Fan to Pro by Steven Savage
The engineering major gazing at the movie screen, wishing he had been at the computers of WETA studios when Gandalf took on the Balrog. The retired warehouse worker with his Steelers jersey, hat, socks, beer mug – and faded fantasies of being on the gridiron during the big game. The overworked store manager who had been told her singing voice was angelic, but that her dreams of singing for the masses were impractical and childish.
From an early age, we are told that our various fandoms – be they for sports, entertainment, recreational sciences, art, whatever – are just silly wish-dreams that should be put aside for the rigors of the seemingly more practical day-in-day-out of work. We may find no joy in ‘work’, in fact, we may even hate it – yet, we attend our duties faithfully while dreaming of more desirable activities.
Why do we do this? Sure, we have to keep from starving, but why are people always encouraged to relegate their fandoms to their off hours, always warned against turning their passions into paychecks? Are we obligated to condemn that which brings us happiness the joyless realm of Never-Everland?
Fan-to-Pro: Unlocking Career Insights With Your Hobbies is a work that doesn’t merely seek the answer to that question; author Steven Savage and editor Jessica Hardy intend to help you get past it.
Fan-to-Pro is a book that revels, praises, exults, and joyfully rolls around in the world of fandom. Though he has a background in science-fiction and fantasy fandom (as well as extensive experience in IT and career recruiting), Savage makes it clear that fandom covers any number of celebrated subjects, from the aforementioned sci-fi, to sports, and even art.
As the title implies, Fan to Pro refers to turning your hobby into a career that you would love. What makes the book special is how much it puts itself in the corner of the fan. A touching element of Chapter 3 is where Savage delves into “Fandom Edges”. These would be common traits seen among die-hard fans that give them a particular advantage when striving for their goal. In these fans, Savage sees qualities such as experience, knowledge and passion, tools inherent in any successful artist, football player or entrepreneur. The goal is to get the reader to recognize these qualities in themselves and fan them into confidence to move forward, improve their skills, and excel in their endeavors.
The book lends itself well to being read. It is written in a straightforward, informal and funny tone in which it presents sage advice and several exercises meant to help the reader get past the common hurdles, both physical and mental, of making their dream come true. It’s not simply focusing on what you like that matters; it’s important to look at what you like from different perspectives and see practical ways to turn it into a profession.
The reader is implored to turn away from the disheartening, ultimately empty criticisms of how futile and unprofitable fandom can be, and instead is advised to focus on the actually pragmatic benefits fandom can provide. Organizing a convention would be a fantastic way to network, for example. The author himself mentions that his math skills were greatly enhanced from having to work with math while playing RPGs in college.
Fan to Pro, however, is not simply a warm-fuzzy meant to make you feel that all the hours you spend chatting on a Skyrim forum is actual work. In addition to the exercises mentioned, important topics such as learning about the industries you’re interested in, connecting with others, and even the particularly tricky subject of relocating is thoroughly addressed.
Savage and Hardy have comprised this short (127 pages) work from a series of blogs that had explored the world of fandom and fandom-based careers thoroughly. Through gentle, good-natured humor and encouragement, the reader is instructed to take their passions seriously. History has proven repeatedly that no great writer, inventor, physician, linebacker – geeks all, in their own way – could have ever made it otherwise.
Fan-to-Pro: Unlocking Career Insights With Your Hobbies is available to order from www.fantoprobook.com in print, Kindle, ePub and PDF format. To see the blog that brought about the book, check out www.fantopro.com.