Tired, perhaps, of those uppity older women, FanLib is going after the young adult market.
At another "pay us to circulate your press release as if someone cared" site, FanLib has announced a fanfiction writing contest based on Scott Westerfeld's "Uglies" series.
Westerfield has approved buying the winning child off with a Sony PlayStation 3.
The first question that occurred to me, and no doubt to you as well: what's the target age range? Thirteen years and older.
"Today's young-adult audience loves entertainment that mixes content, community and technology," said Chris M. Williams, CEO of FanLib. "The FanLib Extras event lets our partners at Simon & Schuster tap into this phenomenon to give Scott Westerfeld's millions of loyal young fans a deeply engaging interactive entertainment experience."
Oh, Chris! "Tapping into" the loyal young fans is a new low, even for you.
This banner ad appears at the FanLib official contest website:
The FanLib Blog
Because Fans Never Take A Break.
Or ask for union scale.
Maybe it will keep some of the terrible movie inspired fanfic on their site?
It's mostly about the new The L Word contest, but Broadcastnewsroom.com put a slightly different spin on it, leading off with Ilene Chaiken of The L Word.
Chaiken says of the contest, "I can't wait to see where the fans take their favorite characters."
Since the fan-written scene is only a tiny snippet of a fictional book written by a fictional character, and the tiny snippet has to be based on a scene from season one or two, I think it is safe to say the fans aren't going to be taking their favorite characters all that far.
Oh, fuck! I just took a peek at OurChart.com, the L Word FanLib site operated by Hilary Rosen. You remember her, right?
There is a section labeled Guestbians. Guestbians. You can't make shit like this up.
We know where bryson went now.
Ah, FanLib. Marketing to lesbians. But not to women.
It's about the ultimate heterosexual male fantasy!!!
There is still time to enter. Remember to include at least one tickle fight between the hot lesbian babes. Who are, presumably, waving around pink Glocks and forcing us to have gay sex.
Way to go, FanLib! Here's to your young male demographic!
OurChart.com, the social networking website launched from an idea in Showtime Networks’ hit series “The L Word,” and FanLib®, the People Powered EntertainmentTM company, today announced an online writing contest that will culminate in a fan-scripted scene being incorporated into an episode of “The L Word” and produced and aired as part of a regular television series for the first time.
Huh? Didn't FanLib already do an L Word contest? And what is "OurChart.com"?
The ‘You Write It’ event realizes the vision of seeing fan stories incorporated into Hollywood productions,” said Chris M. Williams, co-founder and CEO of FanLib. “At FanLib, we’ve had a groundbreaking year by producing people powered online events including ‘Star Trek: Kirk vs. Picard,’ ‘In The MotherHood,’ and now, ‘You Write It.’
Um, Chris, Kirk vs. Picard just started. It might really suck. So BE QUIET. My God, Mimbo, have we taught you nothing?
OurChart.com and "You Write It" seems to be more of the same, yet another Williams brothers product repackaging, starting with my2centences. Read the press release and join me in my confusion, okay, thanks.
Note: businesswire is a vanity press release site. You pay them to publish your press release and hope legitimate news services pick it up.
I checked through the peephole: no one was visible. I was back on the couch when the knock came again. This time, I opened the door.
( I was surprised when the FanLib Piñata trundled in. )
Includes photos. BEVERAGE WARNING.
I can understand its attraction for fans of series/franchises like CSI, House, Stargate, Harry Potter, even Star Trek and Star Wars. But what does it offer for fans of series/franchises that are no longer exploitable, and will likely never have a feature film, television movie or novelization made?
The list of fandoms currently "supported" by FanLib appears to be a direct lift from all of FF.net's categories. (I'm basing that on looking at how In the Heat of the Night appears on both FF.net and FanLib: In the heat of the night -- lowercase "h" and lowercase "n" for both. Also, FanLib appears to have the same problem as FF.net, where a series is alphabetized under "a" or "t" if its title begins with "A" or "The".)
So, while not all fans of older series have ported their fic over, the following series have been: Alias Smith & Jones, Bible, Crossing Jordan, Darkwing Duck, Diagnosis: Murder, Dukes of Hazzard, Dungeons and Dragons, Early Edition, Emergency!, Forever Night, Goonies, Greatest American Hero, Happy Days, He-Man, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Judging Amy, Lois & Clark, M*A*S*H, Night Court, Quantum Leap, Operation Petticoat, SeaQuest, Sledge Hammer, Sue Thomas: FBeye, Third Watch, Titanic, UFO, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Voyagers!
The above isn't a complete list, but these were franchises that, at present, looked likely not to be resurrected in film, novelizations (Lee Goldberg apparently has finished the Diagnosis: Murder books) or any other type of media adaptation. Obviously, unless God is coming from on-high, we're not going to see any new sections added to the Bible.
So, what do fans -- and obviously they exist -- of these older commodities hope to gain by posting their fic there? And how would/could FanLib hope to profit from them? Some of these franchises are between 30-40 years old, and both the creators and (some of) the actors have passed on; so, short of a séance or offering a channelling session with Sylvia Browne, the likelihood of getting these fans in touch with the "talent" is slim to none.
In its current form, FanLib can't fulfill its current fannish PR mission of being all things to all fans. In order to provide its corporate sponsors with what they're seeking, FanLib would surely have to narrow its focus. They'd likely have to limit their window of fandoms accepted to within a certain time frame. And/or, they would be the marketing arm of creating buzz and fandomonium for a new series/franchise that fans have presently not been willing to embrace.
[Momentary digression: I just, thirty seconds ago as I write this, got my official e-mailed invitation from FanLib to participate in this contest. :D They must've known I was talking about them. [humming] ]
Anyway, the original conversation is here if you want to check that out instead; there were some other good points made along the thread.
In this post, separate paragraphs in italics were ocko_okate's comments so you can see what I was responding to. I also cut out a couple of my ponderings in cases where someone else on the thread had a better answer and the bit wasn't necessary to understand what came later.
All other issues aside, what quite surprised me there is the unbelievably short submission period: I mean, five days for writing a scene, or a series of scenes? Isn´t that just a bit too little time to do some quality thinking less alone writing? Maybe it is just me, but I usually need at least a couple of days to either form an idea in my head or play with the one that already has been proposed. Then writing, rewriting, correcting and what about sending the whole thing to a beta? Five days? NO WAY! Or...?
( Read more... )
I´ve been following the developments on the FanLib website pretty closely in the last past days and I have been especially worried about this new challenge/event/thingie that launched yesterday: startrek.fanlib.com (direct link to Fanlib here).
First thing I want to say, is that I´m a huge fan of Star Trek for more than 15 years, have seen all the films, all the series (except the last one, that was a bit too much) and have about 70 Star Trek novels on my bookshelf. So I can understand, that while this may be a huge thing for me, people who don´t care about Star Trek probably won´t be that much interested. But I´m not going to talk only about Star Trek here, trust me :) FanLib issues follow right behind the cut.
All thing writen in this post are my personal opinion and when it comes to the factual side they may be completely wrong. I´m just a fan.
Is it work safe? Yes, unless you are right next to someone who is easily offended. Seen from a distance, it will appear completely innocent. *coughs*
Quote: Every so often, as if acting out some formulaic movie plot, a bunch of big-city suits get lost in the wilderness of the internet, and bad things happen.
"Try to slash that you pervs!"
SOMEONE FETCH MY BAT.
Edit: What are we calling the critter?
Setting aside how interesting it is--for certain values of "interesting"--that she's targeted the lesbian fandom of CBS/Showtime's The L Word as the launch platform for this venture (with help from the Yahoo! Boys of Fanlib); this is very much about reconfiguring and recapturing some of the "mass" that was lost when big media lost control of its audience, and exploiting them for content as well as the ad revenue they generate. Read more...(link goes to my LJ).
So how important are Livejournal fanfiction writers (and readers) to FanLib?
In 2005, when Six Apart bought Livejournal they were forced to shut it down to resolve technical issues. That weekend a bemused Google announced that their top search term was "Harry Potter fan fiction." Harry Potter, published in over 30 countries, is the largest of the fanfiction communities. Once Livejournal resumed service, the top search terms returned to Michael Jackson's trial.
Since then, the number of Livejournal users who list "fanfiction" among their interests has grown from 40,000 to over 86,000 -- with 63,000 interested in slash. FanLib's reputation is "ankle-locked on the LJ base."
Livejournal attracted many fanfiction users in 2002 after fanfiction.net's ban of explicit NC-17 fiction and an unrelated 2003 crackdown on adult fiction that closed many Yahoo Groups, since Livejournal does not prescreen content. Many in the fanfiction community, as well as professional writers and bloggers commenting on the situation, wonder if FanLib's goal to "mainstream" fanfiction is even compatible with the adult fiction that has made Livejournal such an important venue.
Still, at least one writer has stated in FanLib's forums that she's sticking with FanLib out of dissatisfaction with her own fan community, viewing FanLib as a fresh start (note: link goes to FanLib). Other FanLib members are outside the Livejournal community and only heard of the controversy through the FanLib forums.
FanLib's archive remains tiny. Using Harry Potter as a point of comparison, FanLib boasts less than 0.0016% of Harry Potter fanfiction stories when compared to fanfiction.net. While Fiction Alley doesn't post the number of stories in their archive, FanLib's current 500+ stories is far less than Fiction Alley, which has over 1,000 writers whose names begin with the letter 'A' alone.
Since May 23rd, after an initial plunge in the number of stories uploaded to the archive, FanLib's statistics remained relatively unchanged across most fandoms. Overall, however, they have continued to fall: the number of Lord of the Rings stories on FanLib dropped by half this weekend, from 167 to 86, after the Livejournal Lord of the Rings newsletter middleearthnews posted about the controversy.
Statistical note: Fanfiction.net and Fiction Alley both do not allow adult fanfiction, while FanLib does.
We have many more special fan events coming. You'll see us shortly announce and launch: a fan event with a major media company around one of the most popular fandoms, a collaborative feature film screenplay and movie, a partnership with a major talent management company to identify star writers from the FanLib.com community and create opportunities for them.
My guess is that this is startrek.fanlib.com, some kind of fic "event" as FanLib keeps telling us they've done previously. However, this seems to be just more proof that they're completely out of step with fandom.
This is not new ground for Star Trek. It's the only show I know of that actually welcomed fan-written scripts at any time. (Admittedly, Ron Moore described the bulk of these submissions in rather poor terms, but he was probably right in doing so. We all know that most of the fic in the world is not of stellar quality, so it would stand to reason that a good chunk of these submissions would be less-than-professional.) At any rate, Star Trek and fan involvement is not a new thing. There are some who say that at one time, Paramount actively courted the editors of the big 'zines because those fans were such a huge influence on the community, and it was a way to take the temperature of the fandom, and sometimes direct it. (While I trust my source on this one, you may certainly feel free not to; at this point it's third- or fourth-hand information.)
Speaking as someone who's not into Star Trek in any of its incarnations, it's my understanding that Star Trek is not exactly a seriously active fandom in terms of fic anymore. I have one friend who was in the fandom during the Voyager era in the mid-nineties, when she says it was slowly dying. Another friend has participated in Enterprise fic collaborations, and by the time she stopped, she said it was incredibly frustrating that she and others had put a lot this work into stories that very few people were reading.
So: yes, Star Trek is a Big Deal in fandom – for its history if nothing more – but is it really that big when it comes to fic? Or is this another example of FanLib's preconceived notions about fandom not lining up with reality?
(Please correct me if I'm wrong about the state of Star Trek fandom today; I freely admit that this is not based on extensive research. But the fic I see coming across my own friends list rarely has anything to do with Star Trek, when I do have Star Trek fans on my friends list.)
I've also seen a mention that CSI fandom folks are working with FL; can't find links, though, and can't remember where I found this. Anyone have information one way or another?
I think this marketing PDF that was linked to earlier is just as important as the TOS for people to read. Among the things I noticed on page 3 of the PDF:
-- Managed & Moderated to the Max includes these points: Automatic "profanity filter" [I would love to see what would happen to the pieces you smut writers may post] and "Complete work is just 1st draft to be polished by the pros." To me, that means taking my work, giving it over to The Powers That Be, and letting them do what they want with it. Am I wrong in this?
-- A Fan's Ultimate Reward! Apparently, I get to see my name in a book that someone else makes money off of. Our "rewards" include: Publish as a book or part of an anthology [how much of a cut do I get for that?] and print in magazine as part of a sponsored ad section [do I get compensated for my writing for that? Yeah, didn't think so].
Also, here's an article written last year by The Wall Street Journal about fanfic writers getting bigger audiences and landing book deals. FanLib's Chris Williams is quoted about The L Word and romance novel contests the site ran.
I'm a writer for a smaller fandom that has treated its fans well and I wouldn't be too worried about how they would treat fans if they did something through FanLib. That being said, I'm lucky to be in such a fan-friendly fandom. Most don't have that luxury. And while my Powers That Be appreciate the fans, I'm not sure their corporate lawyers would act the same way.
Crossposted from riba_rambles
Given all the talk, I decided to look up the company founder's history.
Here's how they're pitching FanLib to industry:
Introducing the new, turnkey entertainment marketing service
That's right, it's not primarily geared towards fans, it's a “marketing service.”
Read more in their 6-page PDF brochure, with revelatory quotes like:
- See How To: Grow Audience! Enhance Brand! and Increase Revenue!
- [let] a mass audience collaborate democratically in a fun online game that you control.
- Increase audience -- if they build it, they will come
- Massive Viral Marketing
And how about Page 4, describing how their site is "MANAGED & MODERATED TO THE MAX," including the following:
- As with a coloring book, players must "stay within the lines"
- Restrictive player's terms-of-service protects your rights and property
- Moderated "scene missions" keep the story under your control
- Full monitoring & management of submissions & players
Yes, a restrictive TOS isn't a bug -- it's a feature!
They conclude with the following B2B summary:
FANLIB TECHNOLOGIES (a division of My2Centences LLC) develops, markets and manages innovative social software and web services that unleash the creativity of the worldwide public and generate remarkable value for businesses.
Quite a different picture from the current site's About Page, which states:
FanLib is dedicated to promoting and celebrating fan creativity.
...as a means of profiting off fandom's back.
Can we consign this to the dustbin of history?
How you learned about FanLib [email invite or other]
Promotions or contests you found attractive
Impressions of site: ease of use, search functions, etc.
EDIT: I'm a FanLib name squatter, by the way.