Veronica Mars, Kickstarter, and Active Engagement

March 28, 2013
CM325

TV shows have the biggest and craziest fans because there are online communities that allow them to speculate, dream, and create more of the realities that were pre-made for them on the screen. They are interacting with the show to a certain extent because they are pulling for certain characters, they create communities that talk about certain events and speculate story lines, and they talk about how they wish something would have ended. That being said, the Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign is the ultimate example of how audiences can react and interact with a text.

It’s ingenious, really. Have fans fund a long awaited movie that won’t be able to be made without their help. There are rewards for donating, such as t-shirts, DVDS, a voicemail recorded by Kristen Bell, and even a chance to briefly appear in the movie, among many others. However, fans are essentially donating money to a huge project in which there will be no monetary return for them since they are not investors. Their sole reason to donate, besides the “rewards”, is to see their beloved Veronica Mars and gang up on the big screen. The more money one donates to the project, the more one gets out of it. However, nothing compares to what Warner Brothers will essentially make from this fan-funded movie. So, why do it? What in the world is the point to throw money at Hollywood that doesn’t want to waste their millions on what they think could potentially be a flop? Bottom line, it’s exciting to be a part of something that you want to see happen. Honestly, people pay to go to Broadway and baseball games (Screenrant). What’s the difference to pay to see The Lion King on Broadway and paying to see

Veronica Mars on the big screen? It gives the fans a chance to be a part of their fandom in the most extreme way. Would it be more beneficial to donate money to save endangered animals or educate children in impoverished countries? Of course, it would! But then you couldn’t say that you were a part of the largest Kickstarter campaign (in the film category) and got your favorite canceled TV show to become a movie.

Michel de Certeau’s article entitled “Reading As Poaching” talks about how reading is an active activity. Through the things we read we are seeing things through different perspectives. People can get wrapped up in a whole new world that they didn’t know existed. We can transform the original meaning of a text into anything that we want it to be. Through multiple viewings of the text, we can have different experiences because our perspectives can change from time to time since it is an active experience. The Veronica Mars fandom has waited years for a movie to be released about the beloved people of Neptune, CA. The Kickstarter campaign and Rob Thomas, the creator of the show, promise updates about the movie that will start filming this summer and have its limited theatrical debut in early 2014. In one day, the fans raised the initial two million dollars needed in order to film the movie in the summer. The fans desperately want to know what has happened to Veronica after college, her career, and all the other wonderful people in her life. They want to know so badly that they are willing to donate money to make it happen. This has become the ultimate active experience. Not only are people helping to create what they want to see, they are going beyond just engaging with the work to making it happen.

This audience is going above and beyond what de Certeau could have ever imagined. Not only can people interact with something they read, but they can also

interact with something they watch. Arguably, watching a TV show cannot be as active as reading since the image of the characters is filled with an actor who portrays that character a certain way. However, audiences can still create meaning by interpreting an acting style to have subliminal meaning. Rob Thomas is telling fans he’ll follow them back on twitter (Thomas). He is also offering incentives to donate money such as allowing a certain character to be in the movie or threatening to kill off a character in the movie if they don’t reach a certain goal (Thomas). Even though that probably won’t happen, it entices the fandom to donate money so they achieve a certain outcome in the movie. It gives the audience power that they have never had. Since the WB canceled Veronica Mars, it has only grown more popular. During the show’s run, ratings made the WB tell Rob Thomas to stop writing as many season-wide story arcs and just focus on episodal story arcs instead. This did not go over well with fans who enjoyed the structure of the first two seasons. Ultimately, the lack of an audience made the WB decide to cancel the show after its third season. Now, the audience is making a comeback. They raised over twice the amount needed for the creation of the movie. The power of the audience truly makes or breaks a show.

Through gift-sets, fan -made videos, quotes and every thing else from Tumblr, it’s clear to see that Veronica Mars has a devoted following. Not only are fans behind this movie, it seems as though the cast wants to be in the movie and back in character just as much, if not more, than the fans do! In the video posted on Kickstarter, Enrico Colantoni is shown in character as Keith Mars and it’s joked that he hasn’t broken character in eight years. That’s how dedicated he is! (veronicamarsmovie) “Almost since Veronica Mars went off the air, there’s been talk of making a movie. In that span, I’ve taken different

tactics in dealing with the question of whether it might happen. To be clear, I’ve always wanted to make a Veronica Mars movie. I love writing these characters and working with these actors. Kristen Bell has always wanted to make the movie” (Thomas). These are people that are dedicated to their craft. It’s inspiring. It comes across on the screen. The show is so well written, you can tell there is heart involved. Seeing the actors’ enthusiasm for the movie make the fans even more excited.

In an article found on Buzzfeed, the author explains, “In the best of circumstances, the fans are but a small percentage of the total audience for almost any work. The 57,000 people who have contributed to date to the Mars Kickstarter account for about 2% of the 2.5 million who watched the show in its final season on the air. It was never more than a sliver of a Trek film’s audience that donned fake ears for a Star Trek convention. But this sliver of people have become the shock troops of the modern blockbuster age, drumming up the enthusiasm that fuels a marketing campaign while enforcing fidelity to the original texts” (Buzzfeed). I guess every series has its die-hards and Veronica Mars was blessed with an extremely dedicated fandom. The movie is probably directed towards a fan base that they currently have. The casual viewer may not be as excited for the upcoming show and likewise someone who has never seen the show may not go to see the movie in theaters. This is okay because the fans who are paying for the movie to be made, may not even see it in theaters. With a pledge of $35 or more, one can receive a digital copy of the movie days after it’s initial theatrical release. Not only that, but the movie looks to only have a limited theater engagement (The Daily Beast).

Richard Rushfield also says, “On another level, the rise of the fans is just an extreme symbol of our “like” culture, where people are constantly spurred on to declare

their allegiance and list their favorites. On Twitter, the medium demands that individuals come out with all the exclamation points they can muster for (or against) whatever has passed through them. The result is a pass/fail culture, where nuance and moderation are drowned out, where the search for meaning in a work becomes secondary to cataloging its articles of cool” (Buzzfeed). There are some points that I strongly agree with, however, there are some that make society seem uneducated. People are smart! Normal people in today’s society are given far less credit than they deserve. Fans don’t just like something because it’s “cool”. Fans do find meaning in works. Fans are creating their own meaning that the creator may not have intended. They’re finding something to connect to even if they are just watching something because it’s popular. No one can pay attention to something unless they have a reason to watch it, even if it’s a reason that no one else has.

Just seeing some of the characters back together in the video got fans excited and eager to donate. The WB has even released all three seasons on their website so fans can re-watch the series or new fans can join in this groundbreaking Kickstarter campaign. Typical Marshmallows, the term given to Veronica Mars fans, watch the show for the epic romance of LoVe, Logan and Veronica. Many of them are propelled to donate by the fact that Logan’s character will return for the movie. Veronica Mars has been off the air for 6 years. Marshmallows have waited a long time to see where their relationship has ended up. Everyone knows LoVe is meant to be, but they are just waiting for the confirmation from Rob Thomas. With the teaser of their romance in the Kickstarter video, fans are gung-ho to donate to the cause. With Rob Thomas egging them on and

threatening to kill Logan on twitter if a certain amount of money isn’t raised, who knows what could happen? (Thomas).

Works Cited

Fallon, Kevin. “The ‘Veronica Mars’ Kickstarter Smash: 5 Burning Questions.” The Daily Beast. Newsweek/Daily Beast, 15 Mar. 2013. Web. 28 Mar. 2013. <http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/03/15/the-veronica-mars- kickstarter-smash-5-burning-questions.html>.

Moore, Ben. “Joss Whedon: What the ‘Veronica Mars’ Kickstarter Means for ‘Firefly’.” Screen Rant. N.p., 17 Mar. 2013. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. <http://screenrant.com/joss- whedon-firefly-serenity-2-veronica-mars-kickstarter/>.

Rushfield, Richard. “The Case Against Fans.” BuzzFeed. N.p., 22 Mar. 2013. Web. 28 Mar. 2013. <http://www.buzzfeed.com/richardrushfield/the-case-against-fans&gt;.

Thomas, Rob (@RobThomas). “Okay, here it is! $3 Million or Logan Echolls
doesn’t survive the movie! #VeronicaMars, @IMKristenBell”. 13 March 2013, 3:12pm. Tweet.

Thomas, Rob (@RobThomas). “Okay. Logan lives. Bad idea. I was accosted by ‘Shippers on my way to Starbucks. Instead, Backup won’t survive unless we get $3M.” 13 March 2013, 3:45pm. Tweet.

Thomas, Rob (@RobThomas). “Did you make a #veronicamarsmovie pledge? Tweet me a screenshot- I’ll follow the first three people.”

Thomas, Rob. “The Veronica Mars Movie Project.” Kickstarter. N.p., 13 Mar. 2013. Web. 24 Mar. 2013. <http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/559914737/the- veronica-mars-movie-project>.

Thomas, Rob. “The Veronica Mars Project.” Online video clip. Youtube. Youtube, 15 Mar. 2013. Web. 24. Mar. 2013.

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Veronica Mars Kickstarter Campaign

May 2, 2013
CM325: Media Studies

Veronica Mars started as a TV show on UPN before its third and final season on the CW. The show is about a young private investigator named Veronica Mars who helps her dad, the former sheriff of Neptune, solve the cases that are brought to Mars Investigations. Veronica is a strong, female character. The writing is quirky and filled with pop culture references. What’s not to love? I’m not really sure where the problem lied but ultimately, the show was cancelled and has been off the air for six years to the dismay of many loyal Marshmallows, the term given to dedicated Veronica Mars fans. Currently, Warner Brothers owns the rights to Veronica Mars and is unwilling to front the money for a movie.

Rob Thomas, the creator and brains behind the show, with the help of Kristin Bell, who played Veronica, spearheaded The Veronica Mars Movie Project as a Kickstarter Campaign in order to raise the money to film the movie. “If you are somehow not fully familiar with Kickstarter, allow me to explain: Kickstarter is a crowd-funding service wherein a project creator asks the site’s users to give a few bucks (or more) so that they can create something. In return for receiving donations, the creator dishes out increasingly exciting and valuable rewards based on the amount a backer gives. Only if the project is fully funded does the creator get his or her seed dough. If the goal isn’t reached, backers keep their money” (Gadino). On March 13, 2013, Rob Thomas launched the project. The goal was to raise two million dollars in 30 days in
order to start filming the movie this summer. They achieved that goal in a mere eleven hours. Their final tally was $5,702, 153 and 91,585 backers which broke four Kickstarter records, including fastest project to reach $1 and $2 million, most funded in film category and most backers, and became “the third highest funded project in Kickstarter history” (Thomas). Not only did it break records, it received a lot of publicity; good and bad.

Henry Jenkins defines affective economics as “a new configuration of marketing theory, still somewhat on the fringes but gaining ground within the media industry, which seeks to understand the emotion underpinnings of consumer decision-making as a driving force behind viewing and purchasing decisions” (Jenkins 62). Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell know how much fans adore Veronica Mars. They know that by pitting fans against the evil Warner Brothers Company that they will be willing to donate their money for a movie that they have been waiting years to see. “Early evidence suggest that the most valuable consumers are what the industry calls ‘loyals,’ or what we call fans. Loyals are more apt to watch series faithfully, more apt to pay attention to advertising, and more apt to buy products” (Jenkins 63). Even though their show was cancelled due to low ratings, etc., the fans are taking back power by showing Warner Brothers just how much support Veronica Mars has in the world. Marshmallows completely went over the top of what Jenkins ever expected.

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Cosmopolitan Canopy

March 6, 2012

I traveled into Philly using the Regional Rail. I walked to the train station in Glenside and stopped at Dunkin Donuts to grab an iced coffee to wake myself up a little more. The day had been gloomy before I woke up, or so I was told, but by the time I was starting the day, it was gorgeous. The sun was shining and there was hardly a cloud in the sky. Waiting for the train to come, everyone was standing in their own little groups by themselves. Once on the train, no one conversed with other people. The most interaction with others was when we had to pay for our fare. People kept to themselves, listened to music, or talked with those they were traveling with.

Walking into Reading Terminal Market you are immediately surrounded by the different aromas of the many types of foods and goods. The hustle and bustle of people is enough to overwhelm anyone as well. I got there a little bit after noontime and it was plenty crowded. Trying to find a place to sit was a nightmare. Luckily, I happened to catch a table when a couple was leaving. It was the perfect spot to sit in the middle of everything and people watch. It’s obvious that Reading Terminal Market is the perfect example of a melting pot. Between the different types of vendors and the people that shop there, it’s easy to see a very diverse group of people.

It was said in the article by Elijah Anderson “people are encouraged to treat others with a certain level of civility or at least simply to behave themselves” (Anderson 15). I found this to be true while at Reading Terminal Market. People smiled at others while leaving a table for waiting groups of people. While sitting, if conversation was made with those around them, it was amiable. People were very willing to talk if they were approached. Those who started conversations were probably more outgoing people who were used to talking to others.

I found that a lot of locals would come to the market for lunch or to pick up certain products and food. The workers looked forward to seeing familiar faces. Many people return to Reading Terminal Market. They come back to the places they thought were the best. Many people attend the Flower Show in the city and each year they tell the workers at their favorite places that they’ll be back the next year. It was easy to spot the tourists because they were looking all over the place and stopped to take pictures. They were also a little more cautious of their belongings because they were weary in the new setting. The locals would get in and get what they wanted. If they lingered it was to people watch or to eat their lunch before going back to work or going home.

It was interesting to see that the part of the market that had a piano player was more joyful and light than other sections of it. It was easy to spot people bobbing along to the music or swaying to the beat. Everyone seemed just a little bit happier. When a little girl clapped for the player, he stood up and bowed. It was also interesting to note that no matter what age people were, they were all treated with respect. It’s hard to find that everyone. Many babies, teens and elderly are not treated the same way as adults/young adults.

I, along with Anderson, found that many ethnically different people were working together quite well. The shops were run by many different ethnicities, Italians, Hispanics, African Americans, Amish, Greeks and Asians. There was a mix of workers in between, too. Especially at this one ice cream shop I noticed that there were young adults who were of many races working well together. In many ways, I noticed that skin color was hardly a factor while walking and shopping in the market.

I went to the market with one of my friends. He stayed with me during most of the time I was working on the assignment. He allowed me to see a different perspective. Because he is much more outgoing than I am, he also provided me with different opportunities. In the beginning, we were just sitting adnd people watching when a guy who worked at one of the meat stalls sat down for his break. I don’t remember how it happened but he started talking to us. He told us many random things about his life like about his weigh loss attempts. He was very open and forthcoming with information about his personal life. Not only did he, a Hispanic, make racial comments to my Ugandan friend and myself but he was comfortable with it as well. He even talked about how he got his 17 year-old roommate drunk one night then preceded to draw inappropriate things on his body when he wouldn’t wake up in the morning. It was a very interesting encounter to say the least. Goes to show how comfortable people can be in certain settings like this Cosmopolitan Canopy.

Later when we were getting crepes for lunch, I didn’t think we would have another encounter because the only two seats at the counter were down at the end, not really near anyone. To my delight, this was not the case. An African American musician came over to the end of the counter by my friend to count his money. He spilled quarters onto the counter and started counting. The men who worked at the delicious crepe place were Greek. I’m not sure how it started but the flute player started speaking Greek to them. They were surprised to say the least, laughed and started speaking back. At one point it was clear they were talking about us and we could only try to piece together what they were saying. We think that the men who worked there were saying that the musician was encroaching on our space while we were eating. The musician replied, in English, “Nah, he’s a cool Black guy.” Later when we were leaving, the workers apologized to us for him. We told them he was no bother to us and that it wasn’t a big deal but we appreciated their apology.

In conclusion, I found Anderson’s theories to be true. Many people forgo the racial boundaries that society has set forth when at places such as the Reading Terminal Market. Many people are more social than what you would see on the street. There is an inherent trust but at the same time, a slight distrust. The shopkeepers are still weary of shoplifting however they are more amiable and social when you need to ask a question or simply when you are checking out with your purchases. People are interesting and strangely not always predictable creatures. They seem to always be surprising me. I believe this was a good way to find out a little more about human nature when you place people in that sort of environment. I learned a lot about how other people act and how I act as well.

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Eng 101: Literature Autobiography

October 5, 2011

Reading was always important to me growing up. Nothing could entertain me more than the places I could escape to in a book. Before there were portable DVD players, I entertained myself in the car with books. I was never the child to have the fancy cars with a video monitor in the backseat to watch movies. I was limited on my TV time at home as well. So I did the next best thing to entertain myself, I read. Constantly. Once a book had me hooked, I was goner. I wouldn’t pay attention to my parents if they tried to talk to me when I was reading my book. I was always fascinated with the places that reading could take me. I could be in a whole new world in less than 3 sentences. Reading has shaped me in to the writer I am today. Reading is the reason I like writing for myself so much. It takes me somewhere else just like a book. I know what writing can do. Writing has power.

I started writing because it was what I had to do. Writing was a school assignment and nothing more. As I grew up, I was given blank journals as gifts for various holidays. At first, I didn’t use them. Over time, I began to see journals as an escape from emotional outbursts. Writing became the only way I could vent and be emotional without any consequences. My entries were harsh and loud. My anger would seep out of me, though my pen and in my words. If I was sad, tears would land on the ink, forever holding my sadness in the pages. I would pour my feelings into my journal. It allowed me to express my anger and sadness in a way that was therapeutic. My journals were mostly filled when I was I was in junior high. It was a time when I was coming in to my own. I wanted to be rebellious and express my angry with my parents when I felt something was unfair. I knew that wouldn’t be the smartest move so I tried to keep most things to myself. My journal helped keep me sane.

Then came the time when writing made me feel like I could do anything. I was always enthralled with reading because of the new things I was able to experience and the characters that I was able to meet. I was overjoyed when I realized I could create places like that in my writing. That I could mold and shape characters to who I wanted them to be was an exciting prospect. I could live vicariously through my characters. If something happened during the day that I wasn’t happy with, I could create a scenario that changed the way it happened. It didn’t do anything but make me feel better. I was able to create situations purely from my imagination or I could recreate scenes that I had witnessed or seen in the media. I am all-powerful with my words. Now, instead of taking my frustrations out in my journal, I can creatively write my feelings.

I was a member of the drama club in high school. During my junior year, we got a new drama director for the spring musical. She came in and turned our traditions upside down. She did one thing that I really liked, though. She gave everyone a character sheet that we all had to fill out. We were able to use our imaginations in filling out our characters. We had to give our characters a personality and a history even if we were in the ensemble. We had to play a specific part. Even if we were not named in the playbill, we knew our parts had names. This character sheet got me interested in creative writing again. I had gotten away from writing for myself since school was starting to take over my life. But now, I was completely fascinated with making a name for my part and giving her a story. Based on that sheet, I began to write short stories. I had so much fun coming up with a ton of different types of characters. It was a nice distraction for me from my responsibilities. Character development became very important to me. Personality was key. And it was all because of theater.

I find myself writing about a lot of different things that happen in my life. I will write a story about how I want certain events to play out. My hopes and dreams for the future get turned into prose. It is so much easier for me to write about life and ideas than to write analytically. Writing for school just seemed like such a chore. I felt confined to the box that students have been placed. I remember being so creative with my writing during middle school. Once I changed schools to the junior high of the private high school I would attend, my writing changed. It became more formal and less me. I began to write how I thought my teachers wanted me to write. I did not have a voice. I did not sound original. I wanted to sound smart by using words I would not think to use in normal conversation. I think another part of it was that I did not want to stand out. I wanted my writing to blend in like I wanted to blend in. I was in a new place and I was extremely shy. I did not want to risk getting picked on to read what I wrote in front of the class. Soon, it just became a habit to write in a way that was not me.

As I continued through school, I would care less and less about my writing assignments for my English classes. I would not start writing until the 11th hour. My writing would be sloppy and unfocused. I did not care how I was writing, just that I was completing the assignment. My writing did not grow or change and I did not learn from it. I had no creativity in my writing. I was just trying to answer the question. When I was given an assignment, I would just try to write the answer and fill in the rest with fluff to “support” what I had stated. I put no effort in my writing.

Writing in high school was the bane of my existence. I would use shortcuts in my writing to make it seem like I was writing more than I actually was. These tricks to writing were common knowledge in my school and most teachers wouldn’t even notice or care that we were using them. We would highlight every period and change the font to size 14. When that was not enough to lengthen our paper, we would make the spaces between the lines slightly bigger than double-spaced. If we were really short on material we would add another line of space in between each paragraph. I am not good at writing anything analytical because I honestly do not know how. That did not keep me from trying though. No matter how much I wrote, I never quite got it. My teachers assumed we knew how to write in a certain way without it ever been taught to us. That is why those tricks would come in handy. Every paper I wrote for AP English Literature, I was faking it. I wish I put more effort in to my writing because then maybe I would know what I am doing. I did not have to try to get a decent grade. Sure, I never excelled but getting by was good enough.

I know what I need to do to my papers to make them my own. It’s the courage to get there that takes time. I wish that I learned how to write in my own voice when I was in high school, my learning experience would have been a lot better. Although, it is better late than never to find the courage it takes to stand out. It took me until my first semester of college to start to break out of Engfish. I had to blog two times a week for my Ethnicity and Immigration class. This assignment got me to write in my own words since we just had to comment on something we heard, watched, or discussed in class. We were being real. Honesty is a big part of writing in your voice. Sharing an opinion because it truly is your opinion takes a lot more guts than writing what the teacher wants you to spit back at them. For my world religion class, I just had to write a paper a week on the chapter we read that week from our textbooks. It could be summary or just expanding on a certain idea or controversy mentioned in the text. I branched out from Engfish during that class because I was mostly writing my opinions. I became less afraid to say what I thought because my ideas spawned conversations. More often than not, I would be one of the students picked to read a certain passage aloud in front of the class. I worked hard to make sure that I did not sound dumb in my writing because I knew there was a good chance that I would have to stand up in front of my peers and read my writing. Public speaking is something that terrifies me and if I had to read something awful, I would be mortified. This class single-handedly forced me to become a better writer. I had to do the opposite of what I did during high school. I guess it was better late than never that I learned to write in my own style.

I hope I do not lose what I have learned about writing. I do not want to go back to being fake and superficial. I hate the way that kind of writing comes across and I would be embarrassed for myself if I started writing like that again. Writing takes time and hard work. Nothing can be perfect on a first draft. It is truly a process that needs to be taken seriously because you cannot just get it right the first time. Deep down, I knew that in high school because that is what I did when I was writing for myself. I should have taken the time to be proud of my work that I handed in. Since I did not, I thought that my grades truly reflected the writer that I was, subpar. Too bad I did not realize I was cheating myself out of confidence when I did not take everything I wrote seriously. Now that I know that, I can be aware of what I write and how I write it.

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Wikipedia Entry for The Other Dream Team

In my Writing & Communications class, we were required to do a literature review in order to fill in information about a wiki stub.  I choose The Other Dream Team, which is a documentary about Lithuanian National Basketball Team and their journey to the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. If you’ve never seen it, or haven’t heard of Lithuanian, I urge you to watch the documentary (it’s on Netflix).  I warn you, though, it’s a tear-jerker and a good underdog story.

==Synopsis==

The film not only looks at the journey the team takes to get to the Olympics but also the historical events that opened up some of the opportunities. The fall of the USSR allowed Lithuania to declare its independence and enter the Olympics as a free country. Winning the bronze gave more satisfaction to them than winning gold for Russia because they were finally winning a metal for their country and they beat their oppressors.  They were able to give their country an identity when no one knew who they were <ref> Cousineau, Phil. The Olympic Odyssey: Rekindling the True Spirit of the Great Games. Quest Books, 2003. </ref>.

==Background History==

===The Director===

Marius A. Markevičius is a Lithuanian- American director. He was motivated to direct this documentary because of his Lithuanian heritage. His parents moved to the States during World War II. The fact that Markevičius did not live in Lithuania was actually beneficial to him when he approached Marciulionis with his idea for the documentary. He helped to bring a fresh perspective It took him over three years to make this film. During filming, he initially had the players speak in English for the interviews. But because of the emotional nature of the topic, speaking in their native tongue was easier [2]

===The Players===

These basketball players, notably Arvydas Sabonis and Sarunas, were forced to play for Russia in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. There were four starters from Lithuania who were on the Russian team. Arvydas Sabonis was actually the first of these players to be drafted onto an American team but because of the strict rules of the Iron Curtain, he could not leave. Not only that but Americans did not like that he was a “Russian” player. They didn’t understand the distinction nor really know what the Soviet Union was comprised of. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, these players became a symbol of hope and of the Lithuanian spirit. They were the symbol for a nation that couldn’t be squashed under Soviet rule and domination. When the Soviet Union dissolved, Lithuania had an opportunity to go to the Olympics on their own merit for the 1992 games.

===Journey to the Olympics===

Low on funds, the Lithuanian team did not know how they were going to make it to the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Because of an article written in a local newspaper, the Grateful Dead was moved by the team’s plight and funded their trip to the Olympics <ref>“‘The Other Dream Team’: How The Grateful Dead Sent Lithuanian Basketball to the Olympics.” DangerousMinds. Accessed January 22, 2014. http://dangerousminds.net/comments/the_other_dream_team_how_the_grateful_dead_sent_lithuanian_basketball. </ref&gt;.  The biggest significance of this was that skeleton tie-dye shirts were made in the colors of the Lithuania’s flag. The skeletons pictured on the shirt were playing basketball. These skirts became part of the team’s warm-up clothes and they wore them everywhere. The team was wearing their warm-up tie dye uniforms to accept their bronze medals.

===Identity===

[[Lithuania]] is a country of three million people on the Baltic Sea that shares a border with Poland. The Lithuanian language is very important culturally. During Soviet Occupation before WWII, the language was forbidden. No books, no papers, etc were allowed to be written in Lithuanian and all the citizens had to learn to speak Russian. During and after WWII, however, these rules were lightened a little bit but all official documents had to still be in Russian Those four starters for the Russian Olympic team did not feel pride. Many people could not tell that they were not actually Russian.

==Aftermath==

Not only does the documentary look at the events leading up to the 1992 Olympics, it also shows an up & coming Lithuanian player before the NBA draft in 2011. This shows the result of what the Lithuanians before him fought for.

==Reception==

It was an official selection for the [[Sundance Film Festival]] and entered in the U.S. Documentary Competition in 2012. It received 88% for both Critic and Audience Rating on [[Rotten Tomatoes]]. It had a limited theatrical release starting September 28th 2012 <ref>http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_other_dream_team_2012/</ref&gt;.

===Awards===

It did not win any awards at the Sundance Film Festival. It was also nominated for a PGA award for Best Documentary in 2013.

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Mansfield Park Character Study

March 24, 2014

If it is said that Fanny Price from Mansfield Park is Cinderella, the roles of the supporting characters are going to be argued. While there are stepmothers and stepsisters evident in the story, the role of Prince Charming can be given to several different characters. The same can be said for the role of the Fairy Godmother. There is no clear cut way to define the supporting characters but the fact that we can discuss their roles only proves that Mansfield Park can be discussed as a Cinderella text. Fanny Price, unlike Cinderella, has two Prince Charming figures: Henry Crawford, a neighbor of Mansfield Park and Edmund Bertram, her cousin. Fanny has multiple Fairy Godmother figures that help her along the way instead of one who gets her to a ball like Cinderella. These differences are what set her apart from Cinderella but her low status and good nature are what resemble her Cinderella counterpart.

In Charles Perrault’s Cinderella he states, “The stepmother gave her the meanest work in the house to do; she had to scour the dishes, tables, etc., and to scrub the floors and clean out the bedrooms” (1). While this is not entirely what Fanny Price has to do for her aunts, Mrs. Norris and Lady Bertram, it is pretty close. There are other servants in the household but Fanny is purposefully given tasks so she has a lower position than her cousins, Maria and Julia Bertram. She is also always reminded that her station is lower than that of her cousins.  Mary Crawford, a new neighbor of Mansfield Park staying with the Grants along with her brother Henry, has a discussion with Edmund about whether or not Fanny is out in society or not. “Pray, is she out, or is she not?- I am puzzled. –She dined at the parsonage, with the rest of you, which seemed like being out; and yet she says so little, that I can hardly suppose she is’. Edmund, to whom this was chiefly addressed, replied, ‘I believe I know what you mean- but I will not undertake to answer the question. My cousin is grown up. She has the age and sense of a woman, but the outs and not outs are beyond me” (Austen, 36). Mary eventually decided that Fanny was still not out in society yet. This is chiefly because she has a lower position than that of her cousins who are around the same age of her. This creates confusion about Fanny’s eligibility in society. Cinderella, however, does not have this problem. She is considered a servant in her house according to Perrault, and the only way she attends the ball, which is the equivalent of Fanny being out in society, is by her Fairy Godmother transforming her. Fanny Price’s transformation is more natural according to Janice C. Simpson, who says, “Fanny’s transformation is not ‘magical’ like that of Cinderella, in that it happens over time and is attributed to natural causes: improvement of health due to exercise and good home in the eyes of Sir Thomas and Edmund, or the fact of there no longer being more beautiful cousins around with whom to compare her in Mary Crawford’s more cynical view” (3). Along with the natural transformation, there is no one character that plays the role of her Fairy Godmother; instead, there are multiple people that help her along the way.

In Perrault’s Cinderella tale and the Brothers Grimm tale, Cinderella marries Prince Charming and gets whisked away from her family and station. However, as Norma Rowen points out, “ … Fanny marries back into the family. The essence of the Cinderella story on the other hand, surely lies in her going beyond her family and moving from the neglect of a parent to a husband’s love. It is the daughter’s journey outward.   Fanny, however, burrows further inward” (34). Fanny and Cinderella both triumph over their stepsister figures but in vastly different ways. Rowen also states, “Sir Thomas now finds that Fanny is ‘indeed the daughter that he wanted’ (Mansfield Park 355). By the end of the novel, Fanny/Cinderella has triumphed over the ugly sisters by ousting them from the family circle and taking their places” (34). Fanny still has a different ending than in the Cinderella tales. In the Brothers Grimm tale, the two stepsisters get their eyes pecked out by birds. In Perrault’s tale, both of the stepsisters get married off to noblemen.

If we look at Henry Crawford as Prince Charming, we can see how he fits the role but also how he challenges it. When he first arrives, both Maria and Julia are vying for his attention. Fanny has no interest in him even when he begins to set his sights on her. Though, Henry’s intentions are not entirely true because he only begins to court her because she is a challenge and Maria and Julia are no longer around. His courtship is to no avail. Henry proposes and Fanny remains steadfast with the idea of Edmund as her Prince Charming. The problem with Edmund as the Prince Charming figure is that as Rowen states, “He doesn’t love Fanny” (33). Yes, there is the sisterly love and idea that his eyes were opened after Mary’s transgressions but he spends the entire novel fawning over the idea of Mary, which is something that Cinderella’s Prince Charming would have never done. Edmund and Fanny do not have some magical romance dancing at a ball together. For Fanny, Edmund is someone who she has always looked up to and admired. Until Mary’s spell over Edmund was broken, he treated Fanny as nothing more than a sister. Cinderella, however, was never second choice. In this way, the two women are very different. While Cinderella is valued for her beauty, Fanny is valued for her good nature and easy temperament.

Fanny Price fits the idea of a Cinderella character in the more modern world of Mansfield Park as a well-rounded character as opposed to the flatness of Cinderella in her various tales. While Fanny’s life and family members are more complicated, it is still clear to see how they relate to the Cinderella tale. By looking at the more simple tales such as Perrault’s and the Brothers Grimm it is easier to make comparisons between the characters because there are less complicated elements of magic involved.

Works Cited

Austen, Jane. Mansfield Park: A Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Claudia L. Johnson. New York: W.W. Norton, 1998. Print.

“Brothers Grimm Cinderella.” The Classic Fairy Tales: A Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Maria Tatar. New York: Norton, 1999. 117-22. Print.

Perrault, Charles. “Cinderella, or The Glass Slipper”

Simpson, Janice C. “Fanny Price as Cinderella: Folk and Fairy-tale in Mansfield Park.”Persuasions 9 (1987): 25-30. Jane Austen Society of North America. Sept. 2008. Web. 15 Mar. 2014.<http://www.jasna.org/persuasions/printed/number9/simpson.htm&gt;

Rowen, Norma. “Reinscribing Cinderella: Jane Austen and the Fairy Tale.” Functions of the Fantastic: Selected Essays from the Thirteenth International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. Ed. Joseph L. Sanders. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1995. 29-36. Print.

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Who Is Prince Charming?

April 28, 2014

What defines a man as a “Prince Charming” character? In the Cinderella tales, Prince Charming is her one true love. In Charles Perrault’s tale, he describes a young man only known as “The King’s Son”, there is no mention of the illustrious Prince Charming. Yet we are led to believe that he is the original “Prince Charming” we know so well today. There are many texts that fit the Cinderella format; one of which is Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. In the novel, the main character, Jane, has two men vying for her affections, Mr. Rochester and St. John. But it can be said without a doubt that Jane’s Prince Charming is Mr. Rochester.

Charles Perrault wrote about the King’s Son falling in love with Cinderella but there is not much describing Cinderella’s feelings for him. However, since Jane Eyre is written from Jane Eyre’s perspective, we are constantly in her thoughts and it is Mr. Rochester’s words we have to trust instead of his mind. Prince Charming’s admiration and love for Cinderella was described as such, “They said, further, that he had done nothing but look at her all the time, and that most certainly he was very much in love with the beautiful owner of the glass slipper…What they said was true; for a few days after the King’s son caused it to be proclaimed, by sound of trumpet, that he would marry her whose foot this slipper would exactly fit” (Perrault 5). Prince Charming is easy to read. However, Mr. Rochester’s feelings for Jane, his Cinderella, are not stated until much later and even then, we cannot truly know what he is thinking. We do not know much about what Cinderella thinks besides that Perrault states, “The King’s son was always by her side, and his pretty speeches to her never ceased. These by no means annoyed the young lady. Indeed, she quite forgot her godmother’s order to her, so that she heard the clock begin to strike twelve when she thought it could be no more than eleven” (Perrault 5). As Cinderella gets wrapped up in dancing with Prince Charming, Jane gets wrapped up in thoughts of Mr. Rochester. When Jane thinks about Mr. Rochester, even in the beginning, she recognizes her happiness will be diminished if he leaves the house and wonders if he would. She states in her thoughts, “Mrs. Fairfax said he seldom stayed here for more than a fortnight at a time, and he has now been resident eight weeks. If he does go, change will be doleful. Suppose he should be absent spring, summer, and autumn: how joyless sunshine and fine days will seem” (Bronte 126). This is one of many lines that make Jane’s affection for Mr. Rochester apparent. It is easy to understand her attraction since we can read her thoughts.

The tale of Cinderella and Jane Eyre are more similar than we are led to believe at first. Stoneman writes that, “Jane Eyre, for all its originality, is essentially a courtship novel in which the hero and heroine, meeting as strangers, undergo a process of discovery. The fascination of falling in love requires distance and mystery and then the precious revelation to the beloved of one’s cherished secrets and memories” (Stoneman 114). This quote could easily be applied to Cinderella. Cinderella hides the secret of being a commoner in some tales, and in others, she is still in disguise. Not much is told of the prince, but he very well could have a sordid history of his own. Because of this strong connection between the two novels, it is clear to see how Mr. Rochester is Jane’s Prince Charming if we are looking through a Cinderella lens.

Mr. Rochester has an unhappy marriage to a madwoman, though we do not find this out until after he tried to marry Jane. He has searched far and wide for a woman who would make him happy. Mr. Rochester’s search for a wife is akin to Prince Charming’s search for a princess. Mr. Rochester wants to be married for love instead of business, like his father wanted. His search for love, for finding the perfect woman, is like Prince Charming’s search for the woman that fits the glass slipper. By his account, he was entranced by Jane from the first time he met her. Mr. Rochester says when trying to convince Jane to stay at Thornfield, “I was at once content and stimulated with what I saw: I liked what I had seen, and wished to see more…I permitted myself the delight in being kind to you; kindness stirred emotions soon: your face became soft in expression, your tone gentle; I liked my name pronounced by your lips in a grateful, happy accent” (Bronte 268). By meeting Jane, Mr. Rochester had finally found a woman that was his match. He found his Cinderella, though; he had his secrets to take care of first. This is unlike Price Charming, who after searching for true love, found Cinderella on the first try. In a way, this paints Mr. Rochester as a more relatable character because he has been disappointed by love twice already while Price Charming clearly resides in a fairy tale. Mr. Rochester proves that someone can find their true love even after their heartbreaks while Prince Charming and Cinderella hold a more unrealistic standard of love at first sight.

Not everyone sees Mr. Rochester as a Prince Charming figure. Instead, he is also looked at as a false Christ figure. According to Pearson, “ Mr. Rochester is figured as the coming saviour who Jane believes will rescue her from loneliness, tribulation and fearful perplexity…Jane’s desire for Rochester’s return as her master, but also as the object of her intense passions, subtly indicated her substitution of Mr. Rochester for Christ as her hope for personal and even spiritual fulfillment” (Pearson 302). Jane certainly did become enraptured with Mr. Rochester. She needed guidance and acceptance and it is clear to see the reasons why he could be a Christ figure. Mr. Rochester is older and worldlier than Jane so he can also be seen as a teacher, which agrees with the Christ figure analogy. He also has complete say about what goes on at Thornfield and keeps his staff on their toes since it’s always unclear on when he will coming and going. This means the people at Thornfield must always be prepared for him like how Christ would expect people to be on their best behavior even when he is not around. While it’s true that Mr. Rochester is Jane’s master, since he is paying her to do a job, there are moments in the novel that make it clear that Jane is more attracted to him as someone with whom she can speak on equal grounds. She wants to be accepted and has finally found at home at Thornfield which has a lot to do with her love for Mr. Rochester. She felt strange about having no money and wedding Mr. Rochester because it would make her beneath him. Jane also did not like being doted on to the point where she felt like a doll without choice. Jane states,

“It would, indeed, be a relief, I thought, if I had ever so small an independency… I will write to Madeira the moment I get home, and tell my uncle John I am going to be married, and to whom: if I had but a prospect of one day bringing Mr. Rochester an accession of fortune, I could better endure to be kept by him now. And somewhat relieved by this idea (which I failed not to execute that day), I ventured once more to meet my master’s and lover’s eye: which most pertinaciously sought mine, though I averted both face and gaze” (Bronte 229).

Having nothing and marrying Mr. Rochester makes her a true Cinderella character. However, she eventually finds out about her inheritance and ultimately, she came into fortune on her own through her family and inheritance instead of marrying into riches like Cinderella.  At the end of the novel, Jane, has evolved from the Cinderella character but Mr. Rochester is still her prince.

It is more attractive to see Mr. Rochester as a prince charming figure. Though, he does not always live up to expectations of a charming man. Jane says this of Mr. Rochester, “Violent as he had seemed in his despair, he, in truth, loved me far too well and too tenderly to constitute himself my tyrant” (Bronte). Even Jane acknowledges that Mr. Rochester is not always going to be charming but his love for her trumps that.

Over all, because of the love that Mr. Rochester has for Jane, he is her Prince Charming. Like Prince Charming let Cinderella go when she ran away from the ball at midnight, Mr. Rochester let Jane go after she ran away. Mr. Rochester didn’t forget her and Jane knew to go back to him. Though he didn’t go searching for her, they still had a happy ending as equals in a loving partnership. Jane got the family she never had in newfound cousins, the Rivers, and her husband, Mr. Rochester and their son. And they lived happily ever after.

Works Cited

Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre

Stoneman, Patsy. “Rochester And Heathcliff As Romantic Heroes.” Bronte Studies 36.1 (2011): 111-118. Academic Search Premier. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Perrault, Charles. Cinderella, or The Glass Slipper

Pearson, Sara L. “‘The Coming Man': Revelations Of Male Character In Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.” Bronte Studies 37.4 (2012): 299-305. Academic Search Premier. Web. 19 Apr. 2014.

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