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Story for Maxim magazine - NEED YOUR HELP!

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Hello all,

My name is Blair Fischer and I'm writing a feature for Maxim magazine (U.S. version) on "fan edits," and -- luckily -- I found this forum.

Anyone out there want to talk to me for the story? You can remain anonymous if you prefer.

If so, feel free to contact me at blairfischer@aim.com. I can provide verification information if desired, although I don't wish to post my editor's information here.

Thanks in advance!

Blair

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There's also a guy over at FE named Gaith who wrote a couple of articles on fan edits.  Look for his posts in the forum.

My outlook on life - we’re all on the Hindenburg anyway…no point fighting over the window seat.

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What's the projected word count and news stand date?

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I wrote a brief history of fan edits for the FAQ that you may find useful (LINK). Most of the links for further reading are now dead, but you should be able to find the references archived somewhere.

Guidelines for post content and general behaviour: read announcement here

Max. allowable image sizes in signatures: reminder here

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I can give you the secret scoop. The seedy underside of the fan-edit world; a dark cabal of hidden symbols and exclusive groups with sinister agendas far outweighing trying to make "Attack of the Clones" a decent movie. You need to ask yourself, who benefits? What was Jar Jar really symbolizing? What does this all have to do with the Bay of Pigs? The question is, are you ready to see how deep the rabbit hole really goes?

Otherwise, Moth3r's FAQ really is excellent.

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For those curious, feel free to peruse the questions being offered up. Place your bets what stays and what goes from these answers. Formatted better here: http://noneinc.com/tBSWM/tBSWM_FAQ.html#Maxim

 

Saw your post on OT.com, it might not fall into your original article's destination, but....

Did you ever wish you could search through all the video media available online, and a program would cut-up and recompile those resources to produce a program being defined by your search query, desired length and other parameters? That is the goal of the Fan Edit below, which attempts to be a media analysis / video archeology study of the media released by anyone (corporate or individual) at the time of the release of the last Star Wars movie, Revenge of the Sith.

'Thee Backslacpkping With Media' FAQ:
http://noneinc.com/tBSWM/tBSWM_FAQ.html

Watch any chapter from the website:
http://noneinc.com/tBSWM/tBSWM_FAQ.html#DVDChapter (play options on the right)

or download the DVD:
[edit] http://noneinc.com/tBSWM/tBSWM_FAQ.html#WatchOnline [/edit]

If this sounds interesting, don't be afraid to ask any questions, it's not the usual fan edit.

%20
Corporate Shill
Consumer Whore
Wannabee Cultural Chimera

As the reporter's questions spread, although not contacted directly, proactively %20 took the opportunity to answer the questions proposed. (%20 responses are in bold)

Sorry for the delay, but here are some questions and thanks so much for participating!
--> not a problem, my pleasure
How old are you?
--> not relevant
Where do you live?
--> not relevant
What do you do?
--> see FAQ [ http://www.noneinc.com/tBSWM/tBSWM_FAQ.html#WhatWho%20 ]
How many "fan edits" have you done?
--> Many %20 creations are available from: [ http://www.noneinc.com ]
What's the primary reason you do you do "fan edits?"
--> information dissemination, see FAQ [ http://www.noneinc.com/tBSWM/tBSWM_FAQ.html#Documediamentary ]
Is it that you didn't like the original or were bored with it?
--> the original lacked the ability to reassemble itself
Has anyone from the film studio ever contacted you about your fan edits?
--> Yes, see FAQ [ http://www.noneinc.com/tBSWM/tBSWM_FAQ.html#NotInLibrary ]
How long does it take to do the "fan edit" 'Thee Backslacpkping With Media'?
--> 3 years, see FAQ [ http://www.noneinc.com/tBSWM/tBSWM_FAQ.html#WorkSchedule ]
There seems to be a high risk/low reward: You don't get paid to do them and you could conceivably be punished for copyright infringement. So why do it?
--> User Defined information dissemination, see FAQ [ http://www.noneinc.com/tBSWM/tBSWM_FAQ.html#HowDoc ]
Are you a wannabe film director or film editor?
--> no, I make, you/they define
What are your favorite "fan edits?"
--> not relevant
What are you impressions of "The Phantom Edit" and "Superman: Redeemed?"
--> not relevant
I'm on a tight deadline so the sooner the better. Thanks!
--> I believe that soon there will be systems in place which will allow people to search/cut-up/recompile media as easily as a word processor manipulates text. Fan Edits will seem trite when anyone can go to their favorite search engine and search/cut-up/recompile the last 50 years of their favorite 6 o'clock TV news or all the online videos to match the content of a wikipedia entry or newspaper article. They choose the Topic, length and other various parameters. That's going to be awesome. Can't wait. %20

A second questionaire was distributed which had additional questions.

Sorry missed a few:

Do you ever think eventually you'll stop making fan edits?
--> There are scenerios for Yes and No.
What's your role on fanedit.org?
--> none
Finally, do you consider yourself a "nerd?" Please explain.

--> Ahh Goood Question, Is %20 A Nerd. Can an imaginary entity be a mental construct... Let's pull back onto something else for a moment then get back to that. Yes, i'm most likely sterile. A large sack of blood vessels descended into my testicles rendering them functionless. How does this pertain to your publication. Oh that's right i'm the aged adult virgin you don't market too. Breeders bring profits. Nerds, Geeks, Dweebs they might create stuff, but stuff is not interesting, new 20 something people are where the action is. But it's great to know that even when you hang out in nerd circles like fan edit forums, you can still receive complements like "you are truly a certified lunatic", and it's appreciated. It's a different world depending on where you exists. We mean you no harm. Hey let's edit something together right now, take the "Hacker Manifesto": [ http://www.phrack.com/issues.html?issue=7&id=3#article ] and replace 'Hacker' with 'Fan Editor' and 'Criminal' with 'Nerd'. I'll do some for you:

Fan Edit Modified Quoting of +++The Mentor+++'s "\/\The Conscience of a Hacker/\/" (Hacker Manifesto)
:

"the world of the electron and the switch, the beauty of the baud. We make use of a service already existing without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn't run by profiteering gluttons, and you call us nerds. We explore... and you call us nerds. We seek after knowledge... and you call us nerds. We exist without skin color, without nationality, without religious bias... and you call us nerds. Yes, I am a nerd. My nerdity is that of curiosity. My nerdity is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My nerdity is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for.

I am a Fan Editor, and this is my manifesto. You may stop this individual, but you can't stop us all... after all, we're all alike. We like to build upon the past."

Oh my gawd, i'm about to gag. That's truly a horrid Fan Edit. but with time something different will be developed.

Few days later, round 3 questions.

Quote: "Here We Go Again"
listen to this: http://www.noneinc.com/sound/ %20&PossibleCostlyIllegals-HereWeGoAgain.mp3 As you read the following.

Which movie franchise has had the most "fan edits?"
--> don't know
Can you estimate how many film edits are out there?
--> everyday more
How many film edits are on your site?
--> more
How important was "The Phantom Edit?" Did that start it all?
--> In the grander scheme, not much. Did it start it all, maybe for this crop of individuals, but for the appropriated arts, this is another drop in the pool.

Some call it collage, compilation, found footage, detournement, recycled cinema, etc. Either way they are all extensions of the creative spirit. Monkey See, Monkey Do; Differently. Humans learn through copying. Some of these terms go back to the early days of cinema. Terms and practices evolve, and appropriation changes to suit those needs. (Duchamp hung a toilet, there are now found footage festivals http://www.cine-magic.com/foundfootagefest.html go figure)

Recently, in the 1970s, because of the grittier content, many films had alternative versions or 'cuts', so they could be released in places they couldn't get the original played. (typically a European film got 'cut' when playing in the US) This had to be a factor in the wave of editors today, who might have been children at that time and learned that the movie they saw, was just part of a larger whole.

In the 1980s, colorization became a new tool, and many films got a facelift. Ironically, George Lucas was vocal, criticizing the colorization of the Three Stooges, claiming that it would harm the humor by removing it's lack of color context. One of the major uplifts to a classic was Metropolis, (1927 / 1984) by Fritz Lang. It got colorized and a new soundtrack was added. Revising soundtrack material is a common Fan Editor decision. Many Fan Editors also might share a common love of MST3K (Mystery Science Theater 3000) who appropriated whole movies and added their own commentaries. This has evolved into Riff Tracks, but there have been several fan websites dedicated to the art. [ http://www.zarban.com/?page_id=1562 the fan commentary movement has been attributed to that Roger Ebert article ] 'Wizard People, Dear Reader' was an audio modification of the Harry Potter movie which got some media attention years back. [ http://illegal-art.org/video/wizard.html ]

Another 1980s phenomenon, Airplane! became probably the most popular recontextualized/appropriate film still to this day, possibly. Airplane! is a direct remake of Zero Hour. (1957) The overall plot and major portions of dialog are direct lifts from Zero Hour. [ this viddie has clips of both films showing the modifications, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q__vuyH1JEI ]

If Star Wars and Jaws are the films which coined the blockbuster title. Airplane! paved the way for the 'Remake Movie' phenomenon, people like to complain about now. All these spoofy comedies and the creeping of comedy moments into action films is one of the things the current batch of Fan Editors rail against. A common practice i've heard is that many Fan Editors remove the jokey moments from the action films they appreciate.

In the 1990s, whole documentaries were produced using 'illegal' satellite broadcasts. Brian Springer's 'Spin' documents the behind-the-scenes maneuvering of politicians and newscasters. [ watch here: http://illegal-art.org/video/index.html ] Disturbing to this day, especially realizing that the same techniques are being employed to manipulate who gets to speak in the Presidential debates.

On the Star Wars front, George Lucas has in his entire career spurred the creation of tools which democratized film making. http://droidmaker.com/ Is a great book by Michael Rubin on the early days of digital filmmaking. At Lucas Film, the 1980s computer team would eventually become Pixar, but at this time they were making the tools like video and audio editing software which every computer now has standard. The OT.com community have grown up following the evolvement of SW and the computer systems created to make them and are familiar with the tools which permit the modification of film. So it's not surprising that the modification of The Phantom Menace would be one of the initial creations of this type to Find a sympathetic audience. It was built in. There are many other works being created in the same spirit but getting those works to like minded folks to reach a critical mass, well it happens. In audio appropriation, the bootleg mashup scene produced DJ Danger Mouse, but his emergence lead to a contraction of the culture (forums went private, etc.) publicly, because of the scrutany.

For what it's worth, the direct FanEdit.org community is very much concerned with presentation. They like their DVDs so they can go watch on their media viewing systems. They want the theater going experience. This should be of note to the people who make the A/V tech. A good percentage are often gadget freaks. So wrap this article with the new HDTV and BluRay player / media center.

But there are alternative creators using other forums and mediums to get their creations out. There have been many Trailer remakes who use free online repositories to get their message out. Recently learned about a full movie mashup project called 'One Flew Over The Dead Poets Nest'. Available on free online repositories and social media sites, it stands in stark contrast (distributionally) to FE.o. [ http://www.myspace.com/dead_poets_nest ]

...but now here's the cross road, do your readers really care about any of this. What's the angle your publication is going for. Why hire a writer of this caliber to do a piece on this topic. Could you forward the angle question to the person who pitched the article idea. curious what they wanted to find out. what are you gunning for.

Some info pulled from:
http://recycledcinema.blogspot.com/
(thanks Wobbly!) haven't read everything yet, but seems to be a great blog on the subject, definitely coming from a wordy art context.

Thanks! You're being a HUGE help!
--> oh i doubt that.

Tell me how important you think "The Phantom Edit" was to the "fan edit" hysteria? Did it "need" to be that movie that started it all? Is Mike Nichols, the creator of "Phantom Edit," considered somewhat of a legend?
--> Partly touched on the first part before, the idea of the built in audience which lead to critical mass. (the Holiday Special and Phantom Edit share a common video tape trading history, except the Phantom Edit was on the cusp of easy digital transfer) The community appreciates where it's been but doesn't dwell on it too much. Which is why there are few articles. There are new works being created, and the members place most of their time into making those as best as they can. Communities not large enough to have a documentarian following it's exploits, the public forum archives accomplish that some what for those who wade through them.

%20

And more follow up, again directed elsewhere, but answered anyway. ...these answers ramble as an overall general sense of depression, impending doom and general malaise to where this article is going...

I actually spoke to the head of "anti-piracy" at the MPAA and, honestly, he barely cared at all about "fan edits." He was WAY more concerned with flat-out piracy. Do you have any documentation that they made you take down links? Why do you believe they're so anti-"fan edits?"

--> The MPAA operate on various levels. The public wing (which handles reporters/media) of course would say that Flat-Out piracy is their prime concern. It is governments like China who permit a different level of legal/illegal material to stay in the buying sphere, which can be seen as the biggest threat. But on other operating levels, people make decisions. It only takes one MPAA employee (or one of the many companies which are under the MPAA umbrella) to send out Cease & Desists to works they might have never seen, (the youtube C&D process has become a factory assembly line) and don't fully understand but claim is infringing. The individual on the receiving end has to make a decision. Give In, which most people recommend, or fight. Fighting a Cease & Desist can be complicated, time consuming and plagued with financial setbacks. Most of which lead to a Chilling Effect. [ http://www.chillingeffects.org/ ]

Yes they're not the same but the MPAA and RIAA are viewed with the same general apathy in the emerging fan creator universe. There are many audio cases which didn't have positive outcomes for expanding creativity. U2 hid behind their record label as it took out Negativland/SST. [ http://negativland.com/?opt=mailorder&item=68&type=1 ] CBS went after the Evolution Control Committee. [ http://evolution-control.com/cbs.html ] The Beatles after DJ Danger Mouse. The catalog of music works owned by a copyright control organization who just target rap samplers, and have gotten the precedent down to several second of 'unrecognizability'. (Parliament/NWA 100 Miles and running decision) and Michael Jackson used the Canadian RIAA to suppress John Oswald's seminal Plunderphonic work. [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plunderphonics ] Lawerence Lessig's books cover a lot of the cases which have modified the perception of the legal climate. [ http://lessig.org/ & http://remix.lessig.org/ ]

Who wants to risk it all to make a point... especially when the C&D sender can force you to travel to where ever they want, and since the MPAA organization has multiple locations, they can make you go anywhere, on your own pocket. ( For more info on the DMCA and C&Ds listen to http://www.thelasthope.org/media/audio/64kbps/A_Decade_Under_the_DMCA.mp3 talk by Marcia Wilbur who wrote a book on the subject )

Also the movie industry and really all content owners have a general lack of interest in material reworking. For instance, http://www.darknet.com/2005/07/when_the_studio.html This guy wanted to gain permission to reuse small parts of movies (from the 7 major film companies) to incorporate into a project for his daughter to be shown to family and friends. He's got copies of the response letters. Most denied on principal. The MPAA/movie companies don't have the man power to adequately determine either way, so they flat-out deny or not respond. It's easy.

So what fan editor in their right mind would be anything but fearful when doing this kind of thing. Luckily most of them are either proud of what they've accomplished or just ignorant of the what's happened before them or accepting of the risks and proceed anyway.

Are you on loan from Playboy or is Maxim and Playboy synergizing?

Can you guess which movie company sues clowns who make balloon animals in shapes similar to their cartoon characters? Hint: They just bought Marvel.

If Star Wars supposedly got fan editing through the Phantom Edit, Star Trek has it's levels of appropriation too. Paramount recently released a new DVD box set of the TOS where they updated all the special effects shots, similar to what Lucas did with the Special Editions. But here's where things have changed slightly, Paramount allows a group of fans to recreating whole unproduced episodes of TOS. which i guess is not so special since Lucas Film Ltd. allows the same type of Fan Film creativity. And at the same time, TNG is getting facelifted by a youtube fan editor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf9oD_xl8mI But while these positive changes happen, C&D in both communities are still happening, even though both sides press release that they don't.

To see where the Fan Edit community could progress, i guess the Modified Trailers are a good example. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wOcQr-2-pE but i guess this stuffs been blended into the Web Soup enterrtainmants.

R U aware o': http://www.concretetv.com/ Thee Supreme Fan Editorist of them all. I believe you worked for the mag. (RS) which declared him so.

The topic of press releasing and C&D'ing, should have contained the link to: http://www.digitalcity.com/2009/07/28/comic-con-steve-sansweet-on-star-wars-fandom/. The pertinent quote and %20 reply is in the response section at the bottom. Again this is semantics, it might be not what LFL or most corporations are about, but never the less it's a tool in the belt.

 

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It interesting that the thrust of attention in this article as proposed is on fan-editing but that is just one aspect of a much larger phenomena, that of fan craft in general.

The act of making something because you are a fan of an already existing story is by no means new.

I suspect it has it's origins way back in the spiritual and sacred pre-history of story telling (the first cave painting based on one stone ager's account of his grapple with his prey, that sort of thing).

The myths we still enjoy weren't just tales to the ancients, they were tied into religious rites and a temple industry providing objects to extend those stories lift side by side with objects made by ordinary people to make those epic tales something personal, to put themselves into the story.

In a modern sense this can be seen as duplicated in both the wide range of official products which tie in with films like the Star Wars series as well as scratch built models, costumes, fan-fiction and un-official audio plays and fan films.

So fan-edits are merely another extension of that human urge to paint yourself into the picture, to make and hold a part of the story, to participate in an emersive other world rather than just sit shore and watch through a telescope.

The same is true of fan-documentaries, preservations and restorations.

This site was set up because something that fans wanted to buy and own was not being made available (the original Star Wars films restored and presented to modern standards) and it's still not available.

This mirrors another set of stories spanning time and space.

Doctor Who has been running (off and on) since 1963. When VCRs made it possible to collect that series the BBC had a bit of a problem, they had taped over or thrown away a huge portion of the show's history. Also they took the show off the air in the eighties but there was still a large demand for the show and nothing new to sell.

Some of the missing shows were tracked down by recalling overseas copies sent to broadcasters around the globe.

Others have turned up as fragments in private hands.

But there was one resource that few people would have counted on, the fans.

Before video was commonplace fans had put microphones next to their television speakers and had archived every single story (including the ones with missing pictures).

Other fans had created telly snaps by photographing their sets to produce in still images the general look of almost every scene.

This has been used not only by the Doctor Who Restoration team :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Who_Restoration_Team

to produce audio versions of the missing shows and to create documentary extras on the DVD's but also but also by various teams of fans who are working together to animate the missing visuals in a variety of styles.http://www.orangecow.org/who-sprites2/1guide/

When the show went off air groups of people made audio and later video dramas sometimes using the original actors (often changing the character names to stay within the law).

One such company was Big Finish productions http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Finish_Productionswho later won the official license for Doctor Who audio dramas (which now out number the original television episodes). People who have worked on have also gone on to work on the revived series.

If you look around this site you will see much of the same kind of work for much of the same reason.

Not only are people attempting create new work, but also restore and archive what is no longer or never been made officially available.

If Lucasfilm (and the other companies who's output is receiving fan craft attention) treat these people well and not just listen to their requests but consider throwing a bit of money at their efforts they may actual have a lot more to gain than lose.

 

This post has been edited.

When the student is ready, the Master speaks?

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Nobody really talks about fan edits but fan's of a number of films from as far back as the 70's have made changes. But as anyone on here would tell you The Phantom Edit was the first widespread fan edit. Now you can find a fan edit of any movie that has been successful. But I just know the gist of it. Apparently my fellow members know a whole lot more than me. When this magazine is out I am gonna get it. I need to know more LOL

"The other versions will disappear. Even the 35 million tapes of Star Wars out there won’t last more than 30 or 40 years. A hundred years from now, the only version of the movie that anyone will remember will be the DVD version [of the Special Edition], and you’ll be able to project it on a 20’ by 40’ screen with perfect quality. I think it’s the director’s prerogative, not the studio’s to go back and reinvent a movie." - George Lucas

<span> </span>

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I miss having time on my hands. I don't like missing threads like these.
I am fluent in over six million forms of procrastination.
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ADigitalMan said:

I miss having time on my hands.

I miss not having time on my hands.  The market for expository characters dried up after Link ruined The Matrix Reloaded.

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The editor has asked the writer to have the following question answered by willing participants:

To your knowledge, do the fan editors make any profit off of these films, and are any of the hosting sites pay-for-content sites?
 
Thee %20 reply can be found at:
http://www.noneinc.com/tBSWM/tBSWM_FAQ.html#Maxim
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