Letting the fans write your shows future . . . literally

Yesterday I e-talked about how some of the most entertaining entertainment opened a door to a world that an audience had never seen before.

Well, while researching that blog (which was about 50 Shades of Grey), a giant door was opened to me which led me to a wormhole of a world that I knew absolutely jack about.  (Side note: one of the reasons I love writing this blog, is I learn a crap load while prodding and poking blog ideas – which is why I recommend blogging to all those curious cats out there.)

What was waiting for me on the other side of that door?

Our fans.

First, back story.  That super-novel known as 50 Shades of Grey was written by E.L. James (a J.K. Rowling-type pseudonym for Erika Mitchell), who has only been writing since 2009.  How did she start?

She wrote fanfic.

What’s fanfic (aka FF or fic for short)?  Good question (and I’m sure a common one, if you’re above the age of 30).

Fanfic = fan fiction.  Stories written by fans using the characters and basic premises from popular source material (in a way, Wicked might be the ultimate fanfic).

Cool, right?  Fans so passionate about a book, that they can’t get enough . . . so they write more to satisfy their burning desire to stay in the story (Twilight inspires a lot of fanfic – and was what inspired E.L. James to start writing).

E.L. James posted her early FF on the most popular fanfic site on the web . . .  www.FanFiction.net.  I trolled on that site for a while yesterday, learning more about this amazing community of super-fans.  And it was like a supermarket of FF.  There was fanfic about books.  About movies.  And . . .

Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit . . .

They have fanfic about musicals!

And a whole ton of it!!!

I know, for some of you this will be like, “duh.”  And when I found it, I was like, “Duh.”  Of course there’s fanfic about musicals.  We’re a major art form.  People are uber passionate about what we do.  Musicals and plays are inspiring.

But look at it all!  There is fanfic about Rent, Wicked, Hairspray .  . . but also fanfic about less likely shows like John & Jen, Journey’s End . . . Zanna, Don’t!  Click here to see it all.

Once I got over my shock and awe about the depth of the material, I started to try and think like a marketer.  See, when fans self-generate this type of material, with no push from the marketing department, imagine how much they might create if you threw a little marketing fuel on the fire.  Yes, it’s a younger audience, but that’s also tomorrow’s audience, and if we could encourage more fanfic today (perhaps in a more official environment of our own and not just on another website), perhaps we’d be encouraging more audiences for tomorrow.

Excuse me now, I’m going to read a story about what happened when Dainty June returned to see her sister after Gypsy became a star.  I wonder if she and Tulsa are still together, don’t you?


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