Fandom folks know: We, as a collective, thrive off of ship/couple edits. A compilation video of our favorite onscreen couple’s most romantic, heartbreaking, traumatic moments set to an equally poignant alternative rock ballad from the mid-aughts? There’s nothing better.
To our delight, on April 26, dedicated Riverdale stan and editor Lauren (@candacevfx), a student at Brown University, took to TikTok to give an in-depth account of her “concerning editing habits” when she was in high school.
Dedicated shippers have long existed. Teen television aficionados can recall what’s been dubbed “one of the biggest ship wars in fandom history” — a.k.a. Buffy Summers’s relationships with two of the broodiest, hottest vampires on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which aired from 1997 to 2003, first on the WB and then on The CW.
As seasons of Riverdale (another CW show, by the way) have come and gone, some fans are showing their concern of how “ship-oriented” the show seems to be. A longtime shipper, Reddit user GentleCritter, who watched Dawson’s Creek and Beverly Hills 90210 when they aired, was embroiled in their fair share of brutal ship wars — and even they believe that some members of the Riverdale fandom are next level when it comes to vocalizing their dedication, and at times, threatening actors and writers to maintain certain romantic relationships. Needless to say, the Riverdale fandom’s intensity is not to be taken lightly.
“So because I was in a fandom, I was in the Riverdale fandom, timeliness was a big thing with edits,” Lauren begins. “If a Riverdale episode dropped on Wednesday, I needed to have an edit posted by Thursday or Friday. Or if there were, like, new paparazzi pictures of Cole and Lili, I would stay up all night editing them so I can post it the next day. And then my edit would get a ton of views cause it’s, like, there’s no edits of it yet cause it just happened.”
Seamless operation, right? Well, not exactly. Because Lauren was a school student at the time, she had to factor in getting enough sleep and attending her classes.
“On nights like these, I would start editing at like 11 or 12. If I was lucky I’d finish the edit by like, 3 or 4 a.m. But sometimes it was like 5 or 6 a.m. and then I had to wake up for school at, like, 7ish,” she says. “So I would set an alarm to sleep for, like, one or two hours.”
Ensuring that the video rendered properly was her main priority.
“You must be wondering, ‘Lauren, what happens if the render failed? If it didn’t look good? If you needed to re-render a part but it was already time to leave for school?’ Well, I’m glad you asked. I just would not go,” she admits. “My mom isn’t, like, hassling me being like, ‘Now you need to go to school.’ Like, I’m a good student. Imma still get the work done. It’s whatever.”
“So I was literally at a push at my desk. Two f****** Macbooks. Like, can you calm the f*** down? One with Bughead on it, the other with, like, my notes,” she says. For those unfamiliar, “Bughead” is the ship name affectionately given to Jughead Jones and Betty Cooper.
Lauren would also “force” her family and friends to watch her completed edits for “a second opinion.”
“They’re the most objective sources because they don’t really know what Instagram editing looks like,” she says. “They will tell you if it looks like s***.”
Additional behaviors Lauren used to engage in include not letting herself go to the bathroom, get water “or do anything” unless she finished a certain part and refusing to look at her notifications until around 12 hours after she posted.
The most “embarrassing” thing Lauren admits to doing was say a prayer.
“And I would literally say at the end of that prayer, ‘And I pray that I wake up and my edit did well. Amen,'” she reveals. “No, but I would do that and low-key, wake up with, like, 100,000 views so it kind of works.”
“It’s crazy how fans are some of the most successful and unpaid marketers.”
With more than 1.5 million views and 344,200 likes, it’s clear that Lauren’s video has reached its audience. Commenters have been impressed not only with her editing skills but with her commitment to the fandom.
“you did all that AND you got into brown?? how did you not have a significant breakdown? massive respect because I wouldn’t have lasted,” @hearbiscuits replied.
“AND YOU GOT INTO BROWN??? nvm my schedule is not that bad,” @goodlivesmakebadstories wrote.
“it’s crazy how fans are some of the most successful and unpaid marketers,” @j8.netta said.
“These are transferable skills. This is literally a job,” @ccyoung27 commented, to which Lauren replied, “well it is my job now lol.”
While fan edits have grown in popularity in the last 30 years, the very first fan edit dates back to 1975, “when Star Trek fan Kandy Fong made a slideshow of Star Trek outtakes inspired by the Beatles’ music video for ‘Strawberry Fields Forever,'” according to Elena Cavender of Mashable.
“I would argue that fan edits are not only the backbone of fandom but also internet culture as we know it — and they often don’t get the praise they deserve,” Cavender wrote. “Editors can manipulate even the most mundane clip into something romantic or devastating, enhancing the emotion with a carefully curated music choice. They are works of art, open to interpretation.”
Editors like Lauren, with all of her dedication, timeliness and meticulous curation of clips, is worthy of praise and recognition, both in her fandom and beyond it.
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