Maybe you’re big into The Hunger Games books in all of its juvenile dark appeal or maybe you identify with the trials and tribulations that face the Grantham and Crawley families on the BBC’s Downton Abbey. Some of us are so invested in the fictional characters that we’ve grown to love, we’ve found ways to participate in their world through the medium of crowdsourcing.
Most recently I came across a crowdfunding campaign that is a valentine to some of our favorite comic strip heroes: Calvin and Hobbes. This is a passion project by enthusiasts of the cartoon and is more of an examination of the phenomenon generated by the newspaper comic strip than it is a straightforward history of the comic strip’s evolution or even a biography of Bill Watterson… even though the film is entitled Dear Mr. Watterson. Another interesting facet of this campaign is that it is a two-part, long-term project. It started back in 2007 and in 2010 launched a Kickstarter campaign that earned the team 25,000 enabling them to get interviews with more than 20 comic strip heavies. Now, to finish, they need to earn another $50,000 by July 14th for the crucial finishing touches and it’s already passed the halfway point. It seems that not every project needs to be supported all at once, but instead can sometimes move in phases.
Of course there are also humorous and satirical ways that people can reach into the fictional world. Consider Toronto humorist Avery Edison – obviously a fan of HBO’s Game of Thrones who sympathizes with Daenerys Targaryen’s claim to the throne of Westeros and has created a faux Kickstarter campaign image that should help her raise the army that she needs. With a goal of $50,000, she pledges to not kill your family and to let you look at her dragons if you support her. That’s how used to crowdfunding our audiences are becoming – it’s how we’re beginning to think about our fictional worlds. If only Daenarys had access to Kickstarter.
What other ways have we supported or satirized our fictional characters through crowdsourcing? What does it mean that we’re even applying crowdsourcing to our fictional worlds?