Fans

3 03 2013

They generate revenue for authors, film makers, athletes, and countless other professions. They generate power if they’re large enough to harness major winds along coastlines and plains. Or if they’re small enough they can harness the wind in your living room to keep you cool.

Either way.

I’ve been thinking about fans in the ‘supporting creative endevours’ role lately. What’s impressive to me is that by harnessing the power of people’s free time artists and the like are able to make a living. You could do anything with a large enough fan base.

They are the ones who buy what you produce. They are the greatest source of marketing provided at no cost to you. Word of mouth is a powerful thing especially when its more than one mouth. Fifty mouths. Or we can even go ‘uncomfortable Japanese animation’ style and say a thousand mouths!

More mouths = greater exposure + increase in fan base which in turn = a living. And an increasingly greater ability to produce more. Be it sculpture, books, instructional DVD’s you make in your back yard on the proper techniques of Russian combat shovel forms. Whatever.

Fans are great.

But I have a question.

What happens when the fans start giving back?

Allow me to elaborate.

Every once in a while I stumble upon blogs or other sorts of sites that are dedicated to ‘Fan Fiction’. The loving creations of people who so adore the cinematic or literary accomplishments of others that they strive to keep their beloved stories growing by their own hand.

Lord of the Rings. Harry Potter. Aliens. Fifty Shades of Grey. And of course the list goes on.

Being purely driven by the imaginations of fans these works of fiction are created without the skills and creative energies of the contents original creator. That is to say J.K. Rowling does not write or probably discuss the finer points of the wizarding world with your average Harry Potter fanfic writer.

So how does this impact the original work? Does it make any difference at all? Do you see it as a complimentary tribute to a writer in that their fans refuse to let the work die? Or is it something else entirely?

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