Category Archives: Fandom
San Diego Comic Con 2014 is in full swing, and the Internet is a buzz with all things Benedict Cumberbatch, Marvel, Hobbit-y, Game of Thrones-y and oh yeah– Lionsgate-y. I’m one of the sad few who is not attending the convention, and frankly will probably never attend, because crowds of that magnitude give me the heebie-jeebies, and trust me when I say this– you don’t want to be around me when I have the heebie-jeebies. Anywho, Comic-Con is a place of fandom-wide fun and excitement, and just all out nerd-gasmic heaven.
Y’all like cupcakes, right? I betcha do! Why not, they’re delicious, and fluffy, and if they’re made right they are moist (not in the naughty way), and light, and put a smile on your face with their fondant, and they’re butter cream goodness. Lionsgate apparently likes cupcakes too, or baked goods if we’re speaking in broad terms. I know this because this weekend at San Diego Comic-Con, part of the fun and festivities are baked goods, including cupcakes. That’s right folks, they have a sleek-looking, Capitol-esque bakery set up on display for the burgeoning public to ooh and ah over. This is awesome for all intents and purposes, ’cause everyone and their glutton tolerant aunt likes some free baked goods every now and again. The only fly in the ointment of this sweet, little gesture is the slightly glaring fact that who ever, or whatever marketing firm chose the designs for some of these goods, well– stole them.
That’s right folks, I just used the S word, and it’s not the shit kind. Nope, I call foul on who ever, or whatever person, or group of people who decided stealing other people’s ideas is an acceptable business practice!
Crystal Watanabe has been a staple in this fandom for years, she’s involved more than a random fan as well– and on top of that she’s got more than a life outside of her endeavors involving The Hunger Games. Crystal used to pretty much run Mockingjay.net, now she’s the founder, and head at Jabberjays.net. Crystal is a master at bento, as well as artisan baking. Which brings me to the previously used S word. Crystal’s designs for two Effie Trinket themed cupcakes are being used without her permission right now at one of the biggest entertainment themed conventions in the world, and all of this is going down without what’s probably most important– credit where credit is due.
I’m just going to say it, but this is not cool! I know that the big guys on top of the money-making machines that supposedly dictate our lives, wholly believe that taking a “little persons” ideas and shilling them as their own, is acceptable. But damn it all to hell– it’s not! I know they’re just cupcakes, but even cupcake designs are things that deserve to be credited to the originator, the designer– who in this case is Crystal Watanabe.
So Hunger Games fandom, if you think it’s cool to steal other people’s ideas– by all means eat up. But if you don’t– say something, that’s what the Internet is for– other than porn of course. This credit issue could be easily remedied with a simple piece of card stock going up on display in that bakery set up. Simple, concise and easy, because this is potential revenue lost to an artist.
Effie Trinket cupcakes designed by Crystal Watanabe of Fictionalfood.net.
Them There Eyes
Yesterday at Comic Con, I was following the tweets coming out of the Community panel. Community is a smart, irreverent tv comedy set at a community college (with very questionable academic credentials). The clever writing and pop culture in-jokes meant it attracted only a niche audience. It’s never had high ratings, but has a very engaged, social-media savvy viewership. With low ratings, every season the show has been threatened with cancellation. And this year, it actually was cancelled by NBC, only to be later (and kind of miraculously) picked up for another season by Yahoo Screen.
To help keep the show running for five seasons despite the low ratings, the show engaged in some very overt product placement with Subway. Subway featured heavily in an episode in Season Three where the story had A MAN AGREEING TO LEGALLY CHANGE HIS NAME TO SUBWAY to “collectively show the humanity of business owners” and win over the public. It was a hilarious episode, that made fun of corporate sponsorship and big companies hurting the little guy while itself being hugely overt product placement. The humor was still very much in line with what Community was known for, so it was a great fit. In season five, Subway again featured in the story (as the villain) as they buy the college in an attempt to turn it into a “Sandwich University.”
Now, fans could have been unhappy about Community “selling out” but they actually embraced this move and actively supported the business. Subway has done a lot of placements with television shows, and they’ve been really smart about it. With Community, Subway entered into the agreement understanding the show, who the fans were, and were happy to play along and be in on the joke. And because Community was struggling with lower ratings, the fans appreciated the advertising support from the company to keep the show on the air.
As Hunger Games fans, we’re familiar with Subway’s partnership last year during Catching Fire. Tying in a restaurant chain with the Hunger Games is a tough fit, but awkward as it was, I gave it a pass. Yes, it was silly to see commercials with Katniss & Peeta on the flaming chariot with Subway talking about fiery sriracha sandwiches, but they did at least try to tie in some charitable efforts to help with hunger. That helped. It was still odd, but I understand the modern movie marketing need to have some of these type of deals. If you wanted to go to Subway, see the Katniss standee and ask for a Peeta cup, you could.
Now we move on to the first major “partnership” for Mockingjay Part 1 with Samsung. A week ago, it was announced that Samsung would be launching an app on their most expensive phones and tablets with exclusive Mockingjay content. Which is lame if you don’t have the most expensive Samsung phones and tablets, but that part, again, didn’t get me too heated because once the app is in the hands of millions of people, everything will end up on the internet about a minute after they are released. Have your silly exclusive on a couple stills for that one minute, Samsung. You’re creating a block in distribution, but fans can subvert that easily enough.
What fans really do care about are the big, meaty, content releases, like trailer releases. So the offensive aspect of this partnership was how it affected the long awaited trailer release. We all pretty much assumed the trailer would release at Comic Con, though we were hoping it would be a repeat of last year. With a fabulous Hall H panel and the debuting of the trailer on a huge screen for maximum impact. Seems Hall H was not to be this year, so instead Lionsgate chose to sell Samsung the trailer to display on their tablets at either their very Capitol-stylized Hard Rock Hotel near SDCC or over the weekend at their “store within a store” Samsung Galaxy Experience areas at select Best Buys. So for about 3 days, Samsung is holding on to this trailer and keeping it from most fans.
Yes, Samsung decided that with this co-branding they would force people to go and touch/use their products to see the trailer. Samsung could still have gotten advertising exposure for an online trailer debut (and maybe they still will) with a Samsung Galaxy ad before the trailer, or a logo skin around the media player for the release on Lionsgate’s featured online distribution method. They could have done that, and not pissed off the vast majority of fans. Yet, they decided to disrupt the online trailer release and create a whole Capitol-esque privileged class of those with the means to buy into their system and see it early versus those in the Districts who either don’t have one of those fancy Best Buys near them in America or the rest of the world. Or they could be like me and just really not want to experience the trailer release on a tablet with some Samsung/Best Buy employee breathing over their shoulder. That is not the “Samsung Experience” I want.
The huge box office for the Hunger Games films proves that the movies don’t need these sponsorship deals to be financially viable. This fact also explains the fan anger towards Samsung, while Community fans embraced Subway. Subway’s support of Community helped fans keep the show they loved on air and alternatively Samsung has CREATED A BARRIER to the thing we love. And I don’t care how cute you think Peeta’s bakery looked in those pictures at SDCC. I’m sure you would rather have seen the trailer today.
Unfortunately for us, Lionsgate has now discovered this new way of making even more money out of the Hunger Games franchise, so I fear a repeat of this scenario again. Maybe they’ll go with a different brand next time and have some other hoops you have to jump through for the trailer, but I’m sadly doubting it will be the fan-friendly-online-for-everyone-at-once release next year. The money’s too tempting, and they’re betting fans will forgive yet again.
Other people may be more forgiving than me. The trailer will be online Monday, and maybe its awesomeness will help us forget about the weekend before. For me, I know I won’t be buying anything with Samsung on it for a long time.
Let’s hope the other Mockingjay partnerships can actually enhance the fan experience.
As we start the WEEK OF THE MOCKINGJAY TRAILER RELEASE, many questions remain:
Is it a full trailer, or another one of the propaganda videos?
When can I watch it on my Samsung Galaxy Amazing Awesomeness Tablet/Phone?
When is it actually going to be released online?
Well, none of these questions have been officially answered yet, but there are a few good leads.
While Lionsgate in their press release called it a teaser trailer, it seems likely this will be a longer 2 min+ trailer. They may just call it a teaser since it is the first official trailer to come out. (The other two being viral videos, or rather Presidential Addresses)
You can download the ultra-special awesome Samsung app starting on the 28th, so if you were expecting to bypass the trip to the fantabulous wonderland that is a Samsung Experience Best Buy stores over the weekend to see the trailer, I’m afraid not.
While there is no news from Lionsgate, the Russian distributor has said the trailer will be available online at 12am ET Monday July 28 (9pm PT Sunday July 27).
So, as per usual, we’re not left with much of anything concrete yet, other than it’s the T-word. I guess that’s the thing we have wanted for so long, so we should be EXCITED. YEAH. TRAILER IS COMING IN LESS THAN A WEEK ONLINE. WE THINK. PROBABLY.
But given this weird distribution strategy of a weekend Best Buy store exclusive, it’s certainly put a damper on the whole thing. I’ve been wondering if it’s just me and the fans that I know who have been bummed out by it. Are we being too emotional about it? When going through comments and posts, I’ve seen A LOT of negativity, interspersed with Samsung owners who are happy (granted they are usually happy because they mistakenly think they will be able to see the trailer first via their device from anywhere).
Then you have the non-fans or casual viewers who pop their heads in to say that we’re being stupid, BECAUSE IT WILL BE ONLINE EVENTUALLY DUH, and to STOP COMPLAINING. I’ve been able to control myself and not respond to such people, but wow are those non-fan/casual-viewer comments infuriating.
We all have things that we love, interests that we follow closely. For some people it’s a sport/sports team or some other kind of hobby. For others, it’s books and movies. And we love THE HUNGER GAMES books and movies. Last year’s SDCC event was a great day in the fandom. We mistakenly believed that we would get a repeat of that day for Mockingjay Part 1. I’m not saying there won’t be good things to come out of SDCC for fans. I mean, there’s a TRAILER that those casual viewers keep reminding us we can see EVENTUALLY. And usually studios will release posters or other things as well, which I really hope Lionsgate does. But without a Hall H panel or concurrent trailer release, it seems that it will be much more muted than last year, and I think a lot of us are realizing that we better keep our expectations in check.
There’s always next year, right?
News came out today that Mockingjay Part 1 would indeed have a presence at San Diego Comic Con. Yay! That’s awesome and great. And expected, since Lionsgate has been saying all along they would be at Comic Con since January. But now we know some of the stars will be there, which is great news for fans who long ago bought tickets thinking that Mockingjay would have a presence at the Con.
But then came the news of the Samsung partnership with Mockingjay Part 1, and how this would affect the LONG AWAITED Mockingjay trailer release.
In a first-of-its-kind experience, fans will have the opportunity to preview the highly-anticipated The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 trailer on the Galaxy Tab S at an exclusive premiere in San Diego during Comic-Con on Friday, July 25. For those outside San Diego, beginning Saturday, July 26, fans can visit participating Samsung Experience Shops within Best Buy locations nationwide throughout the weekend to preview the trailer.
So basically, the trailer will debut at SDCC ONLY on July 25. Then over the weekend you can watch the trailer IF YOU GO TO A BEST BUY STORE. If you’re an international fan, you’re out of luck until next week, when the trailer presumably goes online.
But don’t fear, fans without SDCC tickets or a Best Buy nearby, I’m sure there will be plenty of low quality versions of the trailer recorded on people’s MOBILE DEVICES that will be uploaded on the internet. It’ll be everywhere. Even if you want to avoid it, there inevitably will be screenshots all over social media that weekend.
To say I’m disappointed in this rollout plan would be a gross understatement. The thing I love about trailer releases is to share the experience online with fans around the world. Last year’s online release of the Catching Fire along with SDCC was such a fun event for fans everywhere. This staggered release RUINS the opportunity to make the release a big worldwide experience. To think that fans are going to ignore the LQ versions that will pop up to wait for Lionsgate to post on YouTube is preposterous. We had evidence of that a few weeks ago when the first teaser leaked. It will not work.
The people that really want to see your movie trailer ASAP are your hardcore fans. So a trailer release should be focused around THE FANS and how you can make that experience special. Instead, the rights to the trailer release were sold to Samsung. We certainly don’t question Lionsgate’s right to money off this movie. That’s why they’re in business and we’re very glad they’ve made these movies! But they really should keep in mind who their customers are. The customers who will see the movie several times, buy the merch, and give the movie buzz care THE MOST about trailer releases! Please stop destroying the experiences that they value and have waited for desperately for a few extra bucks.
And so what should be happy news (A TRAILER IS COMING. FINALLY. YES.) is tinged with sadness.
The Rebels are at it again, and the famdom is buzzing with anticipation for something, anything– seriously, give us something! This is our natural state of being though, playing the waiting game until we’re about to burst forth and have kittens, or just go full on troll-under-the-bridge (you know who you are!).
The rebels have hacked thecapitol.pn’s Twitter as well as left a snazzy hidden message on Thecapitol.pn website, and not only have they done it once– nope they’ve done it twice in the last two days, and that can mean only a few things: We’re about to get more viral marketing promotional material thrown at us at odd times of the day, and well– I think that’s about it. But what ever could it be? I know what I want it to be, I know what a few of my friends want it to be, and I think I know what every other Hunger Games fan on the planet wants it to be.
Like the last propo address from the illustrious President Snow showed us the Rebels are highly capable of dropping a nice, shiny surprise on us. If only for a matter of a few short seconds. But that’s what we live for, right? Those ever so brief moments of excitement when a familiar, and beloved character’s face takes up residence on our screen, big and little. We’re over the moon seeing Peeta, and his pants– of course his pants. And we’re tickled to see Johanna in her gravity defying gown, and yes– we’re even pleased seeing President Snow on his thrown, playing the resolute, and distinguished dictator. I think we’re chilled to the bone though when we see glimpses of District 13 however, Beetee better yet. Because even if you’re not a fan of the story, or the over all delivery of the novel Mockingjay, you have to admit on some level that when you read it initially you thought it would make a killer film, if it ever was made into one that is. And look at us now, a fandom so big, so vast, and so ready to see not one, but two films made out of the novel so many of us have been up in arms about. We’re ready though, we’re ready for more than Beetee flicker across our screens, so ready to relish in more than the ridiculousness of Peeta’s pants, or the sassy stance of one of our favorite victors.
By all means give us The Mockingjay, by all means.
Tick tock, tick tock.
Them There Eyes
Today we have a great guest post by Satsuma on a topic that brings out a lot of passion in the fandom.
Okay, first things first. I confess that it wasn’t just the (rather scanty) Mockingjay news so far that brought this question to my mind.
No, I must credit the inspiration for this topic, of how much romance is appropriate for a sci-fi, action-packed “young adult” tale to, of all things, LEGOs — the LEGO ninjas who star in the Cartoon Network show, “Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu”. Think LEGO Star Wars mixed with kung-fu. For a series of 22-minute LEGO commercials, the show can be surprisingly deep; there is one Big Bad Palpatine/Sauron-like villain, but other antagonists are quite humanized, including Darth -er, Lord Garmadon, or the snake-like Serpentine clans, who actually have legitimate reasons to be angry at mankind.
The show is targeted mostly at young boys, and the 4 ninjas (Kai, Jay, Zane, and Cole) are all male, as is the Chosen One, Lloyd. But there is one significant female character; Nya, Kai’s sister. Nya is a mecha wiz who dresses up in a robo-Samurai-suit to fight evil, and often bests the boys at their game.
Seasons 1 and 2 of the show had a touch of innocent romance between Nya and Jay, but this was far from the focus. But suddenly, in season 3, Nya wound up in a love triangle between Jay and fellow ninja Cole. A love interest appeared for Zane as well, and it even turned out that Lord Garmadon and his brother, Sensei Wu, had both wooed Padm – er, Misako in the past.
Well, the fan reaction to all this romance, was, essentially, “ewwww”! Not just from the young boys, but the tween girls who were the likely target of it. Many female fans of the show were annoyed that Nya was turned into yet another Bella-like ingenue torn between two suitors, as opposed to a heroine in her own right who just happened to be dating another ensemble character.
And so this brings me to Mockingjay, and the debates over how much romance will, and should, be in the films. It seems the fan consensus for THG was that one of the film’s major flaws was how the K/P ship was not only downplayed, but done so in a way that shorted Peeta as a character. For the CF movie, I was mostly satisfied both with the “balance” between K/P and K/G and the overall amount of romance , but I certainly recall some Everlarkers griping “no plant book scene”, “no rooftop scene”, or “that beach kiss was NOT passionate enough” (I actually agree with the last one; it was cute, but not one that made me think Katniss was having sexy feelings down below, the way the book scene certainly did.)
What will we see in the MJ films, though? Certainly, two films give the film-makers extra time for romance, but that doesn’t mean all the book scenes will make it in. Some of the extra time will be given to added scenes, such as battles, or exposition scenes between Snow and his new adviser, Antonius, and we’ll likely get a peek at Coin’s machinations as well. So in keeping with the general trends, I forecast some romantic scenes being edited, cut down, or merged with others.
Again, the “balance” between K/P and K/G will be crucial, especially given Peeta’s absence in most of Part 1, and the difficulty even SC herself had with sinking K/G not only as a romance, but as a friendship as well (I refer, again, to the many “post-MJ” fanfics that feature a K/G reconciliation at least as friends.)
What I think fans also should keep in mind, is that the MJ book itself was a much less “romantic” a book than certainly CF, or even THG. To me, even before Peeta reappeared, MJ made it obvious that the only potential K/G had, even without the clashes in values, was a “lifeboat camaraderie” type friendship with some “hurt/comfort” thrown in. (And to be fair, K/P has these aspects as well, but goes beyond it in a way K/G didn’t.) Note that SC herself had to be nudged by her editor into writing “more of the Peeta-Katniss-Gale love triangle”. (Source)
Now, this little tidbit makes me highly suspect that the very Twilight-ish “who will she choose” scene between Peeta and Gale in Tigris’s shop was added on by SC in response to her editor’s suggestions. Considering how the films so far have tended to cut out the “cheesier” romantic scenes and lines, I think that if we do see the scene, it will be quite cut down, though Gale’s “she’ll choose who she can’t survive without” comment may be left in. And it certainly may, as Katniss’s later musings about “what I need to survive” show much about the characters of all Love Triangle Trio members. Also, in the books, Katniss only reflects on this comment internally. Certainly, book!Katniss actually verbalizing her complicated feelings to Peeta (or to Gale) would have been quite OOC. But movie!Katniss is not quite as introverted (a change I certainly prefer to cheesy voice-overs), and it will be interesting to see how the movie converts her thoughts to actual dialogue. In this way, I can see the MJ movies having a more “romantic” component than the books.
My own take on the series is that, romance is certainly a large component of it; certainly more than the Y-7 rated Ninjago. Not only do we have the central love triangle, we also have Mr. M, Mrs. E and Mr. E, Annie and Finnick, and so on. I certainly don’t agree with the extreme anti-romance “Katniss was incapable of loving anyone but Prim, she just chose Peeta because she was stuck with him and did what she could to survive” theory. But in the end, it is NOT a romance in terms of the genre. So I’m not personally going to wait with baited breath for each book kiss to appear on the scene.
I think SC meant for the romance to take a back seat in MJ, and only be established towards the end, in the context of not only two hot bodies going at it, but a long-lasting relationship that produces children, to provide a ray of hope at the end. I also hope the films convey the idea that the “choice” between Peeta and Gale wasn’t just a choice between two men (unlike Nya’s choice, as her suitors are both “good guys” who pretty much look the same except for wig and costume) but one between two different ways of life. Can movie!Katniss become one of the few pop culture heroines who isn’t JUST a “romantic” or “action” heroine, but transcends both?
One can only hope.
Sometimes reality takes a hold of us here at Victor’s Village in both good and bad ways. Jobs take us away, holidays to locations where Internet access is shoddy at best, or maybe perhaps there’s a wedding to celebrate? I didn’t ask if it was alright to bring this up before hand, but if you haven’t noticed lately that The Girl With The Pearl has not been posting articles penned by her self lately, you all should know by now that that’s because she’s been body snatched by a white gown wearing lady person. Der, she’s getting married! Or better yet, she got married– today actually. So if you’re not ready to throw virtual confetti at her (’cause rice kills birds fools), you’re sad and need to go regroup post-haste!
Ahhhhhh!! Congratulations The Girl With The Pearl!!
All the wedding planning was probably both a challenge as well as a bit of a thrill. But I can’t help but think of parallels between our dear founder’s wedding planning, and subsequent wedding bliss (I saw pictures, looked pretty blissful to me), with the only wedding fully realized in the beloved series that brought us all together here at Victor’s Village. I’m speaking of course of the wedding of Finnick Odair and Annie Cresta in Mockingjay. Annie and Finnick’s wedding wasn’t that different from most people’s I think, there was cake, there were vows, there were tears, and there was dancing, and music. Only difference I can think of between a normal North American wedding like our dear Girl With The Pearl’s, and Finnick and Annie’s was a lack of planning. I know that The Girl With The Pearl’s wedding and reception took months on end to plan out, Annie and Finnick’s was somewhat spontaneous, and more of a reprieve from the chaos, and upheaval of the war situation their world was surrounded with, as well as by. The Girl With The
Pearl and her now husband do not live in a war state, and planning of their wedding was an absolute necessity considering logistics of family, as well as most other contemporary expectations, and I’d also like to think of their wedding and reception as the reprieve from planning all of it! Annie and Finnick seemed to just kind of show up, Annie wore a borrowed dress from Katniss’ vast Capitol wardrobe, not out of choice, but out of necessity as she literally owned nothing wedding worthy after being rescued from the clutches of the Capitol. The Girl With The Pearl on the other hand found her dress months ago, and went to multiple fittings so it would fit perfectly. Annie, well– Annie dawned Katniss’ dress and hoped for the best on the day of her wedding. Who had the right idea though? That’s a question that can never be answered I’m afraid. Why? Because one’s a fictional wedding between two fictional people, and The Girl With The Pearl and her husband are very real people.
On that note, let’s all wish them a happy Honeymoon, and all collectively hold our breath for those few minutes in Mockingjay: Part Two when we finally get to see Finnick and Annie’s wedding on a flickering screen and not playing out in our heads.
Congratulations Kait, erm… I mean The Girl With The Pearl!
Them There Eyes