Sometimes, a movie as officially released just isn’t good enough. It has potential, but the final product is missing something. Or has too much. Or is just plain annoying. In days past, moviegoers used to have no recourse other than to put up or shut up. But now, we have computers and high definition discs and video editing software. Now, we can take matters into our own hands.
According to Wikipedia, a fan edit is:
“a version of a film modified by a viewer, that removes, reorders, or adds material in order to create a new interpretation of the source material. This includes the removal of scenes or dialogue, replacement of audio and/or visual elements, and adding material from sources such as deleted scenes or even other films.”
Fan edits officially began in 2000 with Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Edit by Michael J. Nichols, and have flourished into an extensive online community and past-time, populated by professionals and amateurs alike. Fan edits tend to come in several flavors, as listed by fanedit.org:
FanFix – an edit that attempts to “fix” elements of a film to better fit either the filmmaker’s original intent or the editor’s preferences
FanMix – an edit that mixes two or more films together to create a whole new experience
Extended Edition – an edit that incorporates additional footage from other cuts, deleted scenes, and other sources
TV-To-Movie – an edit that attempts to transform a long-form television series into a feature film
Short – an edit that condenses a film or several films into a short film
Filmumentary – a new category used to designate a full-length documentary that plays like pop-up video commentary during the main feature. Right now, Jamie Benning is the only editor creating these particular edits
Restoration – a recreation of an earlier version of a film by editing different elements together in a close approximation of that version. The best examples of this would be Harmy’s Star Wars Despecialized Editions
Want to find fan edits? The best resource available is fanedit.org, a large database with resources, listings, and most helpful, a forum where one can discuss fan edits, talk with editors and submit their own. In order to acquire one, there are several ways according to the particular edit, including watching it on Vimeo, downloading through a file-sharing website or peer-to-peer networks, or asking the editor directly through the fanedit.org forums. How you do is up to you.
Here, I will endeavor to offer my own two cents on the fan edit community, with reviews of existing fan edits, announcements and updates on my own edits, and general discussions of the artform and community. Hopefully one of you will be a devoted editor who enjoys the content, or someone new to editing who is inspired to take it up. Either way, enjoy!