This time last year, I discovered video editing.
It happened during a screening of Whistle and I’ll Come To You – the 2010 remake, starring John Hurt in the Michael Hordern role. The general consensus is that this adaptation is a pale shadow of the original. Not having seen the original – nor having read the story on which it is based – I’m not in a position to judge. Suffice to say it terrified us: even devoid of half the original characters and, indeed, the eponymous whistle, it was still a chilling ghost story, with compelling narrative ambiguity, slow-burning scares and an ending that gave me nightmares. (There is something in that final sequence that is very reminiscent of Twin Peaks. If you’ve seen it, you’ll see what I mean.)
It was during the aforementioned screening that Emily – who, I think, wanted a respite from the night terrors that seemed to be affecting her even more than they were me – suggested that the noises and bumps that James Parkin could hear weren’t ghosts at all. I’d dabbled with video before when I was transferring our wedding footage to DVD, but doing something like this was a new experience. The resulting mashup can be seen on YouTube, but I’ve embedded it at the bottom of this entry. I won’t give away the surprise.
What was jarring in the first instance was the number of dislikes I was getting – three, at the last count, which isn’t many, but when it’s your first YouTube feedback the effect it has on your morale can be catastrophic. (It’s very easy, I’ve found, to hop online and leave scathing, unconstructive feedback which gives no rationale for your apparent dislike. It’s harder to actually create something.) Looking at it again now, there are things I don’t like about it: the structure is wobbly and uneven and I’m not entirely convinced by some of the editing. But it hangs together, just about, and there are moments of goodness. And it opened a metaphorical floodgate because I suddenly realised that much of my thought process consisted of random mashups and silliness, and this was a way of transforming them into something tangible.
The stuff I do can be subdivided into two main categories: mashups, which are usually quite silly, and montages, which are usually not. The mashups emphasise the quirkier side of my sense of humour, and most of them speak for themselves. Some work better than others. The montages are usually collections of images designed to invoke an emotional response. For example, I was driving home one afternoon listening to Bat For Lashes when I suddenly had a half-formed video come into my head, consisting entirely of images from Matt Smith’s first season in the TARDIS. It just seemed to work. So I put it together. And it worked reasonably well. People heap scorn upon these bastardised creations, citing them as examples of internet laziness where users just nick existing stuff and chop and change it and call it their own. There’s a certain amount of justification in such a viewpoint, but it beats hanging out on Facebook all day, or shouting your mouth off on the Daily Mail forums.
Anyway, I’ve spent the last twelve months building up a reasonable portfolio, and over the next few weeks I’ll showcase them here. The YouTube channel gets its fair share of hits, but a good number of them are actually Doctor Who related, and thematically they fit. In the meantime I shall leave you with the unfortunate Mr Hurt and his unwelcome bedfellows. Switch the lights out when you leave.