House 'Vidder' Makes Good: Melanie D'Anna's Success Story

This is one of those fairytale stories about the stuff dreams are made of -- and it starts simply enough with a letter.

By , Columnist
This is one of those fairytale stories about the stuff dreams are made of -- and it starts simply enough with a letter.

“Mélanie D’Anna is a talent,” is how Greg Yaitanes, Executive Producer of the FOX television show House began a letter, which now claims a proud place on D’Anna’s website. Yaitanes discovered D’Anna’s House videos on YouTube and was more than a little impressed. “How do we work with her?” he asked his colleagues, as her “fan” tributes were every bit as good as the the professional promos his team was creating.

It was months later, when Hugh Laurie whimsically wondered how many times House had been punched in the face or fell down, Yaitanes had a brainstorm. “You know, there’s this woman in France who is making these amazing videos of our show. I should reach out to her and see if she’ll make one for you.”

So the House M.D. Project was born.

The project consists of four videos created by D’Anna with themes suggested by Yaitanes and Laurie.  Originally Yaitanes wanted to use the videos as extras on the Season 8 DVD set or as part of the House iPhone app. Unfortunately the cost for licensing the music was too prohibitive to make this idea work.


D’Anna agreed to talk with me via email about her life and what led her to this remarkable opportunity.

Where are you from and how old are you?

I'm from France, Cannes and I'm 28.

Do you come from a family of photographers, artists, or writers?

I wish I could say "yes". It would sound so great but... not at all.

Did you go to school to learn your craft?

I went to school, yes I did! But I didn't study media arts. I really wish I could have studied editing.

What do you do for a living?

I'm a graphic/Web designer.

Many elements come together to make your videos work: music, dialogue, episode footage. Where do you start? How long does it take to complete?

It depends on what kind of video I'm creating. If it's a House/Cuddy focus or only a character one, it's easier and faster to make than a general House video.

First of all, I choose the theme I want to work on. Then I need a good song or music. Without this I can't start 'vidding'. Then I "scan" the episodes to find the clips I need. I browse all the seasons if I'm making a general video. I don't know the episodes by heart. I do for some of them but I like to use a variety of clips so this step is very important to make an original video.

After all of these steps, I start editing the video as a whole. Usually it can take me two or three weeks to make a video, ‘cause I don't have a lot of time to work on it.

Do you have friends you bounce ideas off of before creating your videos?

I have two friends I use as beta testers once I finish a video. Don't worry, they are treated very well and never complain... not yet though!

What attracted you to House? How long have you been a fan?

I watched an episode of the fifth season during my Christmas holiday of 2008. All my friends were fans of the show and always said to me that I had to at least watch one episode to make my own opinion of it.  One day I did and watched the first five seasons in one month! Could not get enough of it. Since then, Monday is my favorite day of the week.

What I love about this show is its quality visually and its writing. House has the best dialogue ever. The character is so fascinating in every aspect. I think that all of the other characters of other shows seem so "pale" compared to him. I can cry and laugh while watching an episode of House. That's how good it is for me because I'm not a person who's easily moved  while watching an episode from a TV show.

How many House videos have you made?
I made twenty-one videos of House to date. (in almost three years).

Have you made fan videos for any other shows?

Yes, I started creating music videos with clips I was getting from filming the show The X-Files on my TV with an old camcorder. (Ouch, makes me feel so old suddenly). Then when the era of editing on a computer came, I embraced it. 'Cause, really, it was not that glorious before! I used to 'vid' for Stargate SG1, NCIS, Battlestar Galactica and The Office, UK.

What are some of your favorite House episodes? Are there any in particular you return to for footage more than others?

I have lots of favorite ones. It's very hard to name a few, but I would say my favorite of all would be “House 's Head"/“Wilson's Heart”. I tend to use a lot this one. It's just a masterpiece at every level. “Help Me,” “Baggage,” “No Reason,” “Three Stories,” “Both Sides Now,” “The Itch,””Family Practice,” “Bombshells,” “Euphoria,” “Mirror Mirror,”  “After Hours,” and the list could go on forever! People have to stop me when I'm asked that question.

Did you work with Greg Yaitanes on choosing the clips for the videos for The HOUSE Project or did he suggest them?

I was told the themes of each videos. Based on that I chose the music and did the selection of the clips.

Why, when you’re such a fan of House, do you call yourself NCISmelanie on Twitter?

Ha,ha don't mock me on that! I had this username since when I was watching NCIS. It's my YouTube channel's name so I kept it to match and have the same on Twitter, Vimeo, etc.

Who are some of your favorite filmmakers, photographers?

I don't have any specific ones. I'm more into music.

What are your goals for the future?

I already reached one important goal. I'm not a confident person, I'm never satisfied with what I do. But thanks to all this adventure I can think, "Okay, so maybe my work is good," and that's huge for me. So I will continue editing on shows that I love and which inspire me. House for now and for a long time for sure.

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Mindy Peterman is a freelance writer whose focus is on television, movies and pop culture. She has written over one hundred articles for the award winning website and has conducted interviews with producer Peter Asher, psychic-medium John Edward, Greg Grunberg and Bob Guiney from Band…

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