Filk according to Conrad Leviston
What is filk?
Of the commonly expounded definitions for filk, the definition I like best is "The folk music of fandom". This is a good definition in that it makes allowance for most of the things that people class as filk, but most often filk takes the form of songs about SF or fantasy set to well known tunes, hence songs like "I fought the Borg and the Borg won". They are usually humorous, which indeed all of mine try to be, and so in its narrowest I define my filk as "Other people's jokes about Science Fiction or Fantasy set to other people's music".
How to write filk
This is just a brief silly guide on how I write filk and what I think is important.
There are a number of considerations I make when choosing a piece of music to filk to:
- Mood of the music
- My filk is always silly, so the piece of music has to be sensible otherwise there's no point. A filk on "Star Trekkin'", say, called "Red Dwarfin'" would be to my mind superfluous ("Red Dwarfin', across the Universe, four lonely hornyhumanoids three million years from Earth; It's curry Kryten, but not as we know it; There's smeg-head who's a holo-gram..." etc.). Far better to take a song that takes itself seriously and then ruin it for everyone who hears it thereafter. "I was only nineteen" is a tragic, stirring song which with silly words just sounds melodramatic (see I Was on Deep Space Nine).
- Recognition of the Music
- I personally feel that retaining the structure of the original in a filk is important. This goes for both word structure and storyline. For instance, retaining word structure in a Star Wars filk called "Stand by your Han" could lead to the line "Sometimes it's hard to be a Wookie". This line would only be amusing normally because it's silly, but the fact that it draws itself from the original and draws an absurd link. Note that if you are ever at a loss for a filk just take a song with the word "woman" in it and replace it with "wookie".
- No point in doing a filk to "Bohemian Rhapsody" if it's just you and your guitar. Use common sense, but don't be put off by the fact that your performance is not well suited to the original. If it's silly, but your song is too, go for it.
Use other people's jokes
Especially the ones that are repeated ad-nauseum. For some reason people think it's funnier when set to music. Don't be put off making as many references to Will Riker being the "Captain's dick" as you can.
Back to filk page
Inflicted on the net by Conrad Leviston, 8th of january, 1998