EPISODE 0: Intro
For this little introductory episode, I'll be going through a few of the questions I had my interviewees answer for me.
What does it mean to be a fan of something?
I believe that a fan is someone who likes something. That’s really the plainest definition to me. Surface level, that’s really all you need, and really all that should count. Look a little deeper, though, and there’s almost a spectrum of where you lie as a fan in relation to That Something. (My one interviewee, Sam, described it as a bullseye, and it’s a good way to look at it, I think, as I talk about in one of my vignettes.) There’s a range of how you engage as a fan, if you engage at all, and that doesn’t take away from the fact that you are a fan.
Have you been part of a fan community?
As you, dear reader, will see later, I have been a part of many fan communities. Some in more depths than others—from a cursory “I like that” to “I have 5+ posters of that on my wall and interact with the fandom daily.” It’s funny, actually, that being part of a fan community/fandom and being a fan can be considered the same thing or different. As far as I know, the definitions are subjective. Even I interchange them sometimes, but I do believe that the two are separate. You can be a fan and not be active in the community, for example.
How important are your fandoms to you?
My fandoms… are certainly important to me. For some, the content is more important, and for others, the communities have become what most strongly keeps me engaged. I think I’ve always been a fan of something, though. You could argue that I was a Blues Clues fan—did I watch it because I loved it or because it was there? Hmm. But anyway. Being an artsy kid, I’d say anything with a story would hook me. Anything that pulls you away for the briefest moments from reality was something I’d give a chance (not really for an “escape” per se, but for fun). Plus, when I became more active in fan communities, there was this distinct, comforting feeling of being a part of something. Y’know?
Overall, I think my fan experiences started out as pure enjoyment, became influence and inspiration when I started trying to produce my own content, and now is all that plus sharp-eyed critique. (Seriously, don’t go to a movie with me, I talk and analyze the whole time and I am nOT SORRY—jk I’m a little bit sorry.) I think I’d attribute my observation, empathy, and editing skills to these experiences, now that I think about it. The more differences you expose yourself to in the world, the more you’re able to be open-minded, accepting, and understanding. (That’s my thoughts, at least.) As such, as you’ll see in the other entries, being a fan of the content I chose… really shaped me and my ideals, interests, wants, and habits.
Has fandom experience played a part in your identity?
Which leads me to identity. The past few years, I think all my work has somehow related to the concept of “identity.” A writer’s voice (which I did look into ad nauseum in the final project for my Writing Theory class with my entry “Voice & Identity in Writing”), what influences someone, where is a person’s place in a community and does that differ from how they would describe their place, etc. etc. As for myself… it’s like I said, all my experiences and the content I chose to consume have led me up to this point, for better or worse. I think, no matter what way I spin it, I have to admit that fandom has indeed made me who I am today.
Do you create content as a fan?
And lastly, indeed I have created fan content, but lol if you think I’m going to be linking any to this project. I made some fan art during my high school and college years, but most were doodles that will probably never see the light of day, regardless of how much I personally like them. Fanfiction, though? I consume that shit daily. What’s a published work? Idk her. Anyway, I have written a few, planned a lot more, and in my efforts to One Day Maybe Please Hopefully I’m Begging get published, most of them have developed into original stories, instead. Most of them Do Not Exist anywhere online, but ODDNights is going to be the vehicle with which I get to try them out. Hopefully.
Aaaaaaand that should about cover it for an intro! Let’s move on to specific fandom experiences.
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