WHEW!! WITH just MINUTES TO SPARE!! *wipes sweat off brow*
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Jensen's just left his entire life behind in Chicago to prove to himself once and for all whether he's born to be a dancer. He really doesn't think so, but fellow dancer Jared has never been more sure of anything else. When Michael Jackson dies suddenly, leaving this whirlwind of a tour at a stand-still, Jensen, Jared, and the rest of the dancers struggle to make sense of the fact that all they just worked so hard for has just exhaled into a fading sunset.
The goal of any artist is to be able to celebrate passion, creativity, inspiration, and the relationships that get us through it all. Jensen's journey tells the story of Michael Jackson's influences, the impact he's had on everything that came after him, and how this elite group of modern hip hop dancers pulls it all together and makes it their own. --> STORY MASTERPOST
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That night, tense from a tough day of rehearsals, they all drive to the beach. It’s something quiet, probably private, outside of Santa Monica, and they fearlessly stake their claim for the night.
They dance in the sand, run, chase, tackle, holler until they’re exhausted and the emotions are beaten out for the day.
Jensen swings himself down onto the edge of the stage. He closes his eyes, silences his mind, and focuses on his breathing. Things are good; things are together.
Jared sits down next to him, and he looks over, briefly interrupting himself. Jared silently offers the rest of his water, and Jensen accepts. He drains it and casts the bottle aside, and is appreciative when Jared closes his eyes, inviting Jensen to return to stillness.
Everything falls away: the sweat cooling on his back, the glaring lights overhead, the tinkering of the organ and Orianthi’s guitar strings. Jensen feels his breath, and hears it in his ears, and is totally within himself. Mind blissfully blank, he allows himself to rest.
[All music downloads can be found WITHIN THE STORY
or at the MASTER MEDIA POST]
01. 02. 03. 04. 05. 06.
PROJECT NOTES: [Added: 07/29/10 | 12:46PM]
This is the first time I've attempted art for spn_j2_bigbang. I’ve been amazed and enamored with all the work and time and energy that people have put into this challenge each summer for all of us in fandom to enjoy for the rest of the year. I think it’s a brilliant show of fandom at its best, and I’m overjoyed to have had the time to participate this year.
Originally, I had had my mind set on just picking some schmoopily cute J2 rom-com to try my hand at vidding a basic slick movie-like trailer. Instead, this one from the summary alone grabbed me by the shirt collar and would not let go. I knew it would require a much bigger task than I originally intended, and yet, for some reason, I just could not let it go. I was drawn in by what the story was really about. Inspiration fueling a passion. Being given a chance. Finding that self-confidence to make it a reality. And dealing with the people around you who got you there.
The ridiculous thing is, I was actually just about the furthest thing from a Michael Jackson fan you could get. I have a huge 80s pop aversion, couldn’t find one MJ song in my huge iTunes library, in my ‘filled to the brim with music’ house even, and literally only one MJ song I could distinctly remember (thanks to the Centerstage (2000) dance number to ‘The Way You Making Me Feel’ which I had no clue was MJ until I heard it on all the tribute news programs last year). So yea, suffice to say, I got a music education outta the deal. Michelle sent me album copies and three months later, I can now be found at any point and time with MJ song beats stuck in my head. It's undeniable that Michael Jackson, the person, became a controversial figure at best over the years in the public eye. This story doesn't change the fact that I think he's probably Hollywood's best poster child for the ills of fame at such an early age. But Michael Jackson, the artist, who's creative vision and infectious passion is evident throughout his artistic life, is one I have developed a new-founded respect for through working on this project.
The main idea of the story alone made it a DREAM to vid and make art for. I mean EPIC WORLD STAGE DANCING J2, how awesome is that??? Layered on top of that, using J2 as a vehicle to explore the more personal impact of a national news event most others experienced just from their distant television screen was…well, ambitious. I honestly had not planned on doing this much art for BigBang, yet I was so completely drawn in by this world she created, these dancers working so hard and being so invested in an event that never was able to happen. Artistically, there’s a real tragedy there. The more I talked to her, the more I adored her idea to make this fic more than just a fic, but an actual EXPERIENCE, in combining the already inspiring words of her written story and melding it with meaningful sound and image. It was different and a little out there, but I could tell she wanted this to be a celebration of the inspiration MJ had created and she had the will to put the extra work through to sell it home. And I gotta commend her. She had a fabulous creative vision for all this, and I do believe she saw it through. I was absolutely THRILLED to have been part of the process.
Right from the get go, it was easy to see how this story was made for a promo. The easy part was having a definite clip source in the ’This is It’ film and DVD extras. And of course, because I couldn’t conceive doing this promo without using Michael Jackson songs, in having a set discography to pick audio from.
But it ended up being a bizarrely different vidding experience, because I actually had to storyboard the vid BEFORE having any set audio track. And then literally constructed the audio track piece by piece, before even laying any clips. Because while I wanted to use MJ songs, I soon realized there was no ONE song that could capture the story written. Or at least the elements I felt were most necessary to highlight. So I started cutting bits and pieces and MY GOODNESS, WAS IT MADNESS. I had over 40 minutes of spliced 00:02-01:00 pieces. For a long time, I gave up that it would EVER work. In some miraculous way, it eventually came together. The final draft I believe was 36 audio clips, including audio from 8 MJ songs total, which ended in the MONSTROUSLY LARGE three minute promo you see if front of you. Would you believe in the beginning I swore this would be no more than 1:30? *facepalm*
At any rate, my main goal was simply to sell the story Michelle created, so if the promo makes you want to read her fic, then I have done my job! Hope you all can enjoy it! :D
I'm really not a graphics artist. I have enough of an eye to notice when something looks wrong. And many times, I can visual what it’s SUPPOSED to look like, and yet I very rarely feel like I can GET it there. It’s frustrating. Combine that with the fact that it’s been a while since I’ve even attempted to work with more than picspam and you get a girl who literally did more hand-wringing over the banner than a three minute vid. I wasn’t until last week, after working through five different versions, that I finally arrived to something that I didn’t hate! *facepalm*
But the things I didn’t need to do, the rest of these little pieces, came together surprisingly easy. And I’m not sure why really. Perhaps because I was thinking of the vid and the banner as the two necessary pieces, while everything else was simply extra diversions during times of procrastination. So I just had fun with them! The layout banner used in this post came together quite randomly, but quickly became my favorite, so I was pretty glad to be able to turn the design into functional 'Act' banners as well.
Of course, I also GRAVELY miscalculated just how much of a headache all of these little pieces would be once they were created. REVISIONS. UPLOADING. CODING. AHHHH!! Safe to say, the last week has been madness to get this post together. And yet, I’m sure it’s nothing compared to Michelle’s job in managing and coding her 30+ posts. I HAVE NO IDEA HOW SHE DID IT ALL.
As for the internal art, I have literally zero drawing ability otherwise the first thing I would have raced to recreate would have been the end of the beach scene. Followed closely behind by completing a side view of the Js onstage in that mediation moment. Alas, that was not possible! But it did occur to me that I could possibly play with silhouette source. I happened to stumble on that beach picture [original linked below] and messed with the figures enough to somewhat resemble some of the dancers. At the time, I thought it could serve as a sort of surreal emotional extrapolation of the end scene, though it ended up fitting perfectly in the beginning of the scene instead. The stage moment I still really wanted to recreate, and figured with a silhouette the best would be back shots. Only, how many sitting back shots do you know of the Js?! So I went searching. And searching. And searching. And finally found silhouette source, one for each of the boys that I thought resembled them enough to pass (from far away at least!). Randomly, the hardest source to find was a theater shot from the stage outward. Go figure!
There is SO MUCH I love about this story conceived here, I could sit here and gush about it for hours. I love that standing_fic saw that moment of Misha Gabriel in the opening of This Is It and thought, ‘wait, there’s a story there’. I love that, even as a J2 AU it has a NON-AU feel, dropping the Js in a real world event of just last year to expand on the myriad of emotions that might have been experience by those who put so much work into this grand production that never happened. This just feels like a story begging to be told, fleshing out these months and J2 acted as the perfect vehicle to explore it. It's almost like a redo of This is It, from the dancers POV, exploring inspiration through the affect MJ had on these young dancers to say something about the power of an artist‘s work. But perhaps what I love most, which I experienced in this weird way of listening to his music AFTER reading this story, is how much of the style and verse of her writing in this literally reflects the sound and style of MJ‘s discography. There is something really quite brilliant about that. Mostly, I am just in AWE of all that she has accomplished with this.
I'm not kidding when I say, I've become so addicted to this story, and the characterizations Michelle has created here. I’ve read it three times now, in a series of different drafts, and I still can’t WAIT to get a chance to read the final product. I came in knowing nothing about these other dancers and throughout the progression of this I’ve become so enamored with all of them through her writing. It’s hard enough to get Jared and Jensen’s voices down, but to have nailed the other nine dancers characters too, is beyond fascinating. And I completely blame her for passing on the Misha love to the point where I can't STOP WATCHING THIS GUY DANCE (seriously, stuff like this? It's MESMERIZING.)
So please, START READING THE STORY! It is definitely one not to be missed! Simply follow the arrow below. The numerous sections seem a little daunting at first, but I promise it is totally worth the experience. At 30K, the snapshots laid out in this way really just help to highlight single moments of the whole story. I know for myself, I kept finding they made me slow down to better appreciate the words and experience their unfolding. Which combined with the video and sound, brings the story about as close to feeling like a real LIVE production as fic can get!
To standing_fic, for UGH, EVERYTHING. For sitting in a theater watching Misha Gabriel opening quote and thinking, ‘There’s a story there’. For having the creative foresight to imagine all that could be done with this. For putting up with me and all my spastic crazy emails, and numerous drafts and links and coding madness. For creating this grand-scale fic production where art could shine with words. I could gush FOREVER about how wonderful she has been to work with, brilliantly talented, fiercely dedicated, and absolutely full of excitement. I couldn’t have chosen a more perfect bigbang to immerse myself in for the last two months, or a more perfect author to work with, and I am so beyond thrilled to have been given the chance. If any of this art is worth anything, it’s because of her creative work that inspired it.
To leucocrystal, whose huge MJ Tribute Picspam post was the whole reason I have any decent MJ photo stock to work with. The gorgeous toe point photo is completely accredited to her findings.
Also a ridiculous amount of thanks to wendy and thehighwaywoman for all the work and dedication they put into spn_j2_bigbang. You ladies are brilliant and amazing for creating and maintaining this space for epic fandom creativity. I am in absolute awe over all that you do, especially with this year’s absolutely monstrous size. Without question, you both deserve fandom saint status at this point.
Nothing contained within the promo is mine, other than the editing which I have done myself. I claim no ownership over any of the photography used. All photography sources are listed below. Only the font and manipulation of images are my work.
SOURCES: (To be completed soon!)
- Video source: Dancing With The King of Pop | Misha & Devin dance to loud pipes | FAME (2009) Film Trailer | This Is It (film and dvd extras) | SPN Paley Festival | A Day in the Life of Jensen & Jared
- MJ source: Fifty Years of Michael Jackson [PICSPAM] by leucocrystal
- MJ Dancers source: NICK | DANIEL | MEKIA 1, 2 | MISHA | CHRIS | SHANNON | DEVIN | CHUCK 1, 2 | TYNE
- J2 source: HOODIE JENSEN | DANCE CARD JENSEN | BANNER JARED | DANCE CARD JARED | COVERART JARED
- Shoe Photography source: RED AIR SHOES | STAGE HEELS | NIGHTLIFE FLOOR | HIPHOP STEP | BENCH WAITING SHOES | DANCE STUDIO SHOES | ICON #5
- Silhouette source: STAGE JENSEN | STAGE JARED | BEACH FUN | JUMPING JENSEN SILHOUETTE
- Light source: 1 [title banner] |