Fan this fan that

The central groups this weeks readings concered was fan club. Jenkins first piece pointed out the movement from large entertainment companies controling the movie industry, towards a world where the everyday person armed with a digital camera rules. There’s a feeling backed by the fan community that in taking the power into their own hands, they are able to really develop and evolve the medium as an art form. The key example Jenkins sites as a catylyst is “Star Wars”. Before notions like “intellectual property” and ownership rights, creative reworkings of epics through oral tradition were quite prevalent. Instead of fans observing quietly from a distance, they are becoming “active participants within the current media revolution, seeing their cultural products as an important aspect of the digital cinema movement.” The proliferation of these fan based works greater expands the points of entry for people to buy into something, creating an “entertainment supersystem.” This participatory culture is aided by current technologies and software which increase the ease of transporting. The dilema between whether fans should have ownership rights over whatever they make, or if these should ultimately belong to the original creators of the material they borrowed from, brings us back into the troubles of fair use and copyright.

An idea that was expanded upon in Jenkins “Harry Potter” piece was the one where fan web sites creates a space that helps “enable a sharing of technical advice; and trading such information helps to improve the overall quality of work within the community.”   It sparks the idea that regardless of a persons degree or education they can be admirable in a field of work solely through their prowess. Fan communities are an environment where everyone can display their work without having corporate backing or special connections. Fan culture promotes specialized growth in their respective areas. My personal favorite example that was mentioned was that of fansub groups for anime and Japanese drama shows. Using existing works as “creative scaffolding” and for inspiration, people are able to explore mediums and continue their development. While the methods fans take in creating their works may not be approved by “professional” educational institutions in their fields, there is still merit within them.

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