My main research interest is fan-made music videos, or vids: short videos that combine clips from movies or television with carefully chosen music to celebrate, interpret, critique, refocus, or rewrite elements of the original texts. Vids illustrate what vidders find important in the source narrative by highlighting the characters, relationships, stories, subtexts, and narrative gaps they find most appealing, interesting, or problematic. Vidding is a complex multimedia literacy practice; vidders and vidwatchers have to process multiple simultaneous streams of information in order to create, interpret, and evaluate vids. It can be a staggering amount of technical and rhetorical work, yet fans do that work for fun.
My research explores why fans vid and watch vids; how fans learn to make and interpret vids; how vids contribute to fans' conversations about media texts; and how vidding and vidwatching are affected by the larger pop culture environment, including copyright law, commercial production and distribution systems, and social media platforms.
This research has pedagogical implications as well: If we wish to help students become more effective multimedia composers, then it makes sense to study the practices of people who do this composing successfully. Understanding how and why vidders and vidwatchers learn to critique, create, and evaluate multimedia texts can help us see what purposes, social contexts, and tools promote and enable the development of digital literacies.