Image Source: Double Rainboom

Image Source: Double Rainboom


“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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  • Clarity

    Fully agree with this article.

  • Shiek927

    In general, a lot of criticism I see regarding Season 3 (I’m not talking about the finale but the season at large), I feel, is because of this….because expectations for many people have, not necessarily intentionally, have risen to the “impossible to please”: people keep raising the bar, little by little, higher and higher, until they simply can’t be pleased anymore no matter what happens.

    I don’t really see this as something intentional, but it is something people should self-reflect on — for me, I was simply trying to enjoy Double Rainboom (I left a long review on this website actually) for what it was…no, it wasn’t perfect, the animation was “watery” at times, the story could have been seen as random…however, fair is fair, and the truth is, is that you can’t look at fan-material with the same level of expectations as the episodes: I was simply happy that DR was made in the first place, because I feel it represents an amazing threshold in the level of dedication and creativity within the fandom….I was more happy it EXISTS then anything else, and you have to appreciate the effort it took to make it. No, it wasn’t perfect, but you shouldn’t have been expecting perfection in the first place, especially when it took so much to make it in the first place…so with that in mind, I didn’t think much when it seemed, say, they were “showing off” the animation at times, or the humor may have been kind of random.

    It’s not about making excuses, I don’t agree with that: because again, I’m willing to admit it’s not perfect entertainment…but it’s simply not fair to go overboard with criticism, when so much time, talent and dedication went into making this in the first place. It’s easy to look at the most popular creators in the fandom as supermen, but these are ultimately just fans like you and me who are going EXTREMELY out their way to do this for us (not all of us have so much time/money to spent strictly on ponies, otherwise we’d all be making projects left and right – usually that can’t be helped because we have real life obligations, but it’s all the more reason why we should be grateful…because they are doing this for everyone)…it’s not right to judge them too harshly when we should trying to enjoy and celebrate which is why these are made in the first place.

    Basically just repeating what the writer said, but happy to see others with the same feelings.

  • Excellent article. 8^)

  • KJOokami

    The reason I judge Double Rainboom as harshly as I do is because the creator/director *himself* hyped up the project to be in the same ball-park of quality as the show itself. If you look on the FAQ page–on the very first question: What is Double Rainboom?–you’ll note that he described the project as “the first fan-made EPISODE of Friendship is Magic” and touted it as a film that would have, and I quote, “100% show-accurate animation”.

    Now, you tell me, if someone tells you that they are *so* good at what they do, that the quality of their work is at or near indistinguishable from the level of your current favorite television show, how do you *think* people are going to react when they inevitably fail to meet that standard? So, honestly, I have no sympathy for the guy whatsoever. He brought it on himself.

  • Present Perfect

    I’m not sure how anyone could really find fault with DR’s animation. At its best, it’s show quality; at its less than best, it’s still excellent, top-tier fan work. Flamingo Rich is one of the best animators in this fandom, and this project demonstrates that. The writing, however…

    Really, the director’s main problem was, as said above, creating too much hype. DR was supposed to be The Fandom Episode, but it ended up being a well-animated, well-scored, well-acted pile of memes and references. There’s nothing even remotely ‘episode’ about it. It was overplayed, and it disappointed those of us who bought into the hype. (And why wouldn’t we? The first scene, released as a teaser, was really amazing; it was also all about the animation.)

    So I’ll agree, we should celebrate the good things in the fandom. But we should also, when creating fan works, look at ourselves and ask, “Can I do better? Who can help me do better?” I continue to say, if Flamingo had collaborated with some actual writers, Double Rainboom would have really been amazing. There’s nothing saying that his next project, should he choose to start one, can’t be really incredible if he has the right people on his team.

    The great accomplishment of Flamingo Rich and Double Rainboom is of a collaboration of dozens of people on the internet pooling their talents and bringing something really big to life. You just don’t see internet projects reach that kind of fruition, in general. But its greatest lesson, to me, is that one person should not be in charge of everything. And, don’t buy into the hype.

  • Adam

    “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.” – Sprocket


  • When I noticed an animation error in DR, it only served to remind me exactly how GOOD the pro stuff is. DR was still a better animated episode than anything else I’ve seen in some time on TV. It’s all about perspective, I guess.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again for this article:

    As an animation student’s final project: DR succeeds.
    But as an “episode”: it fails miserably.

    All the flak it gets is somewhat deserved for the creator and some of the animation team over hyping it, making it come off as something that could be in line with the show itself. The end product says something else much differently.

    For the most part though, you’re right about a lot of fans having too high of expectations of things these days.
    This part is exceptionally true: “’Cause if My Little Pony fanimation projects are making you angry, there’s something seriously wrong with that picture.”

    If stuff like this actually makes you angry, you need to take a long break from the Internet. Get off of the chans or your tumblrs and go for a walk and have a drink or something because goddamn, you really should look at the bigger picture.

  • freddie

    I personally enjoyed both episodes immensely. I have nothing but high praise for both projects. For fan projects they greatly exceeded my expectations. And I feel that some of the visuals in DR were spectacular. And I liked the story. Simple but I though it was funny.

    However I can understand criticism. One puts themselves out there then one must expect to get judged. But I feel in this case many people were more than just a little hard. More like unreasonably and illogically so.

    Instead of saying great job, but this could be better in the next episode (hoping to encourage another), there are those that would rather there were no further episodes which is what is probably going to happen considering the overly harsh criticism.

  • Hi, thanks for sharing.

  • Anonymous

    Like everyone said here, this backlash has very little to do with the animation quality and very much to do with all that ludicrous amount of hype. Gotta love the extent to which Sprocket’s editorials go out of their way to miss the point, ignore facts and put the blame on anyone who disagrees with him.

    • Anonymous

      There’s actually plenty of fact here.
      DR had it’s own share of problems, yes, but people expecting too much of fan stuff (and getting ridiculously buttmad over it) is a very real thing.

    • yeah i got mad about hype once. i paid 14 bucks to watch a transformers movie that sucked. i wanted my money back. so how much chump change did you lose over this particular fanimation which offended you so? I’m assuming you lost some–otherwise you would have absolutely nothing to bitch about.

      • Anonymous

        Let’s start with your assumption that just because I’ve an opinion on some point or another that differs from yours, I must hate everything you hold dear, including, but not limited to, Double Rainboom.

        You, Sir/Madam, is everything that’s truly wrong with this fandom.

        • Anonymous


        • Shiek927

          Talk about hyperbole – the point of this post is to not let your expectations and criticism get unrealistically high with fanworks….because, in the end, these are just fanworks created by people like you and me, and people often forget that, and instead read/listen/watch fanworks with the same standards you would reserve for the show, which is wrong in principle.

          Taking a post that’s meant to calm people down and making a fuss over it…my goodness.