In 2011, after years of reading the Harry Potter books and watching the movies, years of visiting “fansites” like The Leaky Cauldron and listening to their podcast, PotterCast, years of writing for a fan website of my own, I decided to attend a then relatively new convention called LeakyCon in Orlando, Florida. Only knowing a couple acquaintances through MyLeaky who were going to LeakyCon, I decided to drag my college roommate with me after sitting him down for a marathon of the first seven movies.
I won’t write about all the things I saw or did while I was there, because I’ve written about those things already in other articles. But what I want to say in this moment is that I have never needed to drag friends from home to another LeakyCon, because I have made so many friends through this convention that I’ve gone back every year more to see them than to attend the programming. In the many months between conventions, though, I often feel like a fish out of water. I really don’t have the friends here who live and breathe fandom like those that I have at Leaky. There are fans of things here, yes, but not very many (what some people call) fangirls.
I personally hate the term, in part because I’m not a girl and also because I’m not a child. When people use this term to refer to those who get more excited or “nerd/geek out” more about something than your average Joe, I can’t decide whether to take offense. I mean, is there something inherently girly or childish about getting really excited over something that you’ve been reading or watching for years? Shouldn’t excitement about a fandom grow stronger over the years, not die out after a certain age? This is why I want to coin a new term to describe me: fanadult.
I’m an adult who still harbors an intense excitement when Jo posts something new on Pottermore. I’m an adult who is positively itching with the anticipation of seeing the last Middle-Earth movie in two days. I’m an fanadult who has other fanadult friends that hail from places all over this country and world and who, frankly, don’t live nearly close enough to me. Three of those friends (who are among the first friends that I made at LeakyCon 2011 and who now three years later work with me on the volunteer coordinators team) are Olivia, Hannah and Proma.
About a month ago, Olivia and Hannah created a new website, called Fantastic Fandoms. This idea for the term “fanadulting” came to me after I read Proma’s awesome article about fangirling on this new website. This idea made me start thinking about how websites like Fantastic Fandoms are really good for not only the fanadults but also for the larger world, because 1) it’s another way for us to stay connected and 2) it hopefully helps encourage those who are on the outside of these fantastic fandoms to look inside and join a fandom and realize that fanadulting is an okay thing—that it’s okay to be unapologetically enthusiastic about your favorite fandoms.
I had the opportunity to interview Olivia about her and Hannah’s new (month-old) website this evening, so I donned my Rita Skeeter glasses and pulled out my Quick-Quotes Quill. (Warning: my Quick-Quotes Quill was really acting up tonight, so the answers below are far from verbatim, but I tried my best to do justice to Olivia’s answers to my questions.)
Why did you create Fantastic Fandoms?
We wanted to explore other fandoms and we felt like there was something missing between the use of Tumblr, Pinterest or Facebook groups in terms of longer editorial (not news) content (pieces, discussions, etc) about fandoms, the issues that exist within the fandoms and the fun memories within them. We would love for our website to be a go-to place to talk about fandom and to connect with others and foster more conversations. Hopefully one day, I would love to have a forum, because I feel like online chat rooms or forums have gone away, and it would be cool to bring that back. We’re also interested in covering different fan theories from the different developing fandoms.
What are you working on currently?
We want to provide a place for commentary, not just for me and Hannah and Proma, but for other people who want to submit, so I’ve been working on our submission page and what that’s going to look like. We definitely want to be open to anyone who wants to post within means and quality. We really want to be that place where people can write a longer piece. We have a submission page right now, but we want to expand it so people know what they can send us.
We’re also working on an “Our Fictional Boyfriends” piece—a list of fictional (boy) characters that we’ve been in love with since we were young. I’m also working on a follow-up piece to NaNoWriMo. In addition to editorial content, we are working with an artist to hopefully include more fandom-related artwork on Fantastic Fandoms as well. We have so many ideas and are just having a lot of fun with it. There’s always so much to write about.
How did you come up with the name?
Actually, this project originally started with me wanting to do a nonfiction expose on fandoms and fandom life. It was going to be called “Fantastic Fandoms and How We Found Them” (which is a play on “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them” by J.K. Rowling). That’s how the idea was born, and over the course of this year, I thought about how doing a blog would be more fun and more immediately rewarding and readily interactive with the fans who visit it.
Any closing thoughts?
It’s definitely been a learning process and it’s definitely exciting. I really thought it would be a fun project to work on to get through the year between one GeekyCon to the next, something to help keep connected to all these other wonderful people that I meet through the years.
My thoughts exactly, Olivia.
Rather than comment on this article, I encourage you to hop on over to FantasticFandoms.com and comment on one of their pieces or maybe even submit one of your own!