OTW Fannews: Fandom when cash is on the scene

  • Although there’s been a lot of talk recently regarding fanfic authors going pro, there’s been less focus on fan video makers. Tessa Stuart wrote in L.A. Weekly about Machinima’s overreaching contracts with fan producers on YouTube. “Over the last two years, YouTube has quietly transformed from the province of amateurs to an increasingly cutthroat ecosystem where everyone — stars, networks, advertisers — is competing for views, viewers and view time.” As a result “Internet and intellectual-property lawyers say that a rash of public disputes between networks and their talent suggests a serious problem in the emerging industry.” The article talks about the origins of the machinima community and how the practice was co-opted by for-profit entities. One of the latest is a new organization called Union for Gamers. “Everyone in Union for Gamers, Duncan says, would be entitled to the same CPM, which would be raised every year. Gamers no longer would be forced into restrictive contracts — union members would have the right to leave whenever they saw fit. He promises ‘resources to help people create better videos,’ adding, ‘and we’ll do the labor, the administration and ad-serving side, allowing them to monetize their content.'”
  • An AP article on Nerdist described the site as “the purest expression of fanboy-ism” following “a kind of manifesto…of an ‘artful nerd’ — one whose fandom isn’t merely critical and passive, but is passionately proactive.” The analogy to a growing empire seems apt, “As Hardwick says, there’s something of ‘a land grab with nerd culture right now'” and they are following it with podcasts, a YouTube channel, book, talk show, etc. “Nerds can be out about the stuff that they love without as much as the stigma against it as when I was growing up,” says Hardwick. “I just want people to feel OK about what they love. Unless that thing is murder and you’re a Murder Nerd.”
  • Writing for New Republic, Marc Tracy talks about the effect of gambling on sports fandom. “I am a football obsessive. I’m also something of a purist. Not counting fantasy football and March Madness pools, I had made maybe four sports bets in my life until last month, when I decided to bet throughout the NFL playoffs. I wanted to see if, as I’d long believed, betting distorts one’s appreciation of the game; if the psychic benefits outweighed the costs, literal or otherwise; and if I could balance one type of entertainment (elite competition) with another (risking money).” He found “Nothing is as bewitching as money. When it’s at risk, your mind can think of nothing else…There was great football being played, and here I was thinking about money—not even money that I had risked, but rather money that I had not risked.” His conclusion? “Our pastimes, whatever they may be, should be sacrosanct. They are part of why we go to work, save money, and take time for ourselves.”

What commercialization of fandom stories do you have to tell? Write about it 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.

News of Note
  1. Anne Jonas commented:

    On Saturday, March 2 in NYC, Emerita OTW Board Member Francesca Coppa and video remix artist Elisa Kreisinger will facilitate a workshop on “Talking Back to Culture Through Feminist Remix” at the 2013 Scholar and Feminist Conference: Utopia. We hope some OTW community members will be able to join us! Details available at http://bcrw.barnard.edu/event/utopia/

    — Anne Jonas, Barnard Center for Research on Women

  2. Claudia R. commented:

    Thank you for letting us know about this Event — we’ll mention it in our upcoming Events Calendar post!