Monday, December 7, 2009

The Ripple Effect

I've been thinking a lot lately about how even the smallest action can have far-reaching consequences and reactions. Recently I was reminded of how sometimes good things can come from something that seems inconsequential initially.

In August, I asked three women if I could interview them for my blog. Though I feature a lot of authors, this was the first time I'd interviewed anyone who was outside the publishing world. But these three had impressed me with their writing and wit on the YouTube channel they maintained, called Eskimo Kiss Project.

EKP, as they're fondly known by viewers, clip and translate certain storylines from a German soap opera called Alles Was Zaehlt. The project began because of Roman and Deniz, a gay pairing that had been featured on the soap a couple years ago. But EKP features other storylines as well, especially after DeRo broke up, bringing the great fun of AWZ to a worldwide audience.

Anyway, they were gracious enough to consent to an interview, I posted it a few days later, and that, I thought, was that. My blog stats went up for a while, I continued to watch the show via YouTube, Roman and Deniz started to get back together, and life went on.

Then came the Great Purge of 2009. :) RTL, the production company that is responsible for AWZ as well as a whole roster of other German shows, went to YouTube and invoked copyright for almost all video clips featuring their shows. Overnight, hundreds of videos disappeared.

The one channel unaffected? Eskimo Kiss Project.

A few weeks later, the three women of EKP went on a well-deserved vacation. When they got back, they shared with their viewers that they'd actually gone to Cologne, Germany, to meet with the actors, directors, and producers of AWZ. Prior to the trip (and the purge), they'd requested a meeting to ask them not to shut down EKP. In preparation, they put together a press kit to show how EKP was helping the show to gain a worldwide audience, and how it was bringing in new viewers and fans all the time.

One of their pieces of evidence? My blog interview.

So something I'd done because I was a fan, something I'd done for fun, had ended up helping spare the channel. The one location I could watch the show and actually understand what was going on. (Sadly, my German knowledge consists of several ways to apologize, "ich liebe dich", and some swear words.) I'm thrilled to have had even a tiny part in their plea to the production company, which was ultimately successful. But when I sent that e-mail asking for an interview, I had no idea it would have an impact beyond a day or two on my blog.

The ripple effect. It doesn't have to be huge or life-changing or even "important". It can just be a small moment turned into something unexpected down the road.

What's your ripple effect story?


Anonymous said...

Kate, I remember when you initially asked to interview us and we were absolutely gobsmacked -- we knew we'd made the big time!

Just to be clear about a couple of things, I think RTL had already made up their mind what to do with us before we met or gave them the presskit. I don't think you overstate this really, I just don't think that your blog -- or any of our HOURS AND HOURS OF AGONY AND PREPARATION AND REWRITES AND OMGPANIC -- had any effect on their decision-making process.

What it did do, however, is give US confidence in what we were doing with EKP, enough so that three fans in a tiny microfandom could enter a meeting room with high-powered suits from Europe's largest television network and impress upon them how much we wanted to continue spreading the international fanbase of this show that has touched so many people. And that is some ripple effect.

Kate Davies said...

Oh, Lil, I like your interpretation EVEN BETTER! I never had any illusions that my interview changed RTL's collective minds (although I did get some blog hits from Cologne around that time, so SOMEONE was looking at it). But even to be included in the argument was mind-blowing.

But to think that I had an influence on *you* is even more happy-making than the thought of nudging the suits a little. :) Thanks so much for posting!

Meg Benjamin said...

This is really a fascinating example of the way the Web works, and maybe a good argument for leaving YouTube alone (are you listening, Fox?). After all, how many US viewers would have been aware of his show without the YouTube connection? Really cool

Kelly Jamieson said...

That's an awesome story! I don't think I have a ripple effect story of of my own...hmmmm...

Laurie Ryan said...

I can't come up with a single ripple story. But I liked yours so much I just had to say hi. Very cool, Kate! Great blog.

Kinsey Holley said...

That is the coolest story! Congrats to the EXP for their success - I'm gonna have to drop by there and take a look b/c it sounds interesting. I like the idea of interviewing non-authors - it's got me thinking.

My tight little circle of friends and family is an illustration of the ripple effect. I think I might blog about that when it's my turn in January. OOh! And it ties into the way I want to write.


PG Forte said...

I'm with Kelly. I don't have a ripple effect of my own either--waaah! But this is a very, very cool story.

Kate Davies said...

Thanks for commenting, guys! I think sometimes we have "ripple effects" that we never know about.

Meg, I think I can answer your question - the number of US viewers would be pretty much nil. Without EKP (and other fan-created viewing opportunities), there's little likelihood that anyone outside of Germany would have even heard of their soaps. Which is too bad, because the quality of the show is so far above what we're used to over here when you think of soap operas. (I've got a rant/rave on my blog about European soaps, if anyone's interested. But with the YouTube communities around AWZ and other European shows, they're starting to pull in viewers from all over the world. Many EKP regulars watch the show on the production company's website before seeing the translated version, just to give web hits and advertising revenue to the company.

And Kinsey, if you're at all interested in m/m storylines, I highly recommend EKP. They do an amazing job - clipping, translating, subtitling, and posting, all within hours of the show being aired. And their descriptions of the videos are hilarious and spot-on. None of the three are published, but they should be. :)

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