Fans AS Media Studies
What is a fan? Would you say that you were a fan?
The dictionary definition of a fan: “ardent devotee; an enthusiast.” Bennett et al. (2007) says: “Fans represent those members of the audiences whose have specific and dedicated interests in particular aspects of cinema. These interests may vary from adulation for a particular star through to an obsession with a particular genre of film.”
The word ‘fan’ carries with it different connotations: • a person with detailed knowledge of a film or genre • an uncritical reader of a film • a “stalker” or “anorak” Brad Pitt gets jumped on by an obsessed fan
Who here likes ? Well I’ll bet that you don’t like it as much as this woman…
Controlled Fandom • This is the type of fandom that the film studios like; can you guess why? • Second run exhibition windows i.e. special edition re-releases of a film onto DVD. • Synergetic cross-marketing i.e. memorabilia. • For the serious fans official trade shows and conventions help to keep the brand alive beyond releases. • Forums/chat rooms set up by the studios on their websites to generate excitement and good word of mouth. • Free merchandise like screensavers and desktops also all serve as advertisement for the film.
What are your thoughts on controlled fandom? Do you think that the fans are being exploited? Have you ever taken part in any of these things?
Uncontrolled Fandom • This type of fandom is far less popular with the studios… • Extreme fan sites containing fan fiction and even slash fiction. • Fan art which is not always be entirely appropriate to the franchise, however some sites are starting to include it in their framework. • Illegal downloads and piracy are also a problem. • Obsessed fans who actively stalk their heroes. Some extreme examples where fans have put the lives of their favourite star in danger.
What are your thoughts on uncontrolled fandom? How far would you go to meet a celebrity that you admired?