The Future of Fanvideos

Over the past few decades, fanvideos have evolved to entertain viewers in new and exciting ways. In the beginning, videos were simply a compilation of clips that portrayed the relationship between two characters. If you were lucky, there might have even been some sappy music. Today, however, the editing abilities at the fingertips of even the most amateur video creators have expanded to an incredible level. Fanvideos have continued to depict couples as they are, but they have also branched off into categories of videos where the editing tells a whole different story than what the original show depicted. This is referred to as AU, or alternate universe. Fans now have the software in front of them that enables any story to be told, whether it is what actually happened or what they wished had happened.

So will people ever get tired of fanvideos? That is like asking if people will ever get tired of romantic comedies. Chances are good that the fanvideo genre will be around for quite a while. The videos allow creators to gush over the relationships they love and enable them to put all of their favorite moments into one short video. As the attention span of today’s youth gets smaller and smaller, it is no wonder that fanvideos, a genre that shows all of the “good stuff” in a matter of minutes without all the junk in between, continue to remain popular.

The future of fanvideos is anybody’s guess, but the genre has ample room to grow and evolve. As long as people continue to get behind the couples who drive television shows, which there is no evidence to say otherwise, fanvideos will continue to be popular. The current length, about three to four minutes, will probably stay the same, as it allows for a montage of clips without going over the average youtube user’s video length preference. Personally, I will be happy if fanvideos stay just the way they are right now. It is a comfort to know that, with just a few clicks, I can be swept off my feet by those unrealistic relationships that we are just so unable to resist.

The History of Fanvideos

So where did the fanvideo phenomenon originate? Certainly before the terms “fanvideo” or “shipping” became mainstream. In fact, the original pairing that was shipped by fans was Kirk and Spock from Star Trek in the 1960s. Nowadays, fans call a pairing of two characters of the same gender “slash,” which comes from the days before the term “ship” when Kirk and Spock were known as K/S.

So if the extreme support of two characters in a television show or movie began in the 60s, when did fanvideos start appearing?

While there is no clear single video that started the fanvideo genre, one of the earliest pairings that had fans practically jumping out of their seats was between Fox Mulder and Dana Scully from The X-Files. The show, which ran from 1993 to 2002, took the act of shipping to a whole new level and most likely became the subject of some of the first fanvideos to be uploaded publically.

It is also important to look at the founding of YouTube when attempting to parse out where fanvideos began, and with whom. Because fanvideos are made almost exclusively by amateurs who use the most basic editing programs they have at their disposal, it is likely that these videos did not exist, at least in large numbers, before 2005 when YouTube entered the world wide web. So what existed before sites like YouTube?

Fanvideos most likely originated from the ideas created in fanfiction, a type of storytelling where amateur authors use the existing characters from a show, book, or movie, and create their own scenarios. Fanfiction stories are still created today, even with the move into fanvideos, and forums support stories about existing couples, slash fiction stories, and alternate universe fiction, or AU, where characters are put into their own world and storyline that has nothing to do with what happens in the real show. Fanvideos have followed this pattern and also exist in all three genres, though “regular” fanvideos are the most popular.

So whether you’re looking for a video about the hottest couple on your favorite show, or want to see a clip of what it would be like for two completely different people to get together, fanvideo creators have your back.

When Did “Ship” Become a Verb? The Age of Fan Videos

Like it or not, we live in the world of Brangelina and Bennifer. No longer do we see the two people in a relationship as separate entities but as one unit with one, easy to recognize compound name. But this phenomenon extends further than real life couples. In television and movies, entire communities called “fandoms” support and defend couples that they “ship.” Derived from the word relationship, “shipping” has become a verb that lets the rest of the community know what couple they support. Ship Ross and Rachel in Friends? You better not even think about interacting with the “Mondler” fans (Monica and Chandler). So how do people show their love and devotion for their favorite couple? With the beautiful invention of the shipper fan video.

Fan videos are produced almost exclusively by everyday people who are just looking for a creative outlet to express their attachment to a particular pair of people. They take footage of tv shows they have downloaded onto their computers and use home editing programs such as iMovie or Windows Movie Maker to compile a montage of scenes to create one cohesive video. So why make these video? The videos’ producers are looking to connect with other fans who share their same passion. Good fan videos are circulated throughout popular video sharing sites like youtube where those who also love the subjects can comment, respond with videos, or simply watch for their own enjoyment. Although fan videos aren’t usually more than a creative outlet for viewers, the result is certainly lucrative for those behind the shows because of the increased attention that the videos create for the show.

So what makes a good fan video? It may be easier to figure out what to avoid first. For starters, some fan videos are just a montage of pictures.

Don’t even bother. They are the equivalent of the guy who comes back from his trip to China and wants to show you the 237 pictures he took of the Great Wall from this angle….and then that one.


It is also important to remember that there is a fine line between videos where the music seems to fit perfectly with the story of the couple and the videos that were obviously edited to fit around the song’s lyrics. Just because a song may say “pick me up when I fall,” that doesn’t mean you need to literally match that with a scene of a character falling while the other one picks them up.

That being said, a great video has great music, something that fits the storyline without hitting you over the head with it. A good video will also generally give a sense of the couple’s story arc. Perhaps they have already gotten together, or maybe it’s still a “will they won’t they” situation.  Either way, even viewers who do not watch the show should be able to get a sense of the relationship.

Sometimes fan videos will air on the lighter side. They may be a montage of funny scenes or simple the number of times a character does the same thing over and over again. Want to watch a video of Michael Scott from The Office saying “that’s what she said” a million times? There’s a fan video of that.

So whether you just need a good fix of Barney and Robin from How I Met Your Mother,

Or 101 reasons to ship Castle and Beckett from Castle,

there will always be someone in the fandom community who has made a fan video about it. Trust me.