Where Do We Go From Here?
Fans, Fanfiction and the Media, Publishing, and Entertainment Industries
March 25, 2015 • 7:00-8:30 pm
Since the publication of the fanfiction-based blockbuster Fifty Shades of Grey, the world has turned its attention to fanfiction as never before. In 2010, most of the publishing world had never heard of its existence. In 2013, a Hollywood Reporter review could begin with the lines “you may have, somewhere, encountered the word ‘fanfic’.” Today, stars routinely read from fan-penned sex scenes for the laughs of late night talk show hosts. Bands, movie franchises, and even Cosmopolitan host fanfiction contests, and television shows such as Sherlock and Supernatural have represented fans and their stories in controversial episodes. It’s only beginning. The next generation of cultural producers—current Princeton students among them—grew up not only reading Harry Potter but also sharing stories and artwork inspired by it online. Not everyone—on either side—sees these all as positive developments. How can competing interests—journalists looking for clicks on their stories, publishers looking for a sure thing, websites looking for traffic-driving content, films and television franchises looking for buzz—interact with a global, not-for-profit, predominantly female community whose members are often anonymous, marginalized, young, and (if older) fearful of discovery? And yet these are active, critical readers and viewers, they are far more diverse than media representations of them suggest, and they are increasingly not just demanding a voice, but finding one and using it, loudly. How will fans be satisfied when their desires run contrary to a paid creator’s vision or industry data about the bottom line? How will the crowdsourcing of content and the willingness of amateur writers to share their work for free impact the compensation structure of professional writers trying to make a living? And how, in a world of copyright, is any of this legal?
This panel brings together fans, journalists, and other industry observers to discuss the changing relationships among fans and their fanworks, the industries that sell them the stories they love, and the journalists trying to cover it all while adjusting to their own transforming industry. Join us as we look at where we have come and try to answer the question: where do we go from here?
Emily Nussbaum, television critic for The New Yorker
Jamie Broadnax of the podcast and website Black Girl Nerds
Elizabeth Minkel of The Millions and The New Statesman
Heidi Tandy, intellectual property attorney and longtime fan
Moderator: Anne Jamison *01, Visiting Professor, Princeton graduate alumna, and author of Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over The World (2013).
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, SEATING LIMITED. CONTACT ANNE JAMISON IF YOU ARE NOT IN THIS CLASS AND WOULD LIKE TO COME.