Words by Matthew Spence:
The power of the YouTube Gods can take us on an adventure that makes Raiders of the Lost Ark look like a full day in Study Hall with that one teacher from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (you can tell I’ve been on an 80s movie binge lately). A musical rabbit hole we’ll never regret……..most of the time, other times you’re left thinking how society has failed you by letting this exist on YouTube. We may be led to up-in-coming underground artists, discover older artists, find cool concert footage, and the strawberry on top……yes……..Out-of-context memes. But next to that, Fan-Edit videos. You know the ones. I mean what’s up with those things am I right? They’re the prime example of when you get carried away with a Video Production class!!……..
Terrible jokes aside. You’ve probably seen a few, if not, then you’ve probably scrolled past one. probably stumbled upon them when scrolling down. A class act in Social Media creativity, cause you see them on many outlets, quick ones on Instagram and TikTok and full ones on YouTube. Where two mediums collided with a vision and intent. Answering the questions such as: Would an Arctic Monkeys song describe the movie Call Me By Your Name? Why does Frank Ocean’s music fit well with pretty much any type of film/show? A quick way for music and film to collide in a matter of 6 minutes or less (usually). The tools: Footage of a feature film, whether an indie darling, unknown gem, mainstream mainstay, or foreign film, all spanning decades. If you feel like mixing colors, instead use footage of a TV Series. The second ingredient, the music of an indie artist or radio/streaming powerhouse with either a deep-cut track that makes Wes Anderson proud or a popular track in their catalog. Last but not least, some editing software…which one, probably a free one or Adobe Premiere. Sometimes the combination may rattle your brain and leave you to think “I never thought to associate this song with this film”, or “I wonder if this song would work with this scene”. It’s beyond the obvious song choice that already soundtracks the film prior: Think “Where is My Mind” by the Pixies and the film “Fight Club” for example. It leads to other combos that feel fitting even though they may be far removed, like Perks of Being a Wallflower and Cigarette Daydreams by Cage the Elephant.
In a DIY fashion, anyone can do it! It’s tight, but it shouldn’t be totally brushed off as an easy second effort. Like everything, it takes a creative mind, like Del the Funky Homosapien once said. It’s storytelling through editing. It’s not just vomiting out clips of the movie (while some may be doing that for sure), as the movie clips are selected more intricately like it’s brain surgery. Easier said than done. But don’t take my word for it, what the hell do I know, I’m just a motherfucker who tried to do it in high school but got annoyed with it quickly. So I asked popular fan editor, Leandro of leandroxcx, for his insight with a few questions, and like a kid who gets dismissed from school early, I’m appreciative.
1. How did you get into making edits?
My journey began around 2013 or 2014, when Vine was popular. I enjoyed watching video edits made by others and felt inspired to create my own. This is when I discovered my passion for video editing software. I created a YouTube channel and have been consistently sharing my edits since then.
2a. What’s your process in deciding a song?
Usually, I go with songs that I’m really into at the moment. I also consider requests from my audience.
2b. Process of deciding on a film
That’s the hardest part. Selecting the perfect film to complement a song can be a real challenge. Sometimes, I struggle to find the right fit, while other times, there are just too many options to choose from.
2c. How do you merge both into one idea?
I usually visualize how the mood and lyrics of the song align with scenes from the film. This creative mental process helps me bring the two elements together seamlessly.
3. Do you rewatch films for better understanding to edit?
Yes, absolutely! I rewatch the film to make sure my edits are on point. I’m quite meticulous when it comes to this aspect. I want to make sure everything is perfect.
4. What are some edits you’ve tried but it didn’t work out in the end?
I’ve had my fair share of ideas that never saw the light of day… Sometimes it’s because the chosen song and film just didn’t mesh well, or the creative vision I had in mind didn’t translate effectively during the editing process. Technical constraints and challenges can also play a role, causing certain ideas to remain unfinished. However, these experiences also provide valuable lessons and opportunities for growth in refining my editing skills.
5. How do you tell a story through editing?
My goal is to capture the essence of the film’s narrative in my videos. I achieve this by arranging scenes in a way that mirrors the progression of the movie’s storyline, making it easier for viewers to grasp the core of the narrative.
6. Personal 5 fav films and songs (or albums if that’s easier)
My favorite cinematic works are “Interstellar” (2014), “Black Swan” (2010), “Mommy” (2014), “Us” (2019), and a more recent addition, “Eyes Wide Shut” (1999).
Music holds an indispensable place in my daily routine, and I find it essential to start my day with its accompaniment. Regarding musical choices, my favorite albums, listed in no particular order, are “Melodrama” by Lorde, “Ultraviolence” by Lana Del Rey, “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful” by Florence + the Machine, “Pang” by Caroline Polachek, and for a compelling pop offering reflective of my mood, “Bangerz” by Miley Cyrus or “1989” by Taylor Swift. It’s worth mentioning that certain songs hold a special resonance for me, such as “Space Song” by Beach House, “The Good Side” by Troye Sivan, “Scott Street,” & “I Know The End” by Phoebe Bridgers. That was very hard!
7. Any tips for those who wanna try?
Watch videos you like and take notes. Start using editing software and if you’re unsure how to do something, search on YouTube for step-by-step tutorials. Learning takes time; looking back at my edits from 3 years ago, they were messy. Focus on making good quality videos as it sets you apart from others.
All of those creative morals have led to his channel with videos that have millions of views. Hell, his Cola by Lana Del Rey video has more views than the actual song on Lana’s official YouTube page. Don’t let Lana find out.
It’s discovering the best of both worlds. They’re plenty of channels like these and they serve a great purpose: expanding and exploring horizons. These could be gateways to new music entrees and films. Introducing those to things that they may have been missing out on. “i am a cyborg but that’s ok“, a popular channel with over a million subs is known for using indie artists and combining their music with under-the-radar films.
It could be artists you’re not too familiar with their catalog despite always hearing the name, same with the film. Seeing a song title or the thumbnail may poke your attention and hook you onto something you may have not known about. You can’t go wrong with discovering new stuff, it’s all about keeping an open mind. So before you watch your daily dose of <insert YouTube>, try to take a shot with a fan edit. That’s how I discovered Gregg Araki films and my life has been satisfied knowing “The Doom Generation” exists.
Be sure to check out the channel: leandroxcx as a good gateway. While you’re at it, buy a pack of Starbursts and spend 10 minutes trying to pair certain movies and songs together.[Mine is “limewire” by untitled (halo) paired with “The Doom Generation”]