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Buffy goes to work

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Apr. 24th, 2006 | 07:32 am

Song: Mr. Sellack

Artist: The Roches

Genre: Buffy character study, all seasons

Format: XviD

Size: 23.6 MB



Download from my vids page (Right/control click and save target as) here

Summary: This was my contribution to buffy_love. One of the things I've always loved about Buffy is that she's not a quitter. Slaying is the hardest kind of work, no pay, no prospects, sometimes you die. And yet she always comes back to get the job done.

Major thanks to laurashapiro both for inspiring the song choice and performing a much appreciated beta on the first draft.


O Mr. Sellack
Can I have my job back?
I’ve run out of money again.

Last time I saw you
I was singing hallelujah
I’m so glad to be leaving this restaurant.

Now the only thing I want
Is to have my old job back again.

I’ll clean the tables.
I’ll do the creams.
I’ll get down on my knees
And scrub behind the steam table.

Waiting tables ain’t that bad.
Since I’ve seen you last
I’ve waited for some things
That you would not believe
To come true, ooh ooh.

Give me a broom and I’ll sweep my way to heaven.
Give me a job, you name it.

Let the other forty million three hundred and seven
People who want to get famous.

Now the only thing I want
Is to have my old job back again.

I’ll clean the tables.
I’ll do the creams.
I’ll get down on my knees
And scrub behind the steam table







The original impetus for this came from being inspired to go back and listen to some old tapes of The Roches by laurashapiro’s truly magnificent Anya vid, Ing. From which came the idea of making a Buffy vid to "Mr. Sellack." Initially it was more of a joke - the thought of juxtaposing her saving the world with lyrics about waitressing in a diner. Then I got to thinking about what Kendra said:

You talk about slaying like it's a job. It's not. It's who you are.

I realised that the song could work as a metaphor for one of the things I've always loved about Buffy, which is that she's not a quitter, that in the end she always comes back to get the job done.

I had just a few definite ideas of what to do at first. I knew I wanted to start by matching the first line of the lyric to Buffy’s S3 return to Sunnydale in Dead Man’s Party making Giles the Mr Sellack figure. I knew it had to end with “scrubbing behind the steam tables” being the final battle in the hellmouth. I was fairly sure that “Give me a broom “ would refer to the Scythe, that the “other forty million three hundred and seven” would be the potentials and the sad section in the middle would start with a clip of Buffy having to hand over the leadership to Faith at the end of Empty Places.

Musically,the song is upbeat in an ironic kind of way and although it’s just guitar and vocals the vocals vary in tone a lot. I’ve tried to capture the bounciness by cutting quite fast for the up parts, one beat per clip. I’ve used dissolves and slower cutting in the more thoughtful sections and tried to emphasise a few little bits of ornamental guitar work by cutting on them between the main beats or matching them to internal motions.

Can I have my job back?

The song has quite a long intro for which I intercut clips from Buffy working at the Doublemeat Palace and waitressing at the diner in Anne to introduce the job concept and lead into the return to Giles’s place for the first line. I was really pleased with how this part turned out in the end, the clips seem to blend together quite naturally with plenty of internal motion in them to move things along. For the first verse with Giles being Mr Sellack, another crucial “get my job back” scene to include was the one from Prophecy Girl (also funny because violent) and one of the hardest jobs she ever did was setting off to stop Angelus.

I’m so glad to be leaving this restaurant.

The second verse is about what happened when the singer quit town, so leaving Sunnydale at the end of S2 and leaving everything at the end of S5 seemed natural fits to the song as well as all being in chronological order. Laura suggested using that chronology to give a better structure to the whole vid and setting the first chorus in S6 and the second in S7 with flashbacks during the “old job” lines. Which was brilliant and a perfect illustration of why betas are a very good thing.

Now the only thing I want
Is to have my old job back again.


That first flashback sequence mixing her comebacks in Becoming and Anne was great fun to cut. It ends with the rise of combo-Buffy in Primeval because I wanted to parallel it with the rise from asylum-Buffy in .Normal Again, the two sequences are quite similar in terms of colour palate and motion and I’ve always felt the NA comeback was the real breakthrough of S6. Plus the long shot of her standing victorious and dripping with demon goo seemed perfect for “doing the creams.” Although I’m not really sure what creams are, something exotic and American because we never had them at the jumped-up chip shops I used to work in.

I’ve waited for some things
That you would not believe
To come true


The following verse is the saddest part of the song and while sad is easy to find for Buffy it actually came together around that last part of the lyric tying into her Slayer dreams. From the very first time we see her to the horrors of the final season. On a more shallow note I was just really happy with the way the blood corpuscles in her WttH dream blended into the army of Ubervamps vision without having to add a dissolve and being able to catch the little jangly guitar strum with the way she turns her head as she wakes from the first S1 dream.

Give me a broom and I’ll sweep my way to heaven.

Not much to say here. I did start thinking it had to be the Guardian woman giving her the broom but the footage for that is very static and very orange so I threw it out in disgust and got tied up in randomly matching up the Caleb splitage and blowing up the mayor. But as Laura said the broom has to be the Scythe. It just has to be. So now it is and the job is the first Ubie. Again I seem to really enjoy cutting fight sequences, I’m not sure what that means in terms of suppressed aggressive tendencies.

People who want to get famous

The first draft had both the potentials and the high school students from Graduation Day getting famous and one day I will write that essay on how GD is the prelude to Chosen’s fugue But for anyone else it was just confusing so the finished version is all potentials. And baseball girl.

I’ll get down on my knees
And scrub behind the steam table.


And so to the final battle, beginning with the obvious Chosen footage interleaved with her original marching off to war from Prophecy Girl. This time the old job is a dustarama, the tables to clean are multiple vamps and the creams are gooey tears of Andrew redemption. She gets down, the vamps do a spit take then it’s on to the final face-off, freeze frame and end.


Comments very welcome.

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Comments {11}

bisi

(no subject)

from: bisi
date: Apr. 24th, 2006 11:23 pm (UTC)
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I thought this were lovely actually.
(sorry, not up to actual thinky thoughts at the moment)

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bisi

(no subject)

from: bisi
date: Apr. 24th, 2006 11:28 pm (UTC)
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Oh, and, I meant to ask: what editing programme are you using? Part of my brain meltdown is cos I'm having a hard struggle with imovie. Easy to use but a bastard as far as finesse goes.

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aycheb

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from: aycheb
date: Apr. 25th, 2006 08:43 am (UTC)
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Glad you liked it :)

I'm using iMovie HD from iLife '06. It gives you a little more flexibility with altering clip speed than the older versions and there's a bunch of new effects that give more scope for playing with the colour but it's still completely linear and not so much with the finesse. I use "audacity" for audio-editing and "MPEGstreamclip" (and lots of mental arithmetric) to crop and zoom. Oh and when I'm feeling completely obsessive I sometimes bodge things like horizontal flips, or in this vid I edited out most of the CGI lightning in the swandive clip, by exporting each frame of a clip individually, doing the manipulations in Photoshop, sticking them back together again in order in a new project and exporting as a full size dv file. There has to be a better way, however, I think Final Cut Express is about £150 and there's sadly nothing inbetween for macs. One day perhaps.

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(no subject)

from: anonymous
date: Apr. 25th, 2006 10:12 am (UTC)
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in this vid I edited out most of the CGI lightning in the swandive clip, by exporting each frame of a clip individually, doing the manipulations in Photoshop, sticking them back together again in order in a new project and exporting as a full size dv file. Eee, bugger me.

I'm pretty dysnumerate, so I'm cutting between footage from two cameras calculating clip length in tens, twenty-fives and sixties ON MY FINGERS...and finding that dissolves take up more space on the timeline than the programme wants to admit to. Makes synching the sound an absolute pain, so I'm going to end up giving up effects altogether and just do simple cutting - nothing's worth this much pain.

I loved your video. I like the song, the mood, the sentiments expressed and the way you put it together. Also, lovely quality of the source clips - I guess you're working from DVD?

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(no subject)

from: anonymous
date: Apr. 25th, 2006 10:13 am (UTC)
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woops. That was me, Bisi.

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aycheb

(no subject)

from: aycheb
date: Apr. 25th, 2006 05:24 pm (UTC)
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Oh God, dissolves. I think iMovie can only actually do them for even numbers of frames, if you go by what it says it's done on the timeline rather than what you asked it to do it adds up. But they're still a complete pain to calculate without shifting everything else on the timeline out of whack. In one vidding conversation I was reading, someone pointed out that you don't get dissolves in real life and the brain isn't wired to expect them them but will fill in the gaps between different images anyway. I have noticed that often I'll begin thinking I need a dissolve to smooth out the transition between two clips but it will end up flowing better using razor cuts as long asI take a little more care to match the location/movement of whatever the eye is drawn to at the end of one clip to what's in the next. Plus less maths and fewer fingers required.

Source is DVDs yeah, also iMovie doesn't compress things very well itself so I export as the full DV and use a freeware programes to make .avi or .mp4 versions for posting. Are you making an original art video?

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bisi

(no subject)

from: bisi
date: Apr. 26th, 2006 04:35 pm (UTC)
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That answer didn't come into my inbox, so I've just found it - must have something to do with posting anon I suppose.
My kid was in a performance, I taped it, I had one camera set up to get the whole stage and I used a hand-held camera to get close ups. I've seperated the soundtrack from the first camera and that's what I'm trying to fit all the clips to. It's going to be a very very rough-and-ready edit indeed.
That's the thing about editing isn't it? the more you look at it, the more detail you find to work on. Talk about never-ending.

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bisi

(no subject)

from: bisi
date: Apr. 26th, 2006 04:27 pm (UTC)
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You don't have an email listed - I was about to make you a dodgy offer, which may or may not work. I'm at bisi_mama @ hotmail.co.uk

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verity

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from: ladyofthelog
date: May. 13th, 2011 02:41 am (UTC)
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angearia just sent me over here, and how does this vid not have ALL THE COMMENTS? because IT IS AMAZING.

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aycheb

(no subject)

from: aycheb
date: May. 15th, 2011 09:33 am (UTC)
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Thank you! It's an old vid but one that's always good to come back to because it was such fun to make and to give Buffy a happy ending.

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dancing till the world ends

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from: lynnenne
date: Dec. 30th, 2011 08:23 pm (UTC)
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I found your link to this is pennylane42's thread. Great vid!

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