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San Jose State U.: San Jose State U. students showcase entertainment interests
[April 02, 2008]

San Jose State U.: San Jose State U. students showcase entertainment interests


(U-Wire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)
U-WIRE-04/02/2008-San Jose State U.: San Jose State U. students
showcase entertainment interests (C) 2008 Spartan Daily Via UWIRE

By Samuel Lam, Spartan Daily (San Jose State U.)

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Every day, fans of movies, music, television shows
and any other forms of entertainment use the Internet to express their
appreciation for their favorite media. Whether it's uploading a
fan-made video on YouTube.com or sharing graphics on a discussion
board, the Internet has become increasingly popular for fans to share
their creations. Allowing other fans to interact through the Internet
has given fans a new opportunity to indulge in their favorite media.

Scot Guenter, coordinator of the San Jose State University American
Studies department and expert on pop culture, said that as fans are
becoming more connected to their favorite forms of entertainment, they
can find escape from reality.

"These simulated worlds meet very important needs for people,
reinforcing perceptions of identity, appropriate or desired behavior,
or particular myths or beliefs we hold dear," Guenter said through
e-mail. "I think the rise of the Internet has given many fans an
opportunity to not only connect with other fans but also to create fan
fiction that puts the fan into the simulated world."

Television shows, which can now reach international audiences, have
united numerous viewers. Serena Trieu, a junior computer engineering
major, said she has found connections with people throughout the world
through the NBC television show "Heroes."

"'Heroes' is interesting because of the characters' development as the
season progresses," Trieu said. "At the end of almost every show,
there's a cliffhanger or twist."

She said the show's story line, which features different characters
with supernatural powers in a fight to save the world, was interesting
to her. She joined a forum looking for help in solving some puzzles
featured in the episodes.

HeroesARG.com, one of the sites she joined, is one of the destinations
she visits for discussions on the show and its alternate reality game.
Her frequent visits to the site landed her a spot on the site's staff.

"The administrator of HeroesARG had a contest for the site, and I won,"
she said. "I was posting a lot of comments about news updates that the
admin decided to let me become an editor."

Along with editing the site, Trieu has also created a few banners for
the site. However, she said, lately she has been awaiting the newest
weekly releases of online graphic novels from the show and publishing
posts on them.

"I stay up or wake up at the time the graphic novels are released (at 1
a.m.)," she said. "It's pretty much at least an hour a day on anything
'Heroes' related."

Commenting online about a popular media has become common form of
communication for fans. For Jaymee Gulmatico, she uses the Internet in
expressing her thoughts.

Gulmatico, a sophomore digital media major, became a fan of the "Harry
Potter" book series and has shared her thoughts online on the book. She
said her passion for the series continued as the story line evolved.

"The fifth book (of the seven-book series) became more of an adult
book," she said. "They matured, and I then began to write fanfiction."

Fanfiction, a term coined for fan-written stories involving existing
characters, was the centerpiece of Gulmatico's newfound passion for the
books.

In 2006, she started to write her own stories. Her first stories were
submitted to Checkmated.com, where each story is reviewed before being
publicly published. She would continue her fanfiction love by becoming
an editor for TheQuidditchPitch.org.

"My writing was praised because of the fanfiction," she said. Inspired
by being featured on the front page of the site, she has also created
banners to accompany her tales.

She said fanfiction has allowed her to create an alternate story line
for the books, such as shipping (putting two single characters into a
fan-made relationship).

"There's a lot of room to explore a world that's different from your
own," she said. "People can latch on to that fantasy life."

Fanfiction doesn't only stem from books, but also from TV shows. A very
common root of fanfiction is Japanese anime. Grant Corvin, a freshman
animation illustration major, said that anime helps him relax.

"I just found a way to escape reality (through anime) from a stressful
environment," he said.

Corvin has taken time to write his alternate story for the popular
anime show "Inuyasha." Anime shows can be downloaded off the Internet
with subtitles for those who do not understand the Japanese language.

"I got a couple stories on fanfiction.net," he said. "For the people
that read them, they liked them a lot."

Corvin said it is common for fans to recreate their favorite stories,
and that doing that through such creations is more than just being a
fan.

"I've created something I wanted to see," he said. "It's like paying
homage to them by making my own stuff."

Corvin is also is a fan of movies and has taken a new project in
putting a voice-over in those films. His current project features the
Japanese action film "Battle Royale."

He said projects should take a few months to complete after translating
the original film. He said finding the right people for voices and the
right script to fit the film may be the hardest part.

"Finding words to sync up to the mouth movement takes a lot of time,"
Corvin said. But he said it has been going really well and that the
idea of working on "Battle Royale 2" is a possibility.

Along the lines of films, the "Star Wars" movie series is a very common
science-fiction genre out of Hollywood. For Brian Lai, a sophomore
mechanical engineering major, it was more than just a movie to him.

"It wasn't something special in terms of science fiction, but I saw it
as a kid, and it was ingrained into my heart," he said.

Lai's love for the "Star Wars" movie series was not for its science
fiction aspect, but for the story of a hero's journey. Like some fans,
Lai likes to collect merchandise and memorabilia from the movie such as
oversized Darth Vader PEZ dispensers and lightsaber replicas.

Instead of just collecting lightsaber replicas, Lai took the chance to
build his own lightsaber. He buys custom parts from the TAP Plastics
store in Mountain View and orders Apoxie Sculpt handle grips online and
plastic tubing from craft stores for the saber.

"I own 11 sabers, six of which I have made myself," he said.

Lai goes to forums online to discuss sabers, soaking in ideas from
different people. Even though he rarely posts images of his own
creations, he said he likes discussing the possibilities of creation
with forum members.

As each saber is turned on, it lights up to a specific color with sound
effects. Making the saber may only take a couple days, but finding the
right part has been the most difficult part of it.

Marek Kapolka, a freshman computer science major, still enjoys playing
computer games. He said that playing is not just a leisure activity.

"It's a developing art form," he said of computer games. "A lot of
people don't view it as that because of its history."

Kapolka, a fan of "Kirby Superstar" and "Half-Life 2", is working on an
online game with his colleagues in SJSU's Game Development Club. He
said that in creating an online game, the brainstorming is where the
creativity all begins.

"It starts with some concept, or a story line concept," he said. "You
work on it, brainstorm and you'll get your characters and gameplay."

With his colleagues, Kapolka is working on a contest held by YoYo
Games, a game developing company. Using Game Maker, a creation software
by YoYo Games, the group is producing a computer game featuring
characters from an ancient civilization.

"It's a typical fighting game where two people fight each other with
kicking and blocking, and fighting it out to the death" he said. "We
get our ideas from games like Street Fighter and Super Smash Bros."

Larry Sokoloff, a professor in media law, said that fans have the right
to be creative, as long as they don't profit from their work.

"Attorneys can say that the creation is cutting into profit, that it's
using someone's work," he said. "It depends on how much you're making
it into your own work."

Sokoloff suggested that checking the copyright rules on sites such as
YouTube.com can help people figure out which fan-made creations are
acceptable. However, he said that since the Internet is still
relatively new, there are still a lot of rules that aren't in place yet.

"The corporations can't police the Internet," he said.

##30##

((Distributed on bahalf of U-Wire via M2 Communications Ltd -
http://www.m2.com))
((U-Wire - http://www.uwire.com))

Copyright ? 2008 U-Wire

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