Saturday, June 17, 2006

Creating with Clay

While the ClayNation waits for news of Clay's sophmore CD - we create. When the ClayNation picks itself off the floor after seeing Clay's new hair on American Idol - we create. When the ClayNation goes on tour with Clay (and there have been 6 tours in the past 3 years) - we take videos and photos - and we create. Finding Clay Aiken has meant finding a new outlet for creativity. It has also become a motivation for many of us to develop our technical skills in many different directions.

Let me explain.

This week's must-have montage is one by NZvolCLAYno called Classic Clay Cuteness (vol II).

There are tons of montages that have been created over the past three years - all made by Clay fans - many of whom 3 years ago wouldn't have even known what a montage was, let alone made one. If you do a search on Clay Aiken montage at YouTube you'll find another 180 or so ready for viewing - and there are many hundreds more sitting on hard drives across the ClayNation.

Here's an excellent blog post by Olosta/MsMia on how to make montages - Hobbies Part 2: The Diary of a Mad Montage Maker. You can also visit her gorgeous website Shades of Clay which has links to a whole bunch of her beautiful montages. Hobbier is also writing a series of posts featuring concert montages - here's a link to the latest one.

Montages are made from either video footage, still images, or a combination of the two. The ClayNation has become expert in taking both stills and video at Clay concerts. In the early days, if you wanted to take video it was a case of dodging the bouncers, security guards and Jerome at Clay concerts, and being reeeeeeally really sneaky. I know one or two people who rigged up the most amazing contraptions so that they could obtain clack without being caught. Plus there were the very "creative" ways devised to smuggle your video camera into the venue without it being confiscated. Clack (the term used to describe all Clay artefacts such as audio, video, screencaps, stills etc) has been shared ever since the very beginning through Clay message boards and websites, and the word has spread.

Eventually, someone at TeamClay realised that clack was actually a great way to demonstrate how great Clay is in concert (and therefore sell more tickets!), and during the Juke Box Tour in 2005 we were finally allowed to take video openly, without being hassled. Thanks heaps, TeamClay!

OMG!OMG! What is that MOVE???The very first piece of clack that shook the ClayNation to its core was the infamous OMG!OMG! What is that MOVE??? video which was taken at the very first concert on the AI2 Tour in Minneapolis/St. Paul by hot4clayntexas. It was originally filmed sideways, so for a few days, before our technical wizards fixed it up, you had to sit sideways on your chair and lean at a 90 degree angle to see it properly. Hee! It was the first appearance on video of Clay's shirt-tug during Invisible, and it certainly made an impression - and was responsible for selling a HEAP more tickets for the AI2 tour. It became available for download at about 3am on the night of that first-ever AI2 concert, so there were lots of people who didn't get to bed until verrry late that night.

Unfortunately the American Idol lawyers don't approve of AI Tour videos being posted online at YouTube, and they have a tendency to have them pulled, and the poster runs the risk of getting banned, so you'll have to make do with the animated gif instead...

UPDATE 28/06/06: or you could just pop over to ClaySpots: The American Idol Tour... Part 1 - Shady has the vid up... OMG!OMG! Check it out quick before it disappears again!

There are now gazillions of video clips of Clay on tour. If you do a search on YouTube for clay aiken concert you'll find 64 videos. Clay Aiken tour returns 164 videos. And a search on Clay Aiken produces a massive 795 results - with everything from tour footage, to AI appearances, interviews, montages, and Anime cartoons set to Clay songs. Enjoy!

I think what's interesting about the ClayNation (and I'm sure it's true for other fandoms too) is the amount of stuff which fans have created themselves. Most of the Clay websites, blogs, video clips, photos and montages out there aren't officially sanctioned or supported by TeamClay. They've been created and are maintained by people who happen to be Clay fans, and who spend some of their time in creative Clay pursuits. Hee. "Some of their time" might be a bit of an understatement.

Crowd after TITN. Photo by BuzztechieThis image is one of the most iconic anyone's ever taken of Clay in concert. It was taken by Buzztechie at the AI2 concert in Clay's home town of Raleigh, and it shows Clay soaking in the ovation after his rendition of This is the Night. See all those banners and red shirts in the audience? All for Clay. As with all my blog pics, you can click on the image to see a larger version.

As the years (and tours) have gone by, those fans who specialise in video or still concert images, have invested in better gear, better software, and have become more skilled in taking awesome close-up photos and video that doesn't wobble. Here's a bunch of Clay concert photo galleries from some of my favourite stills photographers:

There are also some very talented creators of wallpapers and artistic blends out there:

There are many members of the ClayNation who take creativity to a whole new level with their creations. Here are just a few more examples:

Then there's creative writing. Some people are good with visuals, others prefer to express themselves through the written word. The latest endeavour has been blogging. In the last month, in my corner of the ClayNation, the number of blogs has increased from just a handful to over 50 - including my own. Not bad!

Next time you're on my homepage, take a look at some of the blogs listed in the right-hand column. They can be funny, clever, varied, heartfelt, thoughtful, or thought-provoking - and what they all have in common is that their creation (and much of their subject matter) was inspired by that Aiken guy.

Clay fans have always found creative ways to write about Clay. There's the funny - expressed through song parodies, skits, diary entries and message board summaries. I guess Jemock would probably be considered one of our funniest writers - her blog on the Clay Aiken Official Fanclub website is rated second only to Clay's own, but the fandom boasts MANY extremely funny members - often posting ROTFLMAO missives on the many Clay Aiken message boards out here in cyberspace.

There's also the serious stuff - in which we delve more deeply into the latest happenings in the world of Clay. There are some members of the ClayNation, for example, who have become experts in their field of research - whether it be tour attendance and sales numbers, record sales statistics, the inner workings of the recording and radio industries, or marketing techniques.

Hopefully we won't have to wait too much longer for news of Clay's new CD, but until then, here's a bunch of fantastic websites which collect together all sorts of Clay-inspired creativity. I hope you find them useful.
  • Finding Clay Aiken is a one-stop-shop for everything Clay – from tour info, to Clay on the web, music by Clay, Clay media, Clay on TV… etc etc. In the Clay on the web section there's a list of over 400 websites, message boards, blogs, Yahoo groups and fan listings that are all.about.Clay. Wow.

  • There's an incredible amount of Claystuff on The Ideal Idol - here's their What's New page.

  • Clay Nation News provides regular updates on Clay's schedule, news items and other important events. You can sign up to receive regular emails from the CNN mailing list.

  • ClayBlogs - a Clay Aiken Blogroll lists a whole bunch of blogs which feature Clay on a regular basis, and is automatically updated daily with the latest blog posts about Clay.

  • The Clay Report is a Clay Aiken news site and lists just about every online mention of Clay... and much more.

  • You can also become a member of The Official Clay Aiken fanclub - members get to read Clay's blog, as well as lots of other cool stuff.

Technorati tags: , , , , , , , , .


GraphicsinMind-Ramy said...

What a great blog, Webweaver. And I don't say that just becoss you mentioned me. *g* But it gives a very good overview of Clay's "creative and enthusiastic" fans.

webweaver said...

Heh. heh heh. How did I manage to get through a whole post on creativity without mentioning Clay's own assessment of us as "creative and enthusiastic" fans.


Chardonnay said...

What a wonderful post Webweaver! You included so many things I hadn't seen before. Loved NZvolClayno's vid. *Loved!*

Thanks for sharing all that! Great job!

Jemock said...

What do you mean I'm funny?
What do you mean, you mean the way I talk? What? Funny how? What's funny about it? You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it's me, ...but I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I'm here to amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny? How the heck am I funny, what the mess is so funny about me? Tell me, tell me what's funny.

Heh. My apologies to Goodfellas.

Thanks for the great post!

webweaver said...

Hee! See what I mean about Jemock :)

She funny!