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19 August 2008 @ 08:39 pm
VVC vid: Tear You Apart (Firefly)  
Vid Title: Tear You Apart
Length: 4:18
Fandom: Firefly
Song/Artist: "Tear You Apart" by She Wants Revenge
Summary: It feels so right. A Simon/Kaylee vid.
WARNING: Violent and disturbing imagery, including images that could imply rape; explicit lyrics

Download the M4V

Premiered in the anonymous Challenge show at VVC08. The insane younger sibling to obsessive24's Climbing Up The Walls.

Thanks to obsessive24 for her phenomenal beta work, and to kiki_miserychic, and bananainpyjamas for their help and reassurance. Banner by my Whedonverse fandom sister, thedothatgirl.

Please don't read the following notes until you've seen the vid. Thanks!


The first time I heard this song, it reminded me of the scene near the end of Serenity in which River watches Kaylee and her brother have sex. The curious, almost mechanical look on her face seemed at the same time cute and creepy. You know that she can feel exactly what they're feeling at the time, but her expression was like a computer analyzing the situation.

I started imagining how the development of Simon and Kaylee's relationship throughout the series - the repressed sexual desire, the dance of flirting and coy reciprocation, and so on - must have looked through the eyes of an empathic girl whose head was already filled with Reavers and violence and torture... and who was constantly in intimate situations with Simon.

Then I saw sdwolfpup's Fix You, and I knew how I wanted to structure the vid.

I never realized how tough it is to do a narrative reveal like that. My first draft showed River watching right from the beginning of the vid. I mean, it's not really a "reveal" when nothing is revealed at the end. My beta, obsessive24, pointed that out; and I also got some great advice and encouragement from kiki_miserychic and bananainpyjamas after that first draft.

In the end, I tried to make a vid that would look and feel fractured, but not really tell the viewer why it looks fractured until the final segment of the vid. Hopefully the first 2/3 of the vid looks different on a second viewing.

I tried to push the River POV by using lots of jump cuts and medical shots (tons of secondary source); and by connecting sexual desire to violence and Reavers, because I would imagine it would have all looked the same in River's head.

You can read bop_radar's illustrated commentary on the vid here.

got a big plan his mind said maybe it's right
at the right place and right time maybe tonight
in a whisper or handshake sending a sign
wanna make out and kiss hard wait nevermind

late night in passing mention it flip to her
best friend it's no thing maybe it slipped
but the slip turns to terror and a crush to like
and she walked in he froze up leave it to fright

it's cute in a way until you cannot speak
and you leave to have a cigarette knees get weak
escape was just a nod and a casual wave
obsess about it heavy for the next two days

it's only just a crush it'll go away
it's just like all the others it'll go away
or maybe this is danger and he just don't know
you pray it all away but it continues to grow

i want to hold you close
skin pressed against me tight
lie still close your eyes girl
so lovely it feels so right
i want to hold you close
soft breath beating heart
as i whisper in your ear
I wanna fucking tear you apart

then he walked up and told her thinking maybe it'd pass
and they talked and looked away a lot doing the dance
her hand brushed up against his she kept it there
told him how she felt and then they locked in a stare

they took a step back thought about it what should they do
cause there's always repercussions when you're dating in school
but their lips met and reservations started to pass
whether this was just an evening or a thing that would last

either way he wanted her and this was bad
wanted to do things to her it was making him crazy
now a little crush turned into a like
and now he wants to grab her by the hair and tell her

Hope you enjoy the vid. Please share your thoughts.
Tags: ,
DC: Final Fantasy VII - Kadajbananainpyjamas on August 19th, 2008 01:39 am (UTC)
Dude stop screwing up my LJ name - dragonchic is some random person who hasn't updated in years. :P

Am in the midst of packing right now but I wanted to drop by and say that I think your vision is much clearer in this version, especially to someone coming in without source context. I'll be back with actual feedback later this week.
bradcpubradcpu on August 19th, 2008 01:42 am (UTC)
COME BACK, DC!!! We miss you!

(also... edited)
Diana: Family Portrait -- Morgan Sibsbutterfly on August 19th, 2008 01:42 am (UTC)
I love this vid so much. Seriously, it was so incredibly amazing. Just. Yes. It fits so perfectly up against "Climbing up the Walls".
bradcpubradcpu on August 21st, 2008 02:17 am (UTC)
That's enormously flattering coming from you - I adore your vids and really enjoyed meeting you. As for Climbing up the Walls, I'm pretty much just always desperately trying to keep up with Nicky. :P
(no subject) - butterfly on August 22nd, 2008 05:58 am (UTC) (Expand)
chasa: plaguechasarumba on August 19th, 2008 01:55 am (UTC)
Ahhhhh, I was waiting (as you know ;-)) for this post! This vid thoroughly sucked me in and left me breathless during the Challenge show, which was full of amazing vids. And what you've described in terms of your intent was how I experienced it -- the "reveal" coming late in the vid and turning the vid on its ear in a horrifying and compelling way (not that the song didn't telegraph that ominous things were coming). It's one of those vids that surprised me and shocked me and most of all made me think, fuck, I really need to be a better vidder, need to push myself conceptually if I want to keep pace with the likes of this. Awesome.

(also, it was an absolute pleasure getting to meet you and Kim!)
bradcpubradcpu on August 21st, 2008 02:24 am (UTC)
You are just the nicest person ever! One of my absolute favorite people I met this weekend. Can't wait to get back home and go through your vids. *rubs hands together* Sorry we couldn't get together on the last day. I really wish we had more time to discuss vids.

I was so nervous during the show because this type of narrative structure can be so problematic, plus when the vid came on people were still applauding the previous vid and... guh! It was just nerve-wracking.

surprised me and shocked me and most of all made me think, fuck, I really need to be a better vidder, need to push myself conceptually
REALLY? =) That is... Say, would you mind if I blow that up to poster size and possibly put it on tshirts? ... Poster-size tshirts?

Honestly, I just didn't want people coming away going "I don't know wtf that was, but I think I'm gonna be sick."
danegen: candydanegen on August 19th, 2008 02:03 am (UTC)
Just watched it twice, and both times, I shuddered at River's eyes at the end. Nggghh. Those shots of Simon at the mirror around 1:00 just *broke* me with being so perfect.

I'm going to be watching this over and over because it's such a rich and complex story. I think I'm reading this as River *as* Reaver in some ways, which is going to be bopping around in my brain for days.
bradcpubradcpu on August 21st, 2008 02:29 am (UTC)
It's great to see that you had that reaction to River's eyes because that was the very first visual that popped into my head and made me want to do the vid. Creepy eyes ftw!

River *as* Reaver in some ways, which is going to be bopping around in my brain for days
If it does, I apologize. You definitely don't want ReaverRiver in your brain!

I think doing the vid ruined me for strawberries. Can't even eat'em anymore.
giandujakissgiandujakiss on August 19th, 2008 02:07 am (UTC)
This is incredibly disturbing and effective; I love your use of the reaver footage, and the blood/internal organs. I definitely will be rewatching this many times.
bradcpubradcpu on August 21st, 2008 02:35 am (UTC)
That's very reassuring to read, thank you. So many potential pitfalls with a structure of this sort, so I was big with the nervous. Also, I really appreciate being mentioned among those awesome vids you listed in your post earlier today.
Ambassador Dummy Dummy Dumb Dumscrickets on August 19th, 2008 02:15 am (UTC)
Holy EFF that scared the POOP outta me! (Not literally, god!) I mean WOW! You knocked that one out of the park! The parallels were downright creepy but very real!

I am stunned! You have stunned me!
bradcpubradcpu on August 21st, 2008 02:39 am (UTC)
Holy EFF that scared the POOP outta me!
Bwahahahaha! I couldn't have come up with better fb if I had written it myself! That one's going on the poster-sized tshirt with chasarumba's.

Seriously, thank you. Really glad this took you to the poop place. :)
laurashapiro on August 19th, 2008 02:38 am (UTC)
So. Freaking. Awesome.
bradcpubradcpu on August 21st, 2008 02:39 am (UTC)
Yes, you are. (and thank you)
BlackSquirrel: Rodney Woahblacksquirrel on August 19th, 2008 02:52 am (UTC)
So amazing! I loved this
bradcpubradcpu on August 21st, 2008 02:41 am (UTC)
Very glad you did! And thank you for telling me so.
mranderson71mranderson71 on August 19th, 2008 03:17 am (UTC)
"Stage 6 and imeem streams coming soon."

Dude, if you can pull that first one off I will proclaim you a great god of the intarweb.

I'll check this out when I get home from work. :)
bradcpubradcpu on August 19th, 2008 03:52 am (UTC)
Dude, if you can pull that first one off I will proclaim you a great god of the intarweb.

As well you should. Alas, it's not going to happen.
(no subject) - mranderson71 on August 19th, 2008 09:50 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bradcpu on August 22nd, 2008 05:12 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kiki_miserychic on August 19th, 2008 06:52 am (UTC) (Expand)
Kitty: Eliza_dushkuwinterevanesce on August 19th, 2008 04:02 am (UTC)
OMG!!! That was just amazing.. The use of clips here is incredible, especially all the extra source was neat! Fantastic work!

PS. Was there supposed to be some kind of winner chosen for the Challenge vids? I was going to enter into it this year, but never got the vid done.. You and the others would of obviously kicked my butt, majorly any ways.
bradcpubradcpu on August 22nd, 2008 12:44 am (UTC)
Whee! I'm so glad you liked it! No, the Challenge show wasn't a contest. All of the vids were watched, and then the audience discussed each vid *before* the vidder was revealed. Pretty interesting experience.

Btw, Sick was a HUGE hit at the Action show. I'll post more details as soon as I catch up on my sleep. :) Just walked in from Chicago...
(no subject) - winterevanesce on August 22nd, 2008 02:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
kiki_miserychickiki_miserychic on August 19th, 2008 07:00 am (UTC)
it's cute in a way until you cannot speak
I went back to look at the e-mails we sent back and forth over the VVC challenge vids and it's weird how dead on they are. You said you'd guess mine right away, which you did. And I said that repeat viewings on this vid were going to make a even better, which would be a plus.

It's the motion and pacing that mak this vid for me. I could have no idea what it's about and still like it because of the editing choices.

First, Kaylee eating the strawberry is not tainted with creepiness. Thanks for that one. Also, I now need a shower, but can't have one. The beginning of the reveal with the zeroing in on River in the scenes reminds me of the reveal in The Rules of Attraction. Finally, you and Nicky make Simon and River a squicky.
bradcpubradcpu on August 22nd, 2008 12:48 am (UTC)
Re: it's cute in a way until you cannot speak
Your Challenge show vid was so YOU that of course I'd guess it. And so did everyone sitting within three rows of me. :P It was all insane and awesome and a total rollercoaster. I'll tell you more about some of the things that were said about it in the discussion afterward when I do my con roundup... or maybe in your fb for the vid.

The motion and the pace were the easiest part of this vid, sadly. It took *forever* to get the reveal down to the point that Nicky was like "OK, it sucks less now."

Also, I now need a shower, but can't have one
Bwahahaaha! *rubs hands together*

It's no surprise that you mentioned Rules of Attraction. I was thinking about Nicky's vid for that when I came up with the style of the reveal here. Thanks for calling me on it!
Re: it's cute in a way until you cannot speak - kiki_miserychic on August 22nd, 2008 01:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
amathela on August 19th, 2008 07:48 am (UTC)
Wow. That was amazing, and fucking creepy.
bradcpubradcpu on August 22nd, 2008 12:49 am (UTC)
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it (by which I mean "got creeped out by it"). :)
(no subject) - amathela on August 22nd, 2008 02:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
littleheaven70 on August 19th, 2008 08:16 am (UTC)
Brad, that was seriously amazing. With just 13 eps and a movie, it's hard to pull a Firefly vid together that doesn't look like every other. The source is pretty limited. Somehow you managed to make that look so fresh and different, and seriously creepy. That shot with River watching Simon and Kaylee from top left made me jump out of my skin.
bradcpubradcpu on August 22nd, 2008 12:50 am (UTC)
Firefly definitely is limited source, but it's so rich with character development and emotional content that there's a lot to mine there (plus great filmwork). And of course I leaned on a lot of secondary source here too.

I really appreciate you letting me know you liked it. Wait... jumping out of your skin is good, right?
(no subject) - littleheaven70 on August 22nd, 2008 08:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Faithbop_radar on August 19th, 2008 08:52 am (UTC)
OMG, Brad! You are the master of trippy nightmare-visions. I could never in a million years have visualised this until you made it and now after one view it feels so complete and true and ... always. And so CREEPY. You make Firefly so much more cool in my eyes! ;p I love it!

May I read your notes now?! :)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Faith darkbop_radar on August 19th, 2008 09:37 am (UTC)
the most convoluted inarticulate vid f/b ever
*reads notes*
On first viewing my fascination was with the way that River appropriates Kaylee and Simon's story/feelings/attraction as her own. That shot of her looking down on them is central to that--this whole vid spirals out from there, it's amazing! And yet, when I started watching the vid I was watching it 'straight' as the story of Kaylee and Simon... on second viewing I'm doubly in awe because it does tell that story very well in its own right. It's just that it's also all filtered through River's perspective.

How are you SO GOOD at taking us inside a character's mind and painting their inner visual landscape?! I don't know any other vidder that can do that so impressively. This vid matches Vertigo and Living Dead Girl in creating a complete universe that feels completely true to the source material (and character). And yet at the same time one that is unspeakably nightmarish and challenges the viewer's ideas about perspective and truth for the given 'verse.

There are so many layers in this vid though, because it also gave me very meta-y reflections on the tension between fragility (humanity) and violence (inhumanity represented by the Reavers) in this universe. Within this vid, it may be River who is seeing the parallel between sexual attraction and the will to violence but the show itself presents us with these few small fragile human characters who are alone in a violent, dark, destructive, hard-edged universe, so the truth of that runs deeper than just River. This vid (through River) seems to ask what does it mean that these characters can flirt so lightly amidst so much tension and violence?

For instance the shot at 0.26 of Kaylee stroking the ship presents us with the juxtoposition of soft (flower-clad!) humanity, eroticising or at least anthropomorphising something hard and metallic and cold (and potentially violent). And then the medical images take us 'under the skin' of the characters, where there is implied sickness and infection--it made me think of their attraction as something that spreads through their bodies--and River feels that as well, making a whole lot of connections that remain subconscious in Kaylee and Simon.

Ok, um, I'll stop wanking on.
1.36: this was the first really 'cool' moment in the vid for me--the moment when the repressed violence first becomes textual. That look of desire from Simon and the shot of the Reavers juxtoposed makes the violence-sex link impossible to ignore for the rest of the vid.
1.58-2.01 Can I fangirl your use of 'literalism' here in matching the lyrics so exactly? It totally works perfectly, and I particularly enjoyed the 'step back' moment. It feels like these little moments tighten the link between image and song, making it feel like a seamless whole.
3.06 This is one of my favourite moments in the vid--the way their laughter breaks the surface of the still worried shot. It makes their laughter seem like violence! The still panning shots that follow are also really effective at building this sense that we're trying to get to the truth beneath the surface.
3.30 The timing of the gun to 'lie still' is just so beautiful.
The twig/gun and the strawberry are both so perfect at exploring the power of suggestion. The strawberry suggests/foreshadows sexual pleasure. And in River's fascinated gaze and the way she longs to reach for not just the gun but an axe or a knife, I got this sense that she was confused by Kaylee and Simon's response. You can kind of hear her asking 'but ... but you're chasing what you desire? why is it bad when I do that?'

I think the most chilling aspect of this for me is that it draws a parallel between desire/attraction and destruction.
bradcpubradcpu on August 22nd, 2008 06:03 am (UTC)
Re: the most convoluted inarticulate vid f/b ever
You plugged into this vid in such a deep, intuitive way that I'm just *stunned.* First of all - WHOA, flattering. But, beyond that, I'm honestly shocked that so much of what I was trying to get across here came through for you - and so incredibly clearly. I was pretty sure most people would get the creepy vibe, and I was *hoping* they'd get the River POV reveal...but you connected so much deeper than that, to themes that I thought had no chance of coming across to *anyone*.

the way that River appropriates Kaylee and Simon's story/feelings/attraction as her own
You know, I honestly didn't think anyone would even get that far. I can't even express how fulfilling it is to me as a vidder to read that as basically your *intro* for your feedback, like "here's the basic structure." I'm over here going "WHEE! She got it!" And then it goes on into the incredibly subtle stuff. Wow.

creating a complete universe that feels completely true to the source material (and character). And yet at the same time one that is unspeakably nightmarish and challenges the viewer's ideas about perspective and truth for the given 'verse.
OK, that's tshirt quote number 3. You people are just bowling me over with the stuff you're saying here. I so don't deserve this. WOW.

I'm so glad you pointed out the Kaylee-stroking-ship shot. You're dead-on about my intentions there. There are some little moments like that when I was trying to hint at Damaged!River being there in proxy as a metaphor in some of the scenes... like with the ship there or the cow fetus a bit later.

Thanks also for your lovely comments about the lyric ties. I was trying to slide from "playful" to "dark" on sort of a gentle slope, but I felt like it was important to keep a little of the former all the way through. I mean, there's not much separation between the two concepts in River's head.

I think the most chilling aspect of this for me is that it draws a parallel between desire/attraction and destruction
That's really the heart (the strawberry-flavored heart!) of what I was trying to say with "it feels so right."

Boppy, you are just the coolest person ever. I fanboy your feedback in an entirely unhealthy way. *HUG!*
Re: the most convoluted inarticulate vid f/b ever - bop_radar on August 26th, 2008 11:05 am (UTC) (Expand)