Like any self respected TV show, there’s a whole world of fan art that exist around Nashville. Fan videos are particulary interesting because music has already been a big part on the show. So to use the combination of video and music in order to say something about a show like this is quite powerful. One of the most talented vidders that I came across is Suvi (@supsi85) . She has a sensitive eye and ear and every video she makes is a little story.
This is why I was so happy when she agreed to write notes while making her latest Nashville video and share with us her creative process. Hope you’ll enjoy reading it and feel inspired as much as I did and if (probably only after watching all of Suvi’s videos HERE), you’ll feel the urge to try vidding yourself – the better.
“How did you make this?
I get that question sometimes and there is never a short and easy way to reply. Anyone who writes stories knows how things just come to them as they keep writing and how the characters start to take on a life of their own and possibly say and do things that weren’t planned beforehand but just happen to work. Same goes with vidding. It’s inspiration leading to a process and hopefully leading to a result that says what I tried to say. If even one person sees where I was coming from then that makes it all worth it.
I have been very lucky to have people always be there for me, even from the start at the end of 2007 when I was just using Windows Movie Maker and knew what I wanted to do but lacked the skills to get there. As with most vidders, no one taught me because while the effects can be taught, it’s the entirety of the video and what we are trying to say that is the part that has to come from the vidder themselves. There is no way to hammer that into someone else’s head. It took me years to understand this but the Youtube tutorials helped me with the technical aspects. And I am still learning with every new project. I believe that is what makes it so addicting, the fact that you can never really be finished.
I can be inspired by anything. Usually it’s the obvious scenes in shows that mean something big in regards to past episodes and I want to show how that made me feel and I can’t do it in words in a way that would make it come across and really show the magnitude of what I’m feeling.
Sometimes my inspiration might come from something a friend says, here or offline, and it could be completely unrelated to the show but it will make me think of a character’s action from a different point of view and make me see something real in a character I might not even like very much.
Sometimes it comes from just discussing the show with other fans and they mention a moment, a parallel, anything that will shoot straight to that part in my brain that associates it with a lyric I’ve heard or a full song that’s been in the backburner waiting for a right time to be used. Then I’ll just have to expand that thought, just like a writer goes on with the story.
So when that shot happens it’s all I can think of until the video is finished. I’m afraid I might lose the whole thing or that there might be a technical problem and so I can barely sleep while the project is unfinished. That is why I tend to save my vidding for weekends so I have enough time to finish in one day. Despite all that, I really, really love it. Passion is everything.
I will try to describe the thought and creative process here. Every vidder has their own way of vidding and mostly I’m not even aware of how they do it because for them the videos speak for themselves as well. Editing is not something people describe very closely because it is hard to explain. It sucks me in and at the end it’s hard to even remember what I thought about while making a specific part. I wrote some of my thoughts down for this post when I started this video so that I’d be sure to remember some of them.
For Episode 3×15 ‘That’s the Way Love Goes’ I had a few song choices thought up before the episode aired, one was the new one “The Rivers Run Deep”, but as always, the episode didn’t quite turn out as I’d expected. The last scene with the slap completely cleared the table because I always want to build the video around the latest most meaningful scene and in my head this called for something different to fully get that feeling out of me. I watched the episode on Thursday morning and all day at work I kept thinking about this.
I finally knew I wanted something soft, from Rayna’s POV but with a more powerful ending. It would have been best if the ending was completely different to the beginning, creating a contrast to what we’ve seen of Rayna so far, acting mostly calm and collected about her feelings towards Deacon, and how it all bursts out when Deacon makes one of her worst fears come true. So the plan was, in small ways, to show how it had been building up inside Rayna and how it finally comes out. Everyone expected the SLAP to show in this video so that’s why I wanted to find a way to make a bigger effect out of it.
I’d had As You Turn Away on my Deyna playlist for ages, thanks to my friend Michelle who sent me a long list of country songs that work for them. I thought I might use this one eventually when it’s just right. My favorite Deyna video I’ve made is to another Lady Antebellum song All for Love (see below) so I already knew it would be easy to make it work. They have such a melancholic but hopeful feel to their songs and that’s what I’m looking for when it comes to Deyna. All for Love was a song that really exploded in my head the first time I heard it and on that first listen I already knew how I’d do the chorus and 2×19 took care of the rest.
When the song is just right, the video practically makes itself. If the song isn’t quite there and I have to work harder to push the scenes in, it means there is more work and the result might still not be quite there either. So, no matter what the vidder’s skill level is, the song choice is everything.
As You Turn Away didn’t have the same effect on me but when I got to the third verse, the quiet part and the powerful part at the end, it was all I needed and I started to build it from there. It also helped that there was the “Wrapped in your embrace” at the start which would work with the Opry scenes and then I could build the video around the whole episode.
This was the plan before I started. Sometimes it might change as I realize some scenes don’t flow naturally with the lyrics or that the “climax” I’d planned in my head isn’t quite so climax-y in the end, which will make the whole project shatter. If I’m not sure about the project, I won’t waste time on it because there are already more videos I want to make than I have time for. And since I have such great support from people here, I don’t want to post something I made half-heartedly.
At first I wanted to cut out the second verse so that I could finish this in one night because I would be too busy the following two days and I didn’t want the unfinished project weighing on my mind. But then the lyrics were just too fitting and it didn’t feel right to leave them out. I decided I’d just push this out with all my strength.
When I started at 4 pm after work I only had the two parts planned out in my head. I knew I wanted something great for the quiet part in the third verse and I kept thinking about it while I was making the hug part starting at 0:12. In the beginning I always try to find parallels and also the voiceovers. It’s important for me to place the voiceovers before I do much else because then I can build towards them and create some kind of an emotional effect. If I add them when the clips are already there, they might work but they might also seem rushed or distracting. The video has to be whole and make the most of the song as well as the theme.
I try to use the most recent voiceovers because those are the least used. Then I try to find parallels to them from past episodes and use those too. Usually I can easily think of them when I watch the episode for the first time and sometimes I make notes on my phone because I’m a bit of a freak.
I wanted to use flashbacks leading to the slap (such a funny word in such non-funny context) but the part was so quiet and I tend to rely on the music to tell me what to do so I was a little lost and this led to the following venture.
I had an idea to use a voiceover from Juliette in 1×21 when she’s talking to Rayna after her mother’s funeral, about how she thought if she was good enough then everything with her mother would have worked out but she then came to the conclusion that she would never be good enough. Rayna looks thoughtful and then tells her she’s good enough. I thought that could relate to Rayna’s relationship with Deacon, her waiting for him to get better in the past and then realizing that nothing would ever get better (because cancer happened), and it was never about her. Eventually Juliette’s part was just too long and it was hard to tell if the message would even come across and instead people would be wondering what the hell is this long Juliette quote doing here in the middle. The viewer is never wrong, so I try to avoid mistakes like that. And….delete.
This is why at 5.45 pm, after almost 2 hours of vidding I was still here and certain I would never get this done. Luckily I was chatting with my friend Mary who is not a Deyna fan but cheered me on as always.
In the third verse there’s a part about steps and doors closing in starting at 2:25 and I remembered the other lake house scenes and built parallels with that. So much pain in that house, all the happiest memories mixed with the worst and that is Deyna, happiness and pain for us. So I figured it would be just right. And that’s the full circle for Rayna too, after all this time they were back at the start in more ways than one. Ah the pain is returning…
I think I stopped many times to just think about how painful all this is and it was pressing on my heart. That kind of passion can make the video either great or it might make me blind to what I’m doing, which can lead to worse results. It would be so good to be able to see it through someone else’s eyes but I can never ask for another opinion because just one comment mid-project might make me lose all inspiration. It’s been over seven years and I’m still hopelessly fragile about this.
I added black and white for contrast in this part as well as several others, because otherwise, even to people who know the Deyna scenes by heart, it will look a little messy and just a bunch of clips thrown together and makes it harder to follow. It’s not always about flashbacks to past but sometimes just to show the contrast between two scenes and make the viewer feel that this is the scale of emotion that runs through their different scenes.
Doing the same thing by having long voiceovers explain it, can be a little too heavy, plus there is not so much space in the song between the lyrics to place the voiceovers anyway. I want the lyrics to support the voiceovers, because if I drown the song behind the voiceovers, then I might as well be using any song. This song has just the perfect tone for whatever Rayna or Deacon say and it’s almost like a conversation between the song and the characters.
Around 8 pm I had a clear idea of the second verse and how it would be more from Deacon’s POV. It’s a bit of a challenge to vid Rayna/Deacon/Luke drama without actually including Luke but that is what I try to do because if I make a ship video and add a third person, it always takes away too much time from the focus of the video and the result isn’t as emotional as it was meant to be. I started to procrastinate because this was not my favorite part and it wasn’t part of my original plan to leave out the second verse. Therefore at 8 pm I was still here and still certain that this was not going anywhere that day, and lovely Mary told me that yes it was.
I accidentally came across Deacon’s “you won’t find any judgment here” because I was listening to scenes, desperately hoping to find more voiceovers from past episodes in addition to the new one. I figured that would be a good way to move onto towards the end of that second verse, to show that even after everything that happened, there was still so much respect between them. Love is respect after all and that is how they treat each other no matter what. That is why Deacon finally understood why Rayna did what she had to do and they could move on from the Maddie drama. And that is the thought process between 2:05-2:20.
By 10 pm I had switched clips and voiceovers between 2:39-3:02 so many times that I was driving myself crazy. I wanted to show her fears that had always been there, and the realization. And the voiceovers could have no background noise at all because it would distract during the lack of music and that was really the hardest part, trying to place everything just right in those quiet parts.
I mentioned the POVs earlier and thought I’d clarify, they are not super important in this particular video. It’s just the plot that I need to have in my head so that I can follow it. Otherwise the video might fall apart and start to go off into several directions. What is important is that the viewer feels what I’m feeling, and that’s really all I want to come across.
About 5 years ago or so I read a vidder’s comment on a blog that the feeling is top priority and following lyrics is only secondary. First we have to think about what the song makes us feel and then show it in the characters. That is why Chip Esten is such a treasure because I don’t have to twist Deacon’s scenes in any way, everything he feels can be seen in his eyes and all I have to do is find the most perfect lyric out of all the perfect country song lyrics out there. With Rayna it’s mostly finding those little hints in the dialogue and the small gestures she makes when she’s with him or thinking about him, the treasure of Connie Britton. That all makes for such inspiring vidding and I couldn’t be happier in all this mental torture.
At midnight I was finished and very surprised. It was easy to fill the gaps once I felt the feeling was already in there and all I had to do was follow it.
And that is it! I feel so grateful for being able to put my feelings out there in this way and for having such an overwhelming support to do so. Nashville really does connect all our hearts in different ways and makes us all come together, which is a beautiful thing.
…And here it is