- Member: XStylus
- Studio: Project Thunderstroke
- Title: A Total Waste of 6min 35sec
- Premiered: 2002-07-05
- Groove Armada At the River
If you have NOT seen this video yet, DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER. Download this video first, watch it, THEN read this. Otherwise, the surprise is totally gone. This is one of those videos which is a real treat the first time you watch it, but sucks royally each time you watch it afterward. This video has absolutely zero replay value, so I want to make sure that the -first- time you watch it is as memorable as possible.
(Special thanks to UHK for his suggestion to put up a spoiler warning.)
***END SPOILER WARNING***
When Brian/Sekijin, one of the contest coordinators, announced on the mailing list a while back that he had very few videos in the comedy category, it was then that I came up with an interesting idea. I was going to try to make a video that was so bad that it would intentionally be booed, and since Brian had so few comedy videos, he'd be forced to play it due to lack of having enough videos. This wasn't exactly the brightest of ideas I had at the moment, but the project evolved as I'll explain.
I immidiately knew the perfect song to use. "At the River" was a song I had to suffer through for a month when I worked at Radio Shack. They had a demonstration DVD running, and that song was on it. I managed to obtain the disc at the end of its monthly run since it had some other music videos my cousin would have liked, so I grabbed it. I never got around to giving it to her, but managed to scrounge up the disc when I began work on this project.
Next I grabbed a mess of DVDs and started thumbing through them looking for really repetitive scenes. Repetition was the motif I was using, and I was looking for whatever would be REALLY annoying to see over and over again. At first I tried grabbing scenes from the end credits of Maze, but the lyrics were hard-subbed onto it, making it automatically invalid.
Then I popped in Lain. I had barely even finished the first episode and had gotten a LOT of good footage to use. I found the telephone poles, train wires, the train ride, all sorts of stuff that would have made for good repetitive use. I decided to stick with using only Lain footage, which was something which I felt worked out pretty well since I had once made the comment that Lain is virtually impossible to make a decent comedy video out of, so here I am basically proving myself wrong.
As I worked on this video and hunted for scenes, all the while I was listening to "At the River" consecutively for 4 hours at a time so I'd remain in the proper 'mood' to make this video. I'm 1/3rd of the way through and I finally come to my senses that even if this video was the absolute ONLY video submitted for comedy, it was so bad that Brian would likely have rather shut down the category. It was then that I decided that more was needed, but had no idea what.
So, I turn on VH1 and I see an episode of pop-up video. The light-bulb in my head lit at full blast right then. I decided that I'd give pop-up commentaries as the video played, a-la pop-up video. This later morphed into a simple commentary between myself and an anonymous viewer.
It took me about a day to go through all the episodes of Lain and select the footage I wanted to use. The next day assembled the footage. The third day I created all the captions I was going to use, and on the fourth day I put them all in. The fifth day... well, let's just say that I'm glad AX didn't have MY rendering problems. (Oh wait... no, they had WORSE rendering problems. Sorry, forgot.)
Let me describe -MY- wonderful adventures in rendering though. I had managed to render the video successfully (on the first try) and burned it onto CD without problems, and went to bed. The next day I woke up, popped the CD into my player for one last check, and found a typo. For the "Menchi Flavor" caption I had misspelled it "Menchi Favor". It was the day of the deadline, but I had a couple hours before the post office closed, so I decided to try and fix it. Without going into details, my computer fought with me EVERY step of the way as I tried to recompile. It had gone so well the day before, but now after changing one simple caption it was giving me all sorts of crap. I ended up simply submitting the flawed video, and sending an email asking if I could send a corrected copy. Brian allowed it, and I finally managed to get it properly compiled and sent away.
Some people seem to have a lot of big issues with this video. Some believe that this video is a total slap in the face to AMV creators who put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into their videos, and that this video is going to herald the begining of floods of videos that use pop-up jokes instead of doing decent comedy. Many don't feel that my video is a true 'comedy' video, and that it is a Parody more than anything. Y'know what I have to say to that? "It's time for a new category!"
This video got a lot of laughs, but it did indeed offend and upset a few people. This was quite expected. The video basically thumbs a nose at anal AMV creators who think too highly of themselves (no-one specific was in mind), at AX's method of judging, and at people who use subtitled and Cartoon Network source footage for their AMVs.
The BIGGEST thing I was going for was that it was totally and utterly different from anything anybody has ever done, and I REALLY was excited about that, and I feel zero shame in that. Zip. Zilch. Nada. I do find that when people break the mold and come out with something different, there will be people who simply don't understand or just plain don't like it.
This video is basically a one-hit-wonder. It doesn't show any of my skills as an AMV creator, so I can't really say there's a great deal of technical merit in this video. It had been three years since I had submitted a music video to AX before this one, and it'll probably be another three years until I o so again since time is something that is not on my side that often. I am getting sick of people saying that my video has no place in an AMV contest though. There are no rules stating anything against my video, and if it truly had no place, the judges wouldn't have let it in. Don't blame the author, blame the judges who let the video in if you truly feel that way. In either case, these videos DO have a place, it just needs a more suitable category. AX is very narrow in the amount of categories it has, so the only category this would fit in at the time is Comedy, so that's where I sent it.
So basically, the things that I am most proud of with this video is that I managed to totally turn an entire competition on its ear. If nothing else, I redefined (or brought question to) the definition of a comedy video, and possibly sparked the creation of a new category at AX. Also, my video was the first video to EVER be BOO'ed into winning. Now, this kinda creates an interesting situation though. As the videos was being voted on (using the tried and not-so-true applause meter), the video "Spectacular" got a LOT of applause. My video was then voted on, and at first there was a wild applause for a short moment, but then there was BOOing. Some people think that people were booing because my video encouraged it. I believe that for some this may indeed be so, but I believe that there were several in the crowd who were legitimately BOOing because they truly didn't like my video, yet were unwittingly contributing to my victory by doing so. This proves my point that AX desparately needs a better method of judging, and needs to evolve into adding new permanent categories.
Will I make a sequel to ATW6:35? To be honest, I don't want to. I've done a Parody, I've said my message, so now it's time to move on and try something different. But if people continue to hound me about how my video is inappropriate and has no place at an AMV competition, I will make another just to thumb my nose at them and say YES IT DOES.
To those of who who are able to see it, I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope most of all that it made you think.