I am not a fangirl and have never been. I don’t get over the top addicted to series or shows or anything, really. But there was one show that I did obsess over for a while *cough*, a few years. I might not remember important happenings from history lessons, but I still know all these things about ATLA. If you haven’t heard of the show, I suggest you watch this video here. Hyves, the Dutch equivalent of Facebook was very popular around the time that I started liking Avatar. You were probably supposed to represent yourself on Hyves, but there were a lot of accounts for celebrities and non-existing cartoon characters. There were also people who pretended to be characters from the Avatar world. This is called Roleplaying (To act and speak as if you are the character you’re portraying) and is something I started doing as well.
My favourite nation is the Air nation. Since Aang is the only Airbender left I didn’t get to see much of them and so I tried to find more information on the internet. I started liking the show so much that I wanted to share it with others and made a fan page on Hyves, the Dutch equivalent of Facebook from back then. The fan page didn’t have enough room for all the information that I wanted to share, though. I then decided to make a website and basically started translating information that I found in English into Dutch. (I stopped roleplaying then.) The name of my website came from the only (known to have survived) female air nomad. Chances are you’ve never heard of her even if you have seen the show. She’s so unknown that when I google her name now (Malu), I get results of pictures that I’ve ‘made’/altered. Malu is from the Avatar the Last Airbender card game which I happen to have in German. I will save you Malu’s background information, but apparently, her nickname was Ghostwitch. She was also referred to as ‘just a whisper in the wind’, which is where the name of my site came from, Whisperwind.
I wasn’t the first person to create a fan website for this show. It turned out that there was a whole ATLA website community with a ranking list and all. We put information on our sites, fun things like avatar altered word puzzles and mazes, graphics like bookmarkers or calendars, organised contests and communicated with each other and our visitors. It is quite interesting to see the blog community now as it has a lot of similarities. However, none of us used WordPress back then (did it even exist?) and at that time it was still popular to use enter images before someone could enter your actual website. Click here if you want to see what the layout of my site looked like.
Later, I created my site with HTML.
Somewhere during that time I also discovered fan videos. A friend linked me to which I immediately wanted to make them myself. I started by using screenshots and GIFs. Not long thereafter I found out where I could get episodes and that’s when the ‘real’ editing started. I uploaded my first video on the 15th of February in 2009 under the name of Ghostwitch12. Wikipedia’s definition of fan videos is as follows: Vidding is the fan labour practice in media fandom of creating music videos from the footage of one or more visual media sources, thereby exploring the source itself in a new way. The creator may explore a single character, support a particular romantic pairing between characters, criticise or celebrate the original text, or point out an aspect of the TV show or film that they find under-appreciated. The creators refer to themselves as “vidders”, their product as “vids”, “fanvids”, or “songvids”, and the act itself as vidding.
Like everyone else, I used Windows Movie Maker to create these videos. (God knows if I could still use it now.) It only took me one day to complete my first video. It has been 5 years since I completed a ‘full’ video with a length of over 3 minutes and it takes me days, weeks, months… to complete videos which have a length of just one minute. I made quite a few videos inspired by others (copying, lol) and there are also videos that I came up with myself. In the beginning, I didn’t connect with anyone but the community on Youtube is a lot bigger than the website community was. As I slowly started to get involved with other people, I simultaneously reconnected with role players on Hyves. However, my old friends were no longer there and no one used the actual characters of the show anymore. We started to alter the original characters and made our own out of it. Click here, here and here for examples.
During role playing, I connected with one friend in particular with whom I started to create a new story in the Avatar universe. She made the drawings and I did the writing. Click here to see the cover and here and here for two of the characters. Sadly, we never made it further than the first chapter.
Role playing disappeared out of my life again and so did the creating of websites. Video editing turned out to be far more fun and I started to feel like a real part of the community. The videos left on my channel aren’t all that were created; we often collaborated with each other and uploaded these videos on another channel. In the beginning, we were able to talk by leaving comments on each others channels. Later, we moved to MSN, and after that, to Skype. However, after a few years, I did not think Avatar was as interesting anymore. I kept my friends but started to edit with Anime instead. I left Ghostwitch12 and moved to a new account.
Be sure to turn on your sound!
Stay tuned for the next post about my current Youtube account and video editing in general.