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.

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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.