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HOLY SHIT PEOPLE, IT'S NOT BAD ENOUGH WE'RE GETTING AN UTENA EXHIBITION RIGHT NOW

THEY. ARE. MAKING. A. NEW. MUSICAL. NEXT. YEAR. START LOSING YOUR SHIT RIGHT NOW

#1 | Back to Top04-15-2015 01:06:03 AM

Decrescent Daytripper
Best Disney Princess
Registered: 04-09-2007
Posts: 2788

Vanity Projects: The Good, The Bad, The What the Hell?

Vanity projects have been on my mind since Frank Cho's been waging a small war (that no one else is fighting) over his "right" to casually, for fun draw whatever he wants to using some company's characters. I kind of don't like the term, "vanity project," and there's no definite bounds on what is or is not a vanity project, but we generally know'em when we see'em. And, as per usual, my train of thought left Frank Cho and fanart behind pretty quick, as I started to wonder why, in general, we either default hate them as soon as they're labeled, or we lionize them as a truer and more passionate artistic effort.

Some rock hard, like The Blues Brothers' Briefcase Full of Blues. Dennis Hopper's museum pieces.

Some are a mess. Glitter. Shia the Beef's attempts to be taken very seriously as a genius in film, comics, and twitter.

A lot, by their nature as noncommercial efforts, leave you not quite sure (Human Highway, Masked & Anonymous) whether you're really in on the joke or not. Or, if there even is an inside track. A good part of the doujins Kenichi Sonoda puts together with various anime and manga stars play this way for me. Is one Gainax guy drawing another Gainax guy taking a dump and thereby conceiving an entire season funny? Revelatory? Or an excuse to draw a bony butt spewing?


My Brain is the Wakaba and Shiori Funtime Hour. With limited commercial interruption.

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#2 | Back to Top04-15-2015 11:09:34 AM

ShatteredMirror
Yaoi Pet #1
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 8858

Re: Vanity Projects: The Good, The Bad, The What the Hell?

I think we judge them in hindsight based on how successful they are. Trying to predict how something will turn out when it's happening is hard. Looking at what somebody else already did and passing judgment is easy.

Is that glib? It's probably glib. But if Glitter had actually been good, I don't think it would be considered just a vanity project.


Pride is not the opposite of shame, but its source.

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#3 | Back to Top04-15-2015 03:40:54 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
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Re: Vanity Projects: The Good, The Bad, The What the Hell?

You know, I'm not sure I know what a vanity project is.  Can someone fill me in?  Is it just any project that the artist does with their own money?  Is Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog a vanity project?  Or is a vanity project also by definition something considerably outside the mainstream?  Or what?

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#4 | Back to Top04-15-2015 05:31:19 PM

Decrescent Daytripper
Best Disney Princess
Registered: 04-09-2007
Posts: 2788

Re: Vanity Projects: The Good, The Bad, The What the Hell?

satyreyes wrote:

You know, I'm not sure I know what a vanity project is.  Can someone fill me in?  Is it just any project that the artist does with their own money?  Is Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog a vanity project?  Or is a vanity project also by definition something considerably outside the mainstream?  Or what?

A little of both. It really is a "know it when you see it" deal. Movie actors writing a books or a poet pushing for a movie to happen even though they're not known at all for movies and no big producer is backing it. Dr. Horrible would be a vanity project, I think, because it wasn't something anyone was doing because it was going to pull in the huge money or because it's expected of them. Somebody wanted to (and wanting to do things is bad or true art). It doesn't have to be way out of the mainstream, but they're generally not sure bets.

I think Shattered is right; if Glitter had been successful, it probably wouldn't be seen as much as a vanity project. But, I do think it's genesis would still be talked about as such. In a nicer world we'd possibly call them passion projects.


My Brain is the Wakaba and Shiori Funtime Hour. With limited commercial interruption.

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#5 | Back to Top05-10-2015 01:01:51 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8731
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Re: Vanity Projects: The Good, The Bad, The What the Hell?

Posting here instead of movies thread, because a great example of a vanity project is Jupiter Ascending.

Or any other Wachowski film. But I rewatched it last night, and you know what? I unironically loved the hell out of it. I don't always like what they put out, I wasn't a Matrix fangirl even when I was supposed to be, but I have to give them props for being the kind of directors that stick with their concept when so much of what I've seen in films lately is something that's been relentlessly filtered through execs and screenings to refine it to the most appealing content for the lowest common denominator. Nevermind that JA has the distinction of being NEW IP, when I regularly see absolutely nothing that isn't either Oscarbait or a reboot/sequel/whatever. At this point I have to celebrate even that.  It's a total vanity project, pulled directly from the archives of every teenage girls fanfic folder. But it was pretty, shiny, and fun. It was the opposite of Interstellar, another vanity project (because Nolan is similarly incapable of anything less.) But they both represent risks that were taken on new content, in largely realized epic sci-fi worlds. And because of their receptions, we'll probably see nothing like either of them for a very, very long time. Apparently, given the flop Jupiter Ascending was, we probably won't see anything from the Wachowskis for a long time, period. That sucks, because I would have been first in line to watch the next film in the story.

Vanity projects often flop, as they often should, because they're often shit. But I'm almost relieved sometimes to see them these days, because film has fallen behind many other mediums when it comes to originality and interest. Science fiction, especially. When was the last time you saw a successful science fiction movie that wasn't a vanity project on some level? That's right--you don't remember them, because more than most genres, science fiction tends to defy formulaic approaches to filmmaking. There's a formula for creation of a good and popular comic book movie, which is why I've seen like fifty shades of Batman reboots in my lifetime. The attempts to squash sci-fi into those formulas fail on an even more embarrassing level than this did, because sci-fi fans would rather see a heartfelt mess than a finely crafted bore. We know when we're being insulted, and it's not when we see BLUE SPACE CHICKS WITH PSYCHIC POWERS or ROLLERBLADING SPACE WEREWOLVES WITH WINGS. Science fiction is a film genre with classics like The Fifth Element, which in this climate I don't think would have been received any better than this was. I feel like between Interstellar and Jupiter Ascending, we've seen the last of any new attempts at sci-fi IP on a grand scale that we're going to see for a longass time. No new sci-fi vanity projects. Just the carefully crafted crap that's kept me out of theaters on more than a once a year basis for just about a decade now.

Mostly I'm just bitchy because I want more space wolves and space bees and epic gothic spaceships and space McQueen. emot-frown


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
Chiefest of Calamities

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#6 | Back to Top05-12-2015 04:42:58 AM

Decrescent Daytripper
Best Disney Princess
Registered: 04-09-2007
Posts: 2788

Re: Vanity Projects: The Good, The Bad, The What the Hell?

The Wachowskis really are passion project types. Got to give them that.

I wish we could see more of that and less of "I'm not really interested, but it pays the bills," but what can you do? Thus is the financial reality we live in.


My Brain is the Wakaba and Shiori Funtime Hour. With limited commercial interruption.

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