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Rec: "Hard Sun" (Firefly/meta) (and thoughts on meta vids)

Sunday 23 August 2009, by Webmaster

I will post other recs and con reports, but this gets its own post. I am reccing this so hard it hurts, and here’s why.

There was a lot of talk about meta this year at Vividcon, and that only reflects a larger trend in terms of the vid output and what gets discussed online. There was indeed a meta vidshow/panel pair this year, but people have been mentionning that a ’How to Read Meta Vids’ panel would be very interesting to have. Considering some of the reception this vid has been getting online and in the review panel, I more than ever think that indeed, it might be beneficial.

The one thing people have to do when looking at a meta vid is to remember first and foremost that what they are looking at is not a fanvid in the traditional form, but a vid that uses the footage in a way that tells a story that is different than what is going on in the scenes. Yes, I do understand this requires a suspension of disbelief on some people’s part, and that may be hard for some peope to do. However, many meta vids work on the format of metaphors. What you’re seeing is not what’s actually happening, it represents something else. Some of the comments that come to mind here are along the lines of ’I didn’t understand the story of the characters on screen’. Good, in many meta vids, you are not meant to understand a story in the traditional form where it comes to the characters on screen. The scenes pulled from the series are taken out of context because they tell a story that is bigger than the one that played out in the episodes. Let’s look at Hard Sun.

I think Hard Sun is a tremendous stepping stone for deeper endeavors into meta that don’t remain on the surface of what you see is what’s happening. I’m sorry, but where it comes to show-narrative vids, 99% of the time, that’s not meta, just a deep exploration of the show’s storyline. Meta carries a message that goes beyond the narratives and storylines of the show (however, I would consider meta to a certain extent vids that extrapolate on certain storylines). In Hard Sun, the vidders look at meta in a way I don’t think has been explored before, making it all seamless and with a very clear message once the viewer has understood that what it’s looking at is not the show’s storyline but the show, its fandom, its story, which I would have thought was pretty clear from the inclusion of the credits in the opening (inside a television screen, no less) and the fact that it opens on self-shot footage, not the show.

The shots used in the show are in themselves an overview of Firefly, but they especially stand for the history, not story, of that show. Its birth, how fans were charmed by it, let themselves be envelopped in that world and learned to love it. It shows how the Firefly fans fell in love with the show and how suddenly, even that wasn’t enough and even though they tried their best to pick up the pieces and put it back together (shown as the characters working to put back the ship together on screen), it was taken away in the end - this becomes an interesting statement when you look back at the end of Serenity, which was a message in metaphor to the fans .

Love. You can know all the math in the ’Verse, but take a boat in the air you don’t love, she’ll shake you off just as sure as the turning of worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells ya she’s hurtin’ ’fore she keens. Makes her home.

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