Avpm Property Management
Avpm Property Management – This week I attended the annual conference of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies in Chicago. I decided to share the paper I presented as part of the panel, “Affects in the Era of Transmedia Storytelling” on this blog in an effort to research that was presented to just 20-25 people (not a bad result for one . in the first panels of the 5-day conference!), available to a wider audience. My paper was originally titled “‘Fing in Love with Hermione Granger’: Affect, Genre, and the
Franchise” but in the end I didn’t have time to discuss the song, “Granger Danger” in this short paper (a score that drew at least one “Booooo!” from the audience when it was announced), so I changed the title for this post.to reflect this omission.
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Besides the title change and some added clips (yay internet!), the paper below is what I presented last Wednesday. I welcome any feedback.
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I want to begin this discussion of the impact of transmedia franchises by discussing a scene from A Very Potter Musical, a full-length stage musical written, directed and performed by a group of performing arts students at the University of Michigan and recorded and broadcast online via YouTube in. 2009. The show has 14 original issues and more than 9 million page views. The scene you’re about to watch is a recreation of a key moment in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – when Lord Voldemort finally regains a human body after more than 11 years of painful disincarnation. What is the first item on Voldemort’s evil agenda? Why, in dancing of course!
In this issue, Voldemort helpfully describes how music can compel the body to dance, even when the brain rejects the idea:
“The other boys would laugh and jeer But I’d catch em tapping their toes. ‘Cause when I start swinging they’d get carried away. And oh, how the feeling grows…”
These lines—and whole numbers for that matter, emphasize the relationship between affect and music—how the compulsion to sing or dance is often pre-cognitive.
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In “Serial Bodies,” Shane Denson defines affect as “the privileged but fleeting moment, when narrative continuity is broken and the images on the screen resonate materially, thoughtlessly, or pre-reflectively with the viewer’s autoaffective sensations.” Denson then goes on to cite Linda Williams’ famous essay on body styles, “Film Bodies: Gender, Genre, and Excess,” in which she argues that when watching horror, pornographic, or melodramatic films, “the spectator’s body is held in an almost involuntary mimicry of the body’s emotions or sensations on the screen” (144). Although Williams makes a passing reference to music in his list of potential body styles, music is rarely discussed in terms of its relation to affect. However, instinct to sing or dance to a catchy tune often takes place just before our conscious mind reminds us that such an impulse could lead to public humiliation.
I am also using affect in this speech to refer to the emotional connection between fans and the texts they love. In fact, the musical syntax favors emotion because the most valuable characters in the genre are those who sing and dance because they love it so much – because the pure bonus of the performance cannot be resisted. Those characters who sing and dance purely for money or who think too much of their art usually prove to be villains, or at least in need of reform.
(1953), Jeffrey Cordova (Jack Buchanan) is only able to create a successful show when he stops aiming for “high” status and just makes a show filled with music and dance:
So what does a song and dance Lord Voldemort has to do with the transmedia franchise and affect, the subject of today’s panel? By translating key plot events from the Harry Potter franchise into musical numbers, I argue that A Very Potter Musical transforms the fantasy franchise’s key opposition between good and evil into the musical’s own concern with the joy of living over monetary gain. In her study of Roswell fans and genre in fan discourse, Louisa Stein argues that fans “use generic codes as points of identification with stories and characters, making fictional narratives and characters personally meaningful or resonant through processes of genre personalization” (2.4). Likewise for fans of the musical, A Very Potter Musical offers an affective entry point into the vast narratological universe of Harry Potter, making the franchise more personally meaningful. This is not to say that the Potter films and books do not generate effects in their audiences, but rather that the musical structure creates new opportunities for affect among Potter fans (and of course, for non-musical Potter fans,
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As a transmedia franchise that includes 7 novels, 8 blockbuster films, a Disney theme park, toys, video games and a host of other products, the Harry Potter fandom is necessarily broad, heterogeneous, and expressed across a range of media platforms: thousands of fans. -created websites, newsletters, slash, conventions, a thriving genre of Harry Potter-themed rock music known as “wrock,” and even an activist group known as the Harry Potter Alliance. A Very Potter Musical, which looks like the space between fan fiction, wreckage, and possibly even filk, disguises its budget limitations with clinkey musical performances, self-reflexivity, and the unabashed passion of its actors. Fan love fills the gaps in production and decorates the seams visible in this otherwise amateur production. The lengths fans will go to express their adoration for a beloved text have been well documented by fan scholars such as Henry Jenkins, who describes fan fiction as “a celebration of the intense emotional commitment and religious fervor that connects fandom to its roots in. fan” (251). Thus, for fan studies scholars, AVPM is nothing new. However, for a film genre scholar like myself, the show is quite useful for understanding the role that genre—especially music—plays in relation to between fandom, transmedia franchise and affect.
Watch Darren Criss (Harry Potter) and Joey Richter (Ron Weasley) perform “Goin Back to Hogwarts” with some fans. Note the moment when the fans enter at the 55-second mark and Darren Criss’ reaction:
One of the ways AVPM creates an intimate relationship between fan and text is by transforming the multibillion-dollar Harry Potter transmedia franchise — the ultimate form of mass culture — back into popular culture. Considering that popular art is an expression of the community that is also its audience, mass art spreads to its audience already done, articulating its value to them. However, as many fan studies scholars have noted, fan fiction allows fans to convert mass culture back into popular culture. I would add that by clearly relying on the syntax and semantics of the music, AVPM is even more adept at creating the sense that mass art is folk art. Jane Feuer argues that: “By basing its value system on the community, the function of production and consumption is served by the passage of musical entertainment from the popular to the popular to the mass status they join in the discourse of the genre” (3).
For example, film music often offers images to the diegetic audience to compensate for the “loss of life” in the stage, serving as a portion as a stop in the subjectivity of the film audience (27). Many Hollywood musicals include a diegetic audience that signals the non-diegetic audience how to feel about a performance—if they applaud and cheer, the performance was successful. If they sit silently in their seats, the performance was a bust. A similar effect is created when watching the streaming video of the live stage performance at AVPM. As you hear in “To dance again!” numbers, laughter, applause, and appreciation from the live diegetic audience solidify the non-diegetic audience’s understanding that these low-budget performances are, in fact, successful – even if it’s hard to hear some of the actors’ lines. and the jokes are lost. This is especially important for something broadcast on the Internet, since most AVPM viewers will likely be watching on their computer screens, alone. Thus, the diegetic audience serves as a viewing companion, reassuring us about when to laugh or applaud.
To Dance Again!”: Affect, Genre, And The Harry Potter Franchise « Judgmental Observer
Similarly, Feuer argues that many musicals include characters who are not supposed to be professional singers and dancers, but instead sing and dance for the love of it. This use of “amateur” makes us feel that the stars are singing and dancing on screen because they love it, not because they are paid to do so. By masking this professionalism, the music performer is closer to us, the amateurs in the audience. AVPM offers a similar experience, only the performers we watch are truly amateurs in that the show itself is a labor of love rather than a profit making enterprise.
This feeling is reinforced by the show’s production values. For example, in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the evil Lord Voldemort tries to revive his body by attaching what is left of his soul to the Simpering Professor Quirrell. In the book, and even more so in the film adaptation, this
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