Saturday, January 20, 2007

They Are Circling...Hovering...Waiting...

A short interim post about the fans of tv shows. They can be an intensely fanatical rabid bunch, can't they. I was amazed how fast they descended after I posted the first part of the Hart Hanson profile/interview/whatever it is. They must have search engines or feeders or something (showing my lack of internet knowledge here) looking for words like Bones or Boreanaz or Hart even... because within an hour, like vultures (or crows) to a carcass, they swooped in and picked me Bones clean.

And it's mostly about the pictures. They loves da pictures. That Bones cast photo with everyone laughing is already turning up everywhere. And the fans are groovin'... OMG! ROFLMAO!!!

But your material can end up at a site like this...or like this...or here at tv.com - and in some cases your words or pics cut and paste in so as to almost appear as if it's their post. WTF? Oh yeah, in little tiny letters at the bottom of the page, it says 'source'. Source? Hell...I feel guilty when I lift even a little part of someone else's article and plink it into a post of mine (credited of course). But not the die hard fans...

E.g. a recent comment on another site...

I realized I didn't post the link to the interview (here), because it doesn't say anything interesting about Bones (it´s a Hart Hanson interview but is more about his career). Here is what the the interviewer had to said about the pic and I think it summarizes the reaction to the pic very well:

"Here you are pictured with the cast of Bones (and getting a smooch from David Boreanaz...the ladies are swooning)"

The die hards these days seem to know everything about a show, I will give them that. I always get surprised when I check out some of the forums or threads for shows like 'Bones' and yes, most of the posters are saying 'I LOVE David Boreanaz' or 'Emily Deschanel is HOT', but you'll see writer names pop up occasionally. You'll actually read 'I ADORE Hart Hanson. He's a doll.'

Seriously... (although Hart could've written it himself posing as 'Bonelover', ya never know. He he he...I said 'bone')

I was on the scifi/paranormal show 'Psi Factor' for several years when the internet tubes were really just getting going. And near the end of the first season, I was stunned to discover that there were fansites devoted to the show. With pictures. And cast/crew profiles. And episode summaries. And comments. Lots of comments. ESPECIALLY after an episode aired. Wow.

I can't tell you how much it floored me when I first saw all those sites. Because as writers and directors and makers of television, you spend so much time more or less alone with the material, and then you release it out upon the world...whereby hundreds of thousands or even millions of people may watch it. But you didn't really hear what people thought about it, except for the ratings numbers (and that didn't help because even if 2 million watched it, for all you knew they all thought it sucked). Unlike the movie theatre experience, where you can 'hear' and 'feel' feedback from the room...in tv, for the most part, you were out of luck.

Until the internets came along...

And if you thought I was floored to find fansites devoted to a show I worked on and helped create, imagine reading someone comment that an episode I wrote 'sucked ass and writer Will Dixon should quit the biz'. Or conversely, to read a comment stating that 'series regular Will Dixon wrote last nights episode about giant fleas and it was AWESOME!! He's a great writer!"
Or you'd read three or four commenters get in a raging debate thread about who was the better writer - you, or two of your colleagues...who were sitting across from you...at that moment. Or find fanfic about your show that was really really good...or better yet, hardcore gay fanfic starring your two male leads that was better written than most of your scripts with some cool plot twists to boot.

Surreal...seriously scarily surreal...

The internets made some stars of the unseen stars...Joss Whedon fer sure...and opened the door for us tv writers to get some feedback. How seriously to take that feedback, however, is another story for another time...


The rest of the Hart Hanson chit chat tomorrow...with more new pics! Woohoo!

"Caw"..."caw"... say the vultures (do vultures even "caw"?)

20 comments:

DMc said...

Uh oh, Will, some of those comments you're making on the fans are coming dangerously close to poking the crazy.

Don't do it.

Don't poke the crazy.

In a touch of serendipity -- theres some birds that sound like crows right outside my window now.

The_Lex said...

And to think, when you wrote about contemplating reacting to fans, I totally thought: just go on over to dmc's blog.

I still have to work on just accepting "fan" reaction, even with my amateur stuff.

wcdixon said...

no pokin' going on here... just 'marveling' at their... um...passion and commitment.

"Caw"...ack...help

English Dave said...

''imagine reading someone comment that an episode I wrote 'sucked ass and writer Will Dixon should quit the biz''

That was me Will. Sorry. lol

I wrote an episode of a popular Drama. It got close on 10 million viewers, a season high. The show has it's own official web site and I eagerly trawled through the 100 or so fan comments a couple of days after it aired.

Not once was the writing even mentioned, never mind the writer!

Good Dog said...

Regarding DMC's "Don't poke the crazy", I don;t know what the Bones are really like but... (whispers) don't say anything about some of the SG-1 fans. Yikes! Read some articles about their reaction to Mr. Shanks temporarily leaving the show and they're right off their woo woos!

Bill Cunningham said...

I ran into the SG:ATLANTIS crowd once. Pissed them off that reality is far different than the studio press releases.

Kelly J. Compeau said...

This reminds me of a comment made to me during a phone conversation I had with an office employee of one of Stargate's exec producers.

When Michael Shanks left the show, fans around the world were in an uproar. They organized themselves (via the internet) and signed a petition demanding that Shanks return to the show. Ten thousand-plus signatures, impressive!

So, anyway, they snail mailed the petition off to the above-mentioned producer and as soon as the office employee received it, he tossed it straight into the garbage can.

I laughed and joked that, yeah, those Stargate fans are a little off-kilter, eh? Then, after I hung up the phone, I realized...

Hey! I signed that effing petition! :(

KJC

Davidsbelgianlass said...

Hi

I'm one of those 'crazy birds'

can't wait to read the second part and
view pix that will make us 'swoon' & 'squee'

DMc said...

Well, we always gotta remember that "Fan" comes from "Fanatic." There's a good, decent level of wayyyy-out-there enthusiasm that's amusing and benign.

The problem is that the internet has made it so much easier for the other kind to develop, fester and metastisise...(sp?) -- by no means an exclusive thing to fandom, it's just that the ease of comm. on the net makes it easier to form a kind of fan "echo chamber" where they're only talking to themselves, and projecting a big minority opinion like it's ... you know .. conventional wisdom.

Living in an echo chamber isn't good for fandom, and it's not good for U.S. presidents. par for the course tho.

When I say, "poke the crazy" that's what I'm talking about.

DMc said...

Well, we always gotta remember that "Fan" comes from "Fanatic." There's a good, decent level of wayyyy-out-there enthusiasm that's amusing and benign.

The problem is that the internet has made it so much easier for the other kind to develop, fester and metastisise...(sp?) -- by no means an exclusive thing to fandom, it's just that the ease of comm. on the net makes it easier to form a kind of fan "echo chamber" where they're only talking to themselves, and projecting a big minority opinion like it's ... you know .. conventional wisdom.

Living in an echo chamber isn't good for fandom, and it's not good for U.S. presidents. par for the course tho.

When I say, "poke the crazy" that's what I'm talking about.

wcdixon said...

We could probably spend a whole day on this one... Alex, Denis (re: Charlie Jade?)...Mark? Certainly 'Corner Gas' has to have its share of obsessed..I mean, passionate fans and fansites?

Boris the Bewildered said...

I fail to understand what the objection is here.
The interview was posted on stumble upon for instance, which means that it's been exposed to an extra 1.3 million potential readers. It's a link to the author's website so there's no copyright violation whatsoever. If someone will broaden the exposure to something I wrote, I'd be grateful. Unless of course it was a private entry, in which case, i wouldn't put in on a public blog.
Do you really need to go into the reasons people are interested in your interview and resent that it's not because of unique writing style? It's a very creative way to make yourself miserable and alienate potential readers.

wcdixon said...

Not looking for a fight or to alienate Boris...I was simply surprised to find the pictures and in some cases the post itself cut and paste into another site WITHOUT at least an initial link back to the source site, that's all (though links back did eventually appear, sometimes within a comment on that site).

Stumble away...bring on those visitors...am not miserable

DMc said...

Boris, I'm sorry you're so bewildered. Perhaps that's why you failed to note obvious other implied 'b' word in what Dix posted: bemused.

His reaction was simply that and pretty honestly stated.

As for his mild criticism, well attribution may not be a big deal for you but I assure you, as someone whose byline and credit gets them paid, it is a big deal.

Now, in another context: I managed to teach university level classes from the time when the Internet was just becoming common all the way through to ubiquity. And though the "information wants to be free" ethos is interesting and laudable in theory, in practice what's happened is a rise of internet-raised students who think it's A-Ok to print out something they "found on the internet" and paste it into their assignments...without attribution, without sourcing, and without fact checking.

Now maybe you think that's A-OK. I don't. I don't think it's particularly a good trend for the dissemination of knowledge or scholarship.

The "I would be happy to have my writing exposed to that many people" is a canard. Will said nothing about the exposure: he merely noted the speed of dissemination, and the casual co-opting of the material, and pondered what it meant.

I fail to understand why his observations caused you to get all shirty.

Auntiemame said...

vulture here (although, not one of those big on plagerism). I wanted to say I found your interview with HH to be great reading...and the blog about crazy fans. I am even sometimes puzzled by my obsession. And you were wondering how we find everything: google, silly. Also, I don't believe vultures have any sort of distinct call.

Boris the Bewildered said...

Maybe stuff like "don't poke the crazy"and such got me all "shirty"(we crazy people tend to do that).
I absolutely agree with the need to credit anything one takes on their site - beyond that, the contempt is a bit startling...
May I add, Hart Hanson is very much beloved and respected, both for his writing and his forthcoming attitude towards the fans. I hope that won't make him lose stature with you, the superior set.

DMc said...

See you weren't crazy, not at all, not really. But then you went and got all offended like, at some good old fashioned lemonade sippin fun by the water cooler oh my god can you believe this business stuff...

...and then you got pissy...

So now you're crazy.

Way to go, bud. Wear it.

wcdixon said...

Stop pokin' Denis...you know what yer doing.

Tracie said...

Just wanted to chime in, since I'm the person who posted your interview on the LiveJournal community (I actually came across the link to this article on a totally different site.)

I've been a member of many "fandoms" over the years and *always* give the writer credit for the articles that he/she writes.

As for why people do it? People like to share interesting things with fellow fans who might not necessarily realize an interview is out there. I repost the story & the link back instead of just posting a link because sometimes sites go down, links die and this way, it will always be there for people to read it.

I, for one, am very interested in all aspects of television and movies (from the concept, production, casting through marketing and post production. I've worked in many aspects of theatre and did some minor things in TV & Movies - so to find an interview with the creator of the show - I found extremely interesting. It was a nice change from reading interview after interview with just the two main actors.

While some parts of online fandom still scare me slighty (ie. "hardcore gay fanfic" AKA "Slash") amongst other things, I think it's amazing how people from all over the world can get together to discuss their favorite shows beyond "OMG, that *insert celebrity/ singers name her* is SOOOOOO hawt!"

Aren't the fans a huge part of what keeps a show on the air anyway? So why wouldn't you want them to discuss the work that you do to gauge what they want? I'm not saying that things should be based around fans opinions, but I just think differing opinions are interesting.

DMc said...

Tracie there sounds like the kind of fan that any show would be *lucky* to have.