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Frenemies: Fanning the Flames of Fandom

Storytellers! Underestimate the power of fandom at your peril. If a storyteller has done his or her job right, they have created a rich story world complete with cannons, tropes and multiple layers of mythology- a world that is ripe for hijacking and take over by the fans. From alternate universes to slash fiction and additive fan created cannon the relationship between the storyteller and the fan enabled by technology has become more and more complex and can best be described as one of “frenemies”- “friend + enemy”. What represents a victory to the fan may represent a loss of control to the storyteller. So how does a storyteller manage a fan community that may know more about the story world then they do? Who owns the IP? Is fandom like nuclear power that can be used for good or evil? We’ll venture deep into the fan underworld with a panel that breathes the air and serves the Kool-Aid.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. What are the defining factors in the relationship of the storyteller to the fans?
  2. Fans seem to want increasing influence over the story and the story world. What is a storyteller to do? How do you influence the influencers and remain authentic? What ARE the "do's and don'ts"?
  3. Are fan communities "self-regulating" democracies or can they get out of control and destroy a franchise?
  4. Are storytellers increasingly dependent on the fans to be the guardians of the canons and keep the world details in tact?
  5. Who really owns the intellectual property? Is fan fiction stealing, free marketing or collaboration?



Brian Seth HURST, CEO, The Opportunity Management Company

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