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curled around these images
just enough to make us dangerous
Vid deconstruction and meta on Show. 
3rd-Jun-2012 09:18 pm
Dean & vid camera
This is pretty self indulgent I know, but after a couple of requests for the "essay" I thought I'd do this.

These are my thoughts and reasons behind each clip choice in my recent vid Maybe I could be saved. Completely boring I'm sure so please feel free to pass on by. I was thrilled with the response it received and this is just for those die hard enthusiasts who might want to know about this stuff.

Before I start I want to mention that I always use a beta on my vids. I just think a second, (and sometimes third) eye helps make the vid better - tighter. I mention counteragent here a few times (with permission) as she gave me some valuable notes. I also sent it to el1ie for a reaction to see if the emotion of the vid was coming across.

Let's go... (there's meta because it's about the way I have understood certain moments in the show).

"It's so damn hard to do this - what we do."

Initially I started with just a blackout and then the car clip opening the vid. I liked just the voice in the dark but then felt I needed to orientate the viewer so slipped in a clip of Sam saying the words. I still wanted some black (and the title) so I only used a small section of Sam saying the words. His words feel so haunted so the having some of that in black was important to me.

"All alone, you know and..."

I wanted a clip that made them look small. Winchesters against the world. I played with a few clips and settled on this one because the cinematography is beautiful and the Impala is so small in the frame. I also like the tiny movement of the car traveling across the screen. There's also the idea of them being on the move. They never stand still - they are always moving forward even though their future is always so unsure and threatening.

"There's so much evil out in the world Dean"

I couldn't think of any better clip to show the over all "evil" in the world. I wasn't entirely happy with this choice but counteragent, reassured me that it was working ok so I left it. I'm glad I did in the end.

"I feel like I could drown in it."

I was set on having a clip of Sam coming down in the frame - I wanted to get the sense of "drowning" and I wanted to introduce the blood drinking. I initially had a clip of Sam biting into the neck of a demon from The Rapture but it as messy. It wasn't clear and I wasn't sure about it. I mentioned it to counteragent who agreed and suggested the clip I ended up using. Which... YAY... I love it. Sam is so desperate in this clip and it fits so well with him drowning, not only in the demon blood, but in his misguided vengeance.

I did have a shot of Sam drinking from the flask of blood but I took it out because I felt like it crowded the moment. I added a fade out because it just felt right rather than it having an actual meaning.

"and when I think about my destiny, how I could end up..."

It took a while to settle on the clips here. I messed around with a few. Essentially it was about showing Sam's intended destiny (to become Lucifer's vessel) and a snapshot of how he got there. Drinking demon blood and his level of violence before Dean and Bobby locked him away.

I think in Season 2, Sam's "destiny" was more about becoming one of YED's "special children", who would lead a demon army. But I was more interested in his ultimate destiny of being Lucifer's vessel so my focus in this vid was geared toward that.

"Don't worry about that. All right?

I needed to introduce Dean, to match his voice, and I wanted something that had him turing to Sam - as though he is actually speaking to him. This shot leads into the next one so I picked it for that reason and because it's unsure here exactly how Dean is feeling. He looks at Sam but it's in an accusatory way.

"I'm watching out for you".

This is where I start to make some personal statements about what happens next. I was nervous about using this shot (Sam being shut in the panic room), but I really wanted to juxtapose the words with what was actually happening.

This is tricky because when Sam initially spoke those words Dean was absolutely sure he would always be able to protect and save Sam. He most definitely believed he would be able to stop anything bad happening to him. He's said it a number of times and I think it served to reassure not only Sam but himself also.

In locking Sam away he was looking out for him. He was making sure he didn't continue down his dark path. He was keeping him safe for his own good. But I also wanted to make a statement about Sam having to face his withdrawals by himself. So even though Dean said he was looking out for him, in these clips we can't actually see that. In fact, it was very much about Sam having to cope with this situation by himself. (there might even be a touch of my personal sadness that Sam was left alone in this situation. I know it had to be like that, but it hurt to witness it).

"Yeah, I know you are..."

I've always loved the image of Sam lying in the cot with his arms out (like being crucified) in When the Levee Breaks and I deliberately chose it to match the final clip of him lying in the cot in the mental hospital. I wanted to cement how alone Sam is here and how much he hurt. (*guh* that moment in Levee Breaks when not!Dean taunts Sam...KILLS ME every time!)

"...but you're just one person Dean."

I wanted to be able to show Dean as merely a person. It's hard because Dean - and Sam - are much more that "human" in the Supernatural 'verse. They are larger than life; they survive more than any than person could. I wanted to show Dean bleeding - show that he could be hurt and overpowered. I chose the clip where he's hit by Lucifer!Sam to tie in the theme of Sam's destiny. I also just like they way the movement worked with the dialogue.

I added the clip of Dean's despair when he lost Sam to Lucifer at the very last moment (a risk because neither of my beta's saw this and I just had to chance that it worked ok). I wanted to show Dean's "human-ness" and that he even though Dean said he he was watching out for Sam at this point he couldn't do anything. Such a heartbreaking moment in the episode.

"and I needed to think that there was something else watching too, you know"

I knew I wanted this section to be all about Castiel. In HoH Sam desperately wanted (needed!) angels to exist, believing they could help him. - that it would be proof of a higher power - a power that might "save" him one day. It's so ironic that he finds out later that angels do exist and in the end they were the ones that caused him so much pain and suffering.

Initially I just had the scene with Sam meeting Castiel. My thinking was that viewers would automatically get the connection between Sam meeting Cas and what Cas did to him. I asked counteragent if this came across and she said it didn't. That I needed to make it clearer. I had been wanting to use the clip of Cas breaking Sam's wall, but she also mentioned Cas opening the panic room door. I played around and ended up using both moments as I think both are important in Sam's journey.

"some higher power,"

This section also became all about their hands. The handshake moment is wonderful because at first Cas is reluctant and then Sam "asks" to be accepted. (I deliberately placed Sam's hand movement on the words "you know"). The way Cas places his hand on top of Sam does two things - it conjures the images of a power coming from "above" (a greater power) and in terms of body language it show that Cas is in control of the situation. He has, quite literally, the upper hand. I also think the way Cas's hand comes over Sam is reassuring, comforting - it's saying "I will care for you". And then of course that very touch destroys Sam's mind.

"some greater good..."

This ties into the "higher power" line above. I believe Sam is talking about God here and as the amulet represented God in the Show I used it to represent that here. But it was more than just that. It was the belief in brotherhood - that the "goodness" of brotherhood and love will win out. I chose the clips of Sam giving Dean the amulet because it's a powerful statement of their bond and love. It was something that Sam believed in and trusted. It was something he thought he'd always have.

"and that maybe I'd..."

I wanted to show Dean throwing the amulet away because it cements that "God" didn't come in to save him - that he was nowhere to be found. It was also a moment that represented their brother bond being (temporarily) severed. Mostly it was about Sam seeing it being thrown away and his reaction to that. It happened because of what Dean witnessed in heaven - something I believe the angels constructed. So, again, it's the angels meddling in Sam's life. I knew I wanted it to drop in the bin on the beat so I had to keep shifting and extending clips to make that work.

"maybe what...?"

I was mostly working with the lyrics "to dark to see" in this bit. This is about showing what became of Sam. Sam being soulless, hell!Sam and then his hallucinations. It's just a little montage to take it up to Sam in the hospital bed. I have to give counteragent credit for the extra soulless Sam clips. I think I only had one moment in my original draft and she suggested more and also putting the "smirk" earlier in the vid - amongst the blood drinking.

"maybe I could be saved"

The scene in the hospital is the motivation for the whole vid. I knew it was going to end with these shots so it all came down to bringing the vid to here. I had these two clips placed before many of the others.

end credits

I wanted the song to continue a bit after the actual clip (the voice over is exactly as it is in the show - the music and all, so I edited in the actual song and wanted to add a couple of clips of what happened to Sam. I initially had the hooks but that was looking a bit weird so I settled on something a little more abstract - bars and the eye of fire. I enlarged the clip from Unforgiven of the jail cell and reversed the clip of Sam's flaming eye. I liked the vid ended on him closing his eye. Idk, it made me think of Sam keeping it all in - closing himself off to it all. Suffering from inside. Something like that.

That's it! Man.. if you made it this far congratulations!! And if you didn't... I don't blame you! :D

I get that my ideas behind each clip may not be how a viewer might see them - or interpret them. I was curious that one comment I had said the vid showed "hope." At no point did I think about it being hopeful but I love that it could be interpreted like that. I don't think there's any one way of viewing something. A bit like the Show. No one can ever see something "wrong" because it's so personal and we each bring our own experience to it. (/here endth the wanky stuff...).

(tomorrow - light and fluffy vid with no deep and meaningful behind it! *g*)
3rd-Jun-2012 02:53 pm (UTC)
I am so excited there is a new vid from you which I managed to miss YET AGAIN. Will be watching as soon as I have a little house to myself. :)
3rd-Jun-2012 04:00 pm (UTC)

3rd-Jun-2012 03:45 pm (UTC)
That's really interesting, to me as someone whose attitude to vidding is confused awe.

I guess to me I can see hope because it feels like half of a diptych to me. The Sam who wanted to be saved by a higher power ends in a lot of tragedy and irony: he chooses the darkness he'd feared as external and hoped to be saved from, he's destroyed by the angel he'd wanted to be a sign of protection and hope, his two part rescue from the Cage first negates his sacrifice by turning a monstrous version of himself loose on the world and then, through Hallucifer, ends up putting his soul back at Lucifer's mercy. And the very fact that Lucifer is an angel is an ultimate irony.

But there's another side to that, because the Sam who wanted to be saved doesn't so much get crushed as grow up. He has to give up his image of Dean as the invulnerable big brother who can fix everything, but he gets to save Dean by trusting him as the flawed but good human being he is, repairing their relationship after the destruction of 5.16. He gets to save himself in 6.22 by confronting both what soulless!Sam did and what was done to hell!Sam and actively choosing to integrate it. And he gets to save Cas, after Cas turns from angel to monster and parallels Sam's darkest arc. codelia_gray had a nice post 7.17 meta pointing out that though Sam couldn't save himself from Hallucifer, the fact that Cas could help him traces back to the fact that he helped Cas in 7.1.

I agree that Sam keeps his experience very locked up in himself, more so than Dean, for all Dean's formidable talent for repression. So many crucial moments for him happen when he's trapped in his head with manifestations of himself. But he does get to reach out in some of those exchanges of saving and being saved.
4th-Jun-2012 02:55 am (UTC)
to me as someone whose attitude to vidding is confused awe.

And ditto to people who can write. Case in point right here! I love this and I agree whole heartedly.

I particularly love this...

He has to give up his image of Dean as the invulnerable big brother who can fix everything, but he gets to save Dean by trusting him as the flawed but good human being he is,

Yes yes and over the course of the series we have definitely seen this development.

And I most definitely see hope in their stories all the time. I think if we didn't the show would be full of drudgery that would be had to be entertained by. I think theirs is a story of survival and just the fact that they manage to survive - and do it well - leaves us, and them with hope. In the vid I toyed with the idea of leaving it on a positive image and note, - maybe showing how Sam has actually survived it all, but decided not to because I felt the viewer can either imagine that for themselves (from knowing the show) or just be left pondering Sam's journey through pain and suffering.

So many crucial moments for him happen when he's trapped in his head with manifestations of himself.

Yes - from the panic room, to his nightmare visions, to him fighting his three selves and then the hallucinations we certainly get to see a lot from within Sam's mind. Hmmmmm.... I think we've only had this once for Dean (?) in the dream episode....

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts here.

3rd-Jun-2012 04:02 pm (UTC)
Hugs! Always a pleasure!
4th-Jun-2012 02:55 am (UTC)
3rd-Jun-2012 04:16 pm (UTC)
Wow. So now I understand so much better why your vids create such an emotional reaction in me. And it strikes me how analagous the vidding process is to the fanfiction process - how each scene and its components are chosen to convey a multi-layered meaning, half something in canon and half the vidder/writer's own emotional reaction. It's personal, and yet it's universal, and maybe that's where its power comes from.

I tend to see Show and the boys much as you do, so each of these artistic decisions made so much sense to me - but I didn't have a thorough understanding of how your vision translates visually and musically and in the spoken word. I love deep and meaningful, and would love hearing something like this about all your vids, tbh. :)

I already told you this particular vid broke me in two, so... thanks for that! lol
4th-Jun-2012 02:32 pm (UTC)
I've often wondered if a writer's process is much the same as a vidders. I suppose the mix of what we are given and what we want to say with what we are given is similar.

Thanks for reading and your thoughtful comment.
3rd-Jun-2012 07:24 pm (UTC) - omg omg omg! I mean, omg!!!!
this is so incredibly weird, like really really really really weird. I am in Italy, on holiday in a hotel, in the bar, looking at my messages on the internet and reading about your mini vidlet - and what is so totally amazing is that in the background, on the sound system in the bar, is a rock version of knocking on heaven's door! I will have to go and ask who is playing it, but it has this rock guitar, all twangy and like solo guitar fanatic styley playing...! And this is whilst I'm reading about your vidlet, set to knocking on heaven's door.
Something is really odd here!
Now there's a kinda gospel choir singing as backup singers.
Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for all the insight into the meaning behind your vid and to say how much this helped me to understand where you were coming from - I thought I got it before you wrote your post, but now I really get it, having dissected it in detail. And I love it all the more for the dissection! Out of the whole thing, the ending with Sam closing his eye on the whole world struck home to me.
(Now it's ending on an oh, yeahhy yeahhy, but now there is a dj chatting but it's all in Italian and I don't know what the DJ is saying about the song.
Wow. All I know is that that was really weird cos I thought I was listening to Heaven's door on your vid, on my netbook, when I realised Heaven's door was blaring out over the hotel bar speakers! Weird. Now it's Adele. Oh. I mean I like Adele, but that was such a strange thing to happen - a kinda supernatural moment there!!!)
I wish I'd had a video camera as that would have recorded that most strange experience!
Anyway, I loved your post and meta and it made so much sense to me, and helped me to love the vid even more.
thanks ash
(boggie In Italy xxx)
5th-Jun-2012 01:05 pm (UTC) - Re: omg omg omg! I mean, omg!!!!
Hee! Yay! Love those kind of coincidences. \o/ Hee... and it's great that you are typing this whilst listening and filling me in on what's happening as it unfolds. I feel like I'm there!

Glad you got something out of all the stuff I waffled on about. I worried about do this sort of thing because I'm not sure if it would spoil the vid for someone.

Thanks so much for sharing your experience with me. :DD

Yay Italy! (Lucky you!)

4th-Jun-2012 06:52 am (UTC)

Reading this and watching the vid at the same time - stopping and starting - thinking and feeling ... wow, just wow my darling. I love how you capture raw emotion in such stunning visuals. This one really did raise the hairs on the back of my neck.

It's so easy to see the boys as larger than life, after everything they've done and seen and survived, but I just love it when someone can so effectively remind me of their weaknesses and vulnerabilities -- that they're not perfect. They make mistakes, they have moments of doubt and despair. There is no pain like the boys' pain.
5th-Jun-2012 01:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm so glad it made some sense. ;D I think the show does a great job of making these boys tough and can survive anything and yet show them as damaged as well.

Thanks for reading and commenting. <3333
4th-Jun-2012 08:51 am (UTC)
Your mind is a place of beauty! :D
5th-Jun-2012 01:51 am (UTC)
Fanvid DVD commentary from the creator!

Hearing your thoughts behind making this vid is such a tasty meta. The vid made me think about a lot of things at once: how Sam keeps going despite it all, the heartbreak that Dean deeply believed he could protect Sam from all the bad things, Sam's recognition that no matter how much Dean wants to do it, he is only one person and Sam also sees the hurts Dean goes through too and it's just so overwhelming. And Cas an extra layer of hurt on the cake because Sam believed in angels, they turned out to be dicks, and then Cas became their friend and took their side, and Sam believed in Castiel at least...and then Castiel hurt Sam. Heh as I told you in my comment, this vid ripped out my heart--it's such a good Sam character study.
5th-Jun-2012 02:59 am (UTC)
I enlarged the clip from Unforgiven of the jail cell and reversed the clip of Sam's flaming eye. I liked the vid ended on him closing his eye. Idk, it made me think of Sam keeping it all in - closing himself off to it all. Suffering from inside. Something like that.

O_O Wow. WOW. I was enthralled by the entire essay, but this part just blew me away. I love your brain!

You are a national fandom treasure and we're all lucky to have you. Thank you for this. I always like to see the "mechanics" of how things work -- thanks for giving us the privilege to see inside your head. :)
9th-Jun-2012 12:51 am (UTC)
So much to catch up on after vacation... so I only have time to say Thank You for sharing your insights in the process!
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