MIT5: Day 2

28Apr07

Back for another round of conference recaps – look for more perspectives from Jill, Jean, GTA, and Michael. As for me, I’ll hit some highlights…

First panel of my morning was about the relationship between fans & producers. MIT grad student Sam Ford (who runs the fabulous C3 blog) offer a nice take on the transgenerational fanbase for soap operas vs. the demographically narrowing industrial strategies, calling out producers for ignoring the “community elders” in the audience. Then old friend Derek Kompare gave a good account of the fanboy-cum-showrunner Russell Davies & Dr. Who, exploring how he strategically deploys his fan vs. auteur identity. As we chatted afterwards, it’s somewhat the inverse of Ron Moore, who is an outsider to the BSG original series fans, but reaches out to the current fanbase through his intimate podcasts.

Next panel was about collaboration & creativity. Ravi Jain talked about his work on Drive Time, which looks like a fun format for a talk show. Michael Newman discussed “The Show with ZeFrank,” which I’ve never gotten into, but this episode offers a compelling defense of amateur aesthetics. For both, my question was “is this TV?”, which is ultimately a tough question to answer – both are in dialogue with TV, but not trying for the same ends. I doubt they are the “future of TV” either, which many people claim…

The afternoon plenary was on fair use, which mostly was a (deserved) celebration of the Documentary Best Practices statement. I announced the soon-to-be-forthcoming SCMS fair use in teaching statement I’ve been working on, so hopefully similar progress will be made on that front.

Finally, a good panel on BSG, covering historical allegory, fan investment in romance, and queer reading. I hooked into Sarah Toton’s analysis of the BattlestarWiki as a gendered site of fan production. She provocatively raised the question as to why it generates typically masculine knowledge forms (fact-gathering) over feminine fan practices (fan fiction, interpretation) – is it the coding required, or the assumptions of the Wikipedia model? I raised the further possibility that it’s the assumed appropriate outcomes for collaborative authorship, where facts translate better communally than imagination & interpretation. This ties in well with some of my thoughts about other fan wikis, like Lostpedia and Wikiality. A good discussion followed…

So that’s what I thought of today’s busy day. Hopefully people will get up early enough to come to my Lost panel at 9 – see you then!



One Response to “MIT5: Day 2”

  1. 1 cyborganize

    thanks for your participation in the BSG panel! I think we talked afterwards?? it’s bugging me that I can’t quite remember which one you were. in any case, I’ll be reading your blog, which I’m glad to have discovered. I posted audio from my panel, if you haven’t seen that yet.


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