OTW Fannews: Collaborative playgrounds

  • It’s not only communication between entertainment creators and fans that’s becoming common, but also a creative dialogue. Anna Pinkert at Spinoff Online wrote about the benefits of embracing slash and other fan creations. “At a recent event, a reporter showed The Avengers star Mark Ruffalo a series of drawings of his character snuggling with Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark. He began giggling, and then even made up captions for one of the cartoons, “Would you like a gummy worm?” Better yet, he told the reporter, “I endorse [this art] 100 percent. You know what it is? It’s open-source creativity.” She suggests that “[h]omoerotic fan art might be a new signal that you’ve arrived in Hollywood. People know your face (and your abs) well enough to do 30 sketches of you embracing another star.” At least some actors are ready to invite fans to play.
  • Of course, direct collaborations can be a mismatch of expectations. The L.A. Times wrote about Paul Verhoeven’s semi-crowdsourced film Tricked describing the problems. Fans were asked to develop chapters of a story that were then filmed. “Nearly 30,000 people…were part of the community submitting or commenting on prospective “Tricked” elements…Nor was the process cheap — production on the film only cost about $800,000, Verhoeven said, but the expenses incurred running things such as the online-submission platform approached $4 million.” Assembling disparate suggestions was also challenging. “When the suggestions poured in…they again found themselves with a mess (one writer might drop in aliens, another would dial in characters more at home in “50 Shades of Gray”), Verhoeven kept fiddling, working on the episode for several weeks, shooting it and repeating the process. Finally, after nearly a year, he had a film that was about 70 minutes long.”
  • A better model seems to be to adopt after the fact. “[W]hen ZeniMax Online Studios and Bethesda Softworks noticed singer-songwriter Malukah’s covers of songs from their hit game Skyrim had gone viral on YouTube, the companies approached her to create an original song about the upcoming massive multiplayer game “The Elder Scrolls Online” (ESO).” Suggesting that a game is by nature a collaborative creative work, writer Yannick LeJacq concludes “We can probably expect more blurring of the lines between fans and creators in the next-generation as the technology behind game development becomes ever more accessible and democratized.”

What do you think are the best collaborative fandom playgrounds? Write about it in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

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