Posts Tagged ‘fully operational fandom’



Fully Operational Fandom: How Star Wars Inspires Careers

Amy Ratcliffe | April 10, 2014

When Star Wars came along, it captivated the imagination of countless moviegoers. Every facet from the technology to the effects to the characters came together to create something new and fresh. It wasn’t quite like anything people had seen before, and over the years it’s gained a massive following and made an impression upon thousands of people. Star Wars has even inspired others to pursue certain careers. Just think of how many hundreds of fans entered the film industry because of the adventures of Luke Skywalker and his friends.

The saga didn’t only inspire filmmakers. It also spurred people to chase positions in robotics, entrepreneurial roles, fight choreography, and writing. I spoke with fans in those areas about how Star Wars helped shape who they’ve become.

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Fully Operational Fandom: Star Wars Collecting

Amy Ratcliffe | March 25, 2014

Fully Operational Fandom: Star Wars Collections

Just as there are many characters in the Star Wars universe, there are many sides to Star Wars fandom. Cosplay, comics, trading cards, art — we all focus our passion somewhere. Many fans channel their love of the saga through Star Wars collecting. When you keep at the hobby for years or even decades, you get to know fellow fans along the way. Some collectors look out for each other and keep eyes open for a treasure on someone else’s list and bonding over the hunt for memorabilia can lead to lifelong friendships. You not only acquire collectibles, you acquire connections.

I spoke with a few fans about their collections and people they’ve met along the way.

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Fully Operational Fandom: Join SWAT, Read Star Wars Books, and Get Awesome Rewards

Amy Ratcliffe | March 13, 2014

Del Rey's Star Wars books SWAT

Did anyone else participate in summer reading programs as a kid? Sitting down with an engaging book was enough of a reward then (and still is), but I remember feeling excited and incentivized by earning points for stickers, bookmarks, and the best prize of all — free pizza. Nothing could keep me from burning through stories when there was pizza on the line. Del Rey’s Star Wars Action Team (SWAT) has brought those feelings back with their Fancorps Community. I might not get pizza, but I can earn neat Star Wars loot and connect with fellow fans while I’m racking up points. I call that a win.

SWAT was announced last summer and has been up and running for about eight months; they’ve recruited over 1,500 fans. Programs like this are one of the reasons Star Wars fandom is terrific. Sure, Del Rey gets word-of-mouth advertising from those participating, but it’s also another way to build and reinforce the community. I talked with some fans enrolled in SWAT to get their feelings about the project.

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Fully Operational Fandom: Custom Star Wars Action Figures

Amy Ratcliffe | February 28, 2014

Fully Operational Fandom

Have you ever felt frustrated when you walk down the toy aisle at any given store and don’t see a figure of your favorite Star Wars character? As awesome as it would be to have at least one of every character ever seen on screen or mentioned in the Expanded Universe, it’s impossible for Hasbro to do. The costs of manufacturing all those figures and the accompanying packaging would be high enough to make Darth Vader come in to uh, cut some corners. Who needs consultants? A little Force choking will do the trick.

You don’t have to lose hope when you can’t find what you’re looking for; even if you dress like a Stormtrooper, you probably don’t give up as easily. With a handful of materials and patience, you can transform existing action figures into whatever you want. Tired of seeing Mara Jade in the black catsuit? Obtain a Mara figure and change her wardrobe. Don’t like the only Corran Horn figure on the market? Create your own.

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Fully Operational Fandom: Looking for Love in Aldera-right Places

Amy Ratcliffe | February 13, 2014

Star Wars fan wedding

It’s been just about a year since I started this column, and I kicked things off by talking about how a mutual adoration for Star Wars can bring two people together. Since Valentine’s Day is almost here, it seemed appropriate to highlight more love stories from fandom. In some cases, couples saw one of the films on their first date and others had big, fat Star Wars weddings (the best kind of weddings). Just like the Force, love surrounds us and binds the galaxy together.

The story can begin with a date to the movies. Troy Pichelman’s first outing with his now wife was seeing The Phantom Menace a week before it was released to the general public. Since her parents owned a movie theater, an early screening wasn’t a problem. If someone got me in to see a Star Wars movie early, I might propose to him on the spot. Troy’s wife made a creative callback to the date by giving him a framed original of an Episode I teaser poster for Christmas.

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Fully Operational Fandom: Every Celebration Needs an R2-D2 Cake

Amy Ratcliffe | January 29, 2014

Rice Krispie Mos Eisley Cantina by TK Peggy

Star Wars fans continually impress me with the ways they incorporate the saga into their lives. It’s a testament to the lasting power of the films that people spend time and resources to create their own space in fandom. Sometimes it’s costumes, sometimes it’s dioramas, and sometimes it’s baked goods. Peggy Eisenhauer, a.k.a. TK Peggy, has created several Star Wars inspired treats over the years from easy to complex. From an awesome R2-D2 cake to a Rice Krispie version of Mos Eisley Cantina, she’s used her baking skills and creativity to make the galaxy far, far away look delicious.

Even if we don’t get to devour the desserts, Peggy has posted detailed instructions for her recipes so that they can be replicated at home. Like she says, anyone can do it!

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Fully Operational Fandom: Do You Want to Build a Snowtrooper?

Amy Ratcliffe | January 16, 2014

Fully Operational Fandom - Tauntaun in a Jar

For many people, it’s winter time. And at least in the United States, this winter hasn’t exactly been mild. We’ve recently been experiencing brisk temperatures and painful wind chill factors. The local meteorologist doesn’t rank the cold in comparison to Hoth’s climate, but I’m going to assume it’s close. I haven’t frozen on the trip to the first marker (my mailbox) and back yet, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before I have to learn what a tauntaun smells like on the inside from experience.

What? I have the tauntaun sleeping bag from ThinkGeek.

Winter isn’t all misery and gloom though. It can be an opportunity to get outdoors and build snow people and creatures, to set up AT-ATs and reenact the Battle of Hoth from The Empire Strikes Back, or you can enjoy your time indoors with movies and crafts. So many Star Wars options, so little time.

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Fully Operational Fandom: Holiday Traditions, Star Wars-Style

Amy Ratcliffe | December 19, 2013

Yoda cookies

For myself and many of you, Star Wars is part of life. You start your morning with a lightsaber toothbrush, scribble your to-do list in a Darth Vader notebook, and see your R2-D2 action figure on your desk or in your home. Like the Force, your fandom is all around you — even during the holidays. Giving Star Wars presents and watching the movies are obvious way fans incorporate the saga into their holiday traditions, but many take it to the another level.

The most popular responses about Star Wars traditions included: marathoning the films, turning action figures into tree ornaments, hanging up stockings that look like Chewbacca or other characters, making Star Wars-themed paper snowflakes, getting the LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar every year, and using Star Wars figures in nativity sets. I’ve started posing some of my action figures with miniature trees, wreaths, and presents to make my own holiday cards. These are all perfect places to start, and you can build on them from year to year.

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Fully Operational Fandom: You Don’t Need a Lightsaber to Carve Pumpkins

Amy Ratcliffe | October 30, 2013

fof_pumpkin01

The calendar has turned towards fall and for many people that means costumes, candy, spooky decorations, and carved pumpkins. We’ve come a long way from giving pumpkins the traditional Jack-o-lantern style faces though. Those are fun, but it’s not uncommon to see a Stormtrooper or a Rebel Alliance pumpkin on someone’s front porch. You can find templates in stores (I’ve seen Star Wars: The Clone Wars pumpkin carving kits on shelves this year), download stencils, or come up with your own.

Star Wars fans are an incredibly resourceful bunch and several of them reached out to me to show off pumpkin designs based on characters and ships and everything in between. Yes, they are most impressive.

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Fully Operational Fandom: Star Wars at Dragon Con 2013

Amy Ratcliffe | September 6, 2013

Ventress2_fof

Fans are the foundation of any convention. Without excited ticket-purchasing attendees who want to see their favorite celebrities or comic creators or authors, conventions wouldn’t exist. But Dragon Con takes fandom to the next level: it’s run by the fans for the fans. So, while companies like Lucasfilm or Dark Horse or the typical convention staples didn’t have official presences in Atlanta, you could still attend fun and interesting panels focusing on Star Wars all weekend long. And since panelists were mostly fellow fans, it was often like one big roundtable. It’s unlike any convention I’ve ever attended.

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