The (Very) Fine Line Between Creators and Consumers of Media



I’m not exactly sure what the thrust of this week’s blog post should be, not having received a specific prompt this time. I assume we should still reflect on this week’s reading – Chapter Two of Media Works – so that’s what I’ll do. The aspect of the chapter that resonated for me (and was actually the theme that had me most interested in class from the start) is the growing fluidity in the creation of media and the blurring of lines between producers and consumers of media. This also ties into what Renny Gleeson said in the TED talk we watched last week discussing shared narrative.

My favorite recent example is the growing popularity of webisodic television. While there are incredibly successful web shows, like The Guild, that have followings online, at ComicCon and through Xbox live, the show I’m going to discuss is the lesser-known I ❤ Vampires. I ❤ Vampires was a spoof on Twilight that came out several years ago through Take180,  website whose shows are created and powered by the fans. The story centers on Corbin ad her friend Lucy, who are huge fans of the popular vampires series Confession of a High School Vampire, and run the biggest and most popular fan site for the series. When Corbin receives an anonymous email with a copy of the author’s latest draft for the final book she publishes on her fan site. When the author, Siona, finds out, she decides to pull the plug on the book and all of Corbin’s former online community turns against her. Corbin decides to track down Siona so she can apologize and convince her to finish and publish the book. The two girls embark on a road trip during which they of course uncover that vampires are real and their own lives begin to parallel with the book as hijinks ensue.

What makes this particular web series interesting (especially in light of it’s timing – right during the height of the Twilight movie craze) is that the story is told in two separate ways. The majority of each episode is filmed as a standard narratie; however, there are portions of the show shown from the POV of Corbin’s webcam as she blogs on her site. As the end of each episode she recaps their situation and ask for help. Each week, the viewers of the show on Take180 make suggestions, and the best is picked, making I ❤ Vampires essential an open-ended “choose-your-own-adventure” story. At the beginning of each new episode, Corbin thanks the fan whose idea was selected, acknowledging them as if they were a fan of her website within the framework of the story world. In this way, consumers of media – in this case, of course, this webisodic series – become integral in the story in not only that they are able to directly contribute the shared narrative of the story, but in that they are also integrated into the story as a contributing character as well.

While it is not exactly an epic story by any chance, it’s definitely worth checking out to get a sense of how Take180 (a subsidiary of Disney, by the by) was able to take advantage of the huge Twilight fandom and allow these…zealous fans the opportunity to contribute to a literally hared narrative.

–       Shannon


One Response to “The (Very) Fine Line Between Creators and Consumers of Media”

  1. 1 T505

    With hindsight, it would have been much more helpful if I had actually checked my email at all today before posting this so I would know what the actual prompt was. Oh well…. -S

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