The History of BlueTights.net – Part 3
Things were looking up for BlueTights.net, but we were about to make a leap into a whole new echelon. As with most growth spurts for the site, this all began with yet another site redesign… to make us a little more content-friendly.
The second big addition was our partnership with Dan-El of Superman-V.com, which I still look back very fondly on. Things were going well for BlueTights, and we were busy being a growing fan film community site, when I got an email from Dan-El. I actually still have that email printed and framed by my desk. It meant that much to me. You see, at the time, Dan-El was the king of kings in the Superman fan community. This guy was a celebrity, as far as I was concerned. He had apparently admired what was going on at BlueTights, and had been wanting to offer the type of support to his community that I was offering to mine. In light of that, he proposed a team-up, and I jumped at the chance! I was honored to partner with his site. This partnership basically just meant displaying his Superman feature film news on my site, and my fan film news on his. It was an awesome partnership, and Dan-El and I became great friends. I even visited him over in the UK while I was there (it was bittersweet, though, as it was just days after the death of Christopher Reeve).
The third big addition to the site – at the time no one knew how big it would be, myself included – was an open letter to Warner Brothers Pictures. As I’ve mentioned, the fanbase was in an uproar back then. You couldn’t visit a Superman site without seeing everyone calling WB and producer Jon Peters all manner of insulting names. It was an extremely adversarial environment, with some fans even claiming that WB was intentionally trying to sabotage the film. For what it’s worth, I’ve always been more of a “catch more bees with honey than vinegar” type of guy, and I certainly didn’t believe that WB hated the fans. It takes the simplest understanding of economics to see that WB – or any feature film company – want to make movies that the audience will love… even the hardcore audience. So I wrote an open letter to WB about fan films, and working with a fan site in general. Here’s what the letter said:
To Warner Brothers:
When I first sat down to draft this, I thought that a long essay on the value of fan films would be in order. After some deliberation, I came to realize that such a thing is not necessary. One need only look around the web to see that Fan Films are really catching on. Contrary to what many fans believe, I do think that Warner Brothers is interested in the fans, and is interested in Fan Films. Blue Tights understands that Warner Brothers allows us as fans to use their properties to express our stories. The sharing of Fan Films is a privilege. With that in mind, I would like to extend my email address to any employee of Warner Brother’s Pictures that would care to contact me regarding any aspect of the site. I would also like to make known that if WB is interested, Blue Tights would like to become their first Sanctioned Fan Film site. We feel that through such an agreement, both Warner Brothers and Superhero fans alike could benefit immensely.
– Justin, [expired email removed]
My cell phone rang a few months later with a call from an area code I didn’t recognize at the time. Imagine my shock when there was a man on the other end of the line who said, “So we read your letter…”