When Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub put out a call on Collider.com for a Twilight Superfan to review The Twilight Saga: Eclipse on Blu-ray, he received 764 e-mails from fans seeking to be the one. I stayed up until 2:00 a.m. to get my submission done. I never expected anything to come of it. So I went all "fan girl" with the screaming and giggling and jumping up and down when I picked up a voicemail from Steve Weintraub. Below is the e-mail I submitted in case you're curious.
Here's the original post I responded to:
This is either going to be the best or worst decision I’ve made this month.
While we have a lot of great writers on Collider, I’ve decided to try and find a Twilight super fan to review our copy of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse on Blu-ray. Now I’m not looking for someone who thinks it’s the greatest movie ever made, and I’m not looking for someone who hates it either. I’m going to try and locate someone who loves the books and the films and can do an impartial review, while also writing about all the special features, commentaries, and the extra things on the Blu-ray.
Here’s the deal. I’m not going to mail you our only review copy just because you tell me you’d be good for the job.
Instead, if you’d like to review it, please email me with the headline TWILIGHT SUPER FAN. I’d also like you to provide links to your writing online, or examples of your writing in the body of the email. And I don’t mean a few sentences. I’m looking for enough examples that prove you are the right person for the job. Keep in mind, I’ll probably get a number of people asking for this, so you’ve got to sell me on why you’re the right person.
Also, since the movie gets released soon on DVD/Blu-ray, I’d like whoever wants to do this to live in the USA so you can get the Blu-ray in time to review it before opening day.
Finally, if you’re reading this and think you know someone that would be perfect for the job, send them this article!
Below is my response:
Dear Steve "Frosty" Weintraub:
I am the “Accidental” Twilight Super Fan who would write a great review for Collider.com of the Twlight: Eclipse Blu-Ray/DVD. Since I’m sure you’re inundated with requests, I’ve written a summary of my qualifications for your quick review, and then the full story if you would like more information.
I am an ardent fan of The Twilight Saga movies, books, soundtracks and scores but enjoy learning about the widely varying reactions of my family, friends and students as they encounter the world of Twilight. I am an avid reader, a musician and a longtime DVD (and now Blu-Ray) junkie and am fascinated by all the aspects of movie making. I am compelled to write, mostly for my own purposes, although I do have a few articles and a book chapter in print, an M.A. thesis (CU-Boulder, Chinese, 1996) and a Fan Fiction Challenge Honorable Mention Award from Twilight Novel Novice.
Here are the links to my writing on the Web:
- Three articles published in Camping Magazine: http://www.outofthemountains.com/articles.html</span>
- Twilight Breaking Dawn Fan Fiction story told from Jacob’s point-of-view (even popular with Team Edward): http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6282372/1/Running_Home
- Descriptions of five presentations (i.e. I wrote the descriptions as well as the DVD content) on DVDs that I made for the American Camp Association/Healthy Learning: http://www.healthylearning.com/m-1542-gretchen-vaughn-out-of-the-mountains-llc.aspx
- Eight reviews of fitness videos: http://www.videofitness.com/reviewsdb/disp_reviewer.php?id=116< (You do have to search for my name after linking to each video.)
The timing for writing the review is ideal for me. I work at an elementary school and have a long Thanksgiving break starting on Wednesday. My address is as follows:
Thank you for your consideration!
Twilight Super Fan and Writer
Member, Team Switzerland
THE ACCIDENTAL TWILIGHT SUPER FAN
I came into my personal obsession with the Twilight universe just this past spring. After seeing New Moon, I was a) very confused; and b) had to know how the story was going to turn out. So I started reading the books and then I read them again (and again and again), read the Bree Turner novella, the unfinished Midnight Sun manuscript, the outtakes on Stephenie Meyer’s Web site, academic books (e.g. Twilight and History), Austen, Shakespeare, Bronte and the Book of Mormon and endless amounts of in-canon, in-character fan fiction.
I’ve watched the first two films numerous times, including any commentary or special features I can get my hands on. This included Catherine Hardwicke’s director’s notebook and the Mark Cotta Vaz “making of” books. I didn’t have the Target or Wal-Mart special editions of New Moon, which irritatingly had their own content, but managed to track it all down on the Web. Fortunately, with Eclipse, Summit’s properly packaging a DVD with the Blu-Ray and the special features should be the same across all special editions, regardless of where you purchase them. Now if they would just include a digital copy as well, we’d have a great new industry standard.
As a musician myself (bass and piano), I really appreciate the film soundtracks and scores both in how they’re often utilized as another character in films and how they stand on their own as quality musical compositions. New Moon and Eclipse both translate particularly well on the piano. Every time I play that “Jacob’s Theme,” my heart just breaks for him.
Don’t tell anyone, but part of the impetus for me to purchase an iPad was so I could now carry everywhere my Twilight films, gallery of movie stills and Robert Pattinson photo shoots, the full saga in Kindle with the ability to bookmark, highlight and make notes, Wi-Fi and a readable screen for fan fiction and a word processor to work on my own story. Plus the 64GB can house my entire music library. It’s also great for accessing interviews (love those only lightly edited ones on collider.com), Twi-News and Melissa Rosenberg’s Facebook page.
I love the interplay between the films, books, music and fan fiction in the Twi-verse. In some ways, it’s akin to how we experience Shakespeare’s plays as both written works and interpreted performances. Melissa Rosenberg (who writes some real comic zingers) and the directors have brought their own styles to each very individual book and film. It was hard to fully imagine Bella, Edward and Jacob until they were incarnated by Kristen, Rob and Taylor, along with a bevy of costumers and make-up artists. Stephenie engages all five senses in her writing, much of which is lost in a 2D medium, but the sets, locations, lighting and cinematography add a visual punch that you can’t get anywhere but on a movie screen. Unfortunately, the movies don’t stand on their own very well. The relationships between the characters just aren’t as clear, the minor characters aren’t very fully developed and the lack of description of the mythology is very confusing for most viewers. But partnered with the books, the films pack a one-two visual punch that I very much enjoy.
I saw Eclipse in the theater five times, which is saying something, because we have a top-of-the-line home theater set-up so it takes a lot to get us into a theater. I saw it twice in IMAX, once on a giant screen, once at the drive-in and then on a regular screen. I was with someone different each time so they were all very different experiences. Whenever someone wanted to go, I was up for it, partially to find out what their reaction would be. I also have bought extra copies of the books and DVDs specifically to loan out to see what they think. I’ve had everything to total ‘converts,’ to ‘yeah, that was okay,’ to one friend chanting “Viva, Blade” every time I post about Twilight on Facebook.
Unlike many Twilight fans, I don’t do a lot with the merchandising. I’m 40 years old and married, so our house reflects a variety of our interests and tastes. I do have a framed Eclipse poster among the many in our home theater/man cave, a tasteful wolf pack tattoo Eclipse t-shirt, and a very nice Eclipse-style Bella bracelet with hand-carved wooden wolf and Swarovski crystal heart. I’ve been converting my husband’s wardrobe into colored fitted tees and waffle weave like what Edward wears in Eclipse. So far he likes it as long as he doesn’t know who I’m emulating (he’s very Team Jacob). I did sneak an Edward Cullen standee into a Robsessed friend’s apartment while I was house sitting for her. She did get the joke. Standees, amongst many other items, are really silly in my opinion.
I haven’t found myself at any conventions, stalking any sets or camping out at any premieres, but I did take a Twilight-inspired trip last June. It had been a particularly hot and dry spring here in Colorado and those cool, ferny forests and waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge looked so inviting. So I took a relaxing trip to Portland to buy Twilight commentary books at Powell’s Books and visit movie set locations at Oxbow Park, Multnomah Falls and the Viewpoint Inn.
I’m very curious to hear the commentaries on the Eclipse Blu-Ray. Rob has said some goofy things during the Twilight and Remember Me commentaries. I’ll be interested to hear a scene-by-scene commentary from Stephenie Meyer, especially considering some of the discussions that occurred during the fan site interviews. I haven’t seen the picture-in-picture documentary feature yet so that should be interesting as well. Hooray for extended and deleted scenes! There’s been no mention yet what will be on BD Live.
I think the above illustrates that I am indeed a thinking Twilight super fan and one which could objectively review Eclipse as a film and how much the special features and commentaries enhance or detract from the Blu-Ray experience.
Applying the "Super Fan" designation to myself is a bit amusing. I will never claim to the biggest or best fan. I'm still trying to understand why the Twiverse has so completely captured my attention and am in awe at the dedication of the fans.
I have witnessed this firsthand before. My dad was one of the co-founders of the Colorado Wagner Society and used to travel to Seattle in the summers to see the entire Ring cycle. When he retired from teaching, he taught himself to type just so he could put out a newsletter. He died from ALS before the invention of DVDs and blogs. I can only imagine. But it would have been fun.
I still haven't asked Steve Weintraub if it was the "best or the worst decision" he made last month. It took me longer than I had anticipated to write the review, because four hours after I hit send on that e-mail three of the most chaotic weeks of my life began starting with a bad virus, my dog being hospitalized and being forced to resign from a job I loved. Disappearing into the world of Eclipse kept me sane.
Right after the review went up, I went to Las Vegas and completed a half-marathon, along with 28,000 others, to raise money for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (still not at my fundraising goal - please help! Click here for more info and to donate). Came home, was in a head-on collision that totaled my car and went for my first ambulance ride as a patient. Later that week, I put a kid in an ambulance, took a friend to the ER and seemed to be at the center of a new drama everyday at work.
Luckily, life has settled down considerably. I've finally gotten around the Web to read reactions to the review and so many have been so kind. Those who disagree have been civil and well-reasoned. The Twi-Haters have let me be. And one Tweet, from the original paragon of fan sites, that made my month:
I think I might have that one framed. Especially considering it was in response to my Tweet:
Woke up with Mini Jacob wolf on the bed and not at the hospital. Neuro deficits still there but he's in good spirits. And I am, too.