Natalie, Karen and Courtney speak with Heidi Tandy from Archive of Our Own in celebration of AO3’s one million fanworks milestone in a very special cross-fandom interview.
– We introduce Heidi Tandy. She’s a lawyer, a major player in the Harry Potter online fandom, and an integral part of the AO3 team. She also wrote a chapter in Fic: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World.
– We learn about the Organisation for Transformative Works and the basic legality behind being a fan creator. We also reminisce about the early days of the internet, when there was a lot of scaremongering surrounding fanfiction in terms of copyright.
– Why was AO3 started – what was the initial gameplan? Why did a resource like AO3 become necessary? We talk about how fanfiction used to be posted and shared in “the olden days.”
– What type of media usually hits it off in fandom? How can you tell when a certain fandom is going to get an influx of work? Hint: things that usually DON’T are single-movie fandoms, with a few big exceptions like Inception and Pacific Rim.
– How important is shipping to a fandom’s popularity? Does a major canon ship make a difference?
– Heidi tells us how one of the newest, fastest growing fandoms, Sleepy Hollow, is actually predominately gen.
– However, we look at Teen Wolf shipping a bit closer – what kind of trends occur there? As an oldschool Potter fan, Heidi was surprised by the lack of Harry/Ron-esque best friend shipping.
– We try to work out why Sterek is a thing, basically, and why it took off so quickly and powerfully.
– What are common patterns or genres of Teen Wolf fic? We discuss the “nobody we love is dead” canon-compliant AUs!
– We touch on the phenomenon of Slash Migratory Fandom – people who want a new show or something new to read purely based on the “shippability.” Is it weird to start reading fanfiction for a show before watching the actual show? Crossovers are a good entry point in this department, especially ones including Jack Harkness, the fandom bike.
– It’s important that in this day and age, the Powers That Be behind a show or movie support fan works. Teen Wolf is a good example of this!
– What would we say to Powers That Be that are less than pleased about fanfiction?
– Is fanfiction discredited as a valid pastime because of misogyny? Let’s be real: probably.
– Is there a possibility of fan works being licensed and used as side-canon material, such as tie-in novels? Some networks are already purchasing music and art from fan creators, is writing the next step?
– We toss around ideas about what kind of fan writing could work really well without undoing the showrunner’s canon plan.
– Have any underground fandoms taken AO3 by surprise, for example Welcome to Night Vale?
– How important is canonical queer shipping – is it still groundbreaking in the way Klaine was three years ago?
– Why do some massive fandoms just not inspire a lot of fanfiction? The Hunger Games is an example.
– Fanfiction can be an exploration or learning curve in sexuality for a lot of young people – what attracts people to the various kinks, tropes and taboos that are extremely present in most fandoms?
– What are some of the whackiest fandoms that ever come up on AO3? Usually this happens for Yuletide, and Heidi tells us about an insanely popular fic based on the viral “Octopus Steals My Video Camera” video.
– Did you know that an octopus can’t hold copyright?
– More importantly, this is an example of a tiny bit of real-life inspiration creating something new – on a larger scale it’s comparable to Tom Hanks’ Oscar speech inspiring the film In & Out.
– Of course, one of the other whackiest pairings on AO3 is our very own Jeep/Camaro.
– We discuss the use of freefor tags on AO3 and how they even pre-date Tumblr. The tagging system has gone from a tool of convenience to a new format for humor and writing itself.
– We talk about RPF – real person fiction – and how that despite how divisive the subject is in fandom, it’s a concept that has existed for pretty much all of human civilization.
– However, in recent years, The Social Network has been a game changer in terms of fandom opinions on the topic.
– Where’s the line of intrusiveness when it comes to RPF shipping? Are the actions of a few giving the entire concept a worse reputation than it deserves?
– In terms of moving forward for AO3, would they consider creating an app?
– What are some of Heidi’s all time fave fanfic recs?
– We subjected Heidi to our Non-Sequitur section and asked her about her time as a panelist at fan conventions – we get some good advice for BiteCon!
– A huge thank you to Heidi and the Archive of Our Own for celebrating their one million fanworks milestone with Not Another Teen Wolf Podcast!
If you would like to reach Heidi, you can find her on Twitter and Tumblr. She also runs a blog dedicated to discussing copyright and legal issues in fandom and web creation in general, if you have any worries or queries!
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