Monday, July 30, 2007

Fan Films

By now you will know my enthusiasm for consumer instigated media. I see the consumer’s passion for sisomo as the essential emotional resource for anyone who wants to win in the Attraction Economy.

The wisdom of empathy tells us that if we immerse ourselves in the passions of consumers, we will be in the right space to come up with creative products and brands that win their hearts. If you believe this, as I do, one place to pay close attention to is fan films. Not only are these productions often bizarre and wildly entertaining, they also map ideas, personalities and aspirations with serious powers of attraction.

What are fan films? They are films made by fans responding to the movies they love. Franchises like Star Trek, Batman, Star Wars and Harry Potter are out front as inspirations. Painstakingly created with actors or actor substitutes, they are frequently compelling, most often entertaining and always created out of passion and commitment to the movie they homage. But don’t just read about them. Check out some of these productions for yourself. If you learn nothing else, you’ll discover what is truly meant by the expression, a labor of love.


Susan956 said...

What generates and sustains such love? What about the themes such as good vs evil, hope vs loss, the desire for heroes and so on? I agree these issues are brought to us in stunning fashion because of sight, sound and motion and our senses are enlivened by way of those, however, I would contend that it's the evocative themes themselves that are at the core of ongoing love and fanbase commitment. Being able to work these via fantasy creates safety.

It's useful to read through, not just fanbase forums and blogs but general social blogs and those in other fields like lifestyle or craft and see there what people say about films such as Harry Potter. The fanbase people - the true devotees, can tell you what technology was used to create x, z and z. They want to know at that level. General social and cultural forums either discuss the themes or social problematics about issues contained within the films. I read through a screed of argument about whether the 'spells' in HP were bad for children or not and whether children would understand the good vs evil thematic and if they did what they may garner in terms of belief in their own ability to bring about change.

Given other fields argue that children often feel a despair about the world, I suspect knowing whether HP does indeed generate a feeling of hope is invaluable.

So, indeed, the sight, sound and motion but I am arguing how they meet and marry to develop the evocation of themes.

It is VERY useful - absolutely agree - to look on YT at some of the vids fans have created yet I would never undersell what people offer, ad hoc, in conversation and forums either simply because there there is no planning or thinking to it; they say what they feel at the time as compared to vids that DO indeed inform about the ssm issues that have been taken away and absorbed.

Kempton said...

As a film lover (of selected films) and a legal geek (of selected laws), I love the idea of fans creating their own version of classic films mixed and mashed with actual footage. At the same time, I can't ignore the legal challenges exposed by Prof. Lawrence Lessig's op-ed in Washington Post, "Lucasfilm's Phantom Menace".

Kevin, sorry for spoiling the fun a bit here. Following is an excerpt from Lawrence's piece,
"Upload a remix and George Lucas, and only Lucas, is free to include it on his Web site or in his next movie, with no compensation to the creator. You are not even permitted to post it on YouTube. Upload a particularly good image as part of your remix, and Lucas is free to use it commercially with no compensation to the creator. The remixer is allowed to work, but the product of his work is not his. Put in terms appropriately (for Hollywood) over the top: The remixer becomes the sharecropper of the digital age."


Piotr Jakubowski said...

Fan based creations (user generated content in the online world) have been all the rage recently. I mean, the past Superbowl featured a few ads created by their fans. Such passion for film and TV brands has been around for years, but with the recent accessibility of technology (cheaper equipment) and its ease of use, it has become easier to create this content.

Here's something from a recent Wired magazine about a group of fans remaking "Raiders of the Lost Ark" over the past 7 summers. Spielberg was so impressed by their efforts, that there is now a movie being made about them.

Susan956 said...

Piotr.. I have a friend in the reality tv industry and he and I recently debated just 'what' the genre was and what was included. One of my ending assertions was that I believe people are now more interested in real people and what they are doing than contrived tv as such. The Raiders piece you offered is a good example of this and I find it hearteningly to see Spielberg recognise the worth of the common voice (so to speak).

the paper bicycle; Peter Scarks said...

I champion the people who grab and camera and tell the world what they love. They will be entertaining me in twenty years. Well, with the revolution five.

Kevin Roberts said...

Interesting links, what Lucasfilm and others are doing represents a sea change in the way that the film industry deals with something that will happen regardless of their involvement. This is new territory for everyone. I believe that success will come to those who reward creativity and do not try to control consumers’ actions.

Susan956 said...

I agree on two counts Kevin. Firstly re your ending statement re rewarding creativity (and not controlling expression) and secondly with the inferred suggestion that the film industry are wiser harnessing these products and productions of love than ignoring them. Besides which, I am sure many of these productions give rise to new perspectives on how characters could have new lives, what and who characters are, plot schematics and so on. A hermeneutic cycle of development between originator and audience. Gotta love that.

Piotr Jakubowski said...

Susan - just how real is reality TV?

Most of these "reality" TV shows that have everything (and nothing) to do with love, relationships etc. are a joke. Sorry to bash on your friend's industry. Shows such as "Laguna Beach" and "Flava of Love" in the United States are a waste of airtime.

Personally, I think the increase in reality television is an extension of people's obsessions with the lives of celebrities. Except now it's "real people".

Susan956 said...

Piotr.. No offence taken at all and neither would my friend be precious. I suspect he's heard all the critical commentary there is to hear. He was certainly placed in public media situations a few times in terms of answering such critique. His current role is a little 'quieter' in this field than what it was. Mind you, I would trust him implicitly with a show or with producing a quality project. Not because I consider him a friend - but because I value his traits very highly.

His point to me was how we define reality TV and that the phrase is really a broader media construction. The shows you mention aren't screened here. But let's say a show like the UK 'Airport' or one here 'Border Patrol' which is really more a documentary style with a twist. These are in the same class as Big Brother or Idol or Dancing With The Stars.

So one of his points is that most people are ok with Border Patrol but will condemn Big Brother. He has also made the point that if BB was shown say here on ABC it could (operative 'could') be received differently and be considered a more serious representation of social commentary.

I feel two ways about that suggestion. I suspect that serious social commentary and critique aren't what the show sets out to do per se. I think there was a minor philosophy about that originally but that this fell by the wayside a long time ago. If the show WAS on the ABC it would have a prologue introduction and the audience would enter viewing with critical eye at the ready. And so on.

I feel many of these shows are actually behind the times. I suspect the vast majority of people are coming around to finding that true stories and true life events are actually more fascinating than paltry constructions. Light and shade is good however and mixes are always required. Stations tho need to step up and work more quickly to move on from this over saturated genre (in my opinion).

I suspect many are hooked on the lucrative phone dial in monies they reap and it will take a serious step away by the youth market before station executives respond. BB and Idol et al target 14 year old kids in the main. They don't always overtly say that tho.