I once remarked that one of the best things about FRINGE is that the show inspires creativity in the fanbase. We're a passionate bunch, and use many outlets to express our affection for our special show. Fans create art of all kinds, write fan-fiction, blog, create pod-casts, and make videos about FRINGE. It is done purely for love of an amazing show, but sometimes something special catches the eyes of many.
What started as a fan-project for Zoey M. became something more. It ended up becoming an extraordinary journey for her and fellow Cortexifans around the world.
Word about the #WhereIsPeterBishop video project was spread throughout Twitter, Tumblr, forums, and various FRINGE Facebook fan groups. The request was simple - fan picture submissions from as many different places/landmarks as possible, featuring the message, "Where Is Peter Bishop?" We all knew it was going to be something special, but no one expected the high-level attention that her labor of love would receive.
The FOX online promotion head for FRINGE, Ari Margolis, even became involved by taking #WIPB pictures of John Noble, Jasika Nicole and he-whose-character-does-not exist-but-will, Joshua Jackson. But everyone was surprised when they read this Give Me My Remote interview with FRINGE producers Joel Wyman and Jeff Pinkner:
And obviously the fans have shown their support in a massive way with the aforementioned “Where Is Peter Bishop?” video. How did you guys feel when you saw it?
JW: Me personally, I was so floored. And it felt so incredible to see how much the fans love the show and what they’re willing to do and their commitment. It was really moving.
JP: It’s stunning. They played it in a Fox departmental meeting yesterday. That’s not the kind of thing that happens. I’ve never heard of such a thing. And it was a surprise to both of us! Speaking about spoiling, neither one of us had any idea such a thing existed or was in the works until it was presented to us over the weekend. And as I tweeted, at the risk of sounding soft, it choked me up. It was amazing.
And what was kind of amazing about it — or what was additionally amazing about it — is it wasn’t designed as a save the show campaign. It was just a gesture of love, not for us, but for Peter and the actors and the production. It was amazing.
So just how did all of this come to be? Well, everything starts with an idea and a process to put a plan into action. I had the opportunity to interview the creative force behind this unique fan initiative, Zoey M.
AL: I know that you started watching FRINGE in the third season. What drew you to the show initially, and why did you continue viewing?
ZM: I tuned in one night just as the ''Cafeteria Scene'' in Marionette was happening, and I was simply transfixed by the acting. When Olivia's face fell as Peter explained what had transpired during her absence, I just sat back and thought, 'this isn't like any normal procedural show, this is something entirely different.' By the time I got to the final scene between Peter and Olivia my jaw was literally on the floor. Here was a show that gave their characters 'real' moments and not just reams of exposition, so that's why I continue to watch. There is a real depth to the relationships, which it is extremely rare on Primetime television. People say you can't just jump midway into FRINGE but I did!
AL: You’ve been making videos with FRINGE as topic for quite some time. In fact, you may not know this, but you inspired me to play around with the hobby some. When did you start vidding, and why did you start? Do you remember your first vid?
ZM: I do remember my first video. I had been volunteering in Haiti for a couple of months with an overseas organization and I video taped and photographed the experience. By the time I got back home, I had heaps of video clips and photographs. I put together a video just for my friends who had been there, and they loved it.
I'm not sure what my first FRINGE video was, but the one that sticks out for me is ''This Is FRINGE,'' because it was the first FRINGE video that I had made that people really responded to!
AL: It is so cool that Ari Margolis became so involved. What was your reaction to his pictures from the cast?
ZM: I can't say enough good things about Ari Margolis. After the season 3 finale aired, I tweeted him to thank him for everything that he had done for the fans. He is truly unique - I call him 'our bridge.' As recent events have shown, he is effectively the bridge between the fans and the show. Ari tweeted my Tumblr post asking fans to send in photos for the WIPB? video, and from that moment on, the fan response exploded. I went from having 30 photos to having over 500 in a matter of weeks- all because of Ari.
He hinted that he may have some cool photos for the video. When he sent me the initial photos of Jasika Nicole and John Noble, I tried to maintain a cool exterior, but internally I was back-flipping! I could see on Twitter and Tumblr that the fans were so excited to have the cast in the video. Again, it was all thanks to Ari.
AL: What gave you the inspiration to compile this video? How did you arrive at the choice of music? What other pieces were considered? Could you give us an idea of your creative process?
ZM: That was July 29th! My friends Diana and Lyn had tweeted Joel Wyman, asking if there was anything that we, as fans, could do to help promote the show. I tweeted them the idea of a video with fans holding a poster of the Season 4 tag line ''Where Is Peter Bishop?'' They encouraged me to follow it through, and so I did. The concept was simply to remind people to tweet the tag line #WhereIsPeterBishop? on September 23rd, but ultimately it became more than that due to the sheer quality of photos submitted by fans. They really do love FRINGE, and it shows.
AL: Another reason we love the producers so much is that they encourage fans to dream and be creative.
ZM: The music was a happy accident. I prefer using instrumental music and Viva La Vida has a sizable amount of instrumental music running through but initially I was only going to use an entirely lyric free version until I really listened to the song and heard the name 'Peter' mid way through. From that moment on there was no other contender!
The process was a steep learning curve. When I started receiving amazingly creative photographs from fans, I quickly realized that I would have to do something to honor their contributions and not just come up with a slideshow. I had never really worked with photographs before, so I had to teach myself the process of converting them into 3D. There were many hours spent watching Photoshop tutorials. The final result is far from perfect, but it gives the images movement and rhythm, where it might otherwise have looked flat, so to speak. The video is actually broken up into 5 parts. I worked on each part independently, and then brought them together.
The toughest point for me was what I started jokingly referring to as, ''Sophie's Choice', because not everyone made it into the video, and some photos are effectively in the background. I tempered that by removing my own photo to allow someone else to have that slot. It's only a small gesture but hopefully fans will understand.
AL: That is really cool of you.
AL: Did you think that you would have received such an amazing response to the call for fan submissions for the project? Over 500 photos from 37 countries is pretty impressive.
ZM: This is why FRINGE fans rule! I thought at the most I might get 20 people involved, but everyone from Peru to Germany helped spread the word about the project on their own forums and websites. What separates FRINGE from other shows is that its fan base is a new breed of viewer, if you will. It lives and breathes on social networks. The fan community on Tumblr is massive, and you only have to tweet something and people are eager to help out. That's why our community is so unique, without sounding soppy- its beautiful! When I literally had hundreds of photos in my inbox, I thought, ''don't mess this up!''
AL: What was your reaction when you found out that the video was going to be shown at a FOX department meeting?
ZM: My first thought was- Ari rocks! My second thought was that I was just so happy for everyone that had participated. I could see the excitement on Twitter and Tumblr. Since day one when people would ask how my video was going, I'd reply, 'our video,' because without the fans, there would be no video. I also received a tweet from Joel Wyman after he had seen the video which was really cool!
AL: Do you have any advice for FRINGE fans looking to become more involved in the online fandom?
ZM: The smallest idea can have a huge impact. Everything from fan-art to Twitter hashtags helps promote our show, and the best part is that everyone can get involved
AL: Any favorite fan theories about the million dollar question, “Where is Peter Bishop?”
ZM: Peter is drinking beer and playing 'Texas Hold Em' poker with Frank Stanton down in North Texas.
AL: That's probably the best one I've heard yet.
AL: Finally, is there anything that you would like to mention or say to FRINGE fans, or to the folks involved in making Fringe?
ZM: The video is dedicated to the men and women in front of and behind the FRINGE camera. It's a gift from the fans to demonstrate our appreciation of them, Fox, WB and our excitement for Season 4. I want to say thank you to all the people who entrusted me with their photographs and videos, and without naming everyone, thanks to all my FRINGE friends on Twitter for their help, encouragement and for not getting sick of me talking about the video and Frank Stanton. HA!
I'd like to thank Zoey so much for taking the time to answer these questions, so that we as FRINGE fans, can feel inspired by her efforts. She asked me to smack her if her ego became too inflated, but I assured her that she doesn't have to worry about that. She has worked tirelessly in the past to spread FRINGE information to the fans, and this video is a magnum opus she should feel very proud of.
Zoey, I speak for all of us when I say, you rock!