Category: Award Winner

Beyond the Shire [Shabu Showdown 2023 Week 3]

The theme for the third round of Shabu Showdown 2023 was "Spectacular Settings," where editors were given one week to edit a video focusing on the scenery or setting of a source, rather than the plot or characters.

I immediately decided to use the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings movies, because of all the huge sweeping establishing shots in the films. The song was a lot harder to come up with, and I reached out for suggestions, and ended up getting the excellent song I ended up using from a link provided by VioletSkies.

I was also dealing with several real life things outside the event at the time, and I was worried I wouldn't be able to finish the whole song, so I edited a short version of the video that ended with the end of the first movie, just to have something to submit in case I ran out of time. I also decided once I started the second segment to focus just on Sam and Frodo's path through the films for narrative simplicity, though that did mean giving up the initial inspiration shot for the video (the epic long helicopter shot of Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli running across the landscape in pursuit of the Orc army).

In the end, it came together much better than I initially thought it would, and was given the "Epic Fantasy" coordinator's award at the end of the event.

Video - Lord of the Rings movie trilogy
Audio - Tommee Profitt x MILCK - BEYOND
Completed November 2023

YouTube Link

Unwarranted Optimism

I usually really like the soundtracks to most Disney movies, but Olaf’s song in the original Frozen was one that I really didn’t like. When the sequel came out, I wasn’t looking forward to whatever song he was going to get, but I was very pleasantly surprised that it was actually quite fun. 

Listening to the soundtrack without the movie, the first thing that popped into my head for Olaf’s terrified scream was Shinji’s similar scream in the fight against Ramiel, and the rest of the video grew from that one scene.

This has been my most successful video in contests in quite a few years, picking up several wins:

RICE 2021 - Winner, Sh*t’s Rough Award
Kumoricon 2021 - Winner, Best Guilty Pleasures
Anime Los Angeles 2022 - Winner, Best Comedy/Humor and Audience Choice

Anime - Neon Genesis Evangelion
Audio - Josh Gad - When I Am Older (from Frozen 2)
Completed February 2021 Link
YouTube Link


This video was inspired by Aimoaio’s excellent video Enchanted, which introduced me to both Kimi ni Tokoke and Owl City.

The idea with this video started in the name. I wanted to show both how Sawako adapted to her changing circumstances, and how those circumstances were portrayed in the manga, anime, and live-action movie adaptations of the story.

Conveniently, the first season of the anime and the live-action movie ended at about the same narrative point, so which events got shown were dictated by the movie (as it had the shortest running time and fewest events).

The manga portions of this one are the weakest in my opinion, and I found a new respect for manga music video editors while working on those sections. It’s a lot of really hard work to make an engaging video out of still images.

This video got nominated as a finalist in the Romance category at AWA 2014 and won Best Romance at Another Anime Con 2014.

Anime - Kimi ni Todoke
Audio - Owl City - Meteor Shower
Completed August 2014 Link
YouTube Link

Bakuretsu Con 2012 Analog Iron Editor

At Bakuretsu Con 2012, I participated in a three-way Iron Chef competition, with the additional complication that all of us had to edit our videos using analog equipment - no computers. We were provided several large tubs of commercial VHS tapes as our source material, and three hours to do our work in.

I borrowed most of my equipment from the public access TV station I was working at and got lucky that I didn’t have major technical issues pop up during the editing (one of the others had a very hard time getting his Macrovision breaker to work correctly, and fought with that for almost half the editing time).

My rig included:

Panasonic AG-DS545 SVHS Player
Panasonic AG-DS555 SVHS Recorder (with a scratch on the record head that left a line in everything it recorded)
Panasonic AG-A850 Editing Controller
Panasonic WJ-MX50 Video Mixer

The tapes in the tubs were a mix of subtitled and dubbed releases, and included movies, short OVAs, and a few tapes of a series - usually the first few but not always, so I decided on using Moldiver, which was one of the few complete unsubtitled series available. At six episodes long, it also offered a decent amount of footage without being too long to conveniently scrub and cue.

My final video ended up winning the vote, and it was a fun experience, but I’m very glad we don’t have to edit AMVs like that any more.

Anime - Moldiver
Music - Motoaki F. - Burning Heat! (3 Option Mix)
Completed October 2012 Link
YouTube Link

What Would You Do For a Box of Pocky?

In 2012, Another Anime Con held a contest for original videos on the theme “What Would You Do For a Box of Pocky?” with the prize of 50 boxes of Pocky. I had a silly idea for a Metal Gear parody, so I spent the next few weeks gathering the props and costumes and shot everything over two late nights at the public access TV station I was working at, with the editing and effects taking another few days.

It won the contest, but sadly pretty much by default, as there were only two entries, and the other was a no-effort joke.

I’m still pretty happy with how it came out, even if I cringe at my horrible cheesy acting, and it taught me a lot about making original shorts.

YouTube Link

The Mark of Crom Cruach

I picked up a Blu-Ray of The Secret of Kells on a whim when I saw it on a shelf of Academy Award nominees at a store, and fell in love with the movie. When I decided to try editing a video to it, I chose to play with the storyline, making Brendan’s story more of a quest brought to him by Aesling rather than how the movie actually plays out.

The modifications worked out nicely, and the video won Best Storytelling at AWA Pro 2012.

Video Source - The Secret of Kells
Music - Yasunori Mitsuda - Time's Scar (from Chrono Cross)
Completed July 2012

YouTube Link

A Life Well Lived

This is a video that lurked in the back of my mind ever since I listened to the soundtrack for How to Train Your Dragon. The song moves through such a clear narrative arc that it started suggesting stories to me even before I saw the movie. 

I've wanted to do a story of making a composite character from many different series for a while, and this song lent itself very well to that idea. I settled on using mostly Ghibli and Satoshi Kon movies because of the consistency and similarity of the character designs between them. 

The age breakdowns were mostly picked for what age the characters appeared to be, though the selection of 76 as the final age was a very deliberate, personal choice for me. In the summer of 2007, one of my grandfathers passed away at the age of 76, so I picked that age as a subtle personal nod. 

The pacing is also fairly deliberate, since as I remember it, when I was younger, days seemed to pass very slowly, with little change. Now that I'm in my thirties, there are times where it feels like I blink and miss a week. So I chose to make the younger time periods longer, and the older ones shorter, until the final section where the ending of the story needed to be told. 

When I submitted this to Anime Boston, it didn't make the finals, which depressed me quite a bit, given how personal this video was to me. Speaking to a couple prescreeners a few months later, they told me that they had liked the video, but were a bit confused by the age indicators until the end of the video, which were just the numbers in the version I had sent. I took that feedback and added the word "Age" to each indicator before sending it to AWA Expo, which apparently helped clear up the confusion, since it won "Best Storytelling" there, and later "Best Drama" at AAC.

Anime - Tokyo Godfathers, My Neighbor Totoro, Whisper of the Heart, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Kiki's Delivery Service, Paprika, Perfect Blue, Ponyo, The Cat Returns, Millennium Actress
Music - John Powell - Forbidden Friendship
Completed March 2012 Link
YouTube Link

Mountains of Love

Anime - Heidi, Girl of the Alps
Song - Edison Lighthouse - Love Grows
Completed September 2011
Premiered October 14, 2011 Link
YouTube Link

This video was specifically made for the Theme category of Another Anime Con 2011, which was "70's Soul Train."

Finding a source from the 1970's on DVD was difficult, since so few of them have enough nostalgia strength to get rereleased, and I was considering tracking down the Original Gundam DVDs before stumbling across Heidi.

The song was a lot simpler, as I had a collection of 70's hits on CD from a previous project that didn't see completion, but several of the songs had potential.

When I actually started planning it, I only scanned through the first two DVDs before deciding to make a romance video between Heidi and Peter. Not having read the book, I was completely unaware of Klara's later appearance or how large her role would become, so editing around her became more difficult as the video went along.

Overall, this was a silly little romance video that came off decently, and ended up winning the category.