVERYONE.

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Re: The AMV Documentary

Post by Shui » Thu Oct 02, 2014 11:54 am

I'd start with the start of AMVs and it's place back in mid 1980s. You know Tape-editing, distribution at cons.
Spoiler :
fucking stealing other poeples hard work and claiming it as your own, you guys should be ashemed

ppl fukin fuk spent years making those animes, blood sweat and spilt coffe stains drawing all day long just to get a title "animator: this GUY" and then those music ppl spend years learning to produce music, teams of so many hard working ppl just trying to get their stuff out there in the world then WHAT TEH FUK DO U GUYS DO? u fukin take the drawings, u fukin take the music, then u just slap it fukin together like its fukin nothing, then u make banners and og take credit for it fukin all like u fukin made shit goin amv contests actin liek ur teh fukin shit fukin sayin i amde this fukin liek if u fukin did fukin makin fukin the fukin fukin fukin fukin - MiyaDV (2014)

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Re: The AMV Documentary

Post by ngsilver » Thu Oct 02, 2014 12:12 pm

I managed to record all of the award ceremony (minus the videos themselves). Lighting wasn't great for filming but I think the footage turned out ok. It's also hand held but I think I've worked out a pretty good technique for holding my camera that almost makes it look like I use a harness. If you want any of the footage I captured I can get it to you. I'd love to help out with this as much as I can. I'm almost finished acquiring all the equipment I need to do interviews myself (I need a sound board to plug my lapel mics into since my camera doesn't provide enough power) for a project I'm working on for Youmacon and my own Youtube channel.
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