bnewman: (explorer)
[personal profile] bnewman
My, it's been a long time. There have been a number of exciting things that happened that I meant to post something about, and then didn't. Someday, maybe, I will. I've been preoccupied, and I've been thinking that any day now I'll redo my website, and have been holding off updating my current website for that reason.

Setting all that aside, here's a post on the topic of pseudofilks, or cryptofilks, or whatever you want to call these things...

Often, when writing a song parody, I'll keep a line from the original song intact. Sometimes, that line motivated the parody in the first place. Other times, it comes as a surprise, even to me. Usually, the context of the filk changes the meaning of the line in a way that's particularly ironic, poignant, or otherwise powerful or punchliney. I mentioned a number of these at a song-parody-writing panel at Arisia.

And then there are the songs where, once I realize the twist that makes the parody work, the region of lyrics that can be kept, albeit with a changed meaning, grows and grows until it swallows the whole song. All the lyrics exactly the same. Then what? How do you perform such a filk — what establishes the context that changes the meaning, that makes the difference between the filk and the original song? These oddities are what I'm calling "pseudofilks".

The possibility of having a beloved song ruined for you forever minor, implicit spoilers for Babylon 5, and major spoilers for A Fire Upon the Deep follow after the cut.

My first, and surprisingly successful, pseudofilk, is "The Vorlon Connection". This is a filk of "The Rainbow Connection" in which none of the lyrics are changed — the global substitution of "Vorlon" for "rainbow" is performed, if you will, on the client side, as per an appropriate spoken introduction. This tends to result in listeners familiar with Babylon 5 remaining doubled over with laughter for the entire duration of the song, as each verse clicks into place.

If you're in the target audience (ideally, familiar both with the original song and B5) and want to experience this for yourself, I recommend listening rather than looking at the lyrics — YouTube videos of the original Muppet Movie segment seem all to have been taken down, but there are a number of covers still up. Of course, what "The Vorlon Connection" really wants is its own video, made up of B5 clips, with karaoke lyrics showing the word "rainbow" struck through with "Vorlon" written in over top of it in glowing blue ink.

Lately, I've been "working on" (if you can call it that) a second pseudofilk, in which Dar Williams's "The Ocean" is about Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep. Actually, as before, I've been trying to figure out how to write an actual filk, but I want to keep so much of the original lyrics I'm not sure where to start. So, a pseudofilk it is.

[ major edit: Since writing this post (probably, because of writing this post), I finally actually wrote the filk in question. Since neither the summary originally posted here nor the parody lyrics (which you can go read over there) will make much sense to those who haven't read the book, I've removed the line-by-line summary, but retained the paragraph below referencing the hypothetical songvid from the hypothetical anime series of FotD that I'd really like to see... ]

This one's harder to present, because both the subject matter and the original song are less widely known ... and because the subject matter doesn't exist in a video form. However ... let's pretend — pretend that someone has made an anime miniseries of A Fire Upon the Deep, and that it's really good, and that I've spliced segments from it into a music video.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-01 06:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hsifyppah.livejournal.com
Hee, I totally need to read A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky again before Concertino to get the most out of hearing you sing again.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-01 06:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] q10.livejournal.com
so, uh, why hasn't somebody made A Fire upon the Deep into an anime series yet?

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-01 11:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] orawnzva.livejournal.com
I don't know — maybe Vinge (or his publisher) isn't interested in licensing it, maybe nobody has gotten around to it, maybe it simply hasn't occurred to anyone who is in a position to make it happen. I think it would be awesome — it could work really well in almost-photo-realistic CGI, and while there are sorts of things happening in it that should by rights be very difficult to portray in a movie (e.g. transcendent communion of a human and a machine leading to cybernetic apotheosis), they're mainly things that anime has gone ahead and depicted anyway.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-01 12:42 pm (UTC)
glassonion: (Default)
From: [personal profile] glassonion
It sort of sounds like what you're getting at here is more like song vidding than like filking.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-01 02:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] orawnzva.livejournal.com
That's true, but I'm also using the idea of a (hypothetical) songvid to illustrate the idea that I want to be able to sing this song, and have the audience think that instead. That actually works with "The Vorlon Connection", because it's as simple as s/rainbow/Vorlon/ig. I don't know how to do that in this case.

On the other hand, posting this seems to have overcome my the inertia about actually writing the filk (lyrics about 50% changed), and when that's polished up I'll rework this entry to indicate that it actually got written after all.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-02 03:59 pm (UTC)
ext_9394: (Default)
From: [identity profile] antimony.livejournal.com
But a lot of songvids are doing the pseudofilk thing -- I don't know how many you've seen, but that's a lot of what they are, just under a different name.

Including distraction techniques to sort of skip the parts that don't fit -- line cuts right up on beats and keywords for maximum parallel; space them out and use slower scenes to let them meander apart, etc.

There are other types of vids too -- this is only one subset.

(I love vids, and I find the nascent analysis tradition popping up around them fascinating, though I'm not a vidder myself.)

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