Thesis Theater with Stephen Wiseheart

Thesis Theater with Stephen Wiseheart



hello everyone good afternoon if you're in the UK good morning if you're in Eastern time zone and good day wherever you happen to be in the world thank you for joining us live if you're here with us live that is fantastic and we look forward to you being part of this conversation for the next hour or so as we discuss Stephen wises Hart's master's thesis really fantastic topics we'll get into that in a second but I'm glad that you're here to join us if you're watching this at a later date I'm glad that we could record this for you and I hope you enjoy it and he can certainly always ask Stephen questions about his work at a later date if you're keen and we're all hoping that this is presented at some point in the future and perhaps even published somewhere in the future so you'll all be able to access it so thank you for joining us this is singing symposium thesis theater I'm first just gonna go through a couple of events that are coming up with Signum University and mythgard just to make you aware of them so the the main only major calendar event is we have a MOOC coming up in October I know that seems ages away in the middle of summer but October 12th and Hawkeye at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo Iowa is middle moot so if anyone's in the area and would like to to join that that promises to be a fantastic event within our community we also have registration open for our autumn classes at signum University so if you want to join in any of the autumn classes I do hope you'll participate we have two lectures left and the one I'm teaching out in Queens and King Arthur and I'm already mourning the loss of it it's it's been a fantastic group of people I look forward to the next community I get to join the course is on offer for the autumn our modern fantasy Germanic myths and legends CS lewis and mythologies and sex introduction to Germanic philology and Tolkien and context so I do hope you're able to participate in one of those I'll be fantastic and we also have a mythgard event coming up the date is still TBD but it will be in the next couple of weeks we're gonna do a mythgard movie night of Camelot the musical and which is very appropriate following our in Quinton King Arther course so I do hope you're able to join that and announced that date very soon and thank you for your patience on that um also just a note about Signum in general and mythgard I certainly hope you all enjoy the content that Signum is committed to providing I'm still quite new to the Signum community and limitary community it's been about 18 months now that I've been welcomed into the family and I have to say that's what it felt like it's been an absolute joy of lovely people that are committed to making education and information accessible we have all been disenchanted in our experience in academia in one way or another and it was so nice to find a community of people that put the egos to one side so to speak and just focused on sharing the joy and an excitement of the things that we study so I hope you've been enjoying the programming that Signum puts on and and mythgard puts on and if it appeals to you and it's something that you feel like you want to support of course we're always open and happy to support donations I spy myself donate just because of the the platform that it provides at such a reasonable cost to everyone and you don't get that in universities nowadays so it's it's very nice to be able to just paint something like this and to support something like this so certainly encourage you to to donate any at all opportunity that you find fitting to do so so thank you for that and for your continued support with Signum and mythgard so that's the business sorted I would like to introduce you to Steven wise Hart Steven graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in religious studies from Huntington University taking a cue from CS Lewis and j.r.r tolkien his studies at signum university have focused on classical Medieval and Renaissance literature Steven currently works as a librarian at the Floyd County Library in Indiana where he specializes in youth and youth programming this includes everything from bird-watching talks to dinosaur escape rooms to Shakespearean murder mysteries he also does volunteer programming with the Indiana State Parks so I a wealth of knowledge and experience and you're in the library right now aren't you yeah thank you so much for for being here and participating in the symposium with us I'm very excited to chat about this so I'd like to ask you to read the abstract for your thesis just to give us a bit of a grounding in what you were investigating and then we'll open up discussion into it as we're talking for the next give me 55 minutes or so please send questions or any comments that you have I'll scroll through those and can feed them into the talk with Steven so definitely you know reaction what's going on it makes it a lot more dynamic experience where we can react to questions that you're asking so just even if you're happy to read your abstract that would be wonderful sure so the paper was textual Raiders fan or mediation and Indiana Jones is Grail diary which examined the way in which fan communities interact with popular culture Tex says following both Henry Jenkins who depicted fan or mediation is textual coaching and Kurt Lancaster who portrays the fan is a textual performer this thesis follows prop replication as a means of actual performance while acknowledging the performance involves a fans appropriation of a popular culture text to create their own artistic product that's both an original work of art and a part of a larger intertextual web of texts in a way not dissimilar from to the inner textuality of medieval literature the case study of this thesis is the Grail diary brought from Indiana Jones in the Last Crusade the fandom of which was created in the early 1990s during the rise of internet fan communities and VHS tapes which changed the way fans interacted with text technology and one another in a unique way thank you so that's that's the academic set up if you ran into somebody in the hallway how would you describe what your your thesis was uh short answer is kind of medievalism in popular culture kind of a case study in popular culture I was kind of saying it to my class that it was a fan remediation taking a texts and turning it into an actual text as part of the Canon and how that mirrors what happened in medieval times and so it is a combination of medieval ISM in modern use but it's also an exercise in fan community and fan creation remediation in this adaptations there's a lot of agents in there but it's a really fascinating topic so but thank you for bringing that into here I just want to start really generally just how did you come up with this topic what was it the piqued your interest in this area and then how did you develop it so I of course at signum I was kind of concentrating on the classical Medieval Renaissance tract and specifically the medieval was my interest so there's I guess different ways you can do that you can you know look at something pre-medieval and see how its approached in the medieval times like I think for my all of my Chaucer papers a real big fan of the Jason myths classical mythology and like I would like to look at how that was using that evil text so that was one direction I thought of going of course you can just look at a naval officer you know Anna Dante but I don't know man evil Italians so I figured I should probably stay away from that and then of course you could also take something medieval one see how its viewed in the modern world and that's the direction I ended up going in and I kind of thought of you know we were some of my favorite modern authors and how do they approach an evil ism in their works and of course the Inklings there's a lot to do there and a lots been done there then of course authors like Jane Austen I wasn't sure how she really approached the medieval sended of not going even going down that road I'm also a big fan of H rider Haggard and I always kind of had the the Grail diary from Indiana Jones was like cover my back pockets I guess as I thought it'd be really fun thing to to look at but it seemed a little less serious than the others so I was kind of not sure if I'd end up studying that one but I thought it'd be fun to do and of course it's Signum you have opportunities to do those kinds of things and that's when we ended up doing its I've always been a big fan of Indiana Jones and especially the Last Crusade in the Grail diary you know lifelong fan and I always saw is one of those really iconic props you just you know you wanted a like reaching the screen and grab it because it looks like this book that's complete and something you can't just pick up on the shelf in the real world but in the movie it's this kind of complete coherent book that you just want to get your hands on so I guess I've looked at that a little bit here and there were of course my life I've never did like a really thorough search so now that I thought there was kind of an opportunity a real a thorough kind of investigation of the Grail diary prop and it kind of turned out there wasn't really a thorough study out there the text itself wasn't really very accessible which I thought kind of made it maybe more worthy of study because then it's you know it's not something everybody has access to so so that's kind of settling on the Grail diary as the topic for the thesis so it's not really a traditional kind of look at an evil literature but it's kind of a natural natural area of study for Signum I think we do a nasty literature studies and and film and I think we've touched on kind of fantasy adventure literature in some classes enough I've taken some and we've talked with authors like Edgar Rice Burroughs and Arthur Conan Doyle and John Buchan and H rider Haggard and I think give me an agenda that's kind of like the natural successor in that genre to all of those convict Ori and authors interest in tradition I also like it use the word worthy because it feels very it feels very our theory and in terms of a quest a Grail quest that you are embarking on and choosing this in once you had an idea of what you wanted to investigate how did you get from idea to thesis because you are already a little bit concerned about you know is it worthy is it is it too popular now we know obviously it's definitely a marital and academic investigation but how did you develop the idea from you know just original concept to something a bit more academic well I think um I guess with this year being worthy something about it that you said it kind of reminds you of like Arthurian quest it was kind of like a quest because it was so inaccessible it was hard to it's hard to just go get like it's it's kind of online but it's not like you just kind of google it and you know click on the first website it's it's almost like it's scattered across the internet and you have to like kind of pick up the pieces here and there so it took some effort especially in developing the theme because I wasn't really sure there are so many different directions to go with it it took a quite a while they kind of focus on what question I wanted to ask originally I was gonna look at it from the angle of our theory on our theory and literature and you know the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade as a example of Parthi Rihanna or the Grail diary itself since it seemed like a cohesive text as an example of maybe like and almost like a lost work of our theory and literature that's not accessible but I took that question became I don't know maybe you can somebody might argue but it seems very obvious that the movie would was a part of the continuing Arthurian story and the book once you looked at it was the prop once you investigated it was so incomplete you know the kind of cohesiveness of it was an illusion that couldn't really consider it's a work of literature or a piece of art thering literature so I had to find a different angle to go with and you know they were all into different ones that like you know more film studies or Arthurian literature Arthurian myth and film we kind of we talked for a while about just invented texts and film in general and kind of works of literature that aren't real works of literature that you see in movies a lot but fan studies and prop replication is kind of the area I ended up I guess and I think it's really interesting to hear everybody's process too because again this is the thing I like about singing them but you don't steer away from the process you know people think that these genius ideas just come to them fully formed and we go forward and become brilliant academics it's like no there's a lot of mess that you have to kind of sort through there really honing on the topic but every part of the mess was really informative to your final your final question and there were so many bits that came out of your initial research you know you immerse yourself in our theory on a– and medieval texts and then immerse yourself in fan states and then immerse yourselves in production and things like that to come to that point so by the time you came to that point you had a wealth of information that you can easily access to help develop that a bit further so I quite liked the process of you discovering the topic what did you discover in the process of that so did you uncover a new way to researcher and new ideas that you wanted to bring into the into the project I think in doing the development of the the most helpful area to focus on was the fan studies and I feel like I really only got the tip of the iceberg there that's though I found a lot of books that's like oh I wish I had time to read this book in this book in this book and this book going into it I just kind of scratched the surface there and that was a very interesting angle to go with the you know Henry Jenkins course textual kocher's and some of the others I currently on cast here and both of those of them I found out as I was researching both of them were starting you know there's kind of late 80s early 90s when they're starting they're kind of fan studies and that's around the same time as this last last though the third Indiana Jones film and the which was kind of subjective study and it's a very interesting time I think for fan studies because it's you know it's the 90s it's basically the 90s got VHS tapes or kind of taken over and eventually in that decade they go to DVD you've got the Internet's becoming more widely available so you've got the faint communities that are growing online Henry Jenkins will go into Star Trek especially like Star Trek The Next Generation Twin Peaks beating the Beast and ker Lancaster tackled Babylon 5 all these TV shows from around that time which were really changing the way that's television and film were kind of viewed as an art form it was I liked gets in textual poacher's one of the Twin Peaks fans like is even aware that they're basically this internet fan community who's like studying VHS tapes you know frame-by-frame they're basically kind of reliving this way that monks would you know gather together and study manuscripts so so you get that aspect where the fans are you know kind of examining film in more detail and it changes the way films kind of being done because filmmakers are creating things that can be explored in detail and I think like Spielberg Steven Spielberg and George Lucas you know did Indian Indiana Jones were kind of ahead of their time because they were already making very detailed films with a lot of background information but um you know it used to be you go to the movie theater you see a movie you have to remember what you saw now you don't have to remember as much you can put in the tape you can pause it even if it's you know VHS tape and the quality's known as good as it is now it's changing things you know you don't have to rely on your memory it's it's like you have a book in front of you so it's a lot of changes in technology on that and they're like really interesting things going on there and so there's a lot of different directions you could go in but yeah it was pretty interesting so it's not just the way like fans are interacting with what they're studying but the the Grail diary prop 2 was just interesting because like I said it has so many gaps in it so many holes like it looks complete but then you see it's just a bunch of pages repeated and to replicate it our fans are kind of filling in the gaps themselves but they're so the Grail Diaries was made by a problem maker maker called care who's B and he used a lot of different books but primarily there was this one kinda like coffee table book on on the Holy Grail that came out in the 80s and these is a source book so most the the prop rival carriers would use this same book and then they would you know they'd make their own creations but they'd use the exact same resources the original prop maker made so even though they're all different and unique they're all kind of they have a common ancestry there there's like a family resemblance to like these things that are created by individuals but using the same resources and I think that's really interesting it's kind of this concept of a community sharing texts then there's the computer there's a computer game that came out with the version of the Grail diary and that's kind of repurposed by the same community as a kind of resource for making replicas the prop and filling in the gaps so in the end you get like this there's this 8x to beat X there's a C text and this text takes from these two texts together and it's it all starts to resemble like medieval manuscript transmission and that kind of became part of the focus of the paper completely and it's it's such great timing with the Inklings in King earth of course we talk about this a lot that you know there was a bard or a scribe in the 12th century that had pieces from the 10th century and had three broken pieces of manuscript that they put together and basically just cleaned up into one document so I'm sorry I seem to have frozen oh oh well hopefully I'll come back as long as you can hear me that side so yes there is this intertextuality element of medieval writers taking bits and pieces of the our theory and tradition and and getting that magpie kind of element where I'm gonna get that shiny part that I like here from the French tradition and grab Lancelot and then I'm gonna get that shiny part from the mabinogi and grab that kind of funky Percival and I'm gonna put them together into this 13th century document and make it a different kind of a story so that intertextuality which is so pervasive and medieval literature that you tapped into but comparing it to that modern element was just great because that you're absolutely right and so are the fans that that's the same practice that you're doing now Fareway I'm gonna turn my camera off and on real quick just to unfreeze myself there we go yeah so I'm glad you pulled that out you mentioned a few things in there that I think would just be helpful for everybody to understand a bit more about would you be able to tell us a little bit about how the game was constructed and how the book itself was constructed so maybe start with the gril diary itself what do we have what did fans fill in how did that progression happen it's it's really complicated there's a because people need to read oh they have made a version of the prop that had a just a bunch of pages but these were all things that weren't that important they just repeated these pages over and over and then the important pages that would be used in close-ups in the film they would insert into this so they had like a base prop but a bunch of important pages inserted into it but they also had alternate versions of the prop and the fans have gone back and looked at originals reconstructed like the page order and I think for the most part everyone agrees that this this primary prop they called the hero prop the prop has a consistent page order whereas the the B prop is just kind of random but they're unique pages that are only in that second prop so anybody wants something that seems like a a complete career dyary they're gonna use both of them then there's this this video game that came out the same year as the film which made its own Grail diary which has almost no pages from the film in it but it kind of tells it's a big it's a cohesive whole it's a diary to tell the stories got journal entries and it actually is very well researched like a good survey of Arthurian literature the guy who did this fall steam was his name he did his research he made a really good survey of medieval literature so in a way this thing that doesn't look at all like what was in the movie was closer to what a lot of people thought this prop would look like in real life so you've got these those are kind of three primary texts and of course I guess that there's the book that the original prop maker used which was used by a lot of the fans when they need to invent pages they would go back and use this same source that the original prop maker made because in order to I get a have a cohesive prop a lot of the fans would you know having to like synthesize the difference text you have to invent your own pages to kind of fill in the gaps and so they're all unique I don't think there's even the same real diary maker will make different Grail diaries you know each one's kind of a unique thing but like I said they're all kind of related even when they're made by different people they all kind of look the same use the same resources and I think that's what's what's so interesting about is that there still isn't a cohesive singular text is there so there if there could have been I guess if Lucasfilm would have made a like release diverting the prop one movie came out they could have done that they could have of course they would have had to have somebody go and write all these kind of missing pages but then there'd be an official version and then no one would have to do any kind of property she could just buy it but Indiana Jones phantoms is kind of different than some of the more mainstream ones you don't there's not as much stuff to just go out and buy and I guess the fans of course really wanted access to this thing so it's almost like the CS Lewis and Tolkien coming up with their space travel time travel book bargain where the sort of book they want doesn't exist so they have to make it themselves so that's kind of where you get it and there's I guess there's actually one and they did come out with a book in 2008 when the 4th Indiana Jones film came out with some released a book they had some of the pages from the Grail diary in it but got all of them and had a lot of other pages and scholar Voss Journal of Indiana Jones and to make this book they ended up hiring one of the fan Grail diary makers too to help them create this book because they sell the work he did so they sort of brought the fan in and made them creates officially licensed product and I think if they were to come up with a Grail diary now that's what they'd have to do is they would go to the fans and say okay how would we do this now basically you know you guys have been doing this for 30 years so now you that's almost what they did okay now you make make the thing you want and we'll sell it absolutely when when fan remediation becomes canon when they're filming like Justin I think was the independent this week or something like we can learn a lot from fans was the headline of the article no kidding you know like these these people are so passionate ourselves included you commit yourself entirely to the study of something so specific just because you call yourself a fan and you're studying something popular culture doesn't mean you're not using the same practices as someone investigating any other topic within academia or professional research so these guys are absolutely the experts in the field so bringing them into proper Canon that's where I think some of this gets really interesting so I'm glad you touched on that because I I was gonna ask about it later so yeah bringing bringing a fan to the actual production and what that did one of the things we talked about a fair bit was the autonomy of fan creation and how they kind of took it into their own power because what they what they had access to wasn't good enough and in in your thesis you talked a lot about the Maltese Falcon as and examples I don't know if you want to mention just kind of the history of that but if not I realize it's different from the Grail diary but how does that autonomy a fan in self creation like how did how does their work subvert the original text if at all or does it just replace it yeah um let's see so I don't know in a way there's almost like nothing really to subvert because the original prop isn't accessible it's incomplete and like I said if they created a new version of it that would seem to subvert everything fans have made so far it'd be like kind of displacing this whole fandom because now there's an officially licensed product but like I said I think if they did that now they would ask the fans to be the ones to make it so I think it's it's too late almost to come out with a with something that would replace what the fans have done the fans it's kind of taking this over and it's it's almost pretty much it there's now in a way I'm not sure what what they could do differently so they're like said the fans they also go back to the sources that the original prop maker used there's like a a canon of source books almost and like fans of research you know sometimes they found it by accident like oh this book is you know word for word used in on this page of the crop this is one of the books the original guy used it have to be anything that was you know before 1989 but yeah and I'm not sure because when we see what the what the fan makes like it's kind of you said I mentioned The Maltese Falcon as a as an example the paper because you have the Falcon there was one of the original props that was purchased by Winston and he he took it and used it as a model to make his own and he spent millions of dollars like remaking this happy thought it should look and then he sold the original because he now had something that's more real than the real thing it looks more like what he imagines it prop to be just really fascinating because basically he took a film prop and found it wanting he said I know the real thing but it's not good enough because it's a prop it's made out of plaster or lead or you know plastic or whatever it has to be to have the prop look right on screen and be affordable and then when he actually doesn't forget how much he paid like half a million for it in an auction or something and then ended up creating one that was eight million I mean using actual jewels and it's a creating one himself because the real one was not good enough I'm sorry to interrupt that was really fascinating oh yeah I'm the fan I guess the thing is like and I talked to one of the guys he's like one of the it is the guy who Lucasfilm hired to write this lost Journal of Indiana Jones her to help write it because it is work making Grail diary props he was one of the leading Grail diaries that he said that he felt like the ones he made himself that weren't just like a straight replica of the crop like page 4 page replica the ones that actually looked more like a real Grail diary he didn't feel like they were as real because he knew everything he did to make them that way he knew everything he invented that wasn't official so to him it seems less real but to the rest of us you know it seems like this is more real than if I had the actual problem my hands like I would feel that but the person who made it might not so I guess it's kind of tricky I don't know if one can really subvert the other yeah I'm looking at some of the comments from Professor shank Gabriel shank I sent this to him because II she knows somebody that worked on the Sanskrit manuscript in tempo do so he was talking about the the academic versus the propfan creation so where is the line between academic research to create a prop and just artistic freedom in order to make it look good because they hired this guy to write the Sanskrit for this manuscript but it didn't look good so they ended up smudging it a bit on on screen which blurs the academic side of it makes it look better so where's that line and I don't I don't know if you have a thought on it but I just thought it's a really interesting point to bring up but you do all this research that you bring to the table to create this replica but it's not what's used for the film though this is how do you reconcile that yeah yeah I know a lot of the where the props use from the like the quest for the eternal that book the book is about the Holy Grail but it's not necessarily about medieval literature it it's very vague it's very much about like it's really kind of any kind of myths it's almost like a Joseph Campbell kind of thing where it's getting any more than the psychology of it and it's talking about like the the myth of the desire for eternal life so when the prop maker took bits from that he's taking things that really would not be in a book about medieval research Arthurian legend it's more stuff about like a fountain of youth or Tibetan funerary practices there's a lot of Prester John stuff there's which kind of ties in with a goal from von Eschenbach but a lot of it you know you could if you were just a casual first like casual fan flipping through you just saw a lot of like technical names and stuff you might not really be able to tell the difference I think there's always somebody in the audience who left something to nitpick and I Gorge Lucas and Spielberg do a very good job of like making things pretty realistic and consulting people but there's always gonna be something that's a little you know they take shortcuts I guess 'sir there's always gonna be something that somebody's gonna scrutinize and say no you would make bread in middle-earth exactly yeah I've not watched em podium I don't know Sanskrit so I can't tell that those dream jobs of being an academic hired to be a consultant on some sort of film adaptation you're like that's the dream but then you're consulted and then they just do what they want anyway because the master was sick that day and somebody had to gain his ages and write some stuff on it and and submit it friend of mine actually worked for on Harry Potter and for when the letters come through the fireplace it was like 10 days that were just writing out the letters and they were tired and overworked and we're writing some rather crude things inside those letters so they were never gonna be seen it would just needed snippets of text to appear on screen so authenticity was not a high priority um all right we went off track a little bit but that's all right one of the things I did want to just just touch on as you're talking about fan creation and how that kind of built a community because all these people were picking and choosing bids and talking to each other and starting to share information because this really was the very beginning of an interactive online space it was what 1996 was one message boards really started being used and it was until the late 90s that this was kind of a safe space for people to gather and find this shared community um so do you think the fan creation elements of this is integral to the community of the franchise or is this something that came after um I don't know I think um I think Indiana Jones fandom doesn't well maybe doesn't need it as much and you can be a fan of something without creating but I think it's kind of hard to have a fandom that doesn't generate creators that doesn't make artists there's always going to be fan creation I think in any fandom but there there are different ways to to create a guest besides just like what we generally think of artistic creation I think like web page building your egg messageboard administrating doesn't sound very artistic but in a way it's you're still going on a deeper level with the the text that you're it's your fandom I think you're still performing I guess in a way there's always gonna be performance even if there's not like really obvious artistic creation so I think there's always going to be that Indiana Jones fandom is like I said well you can probably go on a store and buy some Indiana Jones thing today but maybe not I don't know it's not as it's not as big you can just go to your local store I guess and there's like the Harry Potter shelf and star wars elf there's four movies there Kennerly sporadically there's not a lot of I guess merchandise it's it's kind of not as much about that and not as much about like big public you know media tie-ins a lot of it seemed like a lot of Indiana Jones fandom was focused on like proper application especially costuming there's all about gear and props and like artifacts because it's it's Indiana Jones it's it's archeology so that kind of makes sense so I don't know I think they're one of the one of the websites which was talking about that mention that this the person who wrote it was specifically talking about how you know back in the eighties and nineties you know you had a bunch of Star Trek scenes and stuff but you there weren't really Indiana Jones eens there wasn't a lot of like creation of stuff and of course there is Indiana Jones fan art of fanfiction I'm sure that's all out there and then away the Grail diary prop itself is almost more fanfiction proper publications kind of mix it bolts that involves a lot of the well the creativity you would use towards like fan fiction goes into replicating a prop so it's kind of a unique get a unique piece of fan art work but yeah I think I think it's always gonna be integral but maybe less obviously an Indiana Jones fan demand another fandoms but fans are always going to find a way to perform the text yeah and I think this one it was almost an invitation because it's a guide so you know the fans are already at least aligned with archaeology if not archaeologists themselves so they're they're interested in the discovery side of it and it the fact that it's an actual book which you know a lot of these people would be booking people and you want to get your hands on it like you were saying with all the sketches and the bits of paper stuck in it it's it's very engaging it's a very alluring prop because you're booking nosy people you want to get in there but also that it's an actual guide you point out in your thesis that the goal is not the Grail the goal is the Grail diary so it's actually the whole point of the text is the pursuing of this text not the actual Cup and I think that was a really interesting distinction we have a comment here that I'm just gonna touch on from Brent and Dickinson Maggie's question about authenticity is my question to it seems there are a number of ways to gauge authenticity of an artifact like this including the look of it a sense of age or nostalgia handwriting or architectural details a connection to an author or actor is there a tool for gauging authenticity or follow the fan or do they follow the fan and what the fans want you have an immediate reaction that authenticity in the original proper and like a fan I just I'm guessing the the one used in the film so it is there is there a way that they a tool for gauging authenticity I think that's a little bit of a trickier one there's not really a tool I'm sure that's case with with remediations that you you're choosing your adaptation of which one you're gonna focus on yeah the I guess the the thing the whole thing about the girl Diaries you weren't ever really supposed to get look at it in detail there's you know there are some pages they show and close up and there are some things they talk about but even those things one of the things I found most intriguing was they they mentioned in the movie that there's this like lost chronicle of st. Anselm that gives the clues for finding the Holy Grail and there's me and Selma has nothing to do with Arthurian legend like it's and they actually in that the computer game diary tried to find a way to connect it and it's interesting like I want to find out I want to learn more about that it makes me want to learn more about it because it's like it's completely invented they're just kind of throwing names around probably that the scriptwriter was just some medieval name they pulled out of a hat but now you're like well what good hands don't have to do with it you know like how would that work and there was an attempt in the computer game diary to try to connect and I think that makes me want to go deeper but it's not necessarily authentic with science fiction films it's rest the enunciation with like the Martian or DaVinci Code you know they throw out all this information all these facts all these numbers that make it seem grounded in absolute science absolute research there's no question so if it's presented that way you believe it more so they're giving an Salam it's like oh this is based on something real therefore I'm more engaged in the story because it's based off of something true and realized and so I think that was a good trick of theirs yeah makes me know I got it doesn't make me like want to turn off and say like oh that's that's made up and I'm not interested because it's not authentic and makes me think I want to know how it's authentic I want to synthesize that you know I want to be like a medievalist and try to put these two things together that don't go together and see where they could connect it makes you research more yeah in terms of a tool I don't think there's a tool to gauge authenticity I think fans are really discerning and a lot of filmmakers are not attentive enough to fans ability to be discerning so they try to get away with things and can sketch it so I think you're right with hiring somebody who's been studying this for 30 years if they hadn't done that somebody would all I'm out on it cuz it's you know you would like you an absolutely street cred as a filmmaker if if you undercut something that the fans have cared about for 30 years it just shows that you didn't care and you didn't put your your research into it so I think there's that kind of tool fans are really aware and if as a filmmaker you skip something they're gonna know um there are a few more questions popping up but I'm gonna run through just a few more of the things we've gotten maybe five ten minutes before finish we'll go through some of these fan creation and the reception of the text we certainly talked about that and building this community and we've talked about a little bit today is there anything else in in that bit especially you're talking about different sorts of technology and things like that that have helped build the fan community is there any more that you want to expand one in that area uh well I guess what I found was pretty interesting with that was kind of the techno technological side um let's see I can really the only way to approach the text has become through the fan community because like I said there there are some books that were published that maybe showed some of the pages so some of the pages have been officially published others haven't and you have to sort of acquire those secondhand I guess in a way there was a there was a comic-con when I was researching a ton of they they had a Grail diary prop there and they uploaded all the pages on their iPad and that's pretty cool like you could flip through it so you could see every page without touching the actual book itself and a lot of fans have seen original prop set auctions or it seems like a lot of people have like know somebody who sell all the thing in the Lucasfilm archives or there's some connection here there and it's all of its made its way online but like I said it's kind of scattered or it's there is a web page it synthesizes it but it's very kind of cryptic and confusing and then like the other kind of fan community website like and discussion boards they frown on this page for just sort of like trying to synthesize it it's you have to I had to wade through XM any discussion discussion boards to get information you kind of have to like relive all the work in a way that all the fans have been doing over the past thirty years you have to go through all this stuff again so I could the fan communities kind of taken possession of not the Grail diary problem since it hasn't you know the official like Lucasfilm had kind of taken possession of it um they've kind of filled a gap they filled out like a hole it was missing and um and that kind of gets into I guess like where Jenkins says – in textual coachers that this whole community kind of grew out of this is our to share this information my fan reception doesn't exist in isolation it's because people will found themselves with information that's kind of almost a secret that they want to share with each other and that's kind of how the whole community happened and now that's kind of the way you have to go to approach to Texas through for the thing community early if not through it then like in response to it that makes sense it's just it's giving a lot of power to the fandom isn't it that they are they've created the primary text even though it's part of the primary world would you agree with that um yeah so it's strange because I don't think Lucasfilm would say oh well we don't have anything do with the Grail diary it's in the hands of the fans like Lucas one guards the Grail diary thing they they own it I think the real issue is that it's almost since it's not an actual book it's it's a prop it's you would almost say it's plagiarized in a way it's just taking bits from other books that they found here and there so like Lucasfilm can't really take ownership of it as a text it's but they do them the prop it's her say who owns it in that situation like I think it becomes part of the I guess is communally owned by so many different people it's part of so many works it's a part of a conversation of a bunch of different works that it's just an interesting huh thing there's a question here from Joe Hoffman's and he says in the research methods class we spend a lot of time debating what is literature and what isn't that he's asking what's your opinion is the Grail diary literature both laughing like is it anyway like I think I said earlier kind of offhand like obviously it's not because it's not coherent but I don't I don't know if coherence is necessarily it's not like a cohesive whole but there's other things we consider literature there aren't either we just sort of wait to patch them together too in a way it's not literature maybe because it's not accessible it's hard to you can't just pick it up and and read it you have to put it together yourself and put on the gaps but I don't know if that kind of turquoise it from being literature because like I said it is it's very similar to to medieval literature that's kind of how a lot of those texts had to and the approach does here's pieces of it you have to put it together and fill in the gaps a lot of Chronicles and fragments and poems and stuff like that it's a big question and I kind of answer there's no I don't know answer pretty much if you've got a bit where you break it down that I'm gonna read a small section and then ask a question see of 256 page book with some blank pages the original prop had 224 written pages but only about 70 individual pages most of them were repeated multiple times and you really only get to see a handful of them up close on screen so the fan had to fill in the rest and use most and most of them used similar sources so that's where we were talking about all of it kind of coming from a cohesive singular section but from the original prop 224 pages the only about 70 pages and most of them repeated have the fans discovered which ones are written and is there like a core 8 pages that always exist in every single replica because they were on screen and then are the rest of them kind of agreed within the community or they contentious um how is that put together I think the like the 70 or so pages probably all but a few then are in that hero crop and they're all pretty consistently in there so those are all kind of official pages and then there's like the five or six pages that are only in V props that you know nobody's gonna disregard because you know you they're kind of so many holes and gaps you want everything you can get um so there's I guess there is a cannon of pages and there's pretty much agreement on what's an official page and what's not really I guess the only only difference the different where you get to the differences is if you're using that computer game diary to fill in the gaps if you're intending to fill in the gaps how you're doing that or if you're not going to fill in the gaps at all you're just gonna repeat the pages the ever an actual prop replica but and then you can get into the debate of is this the real one or is the one that where I made up my own pages the real one and that's the thing with proper recreation of the of an invented text there's there isn't a real one you know it's which which thing are you trying to create an inspired source text that doesn't exist or one that was actually shown on camera that isn't very good um what I think came out of that that was quite interesting was that the pages that are agreed on from the hero text and the maps and the images and things like that that is for Canon you know that has been used in other things and kind of agreed upon with the fandom as yes this exists this is definite so those I would consider Grail diary literature you know because you can cite that you could you could cite a specific page but there's probably only what seven eight ages that we yeah yeah there's not a lot and those are the ones that are actually important where you actually want to be able to read the text because they have to do with the plot everything else is just filler pictures of dough or text that I guess if I was gonna make a grill there I might actually even though that's Canon I feel like I know what you might want to replace those with stuff that's actually relevant to what would yeah that brings us back to Gabriel's question should film prop makers do their research better does it matter hey you know this is this is the conversation excuse me I invite you guys to ask some questions i I've got one more um so if you have questions or comments please type them in now while I ask this one um what are you gonna do with this are you thinking about presenting it somewhere are you interested in publishing this somewhere any thoughts I haven't really put a lot of thought into where to go from here with that but I imagine these guys would like to read it um it's it's a really interesting topic and fan studies it's been around oh goodness I mean since the 1920s if you want to argue way back in the day but it's really exploded since the late 90s so this was right at the the beginning of the interactive fan studies but what was interesting about your topic was definitely that line between fan creation and actual Canon and how does that invent a text effect the the core text and the the original text so I'm really am grateful that you you shared this with all of us is there anything else that you'd like to dig into within these last few minutes um that we didn't touch on oh sure yeah I think something that was kind of interesting is my experience when I was writing the paper I got to borrow a prop from someone and this is but the one I looked at was actually written by the the guy who they hired to make the lost Journal of Indiana Jones and the guy I borrowed from he had access to the Lucasfilm archive so so I borrowed this prop I get the guy who made it had access to the original archives but what he created wasn't a replica the guy who borrowed it from had access to the original archives and I don't know how far removed the guy who made it was from him I don't know his his story or his connection they tend to be pretty secret isn't kind about that kind of thing but even though I'm so I'm basically handed a complete cohesive look but then I've I've still got to go back and do all the you know I'm still going on the internet and going through discussion boards looking at the page order in them I'm you know I'm going through this book I'm comparing it to what's been officially released I'm trying to like get the pages on their own I'm checking it against websites I'm looking at the you know still frames like I still have to go back and do all this research which I guess gets back into that like there's not a not a real easy way to do you're still getting into that the medieval mode of you know this is a manuscript I have to study kind of thing and I guess that medieval element because Joe also said this is the opposite problem from usual from usual so like this is the opposite of what we're used to with old manuscripts usually we have lots of pages and one missing and that is actually kinda what you're doing so like you when we started talking it was oh this is the opposite we we only have a few enough to make up the rest but not really you do have a lot you just have to fill in the gaps but where do you get that information for those gaps and yeah so your your process and the discovery side of it I think was really interesting mm-hmm any other questions from folks and Steven anything else you want to touch on well glad you brought it back to medieval I think that's a really important point of the construction of medieval literature and our theory and manuscripts and the process and how it it hasn't changed we just have different documents that we're working with them yeah I think I touched on a little bit in the paper it I always like when the there's a whole not only schools of thought of what the Grail diary should look like among that's like how you shouldn't make it you have people talking about what image editing software you should use or how you should print it and then you have people talking about where can I buy you know a nib for a pen that would have been used in the early 1900s and the right period appropriate ink you got people trying to replicate it in an old way and I think and it has to do I think a lot with the movie itself like an opening scene you see Sean Connery's character he's he's copying a you know this eliminated manuscript or this image from a medieval manuscript into his book so you get to see this prop as it's being made in the film and there's kind of like this impetus to kind of share in that and do that but I think this this kind of like dichotomy between printing press versus manuscript copying it's which is kind of fines you know the clothes of the medieval era is it's a theme in the film this like how do we use technology it's for a lot of jokes in the film you know like Indiana Jones is jesting with a Nazi on a motorcycle or there you know he Henry Jones squirts a squirts a guy in the eye with this fountain pen and then Brody says the pins mightier than the sword there's a lot of jokes about um about this kind of thing but it's it's about a medieval technology versus modern technology what we're using technology for and even this the Grail Dyer – becomes kind of this symbol it's like it's a symbol for scholarly research and the villains in the film they just want to use it to dominate they want to use it – they're not interested in understanding it but it's a tool for conquest they just want to use it to get with the needs you to take over and then since they don't understand it they get to the end and can't pick the right Grail because they haven't done the research and then the the heroes of course er their scholars they've researched they know they know which Grail to pick because they've done their research and it's in the book ernest cline right ready player one that came out recently he uses the grill diary and that too it's the same kind of symbol it's it's scholarly research and it also that book I think also gets into the whole technology thing about how do you balance technology and I think it's interesting that in this crop replication begin to that to like use new technology but it's these traditional things to find a way to balance the two and that's also theme and my thought of Spielberg's movies is balancing technology technology's changing and how do we how much do we ease in how much do we let it take over and again I think there's the main there with the nostalgia element to that we've been talking about a lot of just how popular nostalgia is right now with stranger things ready player one this throwback to the eighties culture and maybe harkening to a time of less technology and how that hearkened to medieval ISM which was even less technology so being able to play those cards next to each other using the Grail diary as an example and how that is changing with technology it's just a fantastic way to investigate this great well thank you so much it's been an absolute pleasure to to chat about this more and I could do this for a very long time too we're really scraping the surface there's some really interesting elements of this world and the processes involved in fan remediation and fan performance I think that's such a big thing that isn't really discussed about the maybe a psychological background but also the community building side of it of just how fan performance can affect attacks you know there's a lot about cosplay and things like that but prop replication is a fairly new area of investigation so we you know we know how difficult some of the research was to get your hands on quite literally but I'm glad that you were able to participate in the conversation and hopefully add to somebody else's research down the line as this grows a more recognized academic field so thank you for your work in it and I hope everyone here enjoyed and you have any last comments please write them in now and can always drop us a line after the session as well but thank you for attending those of you here live and thank you to those that are gonna be watching this later hope you enjoyed it thank you so much to even and well done alright thank you you're getting a stream of comments you're saying thank you it was great all the best thanks guys take care end it there thanks Steven nice yeah congratulations this is fantastic yeah thanks a lot thanks for everything absolutely and I'm sure I'll catch up with you soon and hopefully meet you in person one of these days know what little moot yeah I hear a rumor we're gonna have a Wales move next year so I'm gonna try to get all of you over here than you can that'd be very nice AB all right take care have a great day you

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