I am thinking about things, just because I can and because there are so many actions that can be taken, but I don’t know what’s effective and what is more noise than effective signal. Here are my thoughts with pros/cons on each, and which actions I think might be most useful.
1. Sending snail-mail letters to ABC
Pros: Physical proof of our displeasure
Cons: With the fate of Hahn pretty clear, this is not precisely a situation where a bunch of leaves can bring back the…disappeared. Smacks of goofy fan campaigns that have a low ability to work, and it’s even rarer for fan campaigns for particular actors/characters to come back.
Opinion: While a message noting that you’ve stopped watching (or will not be watching until after sweeps) and your demographic is better than nothing, I think these are futile.
2. Bitching out advertisers
Pros: When putting pressure on advertisers WORKS, it has some impressive results…
Cons: …but it doesn’t work all that often.
Opinion: Definitely more worthy than sending leaves to ABC as a tactic, but not necessarily a silver bullet. Think that one or two particular advertisers should be targeted, not all of them.
3. Going after GLAAD
Pros: This might actually have some effect, as GLAAD’s cover of Shonda’s actions has given Grey’s some immunity, which it shouldn’t have. Will be more likely to listen than ABC (“what? we have that gay guy on Ugly Betty!”) or advertisers.
Cons: GLAAD is not necessarily in the best place every on this.
Opinion: This is going to be one of the things we do. ABC may never do smack; GLAAD, on the other hand, may not fold, but they’ll definitely think four or five times before giving an ABC show blanket cover again.
4. Lots and lots of exposure of this nasty mess. (Letters to editors, writing editorials, articles, et cetera.)
Pros: The media has been almost universally of the opinion that Brooke Smith’s firing was indeed because she was playing a lesbian and is part of a tedious pattern of sweeps lesbians gone particularly wrong. They may not be screaming for blood, but nobody thinks it’s okay. Will
Cons: Will require more creative work than sending letters. Danger of crazy shipperness tainting things.
Opinion: This is another idea that I like better than sending sacks of leaves; what the media and we write is what shapes the narrative, and what shapes the narrative leaves Shonda Rimes with less cover. We may not get our lesbians back, but making clear that it’s Not Okay [TM] to go for either pregnant or dead lesbians, that you’re gonna get pushback is a good thing.
5. Clever media memes. The basic idea is a YouTube campaign of sorts. It’s a little complicated — basically, it’s a video’d version of ideas one and two, shared here on the website, with emails/messages sent toward the end of the month/early next month — and elsewhere. I’m explaining this badly. But the point is, there’s something more visceral about “you cannot has my money, ABC!” circulating around the interwebs — especially if they’re funny, sharp, and to the point — than more traditional fan campaigns. And we all know the power of YouTube…
6. Get some money together and take out an ad in Variety or the Hollywood Reporter.
Pro: Very visible to industry people
Con: Is the kind of thing that makes industry people not take fans seriously.
Opinion: I am personally not sold on it, but I’m convincible.
Also, currently working on a form letter. I have one for GLAAD, but there’s also at least one more — advertiser/media oriented — that I need to work up.