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The end of this blog as Animated Insights August 23, 2014

Posted by shannonmuir in Uncategorized.
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In recent months, I’ve still been blogging but none of it here. I’ve followed the tastes of my audience, and fragmented out to multiple blogs to reach people more selectively.

If you want to continue following my writing commentary and comments similar to what I’ve done here in the past, consider coming over to Muirwords by Shannon Muir at http://www.muirwords.com. It’s the same tone and style as this blog is, but I began to find the free version of WordPress limiting for my needs and that I could do this same style with more freedom over at my own setup. So please, those of you subscribed to a feed, hopefully you can easily do the same there. A selection of posts from here may ultimately be re-blogged there, I’m still deciding. This will also be where I talk about stories I put out with publishers such as Pro Se Productions or Emby Press.

If animation has been the appeal for you, I’m not really dealing with that exclusively at this point. Your best bet is probably the new home of Shannon Muir’s Animated Insights on Tumblr at http://www.animatedinsights.com. While it aggregates all my blogs there, I also do commentary on re-blogged animation or just share animation I find compelling or nostalgic and talk about it. I may also add in the occasional new text post as necessary, but a lot more is available online now than it was when I entered the arena years ago by people who are more on the cutting edge. I thank them for stepping up and doing so.

There are also other blogs and sites I run that might interest you:

http://www.house-of-books.com: Infinite House of Books primarily consists of author interviews based on questions provided by me to book blog tours and individual authors. They’re not the same stock questions being handed out to 50 sites at once, though authors always answer the same questions.
http://www.discoverwords.com: Discoverwords.com brings excerpts and cover reveals from various authors mainly in YA, New Adult, and various genre fiction areas
http://www.willowbrooknovels.com: The latest news and information on my Willowbrook Saga independently released e-books.
http://www.spontaneouschoices.com: The latest news and information on my e-books led by women fueled by passion (though not always the best decision makers as passion sometimes blinds their logic).
http://www.flying-glory.com: FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY is the long running web comic I’ve partnered up to co-write with Kevin Paul Shaw Broden that has been on the web since 2001.

Lastly, http://www.shannon-muir.com shows all the books and stories I’ve put out with links on how to buy each, as well as links out to all the above listed sites.

See you around the Internet, and thanks for your continued support!

All the best,
Shannon Muir

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Youthful Dreams Made Real: How ‘Net Fans Revived an Animation Franchise February 4, 2012

Posted by shannonmuir in analysis, animation.
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Some television shows become “resurrected” by the efforts of avid fans. It’s something to keep in mind that your next series could easily be a “revival,” whether by executives or fans. To me, it’s the fan efforts that are more interesting because they are passionate. I’ve been a part of one, so I know.

VOLTRON: DEFENDER OF THE UNIVERSE first hit the airwaves in 1984, an adapted and combined serial of two Japanese hits, GO-LION and DAIRUGGER XV. One robot formed from five robot lions; the other from fifteen exploration vehicles. Of the two VOLTRON storylines, the Lion Voltron captured fans’ imagination and a second season of twenty episodes was released.

I could be counted among that fandom at thirteen years of age. I became so engrossed in the storylines I wrote my own and sent them via the television station to the producing company. When all I received back was a stock fan package, instead of the feedback I had desired, I resubmitted the ideas directly to the Executive Producer at the address on the package. Many months later, thinking I had been all but forgotten, I received a wonderful letter from the Head Writer of VOLTRON who had read my materials, although the show had ended. His praise and words of encouragement — that I had potential if I stuck to writing — led me on the road I’ve been on for fifteen years that has brought me to this point.

Years passed. VOLTRON fans remained, isolated but unable to communicate as they grew older, never completely letting go of the show that captured their imaginations in childhood.

Enter the Internet.

I don’t remember what got me started on the search. Maybe the discovery of a fan site for a different show. But one day in 1996, as I prepared to move to Los Angeles, I typed voltron into the Alta Vista search engine — http://www.altavista.com — and found more information than I imagined. I came to realize fans of the show, now adults like me, were networking over the web and sharing their knowledge and passion! My interest in VOLTRON put me on the road I’m traveling now, a story that deserves a column of it’s own. I felt I had to get on the bandwagon. It seemed a perfect way to leave my “fannish” past behind me and share all the information I’d collected years before, not to mention my Voltron fiction.

So, I created Shannon Muir’s Voltron Pages at http://members.aol.com/shanemuir/voltron.htm, then I headed off to Los Angeles thinking it was behind me. [EDITOR’S NOTE: This site was taken down by AOL when they discontinued hosting any pages October 2009 and these pages are now at http://www.duelingmodems.com/~shan/Voltron.htm.%5D

Some people credit me for starting the boulder rolling down the hill. A lot of people say they put up their sites because they saw mine first. I really can’t say. What I do know is that things started to happen.

All the web sites fans dared to put out there (myself included) spoke loud and clear to the folks at World Events Productions, who had done the dub work on the original VOLTRON series. They had a hint of the show’s continuing popularity through some letters and late-night airings on St. Louis’ KPLR-TV — which had a long standing relationship with World Events through broadcasting executive Ted Koplar’s interest in both businesses. The sites gave them something solid and substantial, not to mention free promotion.

Unlike the efforts of some companies to shut down fan sites, World Events embraced the fans’ Internet presence. With that they attracted toy giant Trendmasters at http://www.trendmasters.com, Mike Young Productions and the now-defunct Netter Digital Entertainment to sign on board and create VOLTRON: THE THIRD DIMENSION, a 3D CGI series picking up five years in the future. Ultimately, they produced twenty-six episodes spanning two seasons (a season lasts from Fall of a calendar year to the Fall of the next calendar year, for those not familiar with industry-speak).

Some people liked the CGI version; others hated it. I have mixed feelings but recognize its necessity as a marketing tool to get an old franchise a little added attention. After all, it was one of the first motion capture CGI TV shows and the first CGI series to be totally produced in the United States.

World Events also created an official site for VOLTRON — http://www.voltronforce.com [EDITOR’S NOTE: now discontinued]–and encouraged fans to be involved. And, in what’s hard to be a humble opinion, they paid respect to the fans by embracing the work of one fan as “official” with proper credit and compensation. The material in question, a starmap of the galaxy in which the show is set, came from myself. This knowledge as gathered partially from episodes and partially from my own theories, clearly served as a resource for the writers who didn’t work on the prior series. I wish others had been given similar opportunity.

Maybe I was the most powerful voice, but I don’t want to imply I did it alone. The combined work of all the fans was required to become the powerful chorus that reached the ears of World Events Productions and beyond. Below are some of the better-known VOLTRON fan sites:

– THE UNOFFICAL VOLTRON FORCE HOMEPAGE at http://www.arus.org/voltron/index.html

– CASTLE CONTROL: VOLTRON HEADQUARTERS, at http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/Set/1988/

As a working professional, I’ll never have this experience again, at least from the fan side. I think, though, if I ever find myself in the producer’s chair on a show and hear the fans cry out, I will listen. After all, I’ve walked a mile in their shoes.

(Originally published on Suite101.com, 2001)