I have no excuse for not blogging (because having a job totally doesn’t count) except that I’ve been working on my entry to the Teen Wolf Fanfiction Contest.
Now, I know fanfiction has a bad reputation for not being “real literature” or being “innately horrible,” but I grew up reading fanfiction. I started reading Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfiction when I was maybe twelve and it was something I was embarrassed about. Although my stepsisters were the ones to get me started, I didn’t talk to them about it. And I never, ever considered writing fanfiction, even when friends suggested I do so.
However, fanfiction has gained more traction within mainstream culture and with the creators whose work is the basis of the fanfiction.
During an April AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit, Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy, said of fanfiction: “All worthy work is open to interpretations the author did not intend. Art isn’t your pet – it’s your kid. It grows up and talks back to you.” This quote made the rounds on Tumblr and other blogging sites where fanfiction is popular.
It got me to thinking: in the world we live in, with social media like Twitter and Facebook promoting more personal relationships with fans and the object of their fanaticism, fanfiction is another form of communication.
Especially within the Teen Wolf fandom, series creator Jeff Davis has heard the fans’ pleas for a certain homosexual couple known as Sterek (a combination of two characters’ names: Stiles and Derek) to be acknowledged on the show. The actors themselves, Dylan O’Brien and Tyler Hoechlin, know about Sterek and poked fun at the fans in a recent video to promote the shows’ nominations at the Teen Choice Awards. Davis has not explicitly said the couple will never happen (which gives the fans just enough hope) and has said that he understands why it’s popular.
With the fanfiction contest, it seems that Teen Wolf is taking their involvement and communication with the fan base to a new level. Although this contest is similar to something done by Random House at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con, it’s the first fanfiction contest sanctioned by the creators of the base work.
The Organization for Transformative Works praised the Teen Wolf contest. OTW Legal Chair, Rebecca Tushnet, interpreted the contest rules for fans so that participants knew exactly what they were getting into from a legal standpoint, which are fairly lenient.
However, Meg at The Feminist Fangirl is disconcerted by the idea that entrants’ original ideas might be used in future episodes without credit. This is a very real concern and it’s a good thing that she goes through and breaks down everything the official rules say into common language for the 14-year-olds that are allowed to enter their work in the contest.
“You get to keep the copyright of your story so long as you give MTV/Viacom/Teen Wolf the (non- exclusive, meaning you can still have it up on the internet) right to use your story for whatever they want, however they want for one year. If they want to put it on a website, record it, do anything with it, they can. They also do not have to pay you to do any of this.”
Now, I don’t really think Davis and the other minds behind Teen Wolf are using this contest as a way to steal ideas from fans, but I also think it’s important to know the legal ramifications of entering a contest like this. I hope this contest leads to more like it from other television shows, movies and books.
If, like me, you’ve decided that the chance to meet Davis and the other writers is enough of a reason to give up the legal right to one piece of fiction for a year, I want to wish you good luck!
I’ve had a great time working on my contest entry and I hope everyone else has as well. If you submitted an entry, let me know how the writing went! Was it easy (hah, is it ever)? Did you collaborate with any other Teen Wolf fans? Did you have fun?