I Have a Smile on My Face

Richard-Armitage-and-Marlise-Boland-iChat
Armitage Besotted called me several nights ago to say, “Get out of your sickbed and look at Marlise Boland’s interview with Richard Armitage!” I could hear a grin in Besotted’s voice, but I couldn’t watch the interview ’cause I was that sick. But the next day I loaded up the two videos, and then sat there with a smile growing on my face while I watched. It seems Marlise has figured out how to get our guy to be very at ease, and I base that on my impressions and some Besotted also pointed out:

  • He accepted her compliments about his performance in The Crucible without protest or deflection: “It’s the moment when you realize that you’re an actor.” “It makes you vibrate, and the audience feels it, too.” “It’s sort of the bit that happens between the writer and the actor channeling it, and it’s sort of somewhere in mid- air between you and the audience, and they catch it. It’s really the ___ (mumbles an indecipherable word).”
  • He spoke on his career and his recent film and theater choices as if he were sitting with a friend: “I’m an ensemble player, and I know it. I’m not a big entertainer, and I’m not somebody who likes to put their head above the parapet, above everybody else.” “I feel quite fulfilled actually.” “I feel like my career’s always been a slow burn. I’m a slow developer. I went to drama school very late. I’m not an impatient person. I’m very, very patient. Id rather have it when it’s right than too soon. As long as I’m fulfilled and it’s inspiring me, I’m very happy.”
  • He made a willing admission that he’s changing his behavior after visiting Brazil: “Show your emotions.” “Show how happy and excited you are.” “Show you have a feeling. I’ve got to say, it felt good.”
  • His voice and expression were soft and incredulous and intimate when he revealed the highlight of his year: “…the opening night of The Crucible.” Pause. “…it’s an amazing feeling when an audience gets to their feet.” (The smile on my face at this point was huge, and it thrilled me Meg was able to in some respects capture his reaction.)
  • He trusted her enough to flirt with her and give her openings:
    A: “Do you think you have one question that no one, no one would have asked?” M: “Thorin: boxers or briefs?” A: “Neither.” Pause, louder: “Neither.” Both giggle.
    A: “Thorin’s Box of Joy — sounds a bit rude,” said with a bit of a leer.

Besotted and I went on to talk about how proud we are of Marlise. Like her we are both women entrepreneurs who have run successful businesses and know how incredibly hard that is. It’s always hard to start with nothing or almost nothing and make something. Then to be out there on your own doing it over and over again without an institution or a machine is one helluva piece of work and requires someone to be sharp almost 24/7. Mostly it requires someone to have a personality that can inspire trust and confidence. I would say Marlise Boland has done that very well with Richard Armitage.

If I’m being really candid, I would say she’s done what some of us have longed to do — sit down and have a chat with Richard and one where he’s not just rattling off the standard responses. Oh sure, some of the things he said in this interview he has said before, but there was an ease and sincerity and a type of intimacy with Marlise that was striking.

And it should come as no surprise that I had a favorable reaction to Marlise’s interview considering what I’ve said earlier.

Marlise,

Thank you, and keep it up. You Go, Girl!

Signed,
A new fan

P.S. I should have written something about your first interviews with RA which I also liked, and these new ones are even better.

For those who may not know, I call these cyber letters of mine “fake fan letters” because when I write them, I usually have no expectation the addressees will see them. It’s merely another way to express what I’m thinking, and yes, sometimes they’re done for a laugh. This one is very sincere.

Note: very often in this fandom, I have refrained from reading or hearing what others think before I can take my own impressions of something. Of course nothing is ever assessed without any influence from elsewhere in my life, but I try to remain free for a time of other fans’ thoughts. I was tempted to read the take others had on this interview given the angst from quite a few months ago. I even momentarily clicked on some links and then immediately backed out. Now that I’ve said what I think, I will take some time to peruse other posts, and if our group is anything like in the past, I’ll agree with some, disagree with others, but I’m sure all of it will make me think.

I hope all of you are doing well, and I want you to know that I am grateful to those of you who kept reading my neglected blog and to those of you who sent me prayers and words of encouragement. It did encourage me. Thank you again!

edit:

For those who haven’t seen the interview, there you go:

and:

In Case You Didn’t Get the Memo

I received a lot of mail about the Anglophile Channel’s interview of Richard Armitage before it was broadcast. The consensus of a significant number of the notes seemed to be three questions: who are these people? how can they interview Richard Armitage when they’re not Entertainment Tonight or CNN or even TheOneRing [or insert some other well known media outlet or website]? And why would Richard subject himself to it?!

It seems fairly obvious these fans thought that site was bogus at worst and not important enough at best.

Meanwhile the rest of the world moved on.

And where did everyone else go? They moved into the new age of media which is far from limited to a few established networks and sites. It just doesn’t work that way anymore and hasn’t in a while. The new media is this. No, I mean this, what you are looking at right now. If you have a site, you are a media producer. Heck, if you have a cell phone, you are a media producer. And that is the shift some resist — consumers have become producers.

Henry Jenkins explains this evolution of media including the reemergence of participatory culture and the rise of convergence culture (more on Jenkins shortly):

Nowhere have participatory and convergence cultures been more ubiquitous than among fandoms. Look at all of the media it has produced and intersected with traditional media. In this particular fandom, which is not even close to the largest, we have produced a large body of media such as artwork, video, stories, and reporting, and more traditional outlets have tapped into it. Hollywood is also looking at that and co-opting the fervor as they feel they can, and one of the early adopters was Peter Jackson. The main reason is Jackson is a fanboy himself and understands and appreciates the ardor. It’s no surprise he was looking at fan sites back in 1997 and developed a relationship with Harry Knowles. It’s no surprise he let a New Zealand resident, who created a a site about The Lord of the Rings movies, onto the sets to document the progress for fans. Jackson gets it, and as well as his artistry, it is a key part of his success.

This evolution of media has been happening for a long time, and I should have been more aware of its progress given my exposure to the power of the Net early on. Nevertheless, I watched that video above in the Fall of 2009 and became fascinated again and read Jenkins’ book, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. Interestingly, I realized while I was reading that I had another book on my shelves by Jenkins. It’s a seminal work on fandom, and it came into my possession over 20 years ago.

When I worked at IBM, there was a graphic designer, Bob, whom I and all my co-workers tapped for “prettying up” our documents. He was a major Trekkie who had written his own language and had a beautiful poster of it as well as some other Trekkie memorabilia decorating his office. Everyone teased him about his obsession, but I was curious what had made him so rabid. We had several conversations over the years about his involvement in the Star Trek fandom, and I remember saying early on, “You must be really into this to put up with the ribbing you get.” I’ll never forget his response, “People don’t get it, and I don’t care. I enjoy it, and it’s a great creative outlet.” It was about a fairly judgment free environment for his creative efforts. He had been to art school, and according to him there was a very oppressive mentality there. One that said if you didn’t do it a certain way, you were no good. Fandom welcomed him and allowed him to make mistakes. That thought stayed with me, and perhaps I was a fan in the making even then. About two years later as I was leaving the company, Bob gave me the Jenkins’ book, Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture. I didn’t read it until 16 years later.

Those two books changed my view of media and creative outlet, and in late 2009, I began to see my personal blog as something different and eventually became frustrated with it. I also began to become more involved in the blogosophere with the thought that I had ideas and didn’t want to just consume others’ ideas. By happenstance I developed a very rewarding relationship of give and take with a powerful media player in England. He is in fact one of the founders of Empire Magazine. There I was exchanging ideas with him, and having a blast and I think he was too, and I was realizing the world really had gotten tiny and huge at the same time. I adored that, so when I started this site, I knew there was power in blogging. But I feel compelled to say to some in this fandom who are determined to cast people as connivers, that I did not start this site with an eye toward capitalizing on that kind of power. Are you kidding me?!! I was scared to death someone would find out I was running this place. But I don’t think it would have been wrong if I had been motivated by that. I just wasn’t. I was simply desperate to say something without every little part of it being nitpicked. Whatever fortuitous things have happened to me here as some sort of result, have just happened with no one more surprised than me. All just further confirmation of the power of the new media.

And now I come to the Anglophile interview with Richard Armitage. For a few hours after I watched the promo video for the interview, I had the same view of Marlise Boland so many others of the spectatorial era seemed to have. This idea that she was out of bounds! But a little time later, I mentally slapped myself for two reasons. I recognized she was seizing a marvelous opportunity of the new media, and more important to me is she was a female who was trying to start a business. Why would I want to demean that? Thankfully the better part of me quickly came to my senses and didn’t. I haven’t even seen the interview yet, but I support her efforts. You go, Girl!

If you think about it, this meeting was a natural for Richard for two reasons:

1) He has already made it plain he’s fan friendly. Hello! Have you read this page?

2) Who has he been hanging out with for three years?

richardarmitageanglophilechannelI have no clue what he’s saying, but I have the feeling I’m going to use this cap again. :D

note: Henry Jenkins was the Co-Director of Comparative Media Studies program at MIT and is now a Professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication, and someone I would love to interview.

I’ve gone on to read quite a bit about fan culture and the new media as well as quite a few sociology books. It now takes up an entire bookshelf. Very enlightening, and I’m sure I’ll be talking more about this. Maybe not on this blog. I’m not sure yet.