Fanalysis: Bruce Campbell explains the levels of fandom


Bruce Campbell made a short film in 2002 documenting the world of fandom entitled, Fanalysis. If you ever wanted a glimpse into his life, then I suggest you watch this little number.

Bruce Campbell knows how to work it. At the age of 60, when most people are slowing down, he is kicking it up a few notches. Touring with his game show, Last Fan Standing, doing conventions and taking the occasional impressive role (like Gary Green in Lodge 49) are just some of the items on his schedule. The man knows how to multi-task and could put people half his age to shame with his unlimited supply of energy.

Although he considers himself to be “selectively retired,” he really isn’t. To understand why he is always in perpetual motion, one need only view his 2002 short film, Fanalysis.

There are celebrities out there who shun their fan base or seem perplexed by it. Harrison Ford remarked a few years ago that he didn’t understand fandom.

In the past, he made no attempts to cover up his disdain for Han Solo the role that catapulted him into the A-List stratosphere. He found the character, “not so interesting.”

While Ford seems wary, Bruce Campbell has always been all in for his admirers. A tireless signer of autographs, always willing to press the flesh, he GETS it and often refers to his fans as his “clients.”

This is precisely why he made his documentary about the world of fandom. What is compelling about this effort is the fact that it is tongue-in-cheek but it isn’t mean-spirited.

Another plus, you see exactly what Bruce does to prepare to meet his public and you get a brief window into his private world since part of it is shot on his property and in his house in Oregon.

What is fascinating to me is the way he has fans defining the levels of fandom. They are pretty honest about it too. You meet one woman who has had plastic surgery to look like her idol, Lucy Lawless as Xena. There are the young girls who talk about being embarrassed by their dads for having every Star Trek episode on tape.

If you are curious about this particular subject, let’s explore Bruce Campbell’s Levels of Fandom.  According to him there are 5 levels because when you get to the 5th level it is about “lawsuits and police.” To quote Bruce, “The concept of fandom to me is too surreal to have an impact.”

Fandom Levels as Defined by Fans:

  • The occasional fan who watches their favorite movie or tv show at home.
  • Collectors who purchase figures and other paraphernalia from movies or television shows.
  • Cosplayers
  • Total immersion where you think you are in your favorite show or movie.
  • Plastic surgery, name changes and digging through celebrities’ trash.

So, the question that remains is what are the parameters of the relationships between actors and their admirers? Let’s throw that one back to Mr. Campbell.

"“Yin and yang is a good concept. They are two elements that intertwine and fit but they don’t blend necessarily. They are distinct and different.  It’s good to strike a balance and recognize that actors do have an obligation to the fans to acknowledge them and interact to some degree. And fans have to realize that part of their yin and yang, is recognizing that sometimes celebrities want to be left alone. As long as the yin and yang find the perfect balance, everything is groovy.”"

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The takeaway would be that fans need to have boundaries and respect goes both ways. As long as the actors treat their fans in a civil manner and fans do the same the relationship will be just fine.

Have you seen Fanalysis? Let’s discuss your thoughts on fandom in the comments section below. We want to hear from you.