Fan Campaign

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Synonyms: letter writing campaign
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Fan campaigns aim to influence decisions by TPTB. The are usually fan run.

A fan campaign may aim to stop the cancellation of a beloved show, bring back a particular character or release a cancelled show on DVD.

The original Star Trek fan campaign for renewal is probably one of the best known in the everyday world. It has inspired active and vocal cultures in many fandoms to protest pending cancellations and production values in their favourite sources. Another well known fan campaign took place in 1976, when Star Trek fans were credited with convincing then-U.S. President Gerald R. Ford to name the first NASA space shuttle orbiter after the starship Enterprise rather than Constitution as he had planned.

Examples of Fan Campaigns

See Fan Campaign/List.

Reactions

Some campaigns were conducted on the personal level. Here a fan-made button reads: Bring my show back. It was most likely worn to conventions and fan gatherings. Since so many shows have been canceled over the decades, the generic button could be reused again and again.

Fans write letters to TPTB because they feel very strongly about some aspect, and sometimes emotions and tactics overtake manners and commonsense. Fans are often told, by other fans, to practice the tactics for successful letter campaigns, ones that include politeness, logical arguments, and a dearth of fannish over-wroughtness.

For an example of a letter, see these detailed instructions.

Effectiveness

It is impossible, aside from anecdotal comments, to gauge the success of the various letter and fan campaigns over the years. Information from the industry is most likely spotty and not reliable. Fans themselves were hopeful, but unsure. One Star Trek fan wrote: "I'm really proud of the fact that I was one of the ones who wrote in when Bjo Trimble asked all the viewers to send letters asking NBC not to cancel the series after the second season. Maybe my letter made a difference, maybe it didn't, but I like to think that I helped to make the third season happen." [1]

It is widely believed that the third season of Star Trek's original series was created due to fans' various letters and activities. Due to this triumph, Star Trek fans also waged numerous campaigns to alter plot points in the show (more McCoy, no dead Spock...) with varying degrees of success.

Regardless of the eventual outcome, reactions to letter-writing campaigns were not always positive and not always seen in a positive light by those on the receiving end. Some TPTB felt them intrusive, bullying, something that took up valuable time and money, and more a nuisance than anything.

At least in one instance, a Star Trek: DS9 actor counseled fans to tone it down as their pleas to bring a character back to the show (after he'd been killed) was a turn-off: "The one thing I can say with fair certainty is that Vedek Bareil will not be back again. I am so sorry. There was apparently a letter-writing campaign to the writing department and as a result of that, he's definitely not coming back again. The writers were going, "this is enough, we don't want any more of this." So I would suggest a different tactic, if you were one of those people writing letters...a less vitriolic tactic, because they're really actually nailing the coffin shut right now, because of these letters. Because at the end of the day, they have the power to do that."

Joan Marie Verba also addresses this issue: "At Lunch with the Doctor, Sid [Alex Siddig, who played Bashir] confirmed what I also heard from another source at Paramount, and that is, that the producers/writers were thinking of bringing back Vedek Bareil, but due to receiving so much hostile mail on the subject, they have made a firm decision not to. Now, I am aware that many fans who want Vedek Bareil back wrote perfectly courteous letters, but apparently some did not, and, unfortunately, those letters were the ones that irritated the producers. So please remember: if you write to Paramount about Sid/Julian, or write with concerns about fourth season, be polite, be calm, be courteous!" [2]

References

  1. ^ from The K/S Press #38
  2. ^ from Alexander Siddig in Multi-Species Medicine #20