9 December 2013 | No comments yet
As you may have heard, TGWTG has a prolific fandom. So what’s it like to go from writing fanfiction about a guy, to actually dating him? And what do other fans think? Find out that and more in my interview with her:
Otaku Journalist: Tell me about your involvement in TGWTG fandom, specifically, Linkara fandom.
Viga: I got into the site in 2009 when they released the crossover special TGWTG Team Brawl. I found it while looking for Super Smash Bros. parodies. Because it was an anniversary special, it had a lot of people on the site. Through that, I tried Nostalgia Critic, Nostalgia Chick, and then Atop the Fourth Wall.
I always loved comics, so Lewis’ aka Linkara’s show became my favorite on the site. He makes fun of bad comics along with good insight and strange storylines. It was the second fandom that made me start making fanart again.
In the TGWTG fandom in general, I make the occasional fanart and interact with other fans on Tumblr. But it was AT4W that gave me that push towards this. His characters and storylines struck inspiration at times.
Tell me about how the two of you met and began dating.
By being strangely straightforward and knowing a good burger place.
During the summer I was in Chicago to go to a school interview and since a friend had a room at a con, I stayed with them. I figured, hey, a weekend at a con and then getting to business on Monday. Why not! Linkara was a guest at that con.
I was in line to get his DVD and autograph with friends and I just whispered “I’d like to take you out for a burger. I like you.” He said yes and we hung out the rest of the con. We hit it off well, so we’ve been together since.
What has been the most interesting part of your transition from fan to girlfriend?
I am a fan! *punch*
I’m not just making a reference to his catchphrase, I am still a big fan. I joke to him that I’m his fangirlfriend. Before and after we got together I drew fanart, wrote a fanfic, read his fan tumblr, and watched each episode when it comes out. I also did a cosplay once, but I’m too bashful for him to see me in it.
The only thing that is different is that I know some upcoming AT4W stuff. Not a whole lot, but now I get the excitement of seeing other fans reactions.
What’s it like dating a person with lots of fans, many of whom draw fanart and write fanfiction about him?
Like dating anyone, but with more pictures and words!
I do fanart myself so I made friends with others that do that. I like surrounding myself with art friends of all types to geek out with and share creative tips. In general, I love seeing the fanart.
I prefer all ages to PG13 fanfic to read, but there aren’t that many. I don’t mind slash fic or 18+ fic with Linkara, but it’s not my thing in TGWTG or AT4W fandom. I like doujinshi of anime, sci fi and comic characters, so I understand the fujoshi fantasy fangirl mindset, but my preference is to do that in other fandoms.
My favorite are the fan comics people make like Ask Linkara. I’m a huge fan of that!
Additionally, have you found yourself appearing in new fanart and fanfiction?
Yes! My friend made one the day we came out as a couple. It was cute! Another friend did a Photoshop collage too. Pretty much only friends did that. They are sweethearts!
No fanfic, but I don’t expect that. I’m not a Channel Awesome producer/character/person nor am I on Atop the Fourth Wall, so it would be out of place. I’m not opposed to it happening.
Do you find yourself to be the subject of some fans’ jealousy? If so, how do you deal?
Someone commented that his fanbase seems strangely calm about this when it was revealed I was his girlfriend.
We kept our relationship quiet for a while, but people found out he had a girlfriend but didn’t know who it was yet back in August. There were more tears and sad faces than jealous rage. If there was jealous rage, then they were polite enough to not go prying to find out who I was or go attacking him. People even made sure to remind others to respect our privacy.
When the Thor vlog was released I got a lot of happy messages congratulating us and tons of friends in other fandoms that were surprised. I had friends who liked his show and I didn’t even know until that weekend. I felt so happy.
There are still a few angry or sad girls. I felt guilty because it felt like I caused them harm. But him and my friends all assured me it’s ok. I hope something really happy and lucky happens to them.
His fanbase is one of the best I’ve been a part of. They’re creative, fun, weird, nice, and very geeky. They make it easy to deal with things like that. I am very lucky.
If you were to give advice to somebody entering into a relationship with an Internet-famous significant other, what would you advise?
Just ask them out. What’s the worst that can happen? The best is that they say yes, the worst is that they say no, but you guys are cool. The super worse is no and a meteor hits the earth and you both are vaporized.
Make sure you like them for them and not just popularity. Like with any person, be polite, get to know them, ask them out, be fun, approachable, look nice etc. It’s really no different than asking out a guy or gal at school or the con. Whether you are a super fan or casual viewer, general niceness goes a long way.
Be prepared for people wanting to know about you and start trying to dig into stuff, even from long ago. Like Lewis, I do a webshow, create stuff online and do a lot of social networking, but I starting using stricter privacy controls on Facebook and I check out who is following me on Tumblr and Twitter. Unfortunately, you can never be too safe.
If someone makes you uncomfortable with questions about them or you both or did something strange, speak up about it. Even if it was well intentioned, say something. If it’s malicious avoid, block or report them. And it’s always nice to have or ask for emotional support or help from your S.O.
Otherwise, just be awesome about things and everything will be alright!
4 December 2013 | 6 comments
Every now and then, students and aspiring journalists write to me for advice about entering the field. Here’s an email I sent recently, published with permission.
I have little interest in general journalism, I don’t care about politics or celebrities. If I were to study journalism it would be purely for the purpose of writing about my personal interests. Would it be a mistake to pursue a degree in journalism when my area of writing is so specific?
You’d think this would be an easy question for me to answer yes to. My whole philosophy is about turning your passions into a career.
The problem is, you’ve got to meet them halfway.
For instance, I no longer see anime journalism as a viable career path. When I was younger, I wanted to make a living as an anime blogger. I’ve since learned that this is a very tough niche to enter, simply because there aren’t a lot of outlets making money. I’ve been published in Japanator, Otaku USA, and Crunchyroll, and nobody paid me very much, if anything. I have contacts who have written for Anime News Network, and earned in the (very) low double digits. I was recently, as a reporter with five years of professional experience, offered an intensive editing job for an anime website that would have paid $50 a month.
It hurts to share this, actually. I really want a passionate anime fan to prove me wrong and make a living off of their reporting. But I can’t confidently sit back and tell people that a career in anime journalism, or reporting on ANY one interest, is a good idea.
Don’t get me wrong—I would never advise anybody to go to opposite way, either. In journalism school I was taught to market myself as a jack of all trades, but I think this is unrealistic. It’s impossible to become an expert reporter on every beat. But you COULD become an expert in three or four beats. Just make sure those are the beats that you enjoy covering. Case in point: you’ll never be an award-winning political reporter if you don’t like politics.
You know I love anime. But it’s not my only interest. My “day” job includes writing about social networks, robotics, tech education, and a looong list of other technology related topics. In previous jobs, I’ve written about video games, Tumblr fandom, cosplay, and women entrepreneurs. I don’t like any of this stuff as MUCH as anime, but I find it all interesting. And, when I do need a break, I have my personal blog where I can write whatever I like.
And sometimes? It’s rewarding just to be an expert on something. Partly by chance, partly thanks to my boss, I was covering the social network Pinterest before almost anyone else. It’s given me a great relationship with Pinterest, as well as a mental timeline of its entire history—both of which make it easy and fun to report on. The funny thing is, I am not a regular Pinterest user. I mainly check it for work. But just the feeling that I’m covering Pinterest as comprehensively as I can makes it one of my favorite topics to cover. You might surprise yourself by becoming a reluctant expert on a specific politician or celebrity later on, and stick with it for the feeling of a job well done.
Chances are, anime isn’t your only interest, either. Are you interested in writing about related topics, like video games, blockbuster movies and the fandom around them, comics, computers, and other nerdy but more in-demand topics? In that case, I’d say go for it!
Here’s my best case scenario for you: you present yourself as willing to write about anything, but make it clear that you excel at writing about a few different topics. You adjust your career to specialize in those topics, and get better at covering them as a result. Eventually, people will remember you for your reporting in certain subject areas, and then they’ll come to you!
Specialization is great for your career. Just keep it in moderation.
Do you have a question you’d like to ask? Drop me an email or visit my Tumblr Ask box.
29 November 2013 | 3 comments
I am not a Black Friday shopper. If you’re a savvy Internet shopper, you can get deals all year round. With one exception, at least in my experience.
Each year on Black Friday, Crunchyroll offers an incredible deal: 50% off its All-Access Membership. It’s such a contrast from the usual, I don’t understand why anybody would buy a membership at any other time of the year.
Click the image to buy, but be warned this link is only active on Black Friday:
As CEO Kun Gao hinted to me in his interview, the deal is slightly different this year. It comes with $15 store credit, which who knows when I’ll ever use. But they sell Gundam models, so I’ll figure it out.
So why not buy the cheaper anime-only membership? Because I want to keep my manga premium membership. And that deal’s only 40% off.
Crunchy doesn’t make any more money by getting you to do the premium membership; they make up what they would otherwise lose in removing commercials. Buying a premium membership is simply a way to help yourself—to watch simulcasts on time, view videos in HD, and leave commercials in the dust.
As many of you know, I am a Crunchyroll affiliate, but telling you about this deal doesn’t make me any money. Weirdly, the affiliate program only pays if people buy the full price membership, which explains why I’ve made $0 and don’t care to make more.
I’m telling you because this is how I watch anime all year, and I wanted to share. Sure, I’m a huge fangirl, but I think my view comes with merit, since Crunchy continues to add more and more shows to its roster each season. To be able to get that for half price seems almost criminal, and I want as many people to know about it as possible.