OTW Guest Post

Guest Post: Emmanuelle Debats

From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

Emmanuelle Debats is a French independent filmmaker who directed 2 documentaries about fandom and fanworks. Both were coproduced by France Télévisions. Citizen Fan is available online without geoblocking until 2020. Last month a follow-up documentary, Fanfiction, ce que l’auteur a oublié d’écrire, (Fanfiction, what the author forgot to write), aired on France 4 TV. Today, Emmanuelle talks about how documentaries must allow silent voices to speak in our public media, and why the stories have to go on.

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OTW Fannews: Crossing Boundaries

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  • Hypable reported on how a The 100 fanfic went viral in non-fanfic communities. “It’s absolutely hilarious to see how non-fandom has responded to this fictional argument, and how people have even taken sides — but the fact that Clarke was immediately assumed to be a male does say a lot about our heteronormative society, doesn’t it?! Despite this somewhat depressing factor, The 100 fans are having a blast with this, and are fully embracing the ridiculousness of #ClarketheHusband. We’ve never been more in love with this fandom.”
  • Hypable also reported on a less happy example of a fanwork crossover, the appearance of yet another practitioner of the fanworks ambush stunt. “The segment started out fine, with Corden showing off brilliant, iconic pieces of artwork. But then… well. They start mocking fan art from artists who might have had less practice, or are younger. And Corden, especially, finds it all hilarious. And, sure. It’s amusing. Until you realize that there are people out there who drew them — and that these works are reproduced without consent or warning. The context of these pieces is stripped back; the smug hosts reduce them to a mockery, the butt of a joke. And these creators could be watching this show, without expectation, only to be accosted by unwarranted abuse.”
  • Of course, the print media is increasingly moving in on RPF fandoms’ turf by creating their own fanfic, focusing on anyone from local figures to politicians to celebrities.
  • Huffington Post pointed out how fandom’s use of social media had made their interaction with celebrity family members ever more likely. “But perhaps the best use of social media is the ability to know her son is safe wherever he might be in the world, thanks to the hundreds of thousands of fans almost ‘stalking’ their every move. ‘If they’re flying, I’ll do a search for “5SOS airport” and I’ll see they’ve landed and I’ll know they are safe…I would do that when I was looking after them too on tour, if they’d gone out on a particular night and I wanted to know if they’d come home to the hotel — it would be on Twitter — it’s kind of like they’ve got lots of little mums out there checking up on them.'”

What have been examples, for better or worse, that you’ve seen on fandom and fanworks crossing boundaries? 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 Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

OTW Fannews: Justifying the Drama

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  • The Learned Fangirl wrote about the professionalization of fandom. “As we see more mainstream writing and academic study about the economies of fan culture and digital media, the ideas that Timberg presents here are worth revisiting. Communities of fan creators are more robust than ever before, and the semi-professionalization of fandom is more formalized than it has ever been, with clearly defined points of access and channels of distribution of creative work (cons, social media, podcasts, etc.). And if technology is the lifeblood of the creative class, allowing more rapid growth and implementation of ideas from different sources, then that doesn’t sound quite like a ‘killing’ to me.”
  • The Columbia Chronicle posted about gender bias in fandom. “’People don’t think I’m mature because [WWE is] like fake wrestling and has a bunch of cheesy storylines, but I like it,’ said Tutson, noting that she has about 40 action figures and 11 games and gets looked down upon because people do not typically expect an 18-year-old girl to collect wrestling action figures.”
  • At ProWrestling.net, another writer complained about the reaction of wrestlers to critiques from their fans. “Coachman, like representatives of WWE frequently say, is using the ‘it’s about the fun’ argument and instructing others to sit back and watch. WWE likes to say wrestling isn’t meant to be deconstructed and thought deeply about. They like to paint a picture of an industry where the most important thing is smiles on faces. They like to ignore the call for responsible storytelling. ”
  • Meanwhile Metro ran an opinion piece asking for celebrities to start intervening in fan attacks. “The more popular the icon the more power and influence they wield, but too often they are silent when it comes to acknowledging the dark side of their fandoms. Jessie J has finally taken responsibility for her fans, isn’t it time every other pop star does the same?”

Drama? Fandom has plenty of it. Write about the events you’ve seen 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 Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.