"A few months ago, I learned about two things which really
changed my priorities. One was Nina Paley's Sita Sings the Blues
— an animated film which I've already written about
extensively. Sita demonstrated something I had very little
confidence of before: that artistic, aesthetic works could make
money via a free release strategy. I already believed they could be
made, and that one could find ways to fund it, but I have to admit,
I was genuinely surprised to see Sita Sings the Blues making real
money after release.
"In retrospect, though, I clearly should've seen it coming.
Fandom is a powerful force. I ought to know, having been a part
(albeit a small one — there are people way more fanatical
than me!) of science fiction and anime fandom for a long time. Fans
create fan fiction, fan art, and of course — huge collections
of "fan stuff." Merchandising has always been a big part of that,
and it's not practical projects that attract that kind of
attention. It's the fantastic that does that."