Slashcast Insider Interview with Helens78

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Slashcast Insider Interview with Helens78
Interviewer: emmagrant01
Interviewee: Helens78
Date(s): July 1, 2012
Medium: online
Fandom(s): RPF
External Links: online here as a transcript; WebCite
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Slashcast Insider Interview with Helens78 is a podcast created by and posted to Slashcast as "Episode 32." Slashcast includes an transcript.

The interviewer is emmagrant01, the interviewee is Helens78, and the topic is mainly RPF.

Some Topics Discussed

The Interview Series

See Slashcast Insider Interview Series.


I had been writing erotica for quite a while on of all places, and after seeing Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones I really desperately wanted to find some Obi-Wan/Padme fic, but there really wasn’t any so I thought to myself. Well, I’m aware of the existence of slash, so maybe I can find some Obi-Wan with someone else. And I found the Master-Apprentice list and immediately fell in love with Obi-Wan/Qui-Gon and lots of other pairings in Phantom Menace fandom, and that’s also where I met you.
Yes. Yes. [I'm in] X-Men: First Class. Honestly it was as simple as going to the theatre and seeing the movie and having my jaw drop repeatedly over and over with every scene that Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr are in together because you start at the beginning and you watch them grow up and when they finally meet there is so much dialogue that you cannot believe was written by mainstream the powers that be, because it really reads like fanfiction. People in my fandom mainly just sit around staring at each other saying ‘Can you believe that was canon?’ [Emma laughs] And so I went home and a couple of days later I had written Telepathic Sex and it just snowballed from there.
Long before fandom was a thing people were having fantasies about themselves with their favourite celebrities, and so you can find on bulletin boards, no matter how mainstream, people’s fantasies about ‘My Date with [favourite actor]’ or ‘My Date with [favourite musician]’. It’s very, very common, but people don’t think about it as RPF until you slash them with each other.
It was a very taboo topic, yes. Fandom has always had things that were taboo, I think if you go back five to ten years before we were in fandom to 1992-1995 or so, BDSM in fanfic was something that people just could not do without being shunned for it... Yeah! Isn’t that amazing? But in 2002 when we hit fandom, boy RPF was so controversial that people lost friendships over just admitting that they had read it, let alone admitting that they had written it.
Well, my personal theory is that it has to do with certain RPF fandoms really taking off and just exploding. I think the main ones are bandom and LOTRPSLord of the Rings RPF. And I think that the Supernatural and other CW network RPF has all been really, really huge in the last ten years and so when you’re seeing that much more of it and so many more authors are writing it, it gets hard to push it into a niche or push those people into their own little corner of fandom.... And I mean, even back in our early days of fandom people were writing Backstreet Boys and N*Sync fic. And so the fact that you get bands now, like My Chemical Romance and Panic! At the Disco, who practically slash themselves from what my bandom friends tell me, just makes it much more present and that much easier to find people who are looking at the same thing you are when you look at these bands.
Yeah, I definitely think that celebrities now are much more aware of the love of bromance and the love of that kind of interaction than they used to be. I feel like celebrities in almost any fandom now will tweet pictures of themselves with their costars or will say great things about each other in interviews. If you look at Avengers fandom Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth are constantly saying really nice, friendly, things about each other. I ran across something on tumblr the other day in which Tom Hiddleston said something like if he could keep any of Loki’s powers it would be the one to duplicate himself multiple times, and then Chris Hemsworth teased him a little bit about people wanting tons and tons of Tom Hiddlestons. [Emma laughs] They just make it write itself at this point and that can be kind of thrilling, but it can also make RPF artists and writers and other creators feel almost a little bit exposed.
I think it’s a spectrum really. I think there are definitely people who absolutely want to hear, hear the characters’ voices as they hear them through interviews, and biographies, and documentaries. But there are also still a lot of people who just want to create their own original characters with the advantage of having a community that you get in an RPF fandom that you wouldn’t necessarily have if you were just writing original characters that are based on James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, but they happened to be named Nick and Jeff. I’ve not had any run-ins with people who want to chase me with pitchforks for writing characters not so close to canon [amused noise from Emma], but I’m aware that they are out there. I think, though, I think it’s changed a lot over the last ten years. I think that RPF has gotten so much bigger there’s a lot more room for people to do what they want. And I also think that in actor RPF it’s not as common for people to be real sticklers for canon, I think that you might find a lot more of that in bandom, or possibly even in sports RPF, but I don’t see as much of it in actor RPF. the Sherlock fandom we have the tennis AU which is where John and Sherlock are famous pro tennis players, or, you know, madlori’s Performance fic where they’re both actors - where you have two characters where it’s a big long story and it’s completely obviously divorced from the reality of those two celebrities’ lives, I mean, they’re obviously not pastry chefs, but it’s like what if they were? That kind of thing, versus something that could really have happened in their life, like they’re on a film set and they’re talking to each other- how much – is there kind of a big distribution of…?

Helens: I think that in terms of RPF AUs versus RPFs that feel more like canon I’m just going to have to go out on a limb and guess that it’s a little bit more weighted toward canon, and a little bit less weighted toward AU, simply because I think in any fandom you get more canon fic than AU fic. But I’m not an expert in every RPF fandom so I really don’t know what’s out there for different fandoms, I know that in LOTRPS it was, for a very long time, it was all very based on canon because we had this enormous group of very attractive people who went to New Zeland and lived there together for a year [Emma chuckles], so the canon possibilities were enormous. But then after we stopped getting new canon like that, after they all went their separate ways, I think then we got more AU stuff. So I wonder if people are more interested in writing canon while new canon is happening, and get more interested in AU stuff once they realise that the canon isn’t going to be developing every day the way it used to be.
There are people who are extremely popular authors that had to create other pseudonyms in order to write and post their RPF. It’s very frustrating because it could be an open secret and I want to go back and podfic some of those stories because they were so integral to my development of the characters that I was writing, but even though it’s an open secret I don’t want to say ‘hey, writer, I know that you wrote under this name when you were writing RPF, so I’m here to ask for permission to podfic,’ it just seems like it’s crossing that line that they set for themselves.
Let’s see, most interesting feedback… I have gotten a lot of people who have said things that were really complimentary about my kink writing, saying that it feels emotionally true to their experiences as people in the scene, which has been really flattering. And then probably my favourite type of feedback is people who want to put their own spin on something I’ve written, or who want to make their own transformative work based on it, so people who want to do podfic or people who have made fanart, or people who want to remix things not within the guidelines of a challenge, but just because they want try it out in a different fandom or with different characters. I think that’s really exciting.