For a while now I’ve wanted to get inside the head of someone in particular. No, it’s not Richard Armitage. Heck, I’m trying to stay out of his head. But it’s someone whose influence on his fans (especially in America) is untold in my opinion, and the effect on me personally has been, well, this blog wouldn’t exist without it. For over three years her creations have given me countless hours of pleasure, and there’s an energy that comes with them that’s had me often wondering about their creator. Her name is Heather. Some of you know her as Heathra or Heathdances from YouTube. I think of her as The Big Kahuna, and I’m honored to be the first to interview her.
Heather, I guess you know by now you’re responsible for introducing me to Richard Armitage, and of course all that’s ensued. What I’ve wanted to know for a long time, and perhaps have missed in everything I’ve read, is how you were introduced to him and did you become an instant fan or did that take awhile to build?
That is great! I love to hear the fact that I am partly responsible for someone else’s RA addiction! LOL Me getting introduced to RA? It’s actually probably similar to a lot of people. I have been and still am a huge fan of Pride & Prejudice and as I was looking on Amazon, it recommended North & South, probably because I liked Pride & Prejudice. ;-) I read the reviews and everyone was saying how much they loved it and if you like P&P, you will love this, so I took a chance and bought it. This was probably back around April 2006. About two days later I got it and because it was 4 hours I thought I would watch the first half that night and then the second half the next night, since I started watching it at 10pm. LOL Well, let’s just say I stayed up until 2am because after the first half I couldn’t leave it there! Then I watched the kissing scene at the end about 10 times before going to bed! ha ha ha! I was hooked! I think I watched it almost everyday for about two weeks. I pretty much became an instant fan. I was making fan videos of P&P at the time, and then I made my first fan video of N&S and it got me even more into Richard. Then kept doing more videos! LOL Someone asked if they could share my N&S “How To Save a Life” video on C19, and I thought what is that? So I told her she could, and then I joined because I was curious and noticed all these people who were just as curious about Richard as I was! I wanted to watch everything this man was in! I joined when Robin Hood Season 1 came out and Vicar of Dibley, and I was in absolute heaven after that and could not get enough. LOL!
I’ve often said there should be a warning label on that movie, but maybe your videos also need a warning label! They are highly addictive. I’ve enjoyed them as much or more than some movies or tv shows. Never knew I could get that much out of a 3-5 minute video. Maybe this could be chalked up to simple synergy that almost always occurs when visuals and music are combined. But hey, there are lots of fan videos on YouTube within the RA fandom that have good visuals and good music yet don’t capture my imagination as yours have. So I am very curious how you create these videos. Would you share how you conceive a video and bring it to completion?
You want me to reveal my secrets??! ha ha Only kidding! It really isn’t a huge secret, and I am sure many others do the same thing I do when it comes to making a video. It really all starts with a song. Every time I listen to a song on the radio or YouTube or my iPod my brain seems to go into video mode where clips start flashing in my mind if the song I am listening to gives me an idea for a video. So for me it starts with the song, and then I visualize the video in my head and what fandom I want to vid to. A lot of the time I will write down my ideas. I had to do storyboards in art school; it’s the same thing. Usually the video is something RA has done whether it be North & South, Robin Hood, or something else. He has definitely been my muse the last 4 years, but I do want to try and branch out to other fandoms. Although my mind keeps wanting to vid to something RA related for some reason! LOL
Once I get an idea in my head and start working on the video I go into what I call “video mode” where you won’t hear or see me for a few days. I get started and just can’t stop until it is done! My videos seem to take longer these days, because I think they seem to get more detailed than they used to be. I started out vidding with Windows Movie Maker, and then I used Ulead Video Studio for videos like Sexy Back (the first one). I felt limited after awhile so I started using Adobe Premiere Pro and used that for about two years. I recently got an iMac, which I have been wanting to get for FOREVER, and being a Graphic Designer I have always wanted a Mac but could never afford it while I was in college. I got my iMac back in October 2009, and then switched to Final Cut Pro for my video editing. Which is what I currently use. My last two videos were made in Final Cut Pro, and I took a huge step in my video editing since I started using it. I feel there are no limits to what I am able to do with it!
I usually start by setting markers where I want my transitions or switching of my clips to be to the beat of the music. Sometimes though it is just to give me a general idea at first of where the beats are. A lot of the time I can’t hit the mouse fast enough to set the marker! LOL But sometimes it is to the lyrics. I like to switch it up because I don’t want to hit EVERY beat. That can get repetitive, and you lose the emotion in the video. I am also really particular in selecting my clips. I try to match the lyrics to the song, and I love showing clips with a lot of emotion. I think showing the emotion in the clips is really important, and the audience can feel more connected to the video when there is an emotional connection. That is part of the reason why I am very picky when it comes to which clips to use, and I try not to over-do the effects in the video. When you have so many effects, you cannot tell what is going on in the video, and you lose the emotional connection. So I think the effects should help get the story or idea across and add or enhance the video not just be thrown in because it looks cool. I hope I am making sense here! LOL
Making total sense.
So the emotion in a video is one of the most important things I try to achieve. I want the viewer to feel happy, or laugh, or be sad, or even cry when watching one of my videos. I hope I have succeeded in doing that with some viewers. :-) That’s part of the reason I love making videos with Richard in them. He is so emotional and the expression and look in his eyes tells so much. He is a great actor, and I love making videos about him because he conveys so much depth. There is just something about him. I don’t think I will ever get tired of making videos of him. ha ha I hope I am not rambling too much or boring you! LOL
NOPE, not boring me at all.
Sometimes when I have finished a video and watch it all the way through, I have cried. I feel very emotionally involved in my videos. I am pouring out my heart and soul and putting it out there for everyone to see. My videos are a part of me and who I am, and I am an emotional, caring and sensitive person who wears her heart on her sleeve. I think I show a lot of that in my videos. “Fix You” is one of my videos that is really special to me for various reasons. It was a time in my life that I was going through that was really hard for me and I was deeply depressed. It was my therapy video. It is probably my favorite video to this day.
I’m fascinated by what you’ve done. I’m so glad you’ve been willing to put yourself out there. Just like RA is willing to put himself out there to meticulously convey the passion and emotions of a character, you’ve done that with these videos, and it’s produced something wonderful that continues to resonate. And that limitless feel is becoming more and more obvious in your videos. By the way “Fix You” is my favorite video of yours, and I intentionally kept it from my top ten fanvids so I could highlight it here. Now I know why.
Would you tell us about some other videos you really enjoy? Are you inspired by any videos?
If they are really well done, I enjoy any fandom of videos. I have to admit I can’t watch Anime. It just isn’t my cup of tea, and I don’t feel the emotional connection with it. I like connecting with real people in a video. Those are the ones that affect me emotionally and I enjoy the most. They don’t have to be these super fast edited videos or the ones with a thousand effects. If it is a beautiful video that tells a beautiful story and makes me feel something for it, then I can watch it over and over again.
I think I was one of the few first vidders on YouTube, but there were a few Pride & Prejudice fan videos that inspired me and made me want to see if I could make one myself. It really all started with my inspiration of Pride & Prejudice. One vidder who inspired me to make my own was darcywil. She was one of the first P&P vidders, and she did one of the first North & South videos I saw too. Elvira also inspires me in a lot of her videos. She isn’t afraid to be different and her uniqueness is what makes her stand out to me from other vidders, and I love her “arty” videos.
Oh, I love Elvira too. I’ll be getting around to her. :D I have to laugh about darcywil because her My Confession video is the first one I ever downloaded. Love it! and love her detailed explanation of it. Wonder how many people she’s inspired. If we include you and all the people you have inspired, the number must be enormous. Do you have any advice for others who may want to make fan videos?
Hmm… It is a very addicting hobby! LOL I would say experiment around. Don’t do what everyone else is doing just because it is “cool” and make videos for yourself first and foremost. Make what you want to make and use songs you enjoy because part of the enjoyment of making a video is because YOU enjoy it. That is sooooo important!
Great advice for a lot of life!
One last thing. I’ve said a time or two how much you’ve done to promote Richard Armitage’s work, and obviously, I‘m thankful. But I have to ask you: are you sure you don’t work for him? ;-)
Thank you! I am happy to promote Richard and he deserves it. It’s really lovely to know that my videos have helped do that!
LOLOL!! I WISH I worked for him! Although I wouldn’t get much done if I did work for him because I would want to stare at him all day long and try and flirt with him. LOL! Hey, can you blame me? I am thirty and flirty!