Amateur movies, amateur voices, and information value

Have you heard of “sweding?”  It means making a low-budget, amateur version of a popular film.  Gratch (2018) explains the term’s origins and the fuller concept (pp. 111-112).  Aesthetics matter less than does participation.  Here info lit comes into play.

Sweding can be done as parody.  Deb Margolin (as cited in Gratch, 2018, p. 112) celebrates parody as a place for the amateur.  Likewise novice voices can have a place at the scholarly table (Association of College & Research Libraries, 2016, Scholarship as Conversation section, Dispositions subsection).

Sweding assignments can foster discussions of “adaptation, popular culture. . .and even copyright law” (Gratch, p. 113).  These issues come up in the Information has Value frame (ACRL, 2016).  For instance, how do we credit the initial creators?   We have the cinematic conventions of opening and closing credits.  Though these differ from the rules of academic citation, they serve a similar purpose.  Even academic presentations have source slides at the end.

Sometimes storyboards or scripts can be enough to spark these discussions.  As a gag I thought of voicing the Quantum Leap intro over slides of my cats, who were named for the show’s characters.  I would include an end slide crediting the series creator and any other relevant sources, especially the intro text.

Gratch shares still images from two of her sweding projects (p. 110).  I’ll close with an image I’d use in my hypothetical project.

Tabby cat on its back
My cat Sam, ready for his star turn


Association of College & Research Libraries. (2016). Framework for information literacy for higher education. Retrieved from ACRL website:

Gratch, L. M. (2018). How I learned to Swede (and you can, too!): In praise of amateur aesthetics.  Text and Performance Quarterly, 38(1/2), 109-114. doi: 10.1080/10462937.2018.1434234

Image credit: Maureen Perry

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *