If you've seen the preview to the upcoming issue of Buffy Season 8, you'll know that Faith has a previously unsuspected fondness for British indie bands. First it was Amy Winehouse, and now we learn she's also a fan of The Clash, Arctic Monkeys and The Stone Roses.
Having read that, I immediately thought "There should be vids". Specifically, there should be this vid:
Title: I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor
Episodes: BtVS seasons 2-5, 7; Angel seasons 2, 4
Song Title/Artist: 'I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor' by Arctic Monkeys
Format/Size: WMV / 36MB
Summary: Faith, from Buffy's perspective.
Download link (right-click and save):
Windows Media Player (WMV) version
Director's commentary below the cut
This vid was inspired by the scene where Faith and Gigi are discussing modern British bands, and discover a shared love for The Clash, The Stone Roses and Arctic Monkeys. So of course, I had to do a vid to one of their songs. This was a great exercise in self-discipline, because I'm frequently guilty of letting vidding projects drag on for months. This time, I wanted to have it ready for when the comic came out, so I had just four weeks to finish it...
'I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor" was the obvious choice because, well, she does. It was also a nice short song, and one of my favourites. I did briefly consider a Clash video instead - 'Somebody Got Murdered' seemed appropriate for Faith, although 'I Fought The Law' or 'Stay Free' would fit her too. I'm less familiar with Stone Roses, although 'I Am The Resurrection' might be good for a Dark Willow vid if it wasn't so inconceivably long... But in the end, Arctic Monkeys won.
The original concept for the vid was to base it around long clips of Faith dancing in the chorus, and more character interaction scenes in the verses. Since most of those scenes featured Buffy, I soon realised that it was becoming a vid about Faith from Buffy's point of view. The slashtastic elements followed inevitably. :-) I deliberately started looking for all the scenes where the two of them got touchy-feely with each other - I didn't fully realise quite how many there were, and I've even had to leave several out of the vid.
The introduction was a piece of serendipity. I knew that Faith's first appearance on the show was when Cordelia notices her dancing with a vampire and points them out to Buffy in 'Faith, Hope and Trick'. I hadn't remembered that there's actually a long establishing shot of the Bronze's dance floor, with Faith right there in the centre. Of course, when you're watching for the first time you wouldn't notice her as being anything special, but it fits the vid perfectly. Because the clip wasn't long enough to cover the entire musical introduction, I spliced in some clips of Buffy looking over in curiousity, and even repeated one clip but ran it backwards to suggest that Buffy's doing a double-take to look back at Faith.
The verse then has lots of clips of Buffy having mixed feelings about Faith, being drawn to her despite her doubts and reluctance. And ends with her getting (accidentally) punched by her... leading into the first chorus. Despite possible appearances this isn't a single clip, but the scene is divided up to make sure that each change in camera distance (close-up to middle shot) is timed with a beat of the song. I also got rid of some of the background fighting, and rearranged things so Faith looking down the guy's shirt appears over "...don't know if you're looking for romance..." - and her hitting the girl is over "...don't know what you're looking for."
The first clip of the second verse is one of my favourites, with Buffy's look of despair fitting the lyric perfectly. In the next clip Faith is indeed 'calling' Buffy without a sound - just gestures - but I deliberately missed out the drawing-a-heart section of the scene out of fear it might be too clichéd. Because the second half of the verse mirrors the first verse, I also used similar clips - including ending the verse with Faith punching Buffy. (Yes, that's "Faith as played by Sarah Michelle Gellar in This Year's Girl" punching Buffy.) Leading into the second chorus, which was an interesting challenge.
Hopefully, fans of the show will know straight away that the blonde girl dancing here is still Faith, even though she bears a striking resemblance to Buffy. I deliberately bookended the clips with the bodyswap scene and the famous "Faith meets Spike" scene as a gentle reminder that this is from 'Who Are You?' - although I also spliced in a couple of Eliza clips from season 7 for the bits where we would otherwise have had a close-up on Sarah's face during this scene. For the line "...you're looking for romance..." this time, I lined up the clip of Faith-in-Buffy's-body dancing with an attractive woman - which, incidentally, is Exhibit C in my case for 'Why Faith Is Not Heterosexual'. (Exhibit B is her leaving a nightclub with Lilah in 'Five By Five'. Exhibit A is Buffy.)
The first clip of the third verse was another lucky find. Originally for "...there ain't no love..." I was going to have a scene from the big argument in 'Enemies', but then I found this clip of Buffy shaking off Faith's attempt at a friendly touch which I thought was much more subtle and telling. I'm also pleased with the confrontation scene and the Montagues and Capulets reference ("From forth the fated loins of these two foes, a pair of star-crossed lovers take their flight," anyone?). It was also deliberate to show Buffy standing next to Angel here, then in the next scene have Faith drag her - not exactly unwillingly - away from him.
At this point, the subtext rapidly becomes text. The opening scene with the bed is from Faith's dream in 'This Year's Girl', appropriately enough since the line is "...dreams of naughtiness!". I'd planned all along to have her sex scene from 'The Zeppo' to appear over the lyric "naughtiness", and thought that instead of Xander in the scene I could splice in a clip of a naked Buffy in bed - assuming I could find one. What I'd not remembered was that this point in the song actually has an instrumental break, so what was conceived as a very short flash of naughtiness had to become an extended scene...
I think it works, although obviously the clips come from a whole variety of different places since I had to keep them all short enough to avoid showing who Faith and Buffy are really with. :-) For the record, the shots of Faith's face are from 'Orpheus' (and that's actually pain, not pleasure, she's showing); those of Buffy are from 'Harsh Light of Day' (yes, with Parker), 'Where The Wild Things Are' and 'Into The Woods' (with Riley), and 'Graduation Day 2' (with Angel biting her). I also end ambiguously with Buffy waking up alone. So this is just a dream after all... unless, of course, Faith got up first and left her alone. :-)
Final chorus is, of course, Faith and Buffy dancing in 'Bad Girls'. Again, it's chopped around a little to fit the beats of the music. The last scene - the epilogue - was another discovery. A discovery, in fact, which made me say "Tell me they didn't just go there!"... Everybody remembers Faith's classic line from FHT: "Isn't it crazy how slaying just always makes you hungry and horny?" What I hadn't remembered until now was that at the end of that same episode, after they've been slaying together, Buffy turns to Faith and asks "You hungry?", and they walk off side by side... Leaving us to fill in the other half of the question, and its possible response, ourselves. :-)