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!


Ali said...

Thanks for this interview, I've been a fan of Sooth's videos for a long time and it's nice to find out a little more about her. Back in Black is one of my all time favourites, I always have a smile on my face watching that one and it captures the essence of Guy perfectly.

I hope she does a John Porter video, that would be fantastic.

bccmee said...

Fascinating interview. I look forward to a Strike Back video!

Phylly3 said...

@Ali -- You are very welcome! Back in Black is a lot of fun to watch! Thanks for visiting!
@bccmee -- Glad you like it! Yes, I hope she does too!

Anonymous said...

Sooth is new to me, and welcome!

A Beautiful Disaster reverberated with Yeat's "A Terrible Beauty", though not a viable analogy. Just no accounting for association of thought.Just the phrase...

Back in Black resonated with Ricky Deeming. I think Gently was made subsequent to RH, but Gisborne elements were present. Pity the Deeming character was not further developed. But that's just us RA supporters...(well, me, anyway).


Fanny/iz4blue said...

I bumped into her recently on YouTube! Had a few messages back and forth, lovely post and interview!! SQUEE for MORE!!
 More Guy and Amy, once you've seen Strike Back no doubt plenty of vidding ideas will pop in your head! Porter is irresistible!! Ask Bccmee LOL
I LOVE Beautiful Disaster but must grant Back in Black as the ultimate iconic Gisborne vid!! He strutted his blacks like no other!!

Anonymous said...

Lovely vid and interview. Thank you for the introduction.

RAFrenzy said...

@Phylly, This is great! I've always wondered about Sooth. So cool that you interviewed her!

Beautiful Disaster is a classic of the Guy fanvideos, but my favorite of Sooth's is Hand that Feeds. I wanted to feature it on a blog piece awhile back, but it wasn't available. So glad it is now!

Oh, and I'm expecting great things from you now that you have that fancy editing software. :D

Amy (aka Sooth) said...

Hi everyone! I first want to thank Phyllis for the great honor of being asked to be her first interview for her blog site. I was very flattered to say the least, and I had a great time working with her on this. I have been reading all the comments and want to thank you all for leaving such kind thoughts on the interview- and my videos. It still surprises me how many people I have run into that remember my videos from a couple of years ago. I hope to be able to find some time to work on something new this year- maybe John Porter...*wink*...but I still think I have unfinished business with Giz. LOL

Thank you again everyone for taking the time to read the interview and for your thoughtful comments! :)


DEZMOND said...

It's interesting how so many RA fans started off as Butler fans :)

mulubinba said...

Great interview - thanks so much Phylly and Amy. :)

Avalon said...

Brilliant interview. Love her work:) I have always said RA has some of the most talented, caring fans.

Anonymous said...

Interesting interview -- I didn't know these vids but I will check them out now!

theeyeshaveit said...

I have been a fan of Amy's vids for a long while and it was lovely to learn about her. Along with vids already mentioned, Drop Dead Gorgeous is also a favourite. Thanks for the interview and I hope to see a new video one day, especially of NS where many of the brilliant ones creatively were made in the technical dark ages when compared with today.

Anonymous said...


This is literally all I could find about Soothvids online. I have been searching for a LONG time to find my favorite video of hers which was a Phantom vid set to Better Man by Pearl Jam. I used to have it saved, years ago, but my computer crashed and I lost it. I still think about it often. She used some really interesting effects and I loved the red on the black and white. Seriously awesome stuff. Definitely missed.

Really cool to see this interview though. I wish youtube hadn't been so . . . well . . . youtube-y. :)

Phylly3 said...

I know! I really miss Sooth's videos on Youtube. I wish she would try and upload them again.
Thanks for reading my interview. It was such fun learning about her!