So... I have now been to my second con since Escapade. Have I written my Escapade report? Have I written my Bitchin' Party report? Ahahaha. *sigh* Both were great, and I'll be writing both up at some point, but I'm starting with CON.TXT before I fall even farther behind. I'm running out to dinner, so I guess I'll just post this in its relatively unexpurgated form.
The short version: Two years ago, CON.TXT was a con I would fly across the country for. This year's CON.TXT wasn't.
It was a mellow con for me. A number of little things add up to make me feel like this year was enjoyable but not the big event I would have preferred. Maybe I've changed too and what I want out of a con now is a bit different, but it felt like there was an energy at the con two years ago that there wasn't this time.
The con continues to have an awesome location: accessible via metro from the airport, within walking distance of many different delicious food options that are not shitty fast food chains, within walking distance of places like Radioshack/convenience stores/grocery stores/etc. It continues to have an excellent and informative website and helpful news distribution (LJ, mailing list, etc.). The Dead Dog is a time for honest feedback including the negative stuff. The con com is friendly, does a good job, and is not full of themselves. I would still highly recommend the con to people in the area and probably to fans who want to travel for it. I would not recommend it for vidders.( People )
Before I forget, Zvi plied me with bookmarks for Connexions
while I was distracting her from her volunteering shift. East Coast slash con attendees take note: this venerable con is restarting in August 2015. I reserve August for VividCon, but you non-vidders should check it out.( panels )( The dance party )( Saturday night )
But the evening overall also felt subdued, and that was partly the preceding vidshow
. Oh boy... where do I start? Maybe if the Friday party had felt more awesome to me... Maybe if there had been a critical mass of some other set of my friends... Maybe if I'd loved the panels... I know I happily submitted a premiere to the show two years ago, so whatever the guidelines were then didn't bother me. Probably I was too excited to actually read them. My experience of the con that time was of a very, very OT3-friendly con. It made me feel at home and like this was an offline version of contemporary Livejournal fandom (of 2 years ago, not the even greater tumbleweeds of 2014). I think it was that happy memory of feeling like I fit in that made it seem worth getting up in the middle of the night to fly across the country.
The vid show submission guidelines made me feel anything but.The guidelines:
From the CON.TXT website: "For the 2014 vid show, we're following the same template we've used in previous cons after the very first (you can see the playlists for earlier vid shows by clicking on Playlist, above, and then clicking the year), which is to say that we'll be taking vid submissions and our goal is to put together a Saturday night vid show that consists of roughly half submissions and half selections.""Important Points About the CON.TXT 2014 Vid Show:
• CON.TXT is a slash con and the vid show will be devoted exclusively to slash (m/m or f/f) vids. We're not going to attempt to strictly define "slash" here - just use your best judgment (and feel free to contact us if you're uncertain). The vid com will make the final determination if there's an issue.
• "In an effort to make the vid show as enjoyable and appealing to as wide a range of fans as possible, we are going to take into consideration, and will actively attempt to balance, fandoms, vidders, song and musical styles, vid lengths, and other similar factors in selecting vids for the show. Also, the vid show lasts only a limited time (approximately two hours, including a break), and only a portion of that time will be devoted to submitted vids. So we cannot guarantee that a submitted vid will actually be in the show."
I tried to be excited about making a m/m or f/f vid. I really did. But you know how when you sign up for an exchange and you get details that are like "I hate your OTP!", your mind just goes blank and you can't think of anything else to write even though you normally love all of the other pairings in that fandom and gen casefic too? It was like that. All of my joy at making anything went away. It was like pulling teeth to get a vid done at all. I eventually sat down right before the deadline and vidded something in a sitting. It's a slightly peculiar Haven vid. It's half a gen canon overview with m/m awkwardly pasted on and half an OT3 vid with Audrey painfully excised. I was honestly worried it would be rejected, but it wasn't.
The main CON.TXT vidshow room is supposed to be the loud one. I didn't realize that, partly because people were so quiet. Were they not having a good time? I am not sure. Someone complained at the Dead Dog that they'd been shushed when they wanted to talk. To my great surprise and pleasure, everyone sang along loudly to my vid. I wasn't sure how the cover of It's the End of the World As We Know It would go over, but people either didn't notice or, in one case, were apparently ecstatic that I had used the "One True Cover Version". I'm especially happy because understanding the lyrics does help with some of the faster, more context-reliant bits of editing. (And I know you guys understood them because you were bellowing the verses too.)
People certainly applauded loudly enough after the vids, but it felt like maybe the energy was a little down from what I'd hope for overall. Despite the show supposedly balancing different styles and including different fandoms and all of that, I wasn't getting a strong feeling of "OMG, MY SHIP!" from most of the room except on the White Collar OT3 vid and, okay, talitha78's Steve/Bucky and Thor/Loki vids. The show also reached its climax with the most WTF choice imaginable. Ending on lulzy Thor/Loki would have worked. Ending on an angsty three-fandom vid nobody gets because nobody's seen Merlin and
that Alexander movie followed by a bittersweet Shelter vid is terrible. If those needed to be in at all (and I would never in a million years have put in the 3-fandom one), they should have been in the middle of one of the halves.
I hear tell that the issue with CON.TXT's vidshow may be in part that they do ask permission to show things. That's an admirable effort. (Though, dude, VidUKon sends a courtesy notification and then assumes you agree if you don't respond. This is pretty normal for cons. It's not like making a zine of somebody's fic without asking.) On the other hand, I've watched all of the festivids except the ones from the first year and been to most of the cons where the rest of this playlist debuted and seen most of the vids of the people who debuted theirs online. I can say with perfect assurance that there are a zillion other good vids from those sources, plenty of them more appropriate for this vidshow.
If I had to guess, I would say that the stumbling block is treating vids like fic. Yes, there are people who don't want "an icky peanut butter girl in their delicious m&m" or who never read gen. When it comes to vidders, though, it's just not like that, at least not for the VVC "vidding is my fandom" types. Even those of us who vid plenty of m/m vid an awful lot of canon recap, character studies, and random other shit. If con vidshows must insist on doing their research by looking through Festivids, many of the best vids aren't m/m. If cons want all shipping all the time, they need to branch out and look for vidders on Youtube who aren't part of these same circles. And, yes, a lot of those people are hard to contact or don't give a shit about this kind of con.
A vidshow should take the audience into account because they're kind of trapped once they attend at all, but I also feel it should be like a con art show: about the artists as fellow fans who attend the convention and are a part of the community, not about entertaining a passive audience with perfect, 100% professional and to-their-liking entertainment. Neither should have a minimum allowed talent level. Neither should turn away pieces by attending members because being able to get your stuff in is the entire point of going to an in-person gathering these days. Having some more beginner pieces in encourages people to get better and other people to try the artform out for themselves. The way CON.TXT is right now, I don't feel like it's actually interested in vidders
at all. And this from a young-ish, livejournal-y con! Escapade, which has every excuse to be a bunch of old fogeys who like "Slash only!!!", yet it has a general vidshow with no specific slash requirements. The contrast makes CON.TXT look out of touch and anti-vidder. I don't think I will bother attending or submitting vids again.
I'm late for my train, so I'm going to post this and bolt out the door. I have more thoughts on vidding-as-fandom and how it differs from slash-as-fandom even for vidders who identify as slashers, but they'll have to wait. Or you can have that conversation in the comments for me and save me the trouble. Hahaha.