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
Working on a fandom site: It’s more complicated than that ol’ Facebook relationship status.
Fansite folk are lucky beyond belief for all the recognition and opportunities we’ve been given, but things often get tricky behind the scenes. Though it’s usually friendly competition between fansites, that’s not always the case. There’s pressure to outdo someone else: To post first, to have the coolest design, to get the exclusive, to be the most interesting, etc. Internally, there’s the never-ending matter of who does the work vs. who takes credit for the work. You question who’s in it for the love of Fandom X and who’s in it for the perks and acknowledgements.
Thankfully, most of these are not Victor’s Village problems given our editorial nature (though damn does our layout need an update!) Personally, I work and have worked on other sites where these problems definitely crop up.
All of this, we hide from the audience as much as humanly possible. Why? Because nobody wants to be THAT GUY. Whatever problems we have, we’re usually level-headed enough to recognize that it’s not about us, so we don’t make it public knowledge. It’s about creating an exciting environment to enjoy something we love tremendously and just want to talk about non-stop! And oh, do we talk…
Recently, you’ve probably noticed people airing out their dirty fansite laundry. Sometimes it’s been in the form of confrontation, other times reaction. And whenever we see it, we absolutely cringe. It all goes back to production vs ownership. Fansites are not a contractual entity, so if you create and curate on your own sections of the content, aren’t they yours?
Look, maybe we’re the new age hipster mom and pop shop taking about corporate establishments here, but it comes down to morals. If Them There Eyes or JJ decided left Victor’s Village under any circumstance, their work is theirs. Why? They worked their ass off creating it! And they did it for their own reasons, not so I could use it to benefit me later on. They’ve helped the site I started blossom and thrive and I owe way more to them than they do to me (Obviously, the same goes for Twiffidy, who was a wonderful addition to the site for two years before retiring from the site with zero love lost)!
Even though we’re not involved, it’s embarrassing because accusations and consulting lawyers and being upset about what people think of you is the exact opposite of what fandom is about. None of you should have to see that, let alone have the situation explained to you due to misleading information elsewhere. It’s sad that it got to that point.
The truth is, sometimes fandom fails you.
Site runners forget that we’re doing this for YOU and not for ourselves. Even if we live off what we make from our sites (which is few and far between, by the way, as most sites barely pay for themselves and almost all of us work full-time outside these shenanigans), we started our sites with the hopes of inspiring people and sharing our love of this thrilling, enchanting, emotional journey with others. We forget that in the long run, we are one of SEVERAL media outlets covering this fandom and our individual sites are not terribly important in the grand scheme of things because fans could easily get the same news elsewhere. We’re lucky to have you and acting like we’re the center of the Internet just ain’t cool.
Nobody wins here. So can we all agree to save the drama for our mamas and act like the stellar Hunger Games fanatics that we are?!
The Girl With The Pearl
It’s no big secret or anything, but The Hunger Games fandom is kind of into take our favorite trilogy by the proverbial, throat or balls, and making it our own. We love making manips in our fancy, or not so fancy computer software, we like making memes, and daaaamn do we like our fan-made film adaptations, and our original content based shorts and full length films (yes, they do exist!).
Suzanne Collins’ work was published in a sort of golden age of Audience Participation, ’cause come a decade or more ago the trilogy would have had to suffice with fan-fiction, and maybe some wearable fan-art sold at Comic-Cons, or on Cafepress, that’s if Cafepress existed a decade or more ago– and I’m making an educated guess here, ’cause I don’t think that it did. Did it? Tell me if it did Internet-y people!
In our little corner of the Interwebz though, I think the fan-made phenomena that’s the most intriguing, and also sometimes the most disappointing are the many, many, MANY fan-made films. It’s hit or miss with the multitude of Youtube, and Vimeo postings of such fare, I’ll be the bold one though, and call it like I see it, a crap-shoot. Because, as much effort goes into all these projects, only a small collection of them are up to snuff. And when I say “up to snuff”, I mean if they had had a little bit more of a budget for things like scoring with quality, and original music, or better fight choreography, they’d be hard to pick out of a line up of What’s Fan-Made and What’s a Major Studio Project.
I did my research, yerp– I watched a whole lot of Youtube Hunger Games themed videos. From projects made by a group of bored sounding, and looking Australian teens, to a painful depiction of Finnick Odair doing his “I drag myself out of nightmares each morning and find there’s no relief in waking.” Speech, where it was delivered with such amateur earnestness that I dare anyone to not look away, because it’s just that bad, car-crash bad. But then there’s the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel full of blood thirsty Undead! John Lyde’s videos are of course counted on the list of quality Hunger Games fan-vids, and then there’s the 2011 The Hunger Games- Johanna Mason short by Wellwood Productions, which I
can say without qualms has one of the most heartbreaking Johanna performances put to film. Honest– watch it, watch it til the end (it’s only 9 minutes long), there’s a moment that turns on a dime– and if you don’t feel all the feelings, something may be wrong with you. I don’t know how it slipped my notice for so long, but it did, because I can’t spend my life swaddled in sweats, watching Hunger Games fan-videos– but there’s this fan-fiction, feature length film called Cirrus Quell — A Hunger Games Story, that’s been up on Youtube since November, 2012. This film is quality stuff, the performances are believable, the fight choreography is good, the writing is good, and the camera work is more than good, yes with the right amount of shaky-cam that Gary Ross was unable to attain even with that huge budget footed by that major motion picture studio.
I’ve noticed something about these top-tier, fan-made Hunger Games videos over the years, blood– they really like the stuff. It’s a repeated complaint I’ve had with the big-studio made Hunger Games films, a sheer lack of that red sticky stuff that keeps all of us alive. We don’t see a lot of it in either Gary Ross’ The Hunger Games, or Francis Lawrence’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and I’ll bet you a big basket of kittens that both Mockingjay: Part 1, and Part 2 will be lacking in the stuff as well, which is odd considering that the entire series is focused on life and death, and also features a whole lot of the latter– some of them bloody as hell too. Like for instance Cato’s in The Hunger Games; in the novel, as we we all should remember, he was ripped apart by Capitol engineered Wolf Muttations as Katniss watched, and then she listened for hours as he groaned, and cried as he slowly, and painfully bled out, that is until she killed him by shooting him with an arrow. in the film however, Katniss watched for seconds as a pack of Dog Muttations swarmed him, and then she quickly took pity on him, shooting him through the skull– a swift mercy kill. It’s all to get around the MPAA, who seem hell bent on showing the world every actresses breasts, but never an actors penis– because, I don’t know– they’re scared of them?
It’s true that there’s not a lot of Mockingjay anything news like coming out right now, you’d have to be seriously out of the loop if you’re not aware of that fact by now as well. So, when there’s the news that a fan-made Mockingjay themed film being made with its eye towards quality, and the other thing that all top-tier Hunger Games fan-made films has in spades– it’s this wonderful thing called grit. I say “hell yeah, bring it on!” Only one problem, to adhere to this particular group of filmmakers desire, and frankly their need to put out quality work– they need our help, the fandom that is, not solely Victor’s Village. You guessed it by now hopefully, ’cause they’re doing the crowd-sourcing thing. They’re shooting for the stars on this one people, and hoping to rent a top of the line motion picture camera, the same model used by Peter Jackson’s crew on The Hobbit films. I’m no stranger to crowd-sourcing films, I’m a Veronica Mars fan– and I put in my hard earned twenty bucks to help the Veronica Mars film get made. And then I shelled out another to see it in theatres, and another to get the digital download. And also, because I’m a forever Veronica Mars fan, I support that cast of the series’ other projects, so I put in twenty to help Chris Lowell’s (Piz) film make it to theatres all over the US and probably Canada. I like supporting projects that I’m confident won’t disappoint me, like Veronica Mars, and Beside Still Waters. And I’m going to be bold again, I don’t think the Hunger Games fandom has ever been witness to the prospect, or the beginnings of a fan-made film project of the magnitude of quality this project is aiming for.
The objective, and feeling of the film is kind of right up almost every Hunger Games fans alley. I’ve had a little time to chat to the woman set to portray Katniss in this film-short, she’s also one of the brain-trusts behind the project– (über fan status is her’s in spades, someone should get her a crown or something), and she’s said some intriguing things that I’m very much on board with. Things like her and the director’s desire to focus on the affects of war on an individual and a society, and the want to depict that in a realistic, and thoughtful way– a way that hasn’t shown its self in the studio films as of yet, or at least not in the full on way that many fans have been hankering for. They don’t have the MPAA to deal with, just Youtube viewers tattling on them for using swear words, which they probably won’t use anyway, but I wish they would. There’s a reason the saying is “swearing like a sailor” sailors go to war!
So, take a chance, if you think about it donating to this project out of most others is less than the price of a premium cup of coffee at Starbucks. Also, anything Mockingjay related is a welcome reprieve from the lull of all lulls we’ve been under for the last several months.
Them There Eyes
FANDOM: Some people just don’t get it. Or they get some fandoms, but perhaps not yours. Sometimes it’s just a little faux pas that’s a whole ton of hilarious.
The MTV Movie Awards were pretty uninteresting and uneventful this year despite plenty of Hunger Games WINNING (Jen for Best Female Performance, Josh for Best Male Performance, and Catching Fire for Movie of the Year!) Perhaps the most amusing moment of the night came just after Josh gave his first acceptance speech:
JUST LOOK AT JOSH’S FACE. LOOK AT IT!
Yes, there’s not that much of a difference between The Hunger Games and The Hunter Games. It could have been a slip of the tongue, because we doubt Cameron Diaz lives under a rock THAT big. But it’s not the first time we’ve heard someone say “The Hunter Games”.
There’s a chronic thing among people who just don’t get the series:
They can only manage one of the two words.
Either “Hunger” is replaced with any two syllable word ending in -er, or “Games” is replaced with a kinda sorta rhyming word.
The Hunter Games. The Hunger Dames. The Bunker Games. The Hunger Pains. And these are people genuinely suggesting this is the title. It’s exhausting.
We’re sure you’ve heard some good ones too. Even people who enjoy the series (but aren’t super enthusiastic about it) do this on occasion. It’s like a disease! As fans, we’ve gotten used to this ridiculousness, but perhaps it can be cured.
That’s right: They got a fever and the only cure is more Hunger Games. If we all reach out, maybe we can save them from their embarrassing, grievous misnomers!
Advocating, Annoying… What’s The Difference, Really?
The Girl With The Pearl
The Hunger Games is kinda a thing nowadays, if you haven’t noticed! As such, you expect it to make its rounds through pop culture. Like the string of awful parodies and the joke Ellen made at The Oscars.
But some references are more ridiculous and hilarious than others! For instance, the latest song from rapper Drake, “Draft Day”:
On some Hunger Games shit I would die for my district
Jennifer Lawrence you can really get it
I mean forreal, girl you know I had to do it for yah
You can listen to the whole song here. We’ll wait. *blocks ears because once is enough*
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! WE CANNOT EVEN! REALLY?!
Though this is just more evidence showing how popular The Hunger Games and Jennifer Lawrence really are, it is pretty random in the middle of a fairly tough rap number (though Drake comes from a middle class background and once starred in DeGrassi, so no one’s really calling him hardcore.) It’s all bitches, fuck this and that, and n-bombs… and hey, Jennifer Lawrence!
Aaaaaand when exactly do we hit the wall with The Hunger Games references? When do we say “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”? Neverrrr! The song is bad, but this reference is so awesomely bad that it’s actually good!
For Drake’s next single, we’ve got some phat Hunger Games rhymes to suggest:
“I’m so fly I’d survive The Hunger Games arena,
Got more dough than Josh Hutcherson as Peeta”
“I’m a killah, I don’t fail
Droppin’ bombs, just call me Gale”
“Rappers be so obsessed with all the fame and riches,
Strutting around like they Snow’s Capitol bitches.”
*cough* Check my flow, y’all!
The Girl With The Pearl
Ah, the media! Every now and then, there’s a kernel of real depth and knowledge in there, but not nearly as often as you think. (Unfortunately, I realized this mid-way through a Journalism degree, so on top of no longer wanting to work for the media, I’m in massive debt!) Mostly, it’s about getting people to pay attention to what you’re saying and make them think it’s important, even though it’s usually not. This is especially true of entertainment media.
So let us repeat a sentiment we’ve stated before. One more time with feeling!
There is no real fandom war between The Hunger Games and Divergent. Or between The Hunger Games and any other franchise, for that matter. Quit drinking the media wars Kool-aid. Seriously.
Them There Eyes already covered that EW pulled a seriously dick move by trying to deflate The Hunger Games series to up Divergent. Surely, other media sites have done it as well. Entertainment Weekly, especially, has stock in the success of the Divergent series. Note that they have stock in the success of THG as well, but it’s already a proven success so they don’t have to coddle it anymore, just cover it. Hence the clueless “Katniss is from District 9 and Victors are reaped in every Quarter Quell” review Catching Fire got. Successful fandom-centric franchises are huge readership draws. And Lionsgate? They don’t care which one you like better because they are both owned by Lionsgate. Though it should be noted that a lot of THG fan outrage is hypocrisy, given that most people seem perfectly okay with people deflating Divergent in favor of The Hunger Games. It shouldn’t be either way.
Of course, The Hunger Games/Divergent media wars have the desired effect. Everyone has preferences. We rush into the conversation to pick a side. Fans run out to say “I think Series A is better and anyone who thinks Series B is better is an idiot!” and vice versa.
Even we sip the Kool-aid a bit without realizing it. Them There Eyes was quick to call the movie mediocre based solely off critical reviews. When someone commented on one media post about how Mockingjay was awful and Allegiant was great, I was quick to respond with the inverse opinion. And I REALLY LIKE BOTH FRANCHISES. Not in love with the last Divergent book, but I still like both on the whole. Plus, we believe everyone should read and decide for themselves.
People like what they like. Some like The Hunger Games. Some like Divergent. Many, many people like both. And that’s fine! Don’t let the media make you think otherwise! Critics are not gods. While they make valid observations about film now and again, they’re often self-important jackwads. A movie isn’t good or bad or special or fun because a conglomerate of cynics tells you so. Seriously, that takes all the fun out of moviegoing. If you’ve ever had to stop asking a friend to go to the movies because they shot down everything you suggest based on critics, you know. So don’t let them push you around, m’kay?
This is not a war and nobody needs to pick sides. When the next potential franchise comes out, the media will do the same damn thing because people will STILL get hyped up over it. IGNORE THEEEEEMMMM. Have your preferences, have your personal tastes, but cutting down someone else’s fandom just to up yours, whether you’re Owen Gleiberman or just some random person on Tumblr, just makes you look like a petty ass.
Again: The Kool-Aid. STOP DRINKING IT.
WE JUST LIKE LIKING THINGS!
The Girl With The Pearl
Friday the DVD and Blu-ray editions of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire are being released in the US and Canada, which means a lot of us are not leaving the confines of our homes this weekend. Why? Because we’ll be glued to our respective television sets, absorbing what we’ve all hopefully already viewed a handful of times in movie theatres. Me? I’ll be like everyone else probably, inconsolable and re-watching Peeta and Katniss’ last scene together until he attempts to choke her to death in Mockingjay: Part 1. It’s going to be an emotional weekend, and just for kicks and giggles, I’ve come up with a list of things we should all do, or have on hand whilst partaking of the emotional roller coaster that is The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
First off I highly recommend getting comfortable. That means if you’re a lady person, lose the bra, and put on some pajama pants, perhaps some ridiculously comfy socks, and forget about washing your hair– who cares, no one can see you anyway! And if anybody can see you, they should already know that The Hunger Games is not something they’re allowed to judge you on, therefore clean hair isn’t something for them to get their panties into a twist about, ‘kay? You may want to continue to wear deodorant though, just to keep the yelling at bay.
Stock up on tissues, I think two boxes will suffice unless of course you’re the type who cries during diaper commercials. And, yep– because you’ll be crying so much, and using all those tissues you’re going to get dehydrated therefore you must have a hydration station at the ready. Stock your fridge with water, I’m going to go buy a bunch of mineral water and lemons for myself, and just go to town crying my ass off, and drinking bubbles and tartness that I know won’t add any weight to my ass at all. However if you’re like every other person in North America you’ll probably stock up on less healthful carbonated beverages. I beg of you though that you drink more than soda this weekend, I hate for your dentists to look in your mouths weeks or months from now and proclaim that you’ve got cavities in all your teeth.
For the legal adults in the audience I’m now going to suggest other beverages to have on hand. If you’re not obligated to be anywhere, i.e. you have no where to drive to– by all means have a glass of wine or two! Don’t go over the top though, I don’t want to read about some poor Hunger Games t-shirt clad, braless, jammy pants wearing, body of a woman that was found in a pool of their own vomit after bingeing on Stella, or three bottles of wine. ‘Kay just don’t!
Munchies! I mean did you really think I would forget munchies!? Wrong! I suggest an array of salty meats, cheeses, and vegetables. Uh huh, think antipasti platter, only if you hate olives, go with pickled whatever you like, or here’s a thought, sliced fresh veggies! My, green olives stuffed with garlic sounds mighty tasty right about now, also fresh cucumbers, and red, yellow, or orange Bell Pepper, the green ones have no flavor. Cheese, if you’re feeling low-brow, and like American Cheese in all its artificial orange, salty glory, by all means have some! But even Effie Trinket would make faces at you, so try something a bit more um– real, I mean not even Katniss has access to that stuff. So imagine Peeta using American Cheese in his cheese buns, and then gag with me! Or, perhaps you’re not up for all the work of arranging food stuffs semi artfully on a plate, in that case order pizza and call it a successful weekend. Food snobbery done, moving on!
Have your Smart Phone at the ready, perhaps a laptop, or iPad. Why? Because live tweeting on Twitter, and live blogging your marathoning on Tumblr whilst watching all the extras and bonus features, along with finally rewatching the film– well, it’s going to happen, so may as well have everything fully charged so you can share all the feels with the Internets, and you’re friends, maybe you’re mom. Just do it, you know you want to.
Take breaks y’all, remember you can hit pause now and go to the bathroom without missing a damn thing!
Them There Eyes
Dear Hunger Games fans…
Y’all are dramalicious.
Not ALL of you, of course. But some of us like to see things. To create issues what no real issues exist.
Case in point: The Mockingjay/ Divergent marketing “scandal”.
As you may remember, Lionsgate ate merged with Summit Entertainment recently. Given this, many of their marketing efforts are intertwined. Lionsgate owns The Hunger Games and Summit owns Divergent. So far in their partnership, the merge hasn’t blatantly meant any unprecedented delays in marketing, but someone out in the Internet whispered (probably on the cesspool that is tumblr) “There hasn’t been much Mockingjay Part 1 promotion yet because of Divergent’s promotion.” And just like that, complaints and worries took off.
Suddenly, a portion of the internet dissolves into feisty grandmas watching their soap operas:
“That new slut Divergent thinks she’s gonna just come in and steal Mockingjay’s man! To hell with that hooker!”
You gotta calm down there, Chuck.
Yes, at this time last year, we had the new poster reveal and a couple images of Victory Tour promo featuring Katniss and Peeta. Contrary to popular internet belief, we did NOT have the Capitol Portraits yet. Those came in March.
So really, we’re on par for what we had for Catching Fire at this time last year. Yet everyone’s looking to another YA movie to blame for that. HUH?
First off, we forget that Mockingjay Part II is still being filmed and the studio could very well be waiting until the focus is off filming before they worry about promotion for Part 1. It’s going to make a killing at the box office either way. Even so, The Hunger Games and Divergent are still marketed by two different teams, so it’s not as if promotion for one negates the other. Lionsgate and Summit marketing have been known to work together in the past, not cockblock each other. And frankly, there’s no way in hell anything happening in November is going to affect a movie coming out in March. If people want to see Divergent, they’ll go see it regardless of whether or not Mockingjay character portraits show up in the meantime.
Secondly, can’t YA fandoms all just get along? YA fandoms like to get elitist, judge each other, and in this case, blame each other for their problems. Hunger Games fans want more stuff and they’re not getting it, so they look to blame Divergent. There’s already so many people out there trying to discredit and undermine the young adult adaptations out there (including the ones that will forever hate on The Hunger Games, even if it won all the awards) that we should support each other instead of running around hating on each other. Capice?
Stop Being Jealous When Another Pretty Girl Gets Attention, Wannabe Prom Queens,
The Girl With The Pearl