← The majority of AMV’s suck. Few are good. But the ones that are good have the potential to be trailers. Yes, there’s not much difference between a PR trailer produced by a company and a fan-made AMV. However, the difference that is evident is subtle yet has much larger implications.
So let me list out some things:
1. AMV’s are a means and ends in itself by (a) being fun to make and (b) encouraging people to buy the original work.
2. However, if the art of AMV-making becomes so advanced that fans are able to produce with relative ease an AMV that views the anime through very rose-colored lenses, people that rely on AMV’s as previews will become skeptical (after they waste their precious money) and possibly turn back to fansubs etc.
3. #2 is wholly feasible, under certain circumstances. There is really little incentive to making AMV’s. Of course there are contests at conventions, and this is where the majority of stellar AMV’s I’ve seen originate from. This means that companies need to branch out and, perhaps, give AMV material (the series itself) to fans. This is a win-win situation really: the company gets free PR, possible sales increase, and development in both ‘spheres. I think this is already happening though, and on a small scale thank goodness.
4. AMV’s need to remain short. They should remain proxies. They shouldn’t develop to the point of doujin, where the proxy transforms itself into a substitute, therefore decreasing sales.
5. Of course it’s totally possible that AMV’s increase piracy.
6. And that’s why there needs to be more collaboration between the companies and the fans. I think this really necessitates the existence (if it’s already out there) of an AMV sphere. AMV blogs and AMV forums, discussion about proper software to use, film techniques, film theory, discussion on effective music, etc. Really, this hypothetical AMV sphere isn’t much different than out own aniblogging sphere – it’s just the content of our discussion. And insofar as this AMV ‘sphere exists, companies, using whatever social networking media, can contact the big guns of the AMV sphere and give them free material as incentive to produce bitching PR. Everyone’s happy.
7. In fact, a company could start a feedback mechanism. They can distribute a set amount of free content (a few episodes perhaps, or specialized, segmented content) available for download – and it would be doubly effective if they distributed the first episode (as “teaser” in itself) – for fans to make AMV’s out of. The winner(s) of the contest receive free material on a future unreleased series, out of public eye. Those fans with the SACRED MATERIAL then produce AMV’s, public trailers with which to tease fans into buying them when they come out.
8. On second thought this is very hard to perceive, because to make a bitchin’ AMV, the maker may need to know the series inside and out to really capture its essence. Thankfully, because these would be “secret”, the AMV-maker doesn’t need to know its inside jokes and tropes to make comic AMV’s that funny. In fact, if angled the right way, a comedy series AMV can use memes to broadcast itself to an even larger audience.
9. #7 I think is very effective because the material comes from the fans themselves, making it so much more accessible/believable and “down to earth”. This itself perpetuates social incentive (‘sphere development) for AMV production – “hey, this looks fun, I can do this too!”
10. This is where the whole speculative AMV sphere is realized – it only works insofar as people buy the real thing and not download fansubs. So companies (Gonzo, etc.) need to step up more with the digital distribution of “professionally” subbed material to disintegrate the fansubbing industry.
11. A last remark – when using AMV’s as proxy material, we must inevitably question its authenticity and deviance from the source. AMV’s may be a personal art, but in the context I have lined out, its purpose is also political. The obscuration factor of AMV’s can be cleared on the company’s side by authorizing only AMV’s they see depict the series in a good way, which would probably be the most rose-colored, but let’s not hope for that. On the fan side, mavericks will pop up (in youtube comments or elsewhere) proclaiming that the “objectivity” (oh jeez) of an AMV is questionable. This would be for older series because other people will have seen the show at hand, and possibly for new series if company employees actually go out and comment on these fan-based productions. I think that has greater implications for how the public perceives companies (corporations, etc.) as faceless things or with actual human employees that are accessible.
12. I would make a remark about the globalization of anime and how outsourcing is and can be involved…but I don’t know anything about economics.
Forgive my ignorance if all this is in progress already, i..i…it…it’s not like I care about AMV’s or anything! Here’s a Samurai Champloo I enjoyed a lot.