Friday, January 28, 2011

Starring Sooth! : an interview with Amy of Soothvideos

I am very excited to present my first interview on this blog and it is with one of my favourite fanvidders. There are so many amazing music videos of Richard Armitage out there on Youtube and Vimeo and of course on the wonderful website I'm sure everyone has at least one video that means something special to them. My Youtube channel has quite a collection of favourites actually, but if there was a favourite of the favourites that would surely be "Beautiful Disaster" by Soothvideos. I remember how stricken I was when I went to play it one day and the icon was grayed out! When I clicked on it, the message said "This video is no longer available because the user's account has been closed" (or words to that effect). Now how was I to get my fix? It really was too painful to contemplate a life without those lovely images set to a song with such perfect lyrics for the tragic relationship between Guy of Gisborne and Maid Marian on the BBC's Robin Hood miniseries. Luckily, eventually I remembered RAfanvids -- an amazing collection of music videos starring Mr. Richard Armitage and lovingly maintained by the generous and talented Elvira Sweeney. (For more about Elvira, please read this interview by Nat at Richard Armitage Fanblog)

So anyway, I downloaded the coveted video courtesy of Ms. Sweeney and that satisfied me for awhile, but I kept wondering...whatever happened to Sooth? It's like having a friend (who doesn't know you) but you miss anyway...yeah, I know it's kinda you can't really talk about it to anyone. Well I kept trying to track down the elusive "Sooth" (slightly stalkerish, eh?) and I forget exactly how it all happened but one day I must have figured out she had another Youtube channel so I contacted her there, begging her to reupload her videos (especially my favourite). Luckily, for all of us, she agreed to do so!

Thank you Sooth!

She also agreed to this interview! So here she is, Sooth a.k.a. Aimz1013 a.k.a. Amy....

Dear Amy,
I know very little about you except that you are from the U.S. and your Youtube account used to be called Soothvideos. I have a lot of questions to ask you, but first perhaps you could give me a little bit of an introduction and that might inspire some better questions from me.
Gari Glaysher

I am from San Diego, CA and I am married and have two grown children. I enjoy travel, theater, video editing, graphic design and website design. I currently design and run a website for a classical singer in England named Gari Glaysher. We met over the internet through a mutual friend three years ago and now I am on his management team. I did the art design for his debut CD “Serenata” in 2009 and will be designing his next album later this year. This has kept me pretty busy and away from video editing for the last year and a half or so, but I hope this year to grab some time to indulge in my favorite hobby and get back into some music video editing again.

How did you get into your present career of graphic design / website design and video editing. Is it something you always wanted to do?

I got into all of these fields strictly as a hobby at first. I never grew up thinking of a career in graphic arts. I didn’t see myself as “artsy” in that way. I couldn’t draw anything other than stick figures. I knew I wanted to do something in the creative arts, but I was more interested in being a novelist or an actress on the stage, and that is where I focused my attention throughout my teens and into my early 20’s. I really owe my present dabble in video editing and art design to the internet. It was after I joined some online communities a few years back and began to see what other people were doing with video editing and art design that I became interested in giving those a try just for fun, and as a way to develop another creative outlet for myself. I acquired all the software I needed and taught myself along the way.  (I got my dog, Cooper right around the same time that I got started in fan video editing- that was a good year.)

You have said you like to travel. Can you tell us any of your favourite places to visit?

I love traveling and there are so many places on my list to see. I’d have to say Hawaii is a favorite place, and San Francisco is wonderful too. I will be making my first trip to England later this year and I am really excited about that. It has been a dream to go there since I was in my teens.  My husband and I will be visiting London and places south of it - Portsmouth, Brighton, Bath.  I would love to have gone up north, but not enough time on this trip so I will just have to go again later. ;)  We both have friends to visit who live in the areas we are going.

What are some of your favourite television shows and / or movies and books?

I don’t have too many favorite television shows at the moment. I’m not a big fan of all the reality television, though I do like Ghost Hunters. I enjoy watching “House” and I’m just starting to get into the series “Mad Men”. I am a huge classic movie fan, especially those of the 30’s and 40’s. I love the musicals of those eras. My favorite film of all time would be “Gone with the Wind”. I really love costume films and period dramas in general, I’m just a real romantic at heart. When it comes to books, my tastes run from the classics to science fiction and horror novels. Favorite authors include Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, John Steinbeck, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, JRR Tolkien among many others.

Do you ever read fanfic?

I don’t read fanfic on a regular basis, but I have found a few I really enjoyed over the years. The latest ones I have read were based on Guy and Marian, but the first fanfic I ever read was during my Gerard Butler phase and it was all Phantom of the Opera fanfic for me then. The reason I don’t read as much fanfic now as I used to, is because a lot of authors tend not to finish their stories. It got too frustrating to keep getting hooked on a story and follow it for months, only to have the authors drop out of sight before it was finished. When I do have the urge to read some fanfic now, I try to find those stories that are already completed by the time I start the first chapter. :)

Could you give us the web address for the opera singer’s web page that you have designed? Are you an opera lover, or a music lover in general, and what types of music do you prefer? Could you share with us how you came to design this artist’s web page?

I design and maintain the official website for an opera/classical/crossover tenor by the name of Gari Glaysher. He lives in England and I have been working with him for the last three years. I am in the US and we met over the internet through a mutual friend named Rose. She knew me through a fan site we both belonged to for the Scottish actor Gerard Butler. I had begun getting into fan music video editing and I was posting my Gerard Butler videos on his fan site. I had designed my own website at that time to have a place to display my video work, and Rose asked if I would make a music video using one of Gari’s songs he had written with clips from the movie “Phantom of the Opera”.  I did the video, posted it on YouTube, and it brought Gari a huge amount of new fans. I also became a fan of Gari’s and began working with him to help promote his career. I originally designed a fan site about Gari and he liked the work I did with it- he eventually asked me to make that site his official website. I have since then designed the art work for his debut CD “Serenata” and will have the honor again this year of designing his next album. For anyone who may be interested, you can check out Gari’s website at:

As far as my musical interests go, I do love classical and opera. Through my mom, I gained a great appreciation for the classical and for musical theater, which I became involved with myself for a good number of years. I really enjoy all music in general, but I would have to admit that I am rocker at heart. My favorites range from Peter Gabriel, the Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails all the way to the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and I also love the blues.  I am a big fan of Michael Buble and Josh Groban, so I really do enjoy all types of music.

It is interesting that you have used your talent to create such wonderful fan videos.  What was it that first inspired you to create fan videos?  Have you ever participated in a fandom before? ( I guess you just answered that already -- Gerard Butler. Any others besides him?) I see you are a member of the C19 forum, are you still active in that forum or any others?

Other than Richard Armitage, the only other internet fandom I have actively participated in was for Gerard Butler. As I mentioned earlier, I discovered fan music videos through joining a fan site for Gerard Butler. This was about six years ago, and at that time, fan video editing was only just beginning to show up on the internet.  Only two or three people on the Gerard Butler forum were creating fan videos and posting them for other members of the community when I joined. YouTube was in its early years and not many people were using it at the time to post fan videos.  The people who were creating music videos on the Gerard Butler site were using download links like Rapidshare, Yousendit, etc. to share their creations.  
Gerard Butler

I was so fascinated by the first fan music videos I saw. I had no idea it was possible to even create something like that at home and that you didn’t have to be a professional editor to get the necessary software. The more videos I watched, the more I started developing my own ideas and I just had to jump in and try it out. I am a very visually oriented person, so this medium really appealed to me as a creative art.  I started off at first with Windows Movie Maker (everyone did six years ago, lol) and quickly moved up from there to more sophisticated software. My first several fan videos were all exclusively Gerard Butler, mostly “Phantom of the Opera” related as that movie was the one that had brought me into the Gerard Butler fandom.

I have joined a few fan forums like C19, Gerard Butler Global Fan Forum and the Armitage Army forum, but I have to admit that I haven’t been active on any of them in the last year or two.  I was most active on the Gerard Butler forum because I was posting all my first video creations there and as more people got interested in fan video editing, I got busy helping develop the video forum there and eventually became a moderator for a while.  Although other things have taken my attention over the last couple of years, I do miss the time I spent on these forums.

What movie editing program did you use for your latest videos? (I too started with Windows Moviemaker but now I have Sony Vegas Platinum PROFESSIONAL!! --and I am terrified of it!)

I used Sony Vegas Pro 8.0 for all my Richard Armitage videos. Prior to that I used Sony Vegas Movie Studio (a very nice program with a lot of bells and whistles, a good place to cut my teeth on after using Windows MovieMaker) for a long period of time. Most of the Gerard Butler fan videos I did were created with Sony Vegas Movie Studio.

What is it about Richard Armitage that motivated you to make fan videos? How long have you been interested in his career?  What other shows have you seen him perform in (besides Robin Hood)?
I have been a fan of Richard Armitage for about three years now. I discovered him through his work on the BBC Robin Hood series and he so caught my attention that I spent several months tracking down as many of his performances as I could get my hands on.  I have seen almost everything, but I am a little behind on “Strike Back”...I plan to remedy that soon. :)  

I love North and South!  :)  After Guy, the character of John Thornton is a favorite of mine. I also love the character of Harry in the Vicar of Dibley.  He was so sweet.  

What it was about Richard Armitage that inspired me to make him a subject of fan music videos...I’d have to say it’s because he is a complete package: good looks, extreme amount of talent and he chooses interesting characters to play.  He is compelling to watch.  I literally can’t take my eyes off him when he’s on screen, but not only because he is so easy on the eyes.  He puts his heart into every role he does and he can play any type of character and be convincing.  When it comes to inspiration for music videos, I find myself most drawn to his Guy of Gisborne character.  In any other actor’s hands, that character could have easily become a cartoon villain. Richard Armitage has the talent and skill to bring out a vulnerability and complexity to Guy, that I found myself caring about the baddie.  Like so many other female fans, I really wanted a happy ending for Guy.  

You mentioned that you have grown children. Does anyone in your family know about your interest in this actor or is it your secret?

It’s no secret to my family, lol.  I got a little kidding at first from my husband, but he doesn’t pay it much attention now- same as when my interest in Gerard Butler first started.  I got my mom hooked on Richard Armitage though, so I do have another big fan to watch his shows with.  

I used to enjoy your videos on Youtube but then you closed your account. Can you tell us why you decided to do this?

It was a really tough decision to make at the time as I had built up a lot of friends and subscribers, but it really came down to being tired of the hassle YouTube had become for fan music video editors.  I had videos blocked, muted, I got warnings from YouTube all the time about closing my account. Fair use wasn’t acknowledged on YouTube two years ago. It just wasn’t fun for me anymore, so I made the decision to remove that account and take a break from fan video work.  

I was so happy to see you back on Youtube (although with a new user name). What made you decide to open a new Youtube account?

Thank you, it’s been nice to be back again!  I actually had this second account set up a long time ago as a backup to my first one, but I never used it until recently when I began receiving some very kind emails from a few people (including you) asking if I would re-upload some of their favorite videos.

My favourite of your videos is Beautiful Disaster (although I love them all)! Do you have a particular favourite, and can you tell us why?

I do have a couple of personal favorites of my video work, the ones where I felt everything came together just as I had imagined it. Beautiful Disaster is the one I feel most satisfied with doing- that song couldn’t have been a more perfect description of the Guy of Gisborne character. It was my first Richard Armitage music video, so it is special to me for that reason too.  I think my other personal favorite would be another Guy video I did called “Back in Black”.  That one was just pure fun to work on- no deep thinking involved in it’s creation, just Guy being a total bad ass, lol. I also won a few awards in video contests with that one. 

 Back in Black

Are you planning to make any new fan videos (particularly any starring Mr. Armitage)?

I don’t have anything immediate planned. I have been out of practice on the video front for a year or two, but the ideas have kept circulating in my I think there will be definitely more videos. I don’t think I am finished with Guy yet. :)   

I had planned to get around to some North and South videos eventually, but then the troubles I was having at YouTube just put me off creating new videos for a while.  I will have to finish catching up on Strike Back first, and then who knows?  Perhaps I will find some inspiration there for a fan video.

Speaking for your many fans -- We really do hope you find some inspiration to start vidding again!  Thanks for letting me interview you!

 C'mon Sooth! You know you want to!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Armitage Therapy

This one's for you Servetus!
Anyone feeling a little down-in-the-dumps? Has cabin fever set in? That time of the month? Well, forget chocolate or any other coping mechanism you might have. Here is a simple solution for you. Simply rest your eyes on one of your favourite pictures of Richard Armitage, and all your troubles will seem to slip away...
Don't try this at work though! (It is difficult to stifle the inevitable squeeing sounds.)
This picture is courtesy of the Robin Hood Promo Gallery at Richard Armitage Net which has lately updated some pictures (for which I am eternally grateful.)  I was alerted to this godsend by a Twitter from bccmee .
However the idea for this post was inspired by Servetus's latest offering:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chillin' with Phyll

Winter Morning / Tom Thompson
It is bitterly cold in central Canada. Time to plug in your car's block heater at night. I sing the praises of my command start as I press the button from inside my cosy kitchen, instead of running out to start the car and warm it up first, before I leave for work. Not in order to have a comfortable temperature in my vehicle, but so that my car's engine will actually start!
 My dear, thoughtful husband has been plugging in my car before he leaves for work in the morning. (I usually leave a couple of hours later.)  But this morning, apparently that was not enough time to keep the engine warm enough to start -- because as I discovered when it was time to leave for work -- my car was stalled!

Too bad I didn't have this lovely lady handy, with her jumper cables to help me restart the car!

When I eventually arrived at work (my boss came and rescued me), it was to find the busses cancelled (but quite a few students had straggled in anyway) and recess was definitely indoors that day (as it had been almost all week).  The temperature was warming to almost -27 degrees celsius but with the windchill it was definitely more than 30 below, even at midday!

It's not much better today. Have a look at our thermometer this morning.
For it's forty below in the winter,
And it's twenty below in the fall.
It just rises to zero in summer,
And we don't have a springtime at all.
(Christopher Dafoe (1936-) Forty Below)

Well, we don't have too many natural disasters where I'm from. Oh, a forest fire here and there, a bit of flooding maybe, and of course the hordes of mosquitoes and blackflies to fend off all summer long. But life is generally pretty mellow in the boreal forest most of the time...that is, if you can survive the winter...

Archibald Lampman (1861-1899)


J.E.H. MacDonald / Early Evening Winter (1912)
              1    From where I sit, I see the stars,
              2    And down the chilly floor
              3    The moon between the frozen bars
              4    Is glimmering dim and hoar.

              5    Without in many a peakèd mound
              6    The glinting snowdrifts lie;
              7    There is no voice or living sound;
              8    The embers slowly die.

              9    Yet some wild thing is in mine ear;
            10    I hold my breath and hark;
            11    Out of the depth I seem to hear
            12    A crying in the dark;

            13    No sound of man or wife or child,
            14    No sound of beast that groans,
            15    Or of the wind that whistles wild,
            16    Or of the tree that moans:

            17     I know not what it is I hear;
            18     I bend my head and hark:
            19     I cannot drive it from mine ear,
            20    That crying in the dark.

If you think that is a sad and lonely piece of Canadian literature, then get a load of this work of non-fiction!  Frozen in Time is a historical piece of forensic science from a shallow grave in the gradually melting permafrost of the Arctic tundra. The discovery of some of the crew  members of the lost Franklin Expedition of 1845 by anthropologists from the University of Alberta was led by author Owen Beattie in 1981 (and has since been updated with new research in 2004). It is a tragic mystery story and also a cautionary tale.  What sticks most in my mind about it was that there is evidence that the local Inuit people tried to help the doomed crew, but they were too proud of their supposed "technological superiority" to accept the help of a people they believed were beneath them!  This  was certainly proof of the aphorism: "pride cometh before a fall".  After all, I don't recall hearing much about Inuit people freezing to death!

Lawren Harris / Icebergs, Davis Strait (1930)

The story of the search for the fabled Northwest Passage has lured many explorers to Canada's frozen northland. It has also inspired many artists and musicians.  Which brings me of course, to Canada's greatest folk musician and songwriter -- Stan Rogers and his song "The Northwest Passage".

Stan Rogers / The Northwest Passage

I am amazed by how often I have been able to discover new "favourite" songs from the wonderful music videos made by fans of Richard Armitage. I am sure I had heard of this group, but I had never had the pleasure of hearing the song "Frozen Oceans" before. Of course, any song is made more special by the addition of pictures of Mr. Armitage! :)

Shiny Toy Guns / Frozen Oceans by TheCICLAMINO

Then there is this interesting movie "Frozen" 2005, (that I have yet to see) in which RA has a rather small but riveting part. The following video shows basically all his scenes in it.

Richard Armitage in Frozen

Now that film does seem pretty cold alright. But if Richard Armitage were really frozen, this is how I imagine he might look...

Thanks again, Face in Hole!
Come to think of it, he couldn't possibly stay like this -- he is hotter than a thousand suns! There, that's better, I'm finally starting to warm up!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Caption Contest Winner

"Did she just call me John?"

The winner of Phylly's Faves first ever caption contest was tyme_4_t ! She received the majority of votes for her caption poking fun at the possible confusion one may feel for his character's name --being that so many are named John!

Congratulations dear and loyal blog reader, commenter (and fellow Canadian)! I have designed a special trophy for this auspicious occasion.  It is the RACCA (Richard Armitage Caption Contest Award). Though I believe I shall fondly refer to it as "the Gizzy"! (You may see the ressemblance if you look closely).

Thanks so much to all who participated either with captions or by voting!

This seems to be a popular time for awards ceremonies. Many bloggers have mentioned their happiness at Colin Firth's Golden Globe win for his performance as King George VI in The King's Speech.

I have yet to have the pleasure to see this wonderful film as I love anything to do with  
the Royal Family, Colin Firth in anything, and biopics in general.

Also my generous friend Dezmond from his wonderfully newsy film blog Hollywood Spy has posted his 2011 Annual Awards for his readers!  He was kind enough to mention me amongst a group of fellow Richard Armitage fans for his RA Angels Award! Isn't he sweet? :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Promise of a Man

Well, here I go again with another video using a Neil Young song. I really don't go around thinking, how can I bring my love of Neil Young's music into my Richard Armitage obsession? Honestly, I do think it is rather odd myself. But this is how this particular video came about. 

As I may have explained somewhere before, I live in a very small town in Northern Ontario with very few outlets for those with a love of art and / or music.  However, we are lucky enough to have other music lovers who band together and bring talented people to our neck of the woods.  One such couple host a music night in their home for travelling musicians who are making their way across Canada singing in bars and various other venues. They invite around 50 paying customers to their home for a "House Concert" and we get to hear exceptional, though not very well known musicians perform in very intimate, friendly surroundings and get to have a chat with them during the break (usually while we are purchasing their latest CD).

One of the latest musicians to visit performed many of his own songs (which were excellent) but he also sang quite a few of Neil Young's songs, (some of which I was not even familiar with).  When he started to sing "Harvest" I was very pleased, as it has always been one of my favourites.  As I listened to him singing the lyrics, I could suddenly see Dawn French as the Vicar of Dibley longing for a love of her own. Of course what better "Promise of a Man" than the handsome stranger Harry Kennedy as played by the always delightful Richard Armitage (may he soon play another handsome stranger).

This may be the last video I ever make!  I have grown tired of Windows moviemaker and my thoughtful and generous husband very kindly bought me the Sony Vegas Platinum professional edition! for Christmas.  I am embarrassed to admit that it positively terrifies me! It does not seem very user friendly and is waaaay beyond my meager vidding skills. I feel like I went from Kindergarten to Graduate school with nothing in between!  
I will do my best to learn how to use it, but it will be a loooong learning curve.
Meanwhile, I will continue to enjoy fanvids from many other very talented vidders out there and hopefully I will be able to find a mentor to assist me in my quest for knowledge. :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's half past Phylly's bedtime!

Lucas North in a Russian spy's bedroom

I didn't really make any New Year's resolutions. Well, sort of... but only two and they really go together.  That is, I want to go to bed earlier in order to do more reading. Oh, of course, also to sleep...perchance to dream...of you-know-whom! I do need much more sleep. But I also want to do more reading and the best place for me to do so is in my bed, just before going to sleep.

The way Lucas North is looking at the bed in this picture makes me think of how much I like to be in bed, but how difficult it is to get me to go there!

Here is a video about the television miniseries character Wallander and how he is so tired that he falls asleep in somewhat inappropriate places.  I was able to catch only a couple of episodes of this terrific series starring Kenneth Branagh on PBS's Masterpiece Mystery. Ruth at Booktalk and More has done a wonderful job reviewing the series on her blog. Servetus from Me + Richard Armitage has also made reference to her enjoyment of it.

Sadly the video I once displayed here, has been made private.  It was scenes of Wallander falling asleep (even while driving!) set to The Smith's song Asleep.  While I wish I could show it to you, at least you can still listen to the song -which is wonderful.  

It amazes me how The Smiths's music seems to fit so well to Wallander's personality.

Here is a lovely fanvid about the dreamy romances of Period Dramas:

Only When I Sleep / The Corrs by Joanamafalda

This magnificent fanvid about Guy of Gisborne and Maid Marian from BBC's Robin Hood series is like a sad lullaby.

Eternal Sleepsong / Secret Garden by JulietD001

My favourite way to go to sleep...Richard reading me a story! This is a fanvid compilation of all his CBeebies stories set to music. It has a very intriguing title:

Bedtime with Richard by AuzMoz

Shhhh! I think he's sleeping. I guess I should do the same...

I actually had my first RA dream on Saturday night (or Sunday morning to be exact).  I should have written it down immediately because it's a bit fuzzy now. I do know that he appeared as Harry Kennedy! He towered over me as he was leaning over me with a big grin on his face. I was very calm, in the dream -- like it was something that happened all the time! I do remember feeling very happy and comfortable and safe. Sorry, it's not more exciting than that, but it was lovely all the same. :)  Now that I know I might have another RA dream, perhaps I will be more willing to actually GO TO BED!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

My cap or yours?

It's been a week since I posted last. I am behind in bringing in the New Year with any of my followers out there.
In my last post I had a caption contest with a deadline of January 7th. So far I have had no suggestions. So guess what?  You are stuck with mine. Here was the picture:

Don't you think it's about time you were in bed?

See? I told you you could do better! Anyway, you might think the time on the clock is all wrong for that statement.  However, since I am on Central time which I know is 6 hours earlier than in England, that would make it past midnight where I am, which would therefore make sense.  Well, why should Richard care what time I go to bed?  Of course, he doesn't! But if he knew me, he'd know that I do my blogging late at night, so perhaps if I went to bed earlier, I wouldn't be blathering on about him anymore!

If anybody has another caption idea, please send it in. It's never too late!

I promise to be back with a longer post later. In the meantime, please send caption ideas to: