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In December 2018, a music video appeared on YouTube, one that set scenes from The Avengers to Chris Isaak's 1989 hit single "Wicked Game." One might assume the editor who made the video was a big fan of '80s supermodel Helena Christensen, who rolled around in the sand in the song's original music video, or maybe that the video came from David Lynch, who famously loved the song. But no, 19-year-old Gabi, an amateur video editor in Brazil, uploaded the video to please her 5,000 YouTube subscribers, who clamor constantly for superhero content. The Chris Isaak joint just felt right.
Gabi, who spoke with SYFY WIRE via email, is pursuing a career in software engineering, but still routinely crams 10-30 hours of editing work per video into her demanding schedule. "My routine can be summed up by attending college, running errands, and studying pretty much all day long," she says. "Sometimes I'll go weeks without editing, but then I'll get an idea and it's like I can't close my editing software until I'm done, which results in me trying to remain functional on four hours of sleep for days." Her video ideas are imaginative, punchy, and stunningly well-executed, especially for a teenager and a full-time computer science student. On top of all that, she's really, really good at Twitter.
She's created character studies, music videos, and mash-ups, mostly using superhero movie footage, but occasionally dipping into movies like Baby Driver or television shows like Hannibal. Her most popular video to date is the Avengers/Chris Isaak music video, but her funniest has got to be The Avengers line-up rendered Brooklyn 99 style, as if Cap and Bucky were starring in a workplace sitcom.
Why did you decide to start putting content on YouTube?
Gabi: I started editing back when Vine was still a thing. When it ended, most fan-editors migrated to Instagram, but YouTube was something I'd been thinking of doing for a long time, so it made sense to move there instead.
Where did you first see fan-made music videos? What are some of your favorites?
On YouTube, back in 2011-2012. The first channel I ever discovered was Grable424, and they pretty much made editing seem like the coolest thing in the world to me. I wanted to learn how do it so badly, but I guess I didn't have the guts to put myself out there until a good few years later.
My all-time favorites are "Tessellate" by Grable424, "Seven Nation Army" by Grable424 and djcprod, and "A Soul For A Soul" by Slyfer2812. On that first one, honestly, whoever Grable424 is, they are a genius. What you're looking at is probably the most original bit of fan-video making in all of Youtube's editing community. It's outstanding in every way.
Do you aspire to work in filmmaking or music one day?
Music? No. Filmmaking? No and yes. I have many reasons not to be actively pursuing a career in film as of right now, most of them tied to the fact that I'm as far away from Hollywood as I could be (also because both film school and the industry in my country are jokes). It's a very unrealistic career path for me, which is why I'm pursuing software engineering instead, but I can't tell you I wouldn't drop everything for a worthy offer from a big studio. Editing is my passion and I would absolutely love to do it for a living, but I'm also a realist who avoids waiting around for wonderful things to just drop on my lap, so I try not to think about that unlikely possibility too much.
Do you find there's a difference between fan communities on Twitter and YouTube? Where else do you have a presence? What's your favorite social media platform?
There's a huge difference. For starters, the YouTube community is much more demanding when it comes to skills and technical quality just because there are so many incredible editors there (which is a good thing, because it pushes me to do better and be careful with what I decide to put out on my channel). Second, my platform on YouTube is way smaller than on Twitter, so my work doesn't get a ton of feedback when I share it, but my effort is nearly always compensated by the explosive attention my videos get on Twitter. Basically, YouTube is the grounding rock I need to keep on improving while Twitter is where my active community is.
I don't really have a presence anywhere else; I've never liked Instagram, and I've been trying to consistently use Tumblr for years but it's just not my cup of tea. My favorite social media platform is Twitter.
What's the geek/fan community like in Brazil? Do you attend comic cons?
It's huge! I mean, everyone likes superhero movies nowadays, but I know more than just a few hard-core fans myself. Problem is, even with such a large fanbase, we still don't get a ton of cons. Only one I can think of is Comic Con Experience (which happens every December), but that's still in its early years and it's quite expensive to attend so I haven't been able to go yet. I can't wait to, though, it seems like so much fun! Hopefully in 2019.
Who are some of your favorite superheroes?
Wonder Woman, Scarlet Witch, Captain America, Black Widow, Iron Man, and I'm quickly falling in love with Brie Larson's Captain Marvel.
Why do you think it's so important to create and promote female characters in geek media?
Because of the cliché reason: representation matters. My dad raised me watching superhero movies (he was always a fan of Wolverine and The X-Men), and I loved them so much but I never quite got to see a superhero like Wonder Woman in those films. It blows my mind that little girls are getting to grow up with a role model like her now, and with Captain Marvel on its way, things are looking brighter than ever.
Geek media is largely consumed by men, and for years there was a misconception that they were the only percentage that deserved to see themselves represented by complex, powerful, and authentic characters in comic book movies. Thankfully, the scenario is changing, and I think the creation and promotion of female characters in this medium is making girls and women less and less afraid to join the geek world, which is great. We have this network of support now, we're a large, loyal group. Editing aside, my social media presence is focused on providing a safe space for girls who love superheroes, and I'm very proud of the community I've built.