So Damn Hot – a From Eroica with Love vid by Diana Williams

Curator's Note

Fan vids use TV or filmic source material to transformatively re-construct a new multimedia narrative, by excising, expanding or modifying various aspects of the source text, and by adding extra materials from music to computer graphic manipulations. However, the 'moving image' prevalent choice of a video clip is not the only possible one. Some fans choose to use slide presentations set to music to perform their re-interpretive work—be it for technical/skills limitations, for stylistic reasons, or simply because their source material does not move. Diana Williams's So Damn Hot is one such example, based as it is on the manga From Eroica with Love: a Japanese comic book with both a slash and yaoi fan following. This vid raises all sorts of questions about narrative, since it problematises the ways in which multimedia artifacts such as vids are constructed, and how the source material constrains visual storytelling choices.




Ultimately, all vids grow from a multimedia context, since they are part of the fannish intertext including both the source and its multifarious fanworks: but the Eroica fandom is missing the moving image component. So, what happens in this case? When looking at other Eroica vids [1] one wonders whether there is some sort of connection between the moving image and narrativity, since the vids mostly veer away from telling a story to present a picture book of salient moments set to incidental music. This hypothesis is problematised by Diana Williams's vid. So Damn Hot  is different in that it decidedly tells a story, and a moving one as that. Not only it creates the impression of physical movement through a very fast cutting/editing in strict tempo with the music and the song lyrics, and through some subtle animation tricks; this vids situates itself in the slash fandom's mainstream where a conflictually emotional, moving, narrative genre is distilled from a mostly farcical comic series. It is tempting to say that So Damn Hot extracts movement from stillness in the same way Eroica fans have re-narrativised Japanese slapstick into Western realism: a transnarrative, transmedia and  transcultural movement.





    [1] For example:

Gonsoku's From Eroica with Love

TimeLady8's Can't Fight This Feeling

IwakiKatouLuver's Gimme Gimme Gimme










I find your focus on Diana's background really interesting, because after watching the other vids, I mostly felt like your chosen vid looks *more* like what we're used to in media fandom, whereas the other slide shows seem to connect maybe less to vidding as we tend to historically situate it and more with the new DIY user-generated media as common on Youtube. In other words, I agree with you that Diana's vid takes the still images and attempts to generate movement and narrative, but I'm not sure she's ultimately even attempting to do the same things as the other videos you're linking. Or, said differently, you slightly elide the question of the generic differences between slash and yaoi, but maybe different dan communities create different aesthetics and that's what we're seeing here?

... and one that would take volumes to answer. There is indeed a difference, not to say a tension, between  the Western-based slash community interested mostly on Western media (Eroica being an exception for a variety of reasons), and the yaoi ones--both the Western contingent and the original Japanese one.

Leaving aside Japanese yaoi in Japanese as outside my field, the Western yaoi community developed greatly since the advent of the WWW, and is predicated on an interesting mix of Japanese and Western tropes: and yes, they are different from the classical slash ones. 

To  get  to your question, is  the difference in these vids mirroring the divergent paths taken by slash and yaoi, it's not so clearcut. The Can't Fight This Feeling vid is made by a slash fan. who also produced other non-narrative vids--and she is not into yaoi at all. The other two are yaoi-produced, but the main difference is not so much in the lack of narratifve but in that they incorporate fan art in the slides, which probably reflects the different positions re: copyright in Japanese yaoi.  This of course is extremely interesting and worth development in a longer analysis.

PS: I am aware the term "Western"is problematic, but given the space limitations in this forum, I have to use it provisionally as a shorthand for a more nuanced analysis.

Building on Nina's comment, it seems that what you're saying is that that vid is exceptional among slideshow videos precisely because it's in dialogue with slash vids, and attempts to recreate that aesthetic using still images. To me, that would place it in the larger category of innovations in vidding style, particularly ones that mash up vidding conventions and YouTube genres (e.g. the fake trailer as reinterpreted by slashers, the AMV-influenced vid). It also might intersect with the overall movification of comics which, in addition to a spate of new superhero movies, includes TV like Heroes and vids that, in contrast to this one, take moving source and comic-ify it (e.g. lim's SGA vid that I can no longer find *stabsimeem*). I think this vid is a very interesting example of a trend toward vidding hybridization, so thanks!

There is a growing hybridization and cross-pollination between slash and yaoi--I am not sure how far it is possible to generalise and say that slideshow vids are typical of yaoi, as opposed for example to comic book fandoms (but this is just my ignorance speaking); but overall genres and fandoms are sliding together as size and more transversal attitudes to fandom increase.



I'm intrigued by the assertion that the vid "decidedly tells a story." I'm sure that this is true, but as someone entirely unfamiliar with the source, I'm able to pick up on only the most basic outline of that story; any nuance beyond what's in the song itself is pretty much lost on me. This is not a criticism of the vid; rather, it's a reminder of just how applicable the fan-articulated idea of "reading levels" is when discussing vids. A vid calls on us to connect dots in order to fill in gaps, and someone unfamiliar with the source may not be able to supply all the relevant dots.

Yes the concept of reading levels is entirely applicable both in general terms to fandom and to the narrative construction of this Eroica vid. Its fandom, like any fandom, builds narrative between the lines--the vid builds on the newly-built narrative to create extra narration, squeezing it from themore or less resistant source. Someone else made the point that vidding is more constraining than writing b/c of the dependence on source footage--with a cartoon the constraint is stronger, yet the vidder does a good job of narrativising it--and mediating between the source and the slash narrative constructions and tropes (which in this fandom is UST, unrequited sexual tension). Part of this is only apparent to Eroica fans, because they both know the context, and also that the vidder re-wrote some of the balloon dialogues to fit her interpretation--which also points out to the textual narrative built by fan stories. 

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PS: if you are curious as to the specifics of this narrative, the dark-haired guy (Klaus)'s  resistance to the blond guy (Dorian) is due to internalised homophobia, which manifests itself in violence. Dorian insists masochistically; the vid leaves it unclear as to whether he will eventually succeed.

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