When I was ten years old I wrote a fan letter to Gene Kelly. Over two decades have passed and I still very vividly remember the day that I received an envelope in the mail containing a personalized, signed picture from my idol of the silver screen. There’s something incredibly special about sharing a moment–however fleeting, in whatever form it takes–with someone you admire. Times, of course, have changed; these days getting a celeb’s attention can be as quick and easy as sending a breezy Tweet. Famed author Margaret Atwood, who has long been an early adopter of new tech, wants to further redefine how artists and aficionados interact with Fanado, a web-based platform (successfully funded on Indiegogo) that will put users face-to-face via the wonders of modern day media.
Fanado itself is multi-faceted with a number of different ways to connect, but the heart and soul of the project centers around the concept of live events that take place online. Artists can create and post these in less than a minute, and the happenings can be anything from a book reading to an intimate musical performance to backstage access to an impromptu ask-me-anything style Q&A. Registered folks will “be there” via webcam, watching the action as it happens, and when they go “on stage” for a one-on-one with the star, their talk will be shown on a split-screen, similar to a Skype call. There’s even opportunities to chat in real time with others who have signed on for the same show. Immediately after the event has ended, the fan will get an email with a link to the video and authentic digital autograph, ready to be plastered all over any and all social media forums with an enthusiastic “omgomgomgomgomgomg!1!!1!!!!!!11!”
The whole endeavor represents an emerging tension in the creative industry, in terms of resources related to marketing talent. “Artists right now–and this includes big names in music, publishing, sports, film television–are finding that there’s less money available to them for the traditional promotion of their work, so they’re turning to Facebook and Twitter to do it themselves,” executive chairman Daniel Edelman tells Co.Design. “We’re offering a dynamic new tool to keep their audience engaged.” Artists or entities can buy subscription-based “channels” at a low entry-level cost–think $100–which nets them a special signing tablet, and the opportunity to scale-up based on the kinds of events they host. “We want this to be for every artist out there, whether they are a first-time self-published author, garage band, all the way up to movie studios, promoters, and PR firms, buying channels to use for all their artists,” he says. Random House and Audible.com have already bought in, and it’s easy to imagine red carpet film premiers being supplemented with these Internet to-dos that give those way outside a major metropolis the chance to see, and speak with, and swoon over, and potentially make an ass out of yourself in front of, an icon.
The Indiegogo campaign recently reached its funding goal, but there’s still time to donate for the perks–but just barely. Click here for more info.