News of Note

  • OTW Fannews: Women's place in fandoms

    By Claudia Rebaza on Tuesday, 17 September 2013 - 8:01pm
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    Banner by Robyn of OTW with female symbol and the post title

    • The Koalition discussed how sexism is hurting gaming. "Community is a very loaded word. While it lets us gamers come together under a shared passion, it also allows us to exclude those we do not feel meet our standards of membership...one group is conspicuously left out of the conversation: the female gamer. While a female gamer could be part of some or none of these schools of thought, they are both minimized and criticized when voicing opinions. Whatever a gamer may be, one thing most can agree on is that being a girl isn’t part of it."
    • Comics writer Liz Argall suggests women should embrace being seen as a menace to fandom. "I don’t like it when incredible people I know are misrepresented, under represented, and sometimes you just have to celebrate your awesome-sauce. Cheryl Morgan was called a menace to fandom because she created the fanzine Emerald City (1995-2006), which existed in digital and well as print. How dare a science fiction fanzine use something as science fictional as the internet? It just wasn’t fair! Cheryl designed badge ribbons in emerald and gold that proudly proclaimed menace to fandom. Recent controversies have made quite a few of us want to wear a menace to fandom ribbon, given menace reflects people, issues and activism that make our communities of practice a better place to be."
    • While celebrating fangirls at San Diego Comic Con, Fangirl the blog quoted a Grantland piece that recounted how patience could be short when it came to women's voices. "I confirmed with several people sitting in the immediate vicinity that it was a young man shouting 'Women who talk too much!' after the loudspeaker asked attendees to voice their appreciation for the participants in the 'Women Who Kick Ass' panel. It’s an ugly moment, an unfortunate capper to a great session, to be followed by many of the guys sitting around me offering up tired lines like 'I hope they feel empowered now!' and several recitations of the Twilight mantra about ruining the Con. To be sure, most people in the room were respectful. But at a certain point, there needs to be an accounting for the fact that there is an ugliness that burbles beneath the surface of too many Comic-Con events."
    • By comparison, Julia Errens at The Mary Sue talked about her experience at a Harry Potter con to discuss how cons can indeed be empowering. "This vocal questioning of societal norms was endemic for LeakyCon. All discussions I partook in or witnessed across the weekend eventually touched upon gender roles within the patriarchy. Clearly there was a keen need to talk. This slice of HP fandom seems to have created a safe space to not only get creatively involved and build media criticism skills, but also explore important facets of their own personhood. Anybody who finds that chucklesome needs to sort out their priorities."

    What stories about female fans and fandoms do you know of? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Killing authors

    By Claudia Rebaza on Sunday, 15 September 2013 - 12:16am
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    Banner by Lisa of a skeleton attacking an man in a 19th century graphic

    • A post at eConsultancy placed fanworks among other examples of the 'death of the author'.“While the barriers to entry for authorship have declined, the ability to remix and distribute content has dramatically increased. The ability to publish to the web, combined with applications that allow content remixing (Adobe Premiere, Wordpress, Instagram) has meant that original authors now find themselves with significantly more challenges to their intellectual property. Remix culture can completely change narratives to the intentions of the remixer. This is most clear in the remixing of television shows into vignettes that have normally satirical intentions.”
    • The New York Times described How to Make a TV Drama in the Twitter Age. Gathering together various show runners, they spoke about how audience perception was increasingly understood as shaping the narrative. "Robert King: Sometimes there are lapses of storytelling not even in the script. But when you get to the execution, either in the editing or in the acting, a bead is lost. When you realize when 50 people on social media are misunderstanding that in the same exact way, that’s something we have to correct. Carlton Cuse: When you’re telling a story, no matter how rigorous you are with yourself and your collaborators as to the clarity and intention of the story, you’re still in a bubble. The moment that the audience becomes involved, that bubble dissolves. Perception is reality. So, however they perceive it, is actually what it is."
    • Indie Wire featured Austenland as an example of what fans have taken from Austen's works. "'Q: You were saying that girls look to Jane Austen to learn about love, and because they want to be romanced. What do you think the moral of "Austenland" is with regard to love and what to expect from love?' A: I think the moral...is 'Girls, get your crap together, because it's not real.' And that's the whole thing, reality versus fantasy. [Keri Russell's character Jane] had to figure it out herself and stand on her own two feet, and not be so dependent on this fake world, and at that point she finally can find love. Because she took it to the nth degree and she needed a reality check...to my young daughter, I will say...[g]o for the Mr. Bingley. You need to go for that sweet boy. He seemed more real, in that the girl didn't have to change him."

    What stories about changing authorship and audience do you know of? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Everyone wants the fan market

    By Claudia Rebaza on Thursday, 12 September 2013 - 4:45pm
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    Banner by Bremo of a crowd with the post title over it

    • Publisher Random House launched Suvudu Universe, a community generated content site. Writer Justin Landon explained what a bad deal it is. "Here’s how Suvudu Universe works. The content creator signs up to be a part of the program, ‘subscribing’ their RSS feed to Suvudu Universe. If the content creator wants to share it with Suvudu Universe there merely tag the post 'Suvudu'. The 'editors' review that content and assuming it meets their criteria they repost it to the Suvudu Universe feed." The rights to that work though? Not only do contributors have no right to be paid, they grant a wide range of rights to Random House in perpetuity. "What Suvudu Universe is offering is no different than the underhanded rights grab Random House attempted as part of their eBook only imprints."
    • Negotiating rights for fanwork often doesn't turn out well. "When is a fan page not a fan page? When it's a Facebook page caught in a battle between its fan creator and a corporation desperate to turn it 'official.' That's the story behind BET's attempted acquisition of a Facebook page for its series The Game. The ongoing contest between the corporation and the Facebook page's creator, Stacey Mattocks, culminated in a lawsuit...Mattocks claims the struggle for control eventually resulted in a takedown notice from the site because she wouldn't allow BET to wrest the page away from her."
    • The YouTube site Machinima "wants to raise $80 million to create an online video subscription service" further monetizing machinima content. "'The fanboy viewer is crazy, engaged and ravenous,' Machinima CEO Allen DeBevoise told Reuters in an interview. 'We intend to raise capital to be a company in the spirit of HBO and AMC, but in an over-the-top world,' he said. 'Over-the-top' refers to viewers who watch TV shows online, bypassing traditional cable or satellite services."
    • A press release on PR Web announced that LiveLuvCreate Inc Adds Fan Fiction Facility to Site. "Specialist image creation website, LiveLuvCreate Inc, is now offering its website visitors with another means of expression after adding a fan fiction section to the site. The new facility has proven extremely popular, with more than one thousand fan fiction additions being made to the site in the space of just one week."

    What fan marketing or property rights stories have you come across? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Fanfic and publishing models

    By Claudia Rebaza on Tuesday, 10 September 2013 - 6:07pm
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    Banner by Natasha of ink and quill pen

    • Digital Book World examined the motivations for including Kurt Vonnegut in the Kindle Worlds program and concluded that fanfiction = marketing. "The backlist works of iconic authors fundamentally need exposure and marketing. That’s how fans of one book choose to read others by the author, and how new readers discover the work. The marketing budgets of large, traditional publishers are overwhelmingly focused on their frontlist offerings, so the backlist is forced to 'sell itself.' This is not the practice of the movie, music or textbook business, but it is the practice of trade publishers."
    • OTW legal staffer Rebecca Tushnet also addressed Kindle Worlds in an article on Airship Daily. “Amazon’s doing an experiment, and the good thing about not paying advances is there's not a huge amount of overheads,” she explains. Groups like OTW are pushing back at Amazon’s exploitation of their genre. “It’s just another business model representing another way of Mechanical Turk-ization the world of literature."
    • Fast Company had an interview with Philip Patrick, director of business development and publisher of Kindle Worlds, who claimed Amazon wanted fanfic of properties that were already selling well on its site. Asked what "makes one author’s work more 'fan fic-able' than another?" he replied "Really it comes down to great storytelling, compelling characters, and vibrant geographies that writers are excited to explore. Some Worlds are more current or popular than others, of course, but there are many iconographic works and characters that Kindle Worlds writers are going to love, like Billy Pilgrim."
    • A writer at the Huffington Post described what may be the new reader pattern: Finished Your Favorite Book/Show? Try Fan Fiction. "Despite stereotypes to the contrary, fan fictions can be quite entertaining and of very high quality. It is not uncommon for fan fictions to be better than their source material. Continuity and fluctuations in tone are less of an issue with fan fiction than you might imagine. Consider that your favorite TV Shows are written by a large, revolving group of writers. The multiwriter nature of TV Shows makes many works of fan fiction seem perfectly at home within the rest of a series. In many cases, the only difference between a fan fiction and a canonical manifestation of a fictional universe lies in its creators' willingness to pay for official rights to the brand."

    What stories about fanfic and publishing do you know of? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Anime missing and found

    By Claudia Rebaza on Saturday, 7 September 2013 - 4:54pm
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    Anime eyes by Robyn

    • Fantastic Memes discussed how anime fandom affects Japanese language learning. "In English, we have plenty of loan words from the Japanese language – and, particularly in the English-speaking anime fandom, these words take on different meanings and connotations from how they were originally used. It does have an effect on how anime fans (as opposed to textbook users) approach learning Japanese as a second language."
    • Blogger TheBigN discussed transience in anime fandom. "[T]he incoming class of freshmen had what I’d call a sharply divided focus on how they approached anime and fan culture than what I had. While the general format of club activities stayed the same, in choosing shows, their focus was more about shows that entertained...If they didn’t get that, some people would find some other way to get their anime, as this was when fansubs became easily obtainable. And this new group expressed themselves and their fandom more openly, with more participation in some other aspects of culture (from gunpla to cosplay), as well as how they watched anime...But while it wasn’t a sea change, but[sic] the time I graduated college, it definitely felt like my “era” had passed in a way."
    • Blogger Andy Piper praised the Nine Worlds convention citing how it was "an inclusive and diverse event – and that is the standout memory of my 3 days at the con. The range of tracks, fandoms and cultures on offer and on display was outstanding and I enjoyed the opportunity to mix with all kinds of folks and make new friends from across all of them." However while the event had an Indie Comics track, manga was not mentioned in the program and there was no programming that focused on anime either, whereas 6 of the 26 different tracks were focused on roleplay or gaming. The OTW was, however, featured in the Fanfiction track where OTW staffer Lucy Pearson presented Owning the Servers: OTW and AO3 in a post-'50 Shades' world.

    What anime and manga fandom events do you know of? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Analyzing fanfiction

    By Claudia Rebaza on Friday, 30 August 2013 - 7:27pm
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    • The Daily Dot wrote about Tumblr user destinationtoast's analysis of fanfic on AO3, which contradicted popular belief. "Explicit stories only make up 18.1% of the total, with G-rated fic being the second most popular rating. So it’s definitely not all 50 Shades of Grey out there. In fact, if you created a fanfic from all the most popular characteristics on AO3, you’d end up with a single-chapter male/male story (M/M takes up a whopping 45.5% of all AO3 content), rated Teen and Up, between one and five thousands words long."
    • Salon reviewed elements of Newsroom fanfiction and concluded journalists would find AUs more appealing. "What’s striking, though, at a glance, is just how few of the stories mention the news. Granted, fan fiction writers tend to focus on the bodice-ripping rather than cerebral elements of their chosen entertainments...Maybe if “The Newsroom” were surgically removed from the news — if Will McAvoy were an iconoclastic lawyer or doctor or, well, president, and MacKenzie McHale his slightly out-of-her-depth co-counsel or chief of surgery or veep — it would seem in better taste. It would be possible to evaluate the relationships as existing in the context of an office, rather than focusing so intently on what about the context is so wrong."
    • Buzzfeed posted an interview with a writer of what was claimed to be the longest fanfic ever. "The Subspace Emissary’s Worlds Conquest is currently over 3,500,000 words, making it almost three times as long as Marcel Proust’s seven-volume À la recherche du temps perdu, six times as long as Infinite Jest, and thirteen times as long as Ulysses. TSEW is “based” on the Nintendo fighting game Super Smash Bros. in the same way that Proust’s novel is “based” on a bite of tea cake, and it is a monumental thing. At present, the work has 28 chapters, which are grouped into a rough structure based on 32-bit role-playing games (Disc One, Disc Two, and so on.)"
    • Numerous sites posted about the live-action version of My Immortal, which "is widely regarded as the worst piece of fan-fiction that this world has ever seen." While it's easier to determine how many words long a story is than how good it is, another question is whether or not the story is even intended as fanfic. "Aside from the nonsensical plot, readers also believe that My Immortal was trolling because of the piece's aggressive assault on grammar and the English language in general."

    What fan analysis posts do you know of? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Who's claiming fanworks?

    By Claudia Rebaza on Friday, 23 August 2013 - 7:03pm
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    Banner by Robyn with the post title and OTW logo

    • Momentum Books covered the usual concerns about authorship in the fanfic age. But they also cited the case of "Jordin B. Williams’ novel Amazingly Broken that has sparked accusations of intense plagiarism of multiple best sellers, identity fraud, and all-round skullduggery when it came to promoting the book. Readers were furious to find Williams’ book had directly plagiarised large passages from other authors of a similar genre, and the author has since been confusingly linked to a previous fanfiction story with a duplicate plotline...Perhaps these examples are a cautionary tale for aspiring authors looking to utilise online communities, or a warning to publishers to be wary of unknown writers."
    • Who owns fanworks may become a controversial topic, especially if media properties distribute it without saying if they got permission to do so. Collaborative writing projects have been online for a long time with open-source characters. These days successful projects may be closer than ever to fan-created works. Projects such as Wikia's collaborative writing offer is deliberately asking for fan participation. But there's no discussion of contributor rights in their announcement, or what agreements fans might have to sign.
    • Fanfic's ability to generate money is creating more open discussion about a project's fannish roots. But as this post at Today.com (which quotes TWC editor Karen Hellekson) mentions, who will benefit the most from this openness is still unknown. Says Henry Jenkins, "'The gender politics are very real here. The majority of fan fiction is written by women who are telling stories that don’t reach the public, because Hollywood has a hard time telling stories about women's lives.' He hopes that Amazon has women on its Kindle Worlds advisory board who understand the role women play in creating fan fiction 'or they’ll get serious pushback.'"

    What ownership disagreements have you seen surrounding fanworks? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: How to be a fan

    By Claudia Rebaza on Wednesday, 21 August 2013 - 5:24pm
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    Banner by Bremo saying a fan is someone who has found something they like

    • Morgan Davies wrote about the stages of becoming a Teen Wolf fan. "I used to creep downstairs after my parents had gone to sleep to plug my laptop into the dial-up cable in our family room and load all seventeen chapters of a story in different windows before scurrying back upstairs and reading them all in bed until three in the morning, always ready to snap the computer closed and pretend to be asleep in case anybody came looking. Some years later...I started telling myself that at some point I would outgrow fanfiction, and fandom in general...I kept telling myself this until I was around twenty, or twenty-one, and then I decided that persistent self-delusion wasn’t cute."
    • Being a fan is increasingly being seen as someone who is a producer themselves. Den of Geek collected examples of fan creations memorializing Doctor Who's 50th anniversary. The variety of ways to be creative and share with others keeps expanding.
    • Diana Uy wrote in Manila Standard Today about How to be a Kpop Fangirl, interviewing Gigi Melodias. "Melodias discovered some of her longtime friends through fangirl forums and concerts. In 2009, She collaborated with some of these friends to start FangirlAsia.com, the first online store of Kpop merchandise with its own domain in the Philippines. Today, FangirlAsia.com is owned by Melodias, her husband, and sister. With some extra help, this small band of Kpop fans also organizes artist events and gatherings for loyal Kpop fans."
    • At least in sports fandom howerver, the collecting aspect is a predominant form of fandom activity. Thom Lovero wrote about jerseys as a symbol of fandom. "The jersey has become the flag of sports -- the most powerful symbol of the connection between fans and their teams. 'You can’t do any more than wear a player’s number on your back to show that connection,' said Merrill Melnick, a retired sports sociologist at SUNY Brockport who specialized in studying fan behavior." But when things go sour, the jersey takes the brunt of fan anger. "'When the athlete does something to let them down, they can’t take them to court, so symbolically they burn a jersey,' Wann said. 'It’s like someone throwing a ring back in the face, as publicly as they could possibly cut off the ties to the athlete.'"

    What fan history stories do you know of? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Recognizing women

    By Claudia Rebaza on Sunday, 18 August 2013 - 5:52pm
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    One foregrounded female shape, a box maze, and numerous small male outlines

    • San Diego Comic-Con appeared to be yet another opportunity for some members of the media to notice that female fans exist in large numbers. The Mary Sue discussed a study showing that women dominated conversations about Comic-Con. "Proving once again that women can in fact be nerds, Networked Insights has analyzed the social media discussion of Comic-Con, and has determined that women are in the majority when it comes to discussing the event. Based on 3.5 million social media conversations, it appears that 54% of the people talking about SDCC related T.V. shows, actors, movies, comics, and other relevant topics were women."
    • Forbes provided anecdotal evidence of the same. "Heading to Comic-Con, I expected the massive convention crowd to be heavily male. After all, we’re told again and again that young male teens are the main demographic for these movies. Hollywood puts almost no effort into attracting women or young girls to their biggest blockbusters so why should very many girls make the expensive pilgrimage to San Diego? Instead, the place was swarming with women. It almost seemed like there were more women then men." The conclusion? "There’s a huge untapped market out there for female superheroes."
    • Of course when commercial works are targeted at women, it isn't always what one would hope. Starmometer posted about The K-Pop Star and I, which is described as "fan fiction from Lifebooks...a romantic novel that involves two different cultures" and appears to be a self-insert story for music fangirls.

    What sorts of things do you think the media misunderstands about fans? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Fan conventions

    By Claudia Rebaza on Friday, 16 August 2013 - 8:47pm
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    Image by Robyn of gathered people with text reading Meetups Large and Small

    • SB Nation published a somewhat bemused summary of a day at MLB Fanfest but concluded that "The Real Baseball Thing has something to do with the act of playing baseball and something to do with the cumulative experience of watching it over a lifetime, and it's easy to sense its presence and see its effect. It manifests as a slow, blissed-out trancefulness, and it -- and not the sepia tones or the synergy -- is what still fills stadiums and domes. The chance to commune with it is what led volunteers to spend day-long shifts feeding pitching machines and encouraging strangers. It was the only reason anyone was at the Javits Center in the first place, and why the game -- alternately shrunken and puffed-up as it can seem -- can still fill six blocks with excited people."
    • Henshin Justice wrote about the growth of Tokusatsu fandom as seen at Anime Expo. "Power Morphicon is still in its infancy and focused on tokusatsu’s American counterpart; and G-Fest, the largest Godzilla / Japanese monster convention, is far away in the Midwest. Therefore, as the largest North American convention geared specifically toward Japanese animation and entertainment, Anime Expo becomes the big summer convention for most West Coast-based toku fans to meet and geek." This can be a mixed experience since no fandom is completely harmonious. "[T]okusatsu cosplayers aren’t exempt from harsh, unnecessary criticisms. John noted other toku fans who approached him and questioned his cosplay and criticized him for even liking anything related to the Kamen Rider Hibiki series."
    • Fan conventions are also the subject of documentaries, such as Fantasm, a horror convention documentary that "explores the bonds formed by the close-knit community of fans who attend horror conventions."
    • Get-togethers don't always have to be on such a large scale though, and animator Leigh Lahav created the short video "Fangirls" as a gentle poke at the trials and tribulations of female fandoms.

    What fan convention stories do you have? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

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