“There is so much talent in this fandom” is a sentiment and a phrase you hear again and again, and it is, of course, true. However, with all the amazing art, and fic, and music, and animation going around, sometimes it’s easy to forget that, at the end of the day, even the most gifted among us are still amateurs who are learning as we go.
Recently, two eagerly anticipated and highly ambitious fan animation projects premiered, Snowdrop, and Double Rainboom. While everypony has a right to their criticisms, and I don’t think anypony could reasonably describe either of these films as perfect in every conceivable way, (few actual episodes even are), I was stunned to see how harshly they were torn down by some reviewers and page admins. One Facebook admin was actually legitimately furiously angry with Double Rainboom for having animation that wasn’t on par with the ponies we see broadcast on The Hub every Saturday – a show produced by a team made up of individuals who are not only paid professionals, but innovators in their field.
Now I know that most people’s reactions weren’t quite as ridiculously overcritical as this, but we as a fandom, by and large, have gotten addicted to perfection. Every fanimation project to come out in the last year has gotten the “it’s no Picture Perfect Pony” criticism. Why do we feel the need to keep “raising the bar”?
While Jan’s animation skills blew us all away with that particular project, the notion that other projects should have to match it in order to be enjoyed is, quite frankly, insane.
Now I’m not putting down the act of critique, nor am I looking to play the “what is this fandom coming to” card, but rather, encouraging people to celebrate the positive things in the fan media they consume, rather than sniping at flaws, because honestly, there’s just so much out there that’s worth celebrating!
The first piece of fan music I fell in love with was the power metal cover of the Cutie Mark Crusaders Theme. It was cute, it was well done, it was fun, and it had a lot of heart. By today’s fandom standard, it wouldn’t have gotten very much attention at all because its production values were maybe two notches below professional.
There is a lot of heart and soul and talent in fan works being produced today, but the “industry standard” (of what we expect to see and what we expect to hear) is robbing us of enjoyment of some truly remarkable works.
Over the past few years, many bronies have written heartfelt online testimonies about how Pony has helped them open their eyes to the good in the world around them. Wouldn’t it stand to reason to apply that same positive outlook to our own fan materials? ‘Cause if My Little Pony fanimation projects are making you angry, there’s something seriously wrong with that picture.
I’m not going to use the “let’s see you do better” argument, because frankly, it’s weak. It’s okay to have criticisms of the fan media you consume. However, if you ever find yourself feeling angry or disappointed in the fan works of others, you would be doing yourself a favor to stop and remind yourself of The Best Night Ever. Maybe your expectations are just too high. You may also want to keep in mind that the producers of the material are not faceless distribution houses in some faraway Hollywood office, they are people like you and me, and they are often lurking in the same forums and communities where these critiques are vehemently expressed.
The fandom is not an entertainment industry. We need to see it for what it is – a tribe of amateurs using our talents as best we can to share our love of pony with one another.
We should never forget that. It’s a beautiful thing.
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