Monday, 22 June 2015

A Cap Geek Girls News Flash: Little Big Changes

AN UPDATE FOR OUR FANS

WHERE WE STARTED:

When Capital Geek Girls launched in January of 2013, it was supposed to be a temporary little side project. On her home blog, GirlCrafted.com, founder Jordan Danger wrote an article talking about how she’d recently learned of a flurry of sexism issues that were arising for women in geek venues (like shops and conventions). She launched the Geek Girls facebook page that same day, meaning for the page to provide a space for women to share their geeky fandom without the fear of trolling or harassment.

The facebook page—expectedly/unexpectedly—took off quickly. It turned out, there were lots of women who wanted to talk about geek stuff. And men, too, who wanted to support and engage in this all-gender-friendly virtual space. Speedily, CGG’s Facebook page became a busy place to be.

Exactly a year later, Danger launched CapitalGeekGirls.com, a blogazine written by nearly two-dozen women geeks. The CGG team populated this site with articles for an entire year before pausing to assess and evaluate.



WHAT WE'VE LEARNED:

These last two years have seen the CGG management take on a lot of fights. We had heated debates with con organizers who felt that women weren’t even a demographic worth welcoming. We fought with an allegedly girl-friendly merchant who refused to advocate for an issue faced by female vendors (in his words, because it wasn’t his concern and didn’t affect his business). We found ourselves in positions where we had to decide if we could report on harassment experiences at local events—if we did, we’d find our writers banned for being troublesome. We had repeated dismissals by merchants for sponsorships, and venues/events who failed to sustain good girl-friendly practices despite many rosy promises.

For Jordan Danger, who admits to having lived a sheltered geek girl life for most of her youth, these battles were as painful and exhausting as they were eye-opening and poignant. But despite these challenges, we choose to keep Capital Geek Girls running. Because what we learn from these incidents is that the group is needed more than we ever knew. In fact, CGG’s team saw that firsthand at our panel presentation in Ottawa Comiccon 2014, when our panel room was stuffed to the rafters and women were approaching the mic to give teary thanks, “For providing a place online where it was safe to just be a geek girl”. No hefty political agenda, no overly-sexualized photoshoots; just geek girls being geeks.


OUR NEW DIRECTION (AND IT'S KIND OF OUR OLD ONE):

Bringing us to the present, now. The CGG Editorial Team has reviewed our fails and wins, our pilot projects, and our experiments. We have come to realize some very important things:

1. CGG cannot be tied to any one sponsor. There are too many risks associated with doing so: will that sponsor adhere to all the girl-friendly guidelines? Will they be seen as truly girl-friendly when a CGG rep isn’t present to see? Do they respond to geek girl demands or just stock the same ol’ handful of overstock girl merch? The only people who can decide what geek merchants, at any given time, are girl-friendly….are you, the Capital Geek Girl fans. 

So we are launching a Geek Girl Feedback Machine. This simple survey app will allow you to tell us where and when you’ve had positive and negative geek girl experiences. Periodically, we will share your anecdotes, preferences, and challenges.

This means that we will be saying goodbye to The Comic Book Shoppe as our headquarters and official sponsor. The Shoppe has put together some good things for women, but we’ve found the relationship to be less fruitful and empassioned than envisioned. We hope that the Shoppe will strive to support geek girls well into the future, and they are still ranked among the most girl-friendly shops presently open. Our fervent hope is that, by interacting with a larger variety of shops and venues, CGG can find the most genuine and passionate changemakers and work with them to get the other merchants and venues on board, too.

2. CGG was never meant to BE the newsource. We love our writers, but the Capital Geek Girls was always meant to be a sharer of news, not the news producers. So for the next Phase of CGG, we will be returning to what we like to do best: using our Facebook site to curate/share articles, sites, merch, and discussions to the fans. The CGG site will continue to run, with “Last Month At A Glance” updates, occasional articles about major news, and content provided by fans—stories, photos, or videos from your fails and wins in the geek community. The site will be quieter, while the facebook page returns to its rightful place as our main form of communication with all our CGG fan-family.


IN A NUTSHELL:

So basically, we’ve taken the last two years of pilot project time and have streamlined our Capital Geek Girls monster into a lean mean geek machine. You’ll hear from us constantly on Facebook; you’ll get monthly updates here on the CGG site; and we want you to engage with us more often, through facebook discussions, or submissions of your pics, vids, and stories. Our official headquarters is once again virtual and international, with no one sponsor dominating our work, and we want to hear from you about what geek venues—everywhere in the world—are geek girl-tastic.


Thank you, everyone, for the love, support, and enthusiasm you have shown CGG over the past two-and-a-half years. We are proud to continue providing a safe space for geeky girls to geek out.

The CGG Management Team

Friday, 27 February 2015

Remembering Leonard Nimoy

It was with heavy hearts that we read the news of Leonard Nimoy's passing today.  Editor-in Chief Jordan and Contributor Marie put pen to paper to share their thoughts.




Marie Victoria Roberston
My grandfather was a huge Star Trek fan; growing up, I spent a lot of time at his house, watching reruns of the original series, and religiously watching every new TNG episode as they aired. "That's Mister Spock," my grandpa pointed out, during one of the first episodes of TOS I really paid attention to. "He's a Vulcan. An alien. He's special."

Spock quickly became my favourite. He represented an integral character to the Star Trek universe: the outsider, not part of humanity, the commentator on what it meant to be human. He was a character that I, as a weird and lonely nerdy girl, identified with.

When you grow up, you sometimes start to look at the performers behind the characters you loved as a kid, and some of the magic is lost. But that never happened to me when I discovered Leonard Nimoy. There was always something about his manner that seemed soothing and classy to me. Nimoy was one of those celebrities who seemed like they were too important to leave this world, like their presence meant too much to too many people.

I wished I could have met him in person. I wished I could have told him how Spock gave me hope as an awkward geeky kid, I wish I could have blushed and told him I kind of had a crush on him, because brains are pretty sexy. The closest I got was sitting in on his Skype chat at Ottawa Comic-Con, and I was amazed at how gentle, poised, well-spoken, and good-humoured he was. His spirit will be missed.

From Spock's funeral in "Wrath of Khan": "Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most human."

LLAP, Mr. Nimoy.




Jordan Danger
Spock raised me. In a house where every episode of Star Trek (both the original and Next Generation series) were on VHS and watched nightly, there were days I spent more time with Spock than with my own family. He taught me about logic versus emotion; he taught me the importance of connecting and understanding other species; he taught me the value of wearing a blue uniform versus a red one. 

A world without Leonard Nimoy feels surreal. How this timeless icon could leave us is something I cannot process. I feel the loss as keenly as if he were a personal friend or family member. How many times a week, even a day, have I thought of him? When I need to make an important decision, I always ask myself what Spock would do. To think that he’s no longer here, guiding many of us through a treacherous universe full of ethical dilemmas, gold lame, and green-skinned aliens, is unfathomable. 

I’m comforted by the fact that he was so well-loved and will live on eternally through his work. Truly, Nimoy lived long and prospered, and he still stands as a mentor to me. I hope that I can embrace life, achieve success, and be as unforgettable as this lovely man. In my eyes, Leonard Nimoy will forever be Spock—sometimes in his science officer uniform, agonizing over the quandaries of the universe…and sometimes in The Voyage Home, wearing that white robe and swearing his clever curse, “A double dumbass to you”. A double dumbass to you, Grim Reaper. Because you may have taken the man, but you’ll never take his legend.



Monday, 5 January 2015

Mobilizing a Fan Base: The Campaign to Renew Forever

MOBILIZING A FAN BASE: THE CAMPAIGN TO #RENEWFOREVER
By Courtney Lockhart

It’s an all too common tale these days: The unique, entertaining program that got cancelled before it’s time.  Search “Best Cancelled TV Shows” and you will retrieve dozens of lists and comment sections full of fans still grieving.   One fandom isn’t taking any chances. Even though their show is still currently in production they want to make sure things stay that way and so they are taking to social media with a single message #renewforever. 
Cast L-R: Joel David Moore as Lucas, Judd Hirsch as Abe, Ioan Gruffudd as Henry, Alana De La Garza as Detective Jo Martinez, Donnie Keshawarz as Detective Hanson and Lorraine Touissant as Lt. Joanne Reece. (ABC/Bob D'Amico)
Forever is a procedural crime drama with a twist. Dr Henry Morgan works in the New York City Medical Examiner’s office. He has an uncanny ability to read the bodies that come into his morgue and as such has struck up a partnership with Detective Jo Martinez of the 11th precinct homicide division. There is one mystery Henry can’t figure out however- his immortality.  I reviewed the first four episodes  for this site back in October and since then, my enthusiasm has only grown. 

However, despite a wonderful supporting cast, great writing and a People’s Choice Award nomination for Favourite New TV Drama, the show is a common target for cancel/renew scorecards and has been listed by sites such as TVLine as unlikely to reach the second season. Forever regularly draws over 5 million viewers live. It has always increased, and occasionally doubled, those numbers by the time DVR figures are available.  However, the critics believe that for a show on a major network those numbers aren't promising even though they surpass those of other freshman hits. 

This is where our intrepid fans comes in. A group of Foreverists have decided to let the network know exactly how loud 5 million voices can be. An old fashioned letter writing campaign has been organized with the goal of flooding the ABC mailroom with notes and calendars telling the network it’s time to renew.  
Photo Credit: Emma Reed
Deb Survey and Lin Blank co-admin both The Official Ioan Gruffudd Group on Facebook as well as a second group specifically dedicated to the show called Foreverist Group for Forever Fans. “We’re doing our best to keep Forever around for a long time,” they said. “We find the writing clever and spot on, and the characters are drawn in a rich and human way. Seeing the fans unite in support of this show is amazing.”  

On top of the letter writing campaign the fan community around Forever is extremely active. There is a weekly live tweet event during the show’s Tuesday night airings where cast and crew have been known to pop in as schedules allow. Tumblr is full of fan art prompt games, discussions and gif builders highlighting some of the quintessential moments of the first half of the season. If you pop on the Facebook pages, you are greeted with reminders to vote for Forever in the People’s Choice Awards as well as lists of all the ways you can get in contact with ABC to show your support.  They are a loyal and vocal team. Hopefully by showing exactly how much they love their show, they will be able to help secure it’s future and keep it off the “Best Cancelled Shows” list for… a very long time. 

Forever airs Monday night at 9pm on CTV, Tuesdays at 10pm on ABC and is available to stream at ctv.ca on Wednesdays. 

Courtney Lockhart lives in the west end of Ottawa with her husband and step-cat.  She is polishing her skills to pursue one of her dream careers as either a costume drama character, Torchwood operative or executive assistant to a billionaire vigilante. You can follow her daily mission to DFTBA on Twitter @corastacy

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