The View from Down Here: A Look at Fans

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Title: The View from Down Here: A Look at Fans
Creator: Dave Vergano
Date(s): 1983
Medium: print
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The View from Down Here: A Look at Fans is an essay by 13-year old Dave Vergano.

It was printed in Rogue's Gallery #12.

Some Topics Discussed

  • old and young fans
  • different way of being a fan
  • fans as consumers


Ah..the view from down here...welcome one and all to not only a comparison, but to the view from down here. The view of fans; kid and closet. The age levels and other things that make up the differences between these two kinds of humans are many and today, I'm going to talk about these differences, or rather as suggested, kid fans vs. young adult fans vs. closet fans.

From the Essay

First off, let us look upon the kids, the ones who are under the age of .nine or ten. This group really only worries, if in fact they worry at all, about the characters in a story and not the stars portraying them. These are the ones who are discovering the world and life. They enjoy being told a story and they find that stories are almost always interesting. They like the idea of fantasy and the ever lasting fight between good and evil. And sometimes, they have trouble figuring out who is good and who is evil. They don't fret if. a new movie is going to open at the local theaters cause they let adults do that. Kids are just here to enjoy what they see, hear and have. Being at this stage they be greatly affected by what some one says or does, what they are told, and what they are not told break or form their feelings or attitudes. They own the toys and play with them a lot. They probably enjoy moves the most of all the fans for they don't worry at all over or about them.
Now let us call upon the young adults of life.... I'm talking about kids who are from eleven to fifteen years of age. When kids reach this age, they read more, see more movies (with and without parents), and watch a lot of TV. When kids reach this age, they enjoy things a little less as some of the enjoyment has been overcome by worry, like whether or not a film will make it, etc. They begin to really understand life, the universe, and everything (with an apology to Douglas Adams, Arthur Dent and company) and other things, too. They really like STAR WARS, and after EMPIRE found they had this big three year wait till the next film. In that period they found out about different parts of film making, like special effects and music. I, for one, have discovered the music of John Williams. I've watched his Boston Pops concerts on PBS and really enjoy listening to them and his work from other films, too.(Like SUPERMAN, 1941, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK) I love to watch the documentaries on the making of the STAR WARS films and read the books that go along with these shows. I sometimes sit in the back of book stores flipping through and enjoying ... those pop-up books made by Random House, Kids in this group, this September, will be hitting the Junior and Senior High Schools of the nation and, as the great Joe Walsh has said, we are all just "space age whiz kids."
Now...there are, as many of them have state in the past, so called "closet-fans" of movies, or people or whatever. Closet fans are unlike any other type of fan. They are like double agents leading two lives; one as a fan, the other as whatever they want or need to be. Most closet fans,are adults, working adults. (Otherwise, where would they find funding for their hobbies...the government doesn't give put fan funds!) Closet fans have five to ten magazine subscriptions, receive and send out others in trade for stills and others things. They read fanzines and write tons of letters and their typewriters never rest. Many of them, to finance this, work at jobs during the week and work on their hobbies at night and on weekends...even when they have company. There is another very distinct quality to closet fans. They care. Of all the people in the world who are fans of anything, the closet fans, I guess, are the ones that care the most. They have a deep love for the movies and go to see them at every turn. They get cable if it is offered to them. A good many of them own VCRs and watch any moves they might have missed. They search weekly through the TV Guide, looking for specials, interviews or documentaries about movies or people. They check for old movies which may star a favorite actor or actress. They seek out the small-time theaters everywhere, looking for a new movie...or an old one. They watch awards shows, looking for actors or scenes from a film. They know al most everything about the person or movie they like the most. They collect bubble gum cards, looking for a good picture. They own every storybook, novel or other type of book about that certain person or-movie, but most importantly, they are the ones who love, cherish and care, as they always will, for the movies. This is yet another aspect that moviemakers must take into consideration when making a film. The fact that little kids may see the film and that all of the public must be able to enjoy the motion picture as well.
Well, we now get to look at what pleases the three groups. For one thing, we know that little kids, under nine, need special attention. A film's characters and their actions can greatly affect these kids. Second, the filmmaker must take into view the older kids that are mainly there to enjoy, just as their younger counter parts are, but that they also like special effects and the production values of film and not just what they see. So, we now know that the film, to suit both types of young fans, must be not only somewhat clean in story but should have good effects and good production values. This means good music, sound, and editing, along with several other things, and also, the film must be well done overall, with a good story and script to suit the closet fans. And lastly, the film will need at least one more thing to please the true closet fans and to get them out to see it...the stars. And that is my opinion on what filmmakers have to do to please everyone.
It is now time to draw a final conclusion (and to step down from the podium). So now, we remember, that 1) little kids go to films for enjoyment, strictly enjoyment; 2) that young adults enjoy production more (music, effects and production) along with their enjoyment, and that 3) closet fans are devoted to stars and films and love every aspect of them. No one fan is like any other and not one of the three kinds of fans I described today is best. Really, I wanted to show the difference between kids and adults and the kinds of fans they are and I want to end with this thought: As a certain Mr. Ford said on a TODAY show interview, "Adults look at the conditional things which make them think. Kids, if you are not wearing the Indiana Jones outfit, they don't recognize you." Well, Mr. Ford sometimes.... sometimes, we do.