Obviously, the goal was to tell the fans’ story. So, in my opinion, did it? Well, I have watched this a few times now (purchased it on Amazon, by the way) and watched it again last night with some friends. These friends are not Duranies but I did meet them through another fandom so they definitely understand what it is like to be fans. Did they think this told the story of Duranies?
I had such hopes for this. I really did. I wanted something to show people so that they could understand me and my fandom. Perhaps, that’s why Rhonda and I are writing our book. Unfortunately, I don’t think this did that. The film maker attempted to tell the story of Duranies by interviewing a number of different Duranies in the beginning to get a flavor for the fandom. Okay. Then, celebrities who are also fans are interviewed to add to this flavor until a few select fans are focused upon. I understand why he chose to focus on a handful of fans and allowed them to tell their story. He simply couldn’t include everyone’s story in the course of a short film. Thus, he had to limit it. I understand this. Did he choose a good cross section of fans? I don’t think so and I am not saying that because I have anything against any of them. He basically chose two fans who are serious collectors (and I definitely respect and admire their collections), a group of fans who traveled to shows together and a longtime fan with a unique collection of her own, including items that the band had one time touched. Based on this information, can you relate to any of these fans? Do these fans represent the fandom? Yes, I think there are many people who collect things related to Duran. While I like to think that I have a decent collection, I don’t have nearly what these collectors do and I don’t focus on this element of fandom as much as they do. I also have to admit that I don’t have anything that the band has touched except for one sharpie that John Taylor used to sign an autograph for me. I wouldn’t want anything except for things related to the music like a drumstick or a guitar pick. I wouldn’t need or want a used towel, for example. Thus, the only people I could relate to were the UK fans who had been traveling together to see the shows. I get that. That said, I think that there are a lot of fans who weren’t represented at all by these fans. What about the fans who spend a lot of time on message boards or social networking sites? What about the fans who write fanfiction or create avatars and banners to be used online? What about the fans who just buy the albums and go to shows in their hometowns? Fandom, to me, isn’t just collecting and going to shows. On top of that, these fans seemed to be at the most extreme with their elements of fandom. While some people travel, most people don’t/can’t go to all the shows on a tour. While a lot of people collect things, most people don’t have storage units full of posters and other memorabilia.
I’m bothered with leaving out all sorts of fans and I’m bothered with showing only the extremes. The extremes aren’t easily understood by people outside of fandom and might not be understood by people within the fandom! My goodness, fans are already not understood by the masses. Showing only the extremes will make this lack of understanding worse. It may increase the stigmas that already exist for fans. People would see this and think that fandom is about obsession. People wouldn’t see it and understand that fans are really able to balance a “real life” existence with their fandom. They wouldn’t really even understand why people participate in fandom. Do they like to participate in fandom just for the chase of the next item in the collection or the next show? I like to think it is much, much, much more than that. In fact, Rhonda and I hope that we do a much better job of this in our book. Of course, someone might say that the audience for the film was supposed to be Duranies. Okay. Still, then, I have to wonder why more types of fans weren’t represented then? Besides, not showing fans who don’t collect or travel to shows, the fans weren’t all that diverse. The main focus was on these US and UK fans. Yet, the film is presented as a means of telling the story of a global group of fans. How is that global? If it wasn’t going to be global, then, that should have been made clear. Yes, there were a few people interviewed who weren’t from the UK or the US but not very many at all. This lack of representation is really strange to me considering that I remember filling out a survey online about my fandom for this project. I remember that some of the questions were about when I became a fan, how many shows I have gone to and more. I’m willing to bet that fans all around the world answered that. What happened to that information?
Another thing that I found strange was how the celebrities were giving more of an explanation about being a fan than the fans were. I thought it was cool that the film maker was able to talk to so many famous people who liked Duran but do they really tell the story of Duranies? Maybe. I don’t know. Maybe there needed to be a greater connection. Nonetheless, they seemed to tell more about their experiences at becoming fans and why than the fans really did. This seemed like such a lost opportunity to me.
I really thought that this film had potential and there are moments that seem to work but I don’t think it does what it set out to do. After we finished watching it, I asked my friends what they thought. Their response, in a nutshell, “Was the point to show the most extreme fans?” I asked if they thought it showed Duranies’ story well? They did not think so. These people, again, understand fandom and they didn’t think it did a good job. Clearly, I don’t plan on showing it to non-fans. I would be too worried that they would think I was every stereotype of a fan out there. How unfortunate.