When Being A Fan Hurts – Staying Wayward!

Passion is what being a fan is all about. It’s what makes it so fulfilling, what makes it an important part of our everyday lives and not something we only think about for an hour a week while watching a television show or once a year for two hours in the movie theater. That show or film or band or whatever we fan has the power to change our lives – it provides heroes and heroines for us to emulate, it sends different messages than what we hear from the rest of the world which are sometimes exactly what we need in order to feel okay about ourselves. It can inspire us to be better, help others, change the world, keep fighting for our own lives. The community that forms around the thing we’re passionate about – the fandom – also has the power to change us. Fandom can be a group that ‘gets us’ and gives us that all-important sense of belonging. Someone to share our good times and provide a source of support to get through the hard times. All that comes from the passion we invest in what we love.

When the thing we love is going strong, that is a beautiful feeling. It’s heady, affirming, exhilarating. Research shows that fans of a winning sports team have the same physiological and psychological reactions as the actual players who won the game. No wonder it’s important!

When the thing we love does not succeed, or is taken away from us, the emotions are just as strong. It feels devastating, a denial of all the good we found in this precious thing. It feels like an overwhelming loss – because it is one. There’s nothing silly or frivolous about the way fans love, or anything unimportant about what we get from that love. When it’s lost, we react with grief, and it’s just like any other grief. There’s denial and anger and sadness.

In the past 24 hours, quite a few beloved television shows have been either cancelled or not picked up for series by the networks that continue to have all the power. Lucifer, Brooklyn99, the list was a long one. Fans all over the world, of all sorts of things, are confused and furious and despairing over never being able to have more of that thing they love. Anyone who is a fan knows that sort of pain.

I want to send out a collective hug to all the fans who got bad news today, and all the people whose livelihoods depend on making that thing that people love. As a Supernatural fan, the CW deciding against a pick up of the spinoff Wayward Sisters has been a personal experience. Wayward (I’ll call it that because now we’re allowed to go back to calling it what it originally was, Wayward Daughters, and that makes me happy) was special to many in the fandom, because it was different. A show about women, starring women, and committed to being told through the perspective of women – diverse women. It’s a credit to Supernatural that the show created characters in Jody and Donna that resonated so much with viewers that we knew they could carry a show of their own. When that became a possibility, it felt like a remarkable evolution, and a hopeful one. The importance of representation is indisputable, and Wayward was going to be a big leap forward – in fact, we don’t even know just how far the show was going to take us, or how life changing that would be for so many people waiting to see themselves reflected onscreen.

Wayward was also different because it was an idea that began, not in a writer’s room or a network meeting, but in fandom itself. Supernatural fans wanted more of the female characters we had come to know and love. We wanted a whole show devoted to those women and exploring their stories. At the time, it almost seemed like an impossible idea, but that little idea caught fire and gained the attention and support of Supernatural’s writers and showrunners and the actresses themselves. For more than a year, fans and writers and actors joined forces to get the idea off the ground. Robert Berens wrote a pilot, Andrew Dabb and Bob Singer got it made. Kim Rhodes, Briana Buckmaster, Kathryn Newtown, Clark Backo, Katherine Ramdeen and Yadira Guevara-Prip kicked ass. Fans rejoiced, and relished the hope that success brought.

I was truly shocked when the network passed. It seemed like the time was so right, and with a built-in fan base, it seemed like Wayward should have been a no-brainer. Then again, I’ve thought that many times only to have TPTB make another decision. I suppose I shouldn’t be as shocked as I am this time.

Maybe the outcry will change their minds; stranger things have happened. Wayward Sisters was trending a little while ago, while none of the shows that did get picked up or renewed were. That probably says something right there.

And if it doesn’t? They still can’t change what Wayward has come to mean to the fandom. That word was reclaimed as something that was okay, as something that was not a source of shame – as something to be proud of! Embracing being WaywardAF on tee shirts and hoodies and caps and anything else you wanted to put it on was powerful for so many fans. It was a way of saying no, I won’t let you shame me for being different, or tell me that I can’t be myself. Led by Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster’s willingness to be real, onstage at a convention or online in tweets or in the chapters they wrote in Family Don’t End With Blood, the Wayward message inspired many others to be real too. And that is the healthiest thing any of us can do! That’s the true power of Wayward, and nobody can take that away.

 

I don’t know what the future will bring for Wayward Daughters. I know the fandom that I call my SPNFamily is hurting right now, as are the talented and committed actors and writers who worked so hard to make this happen. I do know that it’s not over. Whatever form Wayward will take going forward, the movement is very much alive – and the evolution that Wayward is a part of is not stopping. So put on your tee shirt and take a page from Briana and Kim because we’ve still got work to do – and don’t let this discourage you from the message. Stay Wayward.

–Lynn

Family Don’t End With Blood info

at the links on our home page header

 

 

Art in the SPNFamily: Part Three: Focus on Variety

Guest Post by Kim Prior

This is the final installment in my series of articles shining the spotlight on some of the talented artists within the SPNFamily. Friendly reminder that, for the purpose of these articles, I am spotlighting some of my favs. And you might agree, my favs might be your favs. But it’s also very possible that your fav might not be spotlighted in this series… and that’s ok. I mean no disrespect to your fav, I mean no disrespect to you, the Artist. Shine a spotlight on your favs by letting them know how much you appreciate what they do!

As I explained in the previous articles, “art” has a multitude of definitions. If you asked 100 people to give a definition of art, you would probably get 100 different answers. Art is photography. Art is painting. Art is drawing with graphite, charcoal, or ink.

In this article, you will learn that Art is a multitude of things. Art is painting and drawing, and it is also mixing in a plethora of other materials into these creations. Art is taking a piece of wood and fashioning a piece as unique as your idea. Art is taking wire and stone and other bits and pieces and forming these materials into beautiful pieces of wearable art. Art is taking an idea and adding your creative touch. Art is finding the right words to create pieces that evoke every emotion under the sun. Art is fabric and stitching and sewing and creating unique pieces. Art is, quite literally, a hundred… a thousand… tens of thousands of different things.

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Happy Birthday, Misha!

IMG_8696

Today is a special day – the birthday of a special person. So I wanted to share some of the stories we’ve heard about how Misha Collins has inspired Supernatural fans and changed lives. That’s the theme of our new book, Family Don’t End With Blood (which has other amazing stories of how all the Supernatural cast have changed lives), so it seemed fitting to share a few fan stories in honor of his birthday.

I still remember the first time we met Misha, way back in Season 4. We had been on the Supernatural set (a visit chronicled rather hilariously in Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls) and were scheduled to interview “the new guy” that evening at the hotel. Our set van pulled up behind another Supernatural set van as we arrived at the hotel, and out jumped Misha. Except he looked nothing like Castiel!

Instead of a trenchcoat and a stern face, this guy had on a tee shirt and faded jeans that looked like they were vintage 1970s flared jeans. And damn, did they fit him well! And he was smiling! I turned to Kathy and said ‘nobody told me he was so hot!’

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Celebrate Fandom with OTP The Show!

The cast of OTP the Show
The cast of OTP the Show

The Supernatural fandom has been enduring Hellatus for a while now, so we thought we’d post some feel-good things to keep us all going until Show returns in two weeks.

We’ve written four books on why people become fans and why that’s a good and healthy thing. When we started out in fandom more than a decade ago, there was still a great deal of shame around being a fan – especially being a fangirl. When we fell head over heels for Supernatural, most of the people in our lives shook their heads in confusion (and perhaps a little dismay). What had happened to us? Our parents, our children, our partners, our colleagues – everybody seemed to be judging us for engaging in something so frivolous. Why write fanfiction when we could be publishing textbooks or novels? Why spend good money to fly across the country to go to a fan convention? What was this Supernatural show anyway??

Things have changed a little – it’s cooler now to be a geek. Everyone is allowed to like Star Wars (even if most of the merchandise is still missing the main character…). It’s probably even okay to spend money you don’t really have going to the Big Apple to see Hamilton the Musical. But going to a Supernatural convention? Hyperventilating a little over Jensen in single layer or Jared’s gorgeous hair or Misha still looking like an adorable teenager? And reading (or god forbid, writing) fanfiction about the Show? Still as likely to garner “grow up, young lady!” as it is to garner either an understanding nod or maybe even a positive comment on your writing.

That’s what makes this show so important. OTP The Show is about many things, not just fandom – but it’s written by a fangirl, from a fangirl point of view. It doesn’t shy away from portraying fans as passionate or talking about fanfic or shipping or Tumblr. It’s witty and funny and sometimes poignant. And it’s different. I mean, it’s called OTP – something most fans recognize from the fannish lexicon.

Graphic @sweetyhigh
Graphic @sweetyhigh

I had the pleasure of chatting with creator and star Laura Jordan – who also happens to be best friends with Supernatural’s own Kim Rhodes. So, by proxy, SPN Family. What a lovely way to spend an afternoon – chatting with a fellow fangirl!

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LARP and the Real (Fan)Girl – Love for SPN 8.11

This week’s episode of Supernatural, LARP And The Real Girl, was a welcome bit of fun – for both fandom and the Winchester Brothers. And we all really needed it! Robbie Thompson’s script and the real life geeky enthusiasm of guest star Felicia Day made the episode an affectionate love letter instead of an eyerolling send-up of geeks and geek culture.
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