Queue the Ride

I only know the basic plot of Into the Storm, and I know some of the characters damn near get blown away, and maybe some actually do get blown away. Whatever else happens, the cast is enjoying themselves:




Everyone was smiling at WonderCon:


And our guy most of all at times:


He seems happy with what he’s doing. That sense of lightheartedness and joy has run through almost all of his interviews about Into the Storm, and it has made me rethink the movie. I have taken it way too seriously. Sure the subject matter is serious, but then so was the subject matter of ConAir. and somehow that was fun.

I could be so wrong, but Richard Armitage is a bit readable. I don’t mean about everything he does, but oftentimes he reflects the nature of what he’s working on, and with Into the Storm, I see him smiling a lot:




I’m taking this as a sign we’re in for some fun times come August 8th. And Sharks be damned. :D

In the meantime, I really appreciate Heather sharing her work with all of us. She’s been a wealth of wonderful photos, and dare I say some iconic images of Richard Armitage. It does help that she’s a professional photographer. In fact, I have sometimes forgotten that because she is so laid back about it and just makes it look easy, and she happened to already be working WonderCon. Yay!

I told her I did not want to forget this time, and if you have never had the pleasure of seeing some of her other work, I created a gallery for you all to sample it.

The images above are also in large format (big mothers; I’m warning you, but they’re worth it). Click to access. The remainder of Heather’s photos for this event will be up at RichardArmitagenet.com later today or tomorrow.

Note to Heather: I could swear RA is looking at you in some of these photos. It does help that you’re tall. LOL!

edit: I was tired when I wrote this, hence the misspelling. It so happens I’m getting ready for one of the biggest meetings of my life. If I nail this client, I am going to have a slew of work. It has to go right!! Prayers and good thoughts welcomed.

Getting Enough Thorin


thorin[click to enlarge for a sweet screencap :D]

With the advent of Thorin Oakenshield, there are some new Richard Armitage fans. Ohmygosh. I’ve had email and messages aplenty of people looking for his works. They are smitten, and of course I can empathize. After five years of being a fan and three years of blogging about the man, I am still smitten by something about him, and the Why Richard? question is continually near my lips when I encounter new fans. But lately I’ve been asking the question of those fans who have been around awhile, so recently, I asked Heather and love her response:

His face tells a story, and I respect that he applies artistry to achieve this. As someone who makes it a business to convey messages with pictures, I was immediately drawn to that, and it’s such a pleasure to highlight it and in some ways make it richer in a fan video.

If you have not seen Heather’s videos, you need to do yourself a favor and check them out. As for me, I am so glad she chose that medium for expressing her infatuation of Richard Armitage’s talent, since that’s how I even came to know anything about him, and many others have found him the same way. Her videos have become so notable that they have been mentioned a few times in articles about him, but ironically, her most notable fan video is one of her least favorite. It was done as a joke, but she never thought the joke would be on Richard Armitage, who has been teased about it on occasion, most recently in a Glamour UK article, which I had to razz her about. She was mortified too, and said, “Oh God! If I could, I would say to Richard Armitage, ‘I’m so sorry! I was just kidding, but I never meant to embarrass you!'” Oh yeah, right, I know you’re really on his payroll, Heather. ;-)

And I absolutely have to do this whether anyone ever sees it or not ’cause I’m still not going to write a real letter to Richard Armitage LOL!

Dear Richard:

When I read the Glamour article, I wanted to scream what I’m about to say, but I’ve subdued myself. It’s taken me all these months to do so, but I think I’m finally ready to say this to you in a normal tone. Ahem.

You said you weren’t sure what to call those people. They’re called PR people. :D Yep, and the best kind of PR people because they want nothing from you when they express their fan love, if you will.

And I hope you know that Heather has many more videos besides Sexy Back, which is not even close to her best. Maybe you’ll check them all out sometime. In the meantime, a treat:

And if you can’t see this where you are, go here.

One of your crazy fans who hopes you are glad for the opportunity to blush and be mortified. :D

Since the video is so big, please let the video load completely before playing, or you will probably have it stopping and starting. It also helps if your flash player is up-to-date, and for the one on my site, you should hav Quicktime up-to-date.

note: I’m counting this post as an April A to Z post even though I skipped B through F. So yeah, this is G as well as another post in the Why Richard? series. Man, I love killing two birds. :D

Screencap courtesy of my stash, and making screencaps has never been so sweet with blu ray.

I Finally Had a Richard Armitage Dream

Yep, I finally had a dream about Richard Armitage. Oh yeah, of course I did. ;-)

Last night I was dreaming I went to Comic-Con with hopes of seeing Richard there. In the dream, I envisioned myself interviewing people with an eye toward maybe seeing our guy. Heather, laden with camera equipment, was also with me and we were there trying to do our job — bringing reports and pictures to the fans. Then I woke up a couple of hours ago, and I really was there. :D

Seriously, awhile back I was invited by TheOneRingnet to come to Comic-Con, and thankfully, really was able to bring Heather with me. I want to take this opportunity to thank Larry Curtis for the invitation, and we will do our best to report as much as possible. Heather and I are also doing work for some other sites, and I can’t tell you how good it feels to do something you love as a job!

For those who read this blog, I will be over at TORn, so check there for reporting, and I may get over here some when I can. We’ll see. Right now the whole experience is surreal, and I’m trying to process exactly what is happening! But I adore a challenge, so stay tuned! :D

Note: I ask that you all understand I am not RAFrenzy this week, or should I say RAFrenzied. LOL! Tolkien and the creativity he inspires has put my imagination in overdrive. I told you all awhile back that I was going to do something else in the future, and I am. Creativity is a big part of that. But no worries. I will get pictures of Richard Armitage if I can get into Hall H and anything I get will be posted as part of TORn’s coverage.

Is It Just Me?

I became giddy seeing Richard Armitage in my country. Someone please, please slap me ’cause I feel really silly right now. On second thought never mind. It just feels good that he was in LA even if he was sweltering:

Love the arrow. :D

I hope Heather got to go to the Red Carpet for Captain America. For those who don’t know, Heather is a fan extraordinaire, and I have a soft spot for her because she’s a good hearted person, and she’s the one who turned me onto RA. LOL!

Heather, I so hope you got to finally see Richard in the flesh!

And some video for those who haven’t watched the AP Live interview:

For the Marvel interview, you can watch it here. RA in the first several minutes.

Sexy Back 3

Interrupting my FanstRAvaganza posts for a public service announcement. :D

I’ve said it before: watching Heather’s Sexy Back videos is a rite of passage as a Richard Armitage fan. Some of us have been waiting three years for her next Sexy Back video, and now….

the wait is over!

If video shows as ‘private,’ reload this page; have a bucket of water handy. Video download available here.

Thank you, Heather! It’s a pleasure to showcase your video, which oh, maybe one or two fans have been wanting to see. LOL!

For the uninitiated, here’s the one that started it all:

And its equally entrancing sequel:

If you haven’t checked out Heather’s channel, do it now. Lots of other things there that are great. I also have an interview with her.

Yeah, the drum roll was cheesy, but I’m having fun with sound files and can’t seem to stop. :D

The Big Kahuna

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!

It’s About the Story

One of the commenters on my Top Ten Fanvids indirectly highlighted what I look for in the fan videos and to a larger degree why I’m a fan of Richard Armitage. I only have one montage video of RA, and that one is listed because of its comic brilliance. Mostly I’m drawn to the videos that are about the characters he portrays and more importantly, their part in telling their stories rather than the videos that are just RA eye candy. The fact RA can portray so many different characters so well does make me curious about him, but initially and ultimately, it’s about his characters and their stories. The videos enhance that, and it’s nice indeed that the videos can redeem a poorly written script or a script I just don’t like. LOL! But I would be lying if I said I don’t watch some of the eye candy montages.

What it always boils down to for me is curiosity about someone who is very adept at portraying characters whether by writing them or dramatizing them. I want to know their story and how exactly they came to understand someone else’s story. So it’s impossible for me to refrain from examining RA the person as well as his characters. But I’d rather hear from him about his approach to characters and stories instead of watching montage videos. As much as they are fun to watch, they don’t usually highlight anything further about a character’s story or about RA. Again, that doesn’t mean I don’t watch some eye candy montages. Far from it. If you remember, I did say the 4 minutes video inspired this blog. Oh, yeah, I’ve watched it a time or two, and Sexy Back and some others, and yes, yes, his ass looks good when he walks. LOL!

But back to the story. One of the earliest North and South videos I watched and still consider a great favorite was posted by a commenter on that same blog entry. This one:

PoleStar00 is a great vidder, and I adore the music. I already liked Mike Oldfield, but this piece is one of my favorites. Too bad I didn’t buy it several years ago when it wasn’t considered collector’s item. The piece has all the elements that we find in North and South — contemplative introduction, a plaintiff tone, a slow building to the crescendo to the point it almost hurts physically, and finally a soothing coda. Now that I’m thinking about this, I wonder how much Martin Phipps may have been influenced by Mike Oldfield. No, I’m not going to chase that rabbit, but I do wonder.

I have several more North and South videos I love. Some I’ve put below, and the others I’m saving for a future post or two. These can border on the prosaic, but hey, I’m a prosaic kind of gal:

These last two are kind of quirky and aren’t for everyone, but I love ’em! See if you can spot an interesting manipulation in one of them.

Unfortunately, my all-time favorite North and South video is no longer on YouTube nor is it anywhere else I’m aware of. Dang it! It was a video to the Coldplay tune X & Y. That song is far from prosaic. I’m not sure much of what Coldplay has done could ever be considered prosaic. Chris Martin is a poet, and his background definitely shows in his writing. Yep, count me as another one who loves Coldplay! By the way, if anyone remembers who did that video, I would love to know. Maybe they’ll put up a download link if asked. ;-) Oh, and if I were ever to make a fanvid, I would definitely do it to a Coldplay song, and there is one in particular I would do. May have to break down and do that sometime soon.