Fandoms: How it changed Entertainment and Culture

Geeks and Nerds; we used to see them in our schools, in comic book stores and in malls. We used to think that they’re lonely, weird or not worth talking to. Now here we are, years later and Geek has now become the new “cool” thing in the world. How did this all start?

Geek culture started as an underground subculture at first around the early 1970’s, a few years after Star Trek had been cancelled. It gave birth to a tradition of cult gatherings of Star Trek fans who share their love for the show, make lasting friendships and even meet their favorite celebrities. This slowly grew into what we call “conventions”.

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – JULY 19: General view of the atmosphere outside 2019 Comic-Con International on July 19, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Daniel Knighton/Getty Images)

Pretty soon, Geek culture entered the mainstream with the opening of San Diego Comic Con on March 21, 1970. Later it came along with the Harry Potter series in the 90’s, Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies and the Star Wars prequels. San Diego Comic Con became the “Go-To” gathering for all types of Geeks.

Eventually by the beginning of the twenty-teens, the Marvel Cinematic Universe changed the game and solidified geek culture as the dominant force in Hollywood. It even paved the way for multiple familiar fandoms. Sagas like “Lord of the Rings”, “Star Wars” and Superhero movies appealed to audiences with their message of “good triumphs over evil”. Young Adult Novels like “Harry Potter” and “The Hunger Games” gave it’s message on how new generations should question and stand up to authority. It even paved the way for Anime shows like Studio Ghibli, Pokémon and Naruto (famously known for its meme, the Naruto Run. As described in this Vine below).

Fandoms also developed their own slang/fan-speak (canon, head canon, shipping, fanwork, cosplay), split themselves into a variety of fans (Hardcore fan purists, casual fans, Theorists, Stans, shippers, Prosumers, Critics, etc.) and eventually fandom became a series of different tribes. It developed a tribalist attitude.

But even though fandom has created its own culture, there’s a dark underbelly to fandom too. It comes equipped with their own versions of toxicity. (Gamer-gate, redditors, Internet Trolls, Bullying within fandoms, attacking creators when a movie/franchise goes downhill) The Star Wars fandom is a perfect example of toxicity in fandom. When the Star Wars Prequels first came out in theaters, fans lined up to see the next half of the Saga brought to the big screen. During its first premiere, it got a lot of positive responses from fans.

But when the dawn of the Internet came and social media came into existence, the loving praise slowly turned into vindictive hatred. Many fans started to believe that the Star Wars prequels were “the worst movies in the world”. Fans voiced out their disappointment that it drove George Lucas to stop making movies and give his project over to Disney. From an objective point of view, the prequels weren’t as terrible as they make them out to be. Of course, they did have their flaws in script-writing and wooden acting. But it was redeemed for its world-building and its backstory for Darth Vader. Even if Star Wars is the most well known and beloved movie sagas, it still suffers the burden of a mostly toxic fanbase. But it doesn’t erase out the other majority of positive fans who appreciate Star Wars for what it is.

As the Social media landscape grew, it even introduced us to YouTubers, Bloggers and Creative people who look to create content based on their love for their favorite fandoms, including essay videos and articles that analyze fandoms in a nutshell.

Hannah Cowton of “The London Geek”, is a blogger who writes blogs and is made famous through her blog explaining the fandom drama landscape  Link: “We Need To Talk About Fandom Drama” by Hannah Cowton

ColeyDoesThings is a recent YouTuber who is made famous through her “entering the fandom” videos on YouTube, where she showcases the positive, negative and weird sides of the fandom through an outsider’s perspective. She currently is working on a documentary observing the BTS fandom (which is about a Kpop band)

So now that fandoms have developed over the last decade, where do we go from here? As we are entering into a new decade, we have seen fandoms for its pluses and its minuses. But right now, there is a constant battle between creator and fan, where it’s more about being pressured to make projects to satisfy your fanbase and less about telling a good story.

For a long time, I’ve been a part of some fandoms. Some of them helped inspired me to create stories. Since my motto is “I help you tell your story”, a part of me wants to help geek culture tell their story. I even have a desire to want to do documentaries on these specific topics within geek culture.

There needs to be a way to find common ground in all fandoms. We should remember that a fandom is about community. I hope that one day, we’ll enter into a new era. An era where it should be less about entertainment as consumerism and more about a community that unites through stories. It may seem like a dream. Sometimes, those dreams can become a reality.

The Problem with COPPA

COPPA; where to begin with this law? Well for starters, there are three things wrong with it:

1) They can fine creators 42,000 dollars for violation of rules – Advertising to kids inappropriate content, etc.

2) They can delete videos and relicense videos without the creator’s consent so they could sell video compilations of popular YouTube channels and actually keep all the money.

3) They reserve the right to delete unprofitable accounts.

So how can a small youtuber ever grow an audience if they can kill your channel at anytime? Of course, small youtubers make up most of the audience, so they can’t seriously consider deleting the accounts of most of the customers. Here is a video by a YouTube marketer, Derral Eves, that sheds a lot of light on this issue.

This becomes a free speech issue because they are starting to regulate youtube by the same rules they use to regulate television. This means less free form content and more of a family-friendly programming because they’re trying to launch a pay service.

Here are the links to a sign a petition if you think Youtube should reconsider this policy.

Petition link:

FTC Message link:

Make your voice heard here! Speak to power! Save Youtube from itself!

LeakyCon Documentary

I just completed a documentary about LeakyCon, a popular Harry Potter fan convention.

This gave me a chance to use my professional skills for one of my personal passions. I hope you enjoy it.

#LeakyConIsHome #JVRProductions.Work

Meeting my Job Coaches

Hey Everyone! So today has been a very eventful morning. I had to go out and meet with my Job Coaches named Dave Devendorf and Theresa Collins, who are planning to help me interact on a job interview.

They explained to me that while they are impressed that I have the skills, they just needed to prepare me for how to use my film portfolio as a strategy for people on LinkedIn to come look and get more recognition and possibilities for a job application.

Three of the steps I might do is post my old videos on LinkedIn for people to see. Next, I would post more often on WordPress as well as LinkedIn so people will notice and check out my business, JVR Productions. Then the final step is setting up a 2-minute video resume of little segments of the professional work I’ve done over the years.

This homework is going to be a lot of work. But as David says, it doesn’t happen all in one day. It takes time to get there. I’m really excited!

Finished Latest Melvin & Melvin Law Firm Video

Hello there! Since I’ve worked with Melvin & Melvin Law Firm for a really long time, I finished a new video for their firm. Lou Levine explains in a series of videos what Collection Lawyers do for a living and how they provide service as a debtor or a creditor.

I want to thank Lou Levine for being a great sport in giving informative advice in these videos and I thank Melvin & Melvin for giving me the opportunity to do videos for them.

For more information about Melvin & Melvin Law Firm, be sure to check out their website here.

First Day of CNY Film Professionals Workshop

Last Saturday, I managed to join CNY Film Professionals latest workshop. Although it was just the first day, I was really excited to learn what’s new.

I was curious to take this course to help myself enhance my filmmaking talents. So I decided to sign myself up for CNY Film Professionals’s Workshop for the year. Their program works by having one meet-up each month. The first day is basically “Syllabus Day”. It’s when they make an introduction to the class, go through all of the rules before we move into the hands-on practicing.

Although it was a pretty long day, I had a great time because I was meeting with other creative people like myself and I was eager to work with them.

After the introduction was over, it was time for us to learn how to use the Walkie Talkies. When you work on a film studio with cameramen and actors, it’s important to use the walkie-talkie to communicate with the other people working on the set. We also practiced rehearsing a scene for a movie and I was a background actor.

Even though it was the first day, I though it was a refreshing experience from CNY Professionals and I can’t wait for more meet ups to come!

Saturday at CNY Film Professionals

Good news, everyone! This Saturday, I am going to a workshop on how to be a Productions assistant on a profession film or television shoot.

This is exciting news for me because ever since my colleague, Tammy Shauny recommended to me one of their events, I had the privilege of meeting some of the most creative and ambitious people in the film industry in Central New York.

I even got a chance to meet the wonderful Siobhan Fallon Hogan, who also went to LeMoyne college here in Syracuse and has starred in movies such as “Forrest Gump”.

It has been an exciting experience having to meet members of CNY Professionals and I want to thank them for giving me this opportunity. I can’t wait to work with them.

If you’re thinking of wanting to join to learn their workshop, be sure to sign up and check them out in the link below.

Worked as a Production Assistant on Congruent Story’s Latest Project

On Friday, I worked with Congruent Story on their project with AgModels. They’re helping AgModels shoot a series of commercials here in Syracuse.

Congruent Story is helping AgModels talk about how their software helps farmers make more money while they help protect the environment.

We shot a total of five interviews at Syracuse University’s CASE Center in their Fishbowl Conference room.  The director was named S.T. and he was really good at putting the interview subject at ease and making the interviews very conversational.

I worked as a production assistant to Danielle Southwick, who was the production manager. Danielle was really nice and she took the time to look at my portfolio of work and gave me advice on sound and lighting techniques for the future.

This was a wonderful learning experience for me. I have done a bunch of my own shoots, but this was the first time I worked with a really professional agency. I’m really grateful to Danielle and the Congruent Story team for letting me be on set for the shoot and I can’t wait to work on some of the raw footage in the future.

Babylon Sisters Bouncing the Bar B Cue !

A few weeks ago, my company JVR Productions filmed the Babylon Sisters concert at Dinosaur BBQ here in Syracuse. Joanna Jewett and her twelve-piece band gave a remarkable performance that Sunday afternoon!

I had some assistance with the three-camera shoot (my first!) from my friend, Analyse Adams, and my dad, Matthew Van Ryn.  Dad came in handy on the editing because he knew all these songs by Steely Dan by heart.

Dave Frisina of “The Rebel” gave a wonderful introduction to this amazing show. The band was rocking so hard that our cameras literally bounced up and down to the beat! I had so much fun watching the show as well as filming it.

The show was put on by Red Shoes Black Bag Productions. Every one of their shows donates a portion of the proceeds to Vera House and other local charities. It feels great to help the community while enjoying the great musicians we have here in Syracuse.

Don’t you think they should win a SAMMY for this show?

I certainly do!

What “Face Off” taught me about Art…

I’ve been watching “Face Off” for almost 10 years.  Over that time, it has made a big impact on my approach and skills as an artist.  I remember when I came across this show on SYFY when it was broadcasting its third season.

The show was so different from other reality shows because they had talented people who were skilled in Special FX make-up and were assigned to make tons of unique creations. But like other competition shows, the judges had to decide who’s work best fulfilled the challenge and they would move on to the next week’s show.

I watched eleven of the thirteen seasons of Face Off and it was around the time I went to many art classes during my college years. The show taught me so much about how to improve your skills as an artist and that constructive feedback is important to help make your work better.

“Face Off” changed over time. At first, they focused on the drama between contestants and had them all live in a house sponsored by the show, like several other reality shows. But over time, the show focused less on the drama and more on the creative process. I learned over time that feedback from your client is not criticism of your creative abilities. It’s just focusing you on how to do better and deliver a professional product that meets your client’s needs.

I also learned that even when you’re under deadline pressure, you can still find a few minutes to help out other coworkers with their projects. That’s how it works in creative businesses. It’s all about teamwork. So I thank “Face Off” for helping artists like myself learn how to work in a professional creative environment.

I had the pleasure of meeting Glenn Hetrick from the show at Scare-A-Con. I showed him some of my artwork and he was really supportive and impressed. He was a truly sweet person. I wish Glenn and all my friends from the show all the greatest success in the future.

Long Live Face Off!


Face Off’s Official Website