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Gender, Paratexts and
Everyday Superheroes?
FROM #WHERESREY
TO “THE CHEWBACCA MOM”
Luke Webster (@lukeweb) and Dr Tama Leaver (@tamaleaver)
Department of Internet Studies
Overview
1. Fan activity as paratext
2. Heightened networked connectivity,
transmedia and The Collective Journey
3. Questioning gender roles in superhero
franchises
The role of fans
• Collective intelligence
• Attracting new audiences
• Creating pathways and acting as guides
• Keeping a franchise within the zeitgeist
Transmedia Storytelling
“Transmedia storytelling is the art
of world making.”
- Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture, p. 21.
Shift to the Mothership Model
“Hollywood has shifted toward a
“mothership” approach; that is, the
focus is on one core property that may
be extended into other platforms
depending on the market response.”
- Henry Jenkins, Wired TV, pp. 246-7
Participation
Good transmedia implementation
requires an “architecture for dialogue”
-Jeff Gomez, C.E.O. Starlight Runner
Paratexts
“…the “peripherals” are often
anything but peripheral. Instead,
they often play a constitutive role
in the production, development
and expansion of a text.”
- Jonathan Gray, Show Sold Separately, p.175
The Collective Journey
- Jeff Gomez, 2016
For producers and
storytellers…
• Narrative integrity
• Trend towards diversity
• Inevitable fan participation
The Collective Journey?
The Hero’s
Journey
For the original Star Wars
films…
“[it was] the toys that kept the trilogy
alive”
- Jonathan Gray, Show Sold Separately, p.181
The Collective
Journey
The Mothership text
#WheresBlackWidow Vs
#WheresRey
Both protests about lack of
female character toys
#WheresBlackWidow
reinforced the lack of strong
female character activity in
Avengers: Age of Ultron
#WheresRey reinforced the
prominence of strong female
characters
20 May 2016
https://www.facebook.com/candaceSpayne/videos/10209653193067040/
Candace Payne: Chewbacca
Mom
http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-36348013
Chewbacca Mom Takes
James Corden to Work
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQereoIxioI
The Star Wars Show
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IVW0aIO2Lg
“Chewbacca Mom Holiday
Special” Hasbro Ad
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Knsbtus_f80 (23 Nov 2016)
Where do we go from here?
1. Gender is one example
2. Fan paratexts are important
3. Expect to see more everyday superheroes
References
Gomez, J. (2012, October 20). The 10 commandments of 21st century franchise production. Business Insider Australia.
Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com.au/10-commandments-of-21st-century-franchise-production-2012-10
Gomez, J. (2015, December 1). The Collective Journey. Paper presented at ASCILITE Conference: Shaping the future of
tertiary education, Curtin University, Perth, Australia.
Gomez, J. (2016, February 23). The Collective Journey: Transmedia and the rise of a new form of story. Paper presented
at The National Arts Club, New York, USA.
Gray, J. (2010). Show sold separately: Promos, spoilers, and other media paratexts. New York, USA: NYU Press.
Jenkins, H. (2006a). Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide. New York, USA: New York University Press.
Jenkins, H. (2006b). Fans, bloggers, and gamers: Exploring participatory culture. New York: New York University Press.
Jenkins, H. (2010, March 8). On anti-fans and paratexts: An interview with Jonathan Gray (part two). [Web log post].
Retrieved from http://henryjenkins.org/2010/03/on_anti-fans_and_paratexts_an_1.html
Jenkins, H. (2014). The reign of the “mothership”: Transmedia’s past, present, and possible futures. In D. Mann (ed),
Wired TV: Laboring over an Interactive future. Retrieved from
http://site.ebrary.com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/lib/curtinuniv/reader.action?docID=10828499&ppg=42
Thank you!
Questions or comments?
@lukeweb
L.Webster@curtin.edu.au
Slideshare / LinkedIn
www.tamaleaver.net
@tamaleaver
t.leaver@curtin.edu.au

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Gender, Paratexts and Everyday Heroes? From #WheresRey to 'Chewbacca Mom'

  • 1. Gender, Paratexts and Everyday Superheroes? FROM #WHERESREY TO “THE CHEWBACCA MOM” Luke Webster (@lukeweb) and Dr Tama Leaver (@tamaleaver) Department of Internet Studies
  • 2. Overview 1. Fan activity as paratext 2. Heightened networked connectivity, transmedia and The Collective Journey 3. Questioning gender roles in superhero franchises
  • 3. The role of fans • Collective intelligence • Attracting new audiences • Creating pathways and acting as guides • Keeping a franchise within the zeitgeist
  • 4. Transmedia Storytelling “Transmedia storytelling is the art of world making.” - Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture, p. 21.
  • 5. Shift to the Mothership Model “Hollywood has shifted toward a “mothership” approach; that is, the focus is on one core property that may be extended into other platforms depending on the market response.” - Henry Jenkins, Wired TV, pp. 246-7
  • 6. Participation Good transmedia implementation requires an “architecture for dialogue” -Jeff Gomez, C.E.O. Starlight Runner
  • 7. Paratexts “…the “peripherals” are often anything but peripheral. Instead, they often play a constitutive role in the production, development and expansion of a text.” - Jonathan Gray, Show Sold Separately, p.175
  • 8. The Collective Journey - Jeff Gomez, 2016
  • 9. For producers and storytellers… • Narrative integrity • Trend towards diversity • Inevitable fan participation
  • 10.
  • 11.
  • 12.
  • 13.
  • 14.
  • 15.
  • 16.
  • 18.
  • 19.
  • 20.
  • 21.
  • 22.
  • 24. For the original Star Wars films… “[it was] the toys that kept the trilogy alive” - Jonathan Gray, Show Sold Separately, p.181
  • 27.
  • 28. #WheresBlackWidow Vs #WheresRey Both protests about lack of female character toys #WheresBlackWidow reinforced the lack of strong female character activity in Avengers: Age of Ultron #WheresRey reinforced the prominence of strong female characters
  • 31. Chewbacca Mom Takes James Corden to Work https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQereoIxioI
  • 32. The Star Wars Show https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IVW0aIO2Lg
  • 33.
  • 34. “Chewbacca Mom Holiday Special” Hasbro Ad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Knsbtus_f80 (23 Nov 2016)
  • 35. Where do we go from here? 1. Gender is one example 2. Fan paratexts are important 3. Expect to see more everyday superheroes
  • 36. References Gomez, J. (2012, October 20). The 10 commandments of 21st century franchise production. Business Insider Australia. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com.au/10-commandments-of-21st-century-franchise-production-2012-10 Gomez, J. (2015, December 1). The Collective Journey. Paper presented at ASCILITE Conference: Shaping the future of tertiary education, Curtin University, Perth, Australia. Gomez, J. (2016, February 23). The Collective Journey: Transmedia and the rise of a new form of story. Paper presented at The National Arts Club, New York, USA. Gray, J. (2010). Show sold separately: Promos, spoilers, and other media paratexts. New York, USA: NYU Press. Jenkins, H. (2006a). Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide. New York, USA: New York University Press. Jenkins, H. (2006b). Fans, bloggers, and gamers: Exploring participatory culture. New York: New York University Press. Jenkins, H. (2010, March 8). On anti-fans and paratexts: An interview with Jonathan Gray (part two). [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://henryjenkins.org/2010/03/on_anti-fans_and_paratexts_an_1.html Jenkins, H. (2014). The reign of the “mothership”: Transmedia’s past, present, and possible futures. In D. Mann (ed), Wired TV: Laboring over an Interactive future. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/lib/curtinuniv/reader.action?docID=10828499&ppg=42
  • 37. Thank you! Questions or comments? @lukeweb L.Webster@curtin.edu.au Slideshare / LinkedIn www.tamaleaver.net @tamaleaver t.leaver@curtin.edu.au