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How to Deal with a Fangirl/Fanboy
The limousine is quiet and dark except for a small light near you. You’re taking deep breaths to calm your nerves. The limousine comes to a stop. You adjust your outfit before the door opens. Lights flash wildly around you and fans scream their lungs out. They hold their signs out with pictures of you dressed up as the character. There are lines that you had spoken written on their t-shirts and posters. Then, as you walk down the red carpet signing autographs you wonder. Why do these people care so much about you? Or is it really your character they care more about? How do people get so caught up in these things called fandoms?
Well to be honest we connect with the characters. As soon as that first chapter or scene begins we enter these new worlds; we begin to live a different life. When we go and make friends and find out they like the same world we love, well we kind of turn into nut cases. We became fangirls or fanboys of these fandoms. A fandom is a group of people who have the same interest in an area. Such as cat lovers or Lord of the Rings fans.
There are various levels when it comes to fans, however this will depend on the fandom. Yet for this essay I shall talk only about the book and movie fandoms. So if it’s just a movie it has only a few levels of fans. However if it is both a book and movie it can have some very scary levels. Why even animes and video games have some differences amongst the people.
First off there are your basic fans, the ones who enjoy the video or book, but they have other things to do besides it. The second-level fans are going to have a reasonable collection of posters and knick-knacks and such. These tend to be the fans that can be found at premieres or ready to get their book signed, but they can also be on a crazy level. Which brings us to the third level where you can find the almost-way-too-deep-into-the-fandom-to-save people. This is where most book to movie fans can be found because we tend to get upset if something did not get put into film, but there are some fans who may say the film added something better. These are also the fans with whom you do NOT want to get into a fandom war. They will defend their beloved world with their lives.
The best way to spot these people is that they will wear many t-shirts, accesories, or some symbol of their fandom almost all the times. When they hear something that has a small amount of relation to their fandom, they will look up and find the source of that voice. Also if you ask them what their favorite movie, book, video game, or anime is, they will give you a quick answer. Now let’s say you like this person despite the fact that she or he may have a bigger crush on a fictional character than you. Well how do you deal with this person? First and most importantly, the thing to do is to find out what they like and dislike. I’ll give you two examples.
First, a guy who likes superheroes; these people are mostly stereotyped as being nerds with glasses. However, nowadays fans can be found in any stereotypes, so the best way to know is if they wear t-shirts, accesories, and more than likely are holding a comic book of some sort. Now, if you know the superheroes and can tell which one they like, it is best to ask which ones you shouldn’t talk about. If you don’t know what their favorite is, it’s alright to ask, but remember to ask which ones they don’t like. Like say he/she is a Superman fan. As soon as they say that, don’t say something like, “Oh he’s my second favorite superhero after Spiderman” because it’s possible that Spiderman is his/her’s least favorite. Also for anyone who has a superhero- or comic-loving boyfriend or girlfriend, if you are interested in finding out why they like these characters, just go to a comic bookstore and take a look around. The MOST important thing you must know is that you NEVER, NEVER! Ask a group of comic book fans, who is the best superhero of all the superheroes. You will start a war and it will go on for years.
Now, for the second example, let’s go with a book/movie fangirl. Let’s make her a Harry Potter fan. She has read the books and seen the movies. In the wizarding world she would be considered a pure-blood; in other words a full-fledged fan who has both read the books
and seen the movies. These kinds of fan can have two sides to them. They can be the fans that do not have a problem with the movies not being as accurate as possible; they may say some things were bad but they won’t go into a rage about it. The other half is a lot worse. These people could turn into the Incredible Hulk because of how angry they get because the movies messed up just one scene or gave a line to someone else. These fans are a fine example of how crazy people can get over fandoms. They get tattoos, collect every newspaper article on it, and give a quote from nearly every character in the series. Oh and during the movie they either quote each word or tell their friend the parts that were or were not in the movie, or fun facts about the movie.
So how do you handle this type of person? Wear gloves and a claw-proof outfit for protection. Nah, it’s not that bad. Just never insult their favorite character, unless she herself laughs about it. As with the guy example ask your girl what she likes and doesn’t like in the movie/book fandom world.
As you get more attached to this love interest or friendship you will start to hear some new words: shipping, head canons, and even fanfic. As much as you try to understand the conversations you just can’t grasp it as well as they would like you to. Well I’ll give you the definitions to some of the most common words found in the fandom world. Shipping: that is—well, it’s similar to- what people do with real people. Take Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, and Angelina Jolie; many fans wanted Jennifer and Brad together whereas there were other fans who wanted Brad with Angelina. Shipping is putting a person together with another person that you have a preference for or think is more ideal for that person.
You can have ships from the same book or movie. You can ship characters from other books and movies. However most Disney, Dreamworks, and Pixar and 20th Century Fox fans tend to keep their ships in the same area. Like shipping Ariel with Tarzan not that there aren’t those who do ship characters with other companies, take Merida and Hiccup. Merida is a Disney/Pixar princess and Hiccup is a Dreamworks character. It can get scary when someone starts shipping, because there can be fans who don’t see it or it’s just plan weird. Take Drapple, it is basically Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter series and an apple. I have no clue where it began but it most likely was inspired based on the fact that in the movies Draco is usually seen with a green apple--thus Drapple. And that is one of the least scary ones.
Now you have a simple idea as to what shipping is but then you hear about head canons. Head canons are the originals of the ships; it consists of the characters in the movie and/or book only. In the movie/book Vampire Academy the main characters Dimitri and Rose become a couple, and fans who support this couple would ship it. It is the couples that you agree should be together. So here is a review: head canons are couples you agree should be together and shipping is where you pair a couple up, not the author or director.
Now comes the result of all this shipping and head canons--Fan Fiction. You’ve heard of Fifty Shades of Grey correct? Well that is fan fiction and the world it focuses on is Twilight. Now normally fan fiction never gets published but considering people consider Stephanie Meyers an author just shows that nowadays anybody can get into the writing world. Fan fiction is the place where fans have their own ideas of how a movie could have been done or how a book should have started or ended. It allows one to make the fictional world one’s own. They can make their own character and have that character say what they had imagined they would say if they were in that world. Like Avengers fans may wish to have done something in an action scene or Pride and Prejuidice fans would have wanted to slap Mrs. Bennet. As they can’t do this because the story has already been written they take it upon themselves to write it their own way, even if they can’t publish it. Not that it stops them from posting their stories on blogs, websites, and even quizzes; there are websites made just for fanfiction. This is where I give you the warning to be very, very careful about fanfiction. It is scarier than shipping, just plan weird and scary. Yet, there is some pretty good fanfic out there: they’re so good they could get published-- well should be published.
You’ve learned about what a fandom is, fandom wars, and the different levels of fans, how to spot one, and to understand some of their language such as fan fiction, head-canons, and shipping. I do believe you can have a full-on conversation with book/movie fans with little fear of making them turn into a volcano. Remember though it has its scary parts--and you have been warned.