Why I Love Being a Fan
What a glorious time to be a fan! Thank you, Internet!
With the click of a button, I can actively participate in a community in the comfort of my own living room. I can share and see beautiful works of fan art or unique graphics, watch amazing fan created videos, read some gripping fan fiction, or share theories about sneak peeks and spoilers. Why is this amazing? Because it has changed my life.
When I was 14 my sister introduced me to a show called Due South. The show had ended about 7 years earlier, but re-runs were still airing and I was instantly enamored with it. It sparked a passion to create. I began teaching myself about Photoshop, Movie Maker and iMovie, I learned how to make GIFs and I practiced my writing by creating fanfics. My time in fandom inspired me to try out all of these different things, which have shaped the passions I hold now as an adult. Beyond that, I wanted to share my love for the show, and luckily I found an online fan forum that gave me the perfect venue to do so. Not too long after I joined the larger online community, fans of the show came together to put on a convention. A show that had ended 10 years earlier was successfully bringing fans to Toronto to take their online experience into the real world. Since the inaugural convention there have been two more, with a third in the making (attended by fans, cast and crew alike), and I became a part of the organizing committee. Through these conventions I met a friend who was integral in helping me get an internship here, at Innovate By Day, which has turned into my first post-graduate job.
I can, with complete honesty say that if it wasn’t for fan communities, Due South in particular, I wouldn’t have such an amazing job right now and I would probably be a very different person.
This is what I love about being a part of fan communities. They are sparked by a shared passion and evolve into so much more. The Community fandom is a prime example of fans rallying together in the name of their show. Not only did they save it from cancellation (6 seasons and a movie!), but they got the original show runner re-hired in order to keep the voice of the show true. Sometimes fan communities are there for individuals when they feel like no one else is…just watch this clip of how James Doohan (Captain Montgomery “Scotty” Scott of Star Trek ) helped save a woman from suicide in the 1997 documentary Trekkies:
I’m not saying that being part of an active fan community means you’re saving lives, but it does mean that you’re necessarily giving people a place a place to belong. Being a part of a fan community isn’t just about liking something, it’s about wanting to take the values a show teaches and the inspiration it gives you, and sharing those things with the people around you.
And that’s frankly, the number one reason why it’s so great to be a fan.