auterity

anonymous asked:

You're giving the fandom too much credit and far too little to the writers.

Is that an accusation? It sounds like an accusation, and a slightly aggressive one because you’re anon. I presume you’re talking about this post. I’m not sure what you mean by giving the fandom “too much credit.” Credit for what, exactly? And exactly how am I short-changing Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, and Steve Thompson? 

To invoke a meme I (so, so very ironically) unintentionally started, I don’t worship the Author-Gods. To put it another way, I think auteur theory is a bunch of hooey. I’ll let wikipedia help us out here:

In film criticism, auteur theory holds that a director’s film reflects the director’s personal creative vision, as if they were the primary “auteur” (the French word for “author”). In spite of—and sometimes even because of—the production of the film as part of an industrial process, the auteur’s creative voice is distinct enough to shine through studio interference and the collective process.

In the 1960’s a bunch of white French dudes who worked on a film magazine together decided that a movie’s director (NOT the screenwriter mind you) was the most important person in the cinematic creative process and that the end product, the film, (if it was “good”) was the product of the genius director’s vision. People speak reverently of Orson Welles to this day as if he were a creative island. (Just watch how he’ll be lionized when his lost film is released soon.)

People like to credit white guys (especially dead ones) with all kinds of magical powers. 

Auterism was a very influential ideology (and remains so to this day) even though so many critics poked holes in it immediately.  The gloriously opinionated Pauline Kael, famously, had none of it. She pointed out that credit for the greatness of Welles’ film Citizen Kane should be shared by the film’s screenwriter as well as the cinematographer. She also thought Welles’s later films suffered as his directorial ego swelled exponentially. 

Yeah, ok. She’s right. Give the writer and the cinematographer their due. I’m especially keen on the importance of Sherlock’s cinematography myself. I give a lot of credit, though, to the show’s below the line crew. Somebody has to push the dolly and turn on the lights. The physical labor that goes into making Sherlock episodes mean things is utterly invisible to consumer-viewers. 

This weird mashed-up mythical fandom-generated creature called Mofftiss performs all kinds of functions. For example, sometimes Mofftiss is seen as a mad (mendacious) genius who gleefully plants homoerotic clues everywhere in the show (including things they literally never touch or bother themselves with like wallpaper, and light gels) and lies about it. For some, Mofftiss are/is (a) queer-baiting arsehole(s). Whatever its role in fandom lore/wank/discourse/canons/etc. Mofftiss (sometimes incarnated in the singular as Godtiss) rules our emotions. Sometimes the name is used in jest. Sometimes with reverence. Could be all in good fun, or… not.

When I summon this genie, I tend to think of the entire trinity. I do give the writers LOTS of credit. I enlcude Thompson, too. So I usually say Mofftisson. That hasn’t caught on even though he’s responsible for writing the train wreck that is TBB, the feelz destroying TRF, and part of whatever you want to call TSo3. (A wedding video?) Note that Moffat didn’t even thank Thompson when he fetched his Emmy. So Moffat and Gatiss themselves as “show runners” tend to take credit along with Sue and Beryl— so they always link their power to Hartswood, the production company, who has as much power as ANY individual on the set. We don’t talk about that. [Interestingly, when Martin Freeman won his BAFTA he thanked: Mark and Steven; Beryl and Sue Vertue; Benedict; Paul McGuigan and Euros Lyn (the directors); and cinematographer Steve Lawes (“a fantastic DoP who managed to light me well”); Amanda and his family. HE knows no “supporting” actor is an island.]

I happen to believe that light plays as big a role in telling a story as words do (I’m writing a book about that) and that a silent look or gesture usually means even more (though what that meaning could be is highly subjective and one fan certainly influences another in interpreting it). There’s that famous story about how Martin will look at scripts and offer to do away with several lines by using one look, one gesture. When Martin’s face is half-lit and the camera tracks around his head and zooms in ever so slightly and the movement is made conscious to the viewer by the intrusion into the frame of the dim bokeh in the background— well we fans read defiance, pain, menace into John’s face.  

We make Martin into John simply by suspending our disbelief. Mofftiss can’t do that for us. It’s the single most important action in the making of meaning and WE fans do it. We see that John is having exactly NONE of Mycroft’s bullshit. We see him acting loyal to Sherlock after having known the freak for mere hours. In that fact, most of us see a deep attraction between them— some see platonic love, some see erotic love, some see a burgeoning romance. Many of us see that attraction poignantly and comically emphasized over and over.

What does THIS look say?

Feelz! It’s at THAT point where I say it’s the viewers, we the fans who make Sherlock’s meaning. We see the result of the labor of scores and scores of people- some with more power on the set than others— but everyone plays a part to bring those looks to us.

Now. To my mind Gatiss writes the best scripts, Paul McGuigan is the best director, Steve Lawes is the best cinematographer, Martin Freeman is the best actor, but none of them is responsible for this:

or this

We made Johnlock (with a little help from our frenemy Mofftiss.) That’s OUR genius. 

We fans brilliantly read our desires into Sherlock and we do it expansively, magnificently, lovingly, and we’ve done it for YEARS. We made the hiatus a fertile fallow period. We think more about Sherlock and what it means than “Mofftiss” do by a landslide. Many of us have clocked more hours into “deciphering” the show (which is to say making meaning of it) than all those people and entities expended collectively while creating it for us.

The script, indeed the final show, is just the tip of the iceberg. The fandom makes it profound, sees depths of meaning under the surface. That’s OURS. So yes, I believe the credit for making this silly show into something beloved, into ART is mainly OURS.

Kudos to the brilliant fan who made a single picture say 1,000,000 words!