wickedwords: (fanlove/fansnark  by tzikeh)
This came up at Escapade, so here's a link to the potlatch essay I wrote in 1999. It's been nearly ten years since I wrote it, so it needs updating, but I think the concepts still hold.

The Fannish Potlatch
wickedwords: (fanlove/fansnark  by tzikeh)
Lately, I've been thinking about origin stories, the stories that people tell about how their world came into being, and about the way fans talk about their origins. To my way of thought, most people start in fandom within a single community founded on a very focused interest, whether that interest be a TV show, a book, a movie, or a whole genre of stuff. This silo-style community has existed forever, wherever people have gathered together and bonded over their love of something, building friendships out of their passions for minutia and detail over something that the rest of the world just doesn't understand. So Sherlock Holmes fandom was a silo in the 1800s, as was 'Little Nell' fandom. There was probably a Hercules silo back in ancient times, when all the Herc fans would hang together and talk about their favorite stories, and who told the best rendition of the 12 labors.

In fact, I bet of these silos were incubators, what I call threshold fandoms, that brought a lot of new people into that one fannish community. They learned what fandom was within the confines of their silo, their community of origin. Back in the day when we had gatekeepers to fandom, the gatekeeper would teach you how to interact with other fans, and define appropriate behavior. The gatekeeper created a mask, a template, for what was expected in being a member of the community, and that, in turn, became the expectation about what would happen in any fannish community.

Media fandom began as one of these silos. In begat, begat, begat terms, Science Fiction fandom begat Star Trek Fandom which, in turn, begat Media Fandom. Before the late 1970s, there was no such thing as a media fan; everyone was a fan of their specific fandom, whether that was Star Trek, The Man from Uncle, Led Zeppelin, James Bond, or The Lord of the Rings. The origin fandom was all: father, mother, sister, brother. It defined who we were, and who we interacted with, the geeks, the wonks, and the nerds. We were all soul mates (if you include bitter enemies in the definition of soul mates), and we'd always be together.

In 1975, though, the world changed. Because 1975 brought Starsky and Hutch to the table, and from that point on, things could never be the same.

I can't really describe the acrimony that existed as old Star Trek and K/S fans fell under the spell of Starsky and Hutch. It was so bad, the first Starsky and Hutch zine planned to publish completely anonymously, no names attached, because of fear of reprisal. Women who were made of strong stuff vowed that they could and would put their fan names on their fiction, no matter what friendships it cost. It was a bloody civil war.

By 1977, a sort of accommodation was made, with fans agreeing that both silos could exists, and turning cold shoulders on the defectors to the other camp. But 1977 brought "The Professionals" and "Star Wars", and suddenly, there were a heck of a lot of silos around. Fans needed a way to talk about people interested in more than one community, and so they came up with a term: Media Fan. People looking around at all the sources of fandom, and realizing that "hey, wait a minute, I did this same sort of writing thing back when I was a Led Zepplin fan", and out came the drawer fic that people hadn't admitted to having, back before the great schism. It became the umbrella term for everything, no matter what the source, as long as the community and the social network remained the same.

And in 1978, that media fandom community begat the first Media West con, albeit under a different name.

So to my way of thinking, this is the point at which Media Fandom really begins. There are silos and communities before it, of course, as we didn't fall out of the ether completely formed, but the creation of the term Media Fandom was a symbol of accommodation, embracing the diversity of those who were Media fans.

This story is not completely true, and it relies on history and experiences that aren't universal, and have been talked about and retold so many times that it's hard to see the truth. But I like the ideas in it, that we created the term media fandom out of a desire to preserve friendships and find a middle ground, where we could all exist.

YMMV, of course, as we all have our own origin story. But I think this one is mine.
wickedwords: (vid tv by sherrold)
[livejournal.com profile] killabeez said something like:

You know what would be cool? The vid version of the 5 stories meme. So, with that thought, here are 5 favorite vids that I have done. I'm not going to say that these are the best or always my favorites, but for the moment, these are the ones

1. Lives in the Balance, Wiseguy, Character Study for Roger Lococo,on our vid site
I've always loved Roger, and I assume most people know the backstory on this vid. It was the first one I ever picked the song for and had the vision for. [livejournal.com profile] sherrold did all of the button-pushing as it was first made during the 2-VCR era, while I was on bed rest with pregnancy-induced blood pressure problems. It was a great way to keep me entertained.

The version on our vid site was re-cut from the DVDs last year. I'm hoping to post it up on Imeem later today.

2. Hair, Multimedia, bouncy fun con vid, not available on-line
Unfortunately, this vid will probably never be available on-line as it has just too much source to track down. We scoured fandom for a year pulling all of the source together, asking people to bring tapes with them when they came up to Seattle to stay. My favorite two clips in it are the slow hair flip with Armond, and the slow one with Castillo pushing his dripping wet hair out of his face as he stands in the water. I love the way those two moments are so slow in contrast to the rest of the vid that it just re-frames the whole thing. They are perfect hair-fan moments.

3. He's the Man, The Sentinel, Character Study for Jim, not available on-line
I was at [livejournal.com profile] sherrold's office to take her to lunch one day, and she said, "you have to listen to this." Then she played the comedy bit, and when it was over, I blinked and said "you know, that would make a great vid." We dragged Jo into it, and did shuttle vidding; I don't think the three of us were ever in the same room at the same time while we worked on this vid. I loved how we were able to show Jim's two sides, the action-hero and the girly-man. I have such a fondness for that particular combination.

Have I mentioned how much I love contrasts? I'd say Bodie, Jim, and John Sheppard are all in the "psychokiller or pretty, pretty princess" vein.

4. Voodoo, Invisible Man, Character study/relationship study about obsession, grainy imeem streaming version or on our vid site Originally, Sandy and I had a completely different vid plotted out, but we laid the first clip down--an eye image--then looked at each other and went "okay, cool. We are going someplace else." I loved the way the obsession between the two men and the way that quicksilver connects them

5. Stress, Stargate Atlantis, Character study for Rodney McKay, grainy imeem streaming version or on our vid site
I originally wanted to use this song for Buffy, but it never really fit. I guess that's because it was waiting around for Rodney to arrive, as the song is the perfect fit for him.

Honorable Mentions:

Hippie Boy, The Sentinel, character study for Blair, not available on-line.
This one is really Jo's brainchild, as she had the song, but I got to work on it and learned so much in the doing. Jo has a great eye for camera details. We had to work for it as Blair's visual angst generally ranged from somewhat bemused to pretty darn bummed.

Wipeout, SG-1/Farscape Parallels,on our vid site
Ha! We did this before Cameron and Valla showed up on SG-1, and knowing that I did that fills me with unholy glee. Essentially, I made a vid that pulled the Farscape characters into the SG-1 universe, and then TPTB did that FOR REALS. Is that not awesome or what?

Same Thing in Reserve, The Sentinel, constructed reality, not available on-line.
We had a lot of fun building the universe where Blair and Jim were outed, plus we got to use Katherine's really cool fader to do the transitions! This was a pre-digital vid, made with 2 VCRs and we needed a whole 'nother machine to do the crossfades that just take a widget in premier anymore. (Hey you kids, out of my begonias!)

Okay, writing this up was a lot of fun. Thanks for tagging me, Killa!

ETA: Forgotten vids? I forgot all of the ones we did that were HL! DOH!
wickedwords: (14 valentines)
A while back, [livejournal.com profile] queenzulu asked for some meta on "Fandoms I Have Known." It became more of a history of me and my participation in Fandom, rather than talking a lot about the fandoms themselves. So, for [livejournal.com profile] 14valentines, I finished putting the finishing touches on it while [livejournal.com profile] elynross read through it so I wouldn't subject y'all to my random capitalization and spelling.

My Life as a Fan )

The 14 Valentines Issue of the Day: Women and Voting


wickedwords: (Default)

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